C is for Coffee

Ramblings about knitting, spinning, and sewing

Friday, September 08, 2006

Gearing up

One thing I like is a good dose of competition. I don't know if it is because I was the only girl with two other brothers (and I was not about let my little brothers win at anything --they soon grew to twice my size) or the fact that I was a jock in high school. In fact my coach in highschool would have me "hunt down" runners while I ran my races. I would focus on their jersey number- willing myself to pass them. It usually worked. So when I heard about Yarn Monkey's Sock Wars I knew I had to join. I loved the idea of the competition, with the bonus of getting a pair of handknit socks.

Today our weapons were announced. DK weight yarn with a guage of 22 stitches/in. I have some Henry's Attic Superwash DK yarn that I koolaid dyed a beautiful red (I am calling it strawberry shortcake). My original plan was to make knee high socks with them. However, since it is the only DK weight yarn that I have in my stash and the fact that it is red...has led me to conclude that this will be the perfect yarn for Sock Wars. Soon I will begin swatching...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Where have I been?

So today I was browsing various knitting blogs when I realized that I have been absent from my own for quite awhile. I decided to take a peek of just how long... um, yeah, since April. Spring is far from being spung and summer has come and the whisperings of fall is in the air.

This summer I spent a ton of time just getting some much needed R&R. I didn't take any classes in preparation of my full-time student status starting in the fall, went on vacation, and knit quite a bit. Up over the course of this summer I have made two Picvoli tees, knitted (and frogged) a couple pair of socks, and currently I am working on the Icarus shawl. I have gone to weddings and family functions and worked quite a bit as well. All-in-all it has been a very good and productive summer, althought I am not quite ready to give up the warm balmy days for brisk ones just yet.

I am, however, reclaiming this blog. I promise I will be more viligant with my posting and will up date it at least once a week.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Spring Has Sprung!!!

After a long winter tulips (and daffodils) have to be one of the most wonderful sights to see. I know that Spring is finally here- the days are getting longer and a bit warmer. Hurray!! I have a hard time with winter due to the fact that I really love (and am quite used to) warm weather. (Honestly, I rather be hot than cold.-- Hey I am from Hawaii, remember?)

I have been MIA due to my parents coming up to visit and of course work and school. I have been working a couple of knitting projects though. I finished the Baby Bolero from One Skein and a matching hat to go with it. I have also been working on my Picvoli Tee- I have only about 2 more inches to go. I must say it is going quite well-- when I tried it on, it fit like a dream.

I also recieved the 2/4 Highland Wool from WEBS. I haven't decided whether I like it or not. I love the color, is a crisp Raspberry color. However, it is not a soft as I thought it was going to be. There must be some mohair in it due to the way it bloomed after I skeined and washed the yarn. Washing -- that was a real experience! I must have washed it with Euclean 4 times...it still had a oily feel (honestly, not that bad) and smell (bad!). I finally decided to try some Ivory flakes that I keep around for "good" handwashing. I really helped to get the oily smell out of the yarn. It also made the yarn run quite a bit. My original plan for the yarn was to make the sunrise circle jacket...I swatched for it and got gauge spot on (that never happens). Even with my reservations, I think I will still use it for the sunrise circle jacket. After all, frogging, is the worst thing that would happen...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's about time

It seems that I have fallen off the face of the earth for the past couple of days. I have gotten caught up the activity called "work". Work at times is the bane of the knitter/spinster/seamstress's existence. It keeps him/her from performing the actions he/she loves. Alright, enough philosophy.

Yesterday my 2/4 Highland Wool from WEBS arrived. I chose the color Raspberry Crush. It is luscious magenta with primary flecks of red and blue. Very nice. WEBS was not joking with the profound oily smell and feel. I skeined the 1 lb cone into about 10 skeins and promptly proceeded to wash all my skeins. I am hoping the oily smell and feel will disappate. I have a feeling that I will have to wash the skeins a couple times in order to completely get the smell out. Yeah, it's tons of work. However, if this works for my sunrise circle jacket, then it will be worth it since I only paid $13 for the wool.

