Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Portfolio Scarf

After much inner debate, I chose this Portfolio Scarf by Erika Flory to knit with my hand spun merino yarn.  The pattern calls for a sport weight yarn and my yarn is a light fingering weight, but with this pattern, I think I can just continue adding garter stitch and lace stitch sections until it is the size I want.  The yarn is knitting up nicely, I think.  The color repeats look good and the texture is soft and pleasant to touch.  I'm happy!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Hand dyed and handspun Merino

Hello Everyone.  After a nearly three year break, I'm hoping to resume posting to this blog.  I would plead that I have been in graduate school these past two and a half years, but that's no excuse... my daughter, who is also in graduate school, has been very prolific in her fiber arts work and in her blog posting.  Just take a look at Will Knit for Math.  She has been encouraging me and so here it is.  I have been taking a handspinning class on Thursday nights and this is the project I just finished.  The fiber is a merino top that I hand dyed at the Yarn School I attended in Kansas three years ago. 
After spinning very fine single ply, I plied it using Navajo chain ply method.  The result is still pretty fine.  I got three hanks for a total of 640 yards at 216 grams /  7.5 oz.  So that's roughly 300 yds/100 gms.  That would seem to be sport weight, but it gets 16 wraps per inch and looks more like fingering weight.

I washed the yarn carefully in very warm water using my normal laundry soap.  I was surprised to see how much dye came out of the yarn with washing and rinsing.
First rinse
Second rinse
Third rinse
Then I "whacked" each hank on a towel on the floor while still wet to set the twist. 
The still wet yarn, up close, after whacking.
I hung the three hanks to dry, using slight weight to prevent twist.  The two larger hanks were actually pretty straight, but it seems there was a little over twist in the smallest hank.
One of the large hanks up close
I plan to knit a scarf or shawl with this yarn. I am looking at patterns, trying to find one that will show the variegated blues, greens and browns well and that will hopefully use most or all of the yarn.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last of the Knitted Christmas balls in 2012

These are the last of the knitted Norwegian Christmas balls for 2012. We opened presents yesterday at my Mother's house, because we waited for Katherine and Robert to drive in from Texas after spending Christmas with his family. My mother's Christmas tree is a small table size, so she had asked if I could knit Christmas balls smaller. I bought Gloss lace weight yarn (75% wool 25% silk) from Knitpicks and tried knitting them with two strands of the lace yarn. It worked... the little balls are half the size of the ones I had been knitting with DK weight yarn. My mother is very happy with them.

Here they are on the tree. You call also see two square needlepoint ornaments that my Grandmother Baba made years ago, and also three needlepoint stocking ornaments that my mother's best friend, Ann, made. The little cross-eyed clothespin reindeer is an ornament that Katherine and I made one year when she was a little girl. They were so fun!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Finished My Jelly Roll Race Quilt Top!

Today I finished my Jelly Roll Race quilt top which I started two weeks ago during the long distance Mother-Daughter quilt date that I had with my daughter, Katherine. While it took me several hours total (the woman in the YouTube tutorial does it in 45 minutes), it was very easy and fun! And the batik fabrics in blues and greens are beautiful - prettier in person than in the photo. The finished size is 52 inches X 64 inches. I haven't yet decided if I want to put borders on it to make it a bit larger, or just quilt it and bind it as it is. I'm leaning towards just putting a simple binding on it, because I think borders would detract from the simple beauty of the batik stripes.

Here are some more photos of the project as it progressed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jessica is enjoying her Inkle Loom

My niece, Jessica, tried hard to wait until Christmas, but with my permission, opened her present early and is now happily on her way, learning to weave! She's doing great... notice what a nice consistent width she is getting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Norwegian Knitted Christmas Balls

Well, I've been knitting away at my Norwegian Christmas balls on and off since September (see my previous post). I meant to collect a large number and post a photograph of them, but I've been mailing them off to people as Christmas presents as fast as I can make them. So you are only seeing five of them here. In all, I think I have made 17 or 18, so far, and have at least another 8 or so to do before Christmas. And I am determined to make a couple for myself! Each one is taking around 3 hours to knit and another half hour to stuff it with craft wool and attach the hanging loop.

When my Grandmother Baba was alive, she made small needlepoint ornaments for all her children and grandchildren. We each got one every year for Christmas. Baba has been gone for many years now. I still miss her and I treasure the needlepoint ornaments she made for me. I'm having so much fun knitting these Norwegian Christmas balls, I think I will do it every year and carry on my grandmother's tradition, in my own way.

Merry Christmas, Everyone! Whatever your faith tradition, may you be surrounded by the warm love of family and friends. May you be well.

One of Baba's needlepoint ornaments

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mother - Daughter Quilt Date

If you follow my daughter's knitting blog, Will Knit for Math then you already know that we had a Mother - Daughter quilt date last night. We each bought a couple of jelly rolls at the Houston Quilt Festival last month with the intention of doing long distance quilt projects "together."

For our first project, we are making Jelly Roll Race quilts. Last night we sewed the forty 2 1/2 inch wide jelly roll strips together using 45 degree angled seams,for a total of more than 1600 inches of fabric! The woman in the youtube tutorial video pieced the entire top together in 45 minutes! She didn't pin or mark any seams and just zipped right through them. I didn't pin or mark my seams either, and I had to take the first several seams apart and start over because I had sewn "right" sides to "wrong" sides. This took about 20 minutes. But after starting over, I got the hang of it pretty quickly and it took me a little less than an hour to finish sewing all the pieces together. By then it was getting to be bedtime, so I stopped. This afternoon I checked all my seams and only found one I want to take out and redo because it is off a bit. Not bad. I, too, will trim and press the seams before proceeding with the next step.

Katherine's fabrics are colorful and fun! My jelly roll is called "Caribbean Blues," a collection of blue batik fabrics I purchased from Fabric Fanatics. So my quilt will be monochrome blues with some greens, yellows and pinks. I was afraid that it would be somewhat boring, but there is actually more contrast and interest in the fabrics that I expected,and more than you can see in the photograph. I can't wait to see the finished quilt! And this is so fun to do with Katherine!