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I did some spinning! One of the earliest fiber purchases I ever made was for some multicolored merino top from Ashland Bay that I ordered from WEBS. I started spinning the summer after my freshman year of college, and I bought it not long after that, so I’ve probably had it for about four years. Which isn’t very long for some people, but by some people’s accounts, I’m still a “new spinner”. I started spinning it relatively soon after I got it and finished (plied, washed, and thwacked) about an ounce, but I got bored with it (spinning one color, or mostly one color, for a while on a spindle is pretty boring). It’s much faster on a wheel, though, so I picked it back up at the beginning of the month.

Here’s what the fiber looked like when I bought it:

And here’s what it looks like now:

I sort of attempted to spin semi-woolen, to mediocre success. It would have been impossible since this was definitely top and thus all the fibers were going the same way, but when I started spinning it, I did something weird to the fiber. Instead of being in a long chunk like most top, I guess I had pulled off chunks, layered them, and pulled them apart. Several times. The result of which is that I had a bag full of fluffy chunks and clouds. That made it a lot easier to practice woolen spinning and long draw.

I decided to thread ply this skein, mostly because I didn’t bother to divide the fiber before spinning, so I just put it all on one bobbin. Plying it on itself would have involved winding off the single and dividing it. I didn’t want to do that (lazy, not that in love with the fiber anyway), so I looked in my to-be-unravelled thrift store sweater stash, and found something that would work. It’s a lace weight 85/15 merino/cashmere from a seriously gigantic skirt.

I like how the finished yarn came out, although it’s super uneven cause I wasn’t paying that much attention to the spinning. It varies between heavy lace and sport, but that’s okay. It gives it character, and I like a bit of character in my handspun. I didn’t mind thread plying, although it probably would have been easier if A, the thread and single were less prone to breakage and B, I didn’t have to unravel the thread ply from the sweater at the same time as I was attempting an even ply. I used a super tiny amount of the skirt yarn (barely a dent in one of four huge sweater-sized panels), and my yardage for about 3 ounces of fiber was only about 300 yards, but the fiber’s out of my stash and I justified the huge skirt purchase (it was pretty cheap, but it’s always nice when I actually use one of my thrift purchases for something other than the joy of unraveling).

Oh, and as for the title: So I’m participating in this giant challenge thing on Ravelry called Nerd Wars. Basically, you join a team, and then there are challenges in five categories. You knit, crochet, spin, or weave something before the deadline (each round is a month) that fits in to the category, and there are extra points for tying your project back to your team. The team I joined is Stargate Command, so all of my projects have to relate to Stargate (which, as you know, I am totally and utterly obsessed with). I submitted this yarn for one of the challenges, and my team tie in was that the yarn resembles the ribs/supports on a Wraith ship from Stargate Atlantis. Thus the name. Nerd Wars tournaments are three months long, with three month-long rounds. So I expect you’ll be hearing more about my Stargate tie ins.

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I have been really bad about blogging, y’all. Not that I haven’t been making stuff–cause I definitely have. I’ve been super busy though. This past weekend was Anime USA, an anime convention in DC that I help with. It was a ton of fun, I cosplayed Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket and Amy Pond from Doctor Who and took absolutely no pictures.

Anyway, I finished a thing.

Pattern: Balm to the Soul Shawlette
Yarn: Art Yarns Cashmere Sock, two skeins
Needles: US 6/4 mm
Mods: I added an extra texture repeat

I made this for a WWFY swap for CorgiHillFarms. She’s a dyer and you should go buy her stuff because it is absolutely stunning. It is neither the first nor last thing I’ll be making for her cause she’s completely awesome to work with.

The shawl was super fun to make. Just the right amount of texture and simplicity. I’ll probably make one for myself (though a LOT bigger. This thing is TINY). The yarn was lovely as well–mostly cashmere with some wool and nylon. It’s pretty splitty though. There’s a two ply that’s tightly plied and then there are two other plies which aren’t twisted at all, either to each other or to the whole yarn. I have tons of experience knitting with loosely plied yarn (holla, recycled sweater yarn), but if you were used to a tight ply, it would be super annoying.

In life news: You guys, having a full time job makes finding time for photos and blogging HARD. And I’m not keen on it. I know this is what being an adult is like and blah blah blah whine, but still. In fandom news, I’m sort of between shows at the moment. I recently (last week) finished watching through the Magic School Bus, which was AWESOME and TOTALLY WORTH IT. And now I want to cosplay Ms. Frizzle. Have the red wig I can style; I just need to make a dress and knit a Liz. The latter will be happening regardless and the former just needs some crazy printed quilting cotton from JoAnn’s. It’s a plan.

I made some towels. Plain weave cause that’s how I do.

