Sunday, February 24

Luna Moth, Plummy Plum

I've finished the knitting partr of the Luna Moth shawl... here it is in all its unblocked glory... I think it's going to be really pretty once I've had a chance to pin it out and block it.

It was a fun knit - took me forever to get the lace pattern down properly in my brain. No way I could work on it without the pattern with me.

I'm sure there are plenty of mistakes in there - but I we'll see how noticable they are once it's been blocked.

The other knitting that has taken up my time lately is the second version of my Plummy sweater. I'm still bummed about the washing accident that it went through. Got a huge whack o' knitting done on it to start with, but then was just so weirded out by knitting the same thing twice (not something I'm used to) the perpetual deja vu' was totally wigging out my little brain, so took a quick break by knitting the shawl.

As I was knitting it became obvious that there wouldn't be enough yarn to finish, and the fact that the sleeves didn't quite match (colourwise) on the first one really bothered me - it shouldn't so much - but it's just a "thing" you know - symmetry and all... Unmatching sleeves really bugged me. So this time it got to the knitting point, where I knew that the sleeves would have to be added soon, so I went ahead and spun up more of the yarn for the sleeves. This is a 260 yard skein that is totally reserved for the sleeves.
The weather has been storming all weekend.
I missed getting outside and going for a walk or anything. But it was a good weekend. Just cleaned up the house, finished the first sleeve of Plummy, and am almost finished spinning the Drake Mallard on my spindle...

Sunday, February 10

Life's a beach sometimes

We went on a lovely hike today - drove out to the Tennessee Valley trails in Mill Valley, and hiked in to the ocean. It's a really beautiful hike, and it was a beautiful day. The BBE has lived here in Marin for about 20 years, and never gone to this beach - even though it's probably the closest one to his house.

We covered probably about 4 miles today - good exercise. None of the trails were too steep, but there were some nice rolling hills.

Once you get to the actual beach it's just a small little cove, with some really cool rock formations. Nothing real fancy - a little stream flowing out to the sea.

Definitely t-shirt weather though...

I took my Spinner's Choice spindle with me, and spun during the walk. This is just some mystery wool that I picked up at the Spindles & Flyers swap meeting. No idea what the wool is - probably a cormo or something like that. I love the colors of the dye job, and have taken to calling it Mallard Drake - don't ask me why. Though it does tickle me.

My Luna Moth shawl is continuing apace - I'm getting really close to the end now I think. I think that I will have enough yarn to see me through to the end of the prescribed ending row, and if that is the case will finish it there. If I'm wrong, then I'll spin up the rest of the merino (I spied a bit left over from the same dye job the other day, and try to get another full repeat out of it. I think it's getting big enough - but bigger than that is always good in my eyes (Hey, I like my shawls big - what can I say?).

I've finished spinning the yarn for the sleeves on my Plummy Take II that has been taking a break. It was way too weird doing the exact same project twice in a row, that I had to start the shawl. Plus I've gotten to the point where sleeve adding is definitely becoming necessary, and was too nervous about not having enough yarn for the sleeves - so I spun that up - it's drying right now - no pics though - it's dark here!

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 29

Handspun Luna Moth

So I shared some new laceweight that was totally unplanned. Just trying to clear off some bobbins.

It's funny - sometimes I spin with a specific project in mind, sometimes I spin just because I want to try a new fiber, with no real idea of what I will end up doing with it. Sometimes I spin, and just end up with way more on one bobbin than another - too much to andean ply the remainder to itself... I do a lot of yarn that is one or two plies of one fiber, and another ply of something really scrummy like Optim or silk, which ends up getting spun very fine, and I end up misjudging how much I need, and have way more of scrummy fiber than I needed...

I have 9 bobbins for my Joy, and ended up with maybe 2 that I could use. 7 bobbins with bits and bobs of fiber on it... Not to mention that I have scads (20+) of spindled singles that I spin just for spinning sakes, even with no idea of what I will end up plying it up with.

I had probably a half a bobbin of finely spun merino that I'd dyed in a pink/lavender colorway. I had a roll of silk that I knew would work really nicely, ran out of that pretty quickly, then found another spindle of silk, ran out of that too - so I grabbed some optim that I'd spun on another bobbin, some more spindle spun optim, and then just some wool that I'd spindle spun. Whew! Leftover yarn!

It came out really pretty though! I haven't had a shawl to work on in a while, so I've been browsing the shawl patterns on Ravelry (I'm abiknits there too), tried to start a Veil of Isis which just didn't want to cooperate, and finally settled on the Luna Moth shawl from Elann.

I'm really pleased with it! Here's a close up of the stitch pattern in all it's unblocked glory... I have about 750 yards of this stuff. I plan on knitting till I run out yarn. We'll see how big that will become.

Anyway - that's it for this time.

I haven't been walking around so much just lately taking pretty pictures.

The weather here has been awful just lately, but we did go on a walk weekend before last down near the bay - nothing too exciting, but a nice little walk nonetheless. Here's a quick shot that I took that day

Till next time - have fun!

Saturday, January 19

Mongold spindle for sale on E-bay...

So, I've been threatening to post this spindle up on e-bay for years now... and I finally went and did it! It's the first time I've ever actually posted anything on e-bay. I've been buying on it for years, but this is the first time I've sold anything. It's kind of fun!

