I finished the scarf I was making for a friend for Christmas, yeah it’s late, so what else is new :P. The color isn’t showing right on my screen, it’s actually a fawn color and not grey. This is my Little Lace Cat’s Paw Scarf that I corrected a line of the pattern and added two more rows to, it’s not a beginners pattern but it’s not hard, just pay attention to what row you are on. I knit this out of some of my hand spun cria (baby alpaca), that my daughter had given to me as a fleece and sent it off to a fiber mill to have processed into what they call bumps for spinning, which is similar to a batt of carded fiber. Soft stuff!
The next picture is of the hat I am finishing for my friend this is where she left off with her knitting. It is Quivet (muskox fiber, and is very soft stuff too, and very warm) and I am getting ready to figure out where she was with it and see if I can finish it for her.
Our temps are back up to normal, I always hate those arctic blasts, but we get them every year, and I’m sure we will get another one before the end of Feb. The days are teens and 20’s ambient temps, occasionally we get up to the mid 30’s and we think it’s spring (LOL), and the nights are single digits to below 0 ambient temps, but I’m not out at night so I keep warm at home :P. Hope everyone else is staying warm as well.
Knitting – FOs (finished objects) I finished the last Flax baby sweater I was working on, it’s in the Yarn Bee Soft & Sleek in Coral colorway, size 6 to 12 months. I follow directions on this pattern, but when I add the extra stitches called for when I pick the stitches for the sleeves I add up a couple of extra stitches on the body of the sweater on each side to close holes when picking up the stitches at the bottom of the sleeves and then knit 2 together in the next round when I get to the extra stitches to reduce the stitch count back to where it is suppose to be, works well :). I also finished the charity hat I was working on. Both are pictured above. I will be starting a new flax baby sweater (a mom is due in Nov would really like one :P) and a new charity hat. Will post pictures of the yarn when I get them started.
Spinning – I finished the cria (baby alpaca) spin. I over spun the ply a bit accidentally and a friend is going to post a youtube video about taking some of the extra ply spin out. She’s really cool, she is Fiber Love Diary on Youtube, she has a lot of nice spinning, dying and weaving videos. Anyway, it was over plied because I was spinning at my son’s National Alpaca Farm day and I was sitting in the shade and I couldn’t see the ply well and I over plyed, sigh. Picture of the yarn above, it was 18 wpi (wraps per inch for my non spinning friends), and 3 1/2 ozs and about 330 yds, a nice fingering weight. Was very soft spinning, but to be honest, plying is boring lol. I have already started a new WIP (work in progress), it is a CVM/Alpaca blend – (CVM = California Variegated Mutant, it is a Romney sheep, courser fleece (less soft), from NZ, bred with Rambouillet sheep, finer fleece (soft), and has to do with a mutation coloration that was re-bred and stayed in the line, look it up on line for more information. It is interesting). This is much less soft than Alpaca but I don’t think it will be too course for next to skin wear. I’m not sure how much alpaca was blended in, it seem to be mostly CVM. It also has lanolin (Alpaca does not have lanolin) that was not completely washed out that gives it a slightly tacky feel, but it’s not hard to spin. The picture shows the ball of roving (2 ozs, I have 2 of these for 4 ozs) as a lighter color, it is actually a little darker, tho not much darker, and shows up a little better as spun on the bobbin, it has a mottled look.
Last picture to talk about, on Sunday at their National Alpaca Farm day event (I only went Saturday to spin, so my son in law was kind enough to send me this picture he took :P) a friend of theirs teaches yoga and she had a class in the alpaca pasture. Fun was had by all, the alpaca were as curious as the people doing yoga. Dotty to her mother Summit, “what the heck are those humans doing?” :p.
Hope everyone is enjoying their fall weather, winter isn’t far behind.
In the first picture are some of the things I am actively working on, a little girl baby sweater (yes the Flax :)), it’s in the Yarn Bee Soft & Sleek in Coral colorway. The larger item is a garter stitch comfort shawl in Lion Brand Homespun in the Waterfall Cascade colorway. The last item is the hat I will be knitting for my family member out of the lavender hand-spun (wool with a little alpaca blended in) that is showing in the next picture. I haven’t started the hat (Snowtracks Cap by Timothy Peters) yet, but I did get it wound into a ball. I actually enjoy the hand winding process, I find it a mindless and peaceful experience, well except when it is tangled as I wind, then it’s just an experience :P.
