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Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

Knit and Spin

Things have been busy here and there are still many balls up in the air, so to speak. I caught some upper respiratory bug in September and it has made a home in the left lung which has been compromised by my mastectomy treatments. I’ve tried everything in the homeopathic line to get rid of it but nothing has worked. So today I start the antibiotics prescribed by my doctor. The doctors weren’t kidding when they said that removing lymph nodes would compromise my immune system forever and that the radiation treatments would continue to take its toll on my left lung in the long term.

On top of it all, my camera’s battery has died a seemingly permanent death and I need to find a replacement. So the following pictures were taken with my phone.

hand knitted sock

This is one of the socks I knit The Skipper just last year. I honestly believe if I were to knit socks for a bear the socks would be in better shape at the end of one year than The Skipper’s. The man is just tough on socks. He said he “really liked these socks especially the color.” I remember the yarn was Lorna’s Laces but I can’t quiet recall the colorway. Neptune? Peacock? Something like that bought many years ago. I will have to do a search on the internet.

While I am knitting (a hat for myself since I razored all my hair) I am also very deep into spinning.

hand spun merino wool yarn

The bottom skein is the very first thing I ever spun. The top skein is the latest. 112 yards (102 m) of true fingering weight yarn. Spun and plied all on my spindle. While the spinning is looking better and the drafting is going better, I have yet to put it to the ultimate test and knit it. I am going to do that with this latest skein. I am curious to know how much is biased and how much is balanced. There are areas where it was over spun and over plied, but I am hoping they evened out some during the setting of the twist.

Yarn Rascal is thrilled with the spinning. Whenever I take up the spindle he sits close besides me and watches intently. I always spin a little ball of yarn for him and he gets so delighted when I give it to him. He has quite the little stash of hand spun.

I am off to scour the internet for The Skipper’s sock color.

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Add To Your Stash

I’m upset today and just had to share.

I just read the newsletter from Miss Babs Yarns. It seems the price of yarn is about to take a steep increase no matter where you buy. Extreme drought in Australia and South Africa has led merino sheep farmers to severely cull their herds. Hence, the merino supply is drastically limited while demand is still high.

Further, for US knitters, higher tariffs on things such as silk, cashmere, and dyes will also increase the cost for a skein of yarn dramatically.

I guess the only advice I can give is stock up now, replenish the stash while prices are still reasonable.

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My anxiety level is at the high end of the spectrum. The cats’ health, my parents’ health, my cancer check up tomorrow all keep the needle pinned at the critical end of the anxiety gauge.

So I had my hairdresser shave my head. I didn’t shave it bald, but very close. The kind of close you see some models wearing. It was liberating. I can’t tell you how relieved I am not to have to fuss with it every morning. But now I need winter hats. So I’ve found a pattern and bought the yarn. I also found a cowl and bought both the pattern and the yarn. These two are in addition to the summer sweater pattern and yarn I bought to confuse the knitting gods that be into bringing on autumn. (I tell you if I could be hooked up to some electrodes my anxiety would power New York City for a week.)

I don’t need any of these extra knitting projects. I have enough WIPs laying around to occupy me. There’s the infernal sock, the I-don’t-need-another-shawl, a scarf made of yarn I hate, and the why couldn’t I just have followed the pattern scarf that I am now trying to figure out the number of short-rows needed to finish it.

On top of all this The Skipper just informed me his sister is coming tomorrow and is staying 3 or 4 days. She lives in Maryland. The house is a disaster area. It’s going to remain a disaster unless a tornado whips itself up and carries away all the things that are laying around where they are not supposed to be and just leaves behind bare walls.

Oh by the way I did this at two am this morning:

hand spun merino

35 yards. I still need a lot of practice but it is at least something.

 

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The Carbeth sweater is done and I couldn’t be happier with it.

carbeth sweater knit

I made it with 4 inches (10 cm) of ease and it fits perfectly with the shirts I will wear underneath it.

