Saturday, December 31, 2011

3 Years and Counting.

It's pretty hard to believe, looking back, that I have only been knitting for a little over 3 years. That sounds like a lot, but when you think about how fast those 3 years have gone, it's really not. In the past 3 years I have:
  • Gotten together and broken up with my first (and so far only) boyfriend.
  • Made the transition from high school to college dorms to living on my own.
  • Made some amazing friends.
  • Improved my artistic skills amazingly.
  • Started this blog :)

That's a lot of things to do in just over 3 years. Now lets consider all the things I've done - fiber wise - in those 3 years.

  • Picked up knitting (something I hadn't done since High School)when my ex wanted a scarf.
  • Learned how to make socks on DPNS because sock yarn looked too pretty to not want to learn to use.
  • Learned how to make mittens and gloves (basically socks with fingers!).
  • Learned to knit in the round on circulars.
  • Magic loop and using circular needles in place of straights (and I love it!)
  • Cables!
  • Full fledged garments (My tanktop!)
  • Toys.
  • How to spin with a spindle, something I really enjoy.
  • How to dye yarn and bare roving, another thing I truly enjoy.
That's a lot considering I am a full time college student. Maybe it's a sign I should work on my art and school work more?

So that brings me to the real issue at hand: What do I want to do this year? Well my amazing friend Ivy (Pumpkin Spins) has given me some great ideas and pushed me to try things I never thought I would. This year we are both making lists and plan to encourage each other along the way. With that in mind, my knitting/fiber related resolutions are:

  • Try (and hopefully succeed) in at least color work type project, weather it be fair isle, intarsia, etc.
  • Finish my first full sweater successfully.
  • Conquer something lace with minimal, barely noticeable mistakes. Like socks or a scarf or something smaller.
  • Felting. I don't like how it looks, but I want to try it just one, to say I did.
  • Thrumming. The new craze going around, where you knit roving into your work so the inside has pieces of roving to keep whatever is inside warm. (ie: thrummed items)
  • Toe-Up 2 at a time socks. I just learned toe up this past week and love it! I also know how to 2 at a time, but am not the biggest fan because of having to keep things from tangling, but I'd still love to try the two together.
  • Blocking and finishing. Every sweater makers best friend.
  • Try different cast on and bind off techniques, because those always come in handy.
  • Write more sock patterns!
  • CONQUER MY STASH! I have collected so much this year that I'd love to knit it down a bit before investing in much more. (Unless it's for a special occasion project).
  • Spin something besides wool. I have some bamboo in my stash that's calling my name.
  • *Make a more even yarn when spinning. I am still having a lot of spots with thick and thin I'd like to get rid of
  • Dye bare yarn. So far I've only dyed roving, but I'd love to try dying sock yarn or something white like that.
  • Attempt different types of plys. I am not sure if you can do much more with a spindle, but even more 3 and 4 ply yarns would be nice.

You will not believe how long it took to come up with this list and I still feel like I am leaving something out. I know that I cannot succeed in everything, as this list is very long. But it's a nice guidebook on where to start when I need ideas.

To all my readers out there I wish you a save and happy New Years and may all your resolutions, wishes, promises, etc. come true.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Playing With My New Toy!

Merry Christmas to everyone who is probably reading this! I hope you all had a great holiday and a chance to just relax and spend time with family and friends.

I also hope everyone got everything they wished for, material or not. As for me, well I got a new toy...

And after the relatives left I went right to work playing with it. ;)

Sadly, all my mom has around the house is mountains and mountains of acrylic. She likes to make afghans, A LOT, and has all this extra stuff sitting in her closet. I couldn't just let it sit there, calling me, so naturally I wound it for her! She now has several nice little cakes of acrylic ickyness.

Ok Acrylic is not completely icky, I just don't prefer it now that I have experienced the yarn shop. But she does crochet some pretty amazing things with it, see for yourself:
Mom's Afghans are pretty sweet, but I don't know what she's going to do with all that extra yarn that I wound for her!

After winding all that acrylic, I'm out of things to wind, as I left most of my stash at Manhattan over break. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.


PS: To those interested, my brother and sister both LOVED their knitted gifts!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Knitting: Quick and Simple.

So as of 5pm tomorrow I will officially be done with the fall semester. Man it has been torture! But on a happy note I have also managed to finish a couple of holiday knitting projects. Unlike last year, no IOU yarn balls will be under the tree! Finished projects will instead take their place. However, my parents have basically said don't get them anything, which is fine by me because I'm a broke college kid anyways AND I never finished my mom's IOU socks from last year (in my defense I got one done, decided I hated the yarn and just never did the other).

