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Spinning, cat, socks December 17, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in kidlet, knitting, spinning.
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Spun some Shetland top and navajo plied it.

Shetland top

Munchie

Finished kidlet’s socks. He loved them so much he immediately wore them to school.

Kidlet's socks

Kidlet's socks

Kidlet's socks

My Ravelry project page: Socks for The Boy
Pattern: Child’s Sock Pattern by Lucy H. Lee (Ravelry link) | (non-Ravelry link)
Yarn: Regia Color 4-Ply, color #4737 (Ravelry link) | (non-Ravelry link)

The socks are knit toe-up so the heel is just a flap with a gusset, only the stitches are being picked up along an extended sole instead of the heel. It’s wicked easy and looks nice. Kidlet’s feet are bigger than the pattern allows for so I came up with some modifications as I went. They’re listed on my Ravelry project page but in case you’re not able to make it there here they are:

1. I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On for the toe because it’s awesome and I love it.

2. From the toe I increased to 44 stitches total instead of 40.

3. I started the heel flap at 4″ as instructed, but then because my son’s feet were bigger than I remembered and too big for a 6″ sole I went to 8″ before starting the heel shaping.

4. This made the heel gusset larger so I picked up 16 stitches instead of 14 for a total of 64 stitches – it worked out to picking up every other row along the flap.

5. I then decreased back to my original 44 sts for the cuff.

6. I used the Elizabeth Zimmerman Sewn Cast-Off which made a nice stretchy cuff.

I got them to match as kidlet didn’t want tall socks, and the height he specified just happened to end the first sock right before the pattern repeat for the skein, so it really was serendipity. I may even have enough of the skein left to make a wee little pair for Margaret :)

Judy’s Magic Cast-On is so totally worth learning if you knit socks. It makes a perfect, beautiful toe that requires no seaming. I hate seaming. You can even knit your loose end into the first row so you won’t even need to run it in – just snip it when you’re done! Couldn’t be simpler. The cast-off is extremely easy, too, and worth it as I always tend to pull too tightly.

I chose this pattern as I was looking for an easy, basic sock pattern in childrens’ sizes that used fingering weight yarn. This was deceptively difficult as there are tons of wee baby socks made from fingering yarn, or childrens’ socks made from sport or worsted weight yarn. Perhaps if I ever became a knitwear designer I could find a niche in the 4-to-11 year old sock arena.

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Yarn, redux December 4, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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I took some new shots in better light – the direct sunlight ones were too glinty.

Pink one-ply - take 2

Pink one-ply - take 2

Seacell wool yarn - take 2

Get up close and personal with my plies.

Seacell wool yarn - take 2

Seacell wool yarn - take 2

Weekend yarn November 24, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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Not a lot to report. Weekend was okay.

I did get a bit of spinning done which I am happy about – I measured out that pink one-ply and it came to 233 yards. I can’t really say what weight it is as it varies quite a bit. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to ply it or just leave it as a single, but Joy convinced me to twist set and thwack it to get all those kinks out and leave it as a single so that’s what I’ll do. I’m not completely happy with it but it’s a nice color.

Pink handspun

Pink handspun

I also spun about 7 ounces of that Creatively Dyed superwash merino and seacell fiber – I have about half an ounce to go and I’m hoping to cram it on the bobbin somehow. I’m very happy with how the single is spinning up, I think it’s going to be really neat once its plied.

On the Bobbin 11/24/08

Time? What time? May 21, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh, dyeing, Etsy, kidlet, knitting, spinning.
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Whoa, I haven’t posted in nearly a month, that’s no good. I just haven’t had any time to do much crafting as I started back to work for The Man. The good thing is I’m able to telecommute so I can stay home with my new baby rather than putting her in daycare, the bad thing is it’s a LOT to handle, working full time, taking care of a baby, and then all the other housework and etc. It’s left very little time for leisure activities.

Some sort of good news is that I am also being laid off from my day job as of July 31, and at this point have no plans to seek a new full time job, at least not immediately. I’m thinking that maybe I’ll be able to take a real stab at my own handcraft business, I already have an Etsy shop so I can concentrate on that. The sad thing is I have a bunch of yarn ready to post, I just haven’t had time to do it. I’m also looking forward to being able to be here for my son before and after school as he starts Kindergarten this Autumn. I can’t believe he’s going to be five this summer. Where does the time go?

I did order the Schacht Ladybug wheel from the Portland Fiber Gallery, but I have to wait until late June/early July for it to come in. To say I am very impatient is an understatement! In the meantime I occasionally wrangle with the Louet though I’m still not feeling the love. Hurry up, Schacht!

I do have some knitting I can take pictures of, though I haven’t really done anything earth-shattering. In the meantime since I hate posting without photos, here are some of some yarn I dyed, and then of my two darling children who are by far the best thing I’ve ever made.

Preview

Bailey Island, April 08

Teh Bebeh.

Kidlet and teh bebeh hanging out

Ladybug, Ladybug, fly into my home! April 18, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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Today I stopped by the Portland Fiber Gallery as I wanted to make sure I wasn’t behind on my wheel rental payments. While I was there the girl said, “We have the Ladybug in, would you like to try it?” I had received their shop email telling me about this new wheel and said “Sure!” I sat down with teh bebeh still strapped to my chest and gave it a try. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the Scotch tension and get things moving in the right direction but…

oh. mah. gah. I have found the wheel of my dreams.

This thing is AWESOME. It is so friggin smooth and powerful, I was spinning nearly perfect singles after not having picked up any fleece in two months and it was fast, fast, fast. The treadling was effortless, it was the perfect height, and made hardly any noise at all. It almost looks like a toy with its bright red plastic wheel but I have to say that I was completely blown away by the thing. I think it helps that I had been wrangling with the Louet’s high-speed flyer and not liking how far off the ground the treadles are as I could no longer sit on the couch and use it, but I even liked the Ladybug more than the Ashford Traditional I had fallen in love with previously. I must have this wheel. I must. I could spin at least five times faster and more evenly than I did when I was at the top of my beginner spinning game.

So yes, I am in love. I’ve sent an email to Melodi letting her know how much I loved the wheel and asking about payment plans. The wheel itself is $550 and I’d want to get the attached tensioned Lazy Kate (that holds four bobbins!) for an additional $35 to start, though I’m sure I’ll want more bobbins as time goes on. I’ve paid about $170 in rental fees since I started last year so that should go toward purchasing this wheel, so maybe she’ll let me pay $100 a month or something like that? Keeping my fingers crossed!

I had an exciting afternoon :)