Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another good year!

My Christmas to-do list is as long as Santa and even though it is dwindling down I am knitting and spinning as fast as I can. Therefore there won't be much blogging in the next few days.

However, I must tell you again it has been another wonderful year for me. We are having a time of our life and I hope you and your loved ones are too!

Happy Holidays to you and yours. I hope this coming holiday and the coming year find you and your loved one happy and healthy!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Three-way fractals

My three-way fractal socks are finished.

They don't look as stripey as the traditional two-way fractals. I think it was also because the original fiber was not all that stripey to begin with. I am very happy with it nonetheless.

I tried another three-way fractals with a Blue-faced Liester/silk blend top from All Spun Up. The fiber has more distinct color repeats, so hopefully it will show up more when knitted up. Presenting Miss Crabtree:

I got about 150 yards, light-worsted weight (about 11 wraps per inch) out of the 4-oz braid. I have a full sweater-worth of this fiber (24 ounces) but I doubt I will make a sweater out of it. Most likely I will split it up and make several accessories out of it. I may just do only another three-way fractals and spin the rest two-ply for a lace shawl. Or navajo-ply... the possibility is endless.

Whatever it is will have to wait until after the holidays. The gift spinning/knitting must begin in ernest now, as I have quite a list. There are several November and December birthdays in between too!

Here is a first November birthday present for a knitting friend:

Alpaca/merino blend from Pigeonroof Studios. This was my first time spinning alpaca and I like it a lot. Will have to get more alpaca fiber. I got really good yardage too. Over 500 yards fingering out of two 4-oz braids, two-ply.

This sec0nd one is also a birthday present. It is a hybrid. No spinning here. I combined three mittens/gloves/fingerless gloves patterns to get these:

The original pattern is the "texting mittens" from the October Spin Off magazine. I combined that with the Urban Necessity Gloves and the Fiddlehead Mittens. The yarns used are Cascade 220 Superwash and Noro Kureyon. I like these a lot. I might do some more with a combination commercial/handspun yarns.

In the meantime I have to get cranking on hats, scarfs and socks for the holiday gifts. And a sweater for my mom.

See you behind the (spinning) wheel.

Friday, October 29, 2010


That's what I am.

I went a little overboard with fiber buying last week.

At least I finished a hat. And it is not handspun!

Well, what can I say.

My name is Aporanee and I am a fiberholic.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A picture paints a thousand words

The Hyperbolic Coral Reef is here!

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Exhibit opened at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall in Washington DC on Sunday. It was originally scheduled to open on Saturday, but a watermain break on Constitution Avenue right in front of the museum caused the delay of the opening.

I walked over from my office after work yesterday.

Situated in the Sant Ocean Hall of the museum, it is a sight to behold.

The original reef was the brainchild of two Australian sisters, Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles. Christine is a mathematician and Margaret a fiber artist. Christine came up with the idea of using crochet to explain hyperbolic plane to her students. Margeret saw what her sister did and thought it looked like a coral reef. The two sisters are from Queensland, home of the Great Barrier Reefs. They thought it might be a good idea to use this fiber craft as a means to show people the beauty of the coral reef and raise the public awareness of the
dangers coral reefs around the world are facing from global warming, natural disasters and pollution.

Thus the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef was born. The first one was displayed in Australia. The idea took off and subsequent reefs were made and displayed around the world.

The Smithsonian Community Reef was made by over 800 men, women and children from the National Capital Area as well as contributors around the country who heard about the project. There are over 8,000 pieces. The youngest crocheter was three; the oldest 101.

The exhibit will be on displayed until April 24, 2011.

Go take a look. Take a camera with you.

Here are some eye candies.

The are all kinds of colors. And then there are the white corals. The white corals are dead corals, or known as bleached corals. It is the biggest problem corals around the world are facing right now and it is caused primarily by the increased temperature of the water in the tropics. The warmer temperature causes algae to grow and the algae feeds on the corals, killing them. The dead corals lost thier colors, thus the "bleached" status.

