Monday, March 28, 2016

Movie Night Mittens

These past months I've enjoyed becoming re-acquainted with my dyes. With building a house and moving, they spent a good year in storage. But the new house has a wonderful "dyeing station" in the back of the garage. What better stress relief, than to begin with white, natural colored yarn, and end up with wonderful colors!

What should I do with all that yarn?  Enter my "Movie Night Mittens", combining hand-dyed and solid worsted-weight yarns. 

I added a bit of braid embellishment at the cuff:


The Movie Night Mitten pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here. I can't wait to see what colors combinations other knitters come up with!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Crock Pot Dyeing, February 2016

Over the past 18 months we sold a house, built a house, and moved. I haven't done any wool dying over that time. Oh how I missed it!

Last weekend my husband located my dyeing equipment and dyes in the storage unit. It was so fun to get to know the colors again. 

I did some Crock Pot dyeing of  Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mittens based on this pattern:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Finished Projects: January 2016

January is our coldest month in South Dakota. I enjoy cozy evenings of knitting, crocheting, and spinning. Here are my finished projects from this month.

Nancy McGlynn's Warm Heart Mittens have been my "go to" mitten pattern for years. They are a fairly quick knit: I use size US 6 needles for the cuff and size 8 for the hand. There is a lot of opportunity in the pattern for color play. I use Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride Superwash Bulky for the mittens, and enjoy the many available colors.

This year I also made headbands to match, variations on the two color stranded patterns. I used size 6 needles for the ribbing and size 8 for the middle section, casting on 80 stitches, and reducing to 72 for the top ribbing. I'll made more of these headbands, with or without matching mittens. They'll be a great way to use up yarn scraps.

The Prairie Fiber Arts Guild is knitting Valentine Mittens to share at our February meeting. I tweaked the pattern slightly, to have a heart centered at the fingertips. These are knit in worsted weight yarn. I used US size 3 needles for the cuff and size 5 for the hand. The pink yarn is my handspun. Last spring the Guild hosted Lizbeth Upitis for a Latvian mitten workshop. I couldn't resist of adding a bit of Latvian-inspired braid at the cuff.

For me, crocheting is like coming home or putting on your favorite pair of shoes. It's comfortably familiar. With an odd skein of Madeline Tosh sock yarn in the stash, I crocheted a ripple scarf, original pattern. The colors that originally attracted me to the yarn still hold that attraction. From the detail image, notice that the ripple pattern is three rows of single crochet, then one row of triple crochet.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fixation Baby Beanie pattern

Fixation Baby Beanie:

Yarn:  1 ball Cascade Fixation (makes 2 beanies). 
           Use Fixation relaxed, not stretched, throughout.
           Crochet Hooks:  Size G

 Abbreviations:  hdc (half double crochet); sl (slip); sc (single crochet);
              st (stitch); sp (space); ch (chain).

   1.  Wrap yarn around fingers two times to make a firm loop. 6 hdc in loop.  (Knit rounds continuously, placing marker at beginning of each round.)
   2.  2 hdc in each hdc (12 hdc).
   3.  2 hdc in each hdc (24 hdc).
   4.  *Hdc in next 2 st, 2 hdc in next st* around (32 st).
   5.  *Hdc in next 3 st, then *2 hdc in next st* around (40 st).
   6.  *Hdc in next 7 st, then 2 hdc in next st* around (45 hdc).
   7.   Hdc in next 4 st, then 2 hdc in next st* around , (54  hdc).
   8.  *Hdc in next 17 st, then 2 hdc in next st* around (57  hdc).
   9.   Hdc 9, 2 hdc in next st, *Hdc in next 18 st, then 2 hdc in next st* around ,
hdc in last 9 st (60  hdc).
   10-16. Hdc even around for 7 rounds, ending with a sc.
   17.   Sl st, ch 3 (counts as hdc, ch 1 (skip 1)) *hdc 1, ch 1 (skip 1) *  around. Join round with sl st in 2nd chain.
   18.   Ch 1, hdc in each ch 1 sp and in each hdc around (60 st). Sl st to join round.
   19.   Ch 1.  Reverse direction.  Sc around in back loop only.  Join round with sl st.  Cut off yarn, leaving a few inches at end.

   With a tapestry needle, weave in long ends of yarn at beginning and end of beanie.  

   Option:  Weave ribbon through ch. 1 openings and tie a bow.          

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Plying Day

Bobbins are full.  Time to ply!

I used my first and favorite spinning wheel, the Majacraft Pollyanna. I've had this wheel well over 20 years, and it spins like a dream.  

The jumbo flyer and bobbin are great for big, no-knot skeins.

After plying, I wind the yarn into skeins on this antique winder, a gift from my mother.

This yarn is a soft camel blend from Dana Locken of Locken Bactrian Camels.  Yes, camels right here in South Dakota.

This blend is from Anna Anderson's Batt of the Month club on Etsy. Anna generously donates a portion of her sales to her children's 4-H club. I plied the blend with some Crystal Place Kid Merino- my favorite yarn for plying. The yarn makes me think of two of my favorite spring flowers: lilacs and pansies.

I dyed the Corriedale roving for this yarn. As I spun, I added in bits of hand-dyed mohair. The mohair is from Margaret Steffens, from my hometown of Waseca, MN. Margaret has done years of selective breeding to produce top quality mohair for hand spinning. I plied this bobbin with a brown Kid Merino to tone down the complementary colors a bit.

After plying, I set the twist in the yarn overnight.

The next day, a basket of hand spun yarn, ready for knit and crochet.

Bobbins are empty. Time to spin!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Weave-it Loom Brooches

It was interesting to note Schacht Spindle's release of their Zoom Loom 4-inch pin loom. 

The zoom loom is very similar to the Weave-it loom, which came out in the 1930's.

A few years ago I began collecting Weave-it Looms. These hand-held looms are fun and relaxing to play with, and a great way to use leftover bits of yarn.  I especially like making squares in hand-dyed and Noro yarns. 

I have some Weave-its in the 4-inch size:

and some in the smaller, 3-inch size.  

The Winter 2005 issue of Spin-off magazine included instructions for making "Loom Blooms" on Weave-it looms. What a fun project! 

I've enjoyed making Loom Bloom brooches and using up some of those addicting-to-make little squares.

If you'd like to learn more about Weave-it and other little looms, check out the wealth of information at eLoomaNation.