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Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

We are leaving tomorrow on a road trip to Oregon in the Airstream, with our 2 cats – Juno & Stormy.  This will be their third trailer trip!  We are so looking forward to having a vacation.  Everyone asks if we are going down the Oregon coast.  I am sure that would be lovely, and cooler, but we chose instead to visit family in the Medford/Ashland area, and then head east into central and northeastern Oregon to visit various wildlife and mountainous areas.  I am not sure how much blogging I will do when away from the home computer, but we will see.

I started the Windfeather pattern from the prolific and talented Carol Sunday, of Sunday Knits.  It is the High Country colorway and I am knitting the medium (stole) size.  Lots of colors and stitch pattern interest – I think it will be a good road trip project.

I recently found out that Sheila of Material Thoughts blog is also knitting this, but in a different colorway.  So we have a friendly competition going to see who finishes first!

I finished 3 rugs and took them to the Winthrop Gallery last evening.

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R314

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Rick finished up two projects and is delivering the last one, a work table for a local quilt shop, as I write.  The one delivered yesterday was a concession case for The Barnyard Cinema that is nearing completion in Winthrop – it’s going to be cool!  So today will be devoted to getting the trailer ready to go tomorrow morning.

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Two Knitted Scarves

I have been away from home quite a bit so wanted some small knitting projects to have with me.  Plus, I just didn’t feel like launching into another sweater right away, although I have the patterns and yarn selected for a couple that I want to do.

First up was another Squirrel Cowl, which is my own pattern and available on Ravelry.  I used some hand dyed yarn that I bought a couple of years ago up in Vancouver BC at Sweet Georgia Yarns.  This is the dyers’ studio and operations office, but they do have a retail storefront there as well.  You can also get their yarns at many retailers in the U.S. and Canada.

The pattern calls for fingering/4-ply yarn on a US 5 needle.  I wanted to verify that the yardage I used was consistent with the pattern (as well as to have another cowl to wear), so I weighed the balls of yarn before and after and used that to calculate the yardage used.  I wound up using about 260 yd/75 gm of their Cashluxe Fine as color A – 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon in a dark teal semi-solid called “Riptide”.  For color B I used about 200 yd/62 gm of their Silk Crush – 50% superwash merino, 50% silk in a variegated colorway called “Stormchaser”.  So I think I am safe to stick with the requirement of 250 yds of each color for yarns with about 180 yds to 50 gm in the pattern.  This was Variation 2 of the pattern charts.

I also wanted to make the Reverse Psychology scarf by Mindy Ross after seeing the one a friend made.  It is written for a color gradient yarn and has bead placement on both edges and sometimes across the scarf.  My friend just used 3 different colors of fingering weight yarn and no beads, and it looks great.  So I did the same, using 3 colors of Koigu PPM that I had in stash.  Just change to a new color when running low on the old one (we both did this after doing one of the partial bind-offs with the old color, and then joining in the new color to finish that row).

Very fun and interestingly shaped scarf, here it is on the blocking mats and then draped on a mannequin.  It seems to drape a little differently depending on what edge you put against your neck, but I think they both look good!

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Knitting FO’s

Finished Objects, that is.

I have had a run on my Mosaic Mojo hats up at the Winthrop Gallery, so decided to dig into the box of miscellaneous hat knitting yarn and whip out a couple more.  I knit all 3 of these in the last week or so (they take me about 6 hours each).

These have been kind of fun to do again so I may have a couple more in me before winter is completely over.

The big project last month was finishing a sweater before I went to spinning camp on Orcas Island.  Even though it wasn’t knit from handspun yarn!  I bought the yarn 10 years ago from Island Fibers on Lopez Island (part of the San Juan Islands chain in Washington State, along with Orcas Island).  Maxine always has a selection of spinning fiber and yarn at our event.  The wool was from local sheep on Lopez and had been spun at Taos Wool Mill to a woolen 3-ply.   Then it sat in storage until last year – 2016 spinning camp – when Judith helped me dye it a wonderful moss/lichen green color.  So I was determined to make a sweater out of it before this year’s camp.  I quite literally finished it the day before we left.

