Friday, February 12, 2010

February Scarf

I am at the half way point with this months scarf. It is a simple drop stitch pattern with ribbon yarn (not too impressed with this stuff but hey...) I think it will be very pretty when it is finished, light weight and dressy. I am trying to decide what type of yarn I would like to spin for this pattern. Maybe a light silk blend?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My New Studio!

I have spent the last week transforming the unused second bedroom, (formerly known as the dog room,) into my brand new fabulous craft room/studio. It started with a trip to Ikea for one of those fantastic cube shelving units and it just snowballed from there. After a lot of hard work figurign out Ikea's directions to build there furniture, and the even harder task of organization, it is finally finished. I call the style "Depression Era Chic." Take a look for yourself.

My sewing counter
My wall of cubbies... everything has a place! Those boxes were a find at Home Goods... love that store.

My pressing and cutting station - This is one of my favorite antique store finds, a vintage 30's Hoosier with enamel top and crystal knobs.
Dharma supervising atop of another great junk store treasure - a vintage 20's enamel top art deco carved tabel.

So exciting! I've been sewing away prototyping a new knitting project bag.... you'll see it soon!
Scarf class tomorrow - will post regarding the next pattern.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I did it!

So I finished the homespun version of the January scarf two nights ago. It is a little shorter than the original but all in all I think it turned out well. Not bad for the first time knitting with my own yarn! Next time I will have to spin more than 4oz so I can have a bit extra, I literally used every inch of yarn I had made. Because of it's shorter length I am thinking of adding a big vintage button and making it more of an ascot type scarf. What do you think? Five days to go until the unveiling of February's scarf pattern!

Monday, January 18, 2010

January Scarf - Homespun Edition Underway

I did it! I finished spinning, washed the wool, set the twist, dried it, and wrapped it up into a ball (I so need to find a better way to do this next time - it took me three hours to untangle it last night after my beautiful skein turned into a Gordion knot) in time to cast on today!
I ended up with 125 yards of wool - a little short of what I worked with to create scarf number one. I guess we'll see what happens. Hopefully it will be enough and I won't have to spin more wool at the end of the month.
Cast on was tonight, I have my first cable done. The picture isn't the greatest but you get the idea. I am using the same size 13 needles as the original. It is giving it a lighter, more open feel.
Enough typing, I have knitting to get to!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spinning and Sparklies

The spinning portion of January has commenced, I have one bobbin full of singles ready to go and the second waiting to be spun on my wheel.
Here is the first bobbin of my white merino wool singles. I know they are not perfect but hey... neither am I. Once plied together it should make a nice worsted weight yarn.
One thing I did notice while knitting was how difficult it can be to keep track of what row you are on. It is so easy to get distracted and lose your place! So I figured there had to be a better way to count my rows than mumbling numbers to myself or doodling on a scrap of paper that kept floating away on me. I did not have one of those "high tech" clicky things but I did have a lot of beads... so being crafty and resourceful, I present to you the row counter bracelet!
Fancy.... It's like a pretty little abacus for your wrist! I got a bit carried away with the sparklies, and decided everyone needs one of these handy devices, made a bunch more and just finished posting them on my etsy shop dharmayarns. I have another brilliant idea for a different style row counter but I'm waiting on supplies. More on that to come...

Dharma supervising the etsy photo shoot. I told you she helps with everything...
With the sparklies put safely out of eyesight, I must now go back to my wheel and spin spin spin. I still have to ply and set the twist before I can begin knitting January Scarf version 2. I hope to have this all done this weekend so I can be knitting again on Monday.

Oh one last thing... I want to thank Sarah from The Paisley Studio for mentioning me on her blog. Sarah is a fabulous rug hooker an amazing artist, and a good friend! You can fondle my knit wares anytime Sarah!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January Scarf #1 - six days in

Enthusiastic about the scarf challenge, I spent the last two days finishing up January's scarf. It is a lovely cabled pattern (I'm cabling... imagine that, just two months ago I couldn't remember how to cast on!) Here are some photos of the process I have taken along the way to document my work.

midpoint, beginning of second skein
a close up of the cable pattern
the finished scarf
and one more...
that is Dharma in the background, she helps me with everything.

So today I was left with the job of selecting which fiber I wanted to spin into the yarn I would use for my second January scarf. The original scarf is done with a really thick 100% merino wool from Italy. I decided to use the same merino wool fiber, but try and make a finer yarn, since the scarf is super bulky. I am hoping that the cable will stand out a little bit better, and lay a little flatter against the body if the yarn is not quite as chunky.
I think Dharma approves of my choice, 4 oz of fluffy white merino wool waits for me at the base of my wheel.
Ten days into month one of the year of the scarf and I am moving right along. Not too shabby...

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 - The Year of the Scarf

I have never been big on the idea of New Years resolutions, they always start out so noble and by the time February rolls around they have already been long forgotton and set aside in the pursuit of everyday living. That's why I never make them, life gets in the way. Today however, I had an idea. Not a grand, world changing ideal, but rather a simple task and goal.

You see, last year I decided to treat myself to something I always wanted to learn how to do, use a spinning wheel. I know it seems an antiquated craft, but something inside me was drawn to their simplicity and beautiful functionality. There is something mystical about sitting behind a wheel, your hands and feet moving in a quiet rhythm, creating something beautiful and substantial out of a pile of raw fibers at your feet. In those moments, life slows down, and you are swept into a state of timelessness, connected with ancestors whose hands followed the same pattern as you do now.

So in my pursuit of my new spinning hobby, I found myself faced with skeins of lovingly produced yarn, with no idea as to what to do with them. My Aunt had taught me how to knit quite some time ago, but I just never quite got the hang of it. With a new sense of purpose, I enrolled in a year long class on scarf making, which promises to make me an accomplished knitter. What better way to learn a new craft than to engross yourself with monthly projects? Armed with a new pair of knitting needles and some beautiful merino wool yarn, I have embarked on month one of the year of the scarf.

It has been only one week since my first class and I have found myself more than halfway done with my scarf. Since I find myself addicted to the silent clacking of the needles against eachother, and the zen like peace it offers, it will not do to be without a project until February. This is where my idea mentioned in the very first paragraph comes into play. Why not allow the scarf class to be not only a tool for advancing my knitting skills, but for furthering my spinning as well?

The concept is simple, for every scarf pattern unveiled in class, I will knit two scarves. One using the recommended commercially available yarn, and the second will require me to spin a comparable yarn from my stash of fiber I have collected during the past year. Voila, increased knitting time and a focus for my spinning. Plus I will have two beautiful scarves at the end of each month! I am excited about this undertaking and as a way of remaining on course, I have decided to dedicate this blog to the process. Welcome to my journey of one year, twelve patterns, and twenty-four scarves.