Follow along as I set up Business, Quilt, Knit, Spin, Dye or Design a new pattern. I might take an Art Class or do a Photoshoot

Behind the scenes at Nancy Elizabeth Designs.

Page 4

I’m still working on the wool fleeces. I brought 4 of them in and only one was un-usable. It just has so much chaff embedded in the fleece that I find I don’t have the patience or desire to work with this one at all.

I’m trying to decide which of the other 3 fleeces I want to use to make the man’s sweater that I have in mind. I need gauge swatches for the measurements but I also need them to see how each of the yarns will perform for me. I know what I want in terms of softness, drape, body, colour and attitude. For my gauge swatch I decided to make a new hat rather than a little knitted square. Here is pattern.

Very easy, very quick (just a few hours to make), and very warm.

Order the handspun wool yarn from us here. “Design it yourself” custom handspun yarn. Or contact me with a specific request if you don’t see your yarn listed.

Lots more wool yarns coming soon. I am working on Rare Sheep Breeds and Breed Specific Wool Yarns now and hope to have them available to order soon (Feb – March 2013)

Swatch Cap

Size Adult Medium

Gauge 4.5 stitches per inch, 5.5 rows per inch

Needle Size and Description: 5mm needle 16 inch circular and a set of same in double points

Materials: about 100 yards of Worsted weight handspun wool  (approx 3  ounces)

Finished Measurements: 20 inches around. 8 inches high

Brim:

Cast on 80 sts. Place marker, join. (you know the routine, be carefull not to twist) Beginning with a purl row, work in garter stitch for 10 rows 5-6 ridges. Increase 8 stitches, evenly spaced, over last row. (88 sts.)

Body:

Work in rounds with stocking stitch (knitting every row) until you have 6″ (or desired length)

Crown: (about 2 inches)

Round 1: *Work 6, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [77 sts remain]

Round 2: Work even

Round 3: *Work 5, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [66 sts remain]

Round 4: Work even

Round 5: *Work 4, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [55 sts remain]

Round 6: Work even

Round 7: *Work 3, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [44 sts remain]

Round 8: *Work 2, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [33 sts remain]

Round 9: *Work 1, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [22 sts remain]

Round 10: *K2tog. Repeat from * around. [11 sts remain] Finishing:

Break yarn leaving a generous tail. Draw tail through remaining stitches on the needle. Pull gently to close hole. Weave in tails.

Don’t laugh, there were no other heads around and I wanted to show it to you on someone! More photos below :0

Unlike you, I am not very fond of knitting a gauge swatch so  …  after I spun up some of the fleece I got out yesterday … I decided that I would knit a hat to determine my gauge. I really, quite like it. Great fit and not likely to give me “flat head” and definitely very warm. The textured look from the slubs in the handspun give it a wonderful personality. The simple designs helps to showcase the “hand spun-ness” of the yarn.

Order the handspun wool yarn from us here. “Design it yourself” custom handspun yarn. Or contact me with a specific request if you don’t see your yarn listed.

Lots more wool yarns coming soon. I am working on Rare Sheep Breeds and Breed Specific Wool Yarns now and hope to have them available to order soon (Feb – March 2013)

Quicky Rolled Brim Hat

Size AdultMedium

Gauge 4.5 stitches per inch, 5.5 rows per inch

Needle Size and Description: 5mm needle 16 inch circular and a set of same in double points

Materials: about 125 yards of Worsted weight handspun wool  (approx 3  ounces) Try the Handspun Eastport Alpaca. (More wool yarns coming soon)

Finished Measurements: 21 inches around. 9.5 inches high with brim rolled up. For a hat that fits (no slouch) make body 1″ shorter for total length of 8.5″

Brim:

Cast on 94 sts. Place marker, join. (you know the routine, be carefull not to twist) knit around for 4-6 rows for the st st rolled brim. work 4 rows of K1, P1 ribbing for a better fit.

