Friday, November 30, 2012

Giving myself a hand!

"A thing of beauty."  That statement/phrase means different things to everyone.  Right now. At this time.  This week.  This project...

A thing of beauty to me (according to the stipulated points above as I see them) is a finished object that is soft, warm, created by me from start to finish-beginning with the spinning of the yarn all the way through weaving in the last little tail-and FITS!

Sorry for the weird lighting...our office at the shop does not have very forgiving lighting.  Not to mention, I should probably re-think having my darling husband take the pictures for me with my phone!  AAACCCKKK, you should see the out-takes.  Hilarious.

For those that need the 411:  Yarn:  handspun gray suri alpaca
                                               Pattern:  Ephemera
                                               Needles:  um, 4 US, but supposed to be 6 US


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thumb's Up!

Nearly a year ago, I spun some lovely grey suri alpaca that I got from Hoosier Heartland Alpacas.  It is yummy stuff.  As soon as I started spinning it, my mind began the questioning process...what did it want to become.  After many hours on Ravelry, the perfect pattern was found.  Ephemera mittens was the one.  This pattern calls for a 100% alpaca yarn that is a single ply.  Typically, I do not like single ply yarn because it simply does not afford the durability that I require.  My grey suri is a two ply yarn with just a hint of over twist, but nothing extreme, and should be a sturdy yarn.

About the time I finished spinning all the grey suri, I had a complete brain malfunction and forgot the name of the pattern, couldn't find it in any of my usual stash spots, nor could I find it on Ravelry as I forgot to save it to my favorites.  So, the yarn sat around for several months waiting for me to have a revelation of pattern proportions.  THEN, I remembered, and decided that the mittens also needed a touch of black striping.  Back to get more black fiber to spin, finished it and set everything aside as my world exploded with the twins graduating high school, summer plans, double military enlistments, and life in general.

Now that the weather is turning cold enough for me to think about wanting mittens in the morning, it seemed the time to dig everything out, including the hide and seek playing pattern.  Wouldn't you know it?  NOW, I have no idea where that skein of black handspun suri is hiding.  I have looked in every basket, drawer, cabinet, box, and various other stash hiding spots.  I did not dream it.  I know I did it.  Wes remembers me doing it and holding the black and gray together for comparison.  It will turn up as soon as I finish the second mitten!

Sunday evening, I cast on for the mittens.  This is a super simple pattern.  The fabric being created is dense, yet soft, and will offer great cold protection.  Today at my knitting group I finished the bulk of the first mitten, just need to finish out the thumb.

Of course, you realize that it would not be a knitting project of mine without some silly pattern snafu.  I was patting myself on the back for how nicely the mitten was turning out.  I have very small hands and hate floppy mittens.  This pair is actually going to fit my hands absolutely perfectly.  So, while I was smugly praising myself and looking over the pattern, I found it.  I am knitting these on US 4's and the handspun is a light worsted weight, so of course the fabric is dense.  In my haste and excitement to get these started I read the needles required as US 4 instead of what is really written:  4 US 6 dpn.  <slapping forehead>  Whatever!  It's working and that's a thumb's up in my book!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not a happy hooker...

Many, many, many years ago, my Grandmother taught me how to crochet.  All was good since all I made were little bitty hats for my dolls. 

Fast forward to now and I have a big problem.  Try as I might, I can't seem to stop adding stitches.  A very dear friend recently spent some time attempting to teach me how to get this right.  Everything was fine until she went home. 

Fortunately, cats don't seem to care if things are a bit wonky.  They just want to lay on it, roll around, sniff it, and scratch their widdle piddy paws. 

The yarn (3 strands held together) used for these crocheted cat mats was some of my very first spinning attempts with my wheel...and with fiber selection.  I chose the fiber (32 oz) based on the "ooh the pretty colors" with little regard to how it would feel against skin.  Trust me, you DON'T want it next to your skin.  That factor, combined with my overzealous introduction of twist during both the spinning and plying resulted in mass quantities of a fingering/sport weight scratchy, almost wiry yarn.  What to do with all this stuff???  Again...cats don't care about the yarn either...

Friday, November 2, 2012

FO Funk

The last few months have seen several FO's that failed to make pictorial debut.  <fancy way of saying, I have finished a few things, but was too lazy/distracted to take pictures>  You will just have to trust me when I tell you that since the end of July, my needles have produced 5 hats, a pair of fingerless mitts, a Minion, and a ginourmous shrug/wrappy kind of thing and that my wheel has spun up somewhere between 45 to 60 ounces of various fibers...primarily alpaca, BFL, or merino/silk. 

Here is a clue to part of what has been a MAJOR distraction that my head and heart are working on coming to grips with:

My babies.  My 18 year old twins are BOTH embarking on military careers.  One will be leaving for Navy basic training in 9 days, and his brother is on stand-by to leave for Marines basic training (meaning that for the entire state, if someone is disqualified or changes their mind, he is bumped to the top of the list and can have as little as one hour's notice to report to MEPS otherwise his tentative ship date is in January). 

Add to that, my oldest turned 21 and moved into his own apartment! 

The long and the short of it is that, in essence, I have reached an FO time of life and while the future is bright and full of promise, it is bittersweet at the same time.  The two burning questions that plague all mothers are: 1)  WHERE did the time go? and 2)  WHEN did my babies turn into young men?

Happy Friday to all and Happy Fiber Fun if you so choose.



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