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  • knitting1105 5:46 pm on January 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Spin the Bin 

    I just realized that I have not posted in almost 3 weeks.  I am not really sure where the time has gone, I have been spinning and knitting and trying to stay warm.  School closed today and tomorrow and most people working from home, although it is not as cold as it was 3 weeks ago.

    As part of a Ravelry Challenge, I chose 12 different fibers to spin over the course of the year.  When I saw the challenge, I knew that I wanted to participate, I just was having the dickens of a time choosing what I would like to work on for the next year.  This does not preclude adding things to the pile, it is just that if you take one item out, you must put 2 back in.  Good stash busting theory, let’s hope it works.

    Here is my selection:


    1. Loop batt, washed ashore. 4 oz.
    2. Julie Spins, Amish, 6.1 oz.
    3. Fiber Optic, Raspberry to Cream Gradient, 4 oz.
    4. Fiber Optic, Dusty Plum to Olive Gradient, 8 oz.
    5. River’s Edge, The Monkey’s Uncle, color Maple Leaf, 4 oz.
    6. Gales’s Art, Red Red, 4 oz (CTA color)
    7. Fiber Optic, Once in a Lifetime color, merino, camel and silk, 4 oz.
    8. Western Sky Knits, Poppy, 8 oz.
    9. Fiber Optic, Reef Gradient, 8 oz. (CTA color)
    10. Gale’s Art, Brave, 4 oz. (CTA color)
    11. Shetland tricolor from farmer in Wisconsin, 8 oz.
    12. Cashmere from Illinois, to be washed, processed and spun, 10 oz

    The Reef Gradient was the first to make it off the list, this was my first gradient purchase and I felt not up to the challenge for quite a while.  The  bright colors are perfect for this house-bound weather.



    The fiber seemed a bit compressed, so I ran it across the tea kettle and let the steam open it up.


    Notice the difference!


  • knitting1105 5:50 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Arctic knitting 

    -15 F

    That is the air temperature this afternoon, not including the wind chill.  Me, and everyone that I know is staying home, hunkering down.  All my knitting and spinning friends are embracing the wonders of wool today, both in the wearing apparel and in the execution. Even our weekly Stitch-n-Bitch group has thrown down the knitted gauntlet and abandoned meeting tonight.  Just too cold to go out for a minute, let alone start-up the car. Our house however is staying nice and toasty.  The energy work that we have done over the past few years, in particular insulating the walls last year, is paying off well.

    Today I have been spinning on some Fiber Optic roving, Reef Gradient which was custom dyed a couple of years ago for Completely Twisted and Arbitrary Spin-Along on Ravelry, I was not ready to tackle a beautiful gradient at the time, and since then have successfully spun several.  This color way always just seemed too bright for me, then after wearing this shawl and getting compliments everywhere, I realized that I could pop the color intensity up a bit.  And, it has been a dreary cold winter thus far, this seemed like the best cheer me up spinning I could think of.


    Work on it is going slowly, as I think that I am spinning my finest to date.  The color gradations make the slow spinning so much more interesting.


    And on the knitting front, this Hanne Falkenberg sweater, Butterfly, has languished for 3-4 years, just missing its sleeves.  Progress is slow and I had to figure out where I was in the pattern, but I am back in the groove.  Will fill good to get another UFO out of the closet. I am a bit concerned about having enough yarn, so I think that I will switch over to the second sleeve and work on that so at least they match.  If I run out, it will be shorter Kimono style.

    Here are the Ravelry notes from when I first started it.  Funny, and thanks Ravelry for keeping me honest about length of time to knit.  People often ask me how long it takes to make something, and with this sweater I can truly say 5 years!!!

    6-23-09 Still knitting. Finished the back, and 1/2 way through the front. Slow go, but I am determined to be loyal to this project to the end. Although it is 90 today, and humid.



  • knitting1105 5:20 pm on August 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Cleaning up 

    I have been busy cleaning up bobbins of old projects on my spinning wheels.  It seems that I have been a bit ADD with my spinning, starting the newest exciting colors before finishing something that was already in progress.  There always seems to be an excuse, a spin-along, Tour de Fleece, new arrivals…

    This is Emily, a pencil roving from Fiber Optic, 70% Superwash Merino, 30% Seacell; 340 yards, so good enough for a short pair of socks for myself.  The Tour de Fleece prompted me to finish spinning this up and ply it.


    Leftover Emily with some leftover purple/green fiber on the bobbin.


