Friday, March 26, 2010

Steek experiment

So this is not supposed to be a knitting blog but anyway, here's a steeking experiment.  I am doing slash pockets with a steek in the middle for the toddigan.  

Other changes; my gauge has tightened up so I went up a needle size.  I might need to go up one more.
fjyfmkuk ut k!!!!  Handmade stuff can be really annoying.  Also, dark things are hard to photograph.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Bagged Cold Mountain

Just a footnote to the cold mountain shawl.  I bagged and mailed it last week.  I just had to get some kind of shawl pin for it and there it is.  My mom loves it!  Says it made her want to get her hair done because she feels dressed down with this shawl.  I felt exactly the same and yet it is not the fanciest shawl out there and its colors are fairly low key but yes, it is somehow classy.

I gotta love ziplock bags.  I was able to suck the air out of this 1 gallon one.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Knit, washed and blocked, as per recommendations.  I don't want to mess this up.
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Toddigan Yarn Skein One

Spun, plied and washed yesterday.  Now I need to ball it up and do a swatch.

Once I do that I can estimate how much more I need to spin.  I hope that I won't need more than 4 skeins but I have a feeling I will need more.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Bad Language

I know, that's bad language.  I just think that there should be more LOLALPACAs out there.  This is a photo I took last summer when visiting a suri farm in Ohio.  This cria was born a few week premature and was a little shaky.  I think she ended up OK but her mom looks mad at me for even looking at her baby.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Since I've become active on Ravelry

I tend to document a lot of my thoughts on projects there when perhaps I should be doing so here.  So I will try to do that for an idea I have for a cardigan for Todd.

I have a lot of decisions to make and a lot of things to figure out.  I am developing theories about alpaca and how I can use it more effectively.  It really does act differently from wool, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  One thing to consider is drape.  Many people mix in a bit of wool to make it maintain some springiness.  Is that really needed?  Maybe the structure of the garment just needs to be different.

I have an alpaca sweater that has had 2 different hemlines.  It is a rather fitted sweater, intentionally tailored to my body with a decent amount of success.  I have come to the conclusion that a ribbed hemline might not be best for alpaca so I changed it to a split welt.  That lets it hang freely.  I should complete that tonight.
Maybe alpaca is better if it is more tailored as it doesn't spring like wool does.  This might make it harder to work with but the results might be more satisfying.  I have a feeling that I might end up being happy with the sweater I finish tonight.

Anyway, my sweater inspiration is the urban aran cardigan which is a variation of the urban aran.  I have yet to buy the pattern.  I actually want to turn it into  hybrid sweater, OK, if you aren't on ravelry that link won't work.  If you are really interested in knitting you must join ravelry.  There.  I said it.  I think I want to steek it and I also want to change the direction of the side thing and turn put in some slash pockets.  Yup, that'd be pretty sweet.  I also want to change it to a finer gauge.  This is alpaca after all.

OK, soo I re-edit this post to think how much fiber do I actually need?  If it were chunky weight it could be  3 pounds.  Somebody said alpaca can be heavier than you think.  I mean, it's hard for me to reckon exactly what I need.  I am going to try to card more than I need and spin and hopefully I will not have a repeat of what happened with my shawl.  I had to spin a LOT more than I thought I would.

I have however chosen a fleece and a bit of dyed fleece to card.  I want it to be 75% natural black and 25% dyed blue and green.  I need to get a better idea of what I need before I spin anything.  This really is tricky.

We have a winner!

Hi, I have a winner, Al Hoff.

I have inserted this random photo of a cria that kissed me.  No, I do not have any fleece from her but I did get some from this small farm in southwestern Pennsylvania.

I will be contacting Al Hoff for guidance in making this yarn.

I will try to document this process in detail.

Many thanks to the other contestants!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Suri Shawl Blocked

The sun came up and through the clouds illuminated this.

It is not just a shawl but a small, light blanket.  I'm sure my mom will find this useful.  If it wasn't for her I don't think I'd give it up.

Here's my matador pose.

and just wrapped around me.  I feel under-dressed for this shawl and yet it is sort of casual.  It weighs a bit more than 14 ounces, fairly light and yet so warm.

I blocked it under a twin top bunkbed using blocking wires.  It ended up being easier as I just stretched it to the dimensions of the bed.  It relaxed a bit when I unblocked it.  If I do another large triangle it will be trickier.  This is yet another reason why lately I am favoring rectangular shawls.
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I promised myself if I had an audience

That I would blog frequently.  So here it is.  Everybody likes it when the deal is sweetened.  I have reached my goal and will alert my winner shortly.  Now I must drink coffee and wake up.
That shawl there is my 2nd that is made from my own homespun alpaca, before blocking.  I could have documented the process that brought this to life but I didn't.  All I can say now is that snowy weather is excellent for any solitary art.

I promise to document my spinning better.  I will start with my prize.  So whoever wins, be aware that I will post many photos of it at many stages of its production.  Of course I welcome feedback from my audience.  Thank all of you who have an interest in this!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Just for fun I am going to publish everything I tried as a background today.  It still isn't exactly what I imagined, but it'll work.
The bonus is you get to see in detail the shawl I am making for my mom.  The darkest image is closest to  its true colors.

Yarn Contest Part II

I am going to keep track of my contestants here. I think I will stick to my mindset of drinking coffee half asleep posting.  Jeez, I did the update of the editing stuff and it still is incredibly awkward for me.  Why can't I turn my names into a list?  Maybe that other blogsite is better.

Anyway, I have neglected blogging in general.  Since I found ravelry this just seems redundant even though it is not set up for the topic of this blog, spinning.  I have found so much information there from so many groups and I also get so much feedback it's wonderful, the perfect thing for me to discover as I became more and more snowbound.  I was still processing alpaca fleeces at every level but I did not feel the need to document it here.  I feel a bit guilty about this as I can cover some things more completely if I want to than I can on ravelry.  That's one reason why I have so few readers.

This photo shows the fruit of the weather as well as a ravelympic aspiration which should be completed within a few days.  It is a suri shawl for my mother that I hand dyed, carded, spun and of course knit.  One thing I do like about this blog is that the pictures you post are actually pretty large so if you click on the image it will take up your whole computer screen and perhaps more, the better to see that this is 4 colors of heathered yarn.  I was trying to spin lace weight but it is actually fingering to sport.  Each color is 25-50% natural black suri.  Colors mixed in include golden yellow, bright green, bright violet, a dark aqua and hot pink.  This was not what I imagined I would be doing with it but I like it just the same.  If you are familiar with the pattern I used, Cold Mountain, you might notice that I shortened the center a little bit.  I knew I was short of yarn and that this was going to be long enough anyway.  By all rights I could have stopped 3 days ago but I want it to be symmetric and I spun all that yarn so I am still knitting away.  I did have to card and spin a little extra of the pink to complete it.

So my contestants should note what yarns I have made here.  My weight and twist is a bit inconsistent but not just 'art yarn'.  I think what I make will probably be good for something small but perhaps not socks.  Spinning sock yarn is tricky especially with alpaca.

I suppose I need to promote my contest a bit more as I only have 6 after one day.  I'll try twitter again and maybe post on another forum on ravelry.  Ravelry seems to be most effective.

Here's my list as of this posting.  Thank you all!
I am using this post to add more as they come.
  1. April
  2. Camille
  3. Al Hoff
  4. this mama's dreads
  5. Jenny
  6. LauraGB
  7. Amy
  8. Lori
  9. Rachel
  10. kitten with a whiplash
  11. Lisa(jeepgirl)
  12. one sheep
  13. Megan
  14. fuzzy-slipper
  15. Evelyn
  16. Brenda
  17. Carmela
  18. Tasha
  19. pegmac
  20. francine
PS:  I'm sorry about the rapidly changing background.  I hope everything is legible now!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Yarn Contest

OK, so I was on ravelry and somebody with a blog had a contest where you had to simply COMMENT. She is looking for 100 comments and her prize is 100 grams of sock yarn.

What a simple idea! After 10 minutes of contemplation I have decided to have a similar contest but in this case the prize is 100 grams of homespun. I am willing to costume make some for the winner but all I require are TWENTY, read that just TWENTY entrees. This will be randomly drawn though nobody will be watching me so nice comments might be better.

You are either a resident of the continental USA or able to get someone from here to ship for you. Sorry but it gets more complicated and expensive and I don't want to think more or spend more than I have to.

The winner will suggest a yarn weight, 1 or 2 ply, suri or huacaya, or both of which I will choose from a quality fleece as some of mine are rough, unless that's what you want. You also get a choice of color. I will handcard a color and texture blend from what I've got rather than do a new dye. I can cover most colors, indeed a color range might be better than just one. The only thing I am lacking is natural gray.

I still am an inconsistent spinner so you can't be too picky. PIctured here is Sally next to one of the 1st balls of yarn I spun.

We'll see what this generates. Good luck to my twenty.