Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A welcome back, a birthday, a distraction, and a lot of pictures.

Spring 2013 is in full swing! (although, to be fair, it feels neither like spring, nor like 2013...) Fortunately, I've not had to date any papers yet. I, so far, have very little homework, but I estimate that will change in approximately one day. Or less.

In other very important news, happy birthday to everyone's favorite Madeline! I hope it was filled with lots of yarn, and lots of Tilda and Bella doing Tilda and Bella things.

In honor of Madeline's birthday, we shall start with her:

All knit up and ready for the cold months!
At the Reading Day Knitting Marathon of Awesomeness, Madeline showed off her lovely new sweater, an equally lovely shawl, and a wonderful earwarming headband device (I know that there is a name for those things, but I cannot recall it at the moment....) I believe she also had some handknit socks on, but you know, only so much awesome can fit into one picture...
She even brought a Christmas-themed Pandora station!
Briana was hard at work on a couple of projects, including the beginnings of a  hat, and the scarf pictured.

Kathryn was hard at work on a green and white Christmas gift blanket (Now would be a good time to say in advance that I hope everyone got their Christmas knitting done! I was exactly two days late with one of my gifts....

Lauren was working on an orange monster plushie, and we'll be seeing a lot more of her now that Stitch n' Bitch has moved to Wednesdays of Wonder!

I'm sorry. That might have been too much. It's tomorrow, though. You guys, I'm excited.

Katharine was working on a Christmas scarf for her Dad, and much progress was made during our marathon! In fact, I believe I recall that she only left because she ran out of yarn....

Clara, who sadly did not have the day off, stopped by after school to make some progress on the baby blanket she was working on for her grandmother. Epic progress! I bet it's done by now. I bet that baby blanket is done, and the Tube is probably longer than the English Channel. I bet it's the size of a snuggie for the world's skinniest skyscraper. I bet Clara's new fancy bedroom is mostly Tube.

As you can see, the Reading Day Knitting Marathon was pretty sweet! I spent a good chunk of time charting the superwoman logo for my sister's gloves, but then I finished a glove after that as well! I finished the second one on the train back from Chicago, which was wonderful, by the way.

Now, you may be wondering:

"Gee, I wonder why it took Kat over a month just to tell us all that! I mean, I bet she was swamped, like all other knitters, with Christmas knitting, but Christmas was pretty early in the break- what did she do for three weeks after that? Was she avoiding the blog on purpose?"

Well, let me answer your wonder, my friends!

It's true, the first week I was knitting (and felting, and sewing) Christmas presents, but that all changed on one not-very-cold Tuesday morning.

Twas' the night before Christmas, and I had finished my gifts (all but one) early enough to make custom sized bags out of the Sunday Post-Dispatch for each present. I wrapped them all up, and stashed them under the tree, much to the delight of my family.

Christmas morning upon us, we opened our gifts, and I made out like a bandit- new sweaters, new yarn (and a pattern!), and a lens for my camera!

But Santa had one trick left up his sleeve...

A spinning wheel! Just for me! It was the only thing I really really wanted, and also the thing I *knew* I wasn't going to get. I didn't even bother asking for one, because it was too ridiculously unlikely...But I have a spinning wheel!!!

So now you basically know why I didn't blog. Or, really, do much else (the occasional sewing...but only while thinking about spinning)

In case you don't believe me, here's some photographic evidence. While boy was busy with his baked goods:

I was making fuzzy things!

Here is my very first bit of 'real' spinning (not including the ugly white mess I produced while I was learning how to make it work... It's a Six Sheep Sampler I got from my local yarn store- it is fleece from six breeds of sheep, in six colors, so you can experiment with spinning each one! I took a sample bit of each fiber and spun it up, and then:

I made a tiny hank from the two ply samples, so I could wash it,

and then I made a tiny ball from the tiny hank!

I made a swatch, too, but I didn't take a picture of that. I'm working, right now, on spinning the rest of the Six Sheep Sampler into yarn for socks (I love socks! and sheep! and these colors!) But that little instant gratification of a swatch was pretty nice. I also love saying 'Six Sheep Sampler'

In order to guarantee that my stash of colorful fluff didn't run out, I began plans to figure out how to dye roving (a never-before-attempted project...)

It went like this:
White! The dye colors I chose were Royal purple (mixed with a bit of extra red), moss green, and silver grey. Three colors. I didn't think anything could really get weird with three colors...

After painting the roving with my colors, you roll the wet roving up into a really entertaining jelly-roll type lump, and stick it in a steamer basket with some water in the pot, and let the whole thing cook for a bit. Taking pictures of steam is way fun!
It was at this point that I realized that something wasn't quite right...the dye was too concentrated, or there was too much of it, or something, because it didn't look like any of my pictures, but I kept going. Kind of hard to go back, isn't it?

After a scary moment where I thought I'd felted the entire piece, I realized that it only looked that way because it was wet, so I left it to hang in a warm place overnight, and in the morning, voila! fluffy, not felted, and so colorful! Note, however, that those colors are not limited to royal purple, moss green, and silver grey....

Spun up, It's not at all the long-repreat striping yarn that I was expecting, but more of a wildly unpredictable pile of colors that I fortunately happen to be quite fond of. This is the first single. It will be followed by another, and then plied and knit into a mysterious thing that I have not decided on yet.

If you would like to watch a video about that roving, and if you're interested in me rambling on in a more visual kind of way, it's on facebook. Blogger made the video quality really horrible, so I'm not posting it here. I made it so a friend could see me spin, even though she lives very far away now.

Here are some other things I did with my break:

I dyed some fabric to make bags for some drop spindles...

I also dyed and screen printing these:

Project bags! They were, with the exception of the blue one, which I kept, Christmas gifts. These are big-project sized. I also made some smaller ones, which are just big enough for my favorite extra-long steel double pointed needles, plus the little sheepy needle protectors, which add about two inches...

Those are the four I kept for myself, plus my spindle bag in the middle. I gave all of them two drawstrings, so you just pull two strings to close the bags, rather than try to wedge it closed with one string. This makes them less likely to fall open, as well.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and and say that most of you probably watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special. If you didn't, don't worry, I won't give anything away. It was really fantastic, but that's all I'll say. I can, however, talk about the Who-related things I made!

One skein of freshly TARDIS blue yarn, slightly tonal, for the Doctor Who wrap I will soon be knitting (And probably a matching hat or something, this is a pretty hefty hank. It's 750 yards...)

Also, one TARDIS digital drawing tablet sleeve! I feel as though the TARDIS is appropriate, because a tablet is one of those things that will do anything you can imagine, which sort of makes it 'bigger on the inside' a more conceptual sort of way...

I also made a new pencil case, to replace the one I made in middle school, and I didn't post any pictures of Christmas knits (although it's all on Ravelry...), and I made a bridal party for a set of dolls, and a skirt for me, and I did a little bit of knitting, and things like that. I don't know if you've figured this out, yet, but I'm one of those people that goes crazy if I don't have something to do, but I had so many projects over break! It was wonderful, I loved it. I hope yours was as good as mine!

GUYS! I'll see you all tomorrow!

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