Have Ewe Any Wool?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It New Year's Eve!

New Year's Eve - a time to celebrate!

We traditionally have "junk food dinner" for New Year's Eve followed by a midnight champagne toast.    This year, in addition to the brie, cheese, salami, and chips with dip, I added "kebabs" of various meats, fresh mozzarella, greek olives, and a nice variety of veggies.   I think it looks very festive!

Let the count down begin.......

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas!

Amazingly, even though my christmas cacti ALL started the blooming process at Thanksgiving,  one managed to start blooming just before Christmas....ans is still blooming today!

For our holiday meals , we had smoked salmon on an English Muffin with some lettuce, onion, tomato, and capers for breakfast....along with a nice bowl of berries.   For our dinner, we had DH's favorite choice for Christmas dinner, "Christmas Tacos".   Well.....it makes him happy, it's easy, and it's festive - green (avocado and lettuce) and red (tomatoes and salsa)  for Christmas.   .  (My taco is laying down....I took the broken shell...I find it easier to ear!)   Sort of the non-traditional traditions that we look forward to and love!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Arm Knitting

I tried something new and different this month - "Arm Knitting".  It uses no needles and goes a step past finger knitting.   While finger knitting is similar to loom knitting and limited to 4 stitches, "Arm Knitting" uses the arms as needles and allows many more stitches.   It should also be noted that the process is more like "real knitting".....and by "real knitting", I mean the standard way of knitting that uses two needles.

The stitches when doing "Arm Knitting" are quite large, so it makes for a very loosely knit item.   This is suitable for many things - scarves, cowls, blankets.....just about anything that's OK with larger stitches.


It took me a while to "get the hang" of this type of knitting.   I had a few false starts...and sometimes felt like I was in handcuffs.   I do have a few tips if you're wanting to try this yourself:
  • Don't make the stitches too tight - you won't be able to get them over your wrist
  • Don't make them too loose - it's hard to see the stitch definitiion and your stitches can easily cross over each other on your arm.
  • Gently tug each stitch to adjust it after each knitting each stitch - it makes a much more even looking result.
  • Don't use just two strands of worsted...it's a bit too thing and the resultant fabric looks like messy unraveled yarn.
  • Use a bulky yarn with a bit of loft (like Snowflake yarn or a bulky chenille)
The first project I did with this process didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped.   The basic instructions for 'Arm Knitting" recommend a bulky yarn.   I tried putting two strands of worsted weight yarn together to form a rather bulky yarn, but I found it was still a bit too thin.   I may try this again, but with perhaps 4-5 strands of worsted weight yarn.


The second project cam out much better.  In this case, I used some very bulky yarn.   The stitches look much better than those made with the worsted weight yarn.  It looks more like a project than a jumbled "mess of yarn".


To form the cowls, I stitched the two ends of my completed knitting together to form a giant loop. It's then looped around a couple of times to create a cowl-like scarf.   This was an easy knit and can be used to create scarves or cowls in record time with no knitting needles!  

Here are some links to the instructions on how to "Arm Knit":

How to Arm Knit

Arm Knitting a Blanket and Scarf

A Spinning Comparison - Cormo and Corriedale

This month, I spun a one ounce sample of Cormo and a one ouce sample of Corriedale.  Both samples were combed top.  

These two ounces are part of our fiber study that we're doing in the Foothills Spinners and Weavers Guild's Spinning Guild.     We had received 24 one ounce samples of 24 different breeds of sheep.  All are prepared the same way - combed.   We've already completed two others.....this is the third and fourth in our 'series'.

Another guild I belong to, Blue Ridge Spinners and Weavers is also doing a fiber study - they are starting with the raw wool and not only spinning it, but also exploring the fiber preparation.    (Unfortunately, since they meet during the week, I'm unable to attend their study group, so I have to experience it vicariously through their posts....sigh.)

Although both were enjoyable to spin, I preferred the Cormo. It’s very soft and I could spin a finer yarn. The Corriedale was harder to draw evenly and would not draw as thin as I wanted.  

Spinning Wheel:      Kromski Mazurka
Ply:                           2-ply
Method of Plying:   Center pull ball (one ply from each end)

Resultant Yarn:
Cormo - 64 yards, very even and smooth
Corriedale - 50 yards, a bit loftier 

The Corriedale produced a much loftier yarn….the Cormo a smoother yarn.  I was quite surprised at the difference in length of the resultant yarn.   I love them both!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lacey Face Cloths and a Winged Dragon Wash Cloth

This was evidently the "Month for Face Cloths" - I've made 5 of them so far....and am nearly done with a sixth.   I feel like a knitting fool!   I do like the immediate gratification that I get from smaller projects.    The sense of accomplishment, etc. is definitely a mood booster.   In fact, I've been knitting for about 30-45 minutes every morning before work.  I find that it relaxes me and puts me in a good mood.   Definitely a great way to start the day!

On to the details.  First off, I made some lacey face cloths for gifts and one for myself - all to be paired with some handmade soaps.   I really like this pattern - it's pretty, yet simple.   The perfect feminine face cloth!   The designer has labeled it as a dish cloth, but I personally think ti's too pretty for a dish cloth and have dubbed mine, face cloths.

The pattern is the "Baby Fern Stitch Dishcloth" by Vaunda Rae Giberson. I used "I Love This Cotton" from Hobby Lobby on size 7 needles.   I love how these face cloths turned out!

The next pattern I tackled was the "Dragon Dishcloth" designed by Susan Bowlby.  I love the raised pattern of the winged dragon on this cloth.....very Medieval and a nice addition to my rather plain dish cloths.  I love the subtlety of the design done totally in one color, relying on stitch differences to display the pattern.   It's almost too pretty to use for dishes!   It's a bit over-sized....I think that's the second advantage of this pattern...it makes a nice oversized dish cloth. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Bedsocks for Mom

I got busy and have knittted my mom a pair of bed socks....the first pair for her this year.   She can't stand sleeping with store bought socks, so this is the special treat that I make for her every year.

I'm going to try to make yet another pair for her....it's very cold in the winter where she lives, so she REALLY loves wool bedssocks!  I always use this same pattern, "Fireside Socks" by Joan Gooth-Buchanan.  I typically use "Icelandic" yarn - nice and lofty...keeping my mom toasty warm!

PS - Yikes!   I just heard from mom.....and she said they're a bit too long!   I think I went a bit overboard on the length of these!   I told her to just pull them up higher....baggy heels don't really matter.  Now I definitely need to make another pair.....slightly shorter this time!