Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Enchanted Yarn And The Mysteries Of Twist Angle Revealed

It is done! The long awaited Greenwood Fiberworks sock roving in the Enchanted color way has been finished. I am pleased, but the yarn isn't as springy as I was hoping for sock yarn. I did some investigating on what it takes to spin better sock yarn and learned a thing or two.

I'm not sure why I believed this, but whenever I read about the angle of twist on yarn, I just assumed you held the yarn at a certain angle to the wheel when spinning it. (i.e., you spin the yarn off to one side) After reading an article on Spinning Great Sock Yarn and the additional article on Twist Angle by HJS Studio, it finally clicked: the angle of twist is literally what angle the twist appears to be in the yarn, not the angle you hold it to your spinning apparatus. Color me enlightened. The article also mentioned something about how more fiber can get used up with a higher angle of twist (more twist = more fiber used) This explained the great mystery to me on why my yardage kept ending so low compared to other people's sock yarn. The next time I spin, I will pay much more attention to the amount and resulting angle of twist I put into a yarn. I'm excited!

Friday, May 15, 2015

I Saved Latin, What Did You Ever Do?

In high school, I took 8 days of Latin before the district cancelled it. We did try to save Latin, but didn't succeed. Of course I knew I needed a skein of the Rushmore themed, "I Saved Latin, What Did You Ever Do?" from Canon Hand Dyes the moment I laid my eyes on it. But like anyone with a stash, I felt like I might have "enough" yarn and took too long to decide. Then horror of horrors, it wasn't available any more. I mentioned this to Amy. And just this last week, look what arrived at my door.

I might not have been able to save Latin, but Amy saved me a Latin, and that makes me quite happy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bigger Mistakes Faster or 2014 Ravellenic finisher in 2015

I've been struggling to finish projects recently. What's unusual is that I don't have any startitus. I have stuckitus. At the moment I have two socks on the needles and that one stubborn spinning project from the 2014 Ravellenics. (I feel like there is a joke related to slow Ravellenic finishers... but I can't remember the word. But that would describe me and this project.) In order to combat this mysterious stuckitus, I've dutifully spun the last of the singles every Friday knit night. And last Friday I finally finished! I even waited a whole 24 hours to let it rest before removing it from the spindle. Then I recruited some help from Connor to wind off the yarn. 
Note how he didn't even have to leave the couch in order to help

I was so excited to finally get a project done. But Connor and I have been housesitting for my parents which means that it was necessary for me to forget the doodad that attaches the mother-of-all to the rest of the wheel. After stomping and angsting for 2 minutes I came up with a solution. It's not perfect, but using two of those rubber bands you find on broccoli works quite well.

Finally. Finally I was going to have my glorious yarn. So I sat down Sunday afternoon and started plying. I hadn't touched my wheel in quite some time and I've never done a true 3 ply yarn, so I was struggling. I figured it was because of inexperience.

As it turns out, I was struggling because I am an idiot I plied the wrong way. I don't know if I've ever done that. As an aside, when beginners knitters have told me that they wished they didn't make so many mistakes, I tell them that the only difference is that the experienced crafter makes bigger mistakes faster. Case in point. I plied all 256 yards of the three-ply and tried to wind it off before I realized my mistake. What's funny is that I still didn't know what was wrong until I let go of the end of the yarn and saw it un-plying itself. (Also, the whole time I was struggling, I made angry noises about how I thought I'd spun lace weight when my swatch said I was spinning fingering weight.)
Here is what yarn plied the wrong way looks like when you try to take it off the wheel

I wasn't sure how big a mess I made. I wasn't sure I could fix it. I wasn't sure I wanted to as I didn't want a lace weight. But I gave it a go. Pro tip: it takes twice as long to ply yarn the right direction if you plied it the wrong direction first. It took forever and two runs through the wheel, but I did eventually get the yarn plied correctly. 
The strand above my finger is plied correctly while the strand below is still going the wrong way

As it turns out, I did make a fingering weight yarn. Once the yarn was able to relax a bit rather than be spun within an inch of its life, it was what I had intended. 
The yarn on the left is what it looked like plied wrong while the yarn on the bobbin is plied in the correct direction, but has only gone through the wheel once

I hope I don't ruin the yarn some more before setting the twist and knitting it.

Anyone else have a face-palm moment and make a large crafting mistake recently?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Island Knitting Retreat Pt.2

After a morning lesson with Cat, it didn't take long for most of us to decide we had to go visit the LYS, Island Wools. I, like many others, fell down hard. My two selections are dyed in the shop. Julie's Whimsical Colors on Silk Whimsy called my name. I almost was able to resist until Megan called Into The Abyss "Electric Cookie Monster Blue". Then I decided that that skein needed a friend, namely a skein of Darkened Forest.
On a slight aside, Julie currently has signed copies of Lit Knits in her shop and she does ship.

