Project list, aka, ideas

I’ve got a lot of fiber projects going, and I suddenly realized that I am feeling slightly overwhelmed, so I need to re-establish my list so that I can see the priorities. So…

Items in progress

  1. Summerweight sweater, very close to being finished – take this to work
  2. Socks #29, just started, can be done leisurely, as they are not a high priority
  3. Pine & Ivy shawl, just need to plug along on it a little at a time
  4. Shelter sweater, need to focus a bit on numbers so that I can finish sleeves and put it together – take this to work
  5. Baby quilt, needed for end of October as baby gift
  6. Baby sweater, another kimono, to use up some yarn and have a gift ready
  7. Bedsize quilt, called Forgotten dreams, I think, which is ready to be quilted and then gifted. However, not a TOP priority
  8. Do next row on French braid quilt, which is meant eventually for my own twin bed.
  9. Purple leftovers quilt, which needs to be measure out a bit more precisely
  10. Blocking and/or washing of several knitted and handspun projects
  11. Need some knitted flowers to put on a baby hat for selling at Christmas craft fair
  12. Couture dress
  13. Dragged down old princess-seams dress
  14. Shorts in knit fabric
  15. Spinning Romney fleece, almost done
  16. Handspinning sampler project: finish Cheviot and move on to October sample
  17. Wool felt applique wall hanging

Bolded items are taking top priority.

Things I want to do that I haven’t really started yet

  1. Handweaving some more dishcloths, then some dishtowels: a warp wound but not on the loom
  2. Weaving a lacy stole on rigid heddle with some of my handspun, multiple skeins (gray wool, purple/gray bamboo/silk, beige camel/silk) – do a sample and/or get input from guild members
  3. Inkle loom weaving of shoe laces? playing with patterns, really
  4. Gray sweater with handspun
  5. Brown sweater with the Romney handspun mentioned above
  6. Purple Cascade yarn for cowl; hat from leftovers, I hope
  7. Leftover Shelter for hat? scarf?
  8. Creatively Dyed yarn for sweater
  9. Leicester longwool yarn for knitted stole
  10. Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarn for orange raglan cardigan (use the Knitter’s handy book of top-down sweaters)
  11. Enough heavy laceweight or light fingering weight yarn for four or more shawls
  12. Another large quilt. I enjoyed the last one I made, and small quilts, though nice in the visual sense, are less useful.
  13. Sewing some knit shirts, skirts, and shorts. Maybe pants? New Craftsy class that I just bought!
  14. I want to sew some skirts and dresses, especially re-creating some of my favored clothes that are showing signs of wear.

    Other things demanding my attention

  1. Money needed for Thanksgiving travel
  2. Visit friend travel
  3. Roof replacement
  4. Antenna for tv
  5. Scrapbook work
  6. Organizing for 16th birthday celebration
  7. Electrician work
  8. Underclothing purchase
  9. Contact teenager re: mowing and tree-cutting
  10. Air conditioner maintenance

Project planning mind dump

I have too many ideas…

  • Dishcloths for weaving on floor loom — high priority as I would like to do some for Xmas gifts
  • Cowl for me — linen stitch?
  • Hat for Mom — or maybe a headband? Make sure it is super soft!!!
  • Hat for me! — I want ear flaps
  • grey handspun sweater — shaping my ideas
  • I would say brown handspun sweater, but it is till being spun
  • Charity knitting: preemie hats — need to check my numbers
  • Inkle bands with leftover sock yarn? — I need some time to focus on the new patterns in the book
  • Rigid heddle scarves
  • Pinwheel quilt — idea testing stage
  • Felted wool applique quilt — in process
  • Christmas stockings? Request from a family that I am willing to consider (for pay!), but it needs some idea shaping
  • Stole with combination of lace and cables; I can’t seem to get a creamy white out of my head, even though I’m really not a white clothing person.
  • Baby sweater or two, or maybe booties? Hats?
  • Finish off friend’s quilt (for pay!)

Okay, I think that is all that has been floating around in my head. When I look at it, I can prioritize.

Belt idea

What about a belt made of different yarns, all different shades of the same color, braided into a long belt?

I can imagine one that would match what I’m wearing.

design ideas

I have this idea for a sweater out of my grey handspun: top down sweater with a cable knot on the shoulder, that then has cables going down the front on each side and down the arms, also maybe down the back? I

I want it to be a square yoke sweater, done top down with purls for the turn point of the arm; follow the basic logic of a top down raglan, but not raglan shaping, looking more for set-in sleeve shaping.

I hope this is going to be possible, I’ve been dreaming it up for a long time.

Of course, if it doesn’t work, I can always try again later.

But I cannot start until I’ve finished the two sweaters that I have close to completion. It’s a rule.

