Slow but Steady

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Knitting has been happening, not very fast, but happening none the less.  I have been making some small progress on a new pattern, Riverine.  It’s knit out of three different bases of Shibui yarn.  It’s quite an easy pattern, but still very entertaining none the less.  I get to play with texture and how the color changes from each base.  For some reason it makes me very happy.  But I am not going to complain, it’s getting me out of my slump, slowly but surely.  I can also attribute it to listing to some knitting podcasts too, which is good because it’s keeping me inspired.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not that much progress but again I’ll take it because this is more knitting then I did during the slump.  Well I think I’m going to go back to the knitting, I would take more photos but the battery in the camera died.  And the light box doesn’t have a port to use, I’ll take some more photos later.

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One Round

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I think that this is a sign that the slump is on the way out.  Today I actually pulled out my knitting from the bag.  I didn’t just look at it longingly and feel the fabric, no I did actually pull it out and did something productive.  I put the needles in my hands, grabbed the yarn, and then proceeded to knit one round.  It felt so good to have needles and yarn in my hands making something for the first time in a while.  This simple round of plain knitting on the Viajante made me feel so much better.  But it is still a bit far off from where I was before the slump happened.  Though I will be looking at my knitting again more later and hopefully I can do a little bit more of it.  
I’ve also been looking through my favorites and queue again to get some inspriation to start something.  I am going to try to get projects lined up for when the slump is gone and the projects start falling off of the needles.  Which should be helpful in getting me out of the slump.  Fast forward to Friday in which was knit night at my LYS.  I went even though I really have not been knitting that much/at all.  I went and had a lovely time, looking at others knitting and all of the yarn that the shop has to offer.  I looked at a lot of yarn while I was there and I think I am on the way out of the slump even more.  I bought one more skein of Apple Tree Knits yarn, which is lovely and I have a pattern picked for it.  The other is three skeins of shibui yarn for a Riverine which a few knitters around the table are making.  The shop has had a sample of one for a few weeks now and I keep thinking about making one.  But the color I wanted they only have 2 of the trio that is required, which would mean I would need to order the last skein from somewhere else.  So I didn’t buy that color before and did not now either.  What I did end up with is a color that is very me and delicious.  The color for all three skeins is Bordeaux, which is a lovely deep burgandy much like a fine wine.  

The skeins are wound, I have the pattern printed, and the needles are at the ready.  I think that I’m going to cast this on right now and start knitting.  Though I’m not looking forward to the mohair, but I think I’ll be just fine.  Mojo is coming back thankfully and hopefully I’ll be going through projects left and right.  But I will need to track down some of the sweaters I have not finished and proceed to rip them out.  They are now too big, so I will rip them out and start a new one in it’s place, once my body stops shrinking.  Again we fast forward to right now, I have knit the first few rows of the pattern.  This is more knitting then I have done in the past 2 weeks, so I count the 8 rows to be a big deal.  I’m still a little unsure about how it is looking at it’s current gauge, but I think it will be just fine.  

Oh and I did fall down more on the Apple Tree Knits, I picked up a skein of Ice Queen.  I have many plans for all of my Apple Tree yarn.  More on that later, I am going to work a bit more on my new project.  

Fight the slump

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I’m still in the slump lets make that clear, nothing has been going on in the textile part of my life.  With all of this extra time you would think that I would be doing a lot more other productive things.  Well that’s only part of the story, I mean don’t get me wrong I am doing some productive things.  But the amount of time I am being unproductive is much larger then productive time.  I am not sure how much longer I can go along just watching movies without knitting or spinning or weaving.  I am not sure what is going on, don’t get me wrong I am looking at patterns on Ravlery and my stash as well.  I am taking a hard look at my stash and trying to figure out what yarn I really want to keep and which I don’t.  Don’t get me wrong I am not giving up on anything, I just think that I need to be a little more organized and restrained with the stash.  
With so much time on my hands I am looking at other things as well.  I am taking some time to clean up, figure out what I want to do that will fulfill my time.  What that is right now I have no idea.  Again I think that I will have nothing to put up for photos today as well.  I’m hoping that this slump goes away soon, its starting to get a little concerning.  I’ll feel my yarn and knitting, sit there and sigh.  I keep wondering if this is what other non-knitters do, not be productive with their free time.  Of course there is nothing wrong with this, if this is what brings you joy that’s for you, not for me.  I am going a little crazy not working on anything, I mean yes I could force the slump away by pulling out my knitting.  But I think I am going to have to figure otu what I will work on.  Oh wait there in lies the problem again, I have no clue.  I think I’ll stare at the wall again, it looks like my favorite program is on, light moving across as the sun sets.  

