FO: The yarn that was supposed to be Tempest is now something else!

Tappan Zee

Pattern: Tappan Zee by Amy King
Yarn: Yarn School Corriedale Cross, ~675 yds.
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm bamboo circulars
Start/finish: 26 March - 26 April 2010
Gauge: 20 sts/32 rows in 4 inches
Comments/modifications: What a lovely and quick (despite my time line) knit! A top down circular yoke is not a sweater style I've knit before, but it was really fun. The lace pattern in the yoke keeps it from getting too monotonous, and the yarn colors helped with the monotany on the body. I made one major modification: instead of binding off the sleeve stitches when I got to them, I put them on holders. My thinking was that I wanted to put sleeves on when I was done with the body, and make them as long as the yarn held out. Once I was done with the body, I decided to keep the cap sleeves for the moment, so I bound off in knit from the wrong side. That way, in the fall when it starts getting cooler, I can pick out that bound off edge and knit the sleeves down.

Tappan Zee arm

I love the diamond detail at the bottom,

Tappan Zee hem detail

which matches the diamonds in the yoke.

Tappan Zee yoke

Now for the yarn. I blogged about the spinning last spring/summer, but discovered when I started swatching, that the yarn need a bit of TLC. As you can see,

TZ swatch pre-adjustment

I was a wee bit tense when I did the plying. Perhaps I was a bit overplied myself, what with the move and all, but there is some serious skew in that stockinette. Add to that the fact that the yarn was not so pleasant to knit with (read: wiry, stiff and scratchy) and I decided that I needed to do something to take out some of the plying twist.

I took the three skeins I'd planned to use for the sweater (based on relatively similar grists) and ran them back through the wheel to take out some of the plying twist. I basically put the brake band on tightly, and re-plied the yarn with the wheel spinning in the same direction as when I spun the singles. I more or less let the yarn run onto the bobbin with only a little bit of tension, but if I came across a section that was really over-plied I held on a bit longer. Reskeined, rewashed, redried, and reswatched.

TZ swatch post-adjustment

Much softer, much less noticeable bias, much more pleasant to work with. I've gotten a wee bit obsessed with grist recently, so I noted what these skeins came in at: 253 yds at 1094 ypp, 285 yds at 1140 ypp and 225 yds at 973 ypp. I started with the heaviest grist on the top, since the skein I have left for the arms is also around 975 ypp, and I wanted the lighter fluffier stuff in the body.

So all in all a great success. I desperately need to find the right buttons for it, but that may have to wait for a bit, since we've now entered The Month of Nonstop Houseguests. We currently have four parents and four girl children, aged five and under, in our house. As soon as the extra parents and children leave, we get an old friend from Tucson and his SO for a few days, and then a couple weeks later, Nana arrives. So forgive me if the blogging is a bit hit or miss for the next few weeks. Maybe I'll be able to get back here regularly when we finally have a functioning government!

Fiber Friday: Corriedale Handspun

Corriedale handspun

My main spinning goal before we left Houston was to finish up all the singles (2 lbs worth) of the Corriedale I dyed last fall at Yarn School. That accomplished, when the wheel arrived in the UK a few days after we did, my next step was to ply all seven bobbins of singles.

Yes, that's right. Seven bobbins. In keeping with a multitude of wiser and more experienced spinners out there, I choose to spin all the singles and mix up the bobbins in the plying. So I plied the last bobbin (#7) with the first one. #6 with #2, #5 with #3, etc. Of course, there wasn't an even amount of singles on each bobbin, so it didn't line up exactly, but I ended up with only a small amount to Andean ply when all was said and done.

Corriedale handspun

I ended up with 4 skeins, 1 lb (plus or minus a bit), of 2-ply, looks to be about sport weight, but probably ranges from fingering to light worsted. The singles were spun long-draw from the fold from commercial top at 10:1, and plied at the same ratio. Soaked in hot hot hot water (the hot water from my tap is over 120 degrees F), and got a fair bit of purple dye coming off, but no noticeable fading of the yarn.

The fiber was not terribly soft in the top, but the finished yarn is nice and cushy. It was dyed in a crock pot with purple, violet, brilliant blue and orange Jacquard Acid dyes, and I didn't do anything to try and match up the colors when plying - I wanted them to blend together pretty well.

I ended up with ~1000 yds, which is kind of disappointing - I'd been wanting to make Tempest with this stuff, without the stripes. But my size calls for about 1200 yds. I might be able to make it anyway. Guess I'll have to swatch and see!

