So I am married to a very intelligent, handsome and generous man who knows me well. He saw how much time I was spending with the spindles and so…he thought it would be a good idea to give me a spinning wheel for my birthday!! Oh, he was so right. 🙂
Below you will see photos of Twyla and the first few skeins to come off her bobbins.
The fiber is from The Fiber Studio in Minneapolis, MN.
Twyla the spinning wheel
Twyla is actually the Louet Julia
Navajo plied yarn made from hand-blended batts
Beautiful black alpaca and silk
It all started when one day I said to myself “Michelle, you can figure this out, just do it and get over it!” I had a student 2.8 ounce Ashford bottom whorl spindle, a pile of inexpensive roving and just went for it. Â Now you know the rest of the story. Â I got a Kundert 1.2 ounce, top whorl spindle Â and some Targhee wool from The Fiber Studio in Mineapolis and fell IN LOVE with spinning. Here’s the Kundert in action, and the resulting skein.
Kundert 1.2 ounce spindle, Sarge asleep on the pillow.
2 ply spindle-spun Targhee wool.
The pile begins to grow.
Plying on the Asford spindle.
It’s done!Â And here are a few photos to show the finishing of the sweater and the beautiful dye job which yielded results that, to me, are spectacular!
The first sweater before finishing.
The first sweater in the dye pot.
Beauty! Dyed, blocked and drying.
This first sweater taught me a lot of things:
- Knitting gauge swatches (yes, plural!) is an essential step in making a sweater that fits. The swatch also helps to figure outÂ if the drape and structure of the fabric works for the garment you are making.
- Miles and miles of stockinette stitch, knit in the round, broken up by one cable is not boring.
- Measuring the weight of your fiber to figure out how much dye you need creates beautiful color saturation.
- Throwing an entire garment, the first garment you ever knit, into a pot of hot water is not scary.Â Honest!Â OK, just to be safe I used Bare superwash merino, from KnitPicks. 🙂
Next sweater on my needles is a top-down raglan for my sweet husband – with colorwork.Â Yay!
Did I mention that I love knitting?
So, I am not…and never will be…a monogamous knitter. My attention span just won’t accept thinking about one, and only one, project at a time.Â So here’s what’s on the needles right now:
And a week ago I cast on a new project, a blanket.Â I can’t feel too bad about this one because it is meant to be a gift for a friend.
And there’s a drawer that’s full of queued-up projects; a hand bag (complete with a pattern *and* handles), a feather and fan shawl from A Gathering of Lace, a triangle shawl that I dreamed about a while ago, socks, socks, socks, and a sweater.Â And another lace scarf.Â And another scarf of the non-lace variety. And fingerless gloves.Â And socks.
I’ve got my work cut out for me!
I knit a little while on the Pie Are Square shawl tonight.Â Now I’m at the point where I need to decide on a lace pattern for the border. It’s never been done by my two hands and I’m sure that the right border can be found … it’s turning the corner on the square part of the shawl that’s causing me pause.Â I’m sure the answer is out there. Just need to keep looking.
Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Knitting with your own hand-dyed yarn
Designing knitted garments
Cable/aran stitch patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit/crochet
American/English style knitting (throwing)
Continental style knitting
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting in public
Met knitterati/famous knitters
List plucked fromÂ The Knitting Dude’s Guide to Knittng. Thanks, Dude!
I have been knitting on the Pie Are Square shawl since last September.Â I’ve suspended work on the First Sweater for the summer. I’m still on the first sock of the Noro I picked up a couple of month’s ago.Â There’s a scarf of Malabrigo lace up in the bed room.Â 2 bags in the drawer that need to be finished up and felted so they can actually be used.Â Then there’s a pile of yarn matched up with patterns in the “waiting to be started” drawer.Â It’s drving me crazy.Â I need to finish up some projects so new projects can be started. I made a promise to myself that I would not start anything new until something is finished. That includes blocking! Through my entire crafty life I’ve had the problem of startitis and I’m determined to break that habit.Â I just need to keep stitching!
After reading through Jacqueline Fee’s “The Sweater Workshop,” I decided it was time to take the plunge and actually knit a sweater. Sometimes I feel like such a beginner in this craft, but more on that later. Because I wanted to tackle a few “firsts” with this first sweater, it’s also the first cable work and the first dyeing that I’ve ever done – and the first sweater of my own design! It’s also marks the first ball I’ve ever wound with a swift and ball-winder. I love winding balls from hanks. 🙂
There’s only one cable up the front. Simple, elegant. There’s a hem at the bottom of the body, and the sleeves will have very long ribbing and then plain stockinette up to the underarm. The construction is raglan sleeves knit in the round, so it’s miles of stockinette stitch. I’ve heard some people speak out against the stockinette stitch sweater. They say it’s boring. I’m not bothered by it. I guess this is my visiting with friends or watching EastEnders project. Besides, the repetitive motion of the knit stitch feels so good.