Body:

Work in rounds with stocking stitch (knitting every row) until you have 7″ (or desired length) from the bottom with the brim rolled up just as you would be wearing it. **For a hat that fits, at the top, with no slouch at all just do 6 ” here.

Crown: (about 2.5 inches)

On the next round (work 13 sts, k2tog) 2 times. Then (work 14 sts, k2tog) 4 times. [88 sts] Work one round even. Round 1: *Work 6, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [77 sts remain] Round 2: Work even Round 3: *Work 5, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [66 sts remain] Round 4: Work even Round 5: *Work 4, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [55 sts remain] Round 6: Work even Round 7: *Work 3, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [44 sts remain] Round 8: Work even Round 9: *Work 2, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [33 sts remain] Round 10: Work even Round 11: *Work 1, k2tog. Repeat from * around. [22 sts remain] Round 12: Work even Round 13: *K2tog. Repeat from * around. [11 sts remain] Finishing:

Break yarn leaving a generous tail. Draw tail through remaining stitches on the needle. Pull gently to close hole. Weave in tails.

I don’t know about you but I am almost as opposed to finishing as I am in love with knitting. It took a lot of self-control but I managed to put a face on “Hello Kitty” today for my sweetheart Alice. This is her dream hat for this year and she really appreciates the stuff I make her. What an amazing girl she is.

I used Beadwhore Knitting’s pattern and it was very helpful. I just adjusted the stitches to my gauge and cast on. I used coins to help me visualize the best placement for the face and outline stitched around them to show me where to go with my stitches. It is *hard* to embroider on knitting! Let me tell you.

Today I got out a couple of beautiful fleeces that I had stored over the garage for a few years. They came from a huge sheep ranch in Australia that specialized in raising coloured sheep especially for the hand spinning market. I was fortunate enough to visit for 2 weeks at sheering time, working in the shed and getting my pick of that year’s sheering. It was an oportunity of a lifetime and I will never forget it. Getting out the fleece today made me so happy.

They are still perfect! I attribute this to the storage containers we used. They are a very strong cardboard with metal bottom and very tight fitting metal tops with clamps to ensure an airtight fit. Because of the cardboard the wool was able to “breathe” and any felting that may have resulted from condensation if they had been kept in plastic was avoided. Of course, the insects and rodents were not able to penetrate the very thick cardboard nor were they able to find a way in through the airtight lid. I was very happy to see that they had weathered the years so well.

Washing The Fleece

I decided to use my washing machine for a tub because it is a top loader.  It’s the largest wash tub I have and it’s easy to fill with water and empty again PLUS it has the added benefit of being able to spin much of the water out of my fleece between the wash and rinse. WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T LET THE MACHINE AGITATE. I put the fleece into 2 mesh bags that I have just for this purpose (like the kind you wash lingerie in, only bigger). I filled the machine with very hot water and a whole capful of liquid Tide and when the soap had disolved i gently placed my 2 bags of fleece on top of the water and allowed them to sink into the hot water untouched. *This is important. It would be the agitation of the fiber while wet either by turning on the machine or by swishing it around with your hands that would cause felting and matting. I walked away, machine turned off, and came back about an hour later. Rinse: I very gently ensured that the load was as even a possible and set the machine on spin only. This does not hurt  or felt the wool and you can get most of the water out. Once the spin cycle was finished I lifted the bags out and filled the washer with warm water this time. It should be a close, in temperature, to the water you washed them in. It would have cooled a bit in the hour or so of soaking. *Also Very Important. A sudden change in temperature will also felt your wool immediatley. When the tub is full you can set the bags in again, no agitation again but perhaps a very little swishing or dunking *very gently. Spin again and if desired repeat the rinse. I am going to wash mine again after it is spun into yarn and only rinsed it once.

I put down an old sheet and spread out the wool. I love to look at it and play with it to see if it’s dry. It may take a couple of days and it will seem like years. I could have planned ahead but I just don’t think of it until I really want it!

