Monday, December 13, 2010

Hat! In the yarn called for in the pattern!

I know that I haven't posted in forever. I had the semester from hell as well as infinite a cappella rehearsals. So I did very little knitting, and what I did knit, I didn't photograph.

Until now.

I made a hat as a Channukah present for my boyfriend. I finished it last night and gave it to him today.

Miraculously, it fits him, and he loves it. It's still wet from the blocking I did last night. I just put it on my own head, which is smaller than his head, but I still might have stretched it a bit too much. But it's fine.

The pattern is Knotty but Nice, and I actually used the Cascade 220 Superwash that it called for (though not in the green that they used). I don't think I've ever made a pattern in the yarn that it called for before. It wasn't intentional; I was at Mind's Eye looking for a worsted weight medium blue yarn, and saw this yarn, and realized it was the yarn from the pattern.

I'm very pleased with how it came out, and I really enjoyed knitting this pattern.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I guess dye really can go bad

Yesterday I went on a dyeing spree; it had been the first time I had dyed wool in 2 months. Between renovations in what serves as my studio, the Jewish holidays, and the beginning of school, I haven't had much time or space to dye anything. (I haven't even done that much knitting, for that matter.)

Whenever I dye wool, I mix up the colors in small amounts in tupperware containers, and use sponge brushes to apply the dyes. Often there will be some extra dye. I keep that extra dye in the tupperwares, with the lids on of course, and save it for the next time I dye wool.

Normally, this works just fine, but in one of my dyes there was a not so pleasant surprise:

(I had a lot of trouble getting my camera to focus; this was the best I could do.)

Yeah, that's mold. Fortunately, only two of my dyes were affected, and I wasn't too thrilled with either of the colors (the other was this grey-blue thing).

So don't expect your dyes to last forever.

And at some point I'll update with things that are prettier than moldy dye.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Maybe if this blog entry is witty enough...

One of my yarns was featured on a blog yesterday:

Treasury Hunt Saturday.

(I had featured her bead in a treasury a long time ago.)

Also, I'm finally back to dyeing wool. I had to stop for a couple of weeks because I injured my back. I haven't taken photos yet (I dyed them on Friday) but I'll probably take them tomorrow, since I have the day free.

Here are some from the previous batch:

Not Remotely Steampunk: (From here. (Warning: this part of the website is SFW, but there are also a lot of NSFW things on Regretsy.))

Parrot Riding a Tricycle:

Maybe if this Roving Name is Witty Enough, Someone Will Buy it (see this xkcd):

I'm not sure how I'm going to top those for names. (There was also one called "All The Things", which I named so you could say you've spun all the things. It sold to someone who wanted to spin all the things. So it proves that if you give your roving a witty enough name, someone will indeed buy it.) I guess I just need to wait until I'm sleep deprived enough to be creative. Or ask purpleshiny when she's really sleep deprived, since that seems to work rather well. (The first and third roving here were all my own in the naming, she helped with the Parrot Riding a Tricycle, though I came up with the tricycle part.)

Also, I'm almost done with my shawl. And this past Monday I bought a bunch of yarn at Webs in Northampton, MA. If I'm sufficiently un-lazy with the photography, maybe there will be some yarn pics in the near future.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Featured crafter

I is a featured crafter!.

Also, crafter is totally a word, despite what Mozilla's spell checker says.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Not the best lighting, but...

3 boxes of it!
In my basement!

Of course, it's been there for a while now. And while dealing with the sad wool, I've been ignoring it for a while. Which is probably not so good. I need to do a ton of carding. I think there are like 7-8 fleeces in there.

In other news, my craft show didn't go so well. I barely broke even. But since then I sold 2 skeins of brown alpaca to a friend last weekend, and a roving to someone on Etsy this morning. Maybe things are picking up.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Advanced fixing of Sad Roving

A couple of days ago, I wrote this post on the HRSFAns Crafts Blog about roving that I accidentally felted, but found a way to save. It involved infinite pre-drafting, and would have to either be sold as yarn, or super-discounted bargain roving where I had the chance to instruct the person on what to do with the damn thing.