So this year I decided to do a bit of something unexpected. Unexpected as in neither my brother or sister will be expecting what I made them. My sister is getting a winter headband made of 100% baby alpaca. If she doesn't like it, than I may just keep it, because I absolutely love how it turned out and how warm it is.

The headband in question is Bamboozled and I recommend it to anyone who wants a winter headband that is different from those basic ones with the flowers.

As for my brother, he is getting a bulky scarf. Being a freshman in college, I know that he could probably use something for those walks back in forth. I know he's a guy, but I have seen guys wear scarves. I actually gave a wool one to a friend of mine who swore he would never use it and the very first cold day we had got a text message with a very big thank you. So whoever says scarves are not for guys is completely wrong. Of course part of my reasoning is that I had 2 of the 3 skeins I used for this scarf already in my stash; I got them last year, intending to make hats for presents and never did, so they became the red and blue stripes of this scarf instead. It also gave me a chance to experiment with long circulars and lengthwise scarves, something I've wanted to do for awhile now.

I probably should wait to talk about these until after their given, but it's not like they read this blog and I'm bored and haven't updated for awhile. I hope all is well with the world and everyone has a great holiday!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two Birds With One Spindle

So with dead week and finals vastly approaching, I would like to take a moment to share something with everyone that I recently began doing, and have fallen in love with.

An assignment in my drawing class about a month ago (wow, it's been that long?) was to do some primarily abstract and non-objective drawings with a pre-determined strategy. Examples given in class included drawing with your other hand, drawing under a table, drawing with reaction to something around you, or creating a 'machine'. These were all great ideas, and this was one abstract assignment I actually couldn't wait to start.

However, I could not for the life of me think of anything for the longest time, and then I Googled "Drawing Machines" and clicked images. Upon looking through a few, I found one that looked a lot like a spinning wheel (but I knew it wasn't) and it all made since.

This assignment was done mostly for a visiting artist, Marius Lehene, to come in and critique. Let me tell you, when he looked at mine and said he absolutely loved it and the way it looked like traces left behind by something, it almost blew my mind. Really? Even my teacher liked them (and she's very critical) and when she saw how I was doing them, she was amazed at the process.

So I know you are all probably wondering what process and drawings I am talking about, well ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

Drawing with a Spindle.

For this project, I attached various types of charcoal to the bottom of my drop spindle and put a piece of paper down on the floor. As the yarn spun, the image was created.

(Single stick of compressed charcoal on the end)

The moment I conceived this idea, I knew it would be tricky. In fact, I almost didn't do it. There were so many cons to this idea. The spindle will get too heavy. The charcoal won't touch the paper right. The yarn that I spin won't be worth anything, it'll be too over/underspun. It will take the fun and relaxation out of spinning. My teacher will think I'm crazy. But after thinking some more and coming up with literally nothing better than "pencil on a string", I decided to give it a try. Man am I glad I did.

(How it's done!)

The results have been spectacular. Not only have I produced these beautiful drawings, I have also made some of the best yarn I have yet to make. It's spun almost perfectly. Maybe having that extra weight on the bottom helped to make it so? Or it taught me how to balance my spindle better? Or the fact that it wasn't fine quality fiber to begin with made me able to not worry about the results? Either way, both the yarn and the drawings are pure works of art.

(Created with a single 6B charcoal pencil on the end)

The assignment has since come and gone, and I am sad that I (for now) cannot pursue these drawings any further for a grade. However, I still do it most of the time. Whenever I pick up my spindle I also pick up a charcoal pencil and pad of paper. Upon spinning the leader, the pencil gets attached and a beautiful work of art gets created.

(Created with 2 pencils, one on one side of the end, one on the other, to create more dots)

Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm obsessed, or maybe I just like that I can do something I love AND get art/homework done at the same time. No matter what it is, you've got to admit, it sure would be cool to see a gallery show with the yarn hanging next to the drawings it made.

(Most of the yarn I spun for the drawings above, note that I did not create any drawings when plying; I'm not that adventurous yet)

PS: I have way more drawings than what is pictured here, but they are either with my teacher, at studio, or I was too lazy to take pictures tonight. Expect more pictures when I can. Did I also mention I hand dyed all the roving used with Wilton's food dyes?