Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dolly Blanket

Do you remember this yarn single that I spun a while back?  Well, I finally plied it with some white Shetland-Finn yarn and I am super pleased with the result.  It's pastel Springy, soft and squishy.  All good things in the world of yarn.  Since I'm not ready to sell it as just yarn I started knitting a basic dolly's blanket from it and by being so simple, the yarn really stands out.  As you can see it's just plain garter stitch which makes for nice end of the day knitting.

It will be listed in the shop this week if I can find time to finish it between getting over my cray cold and weeding in the garden.  Don't you love weeding after a rainfall?  The weeds just slide out - so satisfying!

Joining in with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rainy Day Train Ride

It was a very rainy Saturday morning when we took a drive to Osceola, WI to take a trip back in time on the Osceola Saint Croix Valley Railway.  Along for the ride was myself, my mother Jean, my niece Anya and my son Sam.  Unfortunately, my husband Dan had to stay home due to catching my cold from the previous week.  Although, feeling poorly he was happy to have the house to himself to sleep in peace and quiet while we were gone.  Here is our hour and a half ride in pictures.

The train consisted of coach cars, dining cars, box cars with gates over the open doorways, observation car and even an old mail car.  Once the conductor punched our tickets we were free to roam the cars at our leisure.  The ride was smooth and went by quickly and before you knew it we were back at the depot.

The sun decided to shine upon our return giving the children a chance to see the engine up close and play on an old caboose car.  It was a fun excursion with great volunteers happy to answer all the many questions the children asked.  If you are in the area I would recommend a visit to anyone young or old.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fresh Off the Wheel

I haven't had time in the last week to spin at my wheel due to being sick.  When sick I just don't have the focus I need for spinning.  So, last night I sat myself down and spun up the rest of my "A Wee Garden Path" batts from mamajudes.  That single along with another single of Blue Faced Leicester/Tussah Silk that I had spun earlier made more of the yarn that I used for this project.  Since I'm making mittens to match my mother's hat I thought I too would like matching mittens for my Mother's Day hat.

Here is the yarn on my niddy noddy which is used to wind the yarn from the spinning wheel bobbin into a skein.  Please excuse the dark photo; it's rather gloomy here in MN this morning.

And here is the yarn wound into a skein.  Next, I just need to soak it in water to set the twist, hang it to dry and lastly wind it on my ball winder.  Then I'm ready to start knitting this pattern!

 I chose a simple plain mitten pattern as the yarn itself is really the focus.  What are you up to on this Friday morning?

Joining in with Linda for Creative Friday

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yarn Along

Coming in a little late for Ginny's Yarn Along as I was finishing all those teethers and rattles to send off to British Columbia Canada.  I'm so relieved to be done - phew!  Now I get to focus on something just for fun like Mittens in May! or reading from my latest book The Power of Less by Leo Babauta.

I'm making the mittens for my mom to match her Mother's Day Hat as I had lots of handspun yarn left over.  Here is the pattern I chose which is a very simple basic mitten.  I'm struggling a little bit with "ladders" at the intersections of my double pointed needles so any pointers on avoiding them would be greatly appreciated.

The book I'm currently reading is all about simplifying your life so that you can achieve your goals.  The great thing I find about The Power of Less is that it helps you realize very easy "doable" things you can change to calm the clutter in your life i.e. do you really need to check your email 15 times a day?  And that when we calm are minds and environments we can then focus on what we want to achieve and actually do it.

What's on your needles/hooks and what books are you reading these days?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rainbow Rattles and Teethers

I'm finishing a wholesale order of rainbow baby rattles and teethers and thought some before, middle and after photos might be fun for you to see.  I did forget to take a picture of all the knit pieces before they were sewn together so you'll just have to image that part. 

Here they are freshly knit and all assembled.  
My "before" shot.

This is after three cycles of agitation in my washing machine with hot water and olive 
oil soap (do not use detergent when felting.)  
My "middle" shot.

And lastly, we have the finished product with all the fuzzy bits removed and the wooden 
rings rubbed with my beeswax/olive oil finish.  
My "after" shot.

For the first time I dried the teethers and rattles in the dryer on low as I am pressed for time to get them finished.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the wood in even better shape than when I let them air dry.  
You can always learn more don't you think?

