Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas Yarn

Josh's parents gift to me.  Some yarn money.  And my favorite downtown yarn shop announced a sale yesterday.  I ran over after work and grabbed these three skeins.  I'm very into the idea of fingering weight lace wraps.  I keep buying yarn to knit them, but have not yet started to knit any.  Odd.  Anyway, I love the color and the yarn is so soft, 100% merino.  Yum.  

Knitting Like the Wind

My sock!  I know it looks rather odd to you non-knitters, but it is actually progressing very nicely.  The part at the bottom where it gets a bit skinnier and has the needles in it is becoming the heel.  and the peach thread running down the middle is just to mark how far I've knit.  I'll pull it out when I'm done.  That is one day's worth of obsessive knitting interspersed with real life.  I hope to finish this one today and cast on for the next one tomorrow.  I do have to stay up until midnight.   

Happy New Years Eve! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not Josh's Gloves

Cast on last night. A little sock. For me. This is my seccond attempt at socks. Last time I got bored and ripped out what I had started. This time the yarn is more interesting and I'm knitting on double pointed needles instead of one long circular. I prefer double points.

I should be working on Josh's gloves.

Damp Wool

The hat, now blocked, on our bathroom counter drying.

Click on the image to view full sized!

Monday, December 29, 2008

And a Hat

When I used up the second ball of yarn for Stephanie's scarf I checked the length.  It was longer than I am tall, and will probably stretch more when I block it.  Usually you make a scarf as long as the wearer is tall and I am a bit taller than Stephanie.  I sent her a quick email to see if she would prefer a very long scarf or a ridiculously long scarf.  She chose very long, and I offered to knit a hat with the remaining yarn.  This is the hat, as yet un-blocked.  

Blocking is a process where you wet down the knitted object and stretch it to it's final dimensions.  Depending on the type of object/garment you are blocking you will stretch it more or less vigorously, using one of many stretching/wetting techniques.  This guy was supposed to be wet down and stretched over a dinner plate.  The hat seemed smaller than a plate while dry, but once soaked, it grew on it's own.  The hat is now larger than a dinner plate, so I didn't bother with it.  I simply shaped it by hand on a towel.  Blocking smoothes out all the bumps and wrinkles you see in these pictures.  

The bottom of the hat, I'll weave in that loose strand of yarn.  The ribbing won't fold over on itself after blocking.  

Friday, December 26, 2008

Several Projects at Once

My techno-geek gloves, still very much in progress. These were sort of a prototype for gloves that I wanted to knit Josh. His gloves are pictured below. As you can see I am also not very far along on that pair.

Steph's scarf, also very much in progress. I'm almost done with the second ball of yarn (Stephanie bought three). So not too much more to go.

And some sock yarn I just bought for myself (I had cupons). It is a rather pretty self striping colorway, in a yarn that the Harlot speaks very highly of.

I've been reading the Yarn Harlot's site, and some Elizabeth Zimmerman books this past week. They've got me all worked up and ready to knit (I hadn't been working on Josh's gloves at all before yesterday). Worl wears me down, I arrive home in a semi-comatose state and get very little knitting done.

I've been spinning too, but it looks pretty much the same as the last photos. Today my clunky wheel repair kit arrived! I'm excited to fix my wheel, and a little nervous. I have to drill into the hub of the wheel to install the new axel. Taking drill to wheel is giving me pause. I'll work up the nerve soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008


This, is becoming yarn!

I've started spinning the birthday roving.  It's really beautiful.  This photo looks browner than the real stuff, but there's no accounting for computer monitors.  

I wanted to make this into a lace weight two ply.  It might end up being more of a fingering weight though, which will still serve my purposes very nicely.  

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Drop Stitch Stephanie

I'm using this beautiful yarn that Stephanie bought to make her a scarf. She found a really lovely dropped stitch pattern that she liked. It's my train knitting because it shouldn't get to big or too intricate to haul around.

I had almost three feet of scarf knit. On my lunch break the other day I lay it out to take a blog photo, when I noticed a giant mistake. And the giant mistake was only about a foot from the beginning. Argh. I had to rip back, it was a little demoralizing. Now that I've knit back to where I was, I can talk about it again.

