Monday, December 16, 2013

Troll Mittens

Some people make new year resolutions -- I have a tendency to make end-of-year resolutions, too, and this year is no exception. My goal over the next two weeks is to get as many projects done and off the needles as possible! I want to head into 2014 with a clean knitting slate, open for the projects that I'm ready to start.

One project on my list was a pair of mittens. I have several mittens on the needles, but none on my hands -- until last week, when I finished a simple set out of this Hello Yarn handspun. The colorway, which is on Polworth, was called 'Troll'. I spun it as a navajo-plied, dk-weight yarn. I feel like this old picture really doesn't do the range of color justice. The yarn goes from a sort of cornflower blue to a very dark burgundy purple, with a full range of golden yellow and wine in between.

The mittens are pretty basic, not necessarily a pattern at all -- I just cast on 44 stitches, go around in k2, p2 ribbing for as long as I'd like the cuff, then knit for 2" before putting 12 stitches on a holder and knitting the rest of the mitten from there up. I go back and do the thumbs after I close the tops of the mittens up. I don't know how much simpler it could get! 

Unfortunately, despite being lovely, these are not very warm for the weather here in Iowa. I'll have to knit a liner for them or double them up with another pair. Oh well! At least they're finished, right?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Feeling Knitterly

Today, I am really feeling a need to get back to basics. Big, chunky yarn, big, chunky needles. Straights, wooden ones that are vintage and don't have a size marked on them (I think they're 13's.)

Blue Sky Alpaca cotton and Noro Nobori, which is, sadly, discontinued. I'm just going to knit it up into a marled, chunky cowl. There's snow outside and there is just something comforting about bright colors today.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Color Mixing

I love experimenting with color in handspinning. After giving a spinning lesson this weekend to a new spinner, I felt inspired to play around with my wheel again. So I tackled a combo with some Hello Yarn Flotsam and Hello Yarn Ships, Whales, and Icebergs.



I think my favorite part of the whole process is always the plying. I was wearing a teal colored skirt while I spun the Flotsam (the pinky-purple-green one), and it seemed to really make the corals and pinks pop. So I thought that maybe I should ply it with some teals and greens. As you can see, it really paid off! One of the skeins will be mine to keep, and the other will go up in my mom's shop with a big 'shipment' this January. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bumblebee Baby

I spun this yarn forever ago -- I think I always planned on it being a baby sweater, but I never really had a reason to knit one. I have a lot of friends having babies or getting ready to start families, so I decided just to jump in and finally get to it.

I also have been thinking a lot about knitting through current stash. As I said in a previous post, I'm not a huge yarn buyer. I buy yarn that I know is going to turn into something particular or that I have an idea for. But lately I've been looking on yarn I bought for patterns and re-thinking what I meant to make, or deciding that something just won't work out the way I wanted.

Do you ever find that the stash 'enhancement' that you purchased so long ago doesn't appeal to you anymore? I have tried destashes on Ravelry but I never seem to get rid of that much yarn, and I feel guilty destashing anything that was given to me by a company or as a sample. It doesn't feel right to make money off it, really.

I've decided that I'm going to start some stash gifts. I have a lot of people in my life who have asked me to knit for them. Maybe at one point or other, they asked for something specific. Usually I have said no, because I don't have the time, or I didn't want to look for yarn, or I just didn't want the obligation. I've decided to approach it from a new angle. Instead of someone asking me to knit for them, I am just going to start making things. Things maybe that I wouldn't wear, or the color isn't quite right, or that aren't my 'style', but might be someone else's, and will certainly be enjoyable to knit up and wait for the right person to come along.

Starting with this baby sweater. Aren't the bee buttons cute?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Man Paws

I've been a bit swamped with work, but in my small amount of 'free' time I've been finished up projects like crazy. One of these was a pair of new handwarmers for someone this holiday season. I used the Man Paws pattern, which is great for handspun yarns as well as commercial ones. Oddly enough, this yarn is almost a combination of the two. It looks like handspun, since both of the singles are painted differently, but is actually a commercial yarn that was sent to me by Feederbrook Farms. The yarn is called Common Ground Entropy, and is a dk weight BFL wool. It's spun for a beaded, very round look that knits up into a delightfully squishy fabric.

Right after my boyfriend saw these handwarmers, he wanted a pair too! Luckily, the yardage is also great, at 260 yards per skein. I don't think too many stores are carrying this brand yet, but it also comes in coordinating solid shades. I have a skein of a really pretty rich brown at home that will probably be made into a baby sweater of some sort (I keep preparing for babies that are sure to start arriving next year, I feel like so many of my friends have had 'announcements'!) Speaking of which, I have a baby sweater to show you tomorrow!

In addition to Yarnbox and Knit-Purl, I am also working part-time for Zen Yarn Garden. It's going to be a lot of fun to work with this great company, and even though I'm only doing social media, it's been really lovely getting to know Roxanne and more about the dyeing process (and boy, do they do a lot of dyeing! Check out their Facebook.)