I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Additions to the stash and my current project...

Some lovely new additions of yarn to the stash. There was a posting on Knitty about Knit Picks having a sock yarn sale. It seems that Knit Picks is phasing out some of their sock yarn lines and just incorporating them into one sock line (I guess it is mainly for for their different "memories" lines) . So of course, not wanting to miss out on a great deal, I decided to order a couple of the colorways that I like and would be phased out. I chose the colorways Paper Dolls and Grandma. While I was at it I decided to order 5 skeins of shine as well in coral. The Shine will be used to make a Picovoli tee.

My current project is the Cross Cable Pullover which I purchased from Hemp For Knitting. I am using the color Deep Sea. It is a beautiful rich blue. It is very interesting using this yarn. the fiber is very twine-like. So different from anything that I have ever worked with before. Supposedly the fabric made from hemp will soften with use and have a very nice fluid drape. It is also supposed to be very strong since hemp is the longest fiber (I hope I have that right). This is also the first time I will be attempting a sweater with any needle smaller than a size 9. So far I am enjoying myself...hopefully that will continue to be the case.

Lastly, I am working some Blue-faced Leichester on my spinning wheel. I currently have one bobbin filled and am almost done filling the second bobbin. My plan is to ply the two bobbins together. I think the resulting yarn will be somewhere between DK and worsted weight. I am also estimating I will have approximately 400-500 yards when done. My plan is to make a very simple openwork shawl I can use to patter around the house in. I tend to get very cold in the winter (and Das Hubby likes to keep the temp in the house down around 65-68 degrees during the winter to keep heating costs down). A warm shawl/wrap is essential to keep me toasty and warm. Plus, it will be my first big project done with my very own handspun!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Wyvern Socks Complete!!!!

Pattern: Wyvern Socks by Marnie MacLean
Koigu painter's palette (I don't have the skein information anymore, but it is a mixture of purples and fushias.
Needles Used: US 2 addis turbos- magic loop technique
Techniques Learned: 1. Starting from the toe up. 2. Figure 8 cast on 3. Hourglass Heel 4. Invisiable bind off
Changes made from Orginal Pattern:
1. Using a figure 8 cast on instead of a provisional cast on.
2. No ribbing on foot of sock
3. For the leg I decided to do the pattern completely around the leg.

Comments: Overall I really liked this pattern. The charted design was easy to follow and I never got bored with the pattern. This is my first pair of toe up socks, and I must say, I really like this technique. I was able to "try on" the sock throughout, and I could finish when I got bored with it (which is what happened with my first sock...I just wanted to move on to the second one). The pattern is deceptively simple, however, you still need to pay attention to it. I learned this the hard way after deciding that since I memorized the pattern, I could now talk on the phone and watch Grey's Anatomy while working on it. A hard lesson was learned when I was almost about to turn the heel and then realized my mistake. (So I really knitted about 2.5 socks with all the ripping out that was going on). Overall, this was a very enjoyable and well written pattern. I will probably make another pair sometime in the future.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Just joined my first knitalong

Yay! I just joined my first knit along. It is the sunrise jacket knit-a-long hosted by Jackie. I just ordered my yarn today from WEBS. It is their 2/4 Highland Tweed in the Raspberry Colorway. The price was right since $$ is tight right now.

And by the way, I got into Grad school!!! I start this coming autumn.

The only other update is that I finished my Wyvern socks. When I get a chance I will post a picture. I recycled some Koigu that I used for a scarf that I just wasn't using. (It was too long, although very pretty). I figured this beautiful yarn would get more use out of being socks. They turned out beautiful, however, the second sock took me forever to finish. I had to keep ripping out areas I had done due to very stupid mistakes.

Next on the list:
-Finish the Baby Bolero from One Skein (all I have to do is sew it up).
-Make a matching hat for it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Finished Object, A New Technique, and A New Friend

Sorry everyone, I know that I have been really absent lately. I have always had a really hard time journaling consistantly. Why should this be any different? (Note to self: try to blog events in a more timely manner)

First of all: A finished object!!!!

