Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Spins - Silky Goodness

Happy Sunday everyone.

On my wheel today, I am finishing up a gorgeous braid of merino and tussah silk in a gradient that goes from pink to orange to yellow. This has been my first time spinning with tussah silk and it was interesting to figure out how I needed to change my technique to achieve a strong consistent single. I found that not only did I need to increase the whorl ratio on my wheel, but also that my spinning went smoother if I did not pre-draft my single. I have no idea why but I found my single ran much more thick and thin when I was pre-drafting. 

I was saving this braid until I was more "experienced" but Malia from the Yarn Raising podcast inspired me to try it now with her "New to You" spin along. I'm glad I did. It has been a great experience.

My plans are to chain ply the single this week to produce a 3 ply yarn that preserves the gradient.

Long term, I plan to knit this into a Zuzu's Petals  but to be honest, for now, I'm really looking forward to spinning something that has colours that feel more appropriate for fall. Now that I've done a couple gradients, I'd like to do something that will produce some awesome barber poling. I can't wait!

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite Things:

We've been having some gorgeous fall weather over the last few days. Today, my husband and I took Bean to the park to get some photos of him in the leaves. I have taken outside photos of each of my babies in their first fall. I guess after three it is officially a tradition. 

I can't believe how big he is getting!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

FO Friday #83 - Purple Flower Hat

Happy Friday everyone!

We are having some lovely fall weather here in Calgary. The days are mostly bright but there is a distinct chill in the air that has me thinking of wool socks and warm hats. As of yesterday, our furnace is officially on.

Doodlebug started thinking about this year's winter hat long before the leaves started to change colour. She has been adamant that this year she wanted a "purple flower hat". The rest apparently was up to me.

With this lovely little accessory, I think I have finally entered the realm of pretty good advanced knitter. I looked around at a few patterns and then decided to get what I want, I should just to make my own up. This hat is a pretty simple thing but I am pleased that it is all mine.

Yarn: Madelinetosh tosh DK in the Lolita colourway
Purchased at Knit & Needle in Whitefish Montana
35g used
Love this yarn. Love the colour. Love the softness. Love the stitch definition.

Size: 3T

Cast on 84 stitches with 3.25mm needles using Wolly Wormhead's Alternate Tubular cast on.
Joined in the round and knit about 12 rows 1 x 1 rib with 3.5mm needles.
Changed to 3.75mm needles for the main body and knit until total length was 14 cm.
Decreased every other row until 8 stitches remained.
Daisy Chain flower inspired by autumgeisha!

The only thing better than how happy this little project has made me, is how pleased Doodlebug is with it!

I feel a hat binge coming on. Stay tuned...

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIP Wednesday #109 - In Between

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Boy, I feel like I don't have much to show you today. Not because I haven't been knitting but because I have been finishing. (This is a good thing!)

I have a finished shawl and two hats to show you over the next few Fridays. I have swatches for a fingering weight cardigan (so get ready to see that WIP every week for the next 6 months or so) but it starts with a provisional cast on, which means I need to focus to get it going and focus seems to be something I'm running short on these days. In the meantime, I pulled back out my Aerie Scarf which was still in the middle stockinette portion. 

Perfect for focus-less knitting on the go. Except, now I am now at the point where I need to start the lace again... More focusing required.

So, then I decided to start some Christmas socks for my father-in-law. I wanted to make Laura Linneman's Socks on a Plane. I was waiting to pick up my daughter from preschool when I realized that this pattern is toe up. I tried to do Judy's Magic Cast On from memory but it doesn't look quite right so I'm going to rip it out and start again. 

Of course, now I need to look up the cast on again and actually pay attention this time...

Maybe I'll just cast on another hat.

Cheers, Nikki

Check out more WIP's!

Friday, September 20, 2013

FOF Friday #82 -MIA

Happy Friday everyone!

I took a bit of an unexpected absence for the last little while. To be honest, life kind of got the better of me this week and I just couldn't seem to get it together. We are currently looking for a new (bigger) house and frankly it's all a bit much. So I had a crappy few days, wallowed a bit and leant on those closest to me. Then I got up, dusted myself off (aka bought some yarn) and now I'm feeling much better.

At least I've been knitting! I'm very excited to show you Monkey's new sweater today. I'm really happy with how it turned out. 

This is a free Drops pattern that I modified using Sandra Jager's free helicopter colourwork chart. It took a little math to fit the helicopters to the sweater and centre them in the front, but I think it worked out well. 

This pattern calls for a DK weight yarn but I got gauge with Cascade 220 superwash. I love using this yarn for kids' stuff. It's soft enough to wear, comes at a great price point in lots of colours and can go straight in the wash.  

My only pattern modification was the colourwork chart substitution. I never look forward to knitting sleeves and as this is a pieced sweater, the sleeves come last. This time I knit them at the same time on two separate needles. I loved it! not only were they both finished at the same time, but I didn't have to worry about making notes about when I increased or changed colours because I was literally doing it to  the other sleeve at the same time! I will certainly do that again.

I was a little nervous about setting in the sleeves as I have only done it a couple of times. I found this video by Knit Picks to be very helpful.

The final sweater fit great when it was first finished. Even though I washed and blocked my swatch, it did grow a little when I blocked the end result. I made the size 6 for my slight 5 year old. It is still very wearable and I'm glad he will have room in it to grow. 

