Northern Lights Handspun

I finished spinning this yarn up at the end of my Winter Break, but I’m just getting around to posting pictures now.

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It started out as the December 2012 Spunky Eclectic Club Fiber, and as soon as I unwrapped it out of the package, I knew what I wanted to make: more handspun socks.

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The fiber is Falkland – a great all purpose wool that is easy to spin up and feels super soft in the skein.

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(12 WPI/288yds/4oz)

The socks are currently on the needles. They’re a great project to have now that I’m back at school so I can squeeze in a few rounds between classes and other commitments. I can’t wait to cast off so they can warm my toes!

2013: Some New Socks and Some New Goals

This morning, I kicked off the New Year with a brand new pair of socks.

SummersEnd White

 

I’m loving these socks for two reasons: the stripes and the thickness. Recently I’ve been intrigued by skinny stripes, so I couldn’t resist pairing my gradient handspun (Spunky Eclectic October 2012 Club – Summer’s End) with some grey CVM top I picked up from Long Ridge Farm at Rhinebeck. I spun the yarns at about a DK weight, making the socks thick, plush, and perfect for keeping my toes warm throughout the winter. I’m already wearing them as I type out this post, so I know they’ll get more use throughout the year.

Finishing my first knitting project of 2013 provided a perfect opportunity for me to reflect on what has been and what will be.

Last year was full of many milestones for me.

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Bauble was published in Knitty as one of the First Fall surprises. The photos used hold extra significance for me. The white dress I’m wearing in them is my graduation dress. On the same day I graduated from high school, I ate a quick lunch, then ran out with my dad to snap a few shots in the beautiful June lighting. Seeing these photos always reminds me of two accomplishments of which I’m very proud.

In the fall of this year I started college, which naturally meant fewer blog posts as I got adjusted to a new group of friends, a new selection of courses, and a new place of residence. One thing that has stayed constant is my knitting.

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Looking ahead, I’m excited for the new experiences 2013 will hold. There are some designs waiting in the wings, yet to be released. There are new yarns to be spun, new patterns to be knit, and new friends to be made.

This year, my New Year’s resolution is simple. Enjoy each moment. Be thankful for everything I have. Keep working towards what I want. Smile. Laugh. Live.

IMG_0311I hope your new year holds exciting opportunities as well, and I can’t wait to continue blogging throughout 2013!

 

 

Butterfly Tank Finished!

I finished my butterfly tank a week or so ago, but I finally got around to taking some nice pictures of it. This is a tank top of my own design knit using Quince and Co Sparrow.

The front is simple stockinette, with a purl band below the bust.

While the back features cables and two different lace patterns.

Overall, it was a lot of fun to knit. I loved knitting with Sparrow for the first time. The fabric had a nice flow and drape. Better yet, since it’s linen, it will just keep getting softer and softer as I wear it! There might not be much time left in the summer for me to wear it, but I’m going to try to get it out of my closet as much as I can.

 

 

 

Butterfly Tank In Progress

My latest design in progress started out as this:

And is now looking more like this:

I’ve finished ten inches on the body, and I’m hoping to have it done within the next week or two. Stay posted for more updates!

In other news, the voting for the June/July Designer’s Challenge has just opened up HERE (poll is at the bottom of the Ravelry thread). Please go and vote for your favorite top, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. There are a lot of beautiful entries up this time!

Bauble: My Design Process

A few days ago my pattern, Bauble, was released as one of the Knitty First Fall surprises! It was an incredible experience watching my shawl develop from an idea rattling around in my head to an actual pattern up on the Knitty website. If you want to check it out, you can visit the Knitty website or check out the Ravelry page. Thanks to everybody for their kind and supportive words about my pattern!

I thought it would be fun to share a bit about how I came up with Bauble and how it developed into a pattern for others to use. My original inspiration was the February Challenge at the Designer’s Challenge group on Ravelry. For this challenge, the object was a shawl, the technique was lace, and the theme was 2-D art. I immediately started thinking of abstract art because I like the strong lines and the bold shapes, which I thought could transfer well over to knitting. In particular, I started thinking of Kandinsky’s work like this painting. To express those lines and shapes in knitting, I turned to two of my favorite techniques: lace and twisted stitches. I love the intricate turns of twisted stitches and the lofty feeling of lace so I knew I wanted to somehow combine them.

My original sketch, shown below, focused on panels of openwork separated by twisted stitches at different angles. I use this sketchbook for all my designs to (messily) jot down details I think might be important.

I liked this idea, but I also wanted to focus on motifs that could repeat. While I was swatching different ways of combining twisted stitches and lace, I charted a pattern of diamonds with mesh openwork in the middle. Thus, Bauble was born. It made quite the journey from my original Kandinsky inspiration, and as I charted and recharted the motifs, it took on a life of its own. A few months later, Bauble is now available for all on Knitty, and I’m excited to see what other people will make from it.

Designer’s Challenge: Finished!

