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September, 2010:

4! Oz! Challenge

A Ravelry group was started two months ago called 4! Ounce! Challenge! The challenge was to spin up 4 oz. of handpainted roving from one of three participating merchants (Spunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn and Southern Cross Fibre), write an original pattern, knit and publish the pattern, and submit it to the Challenge to win, what else, some roving! And to complete the task before September 30th.

I’m not an expert spinner by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, much of what I’ve spun over the years would fall under the tongue-in-cheek moniker “designer yarn” (wink, wink). But I thought, “Well, why not? Sounds fun.”
My 4 ounces of roving …


… spun up to around 240 yards of thick-and-thin singles. As you can see, I spin a little on the tight side.


To release some of the spin and get a softer, warmer, more neutral single, I sent it back through the wheel in a Z-twist, sort of massaging it into a nice soft thick-and thin yarn.


I don’t have a “real” gauge to measure wraps/inch, and even if I did, I’m not sure how to get a meaningful estimate on a thick-and-thin yarn. I had a couple people give me their counts, and they came up with different numbers. So I tried to find a sort of uniformly spun bit, and going off that I’d say it’s about 10 wpi. You can judge for yourself.


Also, to be able to suggest a commercial equivalent, I knitted the stitch pattern of the poncho in Noro Aya. I used the same needles for both. I’m not sure that tells us anything terribly useful, but in picking a commercial yarn, something like the Noro Aya should be pretty close. Aya is given a weight of worsted with 9 wpi, and knits 20 stitches/4 inches on US No. 8 needles, according to the ball band.
Side-by-side of handspun and Noro Aya
I just love the long color runs in the Noro yarn which also happens to pool in a way similar to the handspun I made, which is another reason to like the Noro as a commercial option.
Well, there you have it. Yes, I know all these photos are over-kill but I couldn’t decide on just one … she’s so c-u-t-e!

If you’re a Ravelry member, check out all the cool patterns and yarn people did in response to this challenge by searching Projects for the tag 4ozchallenge.

Can Christmas be far away?

Now that the air has taken on the chill of Fall, I’m thinking about Christmas again. I get an email now and then from someone who recognizes the vintage Holiday Stocking I re-created for a friend and posted as a free pattern. Here are some suggestions for the stocking from a lady I heard from recently:

The pattern came as a kit nearly 30 years ago. I don’t remember where I ordered it from, though. Over the years I’ve made more than a dozen stockings from that pattern for friends, and family.
My pattern calls for sequins around the box that Santa is jumping from and for the tree on the back of the stocking. Santa’s hat also has a pom-pom on the end and his beard is of mohair. I have, on a couple of stockings, put the recipient’s initials in the box that Santa is jumping out of. I’ve used two strands of fun fur for Santa’s beard and trimmed it short to resemble a furry beard, added white seed beads for snow, made the box different colors, put “patches” on Santa’s suit, and one Santa’s suit and hat were “smudged” with “soot.” (I used just a touch of black paint and rubbed it to create a smudge.) For my granddaughter’s stocking I went all out with beads, sequins, ribbons, furry beard, smudging – and I lined it. I think you would agree it is quit gaudy.

I’m really hoping she sends me a photo of that “gaudy” stocking (or any others, for that matter). I’d love to post any photos of people’s versions of this stocking here, and with the pattern on Ravelry.
(Thank you, Brenda, for letting me share your ideas here.)