Handspun socks

Word Lily knitsI thought about posting my spinning from Tour de Fleece, but since there are just a couple days left and I haven’t posted any of it yet, it felt a bit odd. That’ll wait until next week.

Instead, today, for your fiber arts enjoyment, I present a pair of socks.

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These socks I knit from my own handspun yarn, a true 3-ply, spun from Spunky Eclectic club fiber, Wensleydale, Kentucky Derby colorway. I spun the yarn in … 2010, I believe.

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The Socks on a Plane pattern is simple and sweet, and it was a good fit for this yarn.

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More notes: I modified it thus: CO 20, increased to 60 around. (This yarn is a tad thicker than normal fingering.) If I was making them again I’d probably move the cable panel a stitch or two (maybe just 1, in this yarn), farther in from the side of the sock.

I had 11 grams of yarn left over when I finished (so, not much). More details on my Ravelry project page.

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I like how the cable panel runs all the way to the top of the sock, through but not disrupting the ribbing.

My only complaint isn’t really about the yarn or the pattern: I’ve got to figure out the best way to accommodate my high arches in toe-up socks. :-/

So, what have you been making lately? See what others are up to in the fiber arts world at Fiber Arts Friday.

Quote

‘Living simply isn’t actually an option these days …’

“‘At first,'” … “‘it was more a matter of what I didn’t want. Well before I finished college, it had become clear to me that the standard deal — a modicum of luxury, in exchange for one’s free time and comfort — wasn’t for me. I was happy to live frugally, if that was what it took, in order to avoid the nine-to-five cubicle. I was more than willing to sacrifice the new car and the sun holidays and the — what are those things? — the iPod.'”

… “‘It wouldn’t have been much of a sacrifice, no. But what I failed to take into account is that no man is an island; that I couldn’t simply opt out of the prevailing mode. When a specific deal becomes standard through a society — reaches critical mass so to speak — no alternatives are readily available. Living simply isn’t actually an option these days; either one becomes a worker bee, or one lives on toast in a wretched bedsit with fourteen students directly overhead, and I wasn’t particularly taken with that idea either. I did try it for a while, but it was practically impossible to work with all the noise, and the landlord was this sinister old countryman who kept coming into the flat at the oddest hours and wanting to chat, and … well, anyway. Freedom and comfort are at a high premium just now. If you want those, you have to be willing to pay a correspondingly high price.'”

“‘Have you ever considered the sheer level of fear in this country?'”

“‘Part of the debtor mentality is a constant, frantically suppressed undercurrent of terror. We have one of the highest debt-to-income ratios in the world, and apparently most of us are two paychecks from the street. Those in power — governments, employers — exploit this, to great effect. Frightened people are obedient — not just physically, but intellectually and emotionally. If your employer tells you to work overtime, and you know that refusing could jeopardize everything you have, then not only do you work the overtime, but you convince yourself that you’re doing it voluntarily, out of loyalty to the company; because the alternative is to acknowledge that you are living in terror. Before you know it, you’ve persuaded yourself that you have a profound emotional attachment to some vast multinational corporation: you’ve indentured not just your working hours, but your entire thought process. The only people who are capable of either unfettered action or unfettered thought are those who — either because they’re heroically brave, or because they’re insane, or because they know themselves to be safe — are free from fear.'”

The Likeness by Tana French, pages 336-337, Daniel speaking

A long-awaited headboard

Word Lily knitsMixing home decor and our knitting and/or crocheting. This frequently takes the form of pillows and blankets, right? Maybe every once in a while a curtain, towel, or lamp.

I had this idea last year, while I was thinking of what I wanted to do to our bedroom, for a crocheted headboard.

Bamboo is something I’ve made for years and years now. This was really just a variation on a theme for me.

The headboard itself.

The headboard itself.

The bamboo headboard was more than a year from start to finish, but now it’s done! Done, done, DONE! I finished the crocheting in January, and then it was squarely in the hands of my handy husband. We’d discussed it along the way, and I sized each crocheted tube to fit around a PVC pipe. It’s not like I was working without thought to the installation framework. At some points I wondered if it would ever get finished.

With a bit of context.

With a bit of context.

I used a wide variety of yarn, all from my stash. Thirteen of the 28 bamboo stalks are from reclaimed sweater yarn, mostly cotton ones but not entirely. There are also stalks of silk/bamboo yarn (I thought that was appropriate), wool, wool/mohair, some wool/acrylic blends, and even a bit of novelty yarn. More details on the yarn used are available on my Ravelry project page.

The structure is PVC and a couple 2x4s, essentially. One of the 2x4s has pipe-sized holes drilled all the way through it, and another, maybe 6 inches lower, just has cups the same size for the bamboo pieces to rest in. The two 2x4s are affixed to sidebars, which we put some thin oak? veneer — something prettier than 2×4 — on the outside of. And then the whole thing is bolted to the bedframe.

A peek behind the scenes, as it were. The framework.

A peek behind the scenes, as it were. The framework.

I do not intend the stripey blanket to be used as a bedspread, this is a bit too over the top for me, but you can see it with the new wall color here, too, I guess. And it's too hot for a bedspread in the summer.

