Monday, December 29, 2008


Hello all.

Unfortunately I don't have any knitting photos to show you in this post.  This does not mean, however, that I haven't been knitting.  Recall in my last post that I stated I was not going to make any more beanies for a while?  Well, it was mere minutes after publishing said post that I cast-on for a Hurricane Hat with a beautiful skein of Malabrigo that was gifted to me in a care package.  I had no recipient in mind for this hat, but one of my brothers saw me knitting it when I was near the end and I threw it in his direction when it was complete.  One of my sisters, upon seeing this, reminded me that I still hadn't knit her a Kiwi hat that she requested way back in September (this, I will tell you, is not true.  It was more like mid-late October, but I digress).  So, without even getting up from my seat after finishing the Hurricane, I immediately cast-on for yet another Kiwi with the same yarn (Malabrigo in Vaa, beautiful color).  I ran out of yarn in the middle of the decreases, but thankfully the hat I made my brother was a bit long and slightly pointy - it needed to be redone - so I ripped the top off of that hat, finished the Kiwi with some of that yarn, re-did the top of the Hurricane and sent both hats on their way.  Of course, I did all of this before I remembered to take pictures of them.

Wow, what a long story to simply tell you that I did indeed knit two more beanies after saying I wasn't going to make any more.

As far as my brother's sweater goes, I have finished the body and one sleeve.  I have one sleeve, one yoke, 8 balls of yarn, and 1 week left before this sweater is finished.  Wish me luck!

Ok, now on to the actual topic of this post.  Way back in May I started spinning on a drop spindle without much luck.  I managed to spin up a few singles and 15-20 yards of unusable plied yarn (which I think I threw away when I was moving a few weeks ago) before I dropped my spindle and it broke.  "Oh well," I thought, "I wasn't very good at it anyway."

Well, for Christmas, my brother-in-law bought me a spinning kit completely with a top whorl and a bottom whorl spindle, some dyed roving, and a bit of undyed roving.

I immediately jumped back into it and spun up most of the undyed roving.  I wanted my brother-in-law to see the whole yarn-making process before he flew back to San Diego this morning, so I spun up a second single with the little remaining undyed fiber and then attached some of the blue and kept on going.  When I thought I had enough, I wound both singles off the spindles (I had spun each single on a different spindle so I could try them out) and began to ply.

(A bit washed out, the sun was directly behind me)

Much better than my first attempt, much thanks to CriminyJickets who was kind enough to answer all my questions and give me hints about how to make spinning easier.  I can't wait to spin up some more yarn, but for now I'm going to have to concentrate on getting this sweater finished before I head back to Wisconsin.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Malabrigo and Other Such Wonderfulness

You may remember from my rant about gauge a month ago that I was having trouble knitting a hat for my brother using fingering weight alpaca.  I was dreading knitting a whole hat in 1x1 rib using fingering weight yarn to begin with, and when it didn't turn out right the first two times I tried, I decided I would have to make some major changes.  The situation called for something drastic and I didn't want to have to deal with any more problems with this hat, so I substituted Malabrigo worsted for the fingering weight alpaca (because malabrigo can do no wrong) and ended up with this hat the next day:

We will pretend not to notice that my brother managed to take the pictures with the color jog in the front.  I knit this a while back, while I was home for Thanksgiving, using US 7 needles and colorways Chestnut, Lettuce, and Olive.  I CO 84 stitches (I think) and knit until it fit my brother's head, and then I decreased the top.  Simple enough.

It seems that I am unable to knit just one Malabrigo hat at a time (they're like Pringles), and so I introduce yet another hat.

Pattern: Armando Hat
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted in Emerald
Needles: US 9

This hat and the following project were knit in lieu of studying for finals.  Don't get me wrong, I did in fact prepare for my finals, I just feel like any time spent doing anything else was taking away from the time I could have used to study, but let's face it, one can only cram one's head with useless information that will soon be forgotten for so many hours a day.

I am tempted to say that the Armando Hat is the last beanie I will be making for a while now.  I really just don't like them, yet I continue to make them for what I assume is the sheer joy of knitting with Malabrigo.  I must control myself.

Hats, as I have recently learned, are not the only things one can make with Malabrigo.  Almost anything can be knit with this wonder-yarn (don't worry, I do not plan to coin that phrase or ever use it again).

A few months ago my friend saw me knitting and very subtly asked me to make her something for her birthday.  It went like this:

Her:  I love your knitting!
Me:  Thank you.
Her:  By the way, I have a birthday at the end of December and I love warm things!

Very subtle indeed.  I knit her a hat out of Malabrigo Chunky (which I forgot to take a finished picture of before I gave it to her) and now knit this neck warmer out of the same yarn (Chunky in Olive) to go with it.

The pattern is the Wham Bam Thank You Lamb! Neckwarmer (rav link) and may be the world's simplest pattern.  It went like this: I knit a large rectangular swatch in garter stitch and seamed it as shown above.  Genius!  My friend is of the sort who wears scarves all year long wrapped around her neck, so I'm hoping this will be right up her alley.

Speaking of birthdays, I celebrated my 21st in the middle of November and got a completely fantastic unbeatable present put together by two sisters, a brother-in-law, and a brother.  The contents are as follows:

You can't go wrong with Elizabeth Zimmermann.  I was so excited about this book!  I own her Knitting Workshop and am extremely excited to start a project or two out of this book as well.

There was also this mitten book.  My sister, at the time that she ordered it, didn't realize that it wasn't in english.  I don't think it'll be much of a problem though because there is only a short introduction and then the rest of the book is stuffed full of really cool charts.  There's gotta be hundreds of patterns in this book.

Check out this really cool knitting tool.  Apparently they aren't even made anymore (I don't know how my sister managed to find one), but it's an Addi Turbo Cro-needle.  It has a crochet hook on one end of the cable and a knitting needle on the other, which will really make picking up stitches extremely easy.

There was also, of course, yarn in the package.  1200 yards of laceweight merino from The Woolen Rabbit in Mystic Mountain Pine.

The yarn is to go along with the pattern that was also included in this unbelievable gift for the Autumn Arbor Stole.  I'm so excited to get started on this, but it's going to have to wait for quite a while.

To top it all off, there was also a ball winder and swift!  I really don't think a birthday gift could have gotten any better.

Oh, to top it off again, my sister included the 2009 Men With Yarn Calendar.

I think that's enough of an update for now, I don't want to tire you all out!