Sunday, March 28, 2010

IWTMT: Butterfly Moebius

(Before we get into IWTMT, this is the third day in a row I've posted. I think that's a record.)

Normally I try to post IWTMTs that are free patterns or one where you can see the individual pattern without purchasing the book. That's not the case this week, so I'm just going to link to someone else's blog so you can see their awesome project. This lady has no idea I'm doing this, by the way.

When I went to the Spinnery on Friday, I brought my two Clara Parkes books, The Knitter's Book of Yarn and The Knitter's Book of Wool. My hope was that I'd magically find a yarn that I loved and a project that would go well with that yarn, and it would be a match made in heaven. Luckily, I found two.

This week's IWTMT is the Butterfly Moebius from The Knitter's Book of Yarn. If you're curious what a Butterfly Moebius looks like, you can check out this blog or Ravelry. I liked this pattern from the moment I saw it in the book, and finding the Forest sock yarn at the Spinnery was like fate whacking me over the head and saying "you have to make this now, dummy". Ah, fate. Gotta love it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Green Mountain Spinnery Tour

I played hooky from work yesterday (don't worry, I'd arranged coverage) and went with some lovely gals to Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney VT.

Yesterday, by the way? Below freezing. Remember, I was out on my porch knitting not two weeks ago.

The trip from Rutland took about 1.5 hours. I'd brought one of my charity hats along, and I was able to work on it. I stopped before it was time to start decreasing, though, because the car ride made me sleepy!

We found the Spinnery very easily and all 7 of us crammed into the shop. It's so tiny! David, one of the original founders, was our tour guide. He was very nice and informative. I'll be honest with you, though: I don't spin very well so my brain may have taken a vacation while he was talking about those machines. Don't worry, I'll supplement my crappy note-taking with help from the Spinnery's Tour the Mill page.


David did suggest that we try not to get his face in any of our shots, and while I'm pretty sure he was joking, I did cut his face out of this one anyway! This was our first stop on the tour. It's the back shed where wool remnants are kept. Some of this wool can't be used for whatever reason, and the shop was selling big bags for $5 each. Apparently you can use wool for mulch. I didn't know that. (I don't know what mulch is either, but that's okay. I learn one new thing a day.)


The next stop was the washing room. It was pretty steamy in there. There was a woman from New Hampshire (Linda?) who was washing wool in preparation for a big spinning weekend going on at her farm today and tomorrow. The wool is fed through a bunch of rollers until it comes out the other end. You can sort of see the white wool on the middle of the roller. When the wool got stuck and caused a leak, Linda used a coat hangar to pull it out! I think this machine is pretty old.


This is what the wool looks like after it's washed and dried.


After it's done being washed, the wool is put into a spinner to take most of the water out, and then they put it in the dryer. Crazy!


This is ... I don't remember. David was telling us about how they were making their Yarn Over yarn, and how the original color he mixed up kind of sucked, so they added red and black. You can still see it on whatever machine this is. Sorry!


This is the carder. (No, it wasn't running! He was cleaning it.) By the way, there were literally pieces of wool everywhere. On the right, you can see the plastic sheet that protects other equipment from getting wool on it.


After it's done going through the carder, the fiber is on big rolls and there are a bunch of pencil rovings hanging off the end.


Then those big rolls go on this thing (the website calls it the spinning frame) and that's where the yarn has the twist added to it.


This is where the yarn gets plied. They needed more of the singles first, though!


We just missed the gal making the skeins, but she uses this machine to do it. They weigh each and every skein, and the ones that are too light and too heavy get put aside and marked that way. Neat!


By the way, there is literally yarn everywhere. I had to resist sneaking some out under my coat.


I thought this was such a cute touch in the workplace!


The tour lands you right back in the shop (how convenient ...). This is just one of their walls of yarn. On the left, you can see the gold and green yarn I fell in love with.

And that was the tour! Now let me reveal what I bought.


This is Wonderfully Wooly in Fiddlehead. This green shocked me out of my Blue Period.


And this is Wonderfully Wooly in Goldfinch. I almost didn't get this, but it goes too well with the green. (I didn't notice while I was purchasing it, but this was marked as being a heavy skein.)


This is their Forest sock yarn. Mmm. Again, I almost got a blue, but I think I have the spring bug.

After the tour, we ate at the Putney Co-op, which I highly recommend. I had the Putney Club, which was so good. On our way back, we stopped at Six Loose Ladies, but I don't have any pictures of that other than what I bought. And that, my friends, was my Spinnery trip!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Yarn Diet

So I'm on a yarn diet.

But I may have gone to Green Mountain Spinnery today.







