Sunday, February 15, 2015

Finishes this week!

I was happy to finish one older WIP, one new project, and a skein of yarn! I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing a project, especially an older WIP!

The older WIP is my blanket with sleeves. The pattern is Winter Warmth in the booklet "Snuggle Up!"  I used Red Heart Super Saver. The dark color is actually Dark Teal, though it comes out more blue in the picture.

I finished "A Noble Cowl". This is an easy pattern and fun knit. It took a few nights to complete. The yarn is from A Hundred Ravens. The color is Here We Are Dragons. It is the softest merino wool I've worked with.

I finally plied the winter storm singles. I decided to try N-Plying (navajo or chain plying). It was the first time I tried this technique. I like it and it is easier than I thought. I ended up with 38 yds of a worsted or bulky yarn.  I will determine the weight once the twist has been set. 

I start spinning a fiber I purchased from Taylored Fibers. It is 50% SW Merino/50% Tencel. 

Fiber happiness! Enjoy!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mixed Tape Tour with Stephen and Steven

Last weekend I was excited to participate in the Stephen and Steven Tour at The Knitter's Edge in Behlehem, Pa. OMG their enthusiasm and passion is endless! Stephen West (Westknits) and StevenBe love color, knitting, and fashion. They approach knitting with different perspectives using shapes and color to create amazing shawls, accessories, and garments. They blew my mind!

Thursday Evening was the Shawl and Accessory Extravaganza

They challenged us to cut a shap with a few angles. Get out yarn and needles; knit the shape. StvenBe discussed his class on knitting from a sewing pattern. He has the students pick a pattern and knit the pieces; then sew it together. When we knit we are creating fabric. A simple thought and truth. But it is a perspective we do not usually have while knitting. He discussed the use of colors and shapes to create the fabric and garments. Steven is a fan of "knit it in a minute." A number of his patterns and projects use two or more yarns knitted at once and using larger needles.  He prefers to use needles two sizes larger than recommended for the yarn.

Stephen West uses color and shapes to create beautiful shawls and amazing garments. His safety cowl began as a triangle, he then switched to another shape. Using color, shapes and various stitches, he created an amazing piece. 

COLOR POP words we heard a lot! Pick a bright and vibrant color to edge or accent your piece. If using bright colors choose a neutral as your color pop.

I gained a new perspective for knitting. So many ideas, so little time!

Friday night was Steph(v)en at the Hotel Bethlehem. I went with my sister-in-law Beth. We were treated to an A/V presentation from the boys. They recapped their 2014 Tour, pics from this year's tour, and pics from their travels. They put on a fashion show and there was time to meet them, by yarn, and get a close look at their creations.

Saturday I was only able to get into one of the two classes, Top Down Shawls.

Stephen West discussed basic shawl development and shaping of triangle shawls. We knitted the start of an triangle shawl and began to add increases to elongate the shawl. He discussed a number of design elements to incorporate into the shawl. 

The second half of the class he helped us choose colors, patterns, and assisted us in getting started. He helped me choose colors for his Dotted Rays Shawl. He was so nice and helpful in getting me started with this pattern!

"Eat glitter for breakfast. It makes your whole day sparkle!" - Steven Be


Monday, February 2, 2015

Spinning the Pain Away

The weekend we were to get "snowmaggedon" was not pleasant for me. I start with tooth pain on the Thursday prior due to a broken tooth. By Friday, a migraine was beginning on top of that. By Friday night I was in pain. I tried to crochet (simple pattern), but I think it caused my brain to work too much and didn't help with the pain. UGH! I woke up Saturday still in pain. I decided to get my spinning wheel out. I had not spun anything since November. I began with a braid of 100% Shetland wool called Homely that I purchased from Bittersweet Woolery at the NJ Sheep and Wool Festival.

It spun beautifully. Until now I had only spun Alpaca and Romney. I am trying different fibers and techniques.  I decided to ply this.

71 yds of Sport Weight. It is gorgeous. I wish I had more of this fiber.

Then I spun a Merino wool/Tussah Silk blend called Tahiti from Loop. I purchased this fiber at Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2014.

Though I did have to pre-draft the Shetland wool, I found that if I spun this from the center pool and did not pre-draft, I got better results.  I had planned to leave a single yarn. Then I thought about trying an art yarn. I plied it with Plymouth Yarn Carry On 100% Polyester white and gold. I added 6/0 round japanese seed beads.

Though I could have used more beads and need practice plying with different materials, I am happy with the finished yarn, 118 yds.

Finally, I spun Winter Storm, Merino/bamboo/Mulberry Silk, from AJ's Handmade Creations on Etsy. Wow, this was a joy to spin. Like the fiber above, I got better results if I did not pre-draft. I took thin strips of the fiber to spin.

I have not decided if I want ply this alone, ply with Carry On & beads, or ply with another yarn, with or without beads. I have not spun anything else. I have the jumbo flyer on (I needed it for art yarn). I want to decide what to do with this and ply it before I take the jumbo flyer off. 

I spun Saturday to Tuesday (snow storm closed Schools so I was off) and felt better but wiped on Sunday. Spinning helped deal with the pain on Saturday. The art of spinning is a Zen experience for me. Once I'm set up and started, I feel one with the wheel and fiber. Everything around me fades. I am still amazed that I will begin spinning and then look at the clock to see hours and hours have passed without my notice. This onenest with spinning helped deal with the pain I felt Saturday. 

These yarns are the 3rd, 4th and 5th skeins of yarn I have spun. :)

Nancy D