Thursday, November 30, 2006

Back To Spinning

This dried a lot faster than I expected so I was able to take a picture today. It looks even better than when I was blocking it. I might give it to one of Joseph's teachers. She is a knitter and I know she would appreciate it. Originally I was thinking of making her a pair of socks but I don't think I would be able to get them finished in time anyway.

The spindle is the Golding I got in the mail on Sunday. I've been spinning the Louet Merino/Silk 80/20. I have not been able to get such a consistent fine laceweight single before. I think it is because of the small spindle. The spindle is the 2" one and the weight is only .6oz. I love it. I'm just not sure I am doing such a great job winding the cop because the spindle is starting to wobble. Of course it is possible I have too much fibre on it since it is such a small spindle. It doesn't feel heavy at all. I'll figure it out eventually.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

Sandi Purl had this quiz on her website and I thought it was cute so I decided to try it.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.
Take this quiz!

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Isn't She Wonderful??

The Salmon Queen is blocking. It's a little difficult to see how it looks because of the lines on the blocking mat I have but I'll take another picture tomorrow morning and post it. I woke up at 3:30 this morning and it felt good to just go back to bed instead of going into the living room to knit. I am very glad I did it though. What a sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Get My Blue Star! Yippee!!

I can't believe I was actually able to finish this on time. I've been up since 3:30 this morning and I have a horrible headache because I am so tired but the knitting is done!! Now all I have to do is block it. I'll do that in the morning before I go to work. I want to see what it looks like once it's blocked. I didn't do the plain knit rounds because I wouldn't have had enough thread if I had. I started this last Sunday and I worked on it at our SnB last week. Surpisingly enough I haven't touched my spindles for 2 days. I did discover something interesting. If I wanted to get a little more knitting time in when I was too tired to continue all I had to do was pick up my spindle and it gave me a second wind. Problem was then I made mistakes. I read the pattern wrong and had to fix 8 rows worth of stitches. I didn't want to tink back 8 rounds so I dropped the stitches and used a crochet hook to pick them back up again. I did that Sunday morning and it took me almost 3 hours to get it all fixed. Yesterday morning I had to tink back a round because one repeat had too many stitches and I couldn't figure out where the mistake was. In the end all the trials and errors of this pattern were worth while.

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

I have to keep telling myself that I think I can, I think I can. I'm going insane trying to finish the doily I started last week. I MUST have a finished project for Lacevember or it will be no blue star for me. I am going to shorten the doily by about 12 rounds because I don't like the way the edging looks. When I finish the section I am working on now I will do 2 more plain knit rounds and then crochet off. I am now on round 97 of the 109 I plan to complete and there is a possibility I might actually get this done. I woke up at 3:30 this morning and started knitting. Now I am so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. This project can't be finished soon enough for me. Once it's done I'll be able to get some sleep. If I can get to round 102 or so by the end of the day (before I fall asleep on the couch) I'll be able to finish it when I wake up in the middle of the night. I wonder why I am doing this to myself but it will look great once it's done.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Proud Grandma

I mentioned recenlty that my daughter Henny has her own blog now. She just posted some pictures of my grandchildren and I can't pass up the opportunity to show them off. They are growing by leaps and bounds and I miss them dearly. Living so far from family can be the pits sometimes.

Shanya and Yoni

This is Liba with Yoni.

This is Shimon.

This is the birthday boy Menachem Mendel. He's 2 today.

Home Made PVC Noddy

Paul and I finally made it to the hardware store. First we went to Canadian Tire but all of the pvc pipes we saw were too wide. The smallest we were able to find were 1 1/4" pipe. There was a Home Depot across the stree so we went there next. We found some 1/2" pvc pipe and all of the pieces have screw ends so we were able to just screw everything together. It's pretty cool. I just got done washing all of the muck from the tags off the plastic. Goo Gone works wonders to help with that. I'll try spinning some single ply again and use the pvc noddy to skein and wash it all together and see how it works. The cost was about $10, before taxes. It might be a little more expensive then using other pvc pipe but it is much easier for assembly. Even I was able to do it. The length is just about 15 inches from t-bar to t-bar. That will make longer skeins than my Roger Hawkins noddy. That noddy is 9 inches. I can't wait to try it but I have to get more knitting done. I still want to finish that doily. Hope springs eternal.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Today is Sunday Right???

