May 31, 2009

Baby Bobbi Bear

In my haste to finish this gift before flying over to England for Christmas, I neglected to take pictures of the finished object. My sister-in-law recently got a new camera and sent me some pics. He looks to be holding up well.

I made this teddy bear as a Christmas gift for my nephew who was 16 months old at the time. The teddy bear pattern is Baby Bobbi Bear from Blue Sky Alpacas. I used the Blue Sky Organic Cotton and therefore thought that stuffing him with polyester filling just didn't seem right! I got some wool stuffing from Joy's Waldorf Dolls instead (only partially organic but at least natural). I think the wool stuffing is a great idea for toys as wool is naturally dust mite and mold resistant, naturally antibacterial and flame retardant, and won't harden over time like cotton stuffing.

It's hard to know how densely to pack the stuffing and having never made one before I'm not sure how well it will hold up over time.

Although I added duplicate stitch (swiss darning) around the neck, it still lacked definition. I made the little scarf, tightened it around the neck, and stitched it in place.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, although there are a lot of Baby Bobbi Bears on Ravelry that are way cuter (case in point)! Oh well, I saw my nephew give his new teddy hugs while I was visiting so I don't think he minds : )

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May 19, 2009

For special delivery to the Shetlands

A good friend of my husband's from back home and his partner have just recently had a baby girl so of course I had to knit something.....

The free pattern is called Five Hour Baby Sweater, although the knitting took me about nine and that doesn't include adding buttons and button loops (guess I'm a slow knitter!).

I ordered fabric covered buttons from Auburn Studios and added i-cord button loops. I love the little buttons. The baby's dad is a birder so I thought them apt : )

I used some Mission Falls 1824 that I had in my stash. I love this stuff. It is so soft, machine washable, and reasonably priced. Perhaps wool is a poor choice seeing as it is just about summer, but from what I know the Shetlands are quite wind swept so I imagine the sweater will still come in handy (I hope!).

I'll be wrapping this sweater with a couple of these bibs and mailing it off across the Atlantic.

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May 12, 2009

It actually resembles yarn!

I had another go with my drop spindle and the results were much more yarn-like! After the utter disaster that was my first attempt, I spent some time online looking for information that would help me figure this spinning thing out.

I found I had to look at many different resources to piece together my understanding of the process. The following were helpful:

Spinning with a Top-Whorl Drop Spindle- I found a lot of useful information in this resource, but just wasn't clear on some of the points (such as the drafting triangle and holding back the twist) because there are no diagrams. Once I'd figured out the details of spinning singles with the help of a few other resources, I did find this one quite useful in understanding plying and finishing.

Drop Spindle Spinning-although this deals with spinning with a bottom whorl spindle, and I didn't try the supported spindle technique, I did find the explanation of drafting and the drafting triangle here useful.

Spinning for the first time provides some useful guidance as well.

Laylock provides some tips for a beginner spinner and directed me here to create a 'notch' for my notchless spindle. This knitty article also shows how to use your fibre as a leader rather than a separate piece of yarn by inserting the hook into the fluffed out end of the fibre (which I did and preferred to the separate yarn leader).

I started out spinning the spindle then parking and drafting and was eventually able to give the spindle a good spin and then pinch off the twist with one hand while simultaneously drafting new fibres with the other until the spindle slowed.

So, I've made progress. My 'yarn' is still horribly variable in gauge, looks messy, and has too much twist in some places such that it twists back on itself even though it has been plied in the opposite direction (apparently this means it's 'unbalanced'). But at least I no longer want to throw the spindle out the window, put my head down and weep. In fact, I'm working on some new yarn that is a much thinner gauge than this and is actually fairly consistent.

The fibre I used for this little sample were from my April Phat Fibre box. It's superwash merino from Aurora Fibre Arts in 'Rhubarb'. After receiving a coupon for this Etsy shop along with the fibre in the Phat box, I ordered some lovely sock yarn which just arrived yesterday. Inside the package there was also a free 50 gr. skein of a worsted weight in 'Aubergine'!

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May 7, 2009


This is the extent of my very first attempt at spinning.....
(the bit in front of the spindle is what I 'spun')

As you can see, it did not go well.

I haven't been that frustrated in a long time. I need a good rest before I pick that thing up again!

I read several tutorials, watched video tutorials, and still I just could not make it work.

I ordered this top whorl spindle from Green Bee Goods on Etsy (and it's lovely and I'm positive it is all me and my ineptitude!) and dug out some merino roving from my stash. I had grand dreams of spinning up all of the fibre samples I received in my Phat Fiber Box. But alas, it was not to be.

I will return to it. I am going to figure it out dammit! I just need to put some space between this utter failure and what I hope will be a great new hobby.

If anyone has any advice or can point me in the direction of some useful resources I would very much appreciate it!

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May 3, 2009

Herringbone Rib Socks

I finally finished my Herringbone Rib Socks last weekend (I started them in February!).

It was a long slog. They are not particularly difficult to knit, just time consuming as the stitch pattern involves a lot of passing stitches from one needle to the other and back. I had to keep a cheat sheet of the stitch pattern with me to refer to at all times because it's easy to mix up. I do really like the final herringbone rib though.

The pattern is from the book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol J. Sulcoski. The book opens with a brief overview of handpainted yarn and colour and contains lots of beautiful sock patterns from a variety of designers. This particular design is by Kristi Schueler.

The yarn is Diamond Luxury Collection Foot Loose. I believe it's the plum colourway. It's nice a soft and squishy.

These were my first socks knit top down. I've made several pairs of socks but always used toe up and was frankly a little reticent to try turning a heel. But it was no biggie after all and I like the result.

My feet are size 6 US so I knit the smaller size, knitting the foot to the recommended 1.75 inches short of the desired foot length before starting the toe, and they fit well.

There are several more patterns in this book that I can't wait to make.

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