Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Christmas Completions!

Well, the holiday has come and gone - and I'm now "fixing" the gifts that didn't fit quite right, or didn't quite get finished.

Two of the gifts were perfect - the shawl for my mother was beautiful, and she absolutely loved it. And the sweater for my grandson fit perfectly, and was a hit with everyone.

But the sweater for my granddaughter needs to be lengthened, and the last two fingers of the second Norwegian-patterned glove for a friend need to be completed. Those should take me through this weekend, and let me start the new year with new projects!

Planning new projects is always such fun. There are so many choices! Two months ago I bought some Shetland lamb in three colors - white, black and red-brown - that is luscious. I could spin it very fine for a tri-color shawl, or sport-weight for a sweater and socks. Or do some of both, since I went a little crazy and bought quite a bit of it! Then there is the silk waste I started spinning for a summer sweater, and would really like to finish up and start knitting, so that I might have the finished sweater for this year. And the cardigan I'd like to do for myself before too much longer from some pretty, Easter-egg dyed medium roving. And the wool-silk singles that are 3/4 spun for a sweater in heathered shades of purple...I could finish that up in a weekend, easily, since there's less than 4 ounces of singles left to spin, and then everything just needs to be plyed. That's probably what I'll work on first, if only to free up the bobbins for other projects!

There are also socks for me on the needles now, and I need to do some for my DH and my sons. While the idea of knitting plain Navy blue socks isn't that exciting, the son who's reporting to basic in June might appreciate them next winter at Great Lakes. And the other son might like a pair of black and orange for band this fall, or just a wildly-colored pattern to wear with his jeans.

So many possibilities and so much excitement, but so little time!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Projects Completed!

Let's see...I've finished up several things since my last post, and started others. The scarf from the handspun Finn in the cellular lace pattern is finished off with a crocheted scalloped edge. The ear-warmer for a jogging friend is also finished, and the Shetland-style rectangular shawl for my mother is nearly done. Except I've decided to make it just a bit longer, so I'm spinning a little more yarn for that. But I'll finish it up before next week.

I've also started a pair of colorwork gloves for a younger friend from the same handspun Finn in white with a very dark brown shetland cross blend. I'm using the snowflake flove pattern found in Handspun, Handknit. They're going to be lovely when finished, although they may be a little late for Christmas - color knitting is much slower for me than lace!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New Project Begun

I had some Finn that I had spun sport-weight a few weeks back; being me, I'd spun waaay too much for the project! I was thinking about what to do with the left-overs, which led to what I still need to do for Christmas gifts.

I have a gift exchange each year with a group that loves handmade gifts. So I decided to make a scarf for that exchange, using the Finn. This fiber is a beautiful shiny white which takes dye beautifully, but I decided to stick with the natural color of the fiber and use a lace knitting stitch. After some tinkering, I decided on a simple cellular stitch with 4-stitch borders on either side. This is a 3-stitch repeat. After swatching on size 7 needles, I moved up to size 10.5 - the 7's made much too heavy a fabric! The borders and 11 pattern repeats makes a lovely 12-inch wide scarf fabric - and it is knitting up beautifully.

This is the perfect "mindless" project to go with the Shetland scarf, which requires lots of concentration! I've been doing at least one inch of each scarf each day, which should get both finished before Christmas!

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Welcome to FiberLife!

I'm a fiberholic. There, I've admitted it. If it's hair or fur sheared from an animal or plant fuzz of any type, I'm interested. I'll spin the fluff, knit, weave, tat or crochet the resulting yarn into a fabric, and have a great deal of fun in the process. My Christmas gifts for family and friends are always hand-made, not homemade. My socks are hand-knit, my sweaters one-of-a-kind from sheep I've met personally, and my laces unique.

If the paragraph above sounds like I'm nuts, feel free to continue exploring. On the other hand, if you're either a fellow fiberholic, or if the basic information sounds intriguing, drop in from time to time. I'll be adding various information about my current fiber projects, and welcome comments and discussion.

Current projects

Current projects include a pair of lace socks. I bought some 54's superwash from Little Barn just before last fall's "natural dye-in" for a local guild. There was a pot with cochineal and a touch of Queen Anne's lace - an absolutely fantastic scarlet! I dyed about 6 ounces, with no real plan for using it at that time.

Then I put major holes into my socks with the steel-toed shoes I must wear part of the time at work. New socks became a necessity before the winter winds begin! And I've been wanting to do a feather-and-fan version of socks for awhile. Since I prefer well-wearing socks, I starting spinning singles at about 45 wraps per inch. The cabled 4-ply I finally finished is rather ropy-feeling at the yarn stage, but the knitted sample fluffs up into a lovely, soft fabric after machine washing and drying. The superwash will tolerate that with only 5 percent shrinkage! While I'll almost certainly not machine dry these as a normal thing (even superwash has its limits), it's a valuable step in this fabric's finishing.

While one sock is complete, the other may have to wait awhile for finishing - my other project has a deadline!

I made a rectangular shawl/scarf for my mother-in-law last Christmas. Chose a basic Orenburg edging, and a Shetland center in the candle flame pattern, and decided to knit the Shetland wool two-ply handspun in Orenburg fashion. It's spectacular, and she loves it. What I didn't expect was that my mother would get jealous! So now I've started another for her for this year's holiday from the remainder of the Shetland. I wanted one for myself...oh, well, it's a excuse to buy more fiber!

I started spinning gossamer-weight singles of 60 wpi, two-plyed them into a 48 wpi yarn, and am knitting on size 4 circulars to get a very light, lacy fabric. I chose a Leaf Lace Pattern for the center, a faggotted border, and a simple Doris edging. Again, I chose to work in Orenburg fashion, since I truly dislike "finishing" a project and then having to go all the way back around and join an edging in order to truly complete it.

The spinning is still going on, although I've done the first 400 of the 800 yards it will likely take to finish. The knitting is going slowly, but it IS going. I've completed the lower edging and border, turned the corners and done three repeats of the full width now. Only 24 more to go before I start the upper border and edging!

The knitting and necessary spinning are cutting into my "wanna do" project, though. I'd like to get back to spinning the sari silk waste for a sweater - but it will have to wait until the Christmas gifts are done!