I do not intend the stripey blanket to be used as a bedspread, this is a bit too over the top for me, but you can see it with the new wall color here, too, I guess. And it’s too hot for a bedspread in the summer.

Below, you can see it in the greater context of bedroom. The citron nightstand is new, and can you see the spinning wheel lamp on said nightstand? That’s new to me, too. Now if I could only get the surfaces cleaned off …

The wide view.

The wide view.

Are you knitting or crocheting? Sewing? Remaking part of your home? I’d love to hear about it. You can see what others are up to in the fibery world today at Fiber Arts Friday.

Queen-sized stripey goodness

Word Lily knitsAfter two months of knitting, it’s finished!

What is?

That gigantic blanket of stripey randomness. The bed cover of brightness. The knitting project that would never end. Miles upon miles of stockinette. That one, yes.

The new blanket, on the bed.

The new blanket, on the bed.

Technically, it’s still not finished: The ends aren’t woven in. But it’s been in use, so I’m counting it, at least for the sake of the blog. I couldn’t stand to deal with it, to have its massive weight on my lap any longer, even in the basement. The ends will get woven in sometime, but not this month.

It’s 90-plus inches wide and 102-plus inches long. I finished the border (1 round single crochet, then 2 rounds half-double crochet) on 9 May. It’s pictured on our queen-sized bed. This blanket is 100 percent cotton, knit from recycled sweaters.

Here’s the project page on Ravelry, with a few more details. And here’s my previous post on the project.

I’m thrilled with it, seeing it makes me happy, and I like how it feels, too. The knitting got to be a bit of a slog toward the end, though. (Which always seems to happen to me. Solutions?)

Happy Friday!

Head over to Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!

Menu planning system that works

A few months ago or so I saw Trish of Hey Lady showing off her new menu planning system. It was similar to this one. I thought about it for a few days, and decided finally I thought it (or a version of it) would work for us.

I’ve tried lots of ways to plan meals before, but before this, nothing had lasted even a couple weeks. We’ve been using this a month or so now, with good success. Ours is pretty scrappy, not prettified like the ones I’ve seen, but it works, so hey. Maybe one day I’ll get around to beautifying it. Or not.

Here’s what mine looks like.

This box holds the strips. It sits in a cupboard.

This box holds the strips. It sits in a cupboard.

A glimpse of what kind of information they contain.

A glimpse of what kind of information they contain. And my sloppy handwriting.

When we pick what we'll cook next, we just put the strips on the fridge. Easy-peasy.

When we pick what we’ll cook next, we just put the strips on the fridge. Easy-peasy.

Here are what the various colors mean in our system. Where I originally began drafting the idea.

Here are what the various colors mean in our system. Where I originally began drafting the idea.

This differs in quite a few respects from the original from which I drew inspiration:

  1. We wrote our strips by hand. I disliked the idea of trying to get double-sided printing to work and line up perfectly, and this let us work on the meal brainstorming / strip creation in dribs and drabs over a couple weeks.
  2. Our categories are our own.
  3. We only have one box.
  4. We don’t have all the things stuck to a board, all together. There really isn’t anywhere in our kitchen to hang a decent-sized board, and we had all the things required for this version already.
  5. We just put however many we want/need/know at a time, although we do try to make it enough food to get us through a week.
  6. When we’re done cooking it, we take the strip down and store it again.

I intended to at least cover the (half-)box with paper, and to rewrite and mount the category cheat sheet to the box, but I haven’t gotten that done yet.

The strip making was pretty time consuming, yes. We did it here and there over the course of a few weeks (or maybe even a month). I like that when I find one I forgot or want to add a new recipe to the mix, it’s quite easy. Each strip has the name of the meal/main dish on one side and a list of ingredients (for grocery store list writing), and a recipe location (book, page number; or online source), if needed.

We have some leftover strips of the colored paper left (we split a 8.5 x 11 sheet of scrapbook paper down the center and then cut strips), so we can simply write the new one down. But maybe not laminate it (which isn’t exactly necessary, but does add durability to the pieces) until we know it’s a keeper. Or you could write up the ones you want to try on a separate list, or a different color, and then rewrite them into the appropriate category after you’ve tried them? The laminated and unlaminated works for us, so far at least.

I’m so glad for a place that has all of the things we make in one place! One the the best aspects of this is that, if we’re completely stuck, we can thumb through the entire stack pretty quickly.

How do you plan the meals at your house?

FO Friday: February spinning

Word Lily spinsI started spinning every day in February, and I kept it up until my spinning wheel broke. Wah wah wah.

It’s fixed now, but here’s what I spun in that spurt.

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One ply is Spunky Eclectic‘s Moose Moss on Portuguese Merino. The other is Spunky Eclectic’s Fjord on South African Fine.

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I got 333 yards from this 209 grams (7.3 ounces) (pre-wash), for a bulky yarn.

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This last photo is without flash. The color is more accurate in the ones with flash, but this isn’t really inaccurate, either. Just a different face of the colors. More details on my project page (Rav).