I found out two things since then:
1. The felting wasn't really my fault. Our house has 2 washing machines, and apparently they leak heat. Someone was washing a load of laundry while I was spin-cycling my roving. The heat is what did it, and not my stupidity.

2. There's a better solution for dealing with the wool. At least for me. I have a drum carder! It can deal with stuff like this. So last night I tried feeding the wool to the drum carder. I learned the hard way that you still need to pre-draft it a bit before the carder will accept the wool. However, once you do, it works really well.

So here's what you do.

1. Do some predrafting.

2. Feed the stuff into the carder. Be sure to adhere to the safety warnings it comes with. Like keeping your hands clear.

3. Once you feed it in, start cranking. The small drum will take up the stuff and put it onto the big drum.

Whee, your carder is starting to fill up. Yay!

4. Take it off the carder. You could end here, and have a batt that looks like this:

Or you could

5. put it through again for more blended colors and get this:

So I have one of each now so I can compare how they spin. I think I like the less carded one better, but if the other spins dramatically better, I'll have more blended batts in the future. Also, my batts go really well with Dominion Seaside:

So the reason why this is so exciting is that now I can sell them as batts instead of having to spin them all. They probably won't all be done in time for the show (where I should focus on getting as much yarn spun as I can) but could later go on Etsy.

Also, the craft show is in less than a week. Here's the link, for anyone who is local to Boston or will be around next weekend:

Sunday, June 06, 2010


I dyed a bunch of things on Tuesday and Wednesday, which I have yet to list on Etsy, since I need to name them and whatnot. But I figured I'd give you all a preview of some of them:

Also, I spent the day carding and spinning. I'm hoping to get a bunch of skeins done between now and the craft show, though it's seeming less likely, considering the craft show is in 3 weeks. A skein a day would give me 21 skeins, but I doubt I can be that productive, especially once my classes start up. I'll have a lot of roving to sell, but I feel like there are more knitters in the world than there are spinners, and that the yarn will sell better. But I can always offer to do a custom spinning job if people wanted to commission me to spin up one of my rovings.

Also, carding until you injure yourself is not a good idea.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

German Wool

I got back from my week and a half long Europe trip on Thursday afternoon. It was a trip in which I bought few souvenirs, but I did manage to visit a yarn store in Germany.

The first two skeins are sock yarn from Italy, the second two are handspun/hand dyed local yarn from Germany.

There were so many pretty things in the store, and part of me wishes I had bought more, but I think what I got is sufficient, considering that I had to get it back to the States. Had we more time, I would have gone back to the store with my mom, but other things ended up taking forever, so no second visit for me. Oh well.

And of course, by bringing extra projects, I ensured that I would not actually finish the Traveling Woman Shawl. I'm near the end of repeat 3 of chart a, and there are only 2 charts (a repeats as many times as you'd like/have the yarn for, b is the border). I'm definitely doing a 4th repeat of it, but I'm not sure if I have the yarn for more than that. I really don't want to run out of yarn. Maybe 600 yards actually isn't enough...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Treasuries

Treasury East is my new best friend. You can make a treasury whenever you want, you can make as many as you want, and they stay there as opposed to disappearing in 2-3 days. Of course, this leads to there being over 10,000 treasuries now (I think) and there being some with no items in them. People should really delete their treasuries when they stop having items in them. I probably would be in favor of the treasuries lasting for 4 months and then getting deleted so as not to be too overwhelming, or maybe capping the number of treasuries each seller can have.

Anyways, I have 2 treasuries up right now, one I made about a week ago, and one I made yesterday:


No Two People are Not on Fire (awww):

I think I might have created the second one solely because I thought that would be the best name for a treasury, ever. (It's a reference to this Strong Bad's E-mail)

In other news, I'm going to Europe on Monday (France and Germany) for a period of 10 days. The most time-consuming part of packing for me is figuring out what knitting/spinning projects to bring. The Traveling Woman shawl is going pretty quickly; I'm done with the center, and am now on repeat 2 of chart A. (There are 2 charts: chart A, which is the one that gets repeated x number of times, and chart B, which is the border. The person who made the pattern used 300 yards and did chart A twice. I want a larger shawl than that and have 600 yards of yarn, so I was thinking of doing chart A 4 times, maybe 5 if I think I have enough yarn. I would hate to run out before the end.) And chart A has 12 rows. So I think there's a good chance I could finish while I'm there.