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Yarn: Recycled cotton/acrylic. And there’s some recycled mercerized cotton in there too.
Loom: Vergere
Reed: 5.5 dpi

Super simple. Zigzagged the edges and sewed them down, just like the previous set. I love the color combination. There are three total. I really ought to start making them in lighter weights, but I just have so much worsted/dk weight cotton and I want to use it up. Eventually I’ll make some lighter ones. Maybe. Worsted weight is just so fast

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Whoo, towels.

Ravelry tells me I started these gloves in January. It’s May and I just recently finished them, so they’ve been on the needles a while. I’d say they’re a little out of season for mid May but it’s still frequently in the sixties and my hands get chilly.

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Pattern: Phalangees, from a recent Knitty. With full fingers, obviously.
Yarn: Recycled cashmere and Navajo plied recycled silk
Needles: US 2/whatever that is in mm
Mods: Full fingers, no colorwork, and I fucked up the thumb, so that’s different.

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I quite like this method for fingers. I had significantly less gapping than usual. I should have followed the rest of the pattern a little less though. They’re a bit long for my hands, but that’s probably more to do with my row gauge (which I didn’t check) than the pattern.

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The yarn is, of course, recycled and I have a ton more of it. Maybe I’ll make some matching accessories. I’ll probably make this pattern again for gloves buy with half fingers and a removable mitten top, since mittens are supposed to be warmer than gloves.

As much as I would love to show off some FO pictures, most of the things I’ve finished recently are either super secret or swap stuff. Or shark mittens that I keep forgetting to photograph anyway. But I’m trucking along on some not-so-secret knits, and that stuff I can show you.

First, the lace sweater, which I’m calling Diamonds in the Rough:

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I’m actually a bit further along than this– I finished the collar and am working on the sleeve cap shaping. I’m attempting a seamless set-in-sleeve and it has occurred to me that I possibly should have tried to make a sweater with seamless set-in sleeves, something I’ve never done before, in stockinette before I attempted it in lace, but oh well. It’s a learning experience. And the body fits pretty well:

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The sleeves are going to be wide and I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that quite yet. I’m going to work the sleeve cap on both sides and then go from there.

The other non-secret thing on the needles is a pair of socks:

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Well, one sock anyway. I’m using Sidar Crofter DK on US 2 needles. Toe up, obviously. Wedge toe. Will probably attempt a toe-up flap and gusset heel. I have three skeins of the yarn so I’m going to try to make them as long as possible.

I DID send my package for a Doctor Who swap yesterday, so when that is received, I can show pictures of what I sent. So stay tuned. : )

Because I’m looking carefully this time, today is November 1st! That means NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month, to go along with NaNoWriMo) starts today! For today’s post, I thought I’d show you guys what I got in return for the fingerless mitts, the first pair of which I showed you yesterday:

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The bottom two are Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk and Lang Silk Dream. The top is a bit of a mystery. The person I’m swapping with said it’s either Artfibers Ming (worsted) or Sundara Silky Merino (aran). I’ll probably stripe it with the Silk Dream for some pretty fingerless mitts. Not sure about the alpaca. There’s not a lot you can do with 71 yards. Maybe I’ll just pet it. : )

Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have.

Apparently I forgot to hit post yesterday, so look for day seven of this later today.

As has been previously mentioned on this here blog o’ mine, I am what they call a Fearless Knitter. Meaning no, there aren’t things in knitting I think I couldn’t do. I lace, I cable, I knit backwards, and I colorwork (a little. I don’t like it that much). Generally I tend to knit pretty simple things cause that’s what I prefer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t or don’t knit more complicated things (see those socks I posted a couple days ago).

What I do lack is patience. On the whole, I prefer things that can be knitted quickly. I have a whole host of patterns in my queue for sweaters knit in fingering or lace weight yarn, and though I would love to own them, I simple do not have the patience. I usually knit one thing at a time and work on it til it’s done, but not that kind of sweater. For example? This sweater:

It took me almost six months to knit it. It was a super simple knit and I’m sure I could have finished it in around a month but it took FOREVER. Each row just kept GOING and GOING and GOING and GOING.

That being said, it is one of my favorite sweaters.

And will I make more sweaters in lace or fingering weight yarn? Probably. I have the yarn for three more in my stash and actual plans to make them (including another Featherweight in Malabrigo Lace).

Another thing that I wish to improve at (though, strictly speaking, it is not a knitting thing) is grading sweater patterns. I have a ton of sweater ideas sketched out and the yarn to knit several of them (though admittedly, I do lack the time), but I’m not very good at writing up the patterns and mathing them for different sizes. For example:

This sweater is pretty simple: It’s a loose raglan sweater. Writing up and mathing out the pattern? Took FOR. EV. ER. Partially it’s because I’m bad at math, partially it’s because I never swatch (I measure gauge about halfway through the project and use it for the other sizes), and partially it’s because I utterly lack the patience.

