Monday, December 31, 2007

WiP Run-down

Well, it's the end of 2007, and I have lots of WiPs to show for it. Plus, I have lots of projects and ideas queued up. I need to knock out a few FOs while I still have a little bit of holiday left so I can move on to a new set of projects for 2008!

I'm most pleased with the current spinning project, hot off the spindle. I've been working on spinning up 3.9 oz of South African Fine merino in the Dovecote colorway from Pigeonroof Studios. I'm so happy I discovered Pigeonroof Studios, which has quickly become one of my favorite Etsy stores to visit. Krista's colorways are beautiful--you should definitely go check out her store!

I spun up four skeins totaling about 254 yards of DK-ish weight yarn. (I found a chair back in my house that measures almost exactly one yard around, so now I can estimate yardage!) The fourth skein was soaking in some water and Eucalan while I took this picture.

I can't wait to start knitting with this yarn--it's fairly consistent and very nice and sproingy. It's destined to turn into a very belated holiday gift.

Speaking of belated holiday gifts, here's another WiP I have to get off the needles: some log cabin socks from Handknit Holidays. They're intended for GPG's dad, and I need to get a move on--I'm only on the first sock!

I picked the log cabin pattern because it calls for a sportweight yarn instead of fine fingering yarn, so the socks are knitting up a little faster than regular socks, thank goodness.

And here's the last WiP that's still on the needles: the Child's First Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks in the Raspberry colorway from Fleece Artist. I cast on for these back in June after I finished the Mahogany socks for my Sockapalooza pal. Then they sort of fell by the wayside as studying for the bar heated up, and they sat on a dresser drawer collecting dust for the last half of the year. I finally picked them up last weekend and finished the first sock.

I'm really pleased with the way the first sock turned out. I love the pattern, and it works really well with the yarn. I'm two pattern repeats into the second sock, but the log cabin sock has taken priority so far.

And what do I have waiting in the wings? I need to knit another pair of felted oven mitts for a wedding present for February, I'm going to start an Endpaper Mitts knitalong with a fellow Raveler, Undyed Yarnpire, and my dad's 60th birthday is on February 12. I have no idea what I'm going to do for that, but I want it to be something yarny if I can manage it. I'm definitely heading into 2008 with high ambitions and lots of stash!

I hope that you're all enjoying the last hurrah of the holidays. Have a safe and happy New Year! Best wishes to all of you for health, happiness, and lots of fiber fun in 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Look, Ma! I'm spinning!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season! Life here at Chez Seedless Grape has been sort of all over the place over the past two weeks, but things have evened out heading into the New Year and I am ready for 2008! (Sort of. I'll admit that the rate at which the years pass by is starting to make me feel old. Or at least old-ish.)

Work was uncommonly busy the week before Christmas, so I was running around like a headless chicken. Then the Christmas weekend came around: *yank on the handbrake* [screeeeech of brakes]! I completely dropped all work for four days straight (how luxurious!). I slept in every day and spent most of my free time knitting like crazy to finish a pair of socks for my grandma and a present for a friend (who reads this blog, so no details here). I had a great holiday! I hope you did, too!

Unfortunately, I ended up finishing a lot of the gifts I gave away at the last minute, so I didn't even get to document them properly for the blog! I kind of feel like they almost never existed: a pair of felted oven mitts, a pair of Fetching mitts, a lot of Christmas ornaments, a scarf. One of my 2008 resolutions is to be better about documenting my knits and my cooking.

Since I have no actual FO photos at the moment, I'm using some photos that Theresa kindly sent me. Two weekends ago I went over to her house to learn how to spin on her Lendrum DT wheel! Of course, I forgot my camera, but Theresa had hers and snapped a few pictures.

Squeeeeeee! It was so much fun. Now I want a wheel!

I think I fell into the beginner trap of gripping the fiber too tightly. I definitely killed the baby bird--see my white knuckles??? My hand was pretty sore the day afterwards! But I assume that sort of thing corrects itself with practice.

I used some wool roving from Spunky Eclectic in her grand opening sale colorway. I love how brilliantly the colors spun up.

I spun up some singles and will head back to Theresa's in a week or two to learn how to ply them. Whee, spinning on a wheel is so much fun! I still enjoy spindle spinning, but the speed of the wheel really beckons to me. I had a laugh when Theresa's husband came home and I told him, "Look, James! I'm spinning!" He responded, "You might as well be saying, 'Look, James! I'm doing crack!'" I think he pretty much hit the nail on the head with that one.

More spinning excitement to come shortly. In the meantime, have a great weekend and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


To continue with the headshots, here are a couple photos of a Foliage that I made over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It'll be a holiday gift for my judge's case manager.