Most people don't get to see the coral reefs up close and personal. Most people also don't realize the importance of the coral reefs to the survival of the ocean life. The reef is the largest hatcheryand nursery. More than half the fish in the ocean mate, lay eggs, feed and spend their juvenile years around the coral reefs. It is the biggest food source for the fish in the ocean.

The Smithsonian reef is the largest ever made. There are over 8,000 individual crocheted pieces.

And among these I managed to find Bill's reef.

It brought tears to my eyes. Bill loved the ocean. He was an avid diver. He loved the reef. His remains are a part of an artificial reef in the Chesapeake Bay. And now his reef is a part of the Smithsonian.

I am proud to be a part of this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Look! Look! Look!

It's not blue!

The three-ply fractal is done!

I got about 210 yards out of 4 0z of polwarth roving. 14 wraps per inch, so it is more of a sports weight rather than fingering. I don't think it will be as stripey as the two-way fractals. I am not sure I will knit socks from this, though. I have another 4-oz braid of coordinating color so I might spin that up and see what I can do with both of them. Maybe gloves or mittens.

Tuesday musings

We took a quick trip to Philadelphia this weekend to see the Cleopatra exhibit at the Franlkin Institute. Awesome! Didn't get much knitting done and only took a couple of pictures. But in all a very enjoyable weekend.

And the Foucault's Pendulum at the Institute.

I did manage to get the TTL Soctoberfest Mystery Socks 2010 started:

Of course it's blue. What did you expect?

Friday, October 08, 2010

More fun with fractal

The fractal Lavalette is finished. It blocked out really nicely

I used all of the yarn. About one foot left!

I think I am keeping this for myself.

I have another fractal spinning/knitting in the pipeline. This one is going to be the famous Girasole blanket. I have 24 ounces of this beautiful merino/silk roving dyed for me by the talented Midnight Purls.

There are six 4-oz braids. I am dividing them into three pairs. I have spun up the first pair. The first braid was divided into two equal parts and then spun across the web one after another onto one bobbin. The second braid was divided into two halves. The first half then divided again into two and the second half into three parts. Then they were all spun onto the second bobbin one after another starting with the thinnest strips. Then the two bobbins are plied together. The idea is to have the shortest repeats of colors first for the center part of the blanket. Then as the row grows the color repeats will become longer. I plan to divide the second pair into one and two and leave the third pair whole. I hope I am doing this right.

I like the result of the first pair any way.

I was charging the solar-powered ghosts for the Halloween decoration and couldn't resist.

I need to get the second pair of braids on the wheel but in the meantime we are having a three-ply sock yarn spinning challenge at my LYS, Uniquities. I figured this would be a good time to try three-way fractals.

The fiber is polwarth that I got from Corgi Hill Farm.

The fiber was divided into thirds. The first third was spun whole across the web. The second part was divided into two and the third into fourths.

I don't think the finished yarn will be quite stripey as the two-ply fractal.

And have you noticed something?


Friday, September 24, 2010

Fractal fun

Move over, Noro!

Last week I took a spinning class in fractal spinning at my local yarn store, Uniquities. Loads of fun! We learned how to manipulate the roving to get self-striping yarn a la Noro.

I got this progression-dyed roving from Wild Hare Fiber which I divided lenghtwise into two halves. The first half was spun across the web onto one bobbin. The second half then was divided into fourths, then spun one after another onto the second bobbin.

Then you ply the two bobbins together.

The resulting yarn is a self-striping one, with parts solid, parts tweedy with colors flowing into each other. In other words, gorgeous.
And the fun continues with the knitting:

I want to try three-ply fractals next.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A tale of two pairs of socks

Labor of love indeed.

Last year Carl asked me to knit him a pair of black socks.

"Plain black socks," he said. "Solid. Simple. So I can wear to work when it's cold."

Plain black socks, I grumped.

Plain black socks.

I cast on a pair in February. Plain black socks. With a little ribbing thrown in to keep me from dying of boredom. Nine stiches to an inch, 32 rows to an inch... plain black socks.