Details of knittingness: the flight there is 7 hours, the flight back is 8. (I might sleep some of that time, but certainly not all of it.) Wednesday and Thursday are the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, so I won't be knitting then, and I also won't be knitting on Shabbat, so that leaves about 5 actual days of knitting, though I'll be doing other things as well (such as attending a wedding). But there will be a lot of transit time while in Europe.

I don't have another project I'm actively working on. I have a cabled scarf that I hardly work on, but don't want to bring, and a big Dr. Who-like scarf made of crazy yarns, but that one is too big. So I need a new project.

I'm also almost done spinning the More Purple yarn for my Etsy shop, so wouldn't bring that. Nor do I really have time to dye something else before I go. I suppose I could spin things for me.

Too much thinking. I probably just need to get over myself and start a new project. Usually I'm in the opposite situation, with a bunch of things going at once and taking forever to finish them since there are so many. At a certain point I used my magical willpower skills to finish things, and now I have this.

Maybe I'll bring the yarn for another shawl. You can never have too many hand-knit shawls, right?

Friday, April 30, 2010

10 sponge brushes

I like to use sponge brushes when I dye roving or yarn. They're good at soaking up the dye and transferring it onto the fiber. However, after a few uses and cleanings, the foam top starts to come off, and then you have to fight the brush to get it back on and stay there. This starts to get annoying. The brushes are very cheap, though, so it's not such a big deal for me.

For me, the brushes are actually free, because my dad owns a hardware store. It's quite a useful thing. I was going to go to the store last weekend when I was in RI (which is where the store is), but we ended up not visiting the store while I was there. So I called my dad and asked if he could send me 10 sponge brushes.

I got the package today, and opened it up. And there were 48 sponge brushes!!!

(That's just the top layer)

I guess this was just a case of them. I'm set for a really long time. Yay!

Also, 29.5 lbs of wool, since I never put up the pictures:
And since the yarn desk has morphed a bit, I took new photos, though they are sad, night time, badly-lit photos:

And finally, the shawl I'm working on. I got this yarn from Enchanted Knoll Farm and am in love with it:
This is before I started the lace part. I'm only 4 rows into the lace, but it's pretty easy. Maybe I'll have a new shawl soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More purple

This past Thursday I managed to do some dyeing for the first time in several weeks. The new batch will be on Etsy soon (once I finish the backlog of work I need to do for library school, and catch up on sleep after last night's all-nighter).

I decided on cool colors because it had been a while since I had dyed cool colors. Also, I realized I was severely lacking in the purple department. I dyed 3 purple rovings, though one will probably turn into purple yarn, for a bit of diversity.

I like how this batch turned out. Hopefully other people will like it, too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In which the Knitter of Shiny Things almost wins the Vericon art show

What could be more awesome than a laundry rack full of yarn and roving?
This is what I brought with me to the Vericon art show.

Side 1:

Side 2:

And a view from the inside:

[Insert Wings Here]:

I managed to finish the skein I had been working on in time to bring it with me to the art show. I called it "[Insert Wings Here]" because most of the Vericon art has wings on it, and none of mine did, so I had to fix that.

I ended up selling 3 rovings and the [Insert Wings Here] yarn. I was only second to John Kaufmann for how much money's worth of art I sold. Though unfortunately this was due to not that many people buying art this year.

But 4 items is a lot for one art show for me, especially when I was already going to the con, and entering the art show only cost $5. For minimal effort I managed to get a few sales, and also lots of people admiring the shinyness.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weather win

After 3 full days of non-stop downpours, it finally stopped raining some time last night. And today there was sun. And because of daylight savings time, when I got home at 5:30 it was still sunny out. Thus I could photograph my new wool on the porch instead of using the makeshift light box, which is made of sad. It does the job, but natural lighting gives me far better results.

So now I have pictures for the new update to the Etsy shop. I haven't added new wool in a while. But soon I'll be adding tons of wool, once my 27lbs of merino comes in. Yes, I did order 27 lbs of wool. It was with free shipping! How could I not?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's a tie!

