Saturday, January 26, 2008

Finished Sock, Spinning Sock

My first small finished object for 2008, proudly displayed for SAM5 as well as Socks From Stash. I present my Autumn Joy Comfort Socks ~


PATTERN: Railroad Rib Socks by Evelyn Clark, from Fiber Trends
YARN: Handspun from my own Autumn Joy roving. Autumn Joy is a blend of Maxine's Corriedale wool (a warm, cinnamon sugar brown) blended with dyed mohair and some autumn colored firestar (just a glimmer)

First, I weighed out four ounces of the roving, and then divided it into two 2-ounce bumps. From there, I divided one of those yet again and spun two bobbins with one ounce each on my Louet S45. I plied these two singles together to get a sport weight yarn. Next, I divided the other 2-ounce bump into three roughly equal strips and spun each strip onto its own bobbin. I plyed these three singles together to make a 3-ply yarn that was also a sport weight, and got the same gauge as I did with my 2-ply sport weight. that clear as mud? In the photo below, the softer 2-ply yarn is on the left, while the firmer, rounder 3-ply is on the right. I used size 2 needles (the pattern calls for size 3 on the sport weight yarn, but I wanted a firmer fabric)


My plan was to knit the top of the sock with the 2-ply and the foot, heel, toe with the 3-ply in the belief that this is going to wear better. When I finished spinning the two yarns, I washed them as Judith MacKenzie directs...first in hot, then in cold, roughing the yarns up a bit ((grin)). I love the finish this gives to my handspuns


What I didn't expect was the joy of working with my own fibers and watching these socks unfold. The fiber felt great in my hands as I spun it. The finished yarns bloomed and took on star power all their own. I love this Railroad Rib pattern and could hardly bring myself to put the knitting down until the socks were complete.

The ultimate joy, however, was in finally putting this finished creation on my cold winter feet!



Snow Falls

A look at my world this past week...

What I see when I look out the window next to the computer desk ~


What I see when I walk out the back door to head for the barn ~


That is pasture field and the woods beyond are the Burnham Woods (some of you remember the fall photos of the same woods) What these photos don't show you is the bitterly cold temperatures! Usually when we have this much snow, things warm up a bit. But we have had consistent temperatures in the single digits, often minus when you consider the wind chill.

Now THIS is a winter that I enjoy! I love a real winter like this ;}

Monday, January 21, 2008

Really Lonely Socks

Because I have been knitting lots of samples for things - our sock knit-a-long nights at the yarn shop, as well as samples for an upcoming class on spinning for sock yarn - I find myself with lots of lonely socks (meaning, only one half of a pair - LOL!) This is second sock syndrome taken to the next level. I give you proof below (and by the way, these pictures were taken a week or so ago when we were having unseasonably warm temperatures):

(This is the Railroad Rib Sock Pattern by Evelyn Clark from Fiber Trends, knit in L - Cascade 220, just a little to big for my foot; M - handspun Corriedale and R - started in Meilenweit Inca...that one is now finished by the way)

(The Cascade and the handspun on the feet)

(These are both from handspun. L - my own coffee cup sock pattern, only I call this the toe up, tea cup version, knit from a Hampshire-Mohair blend and R - my Shepherd Sock made from Corriedale)

(This is just a closer shot of the tea cup sock)

So now I am busy working on the second sock to each of these pairs ;) It is almost like getting to knit a new pattern/yarn all over again! I just have the toe to finish on my handspun Railroad Rib sock and just the leg to finish on the tea cup sock. Then I will have some pairs of socks to show for my work in January!

I was going to show a photo of my gathered supplies for my mitten, which I had planned to start today. But that may wait till middle of the week...I am on a sock knitting streak!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

No Hum-Drum Questionnaire!

LOL...I have joined a swap to jolt me out of the winter doldrums - No More Hum-Drum Mittens Swap 2!

