It’s HERE!!!

April 30, 2008 @ 12:22 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: spinning

’nuff said!!!

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I just got word…

April 29, 2008 @ 5:21 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: gifts,spinning


Bonkers merino/tencel

The finished BFL…delish!

Pigeonroof studios superwash merino in Lettuce

Green gifts from Ingrid!

…that my wheel has been shipped! :) YAY! I cannot wait! I don’t know if they mean it was direct shipped from Poland or shipped from Germany. I’m hoping it’s the latter, because that means I’ll get it tomorrow or the next day. The extras that I ordered will come later though, and that’s fine with me! This means I really need to get the podcast edited before it comes. But the fiber…it calls for me…it whispers my name in my sleep (or lack thereof).

Anyways, since there has been almost zero knitting done, I thought I should show you my latest spinning FO’s. I LOVED spinning merino/tencel, the shine to it was very nice (thanks Linnea)! But while I was setting the twist and whacking it, 2 strands BROKE!!! I was so sad … this skein is so lovely! But it’s ok, no biggie, that means that it is just like Noro (har har!). And the BFL, I think I already told you the trouble with spinning it up, but the finished product feels very very nice (thanks to fbz!). I can’t wait to knit these up but at the same time I want to produce more! Now that I have a pile of handspun, it makes me smile everytime I pass by it!

I am currently spinning up some Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino and my god, it is lovely! I want more more MORE! I basically want more of everything. The only downside to the Pigeonroof is that it has a lot of nepps. But I’ll put up with pretty much anything because it is so nice to spin with. It is the most spongey fiber I have spun with so far and I know it will fluff up whenever I set the twist. This roving also has a lot of white in it, so I’ll have to make something other than socks with it. I love the kettle-dyed roving though, so cool and random!!! It’s amazing how a bold little spot on the roving breaks up and turns into a light streak in a small section of the yarn.

I CANNOT get enough of spinning. I am so hooked on it and want to do so much all at once!

I also received a package from Ingrid, my upstream SP8. She is so sweet and has sent me a beautiful green (and oh-so-soft) skein of Posh Yarn Emily. It will be interesting to see how this one knits up as opposed to the Lucia. Both of them are beyond soft!!! She also sent me some green glass beads – what should I do with these? Any suggestions? Thanks so much Ingrid!!!

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Emerging from the black hole that is spinning

April 27, 2008 @ 9:30 am
posted by kris
Filed under: spinning


Ahhhh, I finally achieved what I wanted!

BFL – why don’t I love it more?

Merino/Tencel is amazing!!!

I have been literally holed up spinning. And spinning some more. And when that’s done, I spin. I love it so much and there’s so much to learn and explore – most immediately, I still have to learn how to ply tight without over-plying and to experiment with different fibers. It is *so* much fun!!! Knitting? what’s that again? Children? do I have them? Sleep? isn’t 4-5 hours a day enough?

I finally made a skein of yarn that was the reason why I started spinning in the first place. The colors come together then barber pole, then come together again and starts all over. For some reason, I’ve been only working with two colors – or variations on one color – light blue/dark blue, light green/dark green, etc. This skein was all kinds of colors and I absolutely love it – I want more more more!

I am currently spinning with BFL, and I don’t know if it’s this particular roving or what, but I am having a hard time with it. There are lots of “balls” (for lack of better word) in the roving that I have to pull out or sometimes if I’m lazy I will just spin it and it will create a little lump in the single, as well as it’s sticky in some parts. Maybe this one is slightly felted in places making it hard to spin? I have no idea. I’m starting to think that’s the case because there are parts of it that are super easy. hmmmm… I am getting more BFL in the near future so I will definitely try it again.

My next skein will be a merino/tencel blend and I spun up a little trial swatch and OMG, I LOVE it! It just glides out of my hand and spins itself! I am looking forward to completing the skein.

I also got some Pigeonroof Studios and Funky Carolina roving that I want to spin up as well – I just want to do it all! The great thing about spinning is that you get an FO much much faster than knitting, AND you have yarn all ready to knit up or add to your stash!

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Fiber fun filled birthday

April 24, 2008 @ 3:12 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: gifts,spinning


I think I am going to explode from all this!!!

