Monday, June 16, 2014

The Never Ending Celestarium

After seeing this post about the Celestarium shawl, I fell in love. Then I quickly put it in the back of my brain so I wouldn't have to drool over it anymore and went about my day.

Later, multiple friends saw the Reddit post that made the shawl famous, posted it on Facebook, and some even sent the link specifically to me, telling me I should make it. I was tempted yet again. My Goddess was I tempted, but my problem with shawls, as much as I love knitting them, is that I never -- yep never -- wear them. I wish I did. I wish I was the type to, but I just don't. I'm more of a geeky t-shirt and cardigan if I'm cold wear-er, not the fancy shawl type. So investing this much of my time and money into a shawl as complex as this one (it's actually not complex at all, I just assumed because… beads) didn't seem in my starts (hehe, see what I did there?)

BUT then came the Facebook friend that decided she needed one for herself and would pay me for my time and supplies. That was a bit more interesting. If I knew it went to a good home and I was going to be compensated accordingly, that was a different matter. Maybe this lady would treat the shawl right, wear it with fancy gowns and tossed onto shoulders that need it's warmth. This is something I could stand behind. So I started this daunting project.

These were progress shots as I began and the stitch count was still under 500 :P. You don't increase in every round like you might assume for a circular shawl, but instead you double the stitch count every 50 rows or so. What starts out as about 20 stitches each round doubles, then doubles again, and again… until your last section is almost 600 stitches per round. It's kind of intense, but it's all stockinette stitch, so pretty easy knitting. Now with almost 600 stitches to go each round, it takes me almost an hour to do 2 rows! So… yeah, it's a bit time consuming.

Look at this beast D: I mean, whoa. I dyed the yarn myself (my "TARDIS" Doctor Who themed color way) and though it's making this super cool spiral with the dark bits of variegated blues, I think I'm going to dip the whole thing in a deep blue color before I block it because the variegation is a bit distracting from the star-beads and I want them to pop more. The spiral won't go away entirely, but it'll be more muted and less intense. This is a prime example of when color-pooling is totally appropriate and awesome though (in my opinion, I know some people hate color-pooling).

So close to being done! About 20 more rows and then the border. I will assuredly be done by the end of summer but hopefully by the end of July. I reeeeally want to move onto small projects that don't weight 2 lbs. ;P

Friday, June 13, 2014

Spinning Magic!

I started spinning my own yarn a while ago after learning over 2 years ago. When I started back then, it hurt my wrist and my yarn was super uneven. I would use the drop spindle that I got from my local yarn store, a simple wooden Ashford, for hours, trying to practice. I started with a gorgeous silk roving that was way out of my league. The best thing to start spinning with is 100% wool. It's the easiest to work with by far. Silk is slippery and doesn't want to spin up nicely. It was completely frustrating, so after a few hours of trying and horrible wrist pain, I packed the spindle and roving up and didn't look at it again for years. 

After Sheep in the City this year I saw all the beautiful spinning wheels, all the gorgeous hand-spun yarn, and tons of reasonably priced hand-dyed roving, and all I wanted to do is start back up again. On the second day of SITC I brought that bag out, bought some roving from one of the local sellers, and started up a new skein. My first attempt was rough at best, but we're just going to call it "art yarn."

I called this skein "She-Hulk" as it's hulk green and power-suit purple. It's thick and thin all over and I have no idea what could be knit out of it. Less than 50 yards, so I think maybe a baby hat? No idea. I got better with the drop spindle, as can be seen in my last post. My "Brave" and "Shy Violet" yarns spun up beautifully and were almost perfect. 

And then... I got my hands on a spinning wheel. Well... sort of. ;D


This contraption was made by the wonderful Rob. He constructed it out of PVC piping, a vacuum drive belt, and a power drill (with a sewing machine-like start and stop pedal). It took a bit to get used to, but now it's producing quality yarn like this:

And this was just my first attempt at the wheel, so I know it's only going to get better. I'll post pictures of what this looks like knit up because I want to make this with it. I plan on dyeing my own roving and spinning that up as well. It's about 10 times as fast as the drip spindle, but not portable at all. And at this point in time, it's so loud my cats are afraid of it, so they're not all over me trying to get the yarn. That's a pro... kind of. :P Can't wait to show you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Back to the blogsphere!

I've been up to a LOT. Here are a few snapshots of the new things I've been doing.

First up, I've been dying up mini-skeins for "Mood Sock Kits." The basic premise of these kits is that you knit a basic sock pattern and change skeins depending on your mood at the time of knitting. I made them geeky, of course, and I've been putting them up on my Etsy store in themed "editions." I have done Doctor Who, Firefly, and the Avengers so far, and all have been very successful. 

 "Doctor Who Edition"

I've also begun spinning my own yarn! This is super exciting for me because I (of course) need another hobby like I need a hole in the head XD. These 2 skeins were spun using a drop spindle, but I recently acquired an electric spinning wheel as well, and I'm super excited about the results I'm getting with that (it's also about 10 times faster!). Every skein I spin gets better, so I'm sure I'll be a pro in no time :)

 "Shy Violet"


I've also begun dyeing roving. Some of it I plan to put in my Etsy store to sell, and some of it I plan to spin up myself. This was my first ever attempt.

 "Let It Go"

I plan to keep this blog updated more regularly as I get into different things and as my business grows! ^_^