Friday, February 28, 2014

Spinning Bonanza!

February, February, where have you gone? My this month has flown by. We've had things shaken up around here with my eldest daughter obtaining her drivers license recently and driving solo now. We're limiting it to school and back for just a bit until we're she's more comfortable so to speak. It really is quite alarming how fast our babies grow up.
I've been trying to prepare myself for this. It's still not easy, but I'm getting there. 

I lost my knitting mojo a bit this month. I started a Noro Striped Scarf for my cousin earlier, decided the colors I chose weren't working and bought more Noro Silk Garden yarn and tried again. I'm liking the color changes better this go around but it's still not making me 100% happy. I may change it up again and just do a cowl in a lighter weight Noro Taiyo Sock yarn. I blame peri-menopause. It equals no sleep physically, but makes my brain cells go to sleep even when I'm awake.  I can't wade through choices as easily as I could years ago. 

I have been spinning. And I must say it's nice to have something to fall back on.
Some Cloudlover fiber (polwarth) on my turkish spindle. I just love a turkish spindle, the first time I picked one up it just flowed automatically. Wow.  The fiber is very well prepped as well, I love her stuff. 

I've already spun and plied half of this Yarnadoodles corriedale fiber so this is part of the last 2 oz. (I don't think they're in business anymore). This is being spun because I scored this Bosworth top whorl spindle  on Ebay and wanted to practice. They usually have some available on their website, it just depends as they do a lot of fiber shows and festivals. I just happened upon a destash and grabbed this one and am so happy to have it. Top whorl spinning took some practice, but now it just flows as well. I LOVE the Bossie, I can't say enough good things about this brand. It spins so beautifully and evenly. I hope I can add a few more to my bouquet of spindles one day. 

I've finally finished spinning this Into The Whirled SW Merino in the Fathom colorway:

I'm working on making it a 2-ply right now, it's slow going because it's so thin. I tend to get impatient when I ply, but plying is an important step in making a nice yarn so I'm trying to just take breaks instead of rushing through it. This will probably end up being more socks for my hubby. As thin as this is (I was originally going to do a 3-ply), I'll most likely knit this on size 0's and with a larger cast on #. 

Well, enough spinning for now. My mini-spinner is still gorgeous but I have to admit I've not been paying enough attention to her. After I finish this as a 4 oz single I'll navajo ply it. 
I have to say, if you're on the fence about getting one, jump off and go for it. It's very relaxing and so portable. It's really worth every penny. I adore mine (and am kicking myself for not plying the blue on this instead, would've saved my weak legs all the treadling.) ;)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

Hope everyone is having a great day!

I've been busy with some knitting this month but mainly I've been spinning on some new toys.

Here's my latest knitting project. 
Brickless by Martina Behm
Stats: Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein in LadyBug
Size 5 needles
THIS IS HUGE! It blocked out to 101 inches. It's a nice cozy wrap around kind of scarf/shawl. Much longer than it is deep. I made it for my BFF in CA for her February Birthday. This knit up a lot faster than I expected, it maybe took less than a week. I made one boo-boo but won't ever admit to where it is exactly! 
Overall I loved this even though the pattern didn't really appeal to me at first. I didn't dig those ragged ends, but blocked out and with all the texture in there it's really cool looking.

Got some more socks finished from the stash:

Knit Picks Felici in Moon Lit colorway. 
(I was wearing my pink fluffy robe when I took this picture. Note to self: Don't do that. I can't edit it out no matter what I try.) I like the yarn but the dye job on this batch was terrible. Splotchy and colors running into other stripes. Oh well, they're on my daughter's feet already and out of the stash.

My Spinning is moving along and it's lovely to have this when my knitting mojo has left the building which sort of happened after the Brickless.

First up: My e-spinner has some Romney from Into The Whirled on it. I decided to just spin it up as one and maybe navajo-ply it instead of 2-plying. 
Can't say enough good things about this spinner. I got the Maple Hansen Mini and it's gorgeous and so easy to use. Love Love Love. 

On my Ashford Joy:

Some Superwash Merino from Into The Whirled (in a colorway I need to look up.) It's been sitting there lonely for a bit so I showed it some love last night in the hopes of finishing it soon. I was going for another 3-ply so it's on the thin side, but I decided to just do a 2 ply after all. This will either be a shawl or maybe more socks for my husband. 

