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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in craftyzette's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
1:01 pm
Navajo plying and you
So, you wanna learn to Navajo ply. Or maybe you don't! Either way, I'm making this entry and you can't stop me.

My spinning buddy Jadis_eoc navajo plys her yarn from time to time and I decided to give it a shot. Since you end up with a triple twist of yarn on the finished skein, I assumed this meant wrestling with three different bobbins and making sure you have the same amount on each. Not so!

Navajo plying takes a single and twists it into a triple plyed yarn and it's SO EASY it's ridiculous. I used some crappy leftover yarn that was on my bobbin to try it out.

First off, you have to put your bobbin on a lazy Kate of some sort. No matter if you did your yarn on a spindle or a wheel, it should be on an easy moving bobbin of some sort for this.

Then you rig up your wheel as usual, tie the end of the yarn onto the leader, and make a loop big enough to stick your hand through. As you spin the wheel the opposite way that you spun your single (I always spin clockwise, so plying is always counter clockwise) the twist travels up the leader and into the single. You now have a loop over your hand, and you grab the single coming from the bobbin, pull it through the loop and make a new loop. Pull the single through, make a new loop over and over until you run out of yarn. It's just like making a single crochet chain, essentially. You can do the grabby part with your right hand and control the twist with the left. It sounds SO complicated and it's extremely simple and fun.

I learned from this video and once I got going I was just off to the races:

Even without adding the spinning part, you can try this on your own. Take some already spun, plied yarn that you bought at the store. Pull some out and make a loop and slip it over your hand. Grab onto the yarn coming out of the skein and pull it through the loop forming a new loop. Lather, rinse, repeat. That's the exact same motion you'll use when navajo plying.

So why navajo? Well, depending on your fiber, sometimes the finished product will look entirely different navajo plyed rather than double plyed. Also, if you are handspinning with a spindle, how handy to only have to deal with 1 bobbin and get a great plyed product rather than messing about with making a lazy kate, struggling with homemade contraptions, and all of that. It's also nice if you're like me and don't ever measure your fiber before starting a spinning project. It's good not to worry if you'll have leftover after you're done plying. You can just spin to your hearts content, then navajo away.

Here are some pictures of my first try at navajo plying. I spun some cheapy fiber that I had lying about so it was perfect for experimentation.

Don't forget that if you want 100 yards of yarn at the end, you have to spin up 300 yards to begin with. You'll find a bobbin of yarn gets used up FAST.

Up close view:

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The small skein:

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Sunday, April 29th, 2007
4:31 pm
Yarn goodness.

Hey, have y'all used a Knitty Noddy? I got one from this store on E-bay:

and I love mine. First off, great seller. They must have teleportation capabilities because my noddy was at my door like a DAY after I ordered it. I don't know how.

The deal is this: When you're dying or spinning, you have to have a way to get your yarn into a skein. Not a ball, a skein. You can use the "around the arm" method that I've been using for a while now, but that's really not a great way and can result in unrecoverable knots and mess. I had to throw away some dyed yarn because of that, which is why I bought the noddy.

So here's the deal: I already had my yarn in a ball, but I thought it would be easier to store in a skein. Also, I should have done this BEFORE dyeing so I didn't have problems, but this time I was able to salvage all of my yarn. The knitty noddy gives the yarn a continous path to follow that doesn't get all snagged up and tangled, which is just what I needed.

Here is a picture of it all wrapped on the noddy. I used these instructions and it worked fine.
If you really look at that picture you'll see that by wrapping exactly as they say, you'll end up with one big loop and no crossovers. Sweet!

Here is the yarn I dyed with Easter egg dye a few weeks ago:

Here it is in one big loop with 4 ties on it to keep it from getting all crazy:

And here it is all skeined up. I have a LOT on this skein and it's pretty thick yarn, so it made more of a tied ball than anything, but it's certainly better then the mess I had:

I'm thinking of getting a second noddy, because I'd like to have one that wraps in 2 yard increments, I think.

Current Mood: creative
Friday, April 27th, 2007
10:31 pm
I splurged and got myself some LOVELY ashland bay fiber from Anniemay on e-bay. She is the AWESOME fiber seller and she shipped uberfast.

Pics below! I tested up the purple fiber to see how it come up and I LOVE it. I'm spinning nice and reasonably thin now, so a double ply of this will be a great thickness and perfect.

I got 2 lbs of the purple (2 balls a touch bigger than this one pictured- I already pulled a few oz off of it) and 3 lbs of the white, which I will spin up, ply, and dye.


Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
12:27 am
Guys LOVE girls with mad skillz!

Tonight I taught myself two things: How to navajo ply (turning 1 bobbin of yarn into a triple ply yarn) and how to use my knitty noddy. Notes and pics tomorrow.

I also went on a crazy spree and spent some spendy money I had. I got 2lbs of undyed Ashland Bay wool, which I will dye and spin or spin and dye (or both!) and some blue Ashland Bay.



