Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WIP Wednesday – Progress

If you ever wonder why the Hubs is so supportive of my fiber adventures, it’s because I help him do this.

shorty40_17 After

A slideshow with captions is HERE. Yes, ham radio towers are bigger than any loom I could ever dream of wanting. Plus, I spend hours standing around in mosquito infested marshy fields, manage hundreds of feet of rope, hoist many tower sections, actually read the instructions, help build antennas, solder circuit boards, and cheer him on in the contests. I'm happy to help him achieve some of the goals he's had for this hobby, literally since he was a little boy. And he has been delighted to cheer me on as I've careened down the slippery slope of fiber arts from knitting to spinning to weaving.

Meanwhile, I’m making good progress on the Fiddlehead Mittens for mitten swap. I’m coming in the home stretch on outer mitt #2. These mittens get a plain liner mitten picked up and knit after the outer mitts are done and blocked.

Swap Three Mittens-03 Progress

I’ve got a shocking pink wool/mohair yarn from local folks Kid Hollow Farm to use for the liners, That should provide a bit of bright cheer for dreary winter days!

Swap Three Mittens-04 PINK for the liner
Oh, you thought I was kidding about the SHOCKING part didn’t you?

Other than the mittens, knitting has sort of stalled around here. I need to finish up the hem of the comfy sweater and get some sleeves started. But, I keep looking at cowls I see on the blogs, and thinking about the handspun stash, and printing out cowl patterns, and thinking about handspun. Maybe I should cast on for a neckwarmer. With this.

spin 070426 good-2a
MMmmmohair and BFL

More on spinning and weaving soon!

Friday, October 17, 2008

SOAR 2008

Where to begin describing SOAR? I walked into the hotel and saw a bunch of spinners and knitters lounging in the lobby. That’s a start. To say I’ve never seen anything like it is an understatement. And, it got much better than that. When I spent a week at the Folk School, we had twelve spinners in our class, all very focused on what we were doing. But at mealtimes there were blacksmiths, and woodturners, and cabinetmakers, and quilters, and musicians, and well, you get the idea. Now picture 250 spinners sitting down to dinner, and carrying spinning wheels here and there, and drop spindling during meetings, and knitting at odd moments, and learning and teaching and cheering each other on.

SOAR2008 Spin In with band
All my photos are blurry, low light and too much caffeine I guess

Spinning goddesses mingling with mere mortals. Rockstar knitbloggers. Spinning and whirling Peruvians.

soar2008 Aquilina

Making new friends. Staying up too late spinning with the cool kids. Swill. Chance conversations containing gems of information.

SOAR 2008 Abby and Aquilina spindling
Peruvian Drop Spindling - Abby and Aquilina

Lightbulb moments. Total spinning amnesia. The Market.

soar2008 Loot

Wheels so fast they humble you (Click and watch the video of Abby on her new wheel, 60:1, it gives you something to aim for). Polwarth and Silk Top. Autumn in the mountains.

soar2008 Sunrise
Delaware Water Gap at Sunrise

These are a few of my favorite things.

I “got” long-draw, was able to spin on the very fast flyer,

soar2008 spinning class 1
Spinning for a Purpose

bottom whorl spindled,

soar2008 spindles
Made possible by the Mary K. Larson Drop Spindle Fund

learned that nupp rhymes with soup, figured out how to spin for a sweater with all that Romney fiber I have,

soar2008 Sweater Swatch
Three ply knits up nicer than two ply

made countless teeny sample skeins,

soar2008 Sample Skeins
If I knit them all together, they might make a great sampler scarf

soar2008 Samples
Goats, and Silk, and Bison, Oh My!

watched silk being reeled from cocoons, finished my chunky handspun scarf,

One Row Scarf Done

had fun spinning Wrap and Roll,

soar2008 wrap and roll detail
Easier than it looks

and gained a new appreciation for the many features of the little Pipy wheel.

Blue BFL Skein
170 yards, worsted-aran weight, chain-plyed BFL with angelina

I can’t wait to go back next year!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

“It Depends”

Greetings from SOAR!