I went to Romni Wools today to exchange the tencel cones. I decided to exchange only one of the cones and I'll use the 2/20 cone for some lace doilies. When I got home from downtown I had a box sitting on my laptop. The postman delivered this to my door today. Today is Sunday right? I guess because it's close to Christmas they are making deliveries on the weekend. I ordered a Golding spindle on Tuesday. Imagine my surprise when I received it today. It spins really well and is the smallest spindle they make. I like it a lot. If there was anything I could change it would be to add a notch behind the hook. That's the way I learned but I can spin with this even though there isn't a notch behind the hook.

I tried out the Tsunami Golding with some black alpaca roving I got at Romni today. The alpaca is the softest stuff I have ever felt but it isn't very easy to spin. The staple length is good but the rovings comes apart very easily. I am going to put it aside for now and read up on it for some tips on how to spin with alpaca. I also bought a bag of a merino/silk blend in an orienta jade colour. I tried it out on the Golding as well and it is a dream to spin. I have 225 grams of it and I want to spin it fine enough to make yarn for a shawl. I might wait until I am better at spinning before I finish spinning the rovings I bought.

Now It Makes Sense

My skein of the Fleece Artist Merino Sliver. The spinning on this was fine except the thicker spots were either the joins or the spots in the roving where I found it difficult to draft the yarn. It's my opinion that those spots had felted in the dying and it was extremely difficult to work in those areas. All in all I am happy with this and once the second roving is spun I'll knit something with it. I figured out why the skein is only 42 grams. I put the roving on the scale and it's only 43 grams. That means I only lost a gram. I thought it was a little weird that I would lose so much fibre when I did the spinning. I know I had some difficult spots but I didn't toss away tons of roving.

I managed to get some knitting time in yesterday. Not as much as I wanted. I still did some spinning. I just can't seem to stay away from the spindles. I might get to finish the doily before the end of the month. I'm going to give it my best shot.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I Thought It Would Be More Difficult

I was under the impression that a beginning spinner couldn't spin with merino rovings. I had actually bought this roving by mistake from Grand River Yarns before I had taken the workshop on spindle spinning at Gemini Fibres. I was impatient and I wanted something to use after I had my workshop. I knew nothing about fibres, staple length etc. Someone at the class mentioned that a beginning spinner can't spin merino so I didn't even bother to buy any. It wasn't until I got home from the class that the Fleece Artist roving was merino Sliver.

Fast forward 2 weeks and my search for a decent spindle in Toronto. When I was at Lettuce Knit I needed rovings to try their Louet drop spindle. I didn't like the spindle but I was able to use the roving. Imagine my surprise when I was told it was merino. When I got home I tried the merino and the first complete braid of roving is done. I am going to leave it on the noddy overnight to set. My first shot at doing it rather than ripping it off the noddy as soon as the thing is wound up. Tomorrow I will give the yarn and bath and see how balanced the skein is. Most of the yarn is fine. There are some thick and thin parts but that is mostly due to the spindle dropping or my nasty joins. When I wind it into a center pull ball I'll check the yardage of the skein.

So much for no more spinning because I have this deadline for Lacevember. I'm in serious danger of not getting my blue star.

Spindles Anyone??

Maggie and I went to Gemini Fibres today. I gave Maggie some roving and this really disgusting spindle I had. I apologized for giving her such a bad one but it was all I could find. I tried looking for another one on Saturday but I wasn't able to find a decent spindle in the GTA. Not surprisingly she wanted a better spindle and I was looking for a lighter one. I found 2 that I really liked and I just couldn't decide so I got both of them. The one on the right is the Orchard. The weight is 31.79 grams and the wood is rock maple & maple. I don't know the name of the one on the left but the weight is 27.89 grams and the wood is also rock maple. They both spin like a dream. It is amazing how long they spin and I am just in awe as to how much easier it is to spin finer yarn when you have a lighter spindle.

