Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Final Sweater Reveal!

The button holes have been attached, and the buttons sewn on.  

I thought I might be pushing my luck with the afterthought button holes, but they went well. 

I would like to sincerely thank everyone for your kind comments about my spinning and subsequent crazy sweater making.  

Quite honestly, I am in love with this sweater!  

 I know I will get lots of use out of it.  In fact, I am wearing it right now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Evolution of a Sweater...

Learning to spin has been perhaps the most invigorating thing I could have done to my knitting.

The roving: Colonial Wool Top in Norther Lights

Apparently, a women's sweater does not take 1500 grams of roving to make. It takes more like 900 grams. 

It's a good thing that I am absolutely smitten with this handspun, because it looks like I'm going to have lots of it left over. Honestly, I love this stuff so much that I wouldn't mind an entire wardrobe made up of this.

So here's how it went ---
The is what I wanted it to look like

Sunday March 16, 2008:2:30pm - I picked up 250 grams of Colonial Wool Top in Northern Lights from Birkeland Bros.

9:30pm - Began to spin first bobbin.

10:15pm - Completed first bobbin and realized that this wool had a much different effect than others.

Monday March 17, 2008 -

4:15pm - Began second bobbin and didn't stop until I finished.

6:30pm - Plyed the singles together.

7:30 - Realized that I was in love with this yarn and had to have a sweater out of it.

Thursday March 20, 2008 -

4:30pm - Bought all of the Colonial Wool Top in Northern Lights from Birkeland Bros., adding another 1250 grams to my original purchase of 250 grams.

5:10pm - Spun til midnight.


Friday March 21, 2008 -

6:00am - Awoke early (even though it was a holiday) because I was compelled to spin and ply. Spent the whole day spinning (until we had to go for dinner. Ugh, eating takes up valuable spinning time).

Saturday March 22, 2008 -

6:00am - Spun one more bobbin full, then plied it with another single.

8:30am - Decided to cast on for a sweater out of the handspun even though I still had two more bobbins ready to ply and another 250 grams to spin. Knit in the round from the bottom up, based on EZ's percentage system.

11:00pm - Finished the body in the round up to the armpits.

Sunday March 23, 2008 -

8:00am - Started the first sleeve in the round.

Post-steeking - SUCCESS!

3:00pm - Finished the first sleeve to the armpit and started the second sleeve.

Monday March 24, 2008 -

5:30pm - Completed second sleeve and joined sleeve to body for yoke.

Tuesday March 25, 2008 -

5:15pm - Started yoke.

9:00pm - Yoke was finished, so I prepped for steeking.

Do you know how nerve wracking it is to experience your first ever steeking attempt on a hand spun sweater? I thought I felt chest pains!

It was okay though. All went well.

10:00pm - Started collar.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 -

Knitting sweaters in the round is da bomb!

4:45pm - Finished collar. Picked up stitches on one side for border.

Here it is in all its glory! 

9:15pm - Done!  (minus the buttons and button holes, but I'm going to do afterthought button holes once I find some buttons).

More pictures will follow once it is blocked and has buttons.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Heavenly Colonial...

I uploaded these pictures to this blog post three days ago. For three days I have intended to write this post!

I wanted to show you what I am working on (here it is in single form)---

This was spun from some Colonial Wool Top in the Northern Lights colorway that I found at Birkeland Bros. last Sunday.  

Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into.  It is extremely soft, slightly shiny, and very easy to spin.  And the colors? Oh, the colors!  They are beautiful!

As soon as I started to spin up my first single out of this I was hooked.  I knew that this was the yarn for my fantasy sweater (the "perfect" sweater I have been dreaming of since I started knitting).  Since I had only picked up a 250 gram bag of the delightful stuff, I returned to Birkeland Bros. later in the week to raid the rest of their stash of this color.  

More on the sweater part later.