Project 365

This year, I decided to do my version of Project 365, the effort to take one photograph per day for a year. For some, just taking the photograph is it, but I intend to create a scrapbook from it. I wanted to do it this year, because this is the year I turn 40, and although I don’t feel like my life will suddenly change because I have finished another decade, I do think it is a good moment to pause and evaluate my life. But I’m not doing it based on the 2011 year, but rather on my birthday year, so I am starting six months before to six months after my actual birth date. This means that my photos started in March rather than January.

To make this a workable thing, I have decided to use a basic template for my scrapbook pages, which I intend to do digitally. A simple page with nine square on it and a title bar. The title bar will have the Project title, with the week’s dates. Each box will have one photo, except for the one that is the explanatory text for each day. I will always put the days in the same order, with one extra photo box in the last spot. That extra is optional for a photo, but can be used for a photo that I liked but didn’t really express what I wanted for that day, for some reason. Otherwise, it could also be a spot for more writing or for just a piece of patterned paper.

I’m concentrating on several things: making sure I have photos of myself on a regular basis, observing the daily things in my life right now rather than only special events, trying not to obsess if I miss a photo one day. So far, so good, but I have no certainty that I won’t eventually forget a day.

One thing I am finding helpful is the daily reminder sent out from Katrina Kennedy’s site on Project 365, which keeps it to the forefront of my mind. I’m carrying my camera more and remembering to take a photo every day, though not always remembering what I want to photograph. But that’s okay. Something is better than nothing, and it is all part of my life. I do find it ironic, however, that much of her reminders don’t really focus on what I think of as daily life reminders. “Photograph a 6” doesn’t really inspire me to find an intriguing photograph of a six that happens to catch my eye. It just reminds me to look around for something in my life to focus on – and if it has a number, that’s nice. But then, I remind myself, that not everyone has the same focus as I in doing Project 365. So for others, that may be the most inspiring thought around.

It is leading me to think more about the Project Life kit that is floating around the scrapbooking world. It sounds interesting. I wonder how well it works with digital?

Design idea

Out of my reading of Knitting in the old way: a boiled wool jacket of knitted fabric made into a jacket. Extra wrinkle: do a subtle braid or cable pattern when knitting it.
Line it with silk.

felted fabric

I’ve had an idea.

I found that if I knitted the Harrisville yarn that I had used for weaving, then felted it, it made very nice felted fabric. And it could be washed to the point where it would not shrink any more. And I like felted fabric, but wasn’t feeling inspired by the thought of non-knitted felting (at least not now, maybe one day).

So what do I want to do with it? I want to make some cardigan with the felted fabric. This is basically the same thing as the boiled wool jackets that I have already, and I love them. I wear them a LOT in the winter. I have one in green and one in blue (indigo-dyed from a cream white, but it was getting so many stains, it needed to be dyed so I could keep using it without looking icky).

So I am going to knit a whole lot of stockinette and then throw it into the washer and dryer — multiple times — to create some lovely fabric that will then be cut up and sewn.

Here’s the experiment where I checked to see if it would work: Felted fabric from knitting It made a nice, dense fabric, not too thick, that will work nicely, I think. There are still decisions to make — edging? handsew? — but I’m looking forward to having a yellow one. I just hope I have enough yarn! It’s leftovers.

Weaving project from the snow

I also call it the guild leftovers project. The wool warp came from a guild sale about two years ago. The alpaca weft came from another guild sale about a year ago. I finally did something with them.

green warpThe warp was from four different shades of green, warped in a consistent order of darkest to lightest. It was a nice, thin laceweight. But because it was leftovers, I only had one small amount of each color, so I warped it long and thin. Had I thought through the amount consequences, I probably would have done something shorter and wider, but — oh, well. The alpaca weft was a lovely tweed green that blended nicely with the greens in the warp. (I like green.) Alpaca green weft

So, next comes the result, which is a long, narrow piece of cloth that I’m not quite sure what to do with. The original warp was about nine yards long. What’s produced is more like 8 yards long, but only six inches wide. Challenging to do anything with. I’m thinking a skirt, but I’m not quite sure there is enough material. I might be able to make some complementary fabric to go with it and use as inserts and/or a waistband. I still have plenty of the alpaca, and some of the original wool leftovers as well. I attempted last weekend to do a waistband on the inkle loom, but that was a signal failure, due to the extreme stickiness of the wool. I’m frustrated enough with that that I am inclined to cut it off and call it a learning experience. Though, I’m not exactly sure how to make wool on an inkle loom work. I’ll have to ask the ladies in the guild if they have any experience with laceweight wool on an inkle loom — does it work at all?

But anyway, I thought I’d show you the finished product. It was a lovely quiet project to work on during the snowbound week in February. I had already started it before that week, but most of the weaving was done during those quiet days at home, and I very much enjoyed it. I’m already setting up the next project and planning something else in my head.

Finished green warp

The long warp in all its glory.

Ignore the mess behind it, please.


I just had some ideas!