There you have it natural wool felt and wood toys for the baby in your life!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Day Hat for Me

It always comes to pass that I knit a lot on Mother's Day weekend as knitting is my favorite pastime.  This weekend it was especially true since I was, and unfortunately still am, sick and all our plans had to be cancelled or not include me.  So between naps, sneezes and lots of trips to the bathroom (drinking all those liquids you know) I knit a hat for myself.  My Mother's Day gift from me to me.  

I chose the pattern Pup Tent and used some more of my own handspun as the yarn.  For the colored single I spun from a plant dyed wool/alpaca/silk blended batt from mamajudes called "A Wee Garden Path".  It was inspired by the April theme "A Secret Garden" of the Phat Fiber Sampler box of which she contributes to each month.  I have yet to snag one of these elusive sampler boxes containing all different fibers from "Indie" artisans, but I do regularly enter their blog's many giveaways hoping to snag a goodie or two..  For the grey single I used a blended roving of Blue Faced Leicester wool and Tussah silk which I purchased at Yarnover from Sue's Luxury Fiber which can be found on Etsy.  I then plied the singles together and got a worsted weight yarn.

Here is the end result and a close up of the patterning.

The patterning would be clearer in a solid color, but I still like the tweedy look of the handspun.  I'll try and get a photo of my wearing it when I am feeling better.  I modified Pup Tent by increasing the length of the ribbing and only knitting 2 repeats of the patterning section.  It was a pretty simple knit, although I did find myself ripping back quite a few times a redoing sections I assign this to being sick.

How was your Mother's Day?

Joining in with Nicole Keep Calm Craft On

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Hat

In my previous post I showed you the yarn I spun for my mother's hat.  Well, I thought I'd show you my progress thus far.  The pattern I choose was slow going at first with lots of  little cables (of course this may be because I was using a smooth and slippery darning needle as my cable needle) but now it's clipping right along in stockinette stitch on size 9 needles.  Maybe I'll even finish it tonight, a whole day ahead of Mother's Day!  Woohoo!

Knitting with my own yarn really is a pleasure.  I think this is going to be a new trend for me.  Extending the knitting process by spinning the yarn I find really grounding.  I realized this past year I was consuming yarn at such a rapid pace that I would never get to it all, turning it all into a burden instead of a joy.  Having since sold off most of that yarn I feel lighter.  Now, instead of knitting just to knit and mindlessly consume, I am moving slower, thank you spinning wheel, and more thoughtfully to knit out of need.  This feels like a healthier balance for me.  So, now I want to start dyeing the fiber to stretch out the fun even more!

Joining in with Linda for Creative Friday.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Yarn for Mother

I have not been able to stop spinning yarn at my wheel!  The quiet that washes over me as I sit in front of my living room window quietly pedaling away with my bare feet while wool slides through my fingers - it's bliss!  This skein was finished just last night before I went to bed.  It's a blend of a plant dyed mixed wool and silk batt from mamajudes and some lovely gray wool angora roving I purchased at Yarnover from Angora Gardens.  It's intended for my mother to replace a hat I made for her for last mother's day.  She lost that hat at the dog park we think.  I can only hope someone else is treasuring it right now as opposed to it becoming a dog chew toy.  Ouch!  That previous hat was made specially to coordinate with my mom's sage green quilted jacket; a favorite for the "between" seasons.  So, when I saw the color of this batt I knew just what it was going to become - a new hat for that sage green coat.

My spinning results have been improving over the weeks, but I'm still not confident enough to sell it yet. Don't get me wrong I'm really pleased with my progress thus far; I just have high standards for myself.  Hopefully, soon I will be able to show you the new yarn tags my multi-talented and long time friend Emily is designing that I will use when I am ready to sell my handspun.  Now, I just have to wait for the yarn to completely dry from it's bath.  This is the hardest part!

Joining in with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spinning into Spring

Well Spring has been quite elusive to us folks here in Minnesota.  Just last week I sent my son to school in snow pants due to the cold temps.  Today though is a different story of sunshine, soft breezes and warm 70 degree temperatures.  I thought I'd celebrate by spinning some Spring pastel colored yarn from a lovely wool and silk batt (plant dyed of course!) I purchased from mamajudes on etsy.  Here's a peek at my first single.  I might ply two of the pastels together or ply it with a strand of white merino. 

Has Spring sprung in your neck of the woods?  How are you celebrating?