Archive for May, 2015

The Targhee has dried, and I. LOVE. IT.


  • Fiber: Spunky Eclectic Targhee in the Dark Matters colorway
  • Main Skein: 147 yards (105 grams), bulky weight, very thick-n-thin, 2-plied
  • Leftovers Skein: 11.5 yards (11 grams), bulky weight, Navajo-plied
  • Further details on Ravelry.

I’ve also made a little progress with the weaving:

KittyBlanketWeavingJust a little progress! That’s somewhere between 4″-5″.

It’s threaded at a sett of 5 ends per inch, which is really too wide. I would have been happier with something close to a balanced weave, but this is extremely weft-faced. You really don’t see the warp at all. I tried sampling some different treadlings – plain weave, basket weave, twill – but you really can’t see them, so I’m sticking with plain weave for the rest. I have a lot of handspun for the weft, but I have no more of the yarn I used for the warp, so I’ll just weave until I run out of yarn (or warp length) and see what I end up with!

When I first learned to weave, I always just wrapped the yarn the long way around the center of the stick shuttle – and of course, usually ended up with a shuttle that was hard to get through the shed until enough of the yarn had been taken off the shuttle and woven in. Now, more than 25 years later, I learned the method that you can sort of see in the photo above, which I learned while previewing Liz Gipson’s Life After Warping DVD at work. You wrap in figure-8’s on one side, then wrap the center for a while, then wrap in figure-8’s on the other side. It makes for a much flatter shuttle while still holding a lot of yarn!

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The recent addition of weaving to our product lineup at work, along with last weekend’s trip to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival have renewed my enthusiasm for other fiber crafts besides knitting. Of course, there’s spinning, which is one of my more recently adopted fibery pursuits.

Last night, I plied the Spunky Eclectic Targhee I spun last weekend. Here’s a quick shot I snapped while it was still damp and hanging in the laundry room to dry:

TargheePliedIt’s highly variable in thickness throughout the hank, but I do love it. While spinning the singles, and when I first started plying it, I was having some trouble with the yarn twisting onto itself as I was feeding it into the orifice to wind onto the bobbin. I usually try to have as little tension as possible when spinning, but when I finally upped the tension while plying I realized that right there was my problem – not enough tension. So there are some extra-twisty bits in here, but I’m okay with that. Final details to come once it’s completely dry – which it probably is by now, but I was distracted by something else today:


I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but weaving was my first serious foray into fiber arts, well before I ever learned to knit. While in college majoring in graphic design, I needed to take some art/craft electives. My classmate Kristine, who was a fine arts major specializing in crafts, took a weaving class and encouraged me to register for it as well. And it stuck. I took weaving classes from my sophomore through senior years, and even during a summer session between junior and senior year.

When I decided last weekend that the unknown sample fiber that came with my spinning wheel would probably become a blanket for the kitty, it just made the most sense to weave it based on the yardage available – and it doesn’t hurt that weaving a sport-weight handspun yarn into a kitty blanket would be faster than knitting it. Plus, the added exposure to weaving products at work has made me want to weave again!

MysteryWoolThe handspun that will become a kitty blanket (just the top two skeins).

Today, I did a quick dig through my fingering-weight yarn stash, and found a blue-and-cream partial ball of sock yarn that was a left-over sample from work. After doing a little math to determine how far my handspun weft would go, I decided on a sett of 5 ends per inch and 150 warp ends for a 30″ warp width. I ran a little short with the left-over sock yarn and ended up with 131 warp ends. I discovered my more-than-20-year-old homemade raddle (a 40″-long 2×3 with finishing nails partially tapped in, spaced 1/2″ apart) had gone missing. After looking for it, I vaguely remembered that it may have broken either during our move to NH or sometime after while being stored in various places in the house during remodeling.

Raddle-less, I watched a quick video on YouTube to learn how to warp my loom front to back – I had only ever learned back to front. So the loom is now warped, and I have a header of waste yarn woven in, ready for me to begin weaving with my handspun.