Each day was an adventure. Mornings started out with a group breakfast, followed by a lesson, then a group lunch. Then everyone would split off for their own afternoon adventure. One of the days I went with Linda, Melissa, and Susan to the Lime Kilns park to look for Orcas. We didn't see any, but we did see this cute light house. And behind it is Canada. We were so close to Canada that I ended up having to turn my cell phone data off so that I wouldn't accidentally be charged for using Canadian services.

While driving to Roche Harbor (to find Linda a rich husband.... haha) we accidentally found Krystal Acres alpaca farm and country store. Of course when I took my camera out, everyone turned around and walked away at the same time! 
Susan got tempted and bought some yarn. By the evening, we had heard that quite a few people had found Krystal Acres and left with goodies.

I am so thankful for having gotten to know so many wonderful knitters. They are my tribe. No where else can you talk about yarn with passion and not have people look at you funny.
 I had the pleasure of taking the group photo. Almost everyone is in it.

The day we left the island, Francine and Caitlin took me back to Seattle. I didn't expect to see a Washington sign as we disembarked from the ferry. As we drove by I shouted out, "We have to go back! I need a picture of the Washington sign." To which Francine replied, "A picture standing by it?" "No, jumping by it!" Thanks guys. I love that neither of you thought it was weird.
 Thanks for taking the picture, Francine

The drive back was full of good conversation, and great stops. We visited no less than three yarn shops. I managed to resist at Wildfibers (although I enabled Caitlin and Francine into some Spincycle Dyed In The Wool) Wildfibers has a sample of my Beyond The Pines shawl and it was great fun seeing it in person.
When Francine took us to Serial Knitters, I took leave of my senses and bought two skeins of Black Trillum's Pebble Sock. With names like Butterbeer and Hedwig, who could blame me? Of course if you don't understand the allure, you are clearly a Muggle.

All in all, it was a great trip. There were so many more experiences and conversations that can't even be described in this blog. I hope it isn't the last time I get to see everyone.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Island Knitting Retreat Pt.1

Earlier this month I was invited by Jim and Cat to attend Cat's Island Knitting Retreat. I'd never been to Washington, or on a sea plane, but that was about to change. After landing in Seattle, some of Jim's relatives picked us up. What a fabulous family. I thought we had a pretty good view of the Space Needle while driving. I didn't realize that the sea plane would afford us an even better one.

An hour later we landed at San Juan Island at Friday Harbor.
Thanks for the great picture, Cat!

Although not apparent in this image, I got to sit in the co-pilot seat. It was great fun!
 Thanks for getting this image, too, Cat.

Cat picked Jim and I up and we immediately set out to have a picnic on a beach. Silly me. I had packed myself a sandwich for lunch. It was completely unnecessary. We gorged ourselves.

After a few other stops, I was dropped off at Lakedale Resort. You would think that I wouldn't need a dinner after all that, but I met up with some other knitters and we went out to the Cask And Schooner. It was a pleasure getting to meet some of the people I was going to spend the rest of the week with. But by the end of the day, I was pretty pooped. I had one last look at the view from my door before passing out for the night.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hypnoskew And The Evergrowing Stash

Well, you would think that life might slow down just a little after a wedding. But as it turns out, combining lives and stuff (well, mostly adding yarn to Connor's life) is rather time consuming. I also went on a work-ish trip last week that involved getting up around 7AM every day and passing out close to 11PM with not much time in between. Since then I have suffered a great loss. The sock I cast on the day I got married has gone missing. The yarn, the needles, the bag it was in just vanished. It's been over two weeks. I'm pretty sure it is gone forever. To console myself, I have started a Skew with the Hypnotoad yarn. I call it Hypnoskew. All hail.

I've also been knitting away at my Seadragonus sock with my Happy Go Knitty - BFL sock yarn in Forget Me Not. The pattern is by the lovely Wei Siew. Go knit a pair. It's pretty nifty.

And in between all that and more, I decided it was high time to catch up on photographing all the new stash I had acquired since the last time I had taken pictures of my stash. Bit sobering... but I love it all.

Also, it hasn't stopped me from getting a few more skeins while I was on my trip and a kit off of someone's destash on ravelry to cheer me up after the loss of my sock. Clearly, knitting the Hypnoskew has the long-lasting ability to erase any memory of buying yarn. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

All Hail

Hypnotoad has erased my memory of buying any yarn at Stitches West, so clearly I needed this skein of "All Glory to the Hypnotoad" from White Birch Fiber Arts

After purchasing the yarn, I texted Connor, "The hypnotoad yarn was available. I bought it because hypnotoad commanded it." To which Connor replied, "But of course. All hail."
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