All in all, I'm keeping somewhat busy with kids, pets, husband, house and YARNY things. Somewhere in there exercising was supposed to happen but I've been much too lazy on that end. I recently put a couple of exercise apps on my phone to place some guilt on me. Right now I can't get up because a cat is draped across my legs. (sigh, I can always find an excuse! Not Good!). We've also got snow over the past couple of days so I just want to hibernate and stay warm. It's been a crazy, cold winter! Well, I'll get back to spinning and at least my thighs will get some exercise. :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

EOM Catch Up

I'm such a big procrastinator. (I'm admitting it to myself more than anything). I've been meaning to post my other January projects but at least I'm getting in under the wire!

My Easy Neckwarmer/Headband by Jessica Bolof on Ravelry. I made it for my cousin who I know is in a deeper freeze than I am here in the south. (She's pretty far up north in MI.) This was made out of Noro Silk Garden in color 232. If I made it again I'd cast on less stitches as it grew when soaked. The Silk Garden will stretch with wear as well, so I threw it in the dryer for about 20 minutes and it scrunched up again nicely.

I also finished another pair of socks made out of Desert Vista Dyeworks Viso base in the Mona Lisa colorway:

Not a big "gold" lover here, it doesn't quite match the colors of others on Ravelry, but overall I loved the base so one day I hope to have more from this dyer. (I'm a sucker for self-striping, it always lures me in). I can honestly say these practically knit themselves, the yarn was a real pleasure to hold and knit with.

I have to get busy and photograph my spindle projects in the works, but yesterday we did do some over-dyeing of some sock yarns I had in the stash.

Both of my daughter's helped me (snow days from school, gotta keep them busy). My youngest is doing Independent Study at home now so we counted this as a Home Ec project. I love the colors we created, we weren't exactly scientific about it, we totally winged it, but we did get the deeper saturation we were after in the end. I finally used up all my vinegar as well, I can FINALLY use my citric acid in that jug and not have to deal with the smell. I can't wait to dye some more someday.

All in all, January was productive knitting-wise and a great reason to use all the woolies we already have in the house! We don't have the inches of snow and minus degree temps, but for us, it was pretty darn COLD, not what we're used to as much. Still, Mother Nature has her beautiful moments:

P.S. Thank you Word Lily and Anna for actually reading my ramblings! :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Handspun Socks

My husband has some very warm toes now.

My first time knitting with something I've spun myself.
This was a 3-ply done on my Ashford Joy.
4 oz of Into The Whirled SW BFL in the Bird Girl colorway.
I got around 350 yds. Approx 114 g
Size 1 magic loop, 3 x 1 ribbing over 68 sts

No, they don't match at all, and that's what sort of cool about them.
He had them on before the ends were even woven in, it's been pretty cold around here. I see more handspun socks in my future, it's fun to see what the colors are going to do. "Surprise" knitting if there ever was such a thing.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A New Yarn-y Year - Welcome 2014

I've been a lazy blogger (a few years worth it seems). Life gets in the way, yada, yada yada and I lost the mojo to blog when I got my MAC and had some trouble figuring some things out. But this year I hope to at least keep up with my knitting and spinning projects again. 

I've been hearing so many resolution "plans" people have that I've gotten down to:
Resolution #1: "I just want to be happy". My head is cluttered enough, life is busy for everybody, but I want to just feel relaxed and not as anxious about things this year. I realize a lot of what I worry about is about choices I make, things I have no control over, and natural life events. I need to be more in the moment and let life take it's course and trust that God has my back. Accepting changes is a lot easier than fighting them. Frankly, it's just exhausting. 

New Mantra: Relax, and BREATHE. 

On to stringy things! My first project this year will be some handspun socks for my husband. I'll be posting a picture and giving details in my next post because I'm working down the foot on the second sock right now. They don't match at all, but
they're the first thing I've knit out of any of my handspun and it's been exciting. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Oy! Life has been insane! After my shoulder break (June), possible unnecessary gallbladder surgery (July), blood clot from said surgery requiring a 5 day hospital stay (Aug), I'm still working on healing from EVERYTHING. Anyone who's had their gallbladder out knows it takes time to, well, ..."adjust'. Lets just say I'm still "adjusting" so I stick close to home.  My shoulder still hurts but my range of motion has improved over time although I've got to get better about doing my stretches everyday.  I'll probably be on blood thinners for about 6 mos for the clot (Portal Vein Thrombosis - Not good!), I have another CT scan mid-November to see if it's dissolved at all (please, please, please...). All of this in addition to the fibro pain and inflammation I suffer from has made life just... dandy. But I'm still here (weaker and shakier but surviving).