I guess that wouldn't have been so bad, but I may have also gone to Six Loose Ladies.


Oh, sweet! Books are okay!



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finished Object: Amanda Hat #2 ... #1?

So while my sister's birthday isn't until tomorrow, the USPS and her school's mailroom came through and she got her package today. She also opened it today, which means I get to blog about it a day early. (Happy almost-22nd, sis.)

You may recall my sister's 21st birthday in London last year, where I made her a Noro Striped Scarf and sending it to England was expensive and nail-biting. But she liked it, which means she's doomed herself to receive handmade gifts from here until eternity. I have made a promise to myself that they won't suck or be ugly, though. I think that's fair.

This year my LYS bought out the inventory of another store, which involved some Malabrigo. I had originally thought about making my sis some armwarmers, but then I found the Amanda Hat pattern and decided that was much more practical from a pilling standpoint. So I made her the hat. In fact, I made it super-early in February and then told myself I'd make her something out of the remaining yarn, which never happened, and as a consequence I only mailed this thing out a week ago. I am officially a big fan of the USPS, who gets stuff where it's going on time for not a lot of money. Thanks, USPS.

And now, sis' Amanda Hat (as modeled by me):


Because my sister and I are two years apart and were dressed alike as children, I also felt compelled to make my own Amanda Hat, which you've probably seen since I could actually post pictures of that one. In case you've forgotten, or just want to laugh at my under-eye circles, I'll post it again.


(The first picture is so much more flattering.)

Pattern: The Amanda Hat (PDF file) by Gina House of Sleepy Eyes Knitting.
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in colorway Bijou Blue, about half a skein.
Needles: Boye interchangeable set, size US 9 & Clover bamboo DPNs, size US 9
Timeline: 2.2.10-2.9.10
Modifications: This is the peril of blogging about something a month and a half after you made it. I think I cut out the suggested garter stitch rows so it wouldn't be quite as big.

Opinion: I've made this hat twice now, and would make it again.

Random Thoughts: I learned from my sis' hat. I knit mine on slightly smaller needles. I think you can tell from the pictures that the red one is a bit shorter. (Both of those pics are pre-washing. I've since washed/blocked the blue one but not the red one.) She has more hair than I do though, so I guess it all works out.

Phew. Two successful birthday presents. I am going to fail epically next year, I just know it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

IWTMT: Rose's Wrist Warmers

I have a little secret to share with you all: I'm a nerd. I've watched Star Trek and Star Wars, and, not only can I tell the difference between them, I can carry on a conversation about them. I read Penny Arcade and XKCD. And I have an unholy love for David Tennant.

I first started watching Doctor Who a few years ago. I was jobless and had a lot of free time. My first exposure to British sci-fi had actually been as a kid, when I watched Red Dwarf on PBS. I still don't get British humor, but they've got some cute guys on the telly.

Anyway, there's this one episode called Doomsday, and it's terribly sad, but one of the main characters is wearing these really awesome mitts. I actually blogged about wanting to make them exactly a year ago. (Wow! I swear I don't plan this stuff out in advance.) A year later, I haven't made Rose's Wrist Warmers (Rav link), but I still want to. Yep, I'm a nerd.

In other news, I'm narrowing down new names for the blog and hope to choose one soon. I know I said I wasn't going to change the URL, but I think I will once I decide. I'll change the name first and then let you know what the URL will be. I don't think anything will change if you've subscribed, but I'm not too sure. I think the new name will reflect who I am as a person and a crafter a lot better. Plus, it won't sound as dumb when I'm telling people about my blog!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Springing Forward

After this weekend's yucky rain, today was a welcome change: sunny, 55 degrees and gorgeous. Now, to some 55 degrees is really cold. When I lived in Connecticut, that was cold. But I live in Vermont now, where anything above freezing you open the windows to let in some fresh air. 55 degrees is practically summer.

I live in an upstairs apartment of a converted house. We have a little enclosed upper porch that's not big enough to do much of anything with. Today I found something to do with it.


Dragging that chair out was no easy task, since it doesn't fit through the door frame very well, and the futon kept sliding off, but I managed. I had some knitting, my Ann Budd book, a Marion Zimmer Bradley book, a tape measure and a glass of cream soda. Oh, and sunshine. Bliss.

I started a new charity hat with the yarn. I'm limiting the self-striping tendencies of this yarn by alternating from two different skeins every row. This is a technique I've used before when working with yarn of different dye lots, but I've never done it with two skeins of variegated yarn. (Thanks for the tip, The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques!) So far, I love how it's turning out. I'll have to take a picture of one of the other hats I made from this yarn for comparison when the new one's done.