The listing is here if you're interested.

It's my Mongold spindle. I bought it when I still lived in England, and was just starting to spin. It had great reviews, and everybody loved it. This was right about the time that he stopped making them. I needed it for my plying spindle, as I didn't have a wheel yet. Now, I really don't use it, and it's just sitting there in my collection gathering dust most of the time. It really is a very nice spindle, I tend to prefer my spindles in the 1-1.5 oz range, and this one is almost 3 ozs. It's great for plying, but I do all my plying on the wheels, and it's also been wonderful for teaching both of my sisters to spin on. I gave them something else to take home with them to practice on.

It truly is indestructible. So amazingly sturdy. The hook has never ever bent, or wobbled on me - it spins and spins, the workmanship is just amazing! And of course it has the laser etching on the top, which is totally unique to each spindle.

The reason? Well, the my car needs to be smogged and registered, so I just need the money. The auction is up on Monday - I hope it finds a really good home!

In other news... I'm on a mission to stay organised this year. I don't really make "resolutions" per se. But I have started keeping a notebook where I list everything that I've been doing, how much of it I've done, and it helps to keep me motivated, and on track.

So far this month I've done a lot of work on my Plummy Plum (version2).

It feels so strange to be working on the same sweater (basically) that I just finished! I do wonder about my sanity at times.
And the part that is worrying me? I measured my gauge the other day, and unless I was doing something terribly wrong it looks like the gauge has gone from 4.25 sts/in to 5 sts/in.... This would be absolutely fine, because I thought the first version could be a squidge smaller - So, I went ahead and cast on 10 stitches fewer on this version to make up for the fact that I wanted it to be a bit smaller.... Now it looks like it's going to be a lot smaller. Luckily ribbing is very stretchy, and I really don't feel like knitting this thing three times. Two is bad enough as it is. So I will soldier on, and if it really is too small for me - I reckon it will fit my sister!

I'm at the point where I need to start thinking about adding sleeves, but I'm really starting to think that I won't have enough yarn, so I've been spinning more... I am almost finished spinning the Romney/silk, and just have to find the rest of the Optim that I dyed.
Finding anything in my house right now is an adventure in itself, I just have so much stuff in my little place, and so few places to put that stuff... Three of us living in less than 600 square feet - all of us with stuff. I can only put up so many shelves.

But at least this way I figure that the sleeves will match a bit better yarnwise than they did with the first version.
I've also plied up almost 1,000 yards of new yarn!

The first skein is 750 yards, and about 120 grams of laceweight. Here it is in it's pre-soaked, craptastic camera flash shot.

I've been on a mission to clear off some of my bobbins. I have 9 for my Joy, and three for my Skipper, and somehow I was working with 2 empty Joy bobbins, and one empty Skipper bobbin. Plus there are all the UPS rolls with little bits of spindle spun singles waiting to be matched up with the perfect fiber... With that I was able to clear off 3 bobbins and two or three label rolls. I can't wait to start a shawl with this yarn! One ply is a merino that I dyed in pink and purples, the other ply goes from a couple of colorways of silk, to Optim, and then to a BFL that I dyed with natural dyes a long time ago. It's going to make a lovely shawl, and hopefully is soaking while I type this.

The other yarn is more Optim that I dyed back in May.... Wow, that long ago?!? Really? Where does the time go... Anyway, I had a bobbin with one of the rovings on it, and just had to spin up another bobbin, and ply it.... Another craptastic nonaturallight shot of this stuff. I ended up with 230 yards and about 3 ounces of this. It's the third skein of this yarn that I've done, just have to finish off one more round. I was able to clear off another bobbin doing this.
So, I've been busy, I've been productive. It might all go horribly wrong, but it's going.

Monday, January 14

Disasters abound!

Storms - lots of storms in this neck of the woods.

Luckily we are all warm, safe and dry. Tree sized branches did come down in my yard during the night - but luckily that was the worst that I've had to deal with.

I ended up going in to work last Saturday to answer phones, I do work for a landscaping company, and our tree care department gets an awful lot of calls right after a storm like we just had.

The bigger disaster in my mind was that my Plummy Plum from the last post... Well - it ended up in the laundry. It wasn't exactly my fault - I got to the laundry area and found that the neighbor had put my wet clothes into the dryer already, so I put the money in and went home. When I went to go fold the laundry, this was what I found.

It fits Gwen though! And she likes it!

I'm a bit bummed... But I think I have enough yarn to make another one, and knitting has commenced. I'm just about done with the bottom ribbing, and will be making a few minor adjustments from the original, but I think that will just give me an opportunity to make a few tweaks - less increases on the sleeves, slightly smaller in the body, and carry the V-neck all the way up into the raglan decreases. It will be lovely. Fingers crossed that I can make it with the yarn that I have left.

One nice thing about handspun, is that I can make more if needs be - though I don't have any more of one of the fibers. But I do have more of the rambo/silk blend and the optim. I'll just use two plies of the r/s and one ply of the optim, and it will be a bit more blue up towards the top, but should work out ok.

And here's my little bit of knitting completed last year. I did a lot of spinning, and a lot of dyeing - not so many knitting projects completed, but I'm pleased with everything on this little mosaic, and that's all that really counts, right? Plus 3/4ths of them were made out of handspun - that's something to pat myself on the back for. Pat. Pat.