July 29, 2008

Navajo Plying

Today I taught myself how to Navajo ply using the joyofhandspinning.com's video tutorial. Its easier than I thought, and fun. I was very excited yesterday when I unraveled a sweater that was a silk, nylon, and angora blend and it was a lace weight single. I almost never get singles. This presented some possibilities. To the left is a photo of the unplyed yarn on my huge bobbinsand on the right is a a good view of the single before plying.

I decided to give it a bit more spin as it was a little fragile and to make a tighter ply. So I ran the whole bobbin through the machine last night and gave it a bit more twist. Today I plied it and it came out great. I love only having one bobbin to deal with and the balanced nature of the 3ply yarn that results. So here's the skein of the yarn I've made. Its so purdy. The yarn is a really soft and nicely drapey fingering weight now and can actually be used. I think I'm going to do this with the rest of the sweater too. Yay, I love unraveling singles.

July 21, 2008

Good ways to enjoy fresh black raspberries

Black raspberries grow really well here and they are really in season right now. A friend of mine invited me over to pick some a while ago and I also have bought some from the farmer's market. They are so ripe and fresh that cooking them seems to be a shame so I have a few ways I like to use them (other than stuffing my face) that let their ripe freshness shine.
I made a tart from a recipe on Epicurious.com the Raspberry Sour Cream Tart.
I made it just as written (with a few flubs on the crust, but all was well in the end) and it was extremely delicious. The lemon juice in the cream cheese and sour cream filling gives it a lovely tartness that goes well with the berries. Its also very easy and delicious to make your own graham cracker crust. I didn't have a food processor like in the recipe, so I just put the crackers in a plastic bag and crushed them with a rolling pin. YUM.

The other think I've been doing with the berries is concocting drinks that involve berries.

Here is my fresh black raspberry cocktail.

4 cans ginger ale or a bottle of your favorite dry white wine
24 or so berries

Wash and place berries in a small bowl or plate. Smash them with a fork until they resemble jam. Pour 4 wine glasses with your ginger ale or white wine. Pour an equal amount smashed berries into each glass and serve. If you really hate seeds you can strain the smashed berry to get rid of them, though it looks prettier with the whole bits of berry swirling around the glass.
Serves four

I'm actually drinking one right now. Its delicious!

July 14, 2008

Things are going along

I woke up this morning to the sounds of a construction crew digging up our sidewalk to do something to the plumbing I think. They've been doing it all up and down the street and today was our turn. Can you feel my excitement? Ah well they woke me up at 9:45 so not so much.

I've been working on these socks pretty hard core and they seem to be coming along nicely. I've had a few bumps along the way but so far so good. I nearly had a crisis where I KNEW I wasn't going to have enough yarn to make them knee socks so I scrambled around on Ravelry and I got a very kind person there to sell me a skein of the yarn. The making of the pattern portion is going well too. Here are some pictures of the socks. I've already turned the short row heel and am working on the ankle. I am knitting them 2 at a time using magic loop. I really like doing it this way, the socks are much more similar and this way you don't have to "do" another one when you finish the first. You're just done.
I went to the Fine Line shop on Saturday to buy some fleece to practice spinning with. I bought this Merino lamb brown & white fleece. Its a little rough with vegetable matter but it is super soft and it is fun to work with. I think I'm starting to get the hang of spinning. I really like the electric. Its nice not to have to worry about treadling or how to get the speed I want. And with the GIANT bobbins it comes with I can easily spn as much onto a bobbin as I like.

I have posted a new yarn in the shop, and will post another one today. I need to get working on the boxes for the belt buckles so I can, ya know, sell them? But these boxes seem important to me. I think I'll work on them today. And then maybe I can post those silly things. I have sold the one necklace I put up in my shop, I was a bit surprised as the jewelry portion of Etsy is really saturated. But I'm happy to see it go home. I hope the person likes it.

I am going to be have a a booth at YarnCon in October and I'm going to be teaching a class! Its very exciting, but I am a little nervous. I have a few months to get myself together however. I'm going to be teaching a design your own hat class with an a la carte structure so the students can mix and match different designs and make it their own. I think I will sell a heck of a lot of yarn there as well.

I hope I get a lot done today. I wasn't very productive yesterday due to PMS mostly because I get terrible general anxiety from it. I just end up feeling like a doom is upon me or something. It's unpleasant and makes me unable to focus. But today is better I think. I will be productive!

July 9, 2008

Toe Up Lace & Cables Socks

My spinner finally arrived about 7pm last night. I spent about and hour cleaning up my work area so it could fit and then I put it all together. It works pretty good, and I'm starting to get the hang of plying with it. I plied this nice white merino I had into a sock weight and a silk pink cobweb weight into a lace weight. I also plied the strands of some cotton yarn, which makes it easier to work with. The motor is fairly quiet at low speeds but the higher speeds are quite noisy.

So my other obsession lately has been these toe up lace socks I've been DYING to write a pattern for that I finally got to work on yesterday. They are going to have small alternating vertical stripes of lace and cables. So I'm almost to cast on. I have my gauge swatches all set, I have a plan of how to proceed, the only thing I'm missing is what kind of lace panel I'm going to put on the back of the calf for a increase. I need more stitches so I am going to go to the library tomorrow and see what they have for stitch dictionaries and maybe look at the Modern Lace Knitting books again. I think I can get cast on and work on them before I get that set though because it will take a while to get to the calf increase portion. I MAY just chart something myself. We'll see. Something has really clicked lately with my planning projects, I'm really getting how to start with and idea and take it to reality (with knitting)
I like it. And so this post isn't too boring I leave you with a fuzzy web cam pic of my tubular gauge swatch.

July 4, 2008

I created my first real pattern!

Today I created my first real finished pattern. It was a pretty easy one for a wash cloth but its the first time I really professionally wrote the whole thing out in a way others could understand. I'm pretty proud of it really. I think I'm going to put it up in my store tonight. Also I'm offering it free to anyone who purchases a cotton yarn from me. I did all the layout in InDesign and I have to say I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. I'm knitting one up now to test it, but I should probably have someone test knit it.