We’ve finished the workshop half of the week. I wisely decided to take Thursday off instead of go on the ALL DAY field trip and will test drive some wheels at the Market, you know, just for future reference. I’ve learned a few things about spinning with my little Pipy that have slowed down my wish for a big wheel a lot. But, while I’ve got a chance to see them in person, and spin on a few, I might as well.

Our class was really useful. Spinning for a Purpose, with Abby Franquemont, who knows an amazing amount about fiber, and has led an interesting life. And whose answer to many of our spinning questions was the above post title. That or, “Have you tried it?” We don’t have a lot of product to show off, but all gained tips and techniques and new ways of thinking about our spinning and project planning.

Photos tomorrow, some itty bitty skeins, and an FO!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

WIP, uh Thursday

Haven’t done a WIP Wednesday in a while, but the day got away from me yesterday. I’m getting down to all the last minute things that have to be done before going to SOAR. Little things like payroll, bills, cat food, laundry.

There are promises of wi-fi at the hotel, but time and brain overload may not allow much in the way of blog posts until I get back. So, I’ll leave you with a few simple projects that are in active rotation, for inspiration:

Endless Top-Down Raglan Sweater
I love this yarn, Classic Elite Classic Silk. It’s got a soft cottony-silky hand and some texture. It’s just a little tiring on my hands, so progress is slow, but I’m gonna love this sweater when I ever get it done. This is the generic top-down raglan pattern and with a scoop neck. Starting over, I would cast on fewer stitches at the back and front as the body ended up a bit oversized by the time the armholes were long enough. But my goal was a casual like-a-sweatshirt sweater, so it’ll do. And, I did add some decreases at each side at the waist to bring the hem in a bit.

Comfy Sweater-03 seed stitch hem

In order to really check on the fit, I’ve already picked up and knit the neck’s seed stitch border, and will finish the hem and cuffs with the same seed stitch. I’m considering adding a small simple lace motif around the cuffs, but we’ll see when I get there.

Comfy Sweater-04 hem detail
Just a few more rows!

I realized taking this photo that it’s just the color of my favorite crape myrtles!

Crape Myrtle "Tonto"

Goal: This has been great mindless TV knitting, and I’ll probably turn to this for evening knitting at SOAR. So, the goal is to finish the hem, figure out my decreases for the sleeves, and get one started.

Swap Mittens
I balanced my desire to knit some really complex Latvian mittens with the reality of a deadline for the mitten swap. Then too, I kept looking at the pattern for the Fiddlehead Mittens from Hello Yarn and just really wanted to knit them. I’ve kept the scheme to two colors rather than six but may have a surprise planned for the lining. I don’t want to give away too many details, but I don’t think showing a photo will spoil the surprise for my pal.

Swap Three Mittens-01 First Cuff
Yes, they are that bright!

I did add a longer cuff, using one of the motifs from the mitt.

Goal: Knit a bit on Mitten #1 at SOAR.

Green Twill Scarf
I’m using some Ultra Alpaca Light and M&W point twill threading and treadling on 4 shafts for a nice soft scarf. The draft is from Dixon’s Handweaver's Pattern Directory, page 88-89. I’m getting some xmas gifts started early for a change this year!

Green Twill Scarf-01
Have I told you lately how much I love Ultra Alpaca?

Goal: Weave a few more repeats before I leave on Sunday. Weaving is NOT portable.

Blue BLF with a Twinkle
Last but not least, this is spun from some lovely carded batts from Keri (her Etsy shop is empty at the moment but she has wonderful little project bags too). There’s just a touch of Angelina carded in for the subtlest sparkle in the spun singles. I’m spinning a bit thicker grist than usual (for me) and will chain-ply for an aran weight yarn to knit a Tudora neck warmer. The BFL is really soft, and I’m letting little inconsistencies into the singles so I’ll end up with a slightly tweedy (in texture not in color) finished yarn.

Blue BFL on the bobbin
Please ignore my uneven singles and just click for big to see the little sparklies

Goal: I’m going to see if I can spin the second 2oz before I leave, or alternatively take this as sit-n-spin fiber at SOAR.

So, I’ll see you after spinning camp and a quick visit to my Sister at the Delaware Water Gap!