 

Just finished and wanted to show you another version of the watch cap pattern that I originally wrote about here (includes the free pattern).

This one is knit with Austerman “Peru” Alpaca yarn (now discontinued, I’m afraid). It’s a lovely soft “sport” weight Alpaca. This shows that although a fingering or sock yarn is recommended a sport weight yarn will work just as well. I used the same needle size (2.5 mm) and the same # of stitches. This one is for Aidan. Hope you like it kiddo? Earl (DH) is jealous. He thought it was for him so I’ll get to work on another one. Since I can’t make the same hat twice I’ll make his out of black (it must be black) sock yarn. I’ll keep you posted but I can’t start it until I finish

Alice’s “Hello Kitty” hat, pattern by Beadwhore Knitting, THANKS The 2nd of the 2 Cosy Cashmere Cowls (almost done) The orders for Handspun yarns –Buy ’em here – that are starting to come in as fast as I can fill them. A good thing for sure hats for Atherton and Gilbert. I’ve decided to try out the Aviatrix by Justine Turner. The above mentioned not being UFO’s, of course, but works in progress!

 

My guys like a light weight but warm hat, one they can scrunch up and stick in their pocket but when they put it on it needs to keep them warm! The folded over “cuff” should not be too deep and when it’s folder over the hat sits just over the tip of the ears but when it’s pulled down against the cold it goes right over those ears completely. I might call a hat with this kind of fit a skull cap or beanie.

This little watch cap fits the bill perfectly. Having knit and ripped quite a few times before I got it right I can now present you with a pattern for a cap that’s super warm, “stuffs” nicely into your pocket and fits just right. I will make this pattern as a download, all pretty in a pdf with my lovely template and graphics soon but for now, so I don’t forget how I did it, I will write it out here. This one’s for Dan.

I used LUX by Buffalo Gold Premium Fibers (45% American Bison Down, 20% Cashmere, 20% Silk and 15% Tencel) and it was an excellent choice. I used it doubled to make it a fingering weight yarn but you can use any fingering weight as a single strand. A sock yarn would be perfect as long as you aren’t knitting for a sensitive bald head. The lux would be perfect for such a person as this as would many of my exotic luxury fiber hand spun yarns in fingering weight. If ordering from the handspun please let me know you are making the “Perfect Reversible Watch Cap” so I can spin it just right for this project.

I`ve chosen a few of my favorite handspun yarns for this project and put them on sale for you. Jan 2012.

Size: Adult Small (Medium, Large) Finished Measurements: 15 inches around and 8.5 (9, 9.5) inches in length

Gauge: 7.5 sts and 10.5 rows = 1 inch in stocking stitch (11 sts and 10.5 rows = 1 inch in K1, P1 rib)

You will need:

approximately 200 – 250 yards of fingering weight yarn. If using the LUX, as I have done, you will need 2 of the 40 gram skeins of 330 yarns each. The finished hat in size small weighs about 45 grams so you cannot get one out of a single skein. a 2.5mm circular knitting needle and a set of 4 or 5 in size 2.5 mm

Instructions: With single strand of fingering or double strand of lace yarn (Lux) and the circular needles cast on 156 stitches. Join in a circle and work around in K1, P1 rib until piece measures 6.5 (7, 7.5) inches.

Shape Crown: Row 1: Work 11, *Double Decrease (slip next 2 stitches together knitwise, knit the third stitch, pass the 2 slipped stitches over) Work 23.  Repeat from * around ending with work 12. 12 stitches decreased over 6 miters. (144 sts) This makes the nice mitre that looks good on both sides.

Row 2 and all even rows: Work even knitting the knits and purling the purls. (trust me, even when you knit 3 in a row it will resolve itself after the next decrease row) Row 3: Work 10, *Double Decrease over next 3 sts, work 21. Repeat from * around ending with work 11. (132 sts) Row 5: Work 9, *Double Decrease over next 3 sts, work 19. Repeat from * around ending with work 10. (120 sts).