The yarn is KnitPicks Bare Merino Wool yarn in a DK weight. DK = more stockinette! I like the yarn. It’s soft, and once it’s wound into a center-pull ball, it’s unwinds very nicely, down to the last inch. It splits a little, but let’s blame that on my penchant for looking away from my knitting while working. Still haven’t mastered that, although it’s getting better. Reading while knitting is pretty exhilarating for a multi-tasking chickie like me.
My first swatch was on size 5 needles, and the fabric was just too stiff. The second swatch, on sixes, has a nice drape and the cable still has good definition. Here are some photos that take you from the arrival of the yarn, up to the knitting progress as of today:
Bare superwash and Jaquard dyes from KnitPicks.com.
Winding up the first ball.
All wound up.
And away we go!
Remember the Pie Are Square shawl? Well, I’ve gone beyond the final row of yarn-over increases, beyond the edge of the galaxy into no-knitters-land. It just wasn’t big enough. I think the needles I’m using are too small. At any rate, I still have a skein+ of yarn left, so I decided to add an extra row of yarn-overs beyond what EZ’s pattern calls for. At this point, there are more that 500 stitches on my needles. Ok, I’m feeling good. I may not have enough yarn to make a pretty lace border in the same colorway as the main yarn of the shawl, but I can find a color to contrast/coordinate and it will look great, I’m sure. But wait. What’s that?
Lordie. I'm too green to know what to do about this!
A DROPPED STITCH! 13 ridges back!!! Ok. Let’s breathe in. I can drop down, pick up the stitch and bring it back up to the working row. Problem is: the yarn-overs. They will be off. It’s a yarn over, knit one across the row, with an all knit row after that. Where’s that extra stitch going to go? Do I K2tog somewhere? Will anyone notice? I will! Do I un-knit the last knit row, then yarn over, K1 row, then pick up the dropped stitch so my pattern stays even? Guh. I discovered the dropped stitch about a month ago and I just haven’t been able to face it since. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment and let me know what to do. EEEE!
Now for a note on the needles I’m using. I started on regular Addi Turbo circular needles, but now that I’m beyond the edge of the universe with this shawl. I had to get longer circs, so I ran off to my LYS and discovered: Addi Turbo … for LACE! These needles are awesome! A little bit pointier than regular Addis, with just a little grip, so you have a handle on your yarn. I love them. Once I’m over this yarn over hump, I’ll be knitting like mad on this shawl. Heck, I’m going to get me more lace weight yarn just so’s I can use these needles. Now I wish I had enough yarn to turn this shawl into a dang cloak! Mmmm. I’m digging the Addi Turbos for lace. 🙂
I cast on for my 2nd pair of socks this past Saturday. I’m using the basic sock instructions from Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd.
The yarn is Felici in Pebble from Knit Picks and I’m using the The Magic Loop method on Knit Picks 40″ circular needles size 2 (3mm). I was a very good knitter and made a gauge swatch and I could swear I counted 8 stitches to the inch, so I cast on and started knitting. Knit knit knit for a while on Saturday night, and then knit knit knit for a while on Sunday while visiting my brother at Hazelden. I get a certain kick out of knitting in public. I tried the sock on and … it was too freaking big. On the way home from Center City, I ripped it out (to which my sister-in-law had this to say “Next time, give it to your big-footed brother!” Not a bad idea!) and made a new gauge swatch. This time I cast on about 60 stitches instead of 30 or 40 the first time and this time around my gauge was at about 7.5 stitches per inch. I thought about going down a needle size, because I can (the needles are right here next to me in my knitting bag) but I thought, naw. Forgetaboutit. If the socks don’t fit me, I’ll find someone else to fit the socks. Wee! So off I go. Again. The first pair of socks I ever knit were toe up, these are top down. The woman at All About Yarn, one of my LYSs seemed impressed that my first pair of socks was toe up. She said “that’s a level or 2 higher than top down.” ? Anyway, I didn’t tell her that I also made up the pattern – sort of.
So now I’m anxious to get through these socks and get on to the 2 skeins of Socks That Rock that I purchased recently, a purchase influenced by the staggering number of episodes of Lime & Violet that I’ve listened to in a very short period of time. I just started listening and I need to catch up so I can go check out the message boards and things. For some reason I need to be caught up with the podcasts before I head over to the message boards – no spoilers, please! 🙂
I finished Kendra’s shawl this weekend and gave it to her. She liked it, but my mom LOVED it. Think I know what mom is getting for Christmas? Mother’s Day? We’ll see.
That’s about all for now. I’m heading over to KnitPicks.com to add more things to my cart, save some for later, move them back in to my cart, and hem and haw some more.