Some of those I can improve, anyway.

(PS: Don’t forget to enter yesterday’s contest! You can win a kit to knit some awesome spats!)

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

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This is my current collection of the yarn Bugga! by The Sanguine Gryphon. I received it in exchange for knitting two pairs of socks, a pair of knee-highs, a hat, and some fingerless mittens. All in Bugga as well, so I also have the leftover from those projects. I did not pay for any of this yarn (or, I did, but with my time), which is good because I’m pretty sure the total cost of my Bugga collection is more than anything else in my stash.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I. Love. This. Yarn.

It’s soft, squooshy, gorgeous colors, sturdy, machine-washable, and a wonderful ply. It makes AMAZING socks. It also makes great hats. The fabric knit up on 1’s is gloriously thick and sturdy. I FUCKING LOVE THIS YARN. If I had to pick one yarn to knit for the rest of my life, it would be this one. For sure. I want a billion pairs of socks knit in this yarn. As well as 57 hats and 16 sweaters and 9 scarves and 26 pairs of gloves.

Unfortunately, those six skeins are all I’ve got as I can’t really afford more. Sad. Fortunately, I can usually find a WWFY swap that involves Bugga and that makes me happy.

This is another yarn I got through a WWFY swap. It’s JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 4/8, a beautiful dk blend of wool and silk. I’ve never worked with this yarn. I have no idea what it looks like knit up. But oh my damn, I can’t wait to knit it. I also have four skeins of it in purple, which is enough to do exactly nothing with, but it is also gorgeous. Not as pretty as the blue (aptly named Aegean Blue), but still pretty.

I think I’ll knit the blue up as a pair of gloves. The twist is pretty tight (a yarn after my own heart–I love a tight twist), and it’s OH SO SHINY that I think it would hold up well.

Unfortunately, this is another yarn I can’t really afford. Being a poor college student fixing to graduate, the only yarns I can REALLY afford are the ones I can frog from $3 sweater from the thrift store. And I mean, I do find some pretty good stuff that way. My favorites include a bright green lace weight silk/cotton blend and a beige linen/cotton blend. It’s also a really cheap source of 100% wool.

Still. Sometimes you just want the shiny stuff.

FINALLY, here’s a post for the second of three (the Aviatrix hat and Cloud Bolero) items for OliviaGoddess on Ravelry.

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Pattern: Improvisation
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
Needles: US 7/4.5 mm, two at a time magic loop
Mods: None.

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So these are cute little mitts and they’re REALLY stretchy. The yarn is soft and I am a little sad I don’t get to keep them, but a pair of fingerless gloves are on my list of things to make for myself when I get the chance. There’s not really a whole lot to say about the mitts, other than you might want to knit more than an inch before knitting back and forth for the thumb hole. Also I prefer gusseted thumbs. And thumb covering bits (you know, instead of just a hole).

But let me talk about these photos. It gets dark so early that I haven’t had time while it’s still light out to wrangle my boyfriend into taking pictures for me. Fed up with it, I finally just did it myself.

But you’ll notice how I have both hands in the pictures. I didn’t use a timer (which possibly would have been easier). I didn’t use my chin. I put the camera on the table, put my hands on the table in front of the camera, then swung my leg up on the table and pressed the shutter with my toe.

Never let it be said I’m not flexible.

Whoo! I made it! I completed my sweater, steek, zipper and all, in under 17 days!

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Pattern: EZ’s Icelandic Yoke Sweater (Rav link) from Knitting Workshop
Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oatmeal, Lion Wool in Purple and Dark Teal, and Ella Rae Classic in Navy.
Needles: US 7/4.5 mm Knit Picks Options and Susan Bates dpns
Mods: Made it me sized (more like 34″ instead of 38″ or 40″), left out the neck shaping, did a steek (only sort of a mod), added a zipper.

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So…. this sweater. It was an adventure. The knitting wasn’t especially difficult at all, although I haven’t had as much practice at colorwork as I’d like, so my floats are a little tight and it’s a little puckery. But I still love it. It was my first time doing a steek and putting in a zipper, both of which were nerve-wracking. I wasn’t sure about the tension of my sewing machine, so I was sure the whole thing was going to unravel after I cut it. It didn’t though! The zipper was also difficult. I ended up sort of basting it on and then top stitching it in place. Not the neatest job ever and it’s a little wavy, but it’s in there and it fits and it’s great.

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The sweater is still drying as I’m typing (I snapped photos while it was a little dark; I wanted to catch the light), but I think by tomorrow, it will be ready for wearing. Very exciting.

So who else got the gold?