The Rainforest Sweater 2017

I didn’t have enough of my green yarn to do the whole thing, so I knit the bottom and sleeve borders with some Koigu sock yarn I had in stash, held with a strand of Jaggerspun Zephyr wool/silk to beef it up a bit.

The pattern is from a new electronic publication from Interweave Knits – knit.wear Wool Studio.  You buy the pattern collection as a PDF file and then can download and print whatever you want.  There are several patterns in there that I like, and this one is called “Truro Pullover” by Amanda Scheuzger.  It is knit in one piece from the bottom up, and the most fiddly bits are up around the short rows for the front neck and beyond.  One thing I really liked about this pattern is the shoulder shaping – besides the raglan line, there are decreases along the top of the sleeve from just below the shoulder up to the neck.  This makes it sit very nicely over the shoulder and is an idea I plan to incorporate into my next top-down raglan.

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When it snows…

In a push to finish UFO’s, I completed a knitted scarf that I started sometime last year.  It was about 2/3 done but falling farther and farther towards the bottom of the knitting bag.  The pattern is Noro Knots by the Irish designer Kieran Foley.  I knit one of these about 3 years ago using Noro Kureyon Sock and have found it to be very wearable, so I decided to make another one using Noro Silk Garden Sock in a colorway I really liked (#272).  For both of these I did 6 repeats of the charts, not 5 (well actually, on this one I worked only through chart C on the 6th repeat).  Very happy with it!

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In January I bought a WooLee Winder for my Jensen Tina II spinning wheel.  I like the wheel but was having trouble getting used to having to move the spun singles from hook to hook on the flyer.  I haven’t had a wheel with hooks for a long time.  The Majacraft Little Gem has a sliding eyelet, much like a Lendrum, and for the Hansencraft Minispinner the standard flyers have a sliding eyelet (you don’t even need to pinch and slide, just give it a little nudge with your finger).  I also have the WooLee Winder for the Hansencraft spinner and love it, especially for plying.

I was kind of on the fence about ordering this for the Jensen wheel, as it had gotten mixed reviews on the Jensen Ravelry group.  Some people love it and others have had trouble getting it to work right.  The flyer has a level-wind mechanism in one arm, much like a fishing reel, and it moves up and down evenly feeding singles onto the bobbin as you spin.

Anyway, mine works great in both double-drive and Scotch tension modes and it is making the eternal spinning project go much faster and more enjoyably!  I only bought 2 bobbins as I always wind the singles off onto plastic storage bobbins anyway, for later plying.

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We got a lot of snow the last couple of days, at least 10 inches I would say.

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Cats roasting by the (not so) open fire….

by-the-fire-feb-2017

I decided to put a short warp on my 32″ Macomber and do our weaving guild annual “challenge” project just to put it behind me and be ready when we share our efforts at the April meeting.  The theme this year is Lace and everyone signed up for a different kind of woven lace, breaking into study groups.  Three of us chose to do a project based on an article by Jane Evans in the May/June 2000 Handwoven magazine.  It allows you to weave motifs in Bronson lace using a “split shed” technique on 3 shafts, instead of pickup sticks.  You can either weave a lace motif against a plain weave background, or a plain weave motif embedded in a lace background.

It sounds intriguing and definitely a challenge!  But after reading through the method again I realized I will never in a million years actually choose to use this for a project, so have decided to do just a small sample to try it out and fulfill my obligation for this year’s challenge.  That meant putting on only a 1-yard warp in 20/2 pearl cotton.

These days I almost always warp my looms using my AVL Warping Wheel, which allows me to put a warp on the sectional beam with even tension, and without needing a tension box and multiple spools, then thread and sley from back to front.  But I can’t do that for a warp shorter than a couple of yards.  So I decided to try out Laura Fry’s method for putting a warp (wound on a conventional warping board or reel) onto the back beam under even tension, then threading and sleying from the front as I am used to.  This is shown in her DVD The Efficient Weaver.