I have been knitting almost as many mittens this winter as I have socks, so when I followed a link from Anne's blog about this swap, I decided to take the plunge. It will be something different for me and I know I will enjoy it. There are still a few days to sign up for this, so if you would like to do away with the boring, follow the link above and join in ;)

One of the things we have to do is answer a questionnaire, so I have answered mine below. But before I do, I thought I would share a picture of some mittens I was working on before Christmas (and just picked up again) I had made the simple cable pattern then decided these mittens needed a lining. That is handspun Corriedale lamb/Angora bunny. I usually would knit the lining first and then the outer mitten, but the lining was an after the fact decision. So I picked up stitches at the cuff and started knitting away! We'll see how well my fit is doing things this way!


Okay, now on the question and answer portion of this post!

How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?
Since I was 12, about 36 years now ;) I learned when my Granny decided she would like to learn (she also learned to play guitar that year!) and she took me along. We took lessons that were offered at the local school – I was the youngest and she was the oldest in the class! So I always joke that I learned to knit with my grandma, and it is a very special memory for me!
Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
What are your favorite colors? Any you dislike?
I don’t think I have a favorite, I like them all at various times and places!
Do you like Latvian type patterns? If so, what are your favorite patterns?
I do like admiring Latvian patterns, but I don’t have a favorite one and have never knit one.
Do you desire mittens for yourself, your "special someone else" or your child?
For me please ;)
What is the measurement from your wrist to the tip of your longest finger?
8 inches, but I prefer a bit longer mitten, so would say a length of at least 9 inches
What is the circumference of your hand at it's widest point?
Around my palm is 8 inches, around the widest part just below my thumb) is actually 9 inches
What other things do you enjoy knitting?
Socks and lace
What sort of needles do you enjoy working with? (straights vs circs, bamboo vs aluminum)
Circulars – I rarely use straights. I like bamboo, love my Addi turbos, too. But my very favorite needles are my Denise interchangeables. I have wanted to try the Knit Picks new bamboo ones.
What’s one project you’ve not yet tried but are dying to make?
A sweater. I mean, I know that I could knit one, I have the skills. But I get bored so easily that I don’t usually take on larger projects. I will one day though. I am actually contemplating making the Central Park Hoodie this year. I have the pattern and yarn.
What’s one yarn you’ve not yet tried but are dying to work with?
Nothing comes to me, though I am sure there is something out there…
What other hobbies do you have? Do you spin? Sew? Garden? Cook?
Yes, I spin. Raise my own sheep for the wool ;) I also am an avid gardener.
Besides yarn, do you collect anything?
Fiber! I’m not sure which “stash” is bigger, fiber or yarn!
What kind of goodies do you enjoy? Sweets? Salty? Anything you hate or are allergic to?
Yes….LOL, I mean I just love goodies. Although I am getting a little tired of dark chocolate – I was obsessed by it for awhile so probably ate to much. No allergies.
Do you have any kids? Pets?
I have three grown children and my husband and I recently became legal guardians of our foster son – a fourteen year old boy. So we are not empty nesters! Our pets are all of the outdoors variety…approximately thirty sheep; a half dozen chickens; one goose and two very special barn cats. No indoors pets though.
What is your favorite part of Winter?
I just plain love winter! I love that there are no bugs and I can use wool (my favorite fiber) to its best advantage.
What is your least favorite part of Winter?
Well, I don’t like driving on bad roads.

Quietness of Mind

Give us through the coming year quietness of mind ~
Teach us to be patient and kind.
And show us that in quietness we can feel Your presence near,
Filling us with joy and peace throughout the coming year.
~ Helen Steiner Rice


One of my favorite things about starting a new year is starting with a new calender. All of those pages waiting to be filled! As I take down my old calender, with its pages all marked up and littered with now past information and reminders, I am refreshed by all of those shiny, clean, hopeful new pages. So many possibilities!

My new desk calender is a Helen Steiner Rice calender and January's page starts with the quote above. So no resolutions for me this year, no determinations to accomplish things I know won't happen for me. Simply a prayer to never miss the opportunity for quietness to refresh me and prepare me those times in life that are not so quiet!

Happy New Year....