Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm not such a spoiled brat

Last week was spring break for the Boulder schools. Our oldest son will graduate from high school this year and we figure that we may never have another opportunity for all of us to go on vacation together. Like the rest of the country, this winter was a bit harsh so we decided to splurge for a beach vacation in the Bahamas. We stayed at Greenwood Beach Resort on Cat Island. The resort has just 20 rooms and is located in the center of an 8-mile pristine beach. I didn't see a singe person who wasn't a guest or resort employee the entire week. It was too hot to knit so I read six books instead. 

At this point, I'm sure you're thinking that this is another reason why I'm a spoiled brat. And I have to say that 7 days of sun, turquoise water, and no cooking is about as good as it gets. But there was a drawback. We got ravaged by bugs that we never even saw. Since our return on Saturday, itchy bites have popped up like chicken pox all over my body. I've tried aloe cream, benedryl, cortizone, calamine, and even dabs of vodka directly on the bites, all with very little success. My scratching is definitely cutting into my knitting time. I welcome any suggestions for relief! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweet Imogene

I'm on a roll with projects for Quince & Company. I just finished this baby sweater out of their Tern yarn (75% wool, 25% silk). I made the sweater for little Imogene, born to Quince's photographer Carry Bostick Hoge earlier this year. I've used Tern for several pairs of socks, a scarf, and a shawl, but this is the first time I've used it for a sweater. It was such a treat to work with that I plan to use it for a lightweight sweater for myself.

The pattern will get posted on the Quince website after they photograph the sweater and give the instructions a once-over. You can bet that Carrie will take a much, much better photograph that I did here!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another Project for Quince

The fingerless mitts I designed for Quince & Company are now available through their website at These Masse Mitts use two skeins of Lark knitted at 6 stitches/inch in a relatively simple pattern of 2/2 cables and 3/1 ribs. To keep the wrists warm, I made the cuffs long enough to tuck under jacket sleeves.
Boy, those folks at Quince sure know how to take a nice photo!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spinning Progress

I followed the advice Judith MacKenzie McCuin gives in The Intentional Spinner and have been spinning all the singles I'll need for my handspun sweater before I start to ply. As of today, I have 9 bobbins, each with about 100 grams of singles. Judith advises pairing the bobbins so that the thin and thick singles will even out overall. Problem is, the thickness ranges within each bobbin. I have no idea which ones might be a little thinner are which might be a little thicker. Therefore, I plan to grab the bobbins randomly when it's time to spin. At this point, my plan is to make a 3-ply yarn that will be between sport and worsted weight. But who know? It may end up bulky weight even though I tried to spin fine singles.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Hat Pattern

Check out the Quince & Company website. They just loaded my new hat pattern; it's called Boon's Hat and it's knitted out of one skein of Osprey. I'd add a photo here but I didn't have the foresight to take one before I sent it off to Quince. I sent them a pair of cabled fingerless mitts last week (two skeins of Lark) but forgot to take a photo of those as well. I am about to finish a ruffled baby sweater out of Tern. I wonder if I'll forget to take a photo of it, too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spinning Stats

I've been keeping track of the time it takes me to spin 100 grams of singles so I can get an idea of just how long it's going to take me to spin enough yarn for a sweater. It's not nearly as bad as I expected.
I spin about 32 grams of singles in an hour, or about 100 grams in 3 hours (I weighed the fleece and clocked how long it took me to spin it).

But how many grams do I need for a sweater? According to my very handy The Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements, for a sweater with a 40" circumference, I'll need about 2088 yards of sport weight (knitted a 6 sts/inch) or 1475 yards of worsted weight (knitted at 5 sts/inch). Based on the yardage reported on ball bands of wool yarn, sportweight yarn has about 300 yards/100 grams, or 3 yards/gram; worsted weight has about 200 yards/100 grams, or 2 yards/gram. That means that I can divide 2088 by 3 to give me the number of grams of sport weight I'll need (696 grams) and I can divide 1475 by 2 to give me the number of grams of worsted weight I'll need (738 grams). Given my spinning rate of 32 grams/hour, that means that it should take about 22 hours to spin enough sportweight or 23 hours to spin enough worsted weight.

Of course, this doesn't take into account the time it will take to ply the yarn, but that part goes pretty fast. I think it's fair to estimate that I can produce all of the yarn I need in less than 30 hours. That's less time than it should take to knit the sweater! Until now, I thought that spinning would take twice as long as knitting (I also foolishly thought that knitting was more enjoyable than spinning). Now my curiosity is sparked--I plan to clock my knitting time, too, so I can compare the two.

In any case, I'm going to get about 30 more hours of pleasure out of this sweater than any I've knitted before!