Thursday, November 26, 2009

Handspun Hat for Mr. SABLE

And just in time, too, as it's downright wintery feeling out there today. There's a brisk wind and an occasional snowflake or two blowing past.

So this just a simple watchcap, 108 sts, k1 p1 ribbing, on US #3 needles. The yarn is three ply wool and alpaca blend that I spun with a hat in mind, about 150 yards/50 grams. It used maybe 60 grams.

As usual when we are all home together, tempers are thin. I promise that when my kids grow up and find Significant Others and announce that they will be spending holidays with the families of those SOs, I will very gratefully say, "Go! Have a great time!" and then I will eat pizza for Thanksgiving dinner and spend the day knitting and spinning. And I will enjoy the silence.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Watchcap in Progress

This is Mr. SABLE's handspun wool/alpaca watchcap, about 6" along. I'm using #3 needles, 108 sts, just k1, p1 ribbing. He likes a nice generous fold-up brim.

This is probably a first for me in my spinning: spinning a specific yarn for a specific immediate goal, then actually starting the knitting right away. It's a very cushy yarn, mostly. If he doesn't like it, I know I will.

I also recently finished a sweater for him, but I have to keep that one under wraps for a while. But I'm really pleased with the fit and final result.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Thursday

Yesterday I decided to make some inroads on the spinning fiber backlog. In the spring I bought a Louet Julia spinning wheel (second wheel for me) and I was never as happy with it as I hoped I would be. Finally, I sent it in to Louet America and they did find a few things to fix. It does run more smoothly than it did, but honestly, I'm not sure I'm ever going to love this wheel. The bobbin vibrates a lot while I spin. The shaft is only supported at one end and there's a lot of play in the bearing that mounts it to the upright. I told this to the Louet people, but I don't think any of the stuff they fixed had to do with this area. Anyway, the technician there proclaimed it "spinning fine now" and sent it back. So, it came back earlier this week and I decided to give it a trial run.

I had some alpaca roving that was frustrating me and decided to give myself permission to not carry on with it as it was. It was kind of sticky, and clumpy, and there were sections of short cuts. I just couldn't get in a rhythm with that fiber. I decided to blend it with some wool from Brown Sheep mill ends I bought a few years ago. My mill ends are a thick rope of natural white roving with a thinner rope of black running along with it. I stripped off some of the white, to balance the ratios more toward The Dark Side and blended it with the charcoal grey alpaca. The resulting batts were a joy to spin.

This is a 50 gram-ish sample skein of my yarn. I'm guessing sport weight. I still need to wash it and let it hang. And do all the quantifying. But I like it. I think it'll be a nice soft watch cap for Mr. SABLE.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Field Trip!

Today was a glorious fall day and Jaala and I took a little field trip. I'm doing an article for the next Knitcircus about Rainbow Fleece Farm, outside of New Glarus WI, for our series on small scale yarn and fiber sources.

We then went up to Mt. Horeb where we ate a delicious lunch at The Sommer House Cafe, after which we mosied down the street to Dane County's newest yarn and fiber shop, The Cat and Crow (no website).

Co-owner Mo Brown

The Cat and Crow specializes in locally grown and/or fair trade products. Right now, most of the yarn comes from co-owner Mo Brown's own sheep. Mo dyes yarn and roving, and will be getting a nice dye studio space in the back room of the shop soon. The Cat and Crow also carries some yarn and supplies that are neither locally produced nor fair trade. When they sell these items, they give a percentage of each sale to a local cause. If you are looking for a special yarn that you might only find in Wisconsin, check it out!

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I finally took a few pics of the yarn I bought at YarnCon. Better late than never, eh?

This is the Turtle Cove Farm sock yarn, colorway: Standing on the Shore. It makes my feet serene just looking at it!

This is Sophie's Toes worsted weight; colorway: He Saw Her Across a Smoky Bar. I bought three generous skeins of this, so can make something bigger than a hat and smaller than a sweater... Hmm.

Here are some Halloween pics:

Owen had a very ambitious project in mind. This is as far as we got by the Halloween deadline. He's a character from a video game, Assassin's Creed 1, named Altair. Altair normally carries a lot of weapons and such, wandering around 12th century Jerusalem. I figure a 6', deep-voiced kid showing up at houses asking for treats shouldn't look too threatening. The younger brother wore the same bat suit as last year. I didn't get a picture of him because he was already out the door when I got back from taking Owen to his friend's house.

On the whole, I think trick or treating is dying out.

This is the little guy's Jack O Lantern kitty face. He grew the pumpkin in the back yard. It turned out to be a little ooky inside, but that's ok. The inside doesn't show.

These two pumpkins were Owen's. He had planned to make what he called a Steam Punk-in, but the steam engine didn't make enough power to keep the LED lit. Alas. Scott bought the skull at Walgreens and put an LED hooked to a battery in one eye socket. The little guy put a rubber eye in the other socket. I decided to photoshop it all up a bit.

Happy November 1. Don't forget to reset your clocks!