P.S. I didn't need the Ann Budd book. I know what I'm doing at this point!

P.P.S. I didn't need the MZB book either. But, you know, just in case.

P.P.S. I think I know why I don't make socks. Days like today are meant to be lived sock-free.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

IWTMT: Inside-Out Scarf

This week's IWTMT is an item I've been wanting to make for a long time. It's been in my Ravelry queue for thirteen months, actually. I even bought some Noro Silk Garden for it. So why haven't I made it yet? Who knows. Hopefully this post will help me get off my butt and start it.

My long-lived obsession is a little thing called the Inside-Out Scarf. While it's offered for free here (scroll down to find the PDF download link), it's also part of a book called Knit One Below, which for some reason I seem to be utterly incapable of linking to. You can look it up on Ravelry or Amazon. I've never tried this technique, but I love the look it creates, especially with self-striping yarn. It will be a welcome change from my myriad of Noro Striped Scarves, anyway!

The Ravelry link for the Inside-Out Scarf can be found here. And that one linked just fine. Go figure.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy 2nd Blogiversary!

I started this blog 2 years ago today. Unfortunately, I have nothing to give away or anything like that. Thanks for sticking with me anyway!

While I still haven't made that first sock, I've grown immensely as a crafter in those two years. I learned how to crochet and how to make things that weren't scarves.

From my first scarf (though to be fair, I didn't knit this in the last two years)


to reteaching myself how to knit


to my first project completed in the round


to my first yarn


to my first dying experience


to my first Malabrigo (and most recent finished object)


it's been a fun ride. I can't wait to learn more and share it with all of you!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

IWTMT: Bettna

I'll be honest with you: today's IWTMT can be directly blamed on yesterday's tax-free holiday. Green Mountain Fibers advertised that not only would there be no sales tax, they'd take the equivalent percentage off the cost of most of their items. And so, even though I am on a yarn diet, even though I should be saving up for my planned yarn binge at Green Mountain Spinnery, I was weak. I rationalized. I said "Hey, I have to work today, why can't I go buy something nice? I want a swift or a ball winder. This will be useful for all that Spinnery yarn I bring home." And I bought a swift. And I saved enough on it that I also picked up Noro: Meet the Man Behind the Legendary Yarn, which was on my Christmas list.

Now, this book gets some low reviews on Amazon, and I'd like to address those, since I read the book while I was at work yesterday. The book is admittedly scarce when it comes to information about Mr. Noro and his company, but what is included is very interesting. I imagine Mr. Noro is a very private man and I think the author wanted to respect that. The subtitle of the book is misleading, though, and I think that the publisher had something to do with that.

Also, from what I understand, these are all previously-published patterns. This is great for someone like me, who doesn't have any of the Noro books, but not so great if you do. I'm not a fan of the "buttonhole" style that's very prevalent in these patterns, but I found a good 11 patterns that I did like a lot, and to me that's a good enough reason to buy the book.

When you $100 at Green Mountain Fibers and are a Frequent Fibers Club member, you get 20% off an applicable purchase to be used at your discretion. That's one of the reasons I chose this week's IWTMT, because 10 balls of Silk Garden is probably going to be expensive.

Blog, meet Bettna (Rav link). Bettna is one of the patterns in the book that I loved. I've never made a sweater or cardigan, but Silk Garden is so nice to work with I think I'd be willing. I like that the pattern incorporates horizontal and vertical stripes, because vertical stripes are pretty universally flattering. I think it manages to be chic and snuggly, which means I'm sold.

Bettna can be found in this book or in the Noro: Revisited book.

(Just an aside: I provide links that don't give me any financial benefit when you click on or purchase anything from them. I've considered doing that thing where you can make money from Amazon when people buy stuff they click on, but I'll let you know if I do!)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Field Trip!

So, some fun news. The Marble Valley Knitting Guild of which I am a part is organizing a visit to Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney Vermont. It's set for March 26th, which is a work day, but through some serious begging and willingness to take on extra shifts, I have the day off and I get to go! I'm very excited and have been trying to sock away some money to take with me.

Of course, I consider myself to be on a yarn diet right now, but a trip to a spinnery is a special occasion. Maybe there will be a wonderful sale. Maybe I'll be able to buy sweater quantity. Maybe I'll even make a sweater.

I'll bring my camera.

In other news, I finished knitting another charity hat. I've decided my goal is twelve this year, or basically one a month. I finished two in late 2009, and have finished two this year, so that puts me up to 4 hats made. So I'm one above my "one a month" goal, if that makes sense. Let's hope I can keep up my motivation.