LoomReadyToThreadView from the back of the loom with the reed threaded and ready to begin threading the heddles.

LoomBackWarpedLoom threaded and warp wound onto the back beam (yeah, I got some of the warp twisted when tying onto the back beam – oops).

LoomWarpedAt the front of the loom with a header of waste yarn woven in.

Loom details: It’s a Leclerc Artisat jack loom with 36″ weaving width and 4 harnesses. I bought it way back in 1991, my first big purchase that wasn’t a car. I saved up graduation/birthday/Christmas money and bought it within a year after graduating from college. I bought it used at a weaving/yarn shop in western New Jersey and I’m still amazed that Mom and I were able to fit it in a Jeep Cherokee to drive it home to my apartment. Even though I don’t weave much anymore (this will be my first weaving project in about SEVEN years!), I wouldn’t dare sell this loom – it would be too expensive to replace if I were to change my mind later. It’s been with me through three moves, from one apartment to another apartment to our first house and finally to our house in New Hampshire.

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I got so excited about NHSW that I forgot to blog about finishing my Heart Cardigan!

This was the inspiration:

heartsweater72dpiBack in 10th grade, I had this pullover. Can’t really say it was my favorite garment or anything, but I did like it. And there’s a photo in a yearbook to remind me. I even still have the original photo (with crop marks drawn on it and everything) that was given to me by our yearbook advisor as a memento in my senior year. There are many garments I’ve probably forgotten about over the years – and having been a teenager in the 80’s, that’s probably a good thing – but certain more memorable ones that have found their way into photos have stuck with me.

I don’t remember where this one came from; it may have been a Christmas gift from my cousin. It could very well have come from Boscov’s. It’s also long gone, having been stuffed into a garbage bag and deposited in a clothing donation bin somewhere, many years ago.

What I do remember, even though the only photo of it is black-and-white, is that it was dark blue, and each row of colorwork hearts was in a different pastel color (it was 1984-85, after all – colors were either pastel or neon!).

Super-intricate colorwork is not my thing. So when I set out to knit a cardigan with stranded colorwork, I chose to create a 2015 version of my very 80’s sweater. Starting with the seamless yoke cardigan, adult version from Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters, I drafted a chart of hearts to insert into the yoke. I managed to just barely squeeze them in between the last yoke increase and the division of the sleeves from the body, so I didn’t have to deal with any increases within the colorwork section.

As usual, I made a bit of a Frankensweater, combining the sleeve stitch count from one size with the body stitch count from another size. I also increased on just the fronts at the bustline (I need about 2″ more on the front of a sweater than on the back) and added some visible waist shaping (that is, not hidden in the sides) because I like how it looks.

In my job, I get to meet with yarn manufacturers and knitting and crochet designers several times a year, and sometimes I manage to wear one of their designs or yarns that I’ve knit into a garment for our meetings (like wearing my Niche to TNNA to show it to Norah Gaughan, or wearing my Couronne or Pathways pullovers for a meeting with Hélène and Joyce from Knit One, Crochet Too). So, when I realized I would be able to finish my Heart Cardigan the night before a meeting with Classic Elite Yarns (it’s knit in their Liberty Wool Light yarn), that’s what I set out to do. I bought buttons over my lunch break the day before the meeting, and sewed them on that night while the sweater was still slightly damp!

HeartCardiFOSo here it is! The finished Heart Cardigan. I love it! It fits me well, and it’s very comfortable and not too heavy, thanks to the sport-weight yarn. Snapped the obligatory mirror selfie shortly before heading out to my meeting. (The sweater even came in handy when looking at color swatches printed on a color copier that came out a little dark. In reference to the Aubergine swatch, I could just point at a sleeve and say, “It’s this.”)