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When I was plying, the Fjord ran out before the Moose Moss, by a significant amount. I took the leftover Moose Moss on Portuguese Merino and plied it with itself.

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This little skein is 80 yards and 43 grams (1.5 ounces), for an aran or bulky yarn. I’m thinking this can be used as trim (Or a stripe?) in the project I use the combo yarn for, whatever that ends up being. I’m not even sure the difference would be immediately noticeable. This skein lacks the bits of blue, but there isn’t enough blue in the bigger skein that there’s blue in every yard of the yarn, so we’ll see.

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Again without the flash, above. More details on my project page.


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This little skein consists of mill ends (wool and mohair) that I spindle spun over the course of several years. I clearly don’t use my spindle much, eh? I wound it off the spindle, into a plying ball, last year — so I could use the spindle for something else — and I finally actually plied this yarn on my wheel in February 2014.

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It’s a bit overspun (or overplied, or both), but not too badly. It’s sport weight, 58 yards and 22 grams (three-quarters of an ounce).

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My project page.


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This skein I spun from a batt I carded from commercial mill ends. I started with dark green mill ends, a few undyed mill ends, and some other mill ends that I’d dyed (yellow and purple). I spun the yarn and then plied the two ends of the single together.

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This skein has 112 yards and weighs 56 grams (nearly 2 ounces), making this skein worsted weight.

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Again without flash, above. The colors still feel accurately depicted, just maybe a less … revealing? … portrayal. The project page.


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This is the last one. Also spun from a batt I carded, from mill ends I dyed. I believe I was spinning for speed on this one. I opened up the batt (I had so much fun playing with color on the carder here!), split it across in sections, and then broke those cross-sections into chunks, so the yarn has smaller striping sections while the separate colors are still mostly preserved (not blended).

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It’s 136 yards and 43 grams (1.5 ounces). Those are pre-wash measurements, and I fulled it a bit in the finishing, so it probably lost some yardage. It’s roughly sport weight.

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I just love the bright colors of this one, how cheery it is. Here’s the project page.


So, that’s what I spun in February! I haven’t been back to the wheel since it was fixed, which is a travesty that I need to remedy.

What have you been making lately?

Head over to Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!

WIP Wednesday: Random Stripes

Word Lily knitsI mentioned last week that I’m in the middle of another, even bigger, stripey blanket.

As hinted, here it is!

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I’m knitting this in reclaimed cotton yarn, picking the colors as I go. It’s about 90 inches wide and will, when it’s finished, be 100+ inches long. It will work nicely on our queen-size bed. I’m just over 57 inches into it, as of today, one month into the knitting.

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Here’s my Ravelry project page. As you can see below, I worked one garter ridge, just to change things up. The reference to Southwest’s colors there was unintentional.

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No idea when I’ll finish this; it’s quite weather dependent. If it warms up too much to have a large blanket on my lap, I’ll be forced to put it aside until the weather starts cooling off again in the fall. (It’s supposed to be 81° today, but then cool off again for the weekend.)

See what others are working on at Tami’s Amis linkup today.

Friday blankets

Word Lily knitsOne of the first things I cast on for in 2013 was a big striped blanket.

That blanket makes me happy, and it’s seen plenty of use already. So maybe that’s why it’s blankets galore so far in 2014.

The first one [Forgive me as I play catch-up, please!] I technically cast on for on 31 December, but I’m still counting it here.

Undercover blanket

Pattern: Undercover by Beata Jezek
Yarn: I alternated between crazy-old skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun (single ply, but without the mohair content, 169 yards per skein) and Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb (seems to be same as the current Lamb’s Pride, 190 yards per skein, except 100 percent wool, without mohair, again). 10 skeins, natural/undyed
Size: Blocked to 65 inches square.
More details on my Ravelry project page.

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This one is a throw for the house. To be available on the couch, like so. I kinda wish it was bigger, but working in the round has a ton of stitches on the needles to reach this size, and I didn’t have any more yarn anyway, so there it is. I’m pretty much a sucker for leaf motifs.

I also knit two baby blankets, as gifts, in January and February.

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Pattern: Groovy Little Baby Blanket by Meera Kothari Cho
Yarn: Cotton yarn of various colors, all reclaimed from old sweaters.
Size(s): The blue one is approximately 36″ by 38″ (although I didn’t exactly remember to measure after washing and before gifting, oops). The pink one ended up 32″ wide by 36″ tall.
More details on my project pages.

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This pattern is a riff on a baby sweater pattern, Tulips, by Lindsay Pekny, made famous by the Yarn Harlot.

I played with the size in all of these, but the biggest modification I made was to the baby blankets. No matter how I figured it, I couldn’t make sense of the number of stitches the pattern said to pick up for the edges. It didn’t translate to any standard stitch-picking-up ratios that I’m aware of, and the number was small enough I was pretty sure it would make the blanket cup instead of being able to lie flat. So I picked up a more normal number of stitches, on both of the baby blankets. The distinctive seed stitch color-change row is quite nice.

I’m also in the middle of a gigantic queen-sized stripey blanket, since finishing all of these. It’s taking quite a bit longer, logically. Maybe I’ll show that one to you next week?

Head over to FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!