Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happy Chez Westy-versary!

A year ago, we closed on our first home together.

Home is where LaFonda the Honda is.
It's been quite the journey and it's still not totally where we want it, but we are definitely making progress!  Over the next few weeks, I'll share some posts with pics of what we've accomplished.  Since we still aren't ready to have a housewarming party of any sort... ahem

What's that they say about life happening while you're making other plans?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Donita2017 - Q1 update

Here we are, the end of the first quarter of 2017.   While I've been short on words the last few months, I've not been short on FOs.  I've finished 3 sweaters in 3 months!  It's crazy!

I decided that I really had so many nice sweater quantities of yarn, with so many nice patterns to make them from, but I kept letting smaller projects get started and the sweaters languished.  And this year, that was going to change!

I already told you about my first sweater of the year, which was also the first time I reclaimed yarn from a previous FO and re-worked it into a new garment.  This process was so satisfying!  And I loved the sweater so much, I'm already plotting knitting another one in a neutral color!

February's sweater was my first garment knit from my handspun yarn.  I was excited to use this yarn, I was excited about finding a pattern I thought it would look stellar in, and I was excited/nervous to use my handspun on a garment that hopefully would get a lot of wear.  What if it didn't wear well?  What if my spinning or plying wasn't up to snuff?

Unfortunately, all of those fears were put on the back burner once I got into the knitting.  I've detailed all this on my project page on Ravelry, so I won't go into detail here.

What I will do into detail on is how much I love the finished object!  My handspun is holding up well, there hasn't been much visible wear or pilling (I'm crediting this to the longer staple of the Corriedale), and this sweater has become what I was hoping for: a cardigan I can grab when I'm running out of the house that goes with everything.  It is cozy warm, soft and comforting.  And I'm already plotting the purchase of more of this fiber in the future! (Several thousand yards of spinning in the future, but whatever...)

The chevrons did turn out lovely, though!
Next on my tour of lemonade-out-of-lemons sweaters, I had to find a sweater that would be a good fit for the main color yarn I purchased for this sweater.  I really liked working with the yarn and the sweater practically flew off of the needles.  It was a great knit and I'm really happy with the way the finished sweater turned out. My mods are listed on my project page.  I was a little concerned about changing sizes through the yoke would be tricky on a bottom-up sweater, but this went really well! Ysolda's patterns are so well-written and it makes modifications so much less of a gamble!

I finished a few gifts so far this year, too!

A tablet rest that looks creepily like anatomy until it's fully assembled (check the photos snerk) and a stripey cowl for a swap package:

A hat with a ridiculously large pompom to complete a baby gift for an expectant mother/knitting friend:

and a late Christmas gift for a friend who loves frogs and all things green, out of cheery green handspun:

After knitting a few cowls for others lately, I decided I needed one for myself.

And this gorgeous yarn didn't bleed a bit!!  Shout out, Forbidden Woolery!!!
I finished one pair of socks for myself, but I tried a new heel (which I really like the fit of!).  Said new heel threw off my usual measurements and I'm in the process of ripping the toes back and shortening them a bit to finish them.  But they look nice!

The other new thing that happened this quarter?  Our Squish sent me a loom!? I'm still not sure how it happened, but this pretty thing appeared at my house and so I decided to try my hand at weaving.

I don't really know what I'm doing, but I checked out books from the library, figured out how to warp the loom (whose name is Bubbeh, btw), and managed this, with some help from Nancy at the guild:

I've done two towels out of kitchen cotton that I've had for... well, longer than the hubs and I have been married... Regardless, now they are towels.  Nothing fancy, just plain weave with some fringe.  I need to figure out my selvedges, but... I made fabric in a different way!  That's fun!  And it's calming, once you figure out how to get going.

I finished one braid of spinning this quarter:

And as for my loved bullet points:

  • Spin for more large projects
    Not yet - but soon!
  • Sew
    *cricket, cricket*
  • Knit more sweaters & socks
    On track!
  • Knit an afghan or 2
    I started a blanket... 
  • Learn brioche knitting
    Weaving, brioche... it's the same right?  Weaving may be my new skill this year.  Sorry brioche.  I know you're hot right now, but I'm never really 'hot right now'.
  • Knit from:
    stash - check! everything from this page is from stash at least 6 months old  (or older...)
    queue - check!
    handspun - check!
  • 20K in finished projects again!
    On track with over 6K complete!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

From fluff to finished object

I love spinning (have I mentioned that?).  And I love the path spinning takes to yarn and then later, finished object.

Fiber Optic has the most luscious fiber, it's always beautifully prepared and is a joy to spin.  That was exactly the case with this braid.  Seriously - click the link and go get your own.  It's totally worth it.  I'll wait.

Did you get it?  Did anything else fall into your cart along the way?  Don't worry - this is a judgement free zone.  If money and criminal charges were no object, I would just grab it all and run.  And then stop, roll around in it, gather it back up and run some more.

My humble braid found its way home from Wooster with me 2 springs ago.

This past spring, it grew into this beautiful yarn.

Not long after, it whispered that it wanted to be a shawl.  And I stretched that pattern to use as much of this yarn as possible.

This game is called yarn chicken.  And I won.
And the finished object was nearly perfect.  This picture is from before it was even washed or blocked.  It is SO soft.

I've enjoyed wearing this shawl for several months now, and it still looks as beautiful as ever!  (You can see the subtle color shifts better in this light, too!)