Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Copycat Cowl Part 2

Well, here's the cowl blocked and on me (please excuse the qualities of the "selfies" I'm new to taking them and obviously need some more practice.)   What do you think?  I love how the colors turned out, the lace and the edging.  My only knitting mod was to repeat the last two rows with the exception of increasing on the last row if that makes any sense.  This allowed me to include the final color change of the lighter spring green along the edge.  If I had one wish about this cowl it would be that I read the pattern's yarn choice before I started and used yarn with some silk content to achieve more drape.  But, alas I did not.  Now I wonder it if is a bit too "baby bib" like as I wear it today.  Any thoughts?

Joining in with Nicole today for Keep Calm Craft On.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Copycat Cowl

I was inspired to spin this yarn by The Yarn Harlot's post "One for you, one for me?" on this past January 21st.  She spun this beautiful gradient yarn that shifted from purple to pink to a greenish gold.  Those are not my colors, but the long color change, instead of my usual self striping, was so intriguing.  She knit the pattern Zuzu's Petals, a cowl that gives the impression of a draped lace shawl, with a few mods to use up her large skein of fingering yarn.  

Searching for a gradient roving of my own led me to Friends of Fiber's shop on Etsy.  There I found this beautiful BFL combed wool top in blues, teals and greens which are very much my colors.  It was delivered on Saturday early afternoon and by dinner time it became the skein you see above.  Same as Stephanie McPhee, I hate to wait until the next day for my singles to relax to ply my yarn.  Instead, I just jumped in and finished.  I am so thrilled with the results which amounted to 200 yards of a worsted weight yarn.  It' now had a bath and is currently drying on the back of my spinning chair so I can admire it.  And let me tell you I'm trying ever so hard to be patient and not wind it into a ball until tomorrow morning.  But you can bet  will be winding it as so as I wake up and will cast on while sipping my morning cup of tea.    

Joining in (late) with Linda for Creative Friday.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fresh Off the Wheel - Pastel Rainbow Dreams

Winter is long here in Minnesota and I am just craving color like my black lab Easy craves raw hide bones.  I turn to fiber to find the color I desperately need at times like these so fresh off the wheel this week is more rainbows of the pastel variety.  I thought a photo progression would be fun: fiber, single ply on the bobbin, double ply on the bobbin, finished product close up, wound and finally skeined.  The rainbow fiber was special ordered through Judy of Mamajude on Etsy and is a mix of domestic sheep's wool that has been naturally dyed with plants.  The gray ply is some heavenly fiber I purchased at last year's Yarnover event hosted by the Minnesota Knitters' Guild of baby lama.  It was so soft and drafted with such ease that if it wasn't for the price I would spin it ALL the time.  Lama is a weighty fiber with a lovely drape giving the rather plain jane sheep's wool a little more character.  That said, it took twice as many ounces as the rainbow fiber to make the skein which turned out to be a whopping 6.3 ounces/180 grams at 216 yards/197 meters of Worsted to Aran weight. All in all a rather expensive hank of yarn, but oh isn't it beautiful?  It's listed for sale in my etsy shop, but I must admit I'm tempted to keep it for myself to just look and touch when I need a fix.

Joining in with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rainbow Jewelry Kits are Back in Stock!

Yes, Rainbow Jewelry Kits are back n stock at Simply Playing on Etsy!  I dragged my feet for a while as the beads are a bit of an investment, all coming in packs of hundred, but you've been asking for them so I made the plunge.  The all natural new wooden beads are of a much higher quality and are made right here in the USA.  I also upgraded the hemp twine to a much softer, flexible 3 ply hemp twine made in Romania and added 2 more yards for a total of 6 yards per kit.  The plant dyed felt pieces are in the same lovely colors as before with the exclusion of lavender which was hard to keep consistent and often came out looking much too blue.  This DIY kit makes a great gift and with all the options for coloring your beads it can keep your child occupied for a long, long time!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rainbows on a Dreary Winter Day

Winter can start to get you down for many reasons, but it's really the lack of color that gets to me.  So, I turned to my spinning wheel this weekend and spun out this self striping rainbow yarn.  The rainbow ply is from plant dyed domestic wool that I purchased through Mamajude on Etsy and the oatmeal ply is from some left over Shetland wool I purchased locally.  It turned out to be a healthy 230 yard skein in a lightweight DK thickness.  I was thinking of selling it just as a skein, but I wanted to knit those colors and absorb their beauty while watching the simple magic as one colored changed into another.  I settled on knitting a very simple garter stitch bordered doll sized blanket and I very pleased with the result.  It is now for sale in my Etsy Shop Simply Playing and it's twin is currently on my needles.  I tried spinning another yarn on my wheel this morning, but it wasn't quite cutting it like this one so I simply stopped.  I guess you can never get enough of rainbows.

Joining in with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yarn Along - Homeschool Reading and Cold Weather Wear

I seem to start too many blog posts with "Well, it's been a while since I've written..." I just don't seem to be able to push through and post when life gets busy.  And living by all of my family as I do, life gets super busy around Christmas time.  We are now into the lull and deep freeze of January here in Minnesota a great time for reading and knitting as far as I'm concerned.  January is also my month "off" from knitting for my Etsy shop Simply Playing.  So, I am knitting things for myself after all the gift knitting of December.  A new hat and mittens seemed the perfect project with the ultra cold temps we've had here as of late.  I used some bulky Icelandic Yarn from Lopi called Alafosslopi in teal heather.  It is a bit scratchy but very hard wearing which is a good quality when knitting a pair of mittens.  I used the pattern Spruce Tree Mittens.  It was very easy to follow and was knit at a dense gauge for the yarn I used making the fabric nice and thick and warm.  For the hat (please excuse the pic as it is my first "selfie") I picked this pattern modifying it only slightly by jumping up two needle sizes after the ribbing to make it more slouchy. 

As for my current book,  I am reading Leadership Education - The Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMille.  It's about the phases of learning in the Thomas Jefferson Leadership model of education.  A good read, but I'm not totally sold on the theory.  Coming from a Waldorf beginning, which focuses on educating the whole child, head, heart, hands as they say, it comes across as too 'head" for my kinesthetic learning son.  I think there are very valuable elements to the philosophy which we will integrate into Sams' homeschooling, especially reading aloud classic literature, but it will be just that an "element" and not a "foundation" for his schooling.  Do any of you have thoughts on TJed or are using it with your children?

Joining in with Ginny for Yarn Along.