I am still having a lot of trouble with the joins. The Blossom spindle is 64 grams to begin with and the cop is getting bigger. I wanted to try and spin the entire 50 grams of the merino before I plied it. Now I'm not so sure I'll be able to do it because the spindle is too heavy. When the yarn breaks I am having a very difficult time getting the join to stay without breaking again. If I make the join when the yarn doesn't break I still have a difficult time getting a smooth join. I almost always have a wider spot at the join. Other than that I'm pleased with the progress I'm making. It is a lot of fun. I can't wait to get the Fleece Artist Merino Sliver roving finished so I can ply it and see how it will turn now. Now if I can just figure out how to spin the remaining 50 grams without having to park and draft I'll be all set.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Spinning and Knitting and Wheels, Oh MY!

Here is my new spindle!! This one is lighter than the Tom Forrester. I got it from Rovings. The whorl is wood from a pear tree and the shaft is walnut. The weight is about 1.4 ounces. In a way it is easier to spin finer because the spindle is lighter but the Tom Forrester definitely spins faster and longer. I am hoping to get to Gemini Fibres sometime Friday or Saturday so I can pick up another Forrester spindle. I have a feeling that the heavier one I originally bought will be perfect for plying.

I haven't been doing much knitting lately. I've been too busy spinning. I did start something new for Lacevember that I want to try and finish by the end of the month. If I get it done I'll get a blue star and I want a blue star. This is a picture of the doily. It's a Herbert Neibling design and the English translation of the name is Salmon Queen according to the pattern I have.

I have to exhibit a lot of patience between now and the end of the year. I am getting a spinning wheel. The Ashford Joy spinning wheel to be exact. I am hoping to have it in time for Christmas but if not I should have it by the end of the year or the very beginning of January. I was able to get it for what I believe is a very reasonable price. It's the double treadle and it will come with the carrying bag. That should make it easier when I go for spinning classes. I've already called Lettuce Knit to find out what they will have available but everything is full right now. I'll have to keep an eye on their website for updates to their class schedule.

I am exhausted but I must get some knitting done tonight. I'll post pics as soon as I get the doily done and blocked.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Practice Really Does Make A Difference

This is the latest attemp at making a skein of yarn. I plied this one because the yarn wasn't as nubby as the single ply I did. This is the BFL rovings from Fleece Artist.and I am only sorry I ruined the first bit of it. This skein is 30 grams. I'm not sure what I'll knit with it but I will do something. I emailed Gemini Fibres to see if they have anymore of it in the same colourway. If they do I will be able to spin some more. If not I don't know. I tried getting more yesterday and I wasn't successful. I do have some navy BFL to spin so maybe I'll mix it with the navy. My spinning still isn't completely even but I am very very happy with the way it came out.

I started spinning the Fleece Artist Merino rovings I have. I am pleasantly surprised. I was told that Merino is very difficult for a beginner to spin because the staple length is shorter than Coopworth or Corriedale. So far I haven't had any problem with this stuff which makes me wonder if it is really merino.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Knitting Your Own Yarn is Sick!

Knitting with yarn you made with your own two hands is, as my son would say, "sick". For those of you that don't have young ones sick is good. I know the yarn is uneven in spots but it improved as the spinning went on when I finally "got it". I am still going to knit up the rest of the yarn tonight. I might make this into a scarf once I spin more of the SAF rovings. The pattern is from the Arctic Lace book by Donna Druchunas.

I went on my own TTC Knit-A-Long today. I went to Romni Wools and Lettuce Knit. I got some navy Blue Face Leicester (BFL) and some grape dyed Corriedale rovings at Romni and I found out I can exchange the 2/20 tencel I bought when I was there for the real TTC Knit-A-Long for the 2/8 tencel. I just don't know when I will manage to get back there. They are having a beginning spindle class on the 25th but I don't know if I want to do that. I think I am just a tad past the beginner stage. Well, from Romni I headed off to Lettuce Knit. I bought 2 bags of top from there and Spin to Knit. I really have to thank the organizers of the TTC Knit-A-Long because I am getting better and finding my way around this city by TTC now. Now I want to get to Alterknits and Knitomatic. One of these days. Those I think I can drive to.