    This was spun for the Tour de Fleece, Fiber Optic gradient Honey to Fig.  It is 80% Merino, 20% silk.  1150 yards of 2ply.  My average these days for 2 braids of FO is around 1200 yards, that gives a good amount for a shawl.



    And I finished spinning the singles of this Shetland from Southern Cross Fiber, the color was a custom for the CAT spin-along in the winter, and I started it but too many other things got in the way.  The color is Storm’s Edge, 8 ounces.  This Shetland did not spin as finely at the Merino/Silk blends, and I know that it is uneven, need to start plying.



    On the knitting front, I have been working on a new baby sweater, Baby Ull from Dale of Norway of course.  Love these colors together.


    The thing that has been taking quite a bit of my time is organizing the basement after some new cabinetry is getting installed.  Here is a sneak peek, it is really messy still and a bit to go, but I am so excited!


  • knitting1105 1:09 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    This shawl was completed last week, after I got home from Michigan, and finally settling down to my new normal.  The past 2 1/2 years have been traveling to Michigan, first to be with my good friend Judy as she succumbed to ALS, then supporting my Mom who broke her femur the day that Judy passed, subsequently contacting an infection in her knee that she was never able to overcome. I am happy that my life and work allowed me to be there often and when needed for both of these special people.

    This shawl started in the late winter as beautiful hand dyed gradient roving from Fiber Optic.


    It evolved into this beautiful yarn, 1250 yards for 8 ounces, I was very proud of this output.

    IMG_1277 IMG_1276

    And finally into this gorgeous shawl which I started knitting on our first bullet train ride in Japan, and worked on while sitting with my Mom, finishing up after getting back home.  It is gargantuan, 84″ across, and when the weather is not so hot and muggy, will envelop me in memories.



    Pattern: Ice Fantasia
    Pattern Source: Twist Collective
    Yarn: Handspun from Fiber Optic roving
    Needles: US 6
    Date Started: 5/25/13
    Date Finished: 7/7/13
    Finished Dimensions: 84″ wide x 31″ deep

    • Joanne Wood 5:25 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      wow it is beautiful may it comfort you for many years to come


    • Diane 11:03 pm on July 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This is absolutely beautiful and what a wonderful way to keep Mom and Judy’s memory alive. Every time you wear the shawl, think of some good time you had with Mom or Judy.


  • knitting1105 7:42 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    The Longest Day 

    This solstice evening finds me knitting in the comfort of my lounge chair on the back porch, listening to the birds, and enjoying a cool breeze (in lieu of the scorcher that had been predicted, thanks to an afternoon storm). I am working on my shawl using the Fiber Optic gradient Turquoise to Tangerine that I spun up a couple of months ago. I started this on our trip to Japan, and worked on it while sitting with my Mom in Hospice, she is still hanging on but my brothers are with her. There will be a lot of different memories associated with this article, it is something that I certainly need to keep for myself. My Mom got to see it in progress and loved the colors.

    It is addictive knitting and watching the gradients evolve, I love it! I chose not to do the bind off with the pattern, as it would not have kept the gradient intact. The pattern is Ice Fantasia by Anne Hanson. Instead I opted for another repeat of the last section, and now need to figure out how to end it. This may be the hardest part.


  • knitting1105 8:43 pm on June 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Slow and Steady 

    Slow but steady progress on this shawl, Ice Fantasia by Anne Hanson. The last of 3 pattern designs on the main body of the shawl require doing lace work on the reverse side. I am not a fan of this, it is just not intuitive for me. I had purchased the pattern to have on my iPad, but had to print out the center section and this last repeat, as this PDF is locked, and therefore my PDF marking tools are not working. I am getting in the hang of it though.

    The bigger of my 2 skeins of the handspun is finished now, I might have the unusual problem of more yarn than I need. For this project I really want to use all of the skeins to get the full color repeats. Normally I would weight the yarn before and after a row to try and gauge how much yardage I will need at the end to finish up. Being away from home, I did not bring my scale, so therefore will put in a lifeline and start the knitted cast off edging. First 15 more rows in this pattern, and we will see how much of this new cake I have used up.

    The colors here are very close to another shawl which was pale green to yellow to a light orange. The turquoise color is really needed to give this shawl a distinct appearance from the other. I am starting to wonder just how many handspun, hand knit shawls one person can need… That theory will be tested shortly.