Continue in this manner, decreasing 12 stitches every other round until there are only 12 sts remaining. Break yarn and thread through the remaining sts. Pull tight, secure and weave in your ends.

 

Well, I have almost everything moved over to the new host and I love the new site… Hope you like it too

It turns out that I hit a bump in the road much bigger than an unresponsive host. I lost my precious mother on November 15 2012. She was my anchor, my entire cheerleading squad, my teacher, my mentor. She was an Artist, the person I admired above all others and she was my best friend and now she is my guardian angel. Oh how I wish I could see her one more time, touch her sweet face, somehow try to give her back a fraction of what she has given to me freely and without any trace of hesitation or selfishness. What a gracious lady she was. How she will be missed.

Loving this wonderful top I just purchased on Etsy from threewatersfarm !

I had recently signed up for a class on Craftsy Spinning Dyed Fibers on how to spin these wonderful tops and so, of course, I had to buy some. I got these 2 amazing colourways and a bar of homemade goat milk soap.

I got on the iPad and watched the class and practiced. It was my first time to try Navajo plying and I can’t believe how easy it is after I’ve been avoiding it for all these years!

I only have 4 ounces of each colourway so I started with a pair of mitts. I found the pattern on Ravelry, Cruiser by Cailyn Meyer. When the mitts were finished I still had quite a bit left but not enough for a hat so I made this headband to match the mitts (just made up the pattern as I went).

This set is for Libby and I gave it to her today. I really think she likes it a lot.

 

I’m making my Christmas presents and wanted to work with some cashmere so I thought this would be a nice little project that would work up fast and give the recipient some wonderful warmth and luxury this winter. It was really fast and such a treat to knit. This one’s for Bethy.

I love this cowl and it was so fast and easy, a perfect “knitting as meditation” project.

BLOCKING: I blocked it with wires and pins and Wow, what a difference. I really stretched it to it’s max when I blocked and probably wouldn’t have stretched it quite as wide now that I see it dry. I think I prefered the fabric with a little more bounce and a slightly tighter fit. But that is personal taste and it’s nice to have a choice. Different blocking choices can give you such different looks.

Pattern coming soon, check here to see if it’s out yet.

My sincere apologies to you if you have been trying to access the blog or web site lately without any luck. I’ve been having some major difficulties with my hosting provider Network Solutions.

For months now, since I’ve been developing this site, I’ve noticed that the response from the server was often very slow. Pages on the web site were slow to load and sometimes I got an error with no page load at all. I kept working on the development, thinking that I should call the Network Solutions Customer Service and someone would work it out with me.  Well, I didn’t quite get the response I expected. I called several times and ended up on hold so long I eventually got called away and had to hang up so I tried the contact form on the support page. This was the most frustrating response of all. They sent me back a “canned” email telling me about how I can sign up for the paid support and all of the other deals they have for me because I am a VIP Gold member. I was furious!  So much for my VIP status, right? Finally I decided to email them. They have provided me with a special email address because of my gold member status. I explained the situation in full by email and waited, and waited, and waited for a response. Over the next week I got many emails from Network Solutions. They was selling me premium domains and upgrades to my support, private registrations and hosting upgrades. They even sent me one with all of the benefits of being a Gold VIP member but NO REPLY to my email for help. Finally I got an answer with a very weak and partial excuse as to why the server was not serving my pages at an acceptable speed. No fixes, no ideas for resolving the issue no promised from them to get things straight.

Therefore. I am changing my hosting and registrar for all of my domains. This is no small undertaking but I refuse to give any more of my hard earned money to a company that treats me this way.

There will probably be some interruption in service. The web site may be down a bit in the next few weeks but I’m doing a whole new site with a completely new look and it may take some time to build the site and get all of the domains and hosting resolved at the new hosting company.

In the end we will have a brand new site with a whole new look and it should run really fast and well.