The Mega Slump

We all have those times in our lives where we just can not, for the life of us, work on something that we want to do.  Whether it’s a knitting project that is exciting, spinning, weaving, or anything else that you may do that is crafty, we all face the same thing.  There will be times in which we just can’t get ourselves to do any of it.  For some reason we get blocked or just for some reason you can’t.  Even though it’s calling to you, telling you that it would be fun to work on it, you just give it a vacant stare.  You think, well I could work on you and get closer to a finished object, or I could just stare at this wall.  Well the wall looks pretty interesting today, maybe I will do that.  And then after starting at the wall I can just stare at my computer screen, even if it’s not on.  Or maybe I’ll just play some video games or watch endless YouTube videos.  Whatever else you choose to do instead of your crafting is up to you, but it’s also something we all will face at some point.

 

Well I am currently in a  large slump, it’s fairly big at this point.  I pull out my knitting and it just sits there.  The spinning wheel tells me that I should make some progress on my spinning for Tour de Fleece.  The loom says I’ll make a quick woven scarf if it’s just pulled out and worked on.  All of them are calling to me and I did not give in.  My creative bug is gone, me desire to work on anything textile is gone.  This is the largest slump that I have been on, all crafting has come to a halt.  I’ve been trying to get myself to work on it and then I think oh look shiny.  I keep going to other things and ignoring other things.  Well there’s not much I can do about it, thankfully it will go away at some point.  How long that will be, I don’t know.  For now I’ll just sit in the corner and watch the ceiling.  That’ll be fun…

Showing the warp 

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I think I’m on a weaving kick a little bit. I’ve prepared the math for the next 2 projects that will be going on the loom. I think we discussed that in the last blog, but I have done the math for the weaving that I will be doing. The first of those is using that wonderful DK that I bought up at The Black Squirrel a few weeks ago. It even has a recipient when it’s all done, my mother. She saw the color and was enthralled with it. Even though she has a lot of knit scarves and shawls, there are little to no woven items. So that is no problem, with the warp calculated I direct warped the loom. Then we were talking and she was interested in how the loom was set up, so I didn’t do the rest of the setup. I showed her how the loom is set up to get it ready to weave. She watched and asked questions and said, “that’s way too much setup.” I said yes the setup, like in machine knitting, or sewing, takes a while but the actual act of weaving doesn’t take too long. So I shredded the warp, tied it onto the front, and started the waste bit of weaving. I showed her how the basic weaving works and how the fabric is made.  She was interested but I don’t think she is going to be weaving any time soon.  But it was quite interesting to have her interested in a fiber craft, that wasn’t about the finished item.  So that was quite a surprise for me.

 

Weaving is going well I have about 5 inches woven, but I honestly haven’t been working on it that much.  Knitting has come to a slight stand still because I’m just doing all kinds of things right now.  Oh and it’s Tour de Fleece, which I haven’t been doing any spinning for.  I might do a little more weaving and spinning today, once I get some of my knitting done for the day. Time to get back to it, no pictures today, not enough progress to show. 

Warp Drive Engage

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The weaving is going splendidly.  I finished the scarf that has been on the loom for months now.  It feels so good to get this off of the loom.  I wish I had made it a little longer, since it’s not the longest scarf.  But the width is good, next time I’m going to make it a little narrower.

