Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Knitting Revealed

Now that my knitted presents have been received, and I have sufficiently detoxed from the winter holiday portion of the year, they can be revealed for all the world to see. A friend got this little flamingo, which was a fiddly as hell to make. At one point I had one stitch on each of three double pointed needles, and was trying to balance them in a little pyramid on my leg as I knit.

The little dude ended up pretty cute though, so it was worth it. The pattern is free, if you need a flamingo in your life.

This next sweater was made for another friend's baby, who was born only 4 days ago. The parents wanted to keep the gender a surprise, so I went with a neutral orange -- turns out the baby is a boy! The pattern is Baby Sophisticate, and it's also free. I did make a lot of modifications to the sweater due to using a different yarn, and in response to a lot of comments saying that the sweater turned out too long and skinny. Details are on my Ravelry page if you are interested in such things.

Finally I made Anchors Aweigh for my brother. I ended up making a ton of modifications to this pattern, and because I was the first person to post a finished project, I put extensive notes on my project page. I also added a windstop fleece lining, which isn't in the picture because my sewing machine decided to hate me, and I had to borrow my mom's on Christmas eve.

I am now basking in the possibilities of non-deadline knitting and spinning, and realizing that 14 pairs of knitted socks is really just not enough for one person to own.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bah Humbug

This year I just can't get into Christmas. I don't care. Maybe it's that we had a busy fall--we went on 2 trips and hosted 2 family visits--or that it hasn't gotten very cold yet, or that it seems like we just had Christmas, but we haven't put up any lights, set up the tree, or baked any treats. I'm only about 3 inches into the third stocking I'm making (I made 2 last year). Really, I just want it all to be over so that I can go to a store without 4 million other people being there. Bah humbug, I know. I don't even want to do any crafts.

It's a good thing I started planning back in September, because 3 people are actually getting handmade gifts this year. Too bad I can't show you, yet. So instead, let's talk about spinning. Ok? Ok.

One of the lovely ladies in my knitting group let me borrow her Ashford Traveller wheel. Because I already had been spindle spinning, it didn't take me long to get the hang of it. It was so fast! I didn't have to stop to wind the yarn on!

Now I have reached the part where I eat my words. I know you've heard me say, "I'm not getting a wheel, they're too expensive! I don't need any more hobbies."

I got a wheel. (Actually Jason got me a wheel. Which he purchased from a link I sent him in an email. Kind of like how my engagement ring was purchased... what? I'm not a control freak, I don't know what you're talking about.) It's a Fricke S-160 double treadle.

Frickes don't win any beauty contests, but they get the job done. If any of you are considering getting a wheel, here's why I choose this one:
  1. Price: less than $400. There are very few wheels in this price range, and this one had most of the features I was looking for.
  2. Ball bearings = fewer points to keep oiled
  3. BIG bobbins (although they are plastic and most don't seem to be 100% level. These are the exact same as the Majacraft bobbins, however, and those wheels will cost you a lot more.)
  4. Delta orifice: no need to fiddle with a hook
  5. There are five, count 'em, five drive ratios! (These are kind of like gears on a bike. The bobbin and flyer will spin faster with less treadling the smaller you go.)
  6. Treadling is smooth, and the wheel is quiet. The only sound comes from the brake band whirring on the bobbin.

That blue fiber that shows up in all the pictures is 8 ounces of merino wool that I'm spinning into a 3-ply fingering-ish weight. It is taking for-ev-er.

Here is a bonus alpaca for anyone who just read that post and had no idea what I was talking about.

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