Pattern: Embosed Leaves from Winter IK 2005

Yarn: Koigu (solid color- sorry don't remember the name)

Technique Used: This called for using DPN, however, I needed to go down a needle size to a US1 to get gauge and I only had a 40" circ, so I decided to use the magic loop technique intead. It worked really well, the only part that was kind of tricky was making the gussets using this method.

Overall Impression: Great pattern, it kept my interest going (I would have been done sooner, but school and work was getting in the way). I have received numerous compliments on these socks.

And now for a new technique:


I was inspired by all the beautiful Lady Elenor shawls that have been popping up in various blogs. The yarn used is some of my very own handspun. The fiber is from Crosspatch Creations from the Bellwether.
The colorway is stone soup in pinks and lilacs. I only have 4 oz of this fiber (not enough for a real Lady Elenor. So, my plan is use the fiber to make a scarf instead.

The fiber was spun on my 0.9 oz Golding Tsunami. It is a two ply yarn, and the weight is somewhere between DK and fingering weight.

And lastly, a new friend...

Yup, that is a raccoon...on our back porch. He was really interested about what was going on in the house, while the two kitties wondered who and what the heck he was. (Lily actually tried to attack him through the glass) He stayed on the porch for quite a bit. He left when he figured out that there was no way we were going to open the door (or maybe he just got scared of Lily, or perhaps he just had better raccoon type of things to do).

We named him (we are assuming it is a boy raccoon) Bandito. Between him and the deer we have had in the yard a couple of days ago, we are making lots of friends with the local wild life.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Another spindle?

Yup, I have finally given in and ordered another drop spindle. This time it was the 0.9 oz Golding Tsunami spindle. It will be the lightest spindle that I have to date. (I have a Grafton Fibers Swan that weighs in at 1.2 oz and a Bosworth that weighs in at 1.7 oz).

Honestly I love all my spindles. My Bosworth was the first spindle that I purchased and I really learned how to spin on it. The heavier weight was perfect for a beginner. I love producing heavier yarns with it and it is also the spindle that I use for plying. Plus, the tulipwood is just beautiful. Eventually, I want to get a a midi or even featherweight as well.

The Swan by Grafton fibers is special to me as well. It is made out of Koa wood. I grew up in Hawaii (and truthfully my heart is still there) and Koa wood is indigenous to the islands. The warmth and beauty of Koa always reminds me of home. Due to the shape of the whorl, this spindle has a different spin to it. Most of the weight is in the center of the whorl, not on the edges like other spindles. The spin doesn't last very long due to the shape, but I am able to spin aproximately fingerweight yarn from it.

My hope with the Tsunami Spindle is that since the whorl is only 2" in diameter and the shaft is only 7" in length that this spindle will allow me to travel with it more. I am also hoping with the weight I will be able to produce sock and lace weight yarn with it. I recently got the twisted sisters sock workbook and I have become so inspired to produce my own sock yarns (along with dying my own yarn fiber as well). I should receive the spindle by Thursday. I anxiously await...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The homemade birthday goodie-bag is finished

Well, actually it was finished a couple of days ago to in order to get it out to the mail in time.
Everything (including the bag, obviously not the soap and lotion) was handmade by me. And who is the recieptient of this neat stash...my wonderful Grandma!!!

Included is a ski cap (which was the one thing that my Grandma asked for...she thinks that they are cute), two cotton chenille wash cloths from Weekend Knitting, some Bath & Body works lotions, and a sewn tote. I must say, that I think the tote came out rather well. I love the way the red fan fabric really picks up the sushi print fabric for the inside of the tote. The best part? This tote is reversible. So if my Grandma wants to show the world the sushi side she can. :) (The tote is an Amy Butler pattern by the way). As of today I haven't heard if the box arrived.

My other picture for the day is of my first project made with my own handspun.