I wish there was a place in the GTA that sells better quality spindles. I tried at both places and I was very disappointed. I need another spindle and I guess I am going to have to drive up to Mt. Albert to get one.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Too Many Addictions

My knitting time has seriously been compromised since I started spinning. I have only done 2 repeats on my Lacevember project in the past 2 weeks!!!! That's only 40 rows of knitting. Ok so I am almost done with repeat 7 so it's a little more than 40 but still. I should have been done with the first side by now.
Having said that, I am trying to do a single ply yarn and I am not going to spin anymore until I have a chance to knit with it and see how it behaves. The spindle was getting too heavy so I decided to wind what I had spun onto the noddy. I don't have a PVC noddy yet. Paul has to make me one. We just have to get to the hardware store for the parts. I should be able to get that done this weekend, I hope. Since I didn't want to wet my wood noddy I had to take the yarn off the noddy when I gave it a bath. It instantly curled up like crazy. So I bathed it in hotish water for 15 minutes, squeezed it out in a paper towel and it is now hanging on the shower rod with a spritz bottle hanging from it to keep it straight. When it's dry I will wind it into a ball and post a picture.

My daughter, Henny, now has a knitting blog and I am so proud of her. I just added the link to my sidebar.
P.S. Here is the picture of the yarn wound into a centre pull ball. It could be more even but the skein wasn't twisting anymore when it dried. Now to knit something small and see how the yarn behaves.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

By Jove I Think I've Got It!!!

What you see is the result of spinning while standing!! I think I finally know what I was doing wrong. I was trying to over spin the spindle. When I just give the spindle a soft twist, it spins enough for me to spin the yarn but not so fast that I have to worry about backspin or the twist getting caught up in the fibre supply. I managed to spin almost the entire length of the rovings I broke off while I was standing. This is so much easier on my shoulders, back and neck. The yarn has some uneven spots but it is the most even yarn I have done so far. I joined 3 yahoo spinning groups and with some advice from some very nice people, I think I am going to make this into a single ply yarn to knit some lace with. There will still be some nubbing, especially at the begninng of the skein but that's alright. It just adds to the charm of the yarn. Oh and I thought I would mention, the roving is South African Fine Wool. It's very very nice to spin.

My First 50g Skein

I managed to do some more spinning last night. I had to ply it up last night because the spindle was getting to heavy. This is what I managed to do from the rovings I got from Kristyn at the workshop on Saturday. The roving has some mohair in it so by the time I was done spinning I looked like I had a cat in the house.
I think I would like another spindle. I have more roving now and I think it's like more than one knitting project. If I want to spin different rovings I'll have to have more than one spindle. I'm giving it some tought. I'll decide in a couple of weeks what I want to do.
I am able to stand and spin for little bits of time now. I also stand when I do the plying. I'm very surprised that the spinning is pretty balanced because when I take it off the niddy noddy there is almost no twist. I have no idea how I am managing that one. The entire process was easier this time. It didn't take me as long to do the Andean plying method and I remembered how to wind the skein on the niddy noddy. This was still done with the help of diagrams but it didn't take me a long time to figure out the directions of the diagrams. Overall I am pleased with my progress but I am impatient to get the yarn closer to what I am looking for.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More and More Fun

