The year so far

Well I’ve been quiet lately. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the crafting realm…


I finished spinning the rainbow yarn from last post. I tried for a little less twist in this one than I usually do, because the blend already has some nylon for strength. I’m quite pleased with the result.

rainbowI also finished up the Orange & Turquoise yarn. For that one, I had 2 ounces each of two different SW Merino fibers. I vertically stripped each piece into 4 bits, then tore each of those bits into 4 pieces. Then I alternated spinning one from the turquoise & gray batch with one from the aqua & orange batch (have a look at the picture from that post for them all lined up), and finished by chain-plying.


Aaaand that yarn has already been knitted into socks. I felt like mixing up the colors even more, so I opted for 2-row striping plain toe-up socks with a modified short-row heel.


I’m quite amused how the colors matched back up on one of the cuffs.

The Moonrover yarn we saw last post has already been knitted into socks too, also of my own invented design. The cables look cool but kind of make a mess of the fit, especially at the ankles.


Also those Bluebell & Clover socks from I-don’t-remember-when were frogged because I was unhappy with them and knit into something much more pleasing: Puschkinia socks from Kirsten Kapur.


The silver shawl pictured in the last post was also finished! This was really a win for me, because I’d been working on it for at least four years (it had gotten to the point of only being airplane knitting) and I thought it might never get done.

Modeled by my lovely friend T

Other Adventures:

So the sewing became all-consuming for a little while, because I became a little obsessed with the idea of a TARDIS box bag (idea supplied by the delightful Chris.) I ran through several prototypes, but by the fifth or sixth bag had worked out all the details. So naturally I stopped there and haven’t made any more since.

Tardis Bags

I was also recently sent to Alaska for work for two weeks. I took the only full day I had off and visited the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer. I scored some sweet, sweet qiviut in the raw form and I’ve spun just a tiny bit of it so far.

muskyMy brief searches of the internet so far haven’t yielded an abundance of info on spinning raw qiviut, so I mostly winged it and it seemed to work out. I’ll take lots of pictures when I spin the next batch.




There’s no knitting in this post

I know, I know, I haven’t posted in ages. Plus this post is all about sewing.

So I do these themed swaps with knitters, and I’ve been getting into sewing again to make project bags for my packages. The latest theme was “Chinese New Year”.

It’s been really fun and I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve developed a favorite style: drawstring top, round bottom, fake leather fabric at the base so it’ll stand up if you set it down. I realized after polling the swap forum that there’s another element many knitters prize in their project bags: pockets. So I got to it with a zipper!

bagI cut the top above the drawstring at a slight angle and I think it makes a very fetching fan shape.

But even before I got to making the bag, I had decided that what my package *really* needed was a fortune cookie-shaped notions pouch. I scoured the internet for ideas, but the only thing I really liked was these high-end coin purses.

Well, leather is likely beyond the ability of my antique sewing machine, so I found some Marine Vinyl in the right color, the perfect lining fabric from pennycandy on spoonflower and a sew-in purse frame of the right size, and made it up as I went. I am sort of giddy at the cute result.


There’s really not too much to it: Measure the curve of the purse frame and multiply by 4 to get the approximate circumference of circles to cut. Fold in half, sew the points of the lining and the outside, fold in the edge of the lining and sew it into the frame by hand. Garnish with a stitch marker and away you go!


I did one prototype where I tucked the vinyl seams inside, but the vinyl was too stiff and made the inside a wrinkly mess.

Sewing it into the frame is definitely the trickiest part, because it naturally won’t lie flat. My prototype has pretty dreadful frame seams. But one careful stitch at time forces it into place, and then the stiffness of the vinyl and purse frame are all that’s needed to make the whole cookie keep it’s shape.

Oh, look, I’ll throw in a bit of spinning content. I finished that Moonrover yarn; it’s navajo-plied fingering weight squishiness.

MR yarnAnd then I started “Tie Dye Rainbow” SW Merino from Quaere; it’s split in half by weight and also to be Navajo-plied fingering weight for matching socks, because why not?


A Story to Tell

My swap recipient happily received her package last week, so I can share the spinning now!

The theme was “Tell Me A Story”, and I told a story by way of a choose-your-own adventure. If you want to read it, most of the story is on a Ravlery page here. The recipient posted pictures of the corresponding items starting in the forum here, and the ending is in that forum on the next page too.