No, this handspun was not made with my spinning wheel. It was with my drop spindle before I recieved the spinning wheel (although I do have a skein of my first wheel yarn. Note to self: take picture of yarn). This is coopsworth roving that I dyed myself using kool-aid (pink lemonaide and lemon-line, I believe). I spun and plied it randomly. I have to say I really like the stripes that the knitted fabric formed. I didn't have much of it (I think maybe only about 50 yards or so). So, I decided to use Lynne Vogel's idea and make a treasure bag out of it. (I like her decription of it: a cuff with a toe). The yarn was pretty close to DK weight. I used size 6 DP in order to make a rather firm fabric. The big debate is what to do with it. Part of me wants to keep it, on the other hand I have a God-daughter who also would really like it, and the colors really match a 7 year old girl. Decisions, decisions.

Hubby and I went to Sequim, WA for our Anniversary. It was blissful to have a couple of days of relaxation. Of course, in true style of a yarn addict I had to stop at the local yarn store: A Mingled Yarn. Wonderful selection of yarns (better than some Seattle shops) and the ladies were so nice. My finds were modest (hey I am on a yarn diet), however, I got some sock yarn and a beautiful alpaca & silk lace weight in a very yummy color.
I am itching to cast on, but I want to finish some of my current projects first.

Current projects on the needles:
1. Embossed Leaves Socks from IK Winter 2006
2. Market Tote from Weekend Knitting
3. Not Just Another Sweatshirt from Yarn Girls

Next planned projects:
1. Potholders from Domino knitting in order to learn the Modular Knitting technique.
2. Jaywalker Socks
3. Ella shawl

Current Spinning Projects
1. Drop Spindle: Sock yarn for me from a Merino Tencel blend (very, very silky)
2. Spinning wheel: Blue-Faced Leichester in about a DK blend for I don't know what yet (hey, I just really like that fiber...Is that so bad? ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Is that what I think it is?

Yup, it's a SPINNING WHEEL!!!
My husband bought me a spinning wheel for my first anniversary!!!! I was just was flabbergasted!!! I had an inkling that he was thinking about it when he started to ask me about spinning wheel and features etc. "Hmm," I thought, "why is he so interested in what I want in a spinning wheel?" It was a busy day at work, so I pushed it to the back of my mind and continued on with my day. He gave it to me yesterday. (however, I had to go with all the teasing before I recieved it. "Guess what is comming in today? It your anniversary present. It's a............ opps I almost gave it away.") Personally, I think he gets too much satisfaction from teasing me.

It's a Majacraft Rose.

Last night we put it together. (Let me tell you that was amusing...two people trying to put together a spinning wheel and they have no idea what parts are named what, nor are there any pictures. Plus two crazy kitties trying to help or eat styrofoam.)

Today, I finally was able to spin with it. Thank goodness, I have had some time with a drop spindle. Even so, there is a pretty steep learning curve. Here is a picture of my first spinning wheel yarn:

Plans for tonight: More fiber experimentation. Hurray!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

So Tired...

I have been working the past couple of days (12 hour shifts). When I end up working long hours I really don't have much time to do stuff. Usually I end up coming home, looking like a zombie and end up eating dinner, spending about 1/2 hour with my hubby and then hitting the sack. Repeat x 3 days. Today is my only day off, back to work tomorrow. However, I had school today, so really in a sense it was not a day off. Oh well.

As for knitting news:

I am continuing to work on my Embossed Leaves socks from IK winter 2005. My first sock is coming along nicely. I have made 2 wash cloths using the pattern from Weekend Knitting for my Grandma. I purchased some nice soap to go with them as a b-day present.

Speaking of my Grandma:

She has to be one of the coolest people on the face of this earth. She is very open, and always willing to listen to anything that I want to talk about etc. So I found out that she wants a knitted Ski cap with a pom-pom. She thinks that they are cute and she wants one. The only thing is....she lives in Hawaii...where she has lived for her entire life. Oh well, I am still going to make her one. I figure at 80 years old she deserves whatever she wants, and if that is what she wants then cool. So that will be my next project to embark on.

And for the record- Yes I did have my coffee today.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New blogger on the loose...

...and I haven't had my coffee yet..

...probably a bad idea at almost 10pm.

Just trying to figure everything out here. More posting--later.