And here it is in its 2-ply hank-y goodness---

Apparently, Colonial Wool comes from a bunch of random sheep that they took from England and decided to transplant to South America.  By doing this, the sheep's wool has altered characteristics, including taking on the luster of mohair without the hairiness or itchiness.  Cool, huh? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I think it is officially safe to say that I am totally addicted to spinning. I think about it at work, I dream about it at night, and in the hours between work and sleep I can be found in front of my new best friend - the Ashford Joy.

Spun single 100% BFL

I've learned that I prefer to spin dyed roving. I picked up some Yummy Yarn roving at Three Bags Full on Sunday, and I am loving them. They are all BFL - my new favorite fiber.

After Navajo Plying (click to enlarge)

I admit that when I said I wouldn't let spinning interfere with my knitting, I may have been less than accurate. Spinning has taken over my life. I am now one of "them". I have joined the ranks of the annoying knitters who have purchased a wheel and now spend most of their time talking about spinning. I'm sorry to all the non-spinners. I know how annoying this is.

After Navajo Plying - Another View

I feel very similar towards spinning as I do sock knitting - I started out wondering why on Earth anyone would take it up, but once I tried it, I was hopelessly addicted.

Last night I dreamed of Navajo Plying....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yes. I Bought A Wheel. What of it?

I thought I'd let you in on my whirlwind love affair with spinning on a wheel. As you can tell from the title of this post, I did in fact buy a spinning wheel.

Here it is in it's box. The Cat is wondering what I've brought home.

So here's the story --- A few years ago I decided I wanted to try spinning, so I bought myself a drop spindle. I was pretty good at it, but I really did not enjoy the drop spindle aspect of it, since it required my arms to be over my head for long periods of time. I did however enjoy the drafting, etc.

I figured that I might like spinning on a wheel better, but since wheels were so expensive, I figured I'd never be able to get one, so I cooled a bit on spinning and put it aside.

Fast forward to Saturday. We were at Fibrefest and wondered into the Birkeland Bros. booth to just look at their spinning wheels. Well, I ended up trying one. I liked it. Ohhh...I really liked it.

I tried the Ashford Traveller for about 15 minutes, and enjoyed it so much that I thought it was the wheel for me. The only catch was that it was $510+tax. I consulted with my financial manager (Stu), and he told me that I could afford this wheel if I wanted it, but this price point I figured I'd better think about it.

Between Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, I new I had to have a wheel. As soon as Birkeland Bros. opened on Sunday I headed into their shop, and told them that I had so much fun yesterday, that I wanted to buy a wheel.

They remembered me from Saturday, and Cara (the owner) said that from what she saw I was a lace spinner, and I should try this other wheel which had better ratios. She introduced me to the Ashford Joy.

I was skeptical about whether I would like the Joy as much as the Traveller, but truly it was much better.

It treadled more smoothly, and it was easier to spin on, and is ever meant to be portable, so it comes with its own bag. The catch this time? It was$795! Ouch!

I bought it anyway, then tried to figure out how to tell Stu. It turns out he was okay with the slightly larger expenditure.

Here is my new wheel in all it's glory!

After my exciting purchase I headed to the knitting meetup that it held only a few blocks away from Birkeland Bros.

It was a lot of fun, but honestly I was distracted by my new purchase that was sitting in the trunk. I will definitely be heading out to the next knitting get together.

Now, Abigail cautioned me that spinning could cut into my knitting time, but I have come up with a solution. I will take my spinning time from my sleeping time. I get far too much of that anyway ;)

PS. I haven't even tried the new wheel since I got it home. I've just been staring at it. Oh man, I think I might need an intervention.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fibrefest 2008!

We had a great time at Fibrefest 2008 in Abbotsford yesterday.  Our time was made even better since we had Caliope (Rav link) with us.  I was happy to have another knitter to chat and shop with, and Stu was happy that he didn't have to participate quite so much.  Caliope also introduced me to Veggiegirl (Rav link) and her adorable little 5 month old son (he's the cute little one watching me spin!).  It's so cool meeting other knitters!   

This year Fibrefest was at the Ag-Rec Centre instead of the huge Tradex like last year, and it was quite different from last year.  It's true that I didn't buy anything but a lemonade last year (technically I think Stu bought it), and this year I did buy a bunch of sock yarn, but still I think it was better last year.  