  • Pattern: Seamless yoke cardigan – adult from The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters by Ann Budd
  • Yarn: Liberty Wool Light (#6695 Aubergine, and hearts top to bottom, #6617 Brick, #6694 Jade, #6656 Hydrangea)
  • Needles: #4 (3.5mm) for most of it; #3 (3.75mm) for cuffs and buttonbands
  • Started 12/18/14, finished 4/29/15 (technically 4/30/15 when I sewed on the buttons)
  • Ravelry project page here.

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Tornado of fiber!

Okay, so the Targhee won next up on the wheel. And a short 5 to 6 hours later, all 4 ounces have become two bobbins of singles.

TargheeSinglesFiber: Targhee combed top by Spunky Eclectic, Dark Matters colorway


  • Undid the braid and broke it in half in the center.
  • Divided one half in half again by splitting lengthwise.
  • Spun the first half onto one bobbin. (Part-way through spinning the first quarter, the piece I was working with began dividing itself lengthwise, so I just split that part off and spun it in at the end of the first quarter.)
  • Divided the second half into thirds by splitting lengthwise.
  • Spun the second half onto the second bobbin.

This was my fastest spin ever! My goal was to just spin fast and not as thin as I usually do. I usually end up spinning so thinly that I end up with lace to fingering weight in a two-ply; with the sample fiber I finished plying last night, I set out to spin thicker and still ended up with sport weight for most of it.

The plan is to impatiently wait for these to rest, and then two-ply them for what I hope will be a skein of barber-poley goodness, hopefully worsted to aran weight. Could possibly become a hat… or maybe I’ll work it into the yoke of a colorwork sweater at some point. I so love these colors!

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Bought more fiber, that is.

Yesterday, as Katie and I made our way to the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival, I believe I said something to the effect of, “I’m not buying any fiber, since I haven’t been spinning enough.” So, of course, I bought fiber. But, in my defense, it’s fiber that’s not already represented in my stash.

NHSW2015Top: Doolally self-striping sock yarn from Mad Color Fiber Arts
Middle: Targhee fiber in Dark Matters colorway from Spunky Eclectic
Bottom: Organic Polwarth fiber in Berry Patch colorway from Mad Color Fiber Arts

LittleDFeltedBallI also picked up a felted ball cat toy for Little D. It has a bell inside, but the bell doesn’t ring right – so it sounds more like a rattle. She played with it a little after I rubbed some dried catnip on it… I think I need to put it in a baggie with some catnip for a few days to scent it a bit better.

Additional purchases were a Mother’s Day present for Mom, and a big bottle of Eucalan.

While there, we had a small meet-up of NH Knits podcast listeners, along with Sarah from the Fiber Trek podcast and Jen from the Uncreative Crafter podcast. It was great to put faces to voices and Ravelry names! Plus, several of us swapped sock yarn leftovers for our sock yarn blankets.

Now that my fiber stash has grown just a wee bit, I feel the need to do some more spinning. (Especially since the warm weather has arrived, but it’s not super-hot and humid yet.) So last night, I finally finished plying the last of the sample fiber that came with my spinning wheel, washed it and hung it to dry. It finished drying outside on the washline this morning.

MysteryWoolI don’t know what it is, as it was unlabeled. They told me when I bought the wheel, but I didn’t write it down and didn’t remember it!
Top: 459 yards (121 grams) 2-ply – about sport weight
Middle: 244 yards (67 grams) 2-ply – about sport weight
Bottom: 82 yards (40 grams) Navajo-ply – about worsted weight (just barely – it’s very dense)

I started with two bumps of fiber; one grey, one navy. I alternated the two colors as I was spinning, pulling off a 6 to 10-inch chunk of fiber and spinning it before switching to the other color. I spun onto two bobbins and two-plied; however, one of the bobbins had significantly more yardage on it, which yielded the Navajo-plied leftovers.

Now that that’s done, it’s time to start a new spinning project – and I think it will be the Targhee I just bought at the festival.

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