Hat Heads

IMG_9440

Here they are, the 8 hats I knit in December that tomorrow (the 31st of December) will be mailed off to Heartstrings yarn store in Chico, CA.  There are 2 kid sized hats, 3 medium sized, 2 large and 1 XL-ish sized hat.  I enjoyed knitting every single one.

If you’d like to see individual modeled photos, go to my Ravelry projects and see the lovely DB wearing each one except the bright pink, which is too small to get on his head (or mine).

Four of the hats are made with yarn that has 20% wool in the yarn, but they are all machine washable and dry-able, which is typically a requirement for hats to give away.  I tried to pick the most wool-like acrylic I could find at Jo-Ann’s.  At least none of them have that acrylic “crunchy” feeling, which is truly awful.  Remember when that was the only yarn you could get?  It’s a wonder anyone knit anything in those days. Ugh that was truly terrible yarn.  Acrylic has come a long way.

In the process of knocking out these things, and finishing a sweater, all in December, I have injured my shoulder.  I was trying to knit Continental as much as possible, but these hats are mostly cables and ribbing which is not conducive to practicing a new way of knitting.  So I was “throwing” most of the time and my right shoulder is a mess.  I went for a massage 2 weeks ago, and again today, which is helping, but now I just need to rest. How long can I go without picking up needles?  And spinning isn’t any better – almost the same motions for a shoulder.

In a day or so (because I’m sure I won’t wait longer) I will cast on a new project. It will be this – Ninilchik Swoncho by Caitlin Hunter.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Part sweater, part poncho, I think it will be perfect for a SoCal winter. I’m going to use yarn I bought in New Zealand 11 years ago! You know the story – the yarn that is too precious to use and so it sits in your stash, taunting you to use it.  So this is the year, 2019, when I will put it to good use.  I have white as the main color, with shades of grey and brown to add to it.  If I have enough white I think I’ll dye 1 skein red just to have some color, and work it in somewhere as a pop of color interest. The yarn is Naturally Harmony 8-ply (DK weight).

More about my 2019 knitting, spinning and dyeing goals in the next blog post.  I hope everyone is having a nice holiday time!

Gradient in Lace

img_3699

I’ve made good progress on my Evenstar shawl in the past week.  I had a lot of hanging around time last weekend and also a lot of sitting in the car while DB drove knitting time (yes, you read that correctly, DB is driving!) If you’ve been following along on Ravelry or FB you might be thinking “Hey, you were going to make Briarcrest with that hand dyed, gradient blended, hand spun yarn! What gives?” And you would be right.

I haven’t even finished spinning all the yarn for this project.  I still have the solid light blue to finish up.  I’ve got one bobbin done and I’m half way through the second bobbin of singles and I’m trying with all my might to keep up the enthusiasm to finish it off.  I’m just so ready to be finished with this spinning project!  And at the same time I’m super excited about knitting the shawl, so you know where I’m spending my time.

I ended up with 104g and 636 meters in skein 1, and 95g and 595 meters in skein 2. That’s already going to make a huge shawl.  When I thought about wearing a huge triangular shawl, I just didn’t see it making me happy.  If I have that much gradient yarn to use up I’d much rather put it to good use in a square or circular shawl.  And Evenstar has been on my radar for AGES.  It was time to cast on.

You can see more photos of the yarn on my Briarcrest hand spun Ravelry project page.

I WILL make Briarcrest, which is really a perfect shawl for hand spun yarn.  But I will make it with some Shetland gradient that I spun as a fractal.

I’m such a nerd that I’ve made a spreadsheet to track progress of the shawl to see how I’m doing against a KAL deadline. Yes, another deadline project.  I swore I wouldn’t do these anymore for a while, but this one is fun and with fun people and it’s very relaxed with a long 3 months to get it done.  This is the Yarniacs Colors of Fall KAL (all info here). You cast on the first day of Summer and must be finished by the first day of Fall.  That’s in order to be in the drawing for prizes. But I’m really going with the attitude that I will do my best against the deadline and that’s all the pressure I’m putting on myself.  So far I’m ahead of schedule according to the spreadsheet calculations!

I’ve calculated the total number of stitches in the shawl, how many stitches I’ve done so far and what % that is, compared to the number of days in the KAL and the number of days into it we are now.  And the % of yarn I’ve used up.  This is almost as much fun as the knitting itself.

In other news, two weeks ago I painted my little Electric Eel Wheel Mini.  I used chalk board paint and then found some chalk markers to write on it.  I really love the idea of writing on the bobbins what I’m spinning. Not that I would forget.  Probably.

The bright green makes me happy.  What makes you happy?

eewm_painted

 

Holiday

Today was the first full day having J & T staying with us. We planned to go to the beach even though it wasn’t very warm there. Silly me, forgetting how late teenagers get moving in the morning! After a late breakfast we left the house at 11:30.