Ostseegarn Eiderwolle

Little did I know that writing “I am out of multicolored roving” sends out an emergency alarm that only fiber enthusiasts can hear! My fiber angels Linnea and Fabienne sent me an “Emergency Fiber Re-Supply”, and OMG, they sent me some really amazing stuff with various content. I tend to stick to merino, so this was a really welcome surprise. I got some Bamboo which you would swear is silk, some merino/tencel (can’t wait to try!!!), some BFL (haven’t spun any yet), some mixed yarn – merino/llama, corriedale/alpaca, all of which I haven’t tried. Argh, the torture of choosing which one to spin up!!! They did an excellent job of re-supplying me with fiber – thank you SO much! Linnea also threw in some American goodies – pop tarts, shark bites and of course squishy wonderbread, which arrived in absolute perfect condition!

In addition to that, I got some birthday gifts – stitch markers from the husband (as well as the much bigger gift that isn’t coming for another 3 weeks – argh, the torture!), blue roving/beautiful red lace yarn/chocolate/coffee from tini, and a gift I got awhile back but was holding out until today to post – an amazing rich blue skein of madeline tosh sock yarn and Annie Modesit’s “Romantic Hand Knits” book, from the one and only Yarnissima!!! The patterns/models/photography in that book is very inspirational and indeed – romantic! You guys are the best and thank you again!

Tini’s roving arrived yesterday and I was extremely frustrated with spinning corriedale. I know they said that this is a good beginner wool, but dang, I found it freaking hard to keep a consistent single. I gave up and broke out her gift. I spent all day/night spinning and it came out great. The fiber is Eiderwolle, a domestic roving and was dyed by her. The fiber was a little bit sticky and hard to draft, but once you get going, it was soooo easy to spin thin and even. The finished product isn’t as soft as merino, but it feels really strong, almost like it has some linen in it. It’s also not as fuzzy as I thought it would be, and it has a nice smooth finish. I thought it came out great!

In addition to that, I also got a surprise gift from Roslyn. I was able to procure some Wollmeise laceweight for her at the Sauerlach market (which was a serious chumfest, btw) so she sent me some Eucalan, a cheery skein of Claudia Hand Painted yarn and a stitch marker. Thanks, Roslyn!

So now I will hole myself up with all this yarn/fiber. I feel like the Rumpelstiltskin lady. But without the evil gnome or whatever Rumpelstitskin was.

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Craziness has set in

April 22, 2008 @ 1:37 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: spinning


Skein #3 – getting there!

Skein #4 – a little too thin and a lot overplied!

So, I’m spinning like a madwoman. Really, up all night trying to get more done. This last skein was a pain in the butt, only because it was sooooooo thin and it took forever. I think the 2nd single suffered a bit of quality because I was just rushing through it. Then the plying…I made the mistake of over plying and so now my yarn is kinked up a bit. It’s not that bad, but I am in a quest to spin the most perfect yarn ever. Which, at this point is impossible, but one must try! I think I now know how thin it should be for fingering weight yarn – but I need to work on my plying to get it the way I like it without it getting all crazy. So I’m going to take a break from spinning full skeins and make up some samples (besides, I’m complretely out of multicolored fiber). I think I am going to take some of my solids and mix them up.

I really am enjoying spinning! So much so that I bought the wheel today! It is a mahogany Kromski Minstrel. Wahoo!!! I got that one because several friends have it and they all love it, as well as it being compact and not too expensive. Of course I had to get the extras as well – the lazy kate and extra bobbins. I am currently working with 4 and that seems like too little. 6 is about right.

And then I got into an email “conversation” with a friend of mine in Darmstadt – Linnea. She was supposed to get an order of fiber from Canada to spin up for me (isn’t she an angel?) as well as some extra fiber, but it hasn’t arrived yet (it’s been a month). So she is going to send me some emergency fiber. I mentioned Crown Mountain Farms (aka Crack Mountain Farms) in one of those emails and before she knew it, she placed an order. They do that to you. And then just the thought of her ordering fiber has made me order more too. My mom is coming with a bunch that I ordered but that’s not until the middle of May and I can’t wait that long!!! Especially with my new wheel coming.

So anyways, that’s pretty much all that’s going on. Knitting has kinda taken a back seat, although I have been knitting toddler socks for my boys. I knit them cuff down so that when their feet get bigger I can cut the toe off and make it longer. I guess that’s assuming they don’t lose it first. ;)

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Spinning is bad for your health

April 17, 2008 @ 6:07 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: spinning


The very first skein!
The second skein – went much better

I wrote this huge post and then accidentally pressed a button in my browser and poof! It was gone. I was so angry and upset. That’ll teach me to save my posts! So here is my attempt at a 2nd post.