Quickly realized that this warp is too short even for that, as it will not be wound onto the back beam at all.  So there seemed no point in trying out her way of rough-sleying a reed to act as a raddle and warp spreader at the front of the loom as you wind on.  I wound up just tieing the cross end onto the back apron rod so I could pull on it as I thread.  The lease sticks are suspended from two string cradles – actually the stick closest to the back rod is suspended, then the two are fastened together so as not to fall out.  Got this idea from Nadine Sanders’ “Warping on a Shoestring” DVD.

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s already January 31.  It has been a productive month in the studio for me, so here are the things I have been working on.  Warning, this is a weaving-centric post!

Weaving

I finished the first set of “mixed warp” scarves using a discontinued Missoni yarn called Bombay which I picked up in a stash reduction sale, who knows how long ago!  I only had enough for about half the warp so I alternated 2 strands of Bombay with 2 strands of coned rayon Rik-Rak in 2 colors.  Here is the warp as it shows in the fringe:

Bombay 1 fringeand the 9 scarves that were woven using a variety of DK weight handknitting yarns and rayon chenilles.  These are all out at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp and the Winthrop Gallery.  There was a 10th scarf at the end of the warp that came out shorter (about 54″ not including the fringe) and I am keeping that one.  It was woven with Elspeth Lavold Baby Llama, and is quite yummy feeling

Bombay 2 Bombay 3 Bombay 4I put a second warp on using 16 different yarns in reds, browns and some gold.  I am weaving these 8″ wide at 8 epi so I need 16 ends (threads) in each 2″ section on the warping beam.  I rotated through groups of 4 yarns in each section to mix up the colors and textures some.  The warp is 24 yards long and I can comfortably get 11 scarves woven to 70″ under tension from that.  They shrink about 10% in each direction once off the loom and washed and pressed.  There is a 4″ unwoven section at each end of each scarf for the fringe, and I am hemstitching the ends in groups of 3 or so threads to keep the edge wefts in place.

Red Brown warpI used a lot of Henry’s Attic natural color superfine alpaca as weft on these, as well as some rayon chenilles.  Here is the first one being woven, using black alpaca and beat gently (more of a press, really) to get about 8 ppi.  I also used a light gray, light camel, and chocolate brown in the alpaca.

Red Brown black alpaca Here they are drying on the rack yesterday.  Today I will trim and press and label and then they will be ready to go out to the galleries.

Red Brown scarvesNow I have put on a third warp using blues and greens and again a mix of 16 yarns in a variety of textures.  I am finding it is best to put a thinner smooth yarn in between the stickier and larger mohairs and boucles.

cobalt warp Jan 2016

Cobalt warp on loomI wove the first one yesterday afternoon using a teal Rowan DDK wool and it is really pretty!

Cobalt underway

Ah, almost forgot.  A couple of weeks ago I finished 4 more rugs using Pendleton selvages, to re-supply the galleries.

R245

R245

R246 & R247 (two alike)

R246 & R247 (two alike)

R248

R248

Knitting

Here are the most recent Mosaic Mojo hats.  I have knitted 22 of these since early November and am now ready to give it a rest!

These 2 were done using a solid Cascade 220 wool yarn paired with Noro “Haniwa”, which is 50% silk and makes for a nice, light-weight but warm hat.

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21 - 1541These two were done with some yarn I got in a door prize drawing at spinning camp on Orcas Island last year.  It is a handpainted Clun Forest (sheep breed) from Solitude Wool in Virginia.  They had a booth at the Madrona Fiberarts Winter Retreat in Tacoma last February, and will be there again this year.  The Clun Forest is a little scratchy but I paired it with Cascade 220 for the solid color, and using that for the rolled edge worked really well to keep it soft against your forehead.

19 - 1539

20 - 1540

This last one I made for myself!  I used 2 colors of Cascade 220 for the solid color, and Noro Silk Garden Sock held with a strand of Rowan Kidsilk Haze for the variegated yarn.  I picked through the Noro yarn to pull only colors I wanted in this hat.