(Please excuse the hair. I'm getting it cut this Saturday; that will hopefully reduce the shagginess factor.)

What a fast, easy pattern--I finished the hat in a day, I think. And nice and stretchy, too! It fits nicely on the head and covers the ears--a hat requirement, in my book. As a bonus, it used fairly little yarn; I was able to make a pair of Fetching mitts for one of my co-clerks out of the rest of the skein. I used the recommended Malabrigo worsted in I think the Indigo colorway, and I love the way it turned out.

The color in the top picture is probably more accurate. I fiddled around with the color in GPG's Photoshop and couldn't really get it to turn out right, probably because last weekend was cloudy and blah.

Pattern: Foliage
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, Indigo colorway
Needles: US7, 16" Inox circular; Brittany Birch DPNs
Recipient: Judge's Case Manager

The yarn is souvenir yarn from a trip to Santa Barbara over Labor Day weekend to attend a friend's wedding. It's my first time knitting with Malabrigo, and I love it! SO soft. And SO pretty. It knits up into nice, squooshy things--I love how soft and comfy the hat felt on my head. I will definitely use more Malabrigo in the future!

Monday, December 10, 2007


As promised, here is my Zeebee! My very first FO knit from my own handspun yarn.

Zeebee was surprisingly easy to knit. I had originally discovered the pattern through Brooklyn Tweed. Jared, of course, makes all handknits look beautiful, but I didn't get too enthused about Zeebee at first because it seemed like a fiddly way to make a hat. One of the things I like about making hats is that you can go around and around and around on circular needles: it makes for nice, mindless knitting. I wasn't too keen on doing garter stitch back and forth with short rows thrown in, to boot.

But the pattern seemed like such an ideal way to use handspun yarn that when I had a bunch spun up that I finally thought was of "knit-worthy" quality, Zeebee was a pretty easy choice. And it turned out to be a fast, easy knit--I finished it in two days. Perfect for holiday knitting!

Pattern: Zeebee
Needles: Inox US6 circulars
Yarn: Handspun from Spunky Eclectic, BFL in the "Castaway" colorway
Recipient: The Violinist

I even learned a new technique making this hat: garter stitch grafting. I've grafted things in stockinette stitch plenty of times, but garter stitch grafting was new to me. It took me two tries before I got it through my thick skull that "knit, purl, knit, purl" was the correct order of stitching with the needle. There's a slight bump at the brim of the hat, but otherwise the hat looks seamless. Yay!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

In the spirit of the season

ETA: And now they're 20% off until Sunday!

. . . I encourage consumerism in all shapes and sizes.

These flannel-lined chinos are currently on sale in navy at J.Crew.

I have some J.Crew fleece-lined chinos, and by God they are the comfiest, warmest things you can wear after a long day of skiing when you're venturing out to look for some dinner. They're thick and don't necessarily flatter the figure like regular pants could, but they keep the wind out and they're better than wearing your snow pants (unless, you know, you want to wear your snow pants) or fleece pants or jeans, which let the wind blow straight through. Plus, they come in petite and long lengths.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I actually haven't been spinning for a while--the spindle got set aside for holiday knitting, which I've been cramming into every last minute of free time (which is short in supply). But there was one week back in November when I spun like crazy, trying to make my way through four ounces of BFL fiber that I purchased from the amazing Amy at Spunky Eclectic during her grand opening sale. And here it is!

It's the "Castaway" colorway--a mixture of blues and browns that shaded into beige as I spun it up. Although it's by no means consistent all the way through, I did make an effort to spin as consistently as possible each time I picked up the spindle, and I'm pleased with the results. Unfortunately, I don't have a wpi tool or even a niddy-noddy, so I have no idea how much yardage I have or what the weight of the yarn is. By eyeballing it I'd guess it varies between a DK and a worsted weight (yes, I know that's a lot of variation) with a couple of places that verge on bulky.

The yarn has actually been knit up into a zeebee, which I thought would be best for showing off the yarn. Pictures of that will have to come later, though--the weather has been fairly cloudy and blah (if not downright rainy) this week, and I haven't had time to enlist GPG's help for a photo shoot. The hat is a bit big; I made it big on purpose because I've discovered that I have a relatively small head. What fits on me is tight on most other people. But I think that inconsistencies in the yarn had a bigger impact on my gauge than I had anticipated, which made for a verrrrry loose hat.

I had also hoped to squeeze two hats out of all this spinning--one for my dad and one for my brother, for Christmas gifts--but the Enormous Zeebee that Ate Brooklyn took up too much yarn. I'll have to spin up something else if I want to give more handspun, handknit gifts this year.

But I'm so pleased with the yarn. I love the unique barberpole look of handspun. I hope to knock out some more holiday gift knitting this week so I can go back to spinning soon!