I should have discovered how much fun it is to spin yarn years ago. I was so tired last night, however, I decided to pick up some of the Coopworth to see if I could spin with it. I worked on it until almost 1:00 AM and this morning I finished off the rovings I had separated last night. I just got done washing it and this is the result. There was very little twist when I took the yarn off the noddy but it was suggested that I put a bottle on the bottom after I wash the yarn to get rid of the little extra twist. So here it hangs in the bathroom with a bottle of Fabreeze attached to it. I am very pleased with the results. I could actually knit with this. I just have to spin the rest of the rovings I have and decide what I want to knit. I also have to find out if the light fleece can be dyed. I don't know yet what colour I would do but I am not loving this colour that much and if I can change it I will.
I have to thank wendychan777 from the Knitomatic group for forwarding Leah's information about the Toronto Church of Craft's spinning workshop that was being held today from 1-4pm. I had plied the yarn I had spun and couldn't remember how to wind the skein on the niddy noddy so off I went to the workshop. Kristyn was teaching with a bottom whorl drop spindle but I just continued with my top whorl spindle. I didn't really want to try the bottom because I am just getting used to the top whorl. She brought some really nice rovings with her that she has hand dyed herself. I couldn't resist getting this from her when I had been able to actually spin with it. The rovings has a nice staple length and the workshop was loads of fun. Thank you to both Leah and Kristyn.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Progress So Far

I haven't had the time to spin for the last few days. Any efforts after the class last weekend were pretty bad. I bought some Fleece Artists Blue Faced Leichester rovings in a blue colourways and the results were dismal at best. I tried again tonight with some light Coopworth. It's not even but it is 100% better than the blue. I think the difference this time was the pre-draft. I split the rovings I took out of the bag into 4 parts. By trying it this way my fibre supply was not as wide and it was much easier for me to draft this way. Not to mention the fact that I didn't have as much trouble keeping the twist out of the fibre supply. I also managed to spin a little bit without having the spindle parked. I made sure to give the spindle a very light spin so that the spin wouldn't get away from me and keep me from drafting and then having backtwist. Once I get better at drafting and spinning I'll have to work on my cop. I think the way I am doing it now it is affecting the balance of the spindle. Tomorrow they are having a spinning workshop in the Beaches that I am going to attempt to get to. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Blog Wishes

The Celtic Vest is now blocking and officially a finished object. Now, if only I could figure out how to add tracking etc. to my sidebar for all my UFO's maybe it would be an incentive to get back to work on them instead of starting more projects. I also want to add a calendar to the sidebar but I can't figure out how to do that either. The last thing on my blog wish list is to see if I can have a sidebar on both sides of my page. I've seen other blogs that are with blogger that have these features but for the life of me I can't figure out how to do them. I'm willing to learn so if anyone has advice I will humbly take it.

It's the weekend YIPPEE!! I'm not sure how much knitting I'll get in this weekend. I have to make more beaded stitch markers. I did about 30 of them last night and another 36 tonight. These are half of the ones I did tonight. I think I'll work on them for about 2 more hours tomorrow and then I'm going to stop for the rest of the weekend. My hands are getting sore from gripping the tools.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Back to Lacevember

The Celtic Vest is almost done. I finished the knitting last night and now I just have to sew the shoulder seams and weave in ends. I am going to go to The Knitting Basket after work today to show it to Farida. The knitting with 2 yarns was interesting. I don't necessarily think it was needed with the colourway of this particular yarn. If I did the vest again, and I used a similar colour, I wouldn't bother with it.

Now that the knitting is done on this I can get back to my Lacevember knitting YAY!! I just started repeat 4 of chart B. Once this repeat is done I will only have 16 repeats of this chart left (for this side of the scarf). I'm beginning to think I should have made it wider. I decided to make this into a scarf instead of a stole because I know I don't have enough for a stole. Now I wonder if I should have added another repeat section because I don't what to have too much yarn left over when this is done. It's amazing how far this yarn seems to go.

I would like to make a special mention to everyone in our SnB. In January it will be 2 years since we started getting together. It's hard to believe it has been that long already. I can't tell you how much I look forward to each meeting. These are the best bunch of women you could want to meet. We'll have to start discussing what we can do in January to celebrate the 2 year mark. Thank you Maggie, Natalie, Chelle, and Kimberly. Angie I hope you manage to join us sometime soon. It's been too long since we've seen you. Michelle, thank you for joining us on Tuesday. I hope you will become a regular at our gatherings. Karen, where are you? Enjoying that wonderful grandchild no doubt. I hope we will get to see you soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Practice Makes Perfect??