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Monday, April 16th, 2007
2:27 pm
Yarn dyeing, attempt #1
Well, I'm trying yarn dyeing for the first time. I have a cubic buttload of plain cream colored wool yarn that a friend of mine sent me, and I just have hardly any use for it. So I went to the store and picked up some clearance Easter egg dyes and I'm trying it out.

I'm following the Knitty tutorial:

Unfortunately, I misread the directions at first and soaked my whole hank of yarn in vinegar rather than covering it in water and adding some vinegar. Ah, live and learn. I poured off the excess vinegar when I discovered my error and added water instead and I"m back in business, hopefully. I'm using food dyes, so I'm able to use my crock pot and no special pans and utensils. Handy!

I'm trying pink, yellow, and orange (which I made by mixing...wait for it....pink and yellow!) today. In one hour I'll add the dyes and hopefully the yarn will take it and it won't be a muddy mess. We shall see! I have trouble imagining how that can occur with the yarn covered in water, but I do have faith. I'm going to try pouring the three dyes into thirds in the pot. First I'm going to take some of the water out, though, because I think if I don't it will just run all through.

Here are some pictures of the process:
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Current Mood: creative
Thursday, April 12th, 2007
11:18 am
Some new spinning!
Well, I spun and plied my first yarn on my Clemes and Clemes wheel. It was a big ball of fiber that I bought at the Rhienbeck wool fest in 2006, cheapy on sale just to play with. Well, despite having quite a lot of hay and stuff like that in it, it spun up pretty nicely. It's a very dark blue with just some yellow and light blue streaked through.

Here's a picture of the ball of fiber before I started: 

I still have about 1/4 of the ball left (I should have weighed it before I started. I really need a digital kitchen scale)

I got this:

It's 180 yards, pretty thick (probably 4wpi) and nice.  I"m undecided on what to do with it- I was thinking a baby surprise jacket, but it's not very soft, so it would have to be outerwear only.  It would make a good hat or two, but would have to be lined.  I dunno!  I'm undecided.  

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
9:06 pm
Spinning note to self: I got 180 yards of 2 ply yarn from the singles I just plied. Pics later
Thursday, April 5th, 2007
9:54 am
Iris (crossposted to spinning fiber)
OK, may I just take a moment and squee?

Yes, I'm very long winded and there are pictures.
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Wednesday, February 14th, 2007
7:25 pm
The 80's called...
...they want their fashion statement back!

This is a pair of legwarmers I made for a client of mine. She messaged me the other week asking if I would make her some, and I said sure I would, if she sent me the yarn. Shockingly, for the second time in as many months, she actually DID send it. I don't think she plans to wear them with tights and mini-skirts or anything; I think they're just for keeping a little extra warm at home.

These are made of Lamb's Pride Bulky, 1 skein each of Jack's Plum and Charcoal. I used size 11 straight needles, and used this pattern:
but cast on 29 sts instead of 27.

If you decide to make them, I strongly recommend using this particular yarn. It's 100% wool, I find it very nice on the skin (some people do not, but I like it), and it has fantastic memory. I tried these on before shipping them off and they stretch forever and go right back into shape when you take them off. I did them so that they were about 18" long.

A very fast knit if anyone has some wool laying about and is in a cold climate!

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Sunday, January 14th, 2007
1:57 pm
Little knitted hat
OMFG so cute. I made Dante a red hat with a little cord tie on top and got a pic of him with it on. Prepare to die of the cute.

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1:54 pm
I want your socks!
One of my challenges for 2006 was to learn to knit socks. I have tried 10,000 times and failed. Jadis tried to teach me and I could do it at her house, but not on my own. I tried again tonight and SUCCESS! SQUEEEEEEE! The few concepts that were dogging me finally clicked!

Here is my sock- bear in mind I did it in crap acrylic so it's on the sloppy/floppy side, but it's constructed completely correctly with a nice turned heel, gusset shaping and all. WHEEEEEEE! It's not great, but I'm going to make it a mate. It's good for cool nights and flopping around the house in. Now I'm anxious to try another one with sock yarn.

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1:51 pm
Mom's knitted cabled purse
I posted an "in process" picture of this bag a week or so ago, but here it is finished and lined. I love it! It's for my mom's birthday, and if I get it mailed out quickly it will actually arrive on time. I hope she likes it.

As a recap, it's made of 100% wool- the while wool I inherited, and the colored wool I handspun. I did the pattern myself- it's 40 sts cast on with 2 six st cables running evenly down it.

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1:21 pm
Earflap hats
My friend Lise, mother of gorgeous twin boys, asked me to make her a few Jayne hats for them. (Jayne being a character from the series Firefly). She mailed me the yarn and I got right to work. Here are the results, along with a sample hat I did in white that I sent along for Lise.

The hats were done in 100% wool, Lambs Pride bulky. The white hat is WoolEase chunky, a wool blend. Pattern is a basic beanie pattern with flaps added on- flap pattern below. I believe I used size 8 straight needles.