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The yarn is Miss Babs Yummy Sock in the color Zombie Reunion.  Quite a nice bit of yarn, but I made a few mistakes when I wove this.  I didn’t get the length I want and the hem I did on the top and bottom wasn’t tight enough.  But overall it’s a nice pattern, but I don’t think that I would do this one again.  But the pickup stick pattern was a nice exercise in learning new skills on the loom.

 

With that being done I have already planned the next two things I am going to weave.  One is going to be a nice long and decently wide scarf out of the Machete Shoppe Dirty DK in Purrmaid.  I already did the calculations for the project and I think I’ll have plenty for it.

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The next will be a super wide and long scarf out of the hand dyed bamboo cotton yarn.  But  I need to actually warp up the loom first.  I’m thinking I’m going to need to get a warping mill, direct warping is nice.  However with the restrictions I have on space makes it a little difficult.  I’ll start looking into that while I get ready to warp up the loom.

Warp Speed Ahead

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I forgot how much I like to weave.  Of course I knew I liked to weave but I forogot how much I enjoyed it. My loom has been neglected for a while but when I pulled it out again and proceeded to weave 4″ in no time the love affair was back. Creating fabric so quickly and beautifully makes me excited once again. Winding yarn onto the shuttle so I could continue making something out of nothing with only strands in perpendicular orientation. It’s quite fascinating to me and fun. I’m still working on the scarf that’s on the loom right now but it’s still fun. Even though for some reason I couldn’t find my pick up stick, which is needed for he pattern I’m working. But I had to improvise with the extra shuttle, which worked out well enough.  Right now I’m about 28 inches in on the scarf and I am hoping that I have enough yarn to go at least another 28-36 inches.  Yes this is the yarn that I looked for, for over a week.  Hopefully once I finish and wash the scarf the pattern will really pop, for now I just have to wait and see.  I didn’t do a swatch like an impatient person that I can sometimes be.  But in any case I think it’s going to be a nice scarf once it’s done.  Which I am looking forward to the next project on the loom, which will be that hand dyed cotton that I picked up a few weeks back.  That’s going to keep me going until I can get there.

 

As for knitting, Viajante is doing fairly slowly, I’m working on it here and there, but not as much as I could be.  For the other project it’s actually going very well.   The design is coming out nicely and I think it’s because I’ve been meticulously planning it.  It is out of Mora Silk again, which is becoming a favorite yarn of mine.  Not much knitting going on to talk about, which makes this a little dull.  But I’ll keep you distracted with some pretty pictures hopefully.

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A little sample of a Polaroid I took last Saturday.  It’s not perfect, or sharp, or anything, but it’s the look that I wanted.  And it’s quite fun.  Ok back to knitting/weaving.

Spin right round

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As an unexpected turn of events I can spin just fine when my body isn’t happy with me. I’ve been going a little spin crazy lately. Remember that spinion yarn, well it’s plied, skeins, washed, and reskeined. It’s gorgeous but a little knotty, standard three ply meant I had some left over on two bobbins.  So naturally I wanted to get all of the yardage from the fiber so I did some navajos plying.  Which had some breaks because I spun the fiber a little too thin in some places.  It was a wonder it went onto the bobbin when spinning the single in the first place, but I digress.  I used up all of the singles, which gave the yarn a little more in the way of yardage but also in the way of knots.  There were about 8 of them, which is something I try to avoid as much as possible.  But there was not much that I could do about it, so I pressed on.  If you’re wondering my normal process is to wind the yarn on my skein winder, set to 2 yards.  I then will wind it counting the number of rotations, since I found my yardage counter was very off.  So after it’s wound and the tangle reducing extra yarn is applied it gets the bath.  I let it soak for about 10-15 minutes making sure the water is all in the yarn.  Then it’s gently squeezed, given a good thwack, since it’s a BFL, and then rolled into a towel the excess water removed.  I then let it lay to dry and once it is, I wind it into a smaller skein that would be easier for most swifts.  For this skein I made a small custom label for it, most of the time I just stick a small label thats attached to a string on the yarn, which tells pertinent information.  But for this one since it’s a Spinion yarn, I had to do something fun with it.  I had this in my mind for a while and I think it’s quite funny.