What an amazing day. I went to Gemini Fibres for my "Introduction to Spinning on the High Whorl Spindle" class. The instructor was Wendy Whelan. She is really great. She has amazing patience. By the time the class was done I managed to get this yarn spun. I need practice practice practice but boy is this fun. Gemini Fibres is in Mt. Albert Ontario. I've never been there before. The drive was much quicker than I thought. I got there in just over 30 minutes and was WAY too early for the class. Cheryl. the owner, is a sweet and wonderful lady. There were only 6 of us in the class so the small size was perfect.

I bought a Tom Forrester Spinde and a Roger Hawkin Niddy Noddy. I just love the spindle. I still can't stand and spin. I run the shaft up my thigh and then park the spindle between my legs and draft. If I try and do it standing I have too much trouble with backspin even if I try to gently spin the spindle. I don't have the feel yet for when I have used up the stored twist and I still have problems with the drafting and therefore my results are still extremely uneven but hey, when I first learned to knit it was just as bad. I have to practice but now all I have to do is find the time. Gemini Fibres will most likely have a class again the the spring and I intend to go to that one as well. They might add an intermediate class and if they do I'll attend that one instead of the beginner.

This is my Lacevember knitting thus far. I love the way this is working up. Unfortunately, I have to put it aside for the next few days. A friend of mine is going to something for cancer next weekend and she asked me to knit the Celtic Vest Since I am a breast cancer survivor I just couldn't say no. I just finished winding the skein into 2 balls of yarn and now I have to figure out how to do the cast on. I've never done 2 yarn cast on before. Once I figure that out the knitting should go quickly.

Maggie and Jeremy met me at Gemini Fibres after the class and I followed them back to their house. What a wonderful place. It's small but it is so quaint. I love the layout, the size, the backyarn, everything. The fact that it's in God's country and you have to drive through all these out of the city roads to get there adds to the appeal even more. It brought me back to the days when I was living in Potsdam, NY. Thank you very much for inviting me over and for coming to meet me so I could get back to your place. It made a great day even more special.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Thursday!

And that means I have less than 2 days before my drop spindle class. Tomorrow can't go fast enough for me. Today was a nightmare. Joseph's not feeling well and I had to run him to the doctor to make sure he didn't have strep throat. Because of that I ended up having to work late. The break on Saturday will be great even if I wasn't so excited about learning to spin.

I just signed up for Lacevember 2006. It came just in time. I need a change from socks and I wanted to finish the Moon Dance stole anyway. I am making it a scarf size because I don't have enough for the full stole. I have 50g of gray Zephyr so a scarf will have to do. When I get to the halfway point I will weigh the skein to make sure I have enough to finish the other half. If I finish this fast enough I am going to get back to work on my Scherezade stole. She is crying to be finished and I am beginning to get the urge to work on her again.

I am getting better at this blogging. I managed to make some buttons for Lacevember 2006. It's still a lot of fun for me. I hope it will continue for a long time to come. Now if only I could blog and knit at the same time. I need to be able to dictate instead of type. Then I could do both!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Better Late Than Never

I can't believe the month is over already. Just 2 more months before the end of the year. The time just flies. For Socktoberfest I managed to finish 4 pairs of socks. I did the red socks twice. I finished these last night and just got around to blocking them. I knit a pair out of Confetti in pinks, blues and white and the striped socks from the Patons Kroy striped yarn. I also did one mini sock at the TTC Knit A Long. I am ready to stop knitting socks for a little while. I want to get back to the grey Zephyr. I'm working on the Moon Dance stole from Pink Lemon Twist.

In Februray I joined the Knitting Olympics. I knit the Tina Shawl by Fiddlesticks Knitting. Unfortunately, I didn't finish it on time because life just got in the way. It was one disaster after another for those 16 days and I didn't complete the border on time. As a result, I was determined to be able to join and finish the Knitting World Cup. For that knit a long I decided to knit the Creatures of the Reef shawl. This design is also by Fiddlesticks. This time I did finish. Not only did I finish that but I also finished the Tina shawl before the world cup was done. Now that I have a blog I hope you don't mind me sharing. Better late than never.