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1:18 pm
Keyhole scarf
This is the scarf I made for my sister Evelyn. It's made from Knitpicks Sierra yarn 100% wool in Pool. The darker color in the pics is the most accurate. It's just a K2P2 ribbing all the way, then I bound off/cast on for the keyhole. The purpose, if you've never seen one of these scarves, is so you don't have to have a big knot at your throat and can just throw this on under your coat for some extra warmth. I threw together the crocheted flower as a fun accent.

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Current Mood: creative
Wednesday, December 13th, 2006
3:50 pm
Spun multicolord Ashland Bay
Just for my records and whoever is interested: The multicolored Ashland Bay merino roving spun up on Jadis' Louet Wheel. It's as soft and yummy as it looks!

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3:46 pm
More sheep and wool, 2006

Had a great day- bigger update later. Bought my weight in wool fiber and ate my weight at the Chinese buffet. Some photos now, rest later or now if you want to go browse the album.
Full album:

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3:44 pm
I just realized I forgot to update my blog with my spinning stuff. So, copied from my regular journal:

My haul from today for the spinners out there!

ETA: Some yarn I've spun up on Jadis' wheel- I did the burgandy on the wheel and the multicolored on the spindle.

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3:28 pm
Recycling yarn
I haven't done this for a while, but I wanted to share some information with my readers about recycling yarn.

Why would you bother with recycling yarn? Well, for several reasons. First off, you can get a BOATLOAD of yarn for next to no money. How much can you save? Check it out:

Let's say you want to make a sweater and it calls for 1,600 yards of yarn. Even if you get an inexpensive wool like Knitpicks Wool of the Andes at $1.99 for a 110yd skein, you're looking at nearly $30 worth of yarn. If you buy something even slightly more expensive, say $2.99/skein you're looking at $45 and it only goes up from there.

How about 100% cotton? Same deal. Yes, you can get Sugar n Cream at a craft store, but it's not going to have a nice drape for clothing. You'll get best results from a nice cotton like Blue Sky Alpaca's Cotton- at nearly $10/150yds. Enough for a sweater? Easily $100.

So what's the solution? Thrift store sweaters. Even the most expensive ones are rarely over $10 and you get so much usable yarn from each one. For a long sleeved sweater you are usually talking between 1,000 and 2,000 yards, depending on the size. If you luck out and find a long coat style sweater, you'll get so much you won't know what to do with it all.

Check out this link for information on what to look for in sweaters to recycle. Pick up a few from your local thrift store and give it a shot. My best advice is to do this outside if possible (because of the loose yarn flying about) and to get a ball winder to make it ubereasy. Once you get the sweater unravelling, you can just wind away! Soak the ball in some gentle soap and dry and voila- wonderful yarn for nearly zero money.

Sunday, November 26th, 2006
4:24 pm
Fleur de lis /Rockstar bag
I made this bag intending to use the Rockstar bag pattern.
(cut for length and pictures)
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2:19 pm
Knitpicks Rose washcloth and great grape bathmitt
This is a pattern from Knitpicks:
Bacchus in the Bath Accessories

The pattern calls for Knitpics shine worsted, but I substituted sugar and cream. I realize this is like substituting skim milk for whole cream, but I was stash busting and thought I'd see how it turned out. I'm not disappointed by the fabric at all- in fact, in my experience, Sugar n Cream washes up really well and gets softer and softer with use. The items actually tuned out darned close to the pictures.

I did the rose washcloth, and if you do this pattern with Sugar N Cream be aware- there is zero give to this yarn. This pattern has a bunch of "p2 tog, leave on needle; knit same 2 sts tog and sl from needle". This is really tiring on your hands after a short while if you're using a yarn like this (I double stranded it, too).

These would actually make cute gifts- they're quite quick and paired with some nice soap I think they would be nice enough. I did not do the eyemask, as I didn't think I'd have much use for it. If I make this again I'll do it in the suggested yarn. I may make another set or two to have onhand for guests to use/take home.

Pattern: Knitpicks Bacchus in Bath Accessories
Yarn used Sugar N Cream 00028 Delft Blue
Ease of project: Beginner/easy. If you're brand new there are some increases and decreases to learn, but nothing unworkable. The Rose washcloth has that odd decrease I described above, but it's not hard to figure out.
Pattern modifications I didn't stray from the patterns too much- I omitted the loops on the sides of the cloth and mitt because I don't like them. On the mitt, rather then keep decreasing and then sewing the top flat, I did a running stitch through and cinched it up, then sewed down the side. In the future, I'll do a mitt like this on DPNs and possibly put a hole in the side for your thumb to go through- makes it easier to keep the mitt on, IMHO. I might also do a version that's more like a hand puppet- embroider on some eyes and send it to my nephew. I might also do some cute embroidery/duplicate stitch on the stockinette portion of the mitt just to spice it up a bit

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stitch close up, rose cloth:
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