Friday, June 22, 2012

Two more projects off my "to-do" list

I've been flying, that is, working a lot lately.  My trips have all had a 3-4 hour layover somewhere, so I get myself a sandwich or something to eat and then go find the gate for my flight and sit and knit.  The lighting is better in the concourse than it is in the crew lounge, and the people watching makes having to sit in public with the passengers all worth while.  I finished a couple of projects this week and got ends woven in and them washed and dried so I could photograph them. 

The project to the right is called "Wingspan" and it is something that I just started recently (so it doesn't qualify for being a long-term unfinished project), but I'd been wanting to make one of these since I saw the pattern pop up on Ravelry.  This was a big trending pattern (12,000+ downloads so far) especially this spring, and I finally got the yarn and got around to getting mine done.  It was a very quick knit, and took all of 10 days total to make.  I used a size 7 needle and Noro Silk garden Sock yarn, 2 skeins.  I added one extra triangle since I wanted it to be very cozy, it's a perfect size to cover my shoulders when I wear a summer top or sundress.  I think it came out nicely.  It is still wet in this picture, the actual colors are a tad lighter and brighter when it is dry.

This is the kind of project that I could actually see myself making another copy of.  That's very unusual for me, I usually only want to make one item using a pattern so that I keep doing new things and learning new skills.

I also got out a very old project that had been in the back of my car for a couple of years, I was so bored with all the straight stitches on huge needles that felt like trees to me that I really didn't want to work on it..  I started that project when we had only been reenacting for a year or so.  I had made a triangle shawl before reenacting and wore it to an event before I realized that it was much too small to be accurate for the era.  This one is much larger, and though it looks like lace, it's just a simple garter stitch done on a big (size 13) needle.  The yarn is all handspun, and the fringe took me nearly a day to complete. 

I still have more research to do to see if this would be accurate for Civil War reenacting wear (that is, did the people of the era really wear shawls like this during their time?) before I wear it to most events.  True, there are plenty of people that just put things on and figure those items "look" old but what they're wearing is inappropriate for the era.  The term that reenactors use for people wearing things that didn't exist or were the wrong material, pattern, etc. for the era is "Farby".  There is a lot of "Farby" in the reenacting community, but I pride myself by improving the accuracy of my impression as much as I can every chance I get.  Everyone learns as they go, and I wore some Farby things as a newcomer to the hobby.

I'm on to the next I'm making the Color Affection shawl and February Lady sweater.   The sweater is using up yarn from a horrible attempt at making a sweater for hubby some years ago, the shawl yarn is from my stash.  It'll take awhile to clear out the bin of unfinished projects, but I have until August 13 before I go back to school to work on it. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Off the Roller Coaster for awhile

I decided to take the summer semester off from school.  It was a huge decision because I'd like to be finished with this BA earlier rather than later since I'm likely going to need to begin my MA work immediately thereafter.  But I was so burned out I couldn't see straight and though I'd already registered for classes for summer, I withdrew from them and felt immediately better. 

I'd been knitting again since about February when my son was in the hospital.  With my best friend here visiting, I discovered a yarn shop that I hadn't been to in years, and began to make hats for the family, and because I needed to have something to do while sitting in the hospital with my son.  I also needed to keep my hands busy so I didn't get frustrated with my son's (now ex) girlfriend at the hospital.  Eventually I knit about 8 hats like this one, all in Noro Silk Garden light, using a free pattern from Ravelry to make them all.  I could do one in about a day.  They made great gifts for the kids and grandkids, I've now given most of them away..

Then after my son had surgery and got out of the hospital (he's all better now), I began to look toward our trip to Hawaii in April for another Son and Daughter-in-law's wedding / renewal of vows.  I always look at trips like that as knitting opportunities.  I'd bought the book of Noro accessories and found this warm and wonderful cowl in it, so off I went to the local Yarn shop for two different colorways to use for the project.  I'd intended to knit while on the plane on this, but it was so quick to make, and such an enjoyable pattern that I got it finished before we were ready to leave.  I ended up taking a pair of mittens that I'd worked on long ago as an airplane project, but I was so stressed over schoolwork that I barely made any progress on them.  I ended up having to spend hours a day on schoolwork each day that we were in Hawaii.  Although it was wonderful to be back on the Island (Oahu), I was really stressed out by my class.  We've both spent a lot of time on Oahu, so we did enjoy our time, but it was difficult with the stress of the schoolwork hanging over my head.  But I digress.

So my intended summer projects are to work on unfinished projects and to get some of the stash of fiber and yarn gone through, organized, and hopefully to use at least some of it. 

 Hubby and I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May and bought a couple of new fleeces because I couldn't I got those washed up, dried, and they're waiting for me in bags in the basement.  I will take them to the fiber mill eventually since they're large enough to have processed there.  I have plenty of smaller fleeces in the basement to process myself since the fiber mill requires 4 or 5 pounds of fleece to process per run.

I do have my picker and carder out and on my dining room table since I'm working slowly through my collection of Shetland fleeces that are too small to take to the fiber mill.  The progress is pitifully slow but I know I need to work at it if I'm going to get them finished.

Then I went into my large collection of other wool to begin to spin yarn for a sweater.  This picture shows some of the yarns I decided to use for the sweater, the white is from a moorit-a corriedale with the moorit gene which makes it eggshell colored, a dark brown romeldale, and the darker grey is from a CVM (California Variegated Mutant) fleece that was a mixture of cream, darker, and lighter grey.  I already had some of the yarn on a bobbin, so I plied it up with some newly spun yarn and was letting the yarn all "rest" before I put it into yarn balls for use.

So which sweater did I choose to make?  It was a tough decision since I haven't knit a sweater since I was a new spinner and made the one out of the "Ashford Book of Spinning".  It was so horrible and bumpy from my inexperience at spinning that I gave it away a few years back.  I went onto to look at simple sweater patterns, maybe something with a bit of Fair Isle, and discovered that I really liked Elizabeth Zimmerman's seamless yoke sweater which is found in her "Knitting Without Tears" book.

 Ravelry is fantastic, I've got all of my books, magazines, and patterns entered into my library on the website, so it gives me lists of all the patterns in them all and makes it easy for me to look through the patterns to decide what I want.  Anyway, I decided to do the dark grey as the main color, with Fair Isle in the other two colors.  I got started as soon as the first couple of skeins of yarn came off my spinning wheel.  I took the sweater and it's parts everywhere I went and knitted as many hours each day as I could find to knit and finally finished it within a month's time.  I think it came out well, but it's a little tight to remind me that I need to lose weight.  All in all, it was an enjoyable project and  I will undoubetly make another one some day with this pattern..