It was busy in HB, as you can imagine on Memorial Day, but we’re used to lots of people around so it was fine and a nice afternoon out.

Now, at 5:30pm, J & T are laying on their bed, looking at their phones and giggling. (It’s a lovely sound to have in the house.) DB is inside behind his laptop, listening to music. And I’m outside knitting. So, a nice holiday end with everyone doing their favorite thing.

Open!

As of RIGHT NOW, the new web shop is open.  I’ve also redirected my domain name so that if you type in underdutchskies.com you will land on the shop, no longer here.  I don’t know if I’ll be posting much on this blog in the near future.  There will be shop updates on the FaceBook page and on the shop itself.

As for my personal musings and crafty updates? I think for now they will be done on FB.  There are just so many channels to update, and so little time.  So for the moment, this good old blog, that’s been going in fits and starts since 2007, will take a hiatus.

Thanks for reading and see you on the flip side!

Preparation

Today I’m scouring some cotton fabric in preparation for my natural dyeing workshop.  Scouring is the first step in dyeing cotton fabrics no matter what type of dyes you’re planning to use. The purpose is to remove all the chemicals that the industrial textile process has left in them. 

Here is a photo of the pot just after adding the white fabric. Looks pretty white and clean, right? The rinse water was tan colored.

Next step – mordant! Stay tuned. 

 

Skein 5 – Pink Party!

Remember this ball of merino/nylon I bought back in September?  It’s from Fondant Fibre in the UK.

I started spinning it in September and then it got set aside while I worked on some other spinning and knitting projects.  I picked it up again 2 weeks ago and finished it off.

Here are the 2 bobbins of singles.

I had started spinning this back before I was making lace weight singles.  Coming back to it after 2 months meant that I had learned better technique in that time and wished that I had actually started this thinner.  It was not easy to match the same thickness of the single after so long and forgetting what I was doing in the first place.  This is something I need to remember for future projects, at least while I’m learning and EVERY spinning project is something completely new and different.  Finish what you start in pretty quick order or you will forget what you were doing and how the spinning felt in your hands!

Anyway, I pretty quickly finished the second half of the 120g ball.  The fiber is super soft and was prepared very well.  It really flowed through my hands like water. I wanted to keep it fairly thin so that I could maximize the yardage so I 2-plied it.  It came out like this:

Now, notice that there is no white in this skein while there was white in the fiber? Well, when I dropped the skein into hot soapy water to soak, so much dark pink dye came out that the water turned that color immediately.  I left it alone to soak until the water cooled off and then hung it to dry.  The dye colored the white fiber a light pink.  I don’t mind.  It’s still really nice and there’s less of a barber pole effect now.  But this is something I’ll keep in mind next time and I’ll also let the seller know what happened.

The resulting yarn is about a sport weight – 300 meters to 100g.  I have 116 grams (from a 120g ball of fiber).  I think I’ll make a really simple scarf out of it.  It’s so very soft and bouncy and will feel really nice next to the skin.  I have to hold myself back from casting on right NOW!  But first I have to finish some other knitting….

What Should I Make? Vote!

In 10 days I will be on a business trip that includes 2 x11 hour flights and 2 shorter flights but just as much hanging around an airport knitting time. I am looking for a perfect plane project (PPP).

I have 1 skein of Tosh Sock in Mansfield Garden Party (see above) that I want to use for a travel project. It will only be knit while in a plane or airport so I will probably finish something in this amount of time.  I can’t add extra yarn to make something bigger.  I can’t make something that has super complex lace.

BUT WHAT TO MAKE? I am spinning with the possibilities. So please, you decide for me. Whatever is voted the highest is what I will make.  You never knew you had so much power.

My criteria in coming up with the list was:
* The perfect combination of easy but not boring.
* In the case of a shawl, it must be reversible and preferably not strictly triangular.
* In the case of socks, it must make good use of highly variegated yarn.

I’ve narrowed it down to these patterns. Please vote!
I couldn’t link to the patterns directly in the Poll (thanks WP) so I’ve linked to them separately so you can look at them first and then vote:

1. Palessie shawl
2. Sheridan shawl
3. Goddess shawlette
4. Hitchhiker shawlette
5. My Hope shawl
6. Show-off Stranded Socks

Polls are open until Sunday, 13 April at 18.00 CET (9:00am PST)

 

30k Through Noord Holland

This is the yearly family weekend but DB has to keep up his training for the Amsterdam Marathon. He’s got 2 weeks to go! Today he had to run 30k. Since we weren’t at home, he planned a route through the flat farmland of Noord Holland, north of Alkmaar. I followed along on a bike, for moral support and to carry snacks. It was early and misty outside, but not cold. I took photos. It was lovely!

He finished the 30k, cursing the last 2km, but he made it without problem. I think he’ll finish the marathon fine.

20131005-182908.jpg

20131005-182928.jpg

20131005-182944.jpg

20131005-182956.jpg

20131005-183005.jpg

20131005-183017.jpg