There were a lot more animals last year, including a llama show, and an alpaca shearing, and angora rabbits.  This year, there were only a few alpacas (they were definitely beautiful, just not plentiful!), two llamas, a sheep and a lamb, and two cashgora goats.  

There were also way more shoppers last year.  

On the bright side, we did get to see some awesome vendors, including Yummy Yarns and Rabbitworks Studio.  This was the first big show for both of these local indie dyers and they both had really fabulous yarns.

Local-ish yarn stores including Fun Knits of Quadra Island and Knitopia of Langley - I think, were also there.  These were the stores I scored my sock yarn from, oh and I also scored some teal lace weight merino from Knitopia.  

I had intended to take a ton of pictures, but really, I only got the one of the Fibrefest sign a few blocks away from the building.  I know, it's pathetic.  I had given Stu my camera bag so I could shop with both hands, and I never got it back from him to take pictures.  Caliope and Stu each got pictures as well, but it was only of me spinning (the most exciting part of yesterday). 

We ventured into the Birkeland Bros. booth to take a look at the spinning wheels, which I have always been curious about, but they've always intimidated me.  The knowledgeable staff showed me how the wheel worked, and I started spinning!  On a wheel!  An Ashford Traveller to be precise.  It took me about 2 minutes before I got the hang of it.  

It was funny, because as I was spinning there were people coming up and saying to the other people they were with, "We'll I'd like to spin, but I'd never be as good as that", referring to me. Other people thought I worked there!  I think I have found my calling!

I am seriously contemplating buying a wheel.  Maybe today.  It could happen.  Seriously.  

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but Stu and I are going to the Abbotsford Fibrefest today, and I am totally excited. We went last year, but I just wasn't feeling it. This year, I am JAZZED!

I can't wait to see the fibre animals, and some of the awesome yarns that will make their way there. I'm still thinking about some handspun angora from last year. I'm also hoping to meet some people that I only know online.

I will definitely be meeting one person from Ravelry, because we are giving her a ride out.  I'm also really excited to meet her.

I've been making the most of my time while I'm not able to exercise. I've been spending as much time as I can knitting socks.

I was hoping to get 3 knit this week, but I only managed to knit 2. Hey - A pair of socks in one week is pretty good.  

Sock Specs:

Pattern: None.  Top down with short row heels.  

Needles: Unique 6" 2.5mm dpns.

Yarn: Regia Kaffe Fassett Design Line in color #4260.

After knitting several pairs of socks with short row heels, I have realized that a heel flap actually fits my foot significantly better.  Unfortunately, I prefer to knit short row heels and toes.  Still, I must return to the heel flap.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Already Finished a Pair of Socks for March!

First of all - I can't believe it's already March!  This year is flying by.

I also can't believe that I've already finished a pair of socks for March!  To be honest, it's been a struggle to finish a pair per month for the last few months, but right now I really feel like I am in a great knitting groove.  

I'm glad I'm feeling the knitting, because I really can't do anything else right now with the stress fracture in my leg.  I did try to do a bit of walking today, but after only 1 block of slow walking I was feeling pain.  I guess I'm not ready yet.  

This pair of socks marks the first time I've knit a pair 2 at a time using magic loop.  I was inspired by the new book 2-At-A-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  I didn't use her method, but I was inspired to try the technique (I did the toes separately, but then put them on the same needle once the toes were done).

It turns out that I don't really like knitting socks 2 at a time.  I do like not risking Second Sock Syndrome, but I just didn't enjoy the experience as much.  I think it's because there's just too much going on.  I also found it more difficult to prevent ladders for some reason.

Sock Specs:

Yarn: Yarntini Sport Weight (260 yards) in the Twistini colorway.  (Purchased at Twisted in Portland, Oregon).  

Needles: Addi Turbo 32" 3.25mm circular.

Pattern:  I made it up as I went along.  2 @ a time toe up on one circular using magic loop.