One of the things she got to choose was “flower colors”, and she opted for hot pink, coral and yellow. My mystery picture from a few weeks ago is those colors. I thought these colors as a set would be completely out of my zone of likes, but I utterly fell in love with the combo and took a bunch of pictures of the strands reclining.


The actual “flowers” are all MADE OF MINIS!!


I was proud of me because I felt this was clever. I spun her a series of mini skeins + a few leftovers of interesting handspun and dyed bits from other projects I had. The whole spread was this:


Most of them are minis I spun deliberately for the swap out of fiber from Sosae Caetano and Three Little Crows, but if you look closely, you may recognize the mini leftover skein from the Vicariously yarn, a sample from DebbieB’s Prism, the teal end of the Sleeping Beauty socks, and a yellow bit from the Arabian Night socks. Spinning minis is silly amounts of fun. It’s a whole bunch of tiny instant gratifications.

Bolstered by my success last month with sewing, I made another reversible project bag, this one in a forest theme with a rectangular bottom. So much was my enthusiasm that I got tools and even learned to make stitch markers. I thought it would be handy to have a stitch marker clasp directly on the bag, so I sewed one on. Plus it was, you know… charming.


For WIPs this week, I had a sudden urge to do fairisle. I scoured the Ravelry pattern database and found a bunch of things I wanted to cast on, but then had an abrupt attack of knitterly responsibility and made the other Namaste Mitt. Stranded knitting always looks so much better after blocking.


And yes, the pattern intends for me to reverse colors on the second mitt, but I felt the need to at least try to make things match. It did come out close.

I cast off the Loop Oasis Toffee shawl too!


I did run out of yarn before finishing the whole edge, which I expected to do anyway. I haven’t blocked it yet because the mats were occupied with the Candy shawl.


Wait, what? Candy shawl? What is this?

It needs a whole post.

50 Mattresses

I may have to do more secret spinning, because these transformation process posts are my favorite kind.

My Fairy Tale Swap partner (Brenda!) received her package, so now I can share the yarn!

Before I had even been assigned a partner, I knew I would be spinning a custom yarn. Brenda’s favorite fairy tale is The Princess and the Pea, and I was determined to make a yarn that went with it. I initially thought I’d do a semisolid green for a Pea ball, but then it struck me: self striping yarn so that it would stack up like mattresses!

Brenda lists her favorite colors as pinks, violets, blues, lavenders, and greens, so I decided to use ALL of them. I scoured the stash and found my bag of merino Wooly Cupcakes from The Wool Peddler.


I picked out the ones with the right colors and then added more solid colored merino from my carding stash. (I pulled out the brown bits too).


I realized that spinning the hand-painted bits would not make sharp color changes like I needed for mattress stripes, and would have a different look than the solid merino. So I pulled apart the hand-painted pieces and threw them on the carder.


Each color blended into a really nice heathery mini-batt with lovely depth of color. The solid merino also needed to be heathery, so I grabbed dark and light bits of other colors and blended up the solid merino too. I ended up with a total of 7.7 oz of carded bundles.


I split each little batt into pieces that were 3-5 g and lined them up in a sort of random color sequence. It isn’t really random, because I didn’t like the high contrast when bright pink was next to green, and I have a fondness for grouping 2 or 3 different tones of the same color in a run, so there was some pretty deliberate manipulation of the order.


I spun each bit one after the other, trying to make the color transition as fast as possible for the sharp stripes.


I Navajo-plied to keep the stripes and soaked thoroughly.


It came out light worsted weight, 490 yards.


I was so happy that it came out like I planned for! I love the yarn, but since I spent the whole process deliberately planning it for Brenda, I wasn’t even sad to put it in the mail. I was just so excited for Brenda to have it! There are 50 stripes of color in the yarn, thus I dubbed it “50 Mattresses”.

I also dug out my sewing machine and made a little round-bottomed reversible “Rags to Riches” project bag to go in the swap package.


I don’t often sew, and I just made it up without a pattern. I was so ridiculously pleased with it that I may have to make another soon.

For WIP Wednesdays, the Steampunk shawl has been cast off but not yet blocked.


The Malibu & Maison Moderne Falklands fibers have been plied together into one big skein that is destined to become a woven scarf.


There are Moonrover Darkside singles on the wheel.


And the Bluebell and Clover yarn got started as simple socks.


WIP Wednesday Walkabout is now in the sidebar!