The scarf pre rip. You can see where my circular needle is, way back by the beginning. That's where I had to rip to.

And the offending row. You can see how the scarf is all wavy lines and offset openwork. But mid frame there is a big honking straight line, where I did not offset the openwork. There was no way I could leave it.

This is actually very addicting to knit.

Sorry for the poor photo quality, all taken with my iPhone.

New Hat?

Every year I tell myself that if I knit a really great hat, that I will like wearing it.  I hate wearing hats, I live in Chicago.  I need to wear hats.  It never really works.  

This year I'm going to make a really great hat from my own hand spun.  Maybe that'll do it.     

My hand spun in a little skein.  I have more than 100 yards of an almost lace weight (it's heavier than true lace weight).  

I'm not sure how much lace weight I'll need, I feel like I have enough.  

This is what I'm working on.  Adapting it to be a hat.  

A crazy lace doily!  I love it.  

Here is my sample.  This isn't quite big enough for a hat.  I'll have to add more patterning to the edge.  I'm going for a beret type cap.  I need something bigger and slouchier to fit all my hair inside.  

And the close up shots.  

Monday, December 1, 2008


Wool Panda in German!
Who knew panda=panda? New blog name?

Probably not.
Thanks Sandy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Plied Yarn

I put my lazy kate on it's side, hoping that the friction between the bobbins and arms would provide some tension for plying.  I'm not sure it worked, but I was able to ply.  

Here is the first bobbin of yarn next to the upright lazy kate. I managed to get two bobbins of three ply before I ran out of the pink mohair.  Then I got another almost full bobbin of two ply brown.  Yay!  

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Stephanie's yarn, I'm knitting her a cool dropped stitch scarf.  

My beautiful yarn!  So pretty I don't know what to knit with it.  I'm sure I'll figure something out.  

And my beautiful roving.  I'm waiting to spin it up until I've plied the brown and pink roving I've been spinning.  I need to see if my spinning style needs adjustment before I play with this so pretty.   

Brownish Noro Cash Island a cashmere blend from Japan.  

Greenish Noro Cash Island.  

Purple-ish Noro Cash Island.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

Peanut Gets a Bath

I've run out of clean Peanut, time to wash another batch.  I never took pictures of the process last time, so here goes.  

Very dirty wool, full of hay and poop.

I put on my "poop gloves," a pair of yellow dish washing gloves, now dedicated solely to wool cleaning.  Then I pulled hay and debris out of enough wool to fill a turkey roasting pan that is also dedicated to wool cleaning.

You can see the dirty wool in the pan, contrasted with the clean spun wool on the bobbin.    

This is the wool in it's second bath (already a whole lot cleaner) next to the gross water from the first bath.  

And the third bath, next to the second bath water.  

The fourth, and probably final, bath.  You can see my poop gloves as well.  Peanut is now much much cleaner.  I'll let her soak for a bit more, then I'll take her out and let her dry on a towel before starting to spin her up into more singles.  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Playing With My Wheel

I finished spinning the ball of brown roving I was working on.  I have another ball partly spun up on a drop spindle, and a ball of pink/purple to go with it.  

Then I started in on Peanut.  This photo is  a little deceiving because I transferred what was on the drop spindle to the bobbin and continued spinning.  But I did get a fair amount done tonight.  I'm almost out of cleaned Peanut.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Spinning, and the Kureyon

I started working on the brown wool again. You can see I spun a lot more this time. I have to figure out what to do with the portion already on my drop spindle. This is so much faster, it's great!

Yesterday I also ripped out my Kureyon wrap and cast on for gloves. I wasn't sure that I had enough yarn to make a wrap the size and shape I wanted. And I had read that it wouldn't soften up as much as I was hoping. So I ordered another yarn from the same company that contains a hefty percentage of cashmere. I will make the wrap with that and I will make fingerless gloves from the Kureyon. I am calling them my iPhone gloves (you need your finger tips for iPhone manipulation).

The Kureyon wrap, before destruction.

The new Kureyon gloves, in progresss.

Sandy just said that these are very "Fame!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

First Yarn on the Wheel

Tonight I oiled the wheel like crazy and grabbed some leftover "practice" roving from my class this sumer.  