The next picture is all the yarn I’ve spun this year, (well except the orange skein it was a fractal spin I did last year, it’s just pretty :P).
The next two pictures are the alpaca cria (baby alpaca) roving I am spinning on my Rick Reeves double drive wheel. The alpaca fiber is butter soft as it goes through my fingers, and oh my it almost spins itself!! This roving was from a cria fleece that my daughter bought me a few years back that I had sent off to a mill in the east to turn into roving and they did a tremendous job!!
The last picture is one of my son’s alpaca, Summit, and her new cria, who was born this last Thursday, isn’t he a cutie, he’s white just like his mom! His dad was a beautiful fawn color from another herd. They have one more cria to be born in the next two weeks and that will make 4 new babies this year.
I have been enamored with The Mandalorian from the Disney Star Wars series. I have finished all the season “chapters” as they are called and await this fall when the new new season comes out. Ugh only one season a year. But while I wait, I bought a Mandalorian stitch markers set with a Yoda progress keeper. I got them from Adoreknit and as usual they are wonderful. She even gave me an extra progress keeper that has the Mandaloian helmet in color and a stitch marker holder to keep them safe. She is a great maker!
It’s Spring here but not, I have seen a few Robins, no pictures yet, might not happen this year, go into that later. I have seen the Geese coming back, but because I live in the mid-west, Mother Nature said it’s not Spring until she says so and she sent us more snow last Saturday. It was raining today. Spring will be here sooner than later tho :).
The Saturday before last I went to a fairly local fiber fair with my son and his spouse. Picture shows part of their set up and I have a picture of my son using his new sock knitting machine. He loves it and makes a pair of socks pretty quickly :). They had me bring my more portable Rick Reeves spinning wheel and spin while I was there. Almost finished with bobbin number 1 of the Alpaca/wool blend I was spinning at the Mall fair in Dec (yeah I’m a slow poke sometimes) then I will spin another bobbin and ply a skein of yarn :). It was a fun day. This wheel spins very well and I’m enjoying the experience on a double drive wheel.
I did get another charity hat done, but haven’t gotten around to getting a picture yet. Caught another cold about 3 weeks ago (does that make 4 or 5 this winter?) and just dealing with some bronchitis now. It’s not as bad as usual but I haven’t felt like doing a lot. I’m doing my best to stay inside because of that dang virus going around (that is why I don’t have any first Robin pictures, but I’ll keep trying), tho once in a while I remember something I forgot at the grocery store, I try not to go, but you know how it is :P. I was able to start and finish all of the 2 seasons of Lost in Space. It was pretty good but oh my gosh the new season doesn’t start until next year! All these one season a year shows will make our heads explode! In the mean time I’ll just re-watch Merlin, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Star Trek series, at least they are all finished and aren’t going anywhere. I do enjoy a good marathon from time to time :).
I bought a new progress keeper that I have been saving for. It is a hand crafted polymer progress keeper. I bought the little duck in a bottle (looks like it’s swimming in the bottle.) She buys the bottles but crafts the duck and puts the stuff in the bottom to look like water. Her crafting is amazing! She also sent a cinnamon roll progress keeper and a crown stitch marker. Please go check out her shop CharmingMinisShop on Etsy, you will be amazed at her crafting skills.
I was asked to help a family member at a Mall Christmas craft fair. His spouse was out of town and he needed help and I happily agreed to help with their alpaca merchandise. I have included some pictures of his set up and some cute Alpaca stuffies on his table. The yarn is from their herd. I did this on Saturday and after Church on Sunday. It was fun, I was encouraged to bring my spinning wheel to spin there, so I brought my Rick Reeves Wheel, which allowed me to get some spinning practice on it. 🙂 Since it is a double drive wheel, and I’m not real practiced on those (I’ve always used a scotch tension drive) and since alpaca is a slippery fiber, I blended some alpaca with a little wool on my blending board so that it was a little more grabby and easier to spin on a different wheel. Went well :).
Today I was asked to participate at my son’s Alpaca farm for Alpaca farm Days. Something the Alpaca farms do here this time of year every year. Do they do this all over the country?
