Friday, May 4, 2012

Shawl x3

I've been on a bit of a random Shawl kick lately.

I cast on my first ever Shawl on June 20 2011(thank you Ravelry project page). I liked the project but I am far from a monogamous crafter so the Shawl was lost in the bustle of many other projects. It probably didn't help that I was using basically the thinnest yarn ever. By the end each row was incredibly long. However I decided to bring it to the fore and finish the sucker sometime in February or March.

It may be the magic of blocking lace that makes me fall in love with it every time. Overnight my project went from this:
To this:

After a bit of concern about looking too matronly wearing it I've gotten over that as well and have quite enjoyed it on some of these cool spring days.

So fueled by that success I couldn't help but jump on the bandwagon for the Reddit Knit-Along of the Age of Brass and Steele. The pattern was super simple but delightful so I knew it should be a fast project. I found yarn that I was quite happy with at Michaels. It's a cashmere blend so super soft, but from Michaels so still affordable (particularly because I always use at least a 40% off coupon and have gift certificates). The color was was crocuses so I figured that was perfect as well and called the project April Showers.

Unfortunately it came out very much more stripey that I was hoping for which was disappointing. But lo and behold when I wear it everything blends together and gives me the look I was hoping for. Yay.

Now before starting the KAL I was unsure of what yarn to use and considered spinning up Kiwi's fleece as I thought it would be perfect for the pattern. However common sense prevailed when I figured given the month timeline maybe starting from raw wool was not the smartest.

But when I found that it was only a week into April and I had finished half of the knitting already. Plus it was a long Easter weekend made awesome by the fact that I opted not to drive home to my parents but instead enjoy some free time in my own home. So I figured I'd give the spinning a try.

After prepping it into roving on my hackle Kiwi's fleece spun so easily and perfectly into a wonderful DKish single it felt nearly like a miracle. Being a single it was of course twisty but I washed it "thwacked it" as I'd seen suggested. And hung it to dry under the tension of a spray bottle. The resulting yarn did have a bit of twist to it but for the most part seemed to be pretty stable.

So I quickly knit up a little sample and lo and behold there were some places where I could see the stitches starting to lean but for the most part it was smooth sailing. And the color and texture were just wonderful.

I proceed with much sorting, washing, flicking, hackling, spinning, winding, washing, drying, winding, and knitting. And in the end had this wonderful shawl.

Its impossible to really capture the colors of it as they seem to change even every time I look at it. But I'd say they speak mostly as gray to me with hints of brown at times. The single adds so much character to the knitting that I am now certain I'll be doing a good bit more of this type of spinning.

Hooray for new things!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I think I have too many things to do.

As is too often the case I have one again neglected to post anything here for quite some time. Fail. The past few months have felt just insanely busy. Tis the season!

First and foremost work really really gets in the way of all of the things I really want to do. And to make matters worse my work doesn't stop at 40 hours a week. Every time we have a concert or special event there goes any "free time". The spring is definitely the worst. And just looking at the calendar May is the most ridiculous month. Between April 30 and May 25 the only non-work day is the 12th. Ouch. Although I do plan on taking a few other days off. Now if I could just get someone to do my job when I'm not in the office things would be rather more dandy.

So it whatever time is left to me I have all of the following things to do:

  • House work: The cat is not pulling his weight around the house and I have to do it all. The little jerk.
  • Yard work:  I think I had to start mowing a full month earlier with the weather so warm. And I've expanded my veggie garden. Here's hoping I keep more than just cucumbers alive this time.
  • Friends: After years of being largely, but not entirely, anti-social it seems that I've recently managed to re-connect much more with some old friends. And I've even found new ones - whoa.
  • Band: The music is kinda bad all too often, but I could never give up playing so i'm glad for the outlet.
  • Video games: Bran got me hooked on World of Warcraft and now he's dragging me into Diablo as well. I try not to admit it but they can be fun. I just wish they took less time and or I could knit and play!
  • Biking: Exercise is healthy and can even be fun, I should do more of it.
  • Photography: My photos really are getting better I think. But as with all learning/improvement more time is always a sure way to better results.
  • Reading: I really don't know how I did it but as a youth I would fly through books sometimes to the tune of multiple books in a week. I've been doing a bit more lately but sometimes it feels like I'm just slogging through them. And the library deadlines come up so quickly!
  • Knitting/Crochet: Aside from the perpetual desire to be working on dozens of projects of my own I even have the opportunity right now to work on growing a bit of my own crafty business. Maybe I should learn lever knitting or whatever the supposed current fastest knitting method may be.
  • Spinning: I am totally getting better at spinning. Latest discover is an awesome DKish single. Knit up so wonderfully.
  • Other Crafts: My awesome sewing machine is practically begging me to use it more often. And wouldn't it be wonderful to work at sketching/doodling/zentangling. Oh and what about the sweatshirt that I've wanted to paint for myself for over a year.
  • Relax: Eh, overrated!