Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mittens from the Corespun

Very rarely do I knit something with my handspun. I made a resolution that every second project that I cast on needs to be in handspun. I did this in order to force myself to do something with my ever growing stash of this gorgeous stuff. Usually it sits for years until something strikes me. But not the handspun from the last post. My first attempt at corepinning was a success! And I was immediately inspired to knit with it. And I knew just the pattern. Its called Either/Or and its by one of my favorite designers Lee Meridith. I bought her new ebook called Remixed when it was in production. I loved getting a pattern emailed to me every week or so. And this pattern book does not disappoint. So far, I've knit two of them - Either/Or and Wild is the Wind. Both patterns are written as a recipe - whereby you plug your gauge numbers into the pattern and knit away. Lee usually includes different options in her patterns too. The hat pattern could have been knitted beanie style or beret style. It could have had a rounded top or a pointy top. The mittens could be full mittens or fingerless. Long cuff or short cuff. Garter edge or full on garter. See what I mean? The possibilities are endless. I'm a big fan. This type of pattern is perfect for handspun and its perfect for the irregularities that come with corespinning. You won't see things like knit for 22 rows in these patterns, but you will see things like knit until it comes to the top of you index finger. You end up with the most custom made and perfectly fitting accessories. So, without further adieu, I present my Corespun Either/Or mittens.
Here they are, laying on the snowbank in front of my house. Yes, still snow! Still need mittens.
Here they are, as I'm finishing off the second cuff. This photo gives you an idea of the clever construction. You actually cast on at the thumb!! Its not the first time I've knit mittens like that, believe it or not. I knit Target Wave mittens by Norah Gaughan. Don't get me wrong, I love Norah's patterns but these paled in comparison. They looked funny and even worse, felt funny when worn. But not the Either/Or....they fit like...well, a glove.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I ordered the book Spin Art from Amazon before my trip to Quebec. I was delighted to find it was here upon my return.
This book is so beautiful. The textured yarns in this book are so pretty and I was itching to give this stuff a try. The author, Jacey Boggs, recommends starting from the beginning and learning some of the basic techniques for textured spinning. Reluctantly, that is what I did. I really wanted to jump right into spinning beehives, but I knew the author was right. She's been doing this for longer than I have. Spinning textured yarns is totally different than spinning regular yarns. I usually aim for smooth, consistent yarn - but the skills used for that type of spinning are totally different than the skills used for spinning textured yarns. Notice that I'm saying textured yarns...not art yarns. That's what the author calls them, and I think she is right. The title 'Art Yarn' brings to mind something so wild and unique that it is 'Art' all on its own. That the yarn itself is the finished object and it doesn't need to be knit, woven or crocheted into something else. So, I too, will be calling any yarn that I intend to use, textured yarn. The first technique that I tried ( are others ahead of this in the book, I did skip a few) is corespinning. Corespinning basically involves wrapping a core yarn or thread with fiber. Its great for extending yardage on those precious handcarded batts and none of the good stuff gets lost in the middle of the yarn because all of the fiber is showing on the outside of the core. To corespin, you need to decide what weight of yarn you want and pick your core accordingly. I was aiming for a DK weight so I picked a fingering weight for my core. I ultimately ended up with a heavy worsted weight since I'm new to the technique and some of the fiber really piled on. So, here is my final yarn! I love it. The batt is a One of a Kind art batt from etsy seller Hanks in the Hood.
I ended up with about 110 yards and I still have plenty of this batt left over to do another 100 yards or so. I'm really happy with corespinning and I will be using it again. It required really different hand movements than what I'm used to. When I do this again, I will be adding more twist to my core yarn before spinning. My finished yarn was a little over twisted. I think this could be sorted out by adding more twist to the core than what I originally did.
Overall, this book is beautiful, I highly recommend it...and I haven't even watched the DVD that comes with it!

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Can't Believe.....

I can't believe that I haven't blogged yet this month. Its been an incredibly busy, productive month. I went to visit Amy!!! She had her final graduation recital and she rocked it! She was beautiful and amazing and everything that a I knew she would be. I was beyond proud! My daughter is so talented, I have no words. We had a really great time - lots of great food and some great shopping in Sherbrooke and Montreal. Of course I went to a yarn shop. I went to Mouline this time around. I bought a sweater's worth of Madenline Tosh chunky! I can't wait to try it out. I'm debating on which sweater it will actually become, but time will tell. Here are a few photos of some of the things that I've made recently....mostly knit while travelling. First up....a hat made from 100% yak fiber. The pattern is Anne Hanson's of Knitspot. I'm a member of her Bare Naked club and I love it so much. Yarn in its natural colour. This yak is divine. So soft!
And then I made a sock ... and a half. The pattern is Cat Bordhi's and its from the book 'The Knitter's Book of Socks'. This sock is knit toe up and has a really interesting arch expansion construction. And its extremely comfortable to wear. Here's hoping that I don't come down with second sock syndrome and can manage to knit the second one...well, there is more travelling in my future so I'm sure that it'll get done...eventually. Lol. The yarn is from esty seller lollypop yarns...and I love the self striping. I love this sellers stuff, but getting some of her yarn has proven near on impossible. I have to stalk her website like a crazed lunatic and even then you end up getting cart jacked. I've almost knit up the two balls I have and well, I neeeeeed more... I think I have a problem. Yes, I do...this girls shop and Loop. I'm not even linking the shops here just in case I have a reader that might be much?
And finally, the best thing that I've ever made....the project that I'm most proud magnus opus if you will.
Isn't she beautiful??? I just love her so much!