I love my winter clothes to be oversized and cuddly. This sweater fits the bill. I used 16 skeins of Buachaille in the Haar colorway. I love the yarn and so does Yarn Rascal. Yarn Rascal hates being wet but he had no problem rolling around in my wet sweater while it was blocking. Hence I had to move the blocking to a table in the garage where Yarn Rascal is not allowed.

Naturally the day I chose to block became oppressively humid which lasted for another 4 days interspersed with rain. Despite all that the blocking went well. I also discovered that Chippy, the zen yoga chipmunk, seems to be getting himself all snuggled in in the garage for the winter. I haven’t told The Skipper and I won’t. Chippy has hidden nuts in my gardening gloves and in the pocket of my outdoor work shirt. I’m leaving them there so I bought a new pair of gloves and another shirt. It was time for new ones anyway.

Back to the sweater. The only thing I altered was the body length. This is going to be my go to sweater all winter long. I love it.

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Even though it has been hot and humid beyond all reason I have still been playing with my yarn.

First up the Carbeth is almost finished.

knitting carbeth sweater

I know, what is that big hole if it is almost finished? That is the underarm section that needs grafting together. I must admit I stopped and put this aside for a few days while I pondered whether to do Kitchener Stitch or a three-needle bind off. What I finally realized is that the holes were not going to close on their own and I had to make a choice. Since the sweater is knit holding the yarn double so the closing needs tobe done holding the yarn double. I felt Kitchener wouldn’t work for me so I went with the three-needle bind off. It looks good.

The trouble is that either side of the bind off are holes that need to be sewn together. I thought a simple mattress stitch would work well and it would if the stitches on either side were not so large and out of shape. I ended up mattress stitching what I could and then sewing the remaining holes shut so it looked like a neat underarm. I have four more yarn segments to weave in and the sweater is ready for blocking.

I have also been playing with my spinning. My latest is definitely in the category of yarn and is almost dead on in terms of the size I want.

spinning yarn tibetan spindle

I wound this into a little ball and am going to make a second spindle full then ply them together. I don’t know what I will knit out of it, but I am going to knit it up even if it is just a square. If it comes out nice I might frame it as my first actual spun yarn and date it.

On my list of things to buy is a knitty noddy so I can get some sort of count on the yardage. I also need a wpi (wrap per inch) tool to get a handle on the weight of the yarn. I am going for fingering but I might be in the DK territory.

I can’t explain my passion for spinning. Just that every time I spin with the spindle my soul sings. It has been a very, very long time since I have experienced such a feeling and I am so glad that I finally got the nerve to give it a try. Of course I am still very much learning, reading and watching YouTube videos, yet the pleasure and peace I get from it is well worth all the research and attempts.

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I don’t mean to grouse but I am going to do just a little of that. I’m knitting the neck of the Carbeth sweater when all of a sudden a hole appears to the right of the final two decreases. A whopper of a hole. I try everything to get the decrease to play nice with the stitch before it. I even drop the stitch before it down and crochet it back up to tighten it a bit. No go. To make it even worse, I was following the instructions to remove the markers as the final decreases are made. Now I am faced with ripping back two rows to below where the yarn is making a hole while I try to get the now unmarked decreases in the right places. Why is it that even the simple things don’t go right?

Since this project is coming to an end I am in need of a new one. To that end, I put aside the Carbeth and decided to have a peek in the bins and boxes that hold WIPS. Naturally, the Security Guard of All Yarn knit up or not was right by my side. Yarn Rascal loves going through the bins and boxes because we never know what we’ll find.

This time I came up with a sock and a sweater that I started five years ago at the time of my breast cancer.  I started the sweater just after my mastectomy. Not a good time to start that kind of project because my brain was not fully working what with learning to accept the mastectomy, the cancer medications and the radiation treatment I had what they call brain fog. Because of the mastectomy I thought that everything I wore from then on had to be extremely oversized. Don’t get me wrong, I love loose fitting clothing. But there is loose fit and then there is wow that’s kind of big. Well the sweater fell into the latter category. The body is knit and unfortunately it is so large that I can’t see ever wearing it. The yarn is good yarn and I’d hate to waste it even though it is black. I never knit with black yarn so you can tell what kind of mindset I was in when I got this project going.