So let’s back up a bit. Remember when cauchy09 sent me a drop spindle and I tried it and hated it? Well, I still do. BUT I have always said that I think a spinning wheel might be funner. I kinda put spinning out of my mind for awhile until I knitted up cauchy’s handspun that she sent. Then it started my mind thinking again of spinning. But I knew a spindle was not for me. It’s too slow, and I am super impatient.

Then, I did a swap with Micki and I pretty much just exploded. I spent many nights looking at fiber and handspun and wheels and what not. I bought a lot of fiber and sent it to a couple of friends who are kind enough to spin it up for me. But that wasn’t enough.

I remembered that the Wollmeise used to spin so I asked her if she still had her wheel and if she was using it. She doesn’t have time to spin anymore so she uses her wheel as a reskeiner for the worsted weight yarns. And, lucky for me, she is done dyeing for awhile since she has a market coming up as well as a trip to the states. So I get to borrow her wheel for a couple of weeks and see if I like it or not.

She brought it over on Sunday since she hung out with us for the podcast (as well as bringing over a box full of yarn to take pictures of). She and Elem made a short demo on how to use the wheel and I tried it and it was HARD! Being new to drafting and all, I got lots of bulky slubs and crazy thick and thins. I played with it all night and the next night until 3am and was able to get a fairly even single. I played with all kinds of different fibers – from super coarse to some german merino (which was HARD for my beginner hands). And then I was semi-successful with some space dyed pencil roving merino (?). I was so excited and didn’t want to stop! I had to take a break for a day to edit the podcast since so many people were hounding me for it!

I came back to it the next day and was a little sad because it took awhile to get back into the groove. Ah well. I noticed that every break I take, I have to re-acquaint myself with the wheel to get the same consistency. The longer the break, the longer it takes!!! Kinda sucks, but that’s how it goes when you’re a beginner. Another problem I had was that I would always make the wheel go backwards so I learned when I start I have to push the wheel in the direction I want to go so that I don’t mess stuff up. I have the normal other beginner problems – overspinning, letting the spin get into the draft zone, not dividing up the fiber beforehand, etc. I also have the problem that I can’t “feel” the yarn when it gets to a particular thinness – say laceweight? And I don’t pinch hard enough so the spin goes right past my fingers. :( But I think practice practice practice will do it.

So that’s why spinning isn’t healthy – not because it’s a sitting activity but because I’m not eating or sleeping! It’s only because I have this wheel for a limited time and want to make every second count! I am soooo going to get a wheel and luckily it is my birthday month. :) I haven’t decided on which – I want to try Elem’s Kromski to see if I like it (yeah, chances are pretty slim that I won’t!). I think I know 3 people with the Kromski Minstrel and everyone seems very happy with it.

Some questions I have for the pros:
1. Is it necessary to let your singles get stale before plying? Do I also need to let it get stale after/before skeining?
2. When I have an “enthusiastic” plied yarn – is it because of the singles being overspun or is it because I overplied?
3. When setting the twist, do I need to soak the skein? Or do I just wet it and rinse?
4. If I get a double treadle, can you use it as a single treadle? Or do you have to do both feet?

I’m sure I have more questions but those are the only ones I can think of now.

I want to thank my spinning enthusiasts who encouraged me to find this new obsession: cauchy09 for the spindle, handspun and daily inspiration, The Wollmeise for lending me her Louet S15, Elem for answering all my rapid fire questions and for hand holding me through the first steps, Micki for her handspun and really making me go nuts for spinning. Also to Fbz and Linnea who are spinning up some yarn for me while I wait to get a wheel for myself!

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Wollmeise’s first podcast interview

April 16, 2008 @ 9:55 am
posted by kris
Filed under: podcast

Do you want to know what Claudia (aka the Wollmeise) sounds like in her cute Bavarian accent? Do you want to know why she doesn’t knit for her 3 kids? Do you want to know about the upcoming market? Well, the time has come – Claudia took time out of her busy schedule to hang with Knitters Uncensored. It was an almost 3 hour long podcast and I managed to get half of it done last night. Check it out!!! Stay tuned for part 2.

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I look forward to Thursdays

April 10, 2008 @ 10:04 am
posted by kris
Filed under: misc


WTF?

You know why? Because Thursdays are for What the hell is this!!!! Another one that’s funny is You knit what? but they shut down awhile ago. Shannon from the SSK podcast introduced me to Rose Kim’s blog and I’ve been laughing ever since. She is soooo funny!

