Recent FO’s and WIP’s

I’ve had multiple projects in the works as of lately and none of them seemed to get finished until recently. Of course, I’m still plugging away on a few items, but I’m getting closer. Where do things stand?

Newall’s Tobaggan

I recently finished a purple hat for the president of my company. Why purple you ask? Well, the man wears purple every single day. If it’s not his button down shirt, it’s a sweater and/or pair of socks. He wears various shades of purple too from a deep eggplant to a pale Easter purple. AND he writes with purple pens, carries purple notebooks and uses purple sticky notes. If he could, I bet he would change his McKinney stationary postcards to be purple in some fashion, but we can’t mess with the agency brand. You get the point.

In passing a few weeks ago, he mentioned to another co-worker that he had just about everything in purple except for a toboggan so I told him I would knit him one. I briefly searched for a pattern on Ravelry but came up with nil. I didn’t want to make your average hat but I also didn’t want it to be of cheap yarn and definitely not look cheap, especially since he’s the president. So after wrapping up the Triangle Yarn Crawl – Autumn 2012 Crawl Kickoff event, I decided to search for purple yarn. I came across some Quince and Co. Chickadee in the Lupine colorway and bought two skeins from Rebecca at Warm ‘n Fuzzy.

With yarn in hand, I could conduct a more focused search for a pattern. So I searched Ravelry for distinguished male hats and came up with pretty much NOTHING again! I searched the Web to see if I could find an image of one and that’s where I found some inspiration. A basic repeating cable pattern with a purl background to offset the cables and a three-stitch knitted column between each cable. I also decided as I was knitting that I would increase the length of each cable as I neared the crown. The finished product isn’t perfect by any means because I didn’t track the exact number of rows after each final cable row so the length is slightly off as the cables grow.

Sourwood Mountain Gloves

Over a week ago I was asked to donate a hand knit or sewn item for a silent auction for a children’s organization. I struggled for a few days trying to determine what to make. Mind you I only had six days to come up with something. I thought about a sewn tote or purse of my own design but I really wanted to keep the only fabric I had in the house for myself and I didn’t have enough time to stop at the fabric store. While knitting with a friend I decided to donate a pair of fingerless gloves with a beautiful cuff design and fiddly buttons. Yes, fiddly. That’s the whole reason why after mostly finishing them back in July 2011 and sewing on four 1/4″ buttons and matching loops only on one of the gloves I had to put them down. I realized I would most likely never wear them because they were so fiddly. In order to get them on you have to undue all eight of the buttons and refasten them. What better way to get rid of them than for a good cause.

I sat down the Monday evening before I was to deliver them and put on the last four buttons. I crocheted a 5-6″ chain and thread the entire chain from the top of the cuff to the bottom making four unsecured loops. I tightly secured each loop on the underside with both chain tails. I wish I had thought up this technique a year ago because I probably wouldn’t have put them down for over a year. Why? Well, previously I had chained and secured each loop separately which was no fun. The gloves turned out great. The recipient was very happy with her raffle prize and I was happy to have them off my hands (no pun intended).

Homespun

When my mom and I attended Carolina FiberFest in 2010 it was the first time either of us had ever been to a fiber festival and it opened our eyes to so many new gadgets, techniques and tons of beautiful yarn. I was so intrigued I had to learn more about the fiber arts. Last August I organized a group of friends who knit and crochet to visit Heelside Farms during one of their knit and spin ins. We had so much fun watching the experienced ladies from the Twisted Threads Fiber Guild treadle the various spinning wheels in the room. I had to try my hand at spinning. They let me spin on a traditional single treadle wheel and I had the hardest time getting the wheel to go in the same direction consistently. And I didn’t have a clue how to draft even though the woman helping me was a great teacher. It just takes practice and not a roomful of eyes starring at you. Before I left they handed me a drop spindle and a bag of roving, which I believe was shetland. I spent the next few months attempting to drop spindle with pretty good success and decided to purchase my own spindle during Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF).

While at SAFF I took a dyeing class and a beginning spinning class. The dyeing class was awesome! I learned so much about fiber and saw how addicting dyeing could be. The spinning class left a lot to be desired but I still came out with a small hank of handspun yarn.

In late August of this year,  I bought my first spinning wheel, a Louet Victoria. She’s small and transportable. I still need a case for her and a few more bobbins wouldn’t hurt, but I’m very happy with my purchase. My first attempt at spinning a pound of blue merino roving was somewhat successful. I was able to spin three large hanks of decent merino yarn (starting from left to right is my 1st, 2nd & 3rd). The third hank turned out the best and seems to be pretty well-balanced. It’s quite fuzzy and not very soft so I’m thinking of making thrummed slippers for the family.

I also tried core spinning recently with some left singles of the blue merino and some hand-dyed locks from the SAFF class that still had their curl. And I used up some singles left over from my original drop spindle days. I’m really happy with the way it turned out and can’t wait to see how it knits up.

While in Ohio over Labor Day weekend with my mom and grandpa visiting family, my mom and I spent the day picking up local maple syrup, wine and some bluefaced leicester from Knitting on the Square in Chardon. This red hank of fiber drew my attention and had to come home with us. I had never spun BFL so I was surprised when I finally sat down with it how easily and fast it spun up. The staple length can be up to 6″ which makes it easier for newbies to handle. I tried various spinning techniques and found a modified long draw was easiest.

Today, I plied one full bobbin of the BFL and love the results. The twisted 2-ply fiber kinda reminds me of a candy cane or barber’s pole. I’m curious to see how it knits up. Maybe I’ll swatch tomorrow during a quick meetup with knitting friends.

Other projects recently completed include an iPad fabric case and a blue hat. On my needles are Alpha Stockings and Dahlia Cardigan. I plan on starting Zuzu’sPetals next.

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