22a - mine

22b - mine

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I am so far behind in blogging it is hard to know where to start.  Part of it is laziness, part of it is lack of picture-taking.  I don’t know!  Anyway, since we last met in early December, we have been to Seattle for a week for the holidays, and then settled back in over here in early January.

I have a new spinning wheel!  It is a Jensen Tina II and belonged to a friend of mine in Seattle, who bought it in 2002 but hardly used it.  The finish was rather dry, so Rick put 2 coats of Profin on it and now it looks wonderful.  It spins like a dream.

 

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On January 7th, my friend Sara organized a “Roc Day” spinning day at Twispworks.  About 20 people came and we had a fabulous potluck lunch, in addition to the general cameraderie.  From Wikipedia:

Distaff Day, also called Roc Day, is 7 January, the day after the feast of the Epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff’s Day, one of the many unofficial holidays in Catholic nations.  Many St. Distaff’s Day gatherings are held, large and small, throughout local fiber communities. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women’s work.

In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth.

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We have lots of snow this year.  It is going to be the best ski season, maybe ever!  The folks at Methow Trails are keeping it well-groomed as always.  We have one of the top Nordic ski trail systems (120 miles or 200+ kilometers) in the country right here in our little valley.  It is divided into four areas, all connected by the Methow Community Trail.

We had more fresh snow yesterday and last night, and here was the scene this morning from our back deck:

P1000590Piling up on the deck:

P1000595Curling off the roof of the shop building:

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I have been knitting more Mosaic Mojo hats.  Still haven’t gotten tired of these yet, as long as I have nice yarn to work with.

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And I finished a sequence knitting project, another cowl:

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A week or so ago I put a scarf warp on my 32″ Macomber loom, using some Missoni “Bombay” novelty yarn that I picked up at a stash reduction sale, and some rayon rik-rak on cones.  I put 21 yds on the sectional beam, enough for 10 scarves about 70″ long plus fringe.  Finished the last one yesterday, washed them and cut them apart, and they are hanging to dry.  Pictures to follow!

This past Saturday, we had our annual community association progressive dinner, which is always held on the ML King holiday weekend.  I was the organizer, and we hosted the main course at our house this year (appetizers at one house, main course at a second house, desserts at a third).  There were 41 of us and it was a challenge to fit it into our dining and living room!  We moved most of the living room furniture out to the shop or upstairs, set up 5 tables, and borrowed a bunch of folding chairs from the Winthrop Gallery.  Lots of fun!

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This seems to be a social time of year – we have had many get-togethers with friends and neighbors since returning home at the end of December.

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Weaving Rugs Again

I was running low on rugs after the guild sale, and after placing some at the 2 galleries down in Twisp, had only one at the Winthrop Gallery (a member-run coop gallery).  Then they sold that one last Saturday (which is a good thing, but yikes!).  So this past week I finally got the 50-yd rug warp on the sectional beam of my 48″ Macomber and am back in the rug weaving business.  I have all those bags of Pendleton blanket selvages we brought back from Portland, OR as inspiration!

R236 - 32" x 52"

R236 – 32″ x 52″

R237 - 32" x 29"

R237 – 32″ x 29″

R238 - 32" x 64"

R238 – 32″ x 64″

R239 - 32" x 60"

R239 – 32″ x 60″

This will be it until the end of the week, as I am headed over the pass today to the Skagit Valley for 3 nights with my Dad.

Also got some more Mosaic Mojo hats done since the last post:

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I really like the one shown below.  I have used Noro Silk Garden in the past – it is just the right weight and I love the feel of it with the silk and kid mohair in it, plus the way it changes color along the length of the ball of yarn is always a surprise and very effective in these hats.  But I can’t afford to buy Noro Silk Garden at full retail for hats I am selling in a gallery!  I have only used odd balls I picked up at stash reduction sales or sale bins in stores/online.  But I found some Noro “Silk Garden Lite” in my stash and although it is thinner, I found if I strand it with some Rowan Kidsilk Haze (or similar very thin kid mohair/silk yarn) it is just perfect!  So that is what I used for this hat:

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11b - 1525

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