So, in the last year I have made Monkey a humpback whale hat and a helicopter sweater. I'm slightly nervous about what he might ask for next!

I'm linking up with Tami's Amis so click on over for lots more fabulous FO's.

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite things:

I feel very spoiled to have scored a Fat Squirrel project bag in her latest update.  I got the sweater bag and it is fabulous. If you haven't seen the Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast, I highly recommend it. Amy Beth can get you laughing even on the bleakest of days.  All that and she is an fabulous knitter and bag designer too!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIP #108 - Fruity Sunny Goodness

Happy Wednesday everyone.

I am having a great time knitting my Papaya Shawlette with my Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label in the club colour Papaya.  It is a very summery colour to be knitting right now but we are having a late summer here in Calgary (for now anyways, you never know it might snow tomorrow). Anyways, it's working for me.

I didn't realize until I started the pattern that this shawl has both lace and cables. It's a combination I've never knit in the same project before and I'm digging it. I have to concentrate on the pattern so I don't get a lot of time on it but I am very determined to have it finished by the end of September.  

This is a very happy knit and it is certainly helping me keep summer alive. 

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday's with Tami's Amis and I'll be back on Friday to show you Monkey's finished sweater!

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite Things:
Last week I showed you my Monkey starting kindergarten. This week, it was Doodlebug's turn to start preschool. On top of that, Bean has started crawling (sort of - he's definitely on the move). It's been quite a month for us! I'm ok if all this "growing up" takes a break for a while now...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Spins - Chain Ply

Happy Sunday everyone!

I have finished my first entry for rhymeswithmaria's New to You Spinalong.

I went for the triple entry, which meant I need to use a new tool (my wheel), a new fibre (polworth) and a new technique... chain ply.

I loved spinning this fibre. Spinning on my ladybug was fantastic and I loved the gradient single I ended up with.  I was terrified I was going to mess it up with my first chain ply so I decided to try it out on the sample fibre I had spun when I was working out how to use my wheel.

I watched some videos on YouTube and then decided to give it a go. I ended up with this...

Needless to say, I was then even more terrified. For those who don't know, a chain ply (also called a Navajo ply) is a way of looping and spinning a single to make a three ply yarn. The beauty of a chain ply is that it preserves the colour order of the single and is perfect for things like gradients.) It is not hard but does take some practice.

After that disaster, I went back to YouTube and watched one more video. This one. The heavens parted, the sun shone down and it suddenly all made sense to me.

In the end, I was able to take this...

Spin it into this...

And chain ply it into THIS!

(about 130 metres of an aran/bulky weight in 100% polworth from Tails and Snouts)

I'm desperate to get back to my wheel and spin some more singles because suddenly I want to chain ply everything!

I hope you are enjoying the final moments of a lovely weekend. The men of my house are watching football so my plan is to hide, knit and catch up on some podcasts. Bliss!

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday # 107 - A New Year

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Where did this Wednesday come from? The Holiday Monday and the start of school has got my head spinning! It"as been a very long time  a while since I was in school but somehow the start of September still feels like a fresh start to the year for me.

But not just school and activities start this month, it"s also the beginning of the Fall knitting season! Many of the blogs and podcast I follow have knit-alongs starting this month. I have been planning and plotting about how to participate in a many of them as I can. I've even considered starting a spreadsheet.  How's that for craft nerd dedication in all its glory?

First up, The Fat Squirrel Speaks (Do you watch her podcast? You should!) is having an "Un Squirrel it Away" KAL. The point is to finally knit up a yarn or a pattern you've been saving for "special". At the same time, the Must Stash Podcast girls are having a "Rhinebeck or Bust" KAL where you knit something you think would be worthy of taking to the Rhinebeck fibre festival. I of course am a "Bust" since I'm not going. I will get there one day!

I am planning to knit the yarn from the July instalment of the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club. It is her Red Label merino, silk, cashmere base in the gorgeous Papaya colourway.

I am going to use it to knit the Papaya Shawlette that was designed for the yarn. So pretty!

This project will also qualify for this month's AlphaKAL for the letter "P" at my LYS.

Triple Dipping. Love it!

I can't wait to cast on... just as soon as I finish the neckband on Monkey's sweater. I'm so close!

I'm sure there is plenty more Fall focused shenanigans happening over at Tami's Amis.

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite Things:

My big boy in Kindergarten. I can hardly believe it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Spins - New to Me SAL

Happy Sunday everyone. And Happy September too!

I am in no rush to see the end of summer but I am very excited for all the KAL's and SAL's that start this month.

Malia (rhymeswithmaria) of the Yarnraising podcast has a Spin Along starting today where the goal is to expand your spinning horizons. You can enter for spinning a new fibre, using a new tool or trying a new technique.

I am trying for the triple-whammy.

I am spinning some polworth for the first time.

I am using a my spinning wheel for the first time (squeeeeeee).

I sampled on my wheel yesterday while watching a YouTube video about how to use it. Prior to that, I didn't even know how to set it up! My polworth braid will be my first true spinning on my bug. I am very excited with how it is going so far.

Finally, my plan is to chain ply my single for the very first time. I actually have no idea how to do that either. There must be a YouTube video for that too, right?

I'm starting by spinning the braid from end to end to preserve gradual colour change. 

I can't believe how fast it is spinning!

What are you planning to work on this September?

Cheers, Nikki