The socks got knited, millimeter by millimeter, in between a dozen other projects, until August was rolling to an end and it dawned on me that Carl's birthday is next week.

I'd better finish those darned black socks.

Finished them I did.

Not only that. I said to myself: Now that I knitted him a pair of plain black socks, how about a pair of plain brown socks to go with them?

Plain brown socks, eh? Not on your life.

The black pair was knitted in commercial yarn. Took me six months.

The brown pair, on the other hand, was hand spun and hand-knitted. Took me six days.

Labor of love indeed. I must love the man.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bill's reef

Drum roll, please.

The last two corals are added to the set.

Another set of tube corals in Noro Kureyon:

And I couldn't resist throwing in some handspun. This is the leftovers from the sock yarn I spun from a superwash merino roving from Perchance To Knit:

And now, to recap.

The corals:

The product:

Bill would be proud. I know I am. A reef made for him. After all, he is an Eternal Reef in the Chesapeake Bay.

And if you happen to be in the Nation's Capital, come see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Exhibit at the Smithsonian this October!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's looking really, really good

Bill would be proud.

I have been crocheting like a mad woman, and the result is very rewarding.

Three corals this week. Two little ones from Noro and a huge spiral hyperbolic crocheted on the double with Diakeito Diadomina.

Another small tube coral with Noro Iro:

And this is a long spiral hyperbolic single pane crocheted on the double with Diakeito Diadomina. It took six balls of yarn -- a whopping 732 yards!

So far, so good:

Yes, Bill would be proud.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Charlotte's Web -- the finale

I couldn't be more pleased!

She is done. And I am very happy with the whole process.

Let the pictures do the talking.

The raw materials:

The process:
And the product:


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's beginning to look like a reef

I'm getting there.

I got two more little corals done over the weekend. Both are crocheted with Noro Kureyon from stash.

The project is shaping up very nicely. So far I am using all the yarn from stash. And all the patterns were made up as I crocheted. All one-of-a-kind. All fun. And fast.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bill's Reef Update

Slowly but surely.

I was engrossed in the Tour de Fleece spinning that I hardly worked on the coral reef project.

I did felt the base coral which turned out really well and is now a manageable size and crocheted another small coral. This one is an elongate one pane hyperbolic shape crocheted with two strands of fingering-weight yarn and one strand of mohair from Mountain Colors.

The project is taking shape.

Moving right along. I got another coral done too but haven't taken a picture yet.

In the meantime I came home yesterday from the Tour de Fleece victory party at Uniquities with a new toy:

Meet the Majacraft Aura, my new spinning wheel. The latest creation from Majacraft, the Aura is designed first for the new "art yarn." But it can do anything from poofy, thing, embellished art yarn to lace yarn without changing the whorl. And that's the beauty of it. I sat down at it for about five minutes at the Uniquities spinning day and was hooked. It can do a lot of things my Majacraft Rose can do, and more. We are getting to know each other. I am spinning on the Rose still, though. She is my first wheel and my first love. She won't be sitting gathering dust for sure.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tour de Fleece update

I have been spinning, but not posting.

This is the last week of the tour already, yet I have not been posting my progress as much as I had hope. Oh well, here is a pictorial recap:

Fiber one was All Spun Up Blue Face Leicester/silk two ply. Then I plied it with a single from color two -- Pigeonroof Studio Crocodile Tears, which is also a BFL/sil blend. The third section was two ply Pigeonroof solid.

Then I had the PRS and a merino/silk roving from Squoosh Fiber Arts:

And a section of solid Squoosh.

Looking good.

Next up was a Squoosh single plied with a merino single from Artemis fiber from New Zeland:

That's how far I got with knitting. I spun up two more fibers, though, ready for the next two sections.
The next one is two Artemis singles plied together:

Then the last fiber -- merino from Spunky Eclectric Fiber.

I only have one last fiber to spin and that is the two Spunky singles plied together.

The Tour de France ends this Sunday, so will the Tour de Fleece. There is a victory party at Uniquities Sunday. Think I'll make it?

I think I will!