moonshine

Here’s what I’ve been up to, and when I say “what I’ve been up to” I mean, what I’ve been totally obsessed with…dreaming about…planning my days around…you know.

moonshine

This is my hand-dyed fiber, that I spun myself and on Thursday began to knit. It is intoxicating.

The initial plan, that I had in mind before I even bought the fiber, was to make a sweater like one I saw on Flickr many moons ago (on Flickron Ravelry). It wasn’t until I had skeined and washed the yarn that I realized how thin I had made the yarn. Whoopsie. I guess I’m still learning. The yarn screamed at me, “Make socks! Make socks!” So that’s what I’m doing.

handspun

Moonshine socks. I am calling my yarn Moonshine because, well, everyone around said I should call it Sea Glass. I agree that Sea Glass is a descriptive name for this yarn, but it is also too beachy and peachy and cutsie for me. Since I’m now dyeing my own fiber and will be giving it names I figure that the first batch should be representative of how I want to proceed. Moonshine is in honor of a friend, who wrote and recorded a song called Moonshine. A song I blast on the stereo whenever blasting music loudly is appropriate.

My singing-songwriting friend is Sarah LeMieux and she is just an all-around incredible woman. I wouldn’t plug just anybody, so if you’re so inclined you should check her out. Here is a video of a performance from the Women in Blues Festival in Wilmington, NC. If you watch it, you’ll hear Moonshine at the end of the clip. You can also hear the song (and others) on her MySpace page here (that link plays music). I do hope you enjoy!

Now I think I’ll go knit some more on that sock. Intoxicating and somewhat distracting — in a good way — and delicious. Oh, and I’ve dyed more fiber and it has no name yet. Non-peachy suggestions for names are welcome and encouraged.

hand dyed

on mittens

When I did the color workshop with Brandon Mably, one of the things he insisted on was manageable lengths of yarn. If he was choosing a color, he would unwind a length of yarn between his outstretched hands and rip it from the ball without even using scissors. Since we were knitting small sections of color, that one- or two-yard length was enough. When it ran out then it was time to change colors.

With this new project I’m working on, I keep repeating it over and over in my head: manageable lengths of yarn, manageable lengths of yarn

manageable lenghts of yarn?

manageable lengths of yarn. The idea is actually helping me and I would have thrown in the towel on this project from the start without the mantra playing continuously in my head. Despite the mess above, the yarn is not tangled, it is manageable, and I’m enjoying the challenge.

My Dad requested a hat that would look like the old Buffalo Bills helmets. I found this web page that has served as my guide. I’ve been thinking about it in my head for some time now, and with my Dad visiting I finally found the motivation to cast on. At the moment the whole thing looks like crap.

To distract you (and me!) from the mess above, I’ve decided to show you some mittens.

handspun mittens

Pattern: Family Mittens by Lucy Rogers from Homespun Handknit (Ravelry project page*).
Yarn: My own handspun, from Ashland Bay merino top purchased at a local fiber festival in the Fall.
Start: Nov. 30, 2007.
Finish: Dec. 2, 2007.
For: Maggie.

handspun mittens

These were the first mittens I ever made! I liked that the pattern had you use one strand of yarn for the ribbing then double yarn for the hand. Very warm mittens.

The next pair I made were given to Jerry for Christmas, and photographed at the park a few days later.

pirate mittens

Pattern: Mittens for Children and Adults from Sandy’s Needle Nook (free online, Ravelry link).  I drew the skull chart myself.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in black and white, knit very tightly on size 3 needles.
Start: Dec. 19, 2007.
Finish: Dec. 23, 2007.

I love how these came out, and they fit Jerry perfectly.  There are long floats on the inside that he gets caught in when putting the mittens on, but it’s not a big deal.  The big deal is that we have no snow and it’s barely cold.  Mittens see little action around here.

But that’s not really the point.  The point is that I can knit nice things.  While I work on the Bills hat and it looks really, really bad, it’s okay to look back on little mittens to remind myself that I am a good knitter, remember to breath calmly, and repeat my mantra: manageable lengths of yarn

*I’m going to link to Ravelry because I’m guessing most folks have an account now. If you don’t – Noreen! Mom! Anyone else living under a rock! – you should get on the waiting list. You won’t be disappointed.

‘scrappy’

It first looked like this:

scrappy

And it became socks for Mag:

handspun socks

But there were issues with that batch of spinning. I won’t go into the details, and I did end up with a cutie pair of bitty socks, but we’ll just say there was a fight to the death with that first four ounces of fiber. I did not win.

That was a while ago (October?), and I still had another four ounces of fiber to play with. So on Saturday while the kids played outside with their father in some unseasonably warm weather, I got to it.

'scrappy' handspun

I guess I was going for worsted, but it came out rather bulky.  I still feel clueless about this whole spinning thing.  I enjoy doing it, I can make nice yarn, but I know there’s so much more to learn.  I’m just going to keep practicing and I think I’ll join the local spinning guild.

'scrappy' handspun

There is about 100 yards there and I love it unreasonably.  This morning it is finally dry, and it’s already on the pins.

Details: BFL Wool Top from Adrian at Hello Yarn, color ‘Scrappy’.

All I can think about is the rockin’ hat I’m going to make with this handspun, but I should be writing Christmas cards…baking the gingerbread…cleaning the house…you know how it is!  Off to knit!