aswim in knits

Monday, March 31, 2008

one WIP, one FO

Remember the sweater with puppy dog buttons?
puppy buttons (by aswim in knits)
I finished it this weekend! It desperately needs blocking, though, so no FO pictures yet. Maybe later this week. Hey, the kid's not even born yet, so I'm ahead of the game on this one!!

Since I finished one project, I felt completely justified in casting on for another.
I present: CLAPETTE.
(Thanks for the name, Maryse. Way to put those French language skills to work!)

Clapette beginnings (by aswim in knits)

She's a mini-version of the infinitely popular Clapotis. Using purls for the stitches to be dropped, rather than knit stitches and stitch markers.

I made yarn (by aswim in knits)

She's knit with my very own handspun, spun with this pattern in mind.

Clapette close-up (by aswim in knits)

Have I mentioned that I love this yarn?

And, because inquiring minds want to know, here's how I wet-finished the yarn.

  1. Tie each of the two skeins in eight places, using figure-8 ties.
  2. Drape yarn in strategic locations all over the house for most of a week.
  3. Right before leaving for a trip to the in-laws, decide that wet-finishing must happen NOW.
  4. Fill a very large bowl with very cold water.
  5. Fill the bathroom sink with the hottest possible tap water and a squirt of Soak, and let the yarn sit for 20 minutes.
  6. Drain sink and squeeze out yarn.
  7. Dunk in cold water, agitate with hands.
  8. Return to sink, and fill with fresh hot tap water. Agitate with hands, squealing because the water is HOT! (Yeah, I know you can use a small sink plunger, but remember, I wanted to do this NOW and I didn't have a clean plunger.)
  9. Squeeze out hot water, dunk in cold for another minute or so.
  10. Repeat hot water/cold water cycle once more, and then one more hot cycle (that's 3 hots, not including the initial soak).
  11. Drain sink, squeeze out as much water as possible from the skeins.
  12. Roll in a beach towel and stomp aggressively to get rid of more water.
  13. Lay the towel on the kitchen floor. Whack each end of the skein against the towel a couple of times.
  14. Hang yarn to dry. I put coat hangers on the ends of the skeins, and draped a towel over the coat hangers for some extra weight. This probably wasn't necessary.

I'll try to get a good closeup of the finished yarn. The finishing did what you would expect -- the yarn fluffed out a little bit, and the plies became more integrated. The separate strands of yarn were fuzzed together like weak velcro as I was winding it off, but there was no felting.

I spun the yarn with a mostly worsted style, from a worsted prep roving. So, the wet-finishing probably didn't change the character of the yarn that much. In fact, I probably could have just soaked the skein and hung it to dry and called it a day. But, I had fun trying something new!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

slippers and WIPs

Last month, I showed you this pile of slippers, pre-felting.

hat trick (by aswim in knits)

They've been felted!

For my mother-in-law (modeled by me):
Mim's clogs.JPG (by aswim in knits)
(on Ravelry)

For Thom:
Thom's clogs (by aswim in knits)
(on Ravelry)

For the Mafia's Little Man (a little big, but he'll grow into them):
LM's clogs.JPG (by aswim in knits)
(on Ravelry)

The pink and red ones are Araucania Nature Wool. I'm not thrilled with this yarn for felting. The slippers came out fuzzy and linty and a bit hairy. They look a little scruffy.

The green ones are Cascade Ecological Wool, and I love this yarn as much as I love regular Cascade 220 for felting! It's a bit thicker, and the plies seem rounder and have more of a "beaded" look than the 220. It felts down to a dense, smooth, even, sturdy fabric.

I've had enough of this pattern for a while! But, finishing these puppies knocked my WIP list from 8 to 5. Here's what's left:

sock  (by aswim in knits)xcu (by aswim in knits)puppy buttons (by aswim in knits)Maf-ghan (by aswim in knits)Vinnland (by aswim in knits)

1) A pair of socks for me. Working top down. Done with the gussets of both, and almost at the toe of one of them.
2) Seekrit knitting. In time out. Over half done. Found a mistake about 2/3 of the way through the part I have finished. Need to rip back or perform complex knitting maneuvers to fix.
3) Baby sweater. Ran out of yarn!! First time this has happened, and one of the only times I've bought yarn on line. Now awaiting add'l yarn. Should arrive this week.
4) Mafghan. Not a portable project. Need to work on this at home. Need to finish before warm weather makes working on an afghan an unpleasant project!
5) Vinnland sock. Not feeling the love. Might rip out.

I have a serious case of finish-itis. A rare disease, far less common than its cousin, start-itis. I want to get these off the needles!!!

So, some goals:
1) Socks: No deadline. Simple and stockinette, they'll get done soon.
2) Seekrit project deadline: April 15.
3) Baby sweater: I'll probably finish this as soon as the yarn arrives.
4) Mafghan: Finish sewing squares together by April 10. Weave ends by end of April. Add borders in May. (Heh, I should be able to do this!)
5) Vinnland: Frog, I think.