  • knitting1105 5:18 am on June 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    During our recent trip to Japan I was on the hunt for Japanese knitting books, particularly the pattern books. Trolling the bookstore around the corner from our hotel in Kyoto and in Tokyo I was able to score some. I did visit one knitting store, the yarn was all on cones, I don't need any more yarn, and their book selection was not the best.

    The Faroese shawl that I started in Japan continues on. I had to rip back a major section, without a lifeline in place, and that set me back. I am knitting this from a PDF on my iPad. Unfortunately, this pattern is locked somehow, which will not allow me to mark my place in the pattern. It is getting a bit confusing, I have not had this problem with sock patterns (the only other type that I have tried). I was able to use JDKnit PDF reader program to at least turn the charts around so that they all face in the same direction. Any input from tech-savy knitters would be greatly appreciated.

    This yarn is a handspun gradient from Fiber Optic. I am quite pleased with my spinning, it is a lace weight, 1250 yards for 8 ounces. The bigger color changes should start happening soon


  • knitting1105 8:18 am on May 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fiber Optic Yarns, Niddy noddy   

    Rumors of my Spinning have been Greatly Exaggerated 

    To malign a quote from Mark Twain, they have been exaggerated by me.   Not on purpose, but rather because I neglected to actually measure my niddy-noddy, which instead of the assumed 2-yard length, is actually 1-3/4 yard.  A funny size if you ask me, this is the one made by Ashford.  Here is the first part hand wound on my niddy-noddy and the blue section wound on my new skein winder.


    So, instead of the great yardage that I was assuming I was getting, I have improved more modestly than I have been taking credit for.  That said, this spin was for the Fiber Optic spin-along, and I used a much smaller whorl on my wheel, I can happily report that this is 1250 yards (correctly rewound and measured after washing).  I am really happy with the weight and consistency on this spin, the fiber color is Turquoise to Tangerine.

    Fiber Optic 2013




    Now I am desperately seeking the perfect pattern for this, as a knit-along with Fiber Optic has started. Suggestions appreciated.


  • knitting1105 10:33 am on March 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Centrino, , ,   

    And the Winner Is… 


    I made this shawl using some handspun fiber that had been dyed up for the KnitGirllls podcast by Fiber Optic.


    I loved the colors, and did fairly well with the yardage.  Then I went on a Ravelry search for a pattern that I felt would both maximize the use of my yardage, and also show off the colors well.  Centrino was the pattern that won hands down.  When the blocking was all finished and I had final photos I posted it on Ravelry, almost instantly I received a nice note from the designer, Laura Nelkin, complimenting me on the project and asking if I would post it on her forum, they were having a KAL for the first quarter of the year.  Happily I posted, and got dozens of lovely comments.  A few weeks later, another surprise, as Laura gave out a grand prize for the month, and she selected this shawl!!!

    Here is what I won, a complete set of ChiaoGoo interchangeable circular needles.  It was so exciting to win, I usually do not win things.  They will be accompanying me on an upcoming trip, and used to start a new project.




    • Diane 12:50 pm on March 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, the shawl is just beautiful and I can see why you won the grand prize. You continue to amaze me. Congratulations!


    • Carol Hoover 8:15 pm on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Your shawl is so beautiful. I love it. Your spinning is amazing.
      I’m so glad to see you having a good time with your spinning and knitting.


    • Janice 8:11 am on April 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      What a absolutely beautiful shawl, love the colors. Congratulations on winning, you deserve it!!


  • knitting1105 11:14 am on March 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Spring Cleaning 

    Fiber Optic is having a spring spin-along with whatever of their fibers one has on hand to spin. And I have a lot… My first spin was this pencil roving, 50% superwash Merino and 50% Bamboo. This was my first spinning with a bamboo blend, it took me awhile to get into the groove, but once I figured it out this was a very pleasant and easy spin. I achieved 330 yards of a 2 ply wi 5 ounces, I am sure I would get better yardage next time, will have to keep my eye out for this blend.

    The color for this was Jing Tai, and it was from Kimber’s fiber club a couple of years ago. After finishing this I needed to choose another fiber to spin (this is going until tax day). It was time to really take a counting of all of the Fiber Optic fiber that I have on hand. It is easy to collect when they go into lots of different nooks and crannies. I tend to purchase her gradients that I like when they come up for sale, as some are not repeated often. So that said, here is my stash of just Fiber Optic braids.


    Since this is a spring spin-along, I wanted to choose a bright cheery color.  I choose the Turquoise to Tangerine which also has lots of color changes to keep me interested.




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