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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Knitting and Spinning. . .a bit crazy!


Last time I wrote was almost TWO months ago! TWO! At that point, my oldest wasn't even out of school for the summer and I was only planning a few knitting projects. Well, here we are several weeks later. . .or a few more than several. I've accomplished quite a few things, actually, even in the midst of a few days spent at the lake and a whirlwind trip to Seattle with my little family.

So, first things first. I finished my Camp Loopy Project #1. If you can remember that long ago, it was the Folded Sweater by Veera Välimäki.
 To say that I LOVE this sweater would be an understatement. The fit is lovely. The yarn is lightweight and wears well. Here it is climbing into the 80's today and I am wearing it with shorts. It is a great sweater for warm weather. I made several modifications to the original pattern, but I would not hesitate to make this again. It only needed to use 400 yards in order to qualify for Camp Loopy, but I used 775 yards! So I'm a bit of an over acheiver, I guess. Remind me next year, though, not to do more than required. When you see my next project, you'll understand why.

The next project might not be exactly "G-rated" but the story is funny enough to recount here. You see, knitters are funny sometimes. Many times, the humor is something only we would get, but this story. . .THIS is funny. If you haven't ever seen my swift and yarn ball winding contraption, you might not understand that sometimes yarn comes in large loops, and not wound into a useable state. This protects the yarn in allowing it to be in a relaxed state while being stored. But it also means that when you are ready to knit with it, you must wind it into a ball, or, in most cases, a "cake"of yarn. As you knit from it, you pull the yarn out of the middle and it collapses on itself. This can cause tangles and what others call "yarn barf" or as Shannon from my knitting group so proclaimed "A yarn baby". . .So to combat this, I knit this pattern.




It puts pressure on the ball as you knit from it so that the yarn stays a little less messy. So I was knitting in public. I know, scandalous, right? And a woman, seeing my knitting with the beautiful yarn asked me what kind of yarn it was. I said that it was a wool/nylon sock yarn dyed by Three Irish Girls. I continued to knit as she pondered the object for awhile before asking me what it was. Without much thought (come on. . .I hang out with knitters most of the time whom, when I told them, would get it immediately) I told her - "Oh, it's a ball sack." Really. That's what it is called. Without looking up, and again, not thinking about it, I just kept on knitting. She was silent for a second before asking, "Wouldn't wool make that a little itchy?" Before I could process that question, she asked, "Are you going to make him a matching sock?" Oh boy. I REALLY need to think before I talk knitting to a non-knitting audience, I think. HA!

 I started and finished this next project in about 8 days. It's pretty huge, but the drape of this is GORGEOUS. It's one of the patterns recently released by The Sexy Knitter. It's the Westport Shawl knit in the Three Irish Girls colorway Father Time on a luxurious blend of Merino/Cashmere/Nylon.



Now, most of the time, it is not a great idea to knit lace with a highly variegated yarn, like this one. And it was probably true in this case, too, but I loved the way that upper portion striped with this yarn, so I would probably do it again. I got a chance to see one of my dearest friends from high school who was visiting from Massachusetts and I gave her this shawl to take home with her. 

 This is a finished picture of the Through The Loops Mystery KAL. It still does not have an official name, but it is a really pretty pattern and I do love how it turned out.I ended up having to borrow some yarn from Sarah to finish the edging, which originally I was bummed about, but I do love the contrast for the edging and would probably do it again, given the choice.


Since we're talking about Mystery Knit A Longs (KAL), I should probably mention that I joined another one. This one by Stephen West. I am using my You Are My Sunshine to knit it. It's gorgeous so far. I can't post pictures of my progress yet, as it is still the middle of the KAL, but it's fun. I love it so far. . .but I'm pretty behind on progress. 

I used the handspun yarn that I spun for the Knitabulls/FroggyMonkey joint Spin Along to knit this for the joint KAL this month. I have a TON leftover to make matching hat and even mitts, but this is my official entry and it will probably be the only one.

It's the Twist and Flounce that I also knit earlier this year for Jodi. I love how it worked up in the handspun. While normally these are not colors I would choose, the fact that I will have a whole set and the fact that it is my handspun make it beautiful.

Another small (REALLY small) project that I finished was this. I think I need to make one for all of my keys, don't you? It was fast and easy and definitely makes it easier to grab the correct key. . .Super fun!






So you are probably wondering why I did all of these small projects in recent days . . .or at least since finishing my last camp project. That would be because I was working on this. Yes. This. All 1,114 yards of it. It's my second Camp Loopy Project.


The blanket version of the Anadara shawl that I knit in January. It is LOVELY. And almost 4 feet across. It used blue, which, while a variation of the blue in our flag, worked for the 800 yard and contains a color from the flag requirement for the second project. Yeah. It only needed to be 800 yards and I ended up using 1,114. Remember that reminder next year to not be an over-achiever? Yeah. This. PLEASE remind me. It is complete and now I'm biding my time until the third project, which must be at least 500 yards and contain two colors. I will be knitting the Different Lines Shawl by Veera Välimäki and I will be using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Baltic and Ginger (pictured below). I love it!! And it is a much more manageable project. No overachieving here. Just completing. Hopefully.

In the middle of the summer every year is the Tour de Fleece. Yes. It coincides with the Tour de France and like the Tour de France, contains a wheel. You set goals and peddle away and spin. This was my completed TdF fiber . . . The first is from All Spun Up. It is the Mystery Fish colorways- Goldfish Wearing a Tutu and Koi Pond - plied together. It is Polwarth fiber. . .and SO soft and squishy. You can see details here.



The last little bit is still not off the bobbin. I have 8 oz. of this lovely merino blend that also contains nylon sparkle. It's from WoolGatherings. I want to spin it really thin and it is taking forever! But it is beautiful and I can't wait to continue spinning it.



 And finally, the last big news of the summer is that I will be teaching a class at Paradise Fibers. I am going to teach toe-up socks from the Scylla Sock pattern that I used to knit these for my Mother in Law for Christmas.
 It will be a four Saturday class in September. If any of you that live far away want to come take it, you should :) And I'm hoping that at least a couple of local friends will sign up for it, as well. The cool part is that I get to spend four weekends combining my love for knitting AND my experience as a teacher to pass on some of my skills to other knitters. I get to teach how to cast on for toe up socks using Judy's Magic Cast on, how to knit slipped stitches and half linen stitch to break up pooling in variegated yarns, how to size for socks for toe-up as well as measuring yarn so you can use every last inch, gusset and short rows for shaping, slipped stitch heel for sturdiness in the heel, and Jeni's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. . .all things that can and will be used again in other toe-up patterns. And I will also be presenting two methods of small circumference circular knitting- Magic Loop and/or two circular knitting. I'm really excited about the opportunity and hope it leads to other classes in the future. IF you have any classes that you would like to see, let me know, and I'll throw a pitch at the lovely people at Paradise and see if they would consider adding it to the schedule. So in preparation for the class I am knitting a sock out of Collinette Jitterbug. I am through the heel turn now, but plan to plug away at it over the next couple of days to use it as a class sample.






Thanks for sitting through a REALLY long blog on what I've done lately in my knitting life. I hope that I will find the time to blog a little more often. . .but I am enjoying my summer of knitting and spinning projects. I've been able to have several meet-ups with friends at the park too, where the boys can run and I can knit. I hope you have found time this summer to do what you enjoy too!