Shawls and Haps

My first skein for my Shetland Hap was 150 yards, I though that this would be enough for the center of at least a half hap, silly me.  It turns out that a full sized hap is about 1100 yards for the center, of course the half hap is still 550 yards.  I also thought that I needed two supplementary colors, I need 3.  The supplementary colors are not a problem, I did have to order more fiber for the center though.  It should be arriving soon so that I can actually begin spinning for the majority of the shawl.  One of the supplementary colors, green, is spun and should have enough yardage for one of the colored portions.  While waiting for the Shetland Moorit to arrive I am working on spinning the pink.   I have also decided that I will be carding the Shetland Top into rolags and spinning with long draw to make the center light and fluffy.

Aroha Knits has a 5 shawls 5 days challenge that she puts on every year.  I have participated for the past two years, and I managed to finish four of them this year.  I started the fifth but did not get it completed in time.  This is a great exercise that not only has me flexing my knitting muscles, but learning new techniques all the time.  I am finding that I seem to work better if I have a kit and work toward a project from that point.  Hopefully as I grow more confident in my skills I will be able to work on projects from a different approach.  Until then I am expanding my repertoire and having a ton of fun along the way.

Happy Crafting!

Hap-py Adventures

Between a few miserable days at work, teenagers after school at the public library, I managed to get a bit of spinning done for my Hap shawl.  Fortunately the Shetland Moorit I am spinning had already been carded into rolags for Spinzilla so it is just a matter of taking the time to spin it.

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This is only about four or five rolags of fiber, but they are spinning like a dream.  I am enjoying working toward a self-imposed goal with the encouragement of the fiber arts community.  I know that I will love this shawl no matter how odd the results are.  I am trying to fool myself into thinking that an Orenburg shawl will be my next project, but I am not sure if I am that deluded.

Happy Crafting!

Finn and Firefly

Spinning for the Hap begins tomorrow, so I have cleared the Finn that I spun for a breed sample off of my bobbins.  I managed to get 56 yards before washing, I love how it looks.  I am aware that I tend to overspin my yarn in places creating those little curls in the plies, but I really like that effect so it will probably remain.  I spun the Finn singles on the Ladybug and really enjoyed the process.  I used the Spinolution Firely to ply the finn as well as another sample I had created.  Let me back up a bit.

I obtained the Firefly for Christmas so that I can use the 2 pound bobbin (32oz) capacity to create very large skeins.  I originally intended to spin singles using my Ladybug and ply using the Firefly.  I did have to try the Firefly spinning singles first (I just had to, there was a leader already on the wheel) and this was a great way to figure out how the controls work and how well I like this wheel.  The truth is that I really do like this wheel, though I cannot pinpoint why.  There are a lot of options that allow this wheel to work however you want it to, if you like it on the floor then that works, you can put it on an angle, if you prefer it on the table then do so, you can even angle it on the table.  Should you be working with larger yarns then there is a hook rather than an orifice option.  You can easily switch between the larger and smaller heads, though the drive band is a bit finicky.  When using the 32oz option you need to turn the speed to the second dot before it will begin moving, and at that point it moves at a leisurely pace.  It is easily set up with so little pull you have to almost force the yarn onto the bobbins.

If you are looking for a wheel to help a beginning spinner focus on twist and draft then I highly recommend this wheel.  Without worrying about treadling at all the beginning spinner can focus on twist and draft while the yarn gets spun at a very leisurely pace.  If you are an intermediate spinner that wants to become more mindful of your spinning, or simply wants to be able to ply two completely full Bulky Plyer Flyer bobbins of singles together into a single skein, then this is the wheel for you, with the 32 oz head.  Actually, I think that any spinner that wants to work on bulky yarns and art yarns would benefit from this wheel.  I am certain that expert spinners can come up with even more options than I have mentioned here.

For me, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I believe that this is true of any new tool.  I like the idea of the hook orifice so I have kept that one on, but I do find that I do best when I hold the yarn straight out from the hook.  If I hold the yarn to one side or another I tend to get little jerky shakes in the yarn which can lead to breaks in finer yarns.  For plying, this is an absolute dream.  Since I am not worrying about treadling I get to focus on the yarn forming those little perfect bumps and then feeding onto the wheel.  I get to slow down my plying and see how everything looks without worrying about bobbin chicken or hurrying up to get the wheel free for more spinning.  The ability to change the speed at which I am spinning simply by twisting a knob, as well as the lack of worry about speeding up or slowing down as I get excited by the yarn/music/book/show is amazing.

If you are thinking of getting an electric spinning wheel then focus on what you want out of it.  I do not recommend the Electric Eel Wheel mini, the drive band broke on mine and I purchased the replacement recommended.  Right now, and for the last couple of months, it is under some extra tension to stretch it out a bit so that when it is on the wheel the little motor can actually spin the bobbin so that I can get some twist in the yarn.  Splurge a bit, get a really good wheel by a very reputable maker.  Maybe some of the other eel wheels are fine, but I am not impressed.  If you want to be able to spin really big yarns make sure that your model has larger spinning heads, if you want portability check weight, if you want lace weight see if the wheel you are looking at is good for that.  Above all, check reviews!

Happy Spinning!

