Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ysolda Fever

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately and after a recent visit to my doctor, I discovered why: I have Ysolda Fever. I'm afraid to say that it's very contagious and I've probably infected several of you without realizing it. So please, if you experience [lack-of-sweater] chills, visions [of grandeur], sore hands and wrists, and sleepless nights [but finished projects], consult your doctor right away to see if you are infected.

Unfortunately, the only way to deal with this disease once you've contracted it is to knit through Ysolda Teague's entire pattern catalog. I didn't realize just how sick I was until I counted how many things I've knit from this list: Elijah (below), Liesl, Gretel, Coraline, Garter Stitch Mitts, Tiny Shoes, Vivian, Icing Swirl, Veyla, Damson (twice), & Ishbel (thrice).

The strength of my infection comes from the fact that I contracted it directly from the source, so I strongly warn you to not touch anything at a Ysolda trunk show or when meeting the designer in person. Honestly, I don't think I'll be cured anytime soon. Especially because I keep seeing more and more Ysolda patterns in my fever dreams: Ripley, Cria, Rose Red, Emily Capelet, Peaks Island Hood, Snapdragon Tam, & Smith. Pray for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Skeins

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed an increase in the number of post on spinning since the beginning of 2010. I swear it wasn't my New Year's resolution to actually use my spinning wheel, I just caught the spinning bug. And as I learn new and interesting things about making my own yarn, I like to share them here in the hope that you learn something as well. We're all about learning at Casa BrineyDeep.

Today's spinning post deals with how I processed the above roving, which was dyed by one of my Ravelry friends, Pacasha (you can find her hand-dyed rovings and skeins here). This is a superwash merino in blue and brown, in a colorway called McGonagall. Seeing as this is a simple two-color roving, I set out to see if I could get some variability in the final yarn based upon how I spun it up.

I spun two skeins out of this roving; the one on the left is a two-ply spun on my wheel and the one on the right is a Navajo-ply spun on a spindle. You can see the difference in their structure in this close-up picture, but I find their color difference to be even more interesting.

The Navajo-plied yarn on the left has more concentrated sections of color, due to the plying method. I also think that spinning slightly thicker singles for the two-ply on the right at makes the colors wash out a bit. The real test, of course, it to actually knit up swatches in each these yarns.

The color intensity observed in the third photo really carries over into the swatch, but now we start to see pooling in the Navajo-ply swatch (lower swatch) that does not occur in the two-ply swatch (upper swatch). While there is some variability in the two ply, it is much more subtle. I really like the fabric created by each of these yarns, but for very different reasons.

Eventually I hope to use both of these skeins in a single project, somehow showing off both their differences and their similarities. I think that that may be easier said than done.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool 2010

It's starting to feel like Fall here in Wisconsin. The cooler weather, football games, and students returning to class all make me eager for sweater season. And for the ultimate knitter's transition from Summer to Fall, nothing beats a visit to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.

I went to the festival with my friend Mary Beth, who was my companion at Sheep and Wool two years ago. I tried to get her to bring home a sheep again this year, but she seemed to think that her new roommates were no more amenable to the sheep than her last. Someday, MB, someday.

So no sheep this year, but I did bring home some wool. For some reason I kept picking up bamboo blended roving and ended up bringing two home with me. The one on the left is from Winterhaven Fiber Farm and it's a Merino/Bamboo/Silk blend in the 'Autumn Gold' colorway. The roving on the right is a Merino/Bamboo blend from Creatively Dyed. I also picked up a huge sport-weight skein from Briar Rose Fibers that will probably be knit into a Ysolda design (surprise, surprise).

In addition to wool, I snagged a pair of earrings made out of knitting needles. That's right, those are cut-up knitting needles. I was actually perusing the artist's Etsy store only two weeks ago and fell in love with the above design, so it was fate when I saw them at the festival.

After shopping, I met up with a few members of the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup on Ravelry for dinner (left to right: greenheron, dontpokeme311, jayannell, xamonster, caffeinatedkate, isisonearth, naturallyknitty, me, and bandbabe). Besides a little hiccup with our planned restaurant being closed, it was a lovely evening as House Cup people are always so nice.

And no trip to Sheep & Wool would be complete without seeing a few of sheep. I hope this guy cracks you up as much as he does me!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Lightweight Mountain Peaks Shawl

It's done.

I still can't believe that I made something so beautiful. The best part is the moment after you pull out the blocking pins and can fully appreciate the transformation from lumpy knitting into lace. That being said, if I ever decide to knit another large lace shawl on size 2 needles, someone please check my sanity.