Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Felted Heaven Handspun

I tried a new spinning technique recently with FABULOUS results. I used to haunt the thrift shops looking for sweaters to unravel, but I always felt a twinge of guilt ruining a perfectly good sweater. It didn't feel like "recycling" at all--because I was destroying a fine knitted garment to make yarn.

I was at the thrift store, these thoughts running through my head, when I came across a baby blue cashmere sweater that had been accidentally felted beyond all recognition. It was mishapen, tiny, and ruined. But soft as a baby's butt in heaven. So I bought it and brought it home, not sure what to do with it.

One night, I sat down with the scissors and cut the sweater into a long spiral, starting at the bottom and working round and round until I had a 3/4-pound of "yarn"--basically, cashmere felted sweater cut into a continuous 1/4 inch wide strip.

I plied it with thread, creating a more yarnish appearance, but i wasn't finished. Then, I spun it with some raw wool, carded and dyed here in my kitchen. The lofty luscious finished product is a yarn I call "felted heaven." True recycling--taking something that has already been destroyed and making something new and beautiful.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Recycled Wrapping

I'm hardly the first person to do this, but I loved how it came out, so I'm sharing this with you.

Actually, these photos kinda suck, so it's hard to see how cute this wrapping paper is.

Recycled Wrapping Paper Instructions

Used paper grocery bags. Ones that have holes in the bottom are best--reuse the ones in good condition.
Rubber stamps / homemade stamps / potato stamps / sponges or other textured material. (I used rubber stamps to make this paper.)
Stamp pads in darkish colors

1. Cut the bags so they lie flat. You will discard the bottom of the bags. If the bags have handles, trim those off and discard. Then, cut from the top down one crease until you reach the base of the bag. Next, cut around the base of the bag, and discard (recycle) the base.

2. Lie paper flat, and stamp with stamps and ink pads. Use different colors. Do NOT worry about being neat.

3. Once you have a stack of paper, roll up in one big roll and put a rubber band around it. Put where you keep your wrapping paper.

4. Stop buying wrapping paper.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pregnancy Legs

It's a good think I like leggings, because they are a staple of my pregnancy wardrobe. In fact, half of the time I wear leggings with boots (as above), but the problem is, sometimes it's chilly. And also, sometimes I'm bored of the same old thing.

While raptwithfiber was here, we bought the new Verena, and there were some great cables in there. (I think Verena is my new favorite knitting magazine, actually.) So I whipped these up out of some Paton's Classic Wool in a couple of days, working two at a time. I like the boot-cut-iness.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Wedding Quilt

My mother never was a knitter, but she is certainly a fiber artist--a world class tailor, clothing designer, and, of late, quilter.

She made this quilt for my wedding gift, but I only just received it because she entered it into a quilt competition--and won. Awesome.

This is our summer bedspread. Our drafty old house with craptastic HVAC requires a variety of bedding depending on the weather. This quilt fits a queen-sized bed--in other words, it's huge. And beautiful.

It's called "Wedding Rings."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fall ‘08 Patterns Now Available Individually

In anticipation of our Winter Pattern Collection, we’ve released all of our Fall ‘08 Patterns individually on Ravelry:

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George Sand Jane Goodall Fossey

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Simple Gull Socks Madame Wu Chrysomallos

Prices range from $2.95 to $4.95 per pattern. Or, you can still download the complete collection for just $16.95.

Look for our new Winter 08'/09 Collection on January 31. Some of the patterns are already listed on Ravelry. More patterns will be previewed soon—we plan to feature three adult accessories (scarves, armwarmers), two women’s sweaters, one shawl, one men’s sweater, a baby sweater, and baby booties. Here are just a few of these:

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Gamekeeper Sweater Estella Cardigan

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Cratchit Armwarmers Chartres Lace Shawl

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Miss La Creevy Scarf Nickelby Scarf

There’s even more to come. We’ll be posting previews with more details as we get closer to the release date.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Handspun Project #2: Urchin

[Whoa, check out that belly.]

Raptwithfiber, my knitty friend, visited for a week after Christmas. She whipped up some of her own handspun on my wheel, I brought out some I'd made back in November, and then we did a KAL to Ysolda's Urchin hat, from Knitty.

Here's the yarn I used--a blend of natural brown romney blended with a white fleece I dyed blue and pink. I carded the 3 colors together for a softly blended look. It's a bulky 2-ply and very soft.

It was PERFECT for this hat. After a few "HUH??" moments with the pattern, I memorized the short rows and now I love it--a brilliant way to make a fine-fitting hat.

Now if only this bizarre heat wave would go away, it would be cold enough to wear it. Note the lack of jacket in these pictures. 60 deg. in January? Seriously??

Handspun Baby Surprise

This week I finished my first project knit with handspun--a baby surprise jacket. I supplemented the Icelandic 2-ply that I made with some Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool.

The mods I made were small: After seaming, I picked up and knit 5 rows of garter stitch at each cuff for a more finished look. I did the same at the neckline, making a sort of mandarin collar.

Although this is the first thing I ever knit for my own forthcoming baby, I gave it to Julian to wear for now--the best thing about having (1) a sister with a baby, (2) who rocks, and (3) lives nearby, is that every baby thing I give her will be coming my way soon enough. It's communal babytime.

Plus, I couldn't think of a better model for my knits. Damn, every time I look at him I think he's cuter.