 

Spinning for a Hap

Spin-Off magazine has their first 2019 spin along project and it is to spin and knit a Shetland Hap by March.  I had thought that I would spin for a sweater this year, just as a random goal, so this will be a great way to figure out if a sweater is a reasonable goal or not.  To that end I have chosen the fibers I want to use, I have some Shetland in brown, pinks, and greens.

There is a tutorial on knitting a Hap on Craftsy/BluPrint that I have watched so at present I am confident that this is something I can accomplish.  The official spin along begins on the 14th, so I will find out then how much work this is going to be.

I did finish spinning my Finn on the Ladybug, it is on the ball winder waiting for me to ply from a center pull ball tonight.  I am internally debating if I want to spin on the Ladybug and ply on the Firefly or reverse the order.  I find that I enjoy spinning more on the Ladybug so I will probably use the Firefly as a ply wheel since I have larger bobbins for that wheel.

Until I get started with that, Happy Crafting!

 

Fastest Socks Ever

I started these socks on Friday and finished them on Sunday.  The pattern is so easy and fun to crochet.  The results are acrylic and I did modify them somewhat.  These have given me the confidence to knit a swatch for knitted socks out of a yarn that I received from a KnitCrate.  The swatch is washed and set out to dry.  Once it is dry I will be measuring the stitches per inch and using that to create my first socks.  This time they will be knit cuff down one at a time.

What an auspicious start to the year!

Happy Crafting!

Crocheting Cuff Down Socks

crochet cuff socks

I have been trying to knit two at a time toe up socks for about three years now.  They were out of this yarn, almost a worsted weight, so they would have been socks.  I took them in to see a friend that I work with and she confirmed that the stitches are too tight, so it is the wrong size hook and the construction probably was not right to begin with.  So, I ripped them out which took very little time.  Then I wound the yarn into cakes, the ball winder I am using is fairly small so it wound into four cakes, and found a pattern to crochet socks.  I am using a 4mm hook to crochet these socks and although I accidentally added 3 more rows to the rib I believe that it will turn out well.

I cannot wait to pick up the stitches for the heel, foot, and toe.  I have not given up on the idea of knitting socks, I am simply going to begin by finding the perfect pattern, select or purchase the correct yarn, and proceed from there.  Right now I am checking a book called Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. If that does not work I will probably proceed to checking out verypink.com to see what her 9″ circular socks look like since several people seem to rave about them.  I have tried to look at Ravelry, but I keep trying to find a pattern to suit the yarn I want to use, laceweight, which is apparently not a good idea for my first socks.

If I can crochet these socks in a couple of days then I will be happy to have a pair of finished socks and be more willing, I hope, to spend the time I need to create knit socks.  Only time will tell, hopefully this will help me develop the patience I am going to need to begin and complete larger projects.  I believe that a book I read recently on Deep Work by Cal Newport will help with this. I have noticed the degradation in my ability to focus on more complex tasks,  part of this is due to the burn out I am facing however I believe that a lack of time and ability to deeply focus on my tasks contributes.

Okay!  So I should be starting my new year with a pair of crochet socks and some projects on my needles that I may complete!  On that note, Happy Crafting!

The Mice Are Dead!

Christmas Eve I wound up setting four snap traps with peanut butter around my kitchen and going out to see the New Mary Poppins movie.  It turns out that this is not a great movie for someone recovering from a recent loss, though in all other respects it will certainly become a new classic in short order.  When I came home the traps were untouched.  I went to bed that night, sort of.  I was up and about, I believe I caught about 3 hours of sleep between midnight and 3 am.  When I got up at 3 all four of the traps had been emptied of their peanut butter, but not set off.

I was furious.  I decided that I would reset the traps, Christmas Day, go to Mass and head to the local casino where I knew they were having a buffet.  I did so, the food was good, and came home to untouched traps again.  I spoke to the carpenter who is acting as an exterminator for me, and he said that he set the traps a bit differently so he would be up the next day to do so and hopefully that would help.  I, for the life of me, could not figure out how you could set a snap trap differently, so I decided to experiment.  Since I was essentially feeding the mice at this point, I smeared the peanut butter further up the triggering mechanism to try and force them to knock against the pin to get the peanut butter.  This worked, and I had to have someone get rid of the mouse that day.  The traps were reset, and my home organizers were due the next day, so I did not get much sleep that night either.  So out of the six days I had off I did not sleep much for four of them.  I did get two mice killed and I have had three days without any detritus anywhere else so I believe that they are all dead.  Now I just have to run everything I own through the dishwasher and scrub the entire kitchen before I cook in it.

On the other hand the home organization went extremely well.  I cannot believe how much they managed to get done in the 8 hours they were in my home.  No other animal byproducts were found anywhere in the house, not even flies.  I know that there are some people thinking that because I had a couple of mice, I live in the country, I have a dirty household.  Now that I am finished with my major destash I can finally focus on what I need and love in the house and making sure that I am surrounded by what I need and love.  The final note for 2018 is that I went to a buffet for New Year’s Eve Dinner and must have gotten food poisoning.  I will have to get the car detailed within a week so that I can comfortably drive it.  Needless to say I have not gotten much crafting done in the past 2 weeks, so sad.  What a way to end 2018, hopefully 2019 will be better.

Happy New Year!