It was fun, many more people than was expected came and enjoyed the Alpacas, and the Alpaca products my son and his spouse had for sale. They had a sock machine, a hat machine, and a drum carder out for people to see how they worked. They also had a screened table, which allows dirt and vm (vegetable matter) to fall to the ground, and show people how they skirt and pick through the fleece 2nds (the smaller less desirable parts of the fleece, tho they are still very soft they are shorter). They use the 2nds to make the felted dryer balls people love to use :), the 1sts are sent to a fiber mill to be washed and spun into yarn. A friend and I spent the day spinning on our spinning wheels and answering questions regarding spinning and using my blending board and carders. I look forward to doing this again next year. 🙂 Please enjoy the pictures above, oh the two Alpacas are not kissing lol, they are not as close to each other as it looks, but it made for a cute picture.
I wasn’t sure at all about the colors when I blended them on my blending board, just playing around with colors from a bag of various colored bits of roving that had been given to me. The first bobbin (on the right) was 2 shades of orange (med orange and a light orange that looks yellow, but it’s not.) The 2nd bobbin was a repeating range of complimentary colors to the oranges. So I put together the colors I thought might blend together the best and there we have it, these were the rolags I made with the fiber. I am very pleased with the final skein of yarn :). My next spin will be some white roving (not sure what the sheep breed is, but it might be merino) and blend it on my blending board with an alpaca batt I have . I will either kettle dye it or play around and try to make it a gradient when I am done spinning it . It will probably be sometime next month before I start it, I have knitting I need to finish first. I’m glad I got the blending board put together, it’s offered me a lot more creativity with colors and ability to bend different fibers together. 🙂
**Forgot to say this ended up being 368 yards and 90 grams, a good fingering weight. I’m thinking fingerless mitts :).
We got 2 inches of snow on Sunday morning/afternoon, and from yesterday evening until this morning when I took the picture we got a little over 3 more inches of snow. So the ground is once more white with snow, and more snow is on the way on Thursday or Friday, sigh. I just keep saying Spring is right around the corner, Spring is right around the corner, Spring is right around the corner…..
I finished the Basia hat, and gave it to the intended recipient. She was very pleased. I knit this on size 4, 16 inch circular needle for the ribbing and changing to size 6, 16 inch circular needles and (at the end when it got to small around for the 16 inch needles) size 6 double pointed needles for the crown, instead of going up a needle size for the slighter heavier wt yarn, causing it to be a bit denser and heavier. I used the sport/DK wt Polypay, which dyed up a lighter brown, and a dark brown alpaca, which I hand spun as heavy fingering wt. These two yarns used together was a heavier weight close to, but maybe a little heavier than the worsted wt called for and oh my it will be so warm. I had promised my family member that I would hand spin alpaca for her hat, but since the Basia hat she chose calls for worsted wt and I truly did not want to want to have to do the math for the lighter wt yarn (I’m not a math person :P), I added the Sport/DK wt wool I had on hand which made it a little heavier than a worsted wt. She is happy with the hat, and with the sub zero weather we have been having I’m sure it will be a welcome addition to her winter wear :). I think you can see better the lighter and darker browns together and how they play well with each other :). I forgot to get a picture before she left, she was kind enough to send me one for my blog ;).
These hats are now washed and blocked and ready to give as a gift. They are soft and squishy, however, because this yarn (see 2 blogs down), even tho it is 100% acrylic, will require a little bit of special care. It can be washed in the washing machine on gentle and cold water but, it can’t go in the dryer, it must be laid flat to dry, and they took a full day and night to dry (maybe because of the weather or because they are so thick), would be less time I’m sure if you put a fan on it during the day. That might be a problem for people who aren’t familiar with knitwear care. So I will reserve this yarn for family and friends who are knit worthy :P. The friend, who these were made for, is knit worthy, but because she is a busy nurse I hope this won’t be a pain for her. Her babies will be warm tho :).
Now to work on a hat for my daughter out of some hand spun alpaca.
These are the cria that were born on my son’s alpaca farm last month. They are so cute, I was able to go see them today, so little!! They are enjoying a shower from the hose on this very hot afternoon. **Correction on the cute white faced cria, her name is Liza not Liz :)**
I do my best, but my photography skills lack so much :P. I purchased a new set of stitch markers for my sock knitting from a pod-caster I listen to, the Knitting Samurai and Her Guys. These are so cute and she even has a little tag on one of the stitch markers so I can remember where the beginning of my row is in the round. The progress keeper is the colorful sheep that is covered in balls of yarn and it is sooo cute, it is now my favorite progress keeper. Her shop is AdoreKnit on etsy. She has soooo many cute stitch markers at a very reasonable price :).