No more new projects until I'm down to just the afghan!!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

I made yarn!

I've been spinning for almost a year now, but not as often as I would like. Because of this, I'm still thoroughly amused by the process. Start with fluff, add many (wo)man-hours, and end up with yarn. Amazing!

At Rhinebeck this fall, I bought 12 ounces of merino fiber in a nice range of greens/blues/purples. Over the past 3 months, I spun up some singles from the fiber. I really loved the colors, and I didn't want to muddy them up in plying, so I decided at the outset that I would chain-ply them. After some sampling, lots of spinning, and 2 nights of plying, I got 400+ yards of worsted-weight(?) wool -- 12 wpi.

merino wool, blue/green/purple (by aswim in knits)

Tonight, I shall wash/block/abuse it.

Somewhere along the way, I think I lost about 2 ounces of fiber and I'm not sure how. The final skeins weigh in at just over 10 ounces combined. I did lose a little bit to sampling, and another little bit of unspun fiber was saved for reference. I also lost little bits of fluff here and there, and a few yards of plied yarn was wasted due to a bad join. All together, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it adds up to almost 2 ounces.

I'm planning to make a Clapotis with this, but narrower than the pattern calls for. I think 400 yards should yield a good-sized Clapo-scarf, right?

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

springtime and rainbows

I am so glad its finally starting to feel like spring! I'm itching to start my rainbow of socks but I want to finish up a few other projects first.

In the meantime, I've had rainbows on the brain, and bad. While talking to a colleague yesterday, I did this.
rainbows.JPG (by aswim in knits)
Lined up like little rainbow soldiers.

And then, on my lunch hour, I accidentally bought these:
rainbows.JPG (by aswim in knits)
I went to Winmil Fabrics, intending to buy some fabric to use to line a bag. I found what I wanted (gray linen) but I also kept looking at this print, which was stocked in at least 9 colors. I'm not sure what I'll do with these, but I bought a yard of each. 100% cotton at $2.98/yard? Can't be matched! And Winmil is the kind of place that doesn't necessarily keep things in stock, so once they're gone, they might never be seen again.

Now that it's spring, and days are longer, I'm hoping that I can get more decent photos. I hate blogging without a picture. My camera is a decent little point-and-shoot, but not a terrible fancy one, and it's now 3 years old. I can get good photos in the daylight, but not at night. Yeah, I could build a lightbox, but I just don't want to. I'd rather knit and spin.

So, since I was home this afternoon, I took a bunch of photos of knitting and spinning. Now I have fodder for at least 2 more posts!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

swimming and reading, with a side of knitting

It's been a week since I posted anything. I've been busy.

Last Friday-Saturday-Sunday, I took my synchro swimmers to a zone meet in Pennsylvania. There are 4 zones in the US, and we compete in the East Zone.

Our "A" team took home a bronze, swimming to Mardi Gras music.
ANAstandinglift.jpg (by aswim in knits)
(They're treading water. Well, everyone except the swimmer being lifted ...)

Our "B" team took 10th.
ANAwaterwitharm.jpg (by aswim in knits)
(They swim to music from Prince of Egypt. Sadly, they are all too young to know how to Walk Like an Egyptian. They looked at me like I had 3 heads when I first mentioned it. Yes, they do have a few pieces of choreography borrowed from that video!)

These are their practice suits, not their competition suits. I'll have to see if I can get photos of those too ...

While they were competing, I was being tested as a judge. I passed my final exam for my zone certification - this was the last of 2 written exams, 4 practical exams, and 4 oral defenses. This summer, I start the process of becoming a National level judge, which is likely to be a three year process. Sigh.

Oh, and in the middle of the meet, the power went out. You imagine the sound of 97 teenage girls shrieking in unison. Yep, it sounds just like you might imagine. But worse.

When not coaching, I read this book:
(Pretty good, for homework. Now I need to write a review of it.)

And I've been working on the seekrit knitting. It's half done. Working out well, but not so good for the blogging.

Now, another weekend coming up, and back to the homework. See you on the flip side.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

because I obviously need one more thing to do ...

As if blogging, bloglines, flickr, and Ravelry didn't keep me busy enough, I keep getting Facebook invitations from knitters (and others). I suppose it's time to update my profile there, too ...


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

with a little help from my friends

A long time ago, I made a Booga Bag.

booga bag.JPG (by aswim in knits)

I know that I used this bag during the spring when I was at my last job. I left there in 2004, so this bag must be close to 4 years old. The left hand side of the green strap started wearing through recently (click to go to Flickr and see where), and I was afraid that I'd have to retire the bag, or at least buy more yarn and knit new straps.

Friends to the rescue!

The Mafia thought that needle felting might help fix the strap. Haddy had some needle felting needles that she was handing off to the Rhonda, and Rhonda kindly let me borrow them. I happened to have some spring green yarn that JulieFrick sent along as part of the Mafghan project. A few moments of vigorous stabbing later, I had a useable bag again. Yay for internet (and in-real-life) friends.

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