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In total it was about 442 Yards of a nice 3-ply fingering weight.  I showed the picture to the recipient yesterday of it on the bobbin still and she got excited.  I’m hoping that she likes it in person even more.  It’s a great PigeonRoof Studios fiber, the color way is unknown since the tag has gone missing over time.  Wait hold that thought I just found it, the color is Saffron.  It’s a gorgeous color and I’m not a big fan or orange or yellow, but I even like this one.  I would keep it for myself, but it’s not for me.  But there is another yarn that I finished that I can show as well.  There was some GreenWood Fiber Arts that has been on my wheel for quite some time now and I got the singles done a few days ago.  Now the plying is done and it’s just finishing drying.  When I saw the yardage count I was taken aback a little bit.  It’s approximately 714 yards of a very fine weight, I don’t know the WPI exactly, but it ha to be at least 28+.  The exact fiber is a 50/50 Merino Silk in the color way Arcade which is bright and vibrant.  I spun the entire roving in one long strand, to preserve the colors as much as possible for a nice 3-ply, which was a Navajo ply.  It didn’t hit me until I was taking off the yarn from the bobbin just how fine it was spun.

With that done I chose another fiber to spin and what I was going to do with the new yarn I spun as well.  I’m thinking for the yarn I’m going to weave it with a neutral weft to make a more subdued scarf, but I think I’ll need to use a double heddle technique to get it to weave at the right “gauge.”  As for the next fiber I picked out a bit of Miss Babs fiber, which she doesn’t have any of this on the website right now.  It’s a 50/30/20 Merino/Bamboo/Silk blend in the color way “Shaken not Stirred” which was from a falling down I had a few years ago when she was having a post holiday sale.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s quite a color, which is a complete contrast to what I was spinning before.  But this is going to be another 3-ply Navajo yarn, which I think will be quite nice.  Not sure what it will turn out to be once it’s yarn but that’s for future me to decide.  I think I’ll do a little more knitting today and maybe some weaving if I can get myself to pull out the loom again.

Summer, can I return you?

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When I was blocking my Starting Point I said it was going to be around 96F, I was wrong.  It ended up being 103F here.  If you don’t know me, I don’t do well with heat.  I run warm normally and so having to deal with over 100 degree weather makes me unhappy.  Even more so because I had to lay down a lot of the day to see if I could get my back to be happier with me.  During these hotter months I try not to work on anything that is large and wool related.  I try to do things like shawls, scarves, and knit in materials like silk, silk blends, sometimes a plant fiber here or there.  Sometimes I’ll throw a pair of socks into the mix, just to spice things up.  But the only thing I had active on the needles was my Viajante and it’s wool.  Even though it’s lace weight and it hasn’t gotten to the massive lap status, it was still a bit warm.  Usually during the summer months I’ll also throw some spinning into the mix but I didn’t want to injure myself more by spinning (back might not like me sitting at the wheel).  Weaving was something else that I wanted to do, but I knew it wouldn’t be good for me in the current state that I was in.  Running low on options I knew I needed to get something going and fast.  I have a lot of plans for knitting, mainly wool related knitting but I do have some ideas for some more light weight shawls and scarves that would be good.  But that’s not what I had in mind.  In my mind, this weather screamed silk and silk it was.  I cast on for something I can’t really talk about just yet.  It’s another design, yes I’m teasing you again.  But there will be a big reveal late, I have many plans.

