Friday, January 29, 2010

Handspun Beauties

Finally have pictures of that handspun that I've been bragging about.
I love, love, love this yarn. It is soft and beautiful and slightly fuzzy and it has a gorgeous sheen- and I managed to both blend the colors through plying and retain some of that "color that glows from within" quality- but much of this doesn't show in my pictures:

This is a 14wpi 2 ply. Halcyon Fibers. I got roughly 400 yds. from 4 oz. alpaca 40%, silk 40%, merino 20%

I'm still having a hard time with the light and color in my photos though. I may have to break down and take a class or read a book about it, as intuiting the necessary things to do to fix these problems hasn't worked.

In other spinning news, I've been teaching myself a semi-woolen knitting technique- with the help of Judith Mackenzie McCuin's Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning, which I checked out from the library. It took a lot of patience to keep at it after I broke the thread for the hundredth time, but now I'm getting a consistent thread with the qualities of a woolen yarn: fuzzy. I'm using the technique that she recommends for angora rabbit, where in you allow some twist into the drafting area, but it is a forward, and not especially long, draw. I thought this would be a good way to ease myself into long draw. It's working really well for the angora/merino blend I'm using. The colors of the batt are deep and murky: dark blues and purples, with some gray and green. It has surprising bits of lilac and light blue that break up the darkness. It reminds me of tide pools on the Oregon coast on a cloudy day.

I'm still knitting. Nothing has been finished for what seems like a long time. I just downloaded Laura Chau's (that links to her blog) Flora and Fauna trio as I want to knit the Honeybee Cardi (this is a rav link) really bad. But I want to finish my stole first, and my friend is having a baby that I need to start knitting for too. If only I could spend my days knitting, instead of teaching! Not! I'm smart enough to realize that I love my knitting time precisely because it is rare.

This will have to be my Craft or Bust check-in also, because I spent all last week and part of this one avoiding technology. I'm not sure why, but I didn't check my email or read any blogs or look at Ravelry- nothing. But break's over.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Craft or Bust, Week 2

This week has been a crafty one for me. In addition to making some progress on my Entrelac stole and hooded scarf, I also did a little printing of my Safety-Cut carving. I'm not so good at it as of yet, but I think it's like one of those things (like everything) that gets better with time and practice. I've also been spinning. Here's a couple of pics of the fiber I'm spinning:

This is an Alpaca, Silk and Merino blend from Halcyon fibers and it is a dream. The colors seem to glow from within, and very from a licorice, through plum and dark red to brilliant fuschia along a little bit of a silvery shade thrown in to send the whole thing over the top. I'm spinning it into a fingering weight 2 ply, and I should have some pictures tomorrow.
I will have many gorgeous pictures of my larger projects once I either figure out how to fix the color from indoor pictures or get some decent weather for outdoor photos. The pics of the fiber were taken on my front porch. The ones I took indoors looked pink and brown.
I want to add another goal to my Craft or Bust challenge, which is to learn stranding techniques for colorwork. I've been inspired by The Yarn Harlots "Wild Apples" project, as well as many other gorgeous knits I've seen. Of course I won't start with an 8 1/2 stitch per inch Bohus sweater. I'm thinking of some mitts, like these, only fingerless.
Manageable, yet amazing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Craft or Bust, Week 1

I have actual pictures of knitting progress to show:

This is "Addicted to Entrelac, part 2" which came to existence after I gave away the first one for my beloved Aunt Patty's 69th (!!!) birthday.

This is different from the first (Rav link here) in that I have gone off the deep end in choosing colorways for this. The last one had 3 Noro silk garden colorways, this one has 5 so far. It's really fun to try and predict how the colors will arrange themselves as I knit.
The needle poked through shows my estimated progress for the last week.

Secondly, I'm working on a hooded scarf project, using some 2 ply BFL handspun that I spun up a couple months ago. It is silky and soft, and I love it, but it is not here right now, so I'll show you my second skein of the yarn I'm using:

So, that's not so bad for my first week, although I have made zero progress in my photo skills, and I don't even know for sure how to load to flickr.

I also did a little carving on some safety cut, but I haven't printed it yet, so maybe next week!
Thanks again to our CoB hostesses for launching this idea!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Craft or Bust 2010

It's a new year and time for me to get inspired and motivated for a whole new decade of crafty goodness. To that end, I have joined Quicksilver and friends in Craft or Bust 2010. The idea is that we each craft weekly, post weekly, and have a goal to reach. I'm doing this because I want to:
  • use my blog weekly
  • try new, challenging crafts (nuno felting and block printing, for example)
  • learn to take better pictures
Also, the participants are inspiring, and there's nothing to get my hands busy like inspiration from crafty peeps.

Like the idea? Join the fun at CoB 2010.
I'll see you Sunday, at the latest!