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Posts from July 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014


Thank the Internet for things like Tour de Fleece. Without it I would never get the nudge I need to spin the small stash of fibre I have and keep my wheels from getting dusty.


I really like to spin. I just like to knit more and I confess I get this weird anxiety about making MORE yarn when I have a huge stash already (somehow fibre itself doesn't seem to produce these feelings; I suspect it's a defence mechanism). It's also because some of this yarn seems unusable because of the quantity, colour, or how I spun it. I do better when I set out to spin for socks or a sweater even though I rather like setting up the wheel and letting the fibre and my mood determine the outcome. I guess that's what happens when a product knitter meets a process spinner...


This year I took a relaxed approach to the Tour and didn't even spin everyday, but I make three skeins I love.


The first involved finishing a project I started this winter. Indigodragonfly Pandabaa 50% merino, 50% tencel in Abstract Repressionism.



The undyed bits did nifty things to the coloured parts and it was fantastic to spin. I went for a long draw two ply with maximum squoosh. This will make a great hat.




Feeling confident, I went for colour. I bought a braid from a little shop in a little harbour town in PEI. I decided to try my hand at gradient spinning.



 



I'm very happy with how it turned out. About 290yds, sport weight, two ply. I'm going to wind this up and make a simple shawlette. The colours are a bit crazy, but it will be nice to wear in the depths of winter. Turns out the key to a two ply gradient is to be willing to stop during plying and cut out the yarn that messes with the striping. I think I prefer chain plying instead, but was glad I gave this a go.



The last project was singles. And it was a continuation of something I started...a while ago. I don't actually remember when. The fibre is good old "wool top", cheap and cheerful for a project like this where I can't predict how it will go.



I spun up 100grams of this before and made some nice bulky yarn. So now I had to make the second braid look the same. My advice: don't do this many months later.


It worked out pretty well, though. I had the same problem as the last time. The yarn was too twisty so I had to run it through the wheel the opposite way to remove some twist.



Pretty close!


I over handled the yarn when I washed it and it felted more than the first skein. I wanted to felt it a bit so it would stay together, but I over did it. It won't show in a cowl (especially with a stitch pattern) so I'm happy with the result. Blue strings is this year, pink strings the older yarn.



I rather like spinning a bulky single. I think this is a good use for those pretty braids of many colours.


Now my plan is to knit up the pink and green and try to spin a bit more often and knit up more of what I spin. At least until something else catches my fancy!



Their feet grow up so fast

Xander is a growing boy who likes handknit socks.  

2003:

Xanderblue

2008:

Xander sock

2010:

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

And has a nostalgic mother. (OMG he's so cute!)

Actually Xander is a giant teen who really likes handknits socks and has a mother who is happy to knit for him because he's so appreciative.  Even for a 13 year old who is 5'9" and growing and has size 12 feet and a huge instep.

Non-knitters: This is what motherly love looks like.

Xander noticed his last pair of socks were too small and asked to be next in the sock queue.  I wanted to knit socks and asked him to choose from my stash. He chose Into the Whirled, The 'Verse colourway.

I loved his choice.

I started knitting.  I decided on top down (so I had control over the heel and could lengthen the foot if needed in the future).  I also went with a 2x2 ribbed cuff to work with growing, but still skinny legs.

I thought it was all going so well.  I added an extra inch to the heel flap compared to the last pair I knit for him.  Xander has a HUGE instep and I knew from Kate's wise counsel (and fabulous books) that a bigger heel flap means a bigger gusset and more stitches to decrease at the instep.

I was impressed with myself that I THOUGHT this through and had a PLAN.

Turns out I still think my baby is baby sized:

image from flic.kr

He can't even get his foot in.  Crap.

image from flic.kr

We talked and I said I could rip back to the heel flap and try again or I could keep these for me (or Emma who is eyeing them hungrily) and he could have the next pair.  And if he didn't like anything in my stash we would go and buy something especially for him.

Xander was sad but then made an excellent point: he is growing.  Fast and often.  He doesn't wear socks in the summer.  It would be better to keep these for me and make his next so they would be done when he was ready to wear them.

Smart kid.

And I get some kick-ass socks. (Already on the second one).

image from flic.kr


Go Xanderman!

I now have two kids in high school.

Xander graduated from grade 8.  And he looked sharp doing it.

IMG_4937

Grade 8 grad has turned into quite a THING, especially for the girls and most kids are DRESSED to the hilt.  Xander has grown about 5 inches this year and needed clothes, but is a practical kid who prizes comfort over most things and chose this fantastic ensemble.  It was a jillion degrees in the auditorium, and so being one of the only kids in shorts made him the smartest grad in the room.

IMG_4955

The ceremony was...fine (I'm going to leave it at that--search my twitter if you really need to know).  My son got his certificate and had a night to celebrate with his friends.  This is the time where the kids part ways and go to different high schools so it's good they had a day-long boat cruise in Lake Ontario to play and a ceremony where proud parents can take lots of pictures.

IMG_4960

I'm super proud of you Xanderman--you worked really hard this year and made the honour roll for the first time.  High school will be hard work but will also be lots of fun if you keep being the awesome teen you are now.