My first single, the maroon is a "regular" wool (I forget the breed name) and the peach is merino.  The merino was much harder to spin.  You can kinda see that it's thicker than the maroon strands.  

Actually it was all pretty hard to spin because I've only used a wheel for about 45 minutes, and that was months ago.  Once I got used to the maroon, no more breaking or getting all twisty, then I was out of it and had to get used to the peach.  Practice makes perfect, I'm planning on grabbing some inexpensive roving to play with, then on to peanut and some superfine merino that I have two pounds of!  

Remember Peanut?!

This is Sandy (of the fleecy goodness hook-up), touching the nose of the infamous Peanut.

You're becoming beautiful yarn Peanut!

My Wheel!

The story is that my Mom aquired this wheel back in August. I had taken a spinning class this summer, and loved it, but spinning wheels are quite expensive. So I contented myself with the much slower process of drop spindeling. A friend of my Mom's asked her if she, "knew anyone who wanted a spinning wheel?" Boy did she.

She kept this secret for a few months. They took the wheel apart, bought a new suitcase to fit it, flew here, rented a car, left their luggage (with the wheel) at my house, came downtown to meet me for a birthday dinner, and suprised me with instructions on how to put my wheel back together. We did so the next morning, drove it waaaaay out to The Fold, in Marengo, IL. There, the lovely Toni gave it a quick once over, replaced/improved the scotch tension brake, set me up with a leader, and discovered that my wheel wasn't working.

What I had thought was "a little stiffness" from years of dissuse was actually the wheel starting to lock up on itself. Turns out the connection between the foot pedal and the wheel axel has a nasty tendency to do that. We ordered a kit to replace the axel and connecting parts, but it won't get here until mid December. In the meantime I've replace a missing nut on the axel bolt, which seems to be doing the trick. I keep having to adjust that jont, but the wheel isn't locking up anymore. So it should be useable until the repair kit arrives.

Yay! I love it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kureyon Wrap

I just cast on for this yesterday. I'm knitting up another wrap with the fishtail lace pattern. This one should be smaller than my purple one, better to wear as a scarf.

I've been wanting to try Kureyon, but didn't want to purchase a sweater's worth. This, their sock yarn, was on sale at Loopy Yarns when I took my parents there this weekend. I might have to buy another ball, still cheaper than a sweater. I'm not sure that I want to commit to a whole sweater in these colors either. A wrap seemed like a good idea on several counts.

Happy Birthday to Me!

My parents surprised me with a spinning wheel.

It's the 1964 model of the Ashford Traditional wheel, made from '64 to '66, in '67 they changed how parts of the wheel looked, so I know it's older.

This is a photo from Ashford's site.

I'll take a few pictures of mine soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Not Knitting

I got to go to the Obama Victory Rally!

The first of three checkpoints.

The second.

And the third (the white tent in the top left corner of the photo), where they had the metal detectors.

Entering the park.

The Jumbotron, our friend, made Obama bigger for us. He was about 3" tall viewed from where we ended up.

The acceptance speech!

Crowd members.

Stephanie (taken with my iPhone), who let me be her date since I didn't get my own ticket.

Andre, who we ran into partway through the night.

And me, with the Jumbotron acceptance speech in the background.

People taking pictures of the crowd leaving.

The crowd leaving.

A long street shot of the mass exodus.

Stephanie and I headed right overafter work. We tried to stake out a space where several groups of friends could converge. Unfortunately, due to the sectioning of the field and cell network overload, none of our groups made it too us. We were in the metal detector screened section and, as Andre put it, our friends were in the section of the field where people might have guns. We ran into Andre by accident, he had become separated from his companions as well.

The evening was awesome. Several hours of election coverage, chatting with strangers, eating overpriced pizza (I later found out that it was $1 per slice less in the "people might have guns" section) and debating if CNN projections were bound to break our hearts.

I can't describe exactly how I felt when he won. When they first projected the win I was a little nauseous, feeling like it was too good to be true. I didn't relax until McCain gave his concession speech. It was a really really powerful feeling to be standing in a field with tens of thousands of people listening to Obama speak. It seemed like no one wanted to leave when it was all over. Once the adrenaline wore off a few days of worry and sleeplessness caught up to me. I crashed on the train ride home.