Along with Yarn Rascal, I decided if we locate the pattern I was using (another example of how my mind was not working. I usually keep all patterns attached to their wips) I will attempt to undo the whole sweater and start again. Unfortunately it is not a pattern I bought through Ravelry so it is not in my library there. I am looking in all the places the pattern might be without any luck so far. Again, I need to remind myself my brain wasn’t really functioning at the time.

As for the sock we uncovered it was just that: a sock that was three-quarters done. I recognized the pattern as one I have in a book on knitted socks, but as for the yarn…well we can’t find it. I have no idea why I snipped the unfinished sock off the ball of yarn or where I would have put the ball of yarn after doing so. Usually an unfinished sock goes in a see-through project bag with the pattern and with needles and yarn attached. Believe me, Yarn Rascal did a thorough search of all yarn balls and couldn’t find it. So I ordered the yarn and will start the sock all over again.

Of course first I have to finish Carbeth. If the knitting gods don’t throw me another curve it is possible that I could block the sweater this weekend. I can only hope.

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Yarn Stash

Over dinner about two years ago The Skipper was gently discussing the extent of my yarn stash. He ended the topic with the comment, “Soon you’ll have yarn hanging from the ceiling.” I laughed at the idea and said, “When I have yarn hanging from the ceiling then I’ll know I have a problem.”

Fast forward to yesterday. Yarn Rascal and I were walking by the craft room and I briefly glanced in then stopped. I abruptly entered the room, Yarn Rascal by my side, and slowly closed the door behind me and leaned against it. A bit of the stash had escaped its confines and was collecting in the large wicker basket I had by the side of the love seat. Hanging from the tops of tall bookshelves was yarn that I had spun and set to dry. Okay, yarn hanging from the top of bookshelves is not yarn hanging from the ceiling, I thought. Get a grip here. And that’s when I saw it. I had two small spun “skeins” (I use the word in its loosest sense) hanging from two separate small brass hooks stationed in the ceiling. The brass hooks once held hanging plants. They now held yarn. I had yarn hanging from the ceiling.

My heart beat wildly. This couldn’t mean…I mean it just couldn’t be, I thought. I have two skeins of yarn working their way via the mail to me as well as another large bundle of unspun yarn. I don’t have a problem. I just have to think about this for the moment.

One: Bookshelves don’t count. They are absolutely not the ceiling. Two: I grabbed the small step ladder and immediately removed the two skeins hanging from the ceiling. Thankfully they were dry. See? No yarn hanging from the ceiling. But…my mind said, they were there. My eyes swept the room as I thought. No this is wrong. It’s not what it looks like. Then I got it. The spun “yarn” ( I use the word in the loosest sense) is really not yarn, it’s not like true yarn. I wasn’t, technically, hanging yarn from the ceiling. It was an experiment with wool that I was undertaking and I had run out of hanging space so I hung the wool, not yarn, from the ceiling. My heart began to beat normally.

I took a deep breath and decided to tidy away the escaped stash. I opened the closet door and there hanging from the ceiling like a piñata was an unopened package of yarn that I was keeping away from Yarn Rascal. No, No. I thought. This doesn’t qualify as yarn hanging from the ceiling. It’s a package. A package that inconsequentially happens to contain yarn. I can explain. I can explain it all and immediately closed the closet door.

Slowly I opened the door to the craft room and peered out to make sure The Skipper wasn’t about. Then Yarn Rascal and I slipped from the room and I quietly closed the door to the craft room.

Today, all the drying “yarn” is down and stored away in Yarn Rascal’s favorite bin. Except for the stash that is sitting in the wicker basket, all looks normal. False alarm. I really don’t have a problem.

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