Comments (6)

WIP: Baudelaire in Posh Yarn Lucia

April 8, 2008 @ 11:54 pm
posted by kris


Look at that amazing texture!

I am being so good. I am knitting from my stash. And not recent stash – DEEP stash! I bought this yarn about a year ago and didn’t like the feel and color of it. It is 70% merino and 30% cashmere and it is indeed soft, but it’s kind of sticky like when you rub velvet the wrong way. I think the colors on the web were much more darker and vibrant, so it was a slight let down. But I liked it enough to keep it, and the person it was for would like it. It was supposed to be socks for my mother-in-law LAST YEAR, but never got the time to do it, so I decided to do it this year. And it makes me feel good that I’m getting a jump start on Christmas. Well, really, what it is is that I want to reduce how much we spend at Christmas, and hand knit socks are priceless!! Hand knit cashmere socks…well…much better than some bargain basement DVD from Target.

Anyways, so I wound the yarn up on my injured ball winder and still didn’t like it, and I started having regrets. But then, I started knitting with it and my god, it was amazing. The pattern was the perfect choice – Baudelaire by CookieA. The stitch definition and the fabric was very pleasing and oh-so-soft-you-can’t-stop-touching-it. I’m still not happy with the color, but I have to remember that it’s not for me. I know that my MIL will love it!

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Let’s start with a sandwich

@ 11:41 pm
posted by kris
Filed under: finished projects


Mmmmm…delish!

Firestarter and matching toddler socks

Stockinrib socks

My Wee Tiny from Elinor

I finally took a picture of my most favorite sandwich in the world. It is the Kornspitzkäse sandwich from Rischart. It is plain, but every bit delicious! I never in my whole life thought I would like a cucumber and cheese sandwich so much. The bread is what makes it, but I have to say that the combination is just amazing. And it’s only 2,60eur!!! I always get a sandwich whenever I pass a Rischart, and I get very angry and mad at myself if they run out.

I have a couple of finished objects. First, I finished the Firestarters for my thesis-completed neighbor. I had a lot of leftovers and so I made her son a pair too (not Firestarters, but normal socks). He was really excited that he had matching socks with his mom. Those were made with Hello Yarn Tough Sock in the Lonesome Water colorway. Man, the yardage on that is like Wollmeise – I made a pair of socks, pair of toddler socks, a wee tiny sock (see next paragraph) and I have enough to make some booties, or maybe even two pairs of booties.!

The second FO is my first “stockinette always on the needles” project – the Stockinrib socks. I had this on hold for awhile because I was going to show Cashyie how to do a toe up heel flap, but she is resisting, so I decided to show her on another sock whenever she is ready. The yarn doesn’t feel like it will last, but we’ll see. It was certainly soft and smooshy though! The yarn was Violet Green Socrates Merino in To the Lighthouse colorway.

I also participated in the Wee Tiny Sock swap and got mine from Elinor, who is in HIGH SCHOOL! I don’t think I’ve ever met a high school knitter, so I was really impressed. Not only that, she spins too! I normally just assume that everyone is my age (er…hmm…that’s OLD), so to get something from the younger generation is a nice surprise. She made hers in Dream in Color smooshy and it is well..smooshy! I have a couple of skeins of DIC, and this sock has pushed it higher in my queue. I sent my Wee Tiny to Jessica! It was a really cool low-commitment swap – I like those! And now I have two new fiber friends (who spin!).

I got obsessed about spinning again, but it is clear that a wheel is not in the cards for me right now. So I’ve decided to pick up the spindle again, but I have to buy another one since Cashyie broke the one that I had. I went looking around and wanted a Goldring one, but damn – $90 for a spindle??? Geez. So I decided on a Cascade Shuksan – mostly because of the name (it’s from Washington!), but also because it came recommended by a couple of folks. So hopefully it will go better this time. I will make a better effort, I promise. But now I have to order it and wait. and wait. and buy some practice fiber. If anyone else has recommendations for a spindle, please let me know.

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What does bockstark mean (pronounced bok-shtark)? My crazy German friend, Matthias, made that word up to mean "really cool" and says that it is catching on in Garmisch. So I am helping him popularize the word! I thought if I ever opened a yarn store, I would call it "Bockstark Yarns". This blog is all about my projects, yarns and crazy ideas related to knitting and other crafts. Contact me at bockstark.knits(at)gmail(dot)com.