And I'm still knitting! (slow as it may be)
Pattern: Just my usual basic 64 stitch sock.
Yarn: Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett in Exotic Color Pool Colorway
Hmmm, I wasn't crazy about this yarn. It felt like knitting with Paton's Kroy Sock: sort of rough when knitting up & slighty itchy. Not a favorite but I do love the colors. I'm sending these to my Mom for Christmas and she wears her socks around the house so hopefully they'll feel okay to her. She's not a big wussy pants like I am about the itch factor.

To compensate I'm sending her these too:
Pattern: My same ol' basic pattern
Yarn: Knitting Fever Indulgence in Colorway: 115 (Pinks, greens, white)
Now these are SOFT! I wasn't thrilled that the gorgeous colors in the ball sort of got "muddied" up in the knit fabric but they feel so good it's okay, the pink still comes through some. Mom will certainly enjoy these too! (my photo taking skills are so below par - I blame it on not feeling good and being too lazy to edit right now).

I also finished a simple pair of ribbed fingerless mitts for my daughter for the high school football games but I haven't seen them since they came off the needles in time for last game night - so no pics yet. I have another pair in the works for my other daughter but it's been slow going working with Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. People are right in saying it's tough on their hands, it does feel like knitting with cotton - no give = pain in your fingers and hands. Not fun.

I also gave up being chicken about getting back to my spinning. When I broke my shoulder I was about 1/3 into spinning some gorgeous hand-dyed Polwarth I picked up at the last fiber festival I attended. I had such an amazing consistency streak going I guess I was afraid to mess it all up after being away from it for so long. I finally got up the nerve, oiled my wheel a bit, and was off to the races again:
I have to find the tag to check the info but I'm pretty sure it's Rivers Edge - Out of Oz (Reflection colorway). It's 4 oz of Polwarth. I'll probably be working this as a 2 ply and it should be a fingering/light sport when it's done. I can't wait, plying makes it all magical for me!

I've got so much blog reading to catch up on. Someday I pray things will be back to normal in my world.
Happy Knitting!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Healing Takes Time

My broken right shoulder is S.L.O.W.L.Y healing - with daily exercises, physical therapy, and TONS of patience. I still have limitations on my movements but it's getting better. When they first told me it would be two months before I would be out of a sling, I seriously thought they were joking, but...they weren't.  When they told me it would be at least 12 weeks before I started strength training - well, they weren't kidding about that either.  I'm simply amazed at how long these kinds of injuries take to heal! Everywhere I go I also hear "broken arm/shoulder" stories that makes me wince all over again. I truly know it could've been a lot worse. I say a prayer for those who are injured, it's no picnic.

I had my gallbladder surgery on July 27th, and for being an "easy" surgery, it hurt like heck. I've never had a worse medical experience. Healing from that has been slow going as well, and the pain in my upper right abdominal area has happened since it's been taken out, which was nothing short of depressing after the hell that was that operation. My diet needs to transform, I get it finally (at least I'm trying to!).  I'm seriously going to miss chili cheese dogs, hamburgers, spicy foods and pizza. Not that I ate those regularly, but darn, once in awhile some things are a treat. No more. No more... sob...

We also lost my dear Father In Law to lung cancer on July 15th.  We knew he was very ill, the end was very hard on him and everybody, nobody wanted to let go.  That's because he was such a wonderful and loving person, someone who truly, undeniably, made this world a better place with his presence. We miss him terribly and always will. I panicked that I wouldn't be able to handle the funeral day feeling as weak and pain ridden as I did, but I went and was so glad I made it. He was "all about family", and I realized having loved ones together makes the tough times easier to bear, especially since he LOVED having everyone together. I know he was totally smiling down on all of us.

With the shoulder injury, my usual "soul soothing salve" (Knitting) was off limits until very recently. I think I was going through more than I realized (depression) because I was buying yarn like nobody's business and all the time wondering if I would ever knit again! I actually stopped and bought yarn the weekend we went for the funeral at the LYS in their town. The color of this Noro grabbed me and made my heart pitter patter and want to cast on ASAP. The love couldn't be denied, the feeling of it moving through my fingers was mesmerizing. I can't even say how wonderful it felt to finally have my needles working their magic on my soul. I didn't realize until then how much I had truly missed it.  How much I NEEDED it to soothe my fears, worries, and just life stuff.

So here are my Comeback Mitts:

Pattern: Fetching
Yarn: Noro Shirakaba
Mods: Went down a needle size from the pattern to size them down a bit. Also only cast on 40. Worked an extra cable or so on the top for added length.  Love. Love. Love.

Since then I've been knitting a bit every single day and feeling a bit better with each stitch. (and the worry over all the recently acquired yarn isn't as bad...) My knitting friends, and my wonderful family have helped me beyond words get through everything recently too. I'm so very grateful for them.

"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises" ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman