Progress update on stuff for sock talk


Preparations for the sock talk are going well. I’ve finished all the samples I want to show. There are a few optional ones that I’ll see if I have time for next week.

I’ve been having fun the last couple weeks getting the fibre prepared and yarn spun to make a pair of socks to show at the talk. Continue reading

Houston, we have lift off.

Phew! That went pretty smoothly.

Everything checked out after the updates. Crossing fingers I won’t have anything pop up later.

I did a few behind the scenes changes and updated my version of WordPress. Thankfully there is lots of help online and walkthroughs for doing this.

Striving for simplicity

One of my bad habits in many aspects of my life is making things more complicated then they really need to be.

I’ve been working on reigning this in, but it’s something the I have to put a lot of effort into.

With my designs, I like to add in interesting little details that make for a more pleasing finished item. When I’m starting the design I make it the way that pleases me. This often includes things that may not be intuitive to others and can be difficult.

In the past I would leave these touches in my designs as I initially made then. Nowadays I’m more likely to try several versions, using techniques that might be more familiar and easier for most knitters to understand. I’m trying to keep the final item as close to my initial idea, but making it simpler then it would have been.

With other life projects I’m finding a couple new approaches are helping me a lot now.

I start by making a task list for the project and breaking it down into as many small steps as I can think of. Once I have that I go through these again and add time estimates to these steps. I then usually let it rest for a day or two and then review it, seeing if there are things that can be trimmed back or seeing if I’m, as usual, making it more complicated then needed.

Once I’ve revised this a couple times, and I’m happy with it, I will often get someone else to look at it again with me, to give it a reality check. This helps me a lot because that other person may see where I’m going astray and help me get back on target.

A good example happened this week. In my spinning program we are onto our last assignment, which is a design challenge. The challenge I chose was producing a line of yarns for a specialty yarn store. We have to come up with at least three yarns, with a couple colourways for each yarn.

The instructors asked us to submit proposals for our projects, so they could see if we were on the right track. I submitted mine and, no surprise, it came back with comments that what I proposed looked overly ambitious. They liked the overall concept though. They gave me several suggestions on how I could pare it back but still keep the overall themes intact.

So I’m revising my proposal and plans, and will be resubmitting them soon. I figure after a couple back and forths we’ll have a project that is still interesting but much less work then my initial ideas.

Having my instructors as a reality check for this assignment is invaluable. Their guideline is that the homework should be about 40-50 hours of work. Looking back at my initial proposal it probably would have been in the 80-100 hour range, which is way too much.

Back to spinning stuff that isn’t for homework!


Hello again everyone. I’m surfacing for a while after finishing my third assignment for my spinning certificate. I’ll have to start the final one (YAY!) in a couple weeks.

I’m getting ready for a talk I’m giving at the end of February to my local spinning guild the Guelph Guild of Handweavers and Spinners. I’m giving a presentation on spinning for socks.

I like making socks. I like making socks a lot! But I have never made a full pair with my own handspun. I’ve made small sample ones, but I’ve yet to spin enough for an entire pair.

Well, I figure that needs to change! So I’m going to spin and knit a pair for the talk.

The fibre in the picture above is what I’ll be spinning. I dyed the fibre with Elderberries back in 2008 or 2009. The fibres and the blend for the socks are:
Left – tussah silk (10%)
Middle – mohair/wool blend (20%)
Right – Blue Faced Leicester (70%)

I originally carded this fibre back in 2009. I had planned to make socks with it that summer, but it never happened. So the fibre has been waiting in a bin since then.

I’ve spent the last couple days re-carding it on my drum carder, to get it re-fluffed and to hopefully get rid of some of the nepps in it.The first time I carded it was on a course drum carder and it broke some of the fibres, making for a lot of nepps.

Re-carding it did get rid of most of the nepps. They all stayed on the surface of the batt and I was able to just pick them off as I saw them.

I started with almost 250g of fibre in the small batts. Recarding gave me 60g in waste / nepps, so I’m left with about 190g to spin the socks from.

I’m planning on making a 3-ply yarn, about 20-22 WPI. I should be able to knit this on a 2.25 or 2.5mm needle to get a nice fabric. I’ll be making toe up socks so I can make sure I use up as much of the yarn as possible.


Part of a winning team.

shawl_fullSpecial thanks to Van Waffle for taking the pictures in this post.

Back in November I took part in the Sheep to Shawl competition at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.

My guild had two teams in the event this year. Team A was made up of the seasoned members who’ve done the competition for many years. Team B was made up of first timers and others who have been in the competition before. This was my first year in the competition, so I was on the second team.

There were ten teams in total with sixty people competing. It was awe inspiring to see that many weavers and spinners all going for glory!

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