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But my Viajante is making some good progress even though it is a little slow.  I bet I’ll like it when it’s done and when the weather decides to cool down.  Which another reason I don’t like summer is that I don’t have AC at home or in the car.  My car’s AC broke a few years ago and I didn’t want to pay to fix it, so I just roll down the windows.  I have a good ceiling fan at home, but my fan that I used for years died a year or two ago and I still haven’t replaced it.  That’s something that I’m going to need to order and quickly if this weather persists.  Which according to the forecast for the next few days it’s going to be hot.  When I get my own place I’m going to try to get one that has AC and just not run it too crazily.  Even a nice 76 would be preferable to this oven that we are in here.  Today is not much better, sitting at a nice cool 96F.  Even though I probably shouldn’t do any spinning or weaving I’m going to do it.  Since the thought of sitting with wool in the lap or anything of that nature would drive me insane.  So it was time to pull out the spinning wheel and get some fiber off that’s been there for far too long.  I think the reason for that is because I was spinning it so fine, that merino silk blend does that for me.

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Now that today is pretty much coming to a close I do have some good progress to report.  I was able to finish the singles from the 50/50 merino/silk completed.  The colors are quite bright which is what I was going for.  I still need to chain ply the yarn so I can preserve the long color runs I was able to get going by not splitting the roving.  I hope it turns out well, I guess we will have to ply and find out.  But I did finally finish all of the plying for some spinion yarn.  If you don’t remember what that is, it’s where a fellow knitting friend buys fiber and yarn.  I get to keep the yarn but then I spin yarn for them.  Which this friend has been very firm they will not spin, but they’ve mentioned that they might actually learn to spin.  So I might not have to spin the other bit of roving, but I still will.  Maybe this handspan will be the breaking point to get them spinning.  What do you think?  I’m going to skein it and wash it up for this Friday.   Please ignore the little messy plying, I had a few breaks that I had to work with.  442 yards approximately of 22 WPI, making it a very nice fingering weight.

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Laying it down

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Another project completed is a good feeling. When you finally cast off your stitches and see how much stashed yarn that you use. It’s a really good feeling, let me tell you. When you see how much yarn you’ve used and to have something finished, such a good feeling. But you all knew that. It’s something all knitters know even if you haven’t been knitting for that long. It’s that sense of accomplishment, turning yarn into something that can be used. I’m especially proud of this one because I started 3 weeks in and finished a week after the last clue was released. I’m of course talking about the Joji mystery knit along. I’ve been working a lot on it and on Friday I cast off. All of the ends that needed weaving in, were woven in. And blocking was the last but that needed to happen. However, my back hasn’t been cooperating with me still. Today I had to stay home from work and I had to cancel some plans that I had for the day. There’s not much I can do about it, but I think it’s time to get looked at.
But today I’ve felt better enough to put the big piece of knitting into the water and block it. Since it’s going to be 96F here today I figured I might as well. It should dry pretty quickly and then I can cut the ends and it’ll be done. Now those needles are free and I’m planning the next bit that’s going to be on he needles. I needed those US size 4 needles for a few projects but I have one in mind. As for the other size 4s, they’re still in my second Viajante. That is my simple knitting in which I can just zone out and watch Netflix or what not.  The other projects that I have in mind will need a little more brain power.  Which is ok, I want to have one simple project and one more involved project so I can alternate as needed.  Speaking of the second Viajante, it’s going fairly well even though it’s getting slower now.  Which is to be expected when you’re increasing every second round.   But that’s not what you’re here for, you want to see pictures.  I understand, which I was able to snag one picture of the finished object as it’s blocking.  I won’t be able to do much more in terms of photos because of the back.  But I’ll try to get some glamor shots of it on me, when the weather is a little cooler maybe in the morning.

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This wouldn’t fit in the light box in it’s stretched out state and I don’t have enough space to put in a second pair of mats.  But this is what I have to work with right now, so there it is.  In all of it’s finished glory and my mom doesn’t like it because of the two Wollmesie colors, which is ok.  This is going to be for me I think, unless another recipient comes up.  But for now I’m going to let it dry, which shouldn’t be too much longer to be honest.  I’m going to lay down a little bit longer, maybe get some more knitting done on the Viajante or start the next project.  I’m thinking silk would be a good option.