The crickets are getting loud out here

Just a brief update to prove that I am not dead or disappeared (although I am stuck under a load of unpacking/SAHM-ing/generally trying to pull my self together-ing). There has been some knitting (SYB, TdF socks), more spinning (I've finished plying all the Yarn School Corriedale and hope to wash it tonight) (and I've started on Devil's merino, which she has requested be made into a blanket), and some LYS stalking (I've discovered this one around the corner from the girls' new school, but I have not yet made it in to check it out).

Our sea freight is scheduled for delivery on Wednesday, which makes it just about 4 weeks from packing up to arrival. I'm just glad it all made it hear without falling off the side of the ship! We do now have a landline, so broadband should be just around the corner, along with expanded posting soon. Thanks for all your patience, and stay tuned!

FF: Keeping my sanity

As you may have gathered, things around here have been getting a wee bit out of hand in the last little while. What with the packing and house leasing and travel arrangements being dealt with, my energy for anything even remotely strenuous knitting-wise has been below minimal. Maybe even into negative number territory. So I've been consoling recharging my batteries with simple things; garter stitch and spinning a cubic buttload of singles.


This is 1 lb of Corriedale I dyed at Yarn School last fall that has been calling out to me for a while now. It was the first thing I jumped on in the Dye Lab, and my first experimentation with the color wheel. Adrian's suggestion was to pick 2-3 colors that were on one side of the color wheel, and one from the opposite side for contrast. I went with Violet, Purple and Brilliant Blue, with Pumpkin Orange as my contrast. I was pretty pleased with how it came out, and the singles are lovely.

Corriedale singles
dark stormy day photography is a pain in the butt

I'm spinning long draw from the fold, not worrying too much about wpi, just trying to keep things moving along. I've filled five bobbins already and am on to number 6 - I may have to start winding on to TP rolls pretty soon, since I think this is my last bobbin. My goal is to finish up the last of the fiber before the wheel gets packed up this weekend. I may or may not make it, and if I do, it will be because I was up too late trying to finish it up! I hope to have enough for a sweater for moi out of this stuff, but we'll see - I have very poor skills at calibrating yardage vs. FO.

Don't be surprised by a fair bit of radio silence for the next little while. We'll be diassembled/in transit for most of the next three weeks. I'll be able to pop in a bit for the next couple of weeks, but there probably will not be much knitting or spinning to report on, just packing and moving and plane rides with small children. Oh Joy.

Nana is crafty

While Ironman and I went gallivanting off to London a few weeks ago, my wonderful parents flew down from Boston and babysat the girls. Nana, not willing to be left without something to do (recent rotator cuff surgery not withstanding) asked me for a project. And so I put her to work.

A few months back, I found a great thread in the Cult of Lendrum group on Ravelry about wheel carry bags. There are quite a few out there, some good, some not so good, but one enterprising spinner posted some pictures of a bag she made herself out of a coverlet set she got at the store. Seeing as how Nana just finished a beautiful quilt for us, we had an old grungy coverlet sitting around.

So I favorited the post, gave my Mom my login info, and left, secure in the knowledge that she would sally forth and create something fabulous.

And she did. Behold, my new Lendrum bag:

Lendrum bag

Lendrum bag

Lendrum bag

She also made individual bags for the Kate, flyers, plying head, fast flyer and extra bobbins.

Lendrum bag

Lendrum bag

Lendrum bag

And there's enough extra space in there for a cubic buttload of fiber. Which is good, cause that's what I've got lying around these days.

Lendrum bag

The only thing I think I might add is a little pocket on the inside for extra brake pegs and drive bands (and maybe a slot for the seldom-used oil bottle). It's fabulous!

I left the wheel resting in it's folded up, newly-bagged glory for a few days and then got back to work, this time on some gorgeous BFL from Nikol. This is the third batch of fiber from Yarn School, and I'm remembering why I like BFL so much - the buttah of the fiber world.



I will be feeding my BFL fix alot in the next few weeks. The next round of the Ply by Night group is some BFL from Briar Rose Fibers. I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival, but then I'll have to decide how to spin it. The group choose two patterns this time - Primavera Socks for thinner yarn, and the Chickadee Cowl for thicker yarn. Since my default spin is usually pretty thin, I'm kind of leaning towards a thicker yarn, maybe even a single ply for the cowl. Plus, I'm going to need lots of those next winter, right?