Presenting my finished top for the Designer’s Challenge Super Challenge!

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It fulfills all three of the requirements – it is clearly a top, it has origami folds at the neck, and I talked about the stripes in the last post.

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The origami neck detail is probably my favorite part. It is formed out of two long strips of garter stitch that are folded together. They spiral around each other when sewn to the top, and create a really interesting neckline.

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I’m excitedly working on grading this pattern so that it will fit all sizes of knitters instead of just me. At some point, I hope to release it as my first ever top/sweater pattern! Stay tuned for updates.

Designer’s Challenge 1: Stripes

This is part one of a four part post where I’m planning on blogging about my inspiration for the June/July super challenge at the Designer’s Challenge group on Ravelry. If you’re interested in participating, there’s still plenty of time to join in! There are three criteria that must be met in order for the design to count. It must be a top, have stripes, and be somehow related to the theme “origami”.

My focus for this post is going to be on the stripes in my design. In my top, garter stitch stripes in the CC (Lipstick Lava) contrast with stockinette stitch stripes in the MC (Crying Dove).

I wanted to do something more than basic, even stripes. To add some interest, I decided to use the Fibonacci sequence. This sequence goes 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc. The next number in the sequence is found by adding the previous two numbers together (1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13, etc.). In my knitting, I interpreted this by starting off with 8 garter ridges, then 8 rounds of stockinette stitch, then 5 garter ridges, then 5 rounds stockinette stitch, etc. This produces an interesting stripe that seems to naturally fade away as it reaches the waist shaping, which was just the effect I was looking for.

Right now I’m up to the bust line and preparing to shape the armholes and the neckline. In future posts, I will explain my inspiration for the “top” and the “origami” parts of the challenge as well.

FO: Pondering Kiwi

I finished what just might be my favorite sweater to date!

This sweater started out as only 1 skein of Miss Babs Yowza – Whatta Skein! in the colorway Kiwi that I purchased at Maryland Sheep and Wool 2011. I had stopped by the Miss Babs booth and had decided to try something a bit out of my comfort zone – this green. I loved the color, but I tend to wear a lot of blues or greys so I wasn’t sure if it would look good on me. After finishing this sweater, I’m glad I took a chance. I really like this color for a change, and it’s perfect for spring!

Details:

Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza – Whatta Skein! – colorway Kiwi – 1 skein

Pattern: Something to Ponder

Size/Modifications: I knit the size stated in the pattern, 33″ chest, but I got gauge at 4.75sts/inch to make it fit me a bit better (34.5″ chest). I used waist increases and decreases (3 sets of decreases worked every 6 rounds and then 3 sets of increases worked every 6 rounds). I also lengthened it a bit by working 8 repeats of the allover cabled eyelet pattern.

I love this sweater. The Miss Babs Yarn is comfortable and soft without being too hot for a shortsleeved top, and I love the richness and depth of the color from the dyeing. I wish I had made the sweater a tiny bit longer since I have a long torso, but I completely ran out of yarn. It’s long enough, though, and I can’t wait to wear this more in the fall. I can already tell that this is going to be a sweater I reach for again and again.

Handspun Norwegian Longwool

I finished some handspun Norwegian Longwool singles today. It was my first time spinning something with such a long staple length. The fiber was Spunky Eclectic Club fiber from May 2011, a colorway called Angkor Wat.

I kept putting off spinning this fiber because I was afraid about “ruining” it somehow. I adored the colors, but I’d never spun Norwegian Longwool before, so I was afraid of overspinning the yarn and making it too hard and harsh. Eventually I just decided to give it a go and see what kind of yarn I would get.

Details:

Wheel: Suzie Pro, 6.5:1 ratio

WPI: 15/16 – quite thick and thin with a lot of variation

Total Yardage: 475

Total Weight: 3.35 oz

Slightly fulled to hold it together

I’m pleased with the finished result, and if anything I think it’s a bit underspun. I was so afraid of the wool being overspun that I put in as little twist as possible – just enough to hold it together. As a result, it’s not the strongest handspun ever, so I’m thinking of using it for a light and lofty shawl like the Storm Cloud Shawlette or Summer Flies. Any other suggestions?

Some New Yarn and a Designer’s Challenge

I got new yarn today! An odd triangular package arrived from Eat.Sleep.Knit with some lace blocking wires and a size 3 24″ circular needle. Most importantly, it contained two skeins of Dream in Color Baby in the colorways Crying Dove and Lipstick Lava.

I’m going to be using these two yarns together in a new design I’m working on for the Designer’s Challenge. This is a group on Ravelry that organizes challenges for designers each month based on a certain theme. Usually there’s a certain object, technique, and theme that must be apparent in the design, but after that each designer’s imagination can run wild! This time the challenge is a “Super Challenge” – 2 months long. The object is a top, the theme is origami, and the technique is stripes. I’m looking forward to posting more about my inspiration, my ideas, and my swatching as the challenge progresses.