Because Riv was lazy about blocking her shawl, I was able to catch up. I cast of last night, and then tonight we both blocked our shawls:

Riv's is on the left, mine is on the right. I actually cast off too tightly, but I didn't want to re-do it. So my shawl is less pointy than hers. But it's okay, because it's done and I'm happy, and everyone who saw it today really liked it.

Now I'm in the annoying stage where I don't have any knitting projects going. I was concentrating on the shawl because I wanted it to be finished so I could wear it. But now winter is coming to an end, so I'm less motivated to make myself the warmer hat that I'd like to have. I might make another shawl, but I'm not sure I want to do that yet. And I'm a bit discouraged with socks because I tried to make a Hedera, but it ended up being too loose even on small needles, because my feet are small. I want to make socks with an actual pattern, since those are more interesting than plain socks, but that involves deciding on one first.

And I could start my sweater, but that's not such a portable project. I should probably start it anyways.

Maybe I'll just stick with the drop spindle for now, and spin up the baby llama I dyed for myself. Or sit at my wheel and spin the wool I pre-drafted. But the wheel is really not portable.

Must find project!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I has a treasury

It's a treasury!

It's really hard to get an Etsy treasury. You need to know when enough lists will expire so that the number is down to less than 333. Then you have to be at the site and click to create it as soon as it opens up. They let everyone who is there in time create one, and then the number of lists goes up to ~900 or something ridiculous.

However, they do have a tool called Poster Sketch that allows you to prepare a treasury in advance, and will automatically save what you put in. Of course, there's no actual link to it from the main site; it is hidden inside a tutorial on how to make a treasury.

Seriously, Etsy, why don't you have a link to the poster sketch?

Hopefully people will look at my treasury and buy stuff from it (especially my yarn and Riv's earrings). Some of the things in my poster sketch actually were purchased between when I created the list and when I posted it, so I had to put in alternates. Maybe my list is good luck!

Screen shot since the treasury will disappear on Saturday evening:

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

In which the Knitter of Shiny Things loses the Knitting Olympics

I had intended on doing the Knitting Olympics this year. I was going to spin up this lovely baby llama roving that I dyed myself (Ravelry link) and knit an Alienor sweater (also a Ravelry link).

For the sweater, my main goal was just to cast on, because I've never knitted a sweater before and once I cast on it would become a lot easier for me to actually knit it.

However, life got in the way, and I wasn't even able to complete that modest goal. I had to finish a pair of gloves which were a birthday present for a friend. Her birthday was February 12, but I didn't finish them until last Wednesday. Part of this is because I actually had her try on the first glove a billion times so I could make sure everything was sized correctly. I wasn't using a pattern and I wanted them to fit perfectly, since what's the point of custom handmade gloves if they don't fit perfectly? Part of it was also when I was trying to decide whether it would be better to have the present be a surprise or to have the gloves fit perfectly. I asked her boyfriend, who said either would work, so I ended up sacrificing the surprise in favor of the fit. After all, a surprise is a short-term thing, while those gloves will last for a really long time. I definitely made the right decision.

(The second glove went much more quickly since it was the exact same thing as the first.)

So I never ended up casting on for the sweater. I should really get around to doing that. I really want to make my own sweaters, because I'm just not finding ones in stores that I actually like. And the sweaters that I own are getting to be too big, since I used to be a medium and now I'm a small. I really do need to make my own sweaters.

In other news, I might actually still win the Great Shawl Race that I thought I lost. One a technicality. Riv hasn't blocked her shawl yet. If I finish mine and block it before she does, then I totally win.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More info on the wool

It turns out that the woman who owns the 3 sheep has two breeds, Lincoln and something starting with a B that my mom couldn't remember. This is what a Lincoln sheep looks like:

So in a few weeks there will be lots of wool for me! Yay!

Also, last week one of my yarns got featured in an Etsy treasury. Unfortunately the treasuries only last for 2 days, so I don't have the link any more. Or rather, I could give you a link, and you'd get an error message. But still, it was pretty cool. It got me a lot of item views. Alas, no purchases.