I was actually taking a class on how to use Microsoft Outlook for work, and I had a sudden idea on how to use it for personal life. (This just goes to show that we have no separate lives, just one life with different aspects.) One thing I’ve never been quite sure how to handle is the repeating tasks of the household. I did not want to clutter up my regular task list with that kind of thing, but I didn’t see any other appropriate place to put it. But the class was talking about using multiple calendars in Outlook, and I suddenly saw that I could use a secondary calendar in Outlook to schedule those items as recurring events, using the note field to record actual times done and not done — I’m under no illusion that I will always do them on schedule — and that calendar will neither clutter up my ongoing appointments nor will it overwhelm my task list.

A perfect solution? No, but then there isn’t one.

Other idea? I have been frustrated by the mishmash of items that I use for my desk space and the things (books, papers, etc.) that still end up on the floor. The mishmash is not doing the job, but what would? I suddenly realized that I need a general desk/shelving unit, but not a real, extended desk, just a big shelving unit with a longer midsection where I could put my laptop and monitor. I would need a big one, but not some of the really large monsters that are available out there, since my LR area is not that large and I would not want to overpower my space. And bookshelves wouldn’t work, since they wouldn’t be deep enough to handle some of the paraphernalia. But if I could get this right, I would have lots of shelving space for the computer and its paraphernalia, all the things currently on my end table, and some other things that currently live on the floor. I might even be able to get rid of the end table — or at least replace it with a smaller one. This would open up my space nicely, I think, and provide the appropriate storage.

The problem? Well, money and actually finding the thing. I’ve been doing a little online looking, and I’m not finding what I want. And a cheap version from ikea or the container store is NOT going to work; I am endlessly tired of cheap furniture. It makes me feel like I’m still in college, and that boat has floated. Plus I really don’t like the veneer over MDF or its variants; it shows wear and tear a little too quickly. I want real, solid wood that will last.


Patience and persistence will get it done, but I’m sometimes tired of waiting.

Use it before you lose it (spinning)

Of course, if you can’t use it quickly, at least write it down.

So… this weekend, I took a class on Shetland spinning and lace knitting, traditional techniques for how to produce those wonderful shawls that helped the Shetland islanders to earn a living. (of sorts, I think; the history that I know of indicates they were badly underpaid)

What do I want to remember from that?

For the spinning, I must remember that the right fleece is essential. And I don’t mean just a Shetland fleece, but one that is good quality, with fibers of the right thinness, etc. And that it is preferable to spin in the grease. Now I would never have thought that, but apparently the lanolin helps the fibers to hold together when you are spinning the extreme fineness necessary for laceweight and cobweb-weight yarn. And it’s not as much of a problem with Shetland breed fleeces as it is with other breeds, because they don’t produce the overwhelming amount of lanolin that makes spinning in the grease a questionable choice.

Watch out for the rise (the new growth after the winter’s dormancy), because if there’s too much of it, then you are paying for something that you are not going to use. And be strong — you are going to throw away a good bit of it. Some of it will be okay for spinning for purposes other than lace, but there is still a noticeable portion that is just rubbish, and throwing it away is okay. (For some, this is very difficult.) The areas most likely to be thrown away for the lower portions of the leg, the center down the back, and definitely the belly wool. The nicest is generally close to the head and neck area, but the sides may have decent stuff. The closer you get to the rear of the animal, the lower the quality goes.

You are also watching for dirt, etc. Get rid of the worst bits, but remember that a reasonable amount of vegetable matter will come out in the prep. NOTE: if the fleece is good except for the extreme dirtiness, then this is one time you might wash it beforehand. But do a very limited washing, since you don’t want to lose too much lanolin.

You can card it or comb it. Do it in small amounts, as you work. The more traditional method is combing it with something like a flick carder or a dog comb-type tool. Full-on combing is not really good, since you lose a lot more material that way. You are more interested in achieving a lock-by-lock spinnability. For lace spinning, one lock can last a long time. Carding is acceptable, but you will end up with the fibers more mixed, and are less likely to end up with the worsted-spin that is the traditional focus.
When spinning it, do an inchworm draft. Long draw just is not going to cut it for the degree of control you need to produce really fine fiber. For two-ply laceweight, you really are looking at around 5-7 fibers in a single. For cobweb-weight, you are looking at 3-4 fibers in a single. (I didn’t quite achieve that during the class; I think the best I got was in the 8-10 fibers in a single, but since that is better than I’ve ever done, I’m not complaining.) Be sure to put LOTS of twist in the single; lots more than you have ever done before. Then put a little more. But when you ply it, do so lightly. You want enough ply to make it difficult to split the yarn during knitting, but really no more than that. The light hand in plying helps to preserve the softness of the yarn, which is desirable for something that may end up next to your skin.

Okay, at the moment I’ve run dry for spinning remembrance, but I’m going to share this with my fellow students and see what they might have to add.

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