I’m back to my hand spun raglan sweater, which results in a tangle of yarns all over the floor. Sleeve on in progress. Still a thousand ends I’m going to have to figure out at some point.
Progress is being made, with minor setbacks.
My at-work knitting, a ribbed cowl made from wool and silk handspun is a visual joy to knit, though I ripped it back three times until I got a width and stitch pattern I liked. The yarn gleams and there is so much variation in the green. I’m loving every row, and it makes the meetings go faster.
My Woolford sweater is proceeding as well. I’m really looking forward to wearing it sometime soon.
My row gauge doesn’t match well with the called for gauge so I’ve made some changes in the rate of increases and decreases and I eliminated most of the lower back short rows that would have dipped the back hem as I prefer it straighter.
I’ve reached the wide lower border, which means a lot of ~300 stitch rows that I can crank out during TV or book time. The needles are getting progressively larger as well. I’m speeding through the yarn, which is a little worrisome as I have only eight skeins in the same dye lot. I’m hoping the difference won’t be as noticeable if I use the different dye lot just for the sleeves. So the first has to hold out through the lower part of the sweater.
On the quilting front , I finally faced facts and threw in the towel on the Growing Up Odd quilting. I paid my very broke son $5 to take out all the pins (he wanted a milkshake and I wanted to save my fingers!) and called up a local long arm quilting service.
I made the backing larger, ironed everything, and dropped it off yesterday with a nice man named Charlie who is going to cover it with blue thread meandering squares and get it back to me in a couple weeks. He is far better equipped to deal with a nearly king sized quilt.
It is a very impressive machine. My plan for my non-existent lottery winnings has a new addition.
I recently finished a two color shawl that I really like. It’s a triangle that grows from one side point across to a wide edge on the other side. It is mostly garter stitch, but with just enough variations and slipped stitches to make it interesting to knit.
I haven’t blocked it yet, so it is bound to grow larger.
Shawl: Lochlyn, in Mad Tosh Merino Light; colorways Cove & Whiskey Barrel
The shawl done, I needed more to knit, so I went stash diving and came up with two very different skeins.
The first is some of my handspun, polwarth wool and silk in a DK weight two ply. I dyed it turquoise and brown before spinning it, and while I’m not crazy about the final color, it is springy, cheerful, and quick to knit with. The cowl pattern I chose is a good one for mindless knitting in meetings and easily interrupted, so it has become my work project.
For home, I pulled out a very shiny tencel yarn that I bought at OFFF a couple of years ago. It is slick, and has absolutely no give, but I love the color and sheen. I chose a lacy shawl pattern with a bunch of charts, so I’m working on it in the evenings at home when I have time to concentrate. I’ve never blocked tencel, so I will have to do some research into methods.
It makes for a messy looking wad of yarn on the needles, but lace knitting becomes magically different once it is stretched.
Tencel yarn: Teresa Ruch tencel 5/2; colorway Sedona
The before and after shots show the magic role blocking plays in lace knitting! This shawl has a six foot wingspan, and that is after I skipped the final pattern repeat.
I finished it up in Seattle where I joined my fiber friends, Paige, L1 (AKA Seattle Leslie) and L2 (AKA Oregon Leslie).
(A sample picture of the necessities for a knitting weekend. Plus wine.)
We spent most of the time hanging out with our knitting, but we did take a break at one point to drive over to Carnation, for a first time visit to Tolt Yarn and Wool.
It is a warm, friendly shop, and a sweater knitter’s dream. So many beautiful yarn lines, worsted and woolens in a rainbow of solids and heathers. Whole sections provided enough colors for any fair isle project. It made my fingers inch to take up a project with lots of cables or complicated multi-color patterns.
There were less of the highly varigated or speckle dyed yarns that are the recent craze. It fell into more classic styles in the yarn and in the samples. It made for a very pretty shop.
So what did I buy? Yarn made of nettles. Not soft, not pretty, but it intrigued me. I think it will someday become placemats, or a table runner. They should be hard wearing and drapey after repeated washing.
My new knitting start is another pair of socks, to become the tote bag project. There always needs to be a portable project in my tote bag. These will be made from another skein of Knit Picks Bare that I dyed in jars, this time in turquoise, gray, and a gray-blue. The free pattern is called Petty Harbour, and I have knit it before. It is a simple four row repeat, which is what on-the-go, frequently interrupted knitting needs.
My revival is my handspun sweater that has languished in a bag in the craft closet for months. I’m not sure why, other than it has so many different balls of yarn attached that it takes some effort and space to keep untangling them all. The pattern is simple, the yarn wrangling is not.
Just a simple raglan cardigan-to-be, made entirely from my handspun yarn. It is using up a lot of the single skeins that had been piling up.
Overall, a yarn filled week. That’s never a bad thing. 🙂
Some spinning to share.
I finished spinning up the light gray merino/alpaca/angora fiber and paired it with a bobbin of brownish gray yak/silk to get a pretty luxurious feeling skein of bulky yarn. It is really dense, no spring to it at all, and the angora is already developing a halo that will grow as I knit with it. Super soft too. I think a chunky cowl will be the best use of it, and there’s nearly 300 yards, so plenty for that.
The colors on the bobbins are more accurate. The pic of the finished skein was taken in artificial light at night.
I also shave spun up two bobbins of BFL that I dyed during my dyeing binge during the snow days. Love how the colors turned out in the singles! They are pretty fine, so they are sitting while I’m trying to decide if I want to leave it at 2 ply for a light fingering or add a third bobbin of something for a more substantial weight.
While that decision is mulled, I’ve started on some turquoise, brown and white polwarth/silk I dyed.
All this productive spinning means the yarn stash is growing, which means I need to knit more. The crafting version of a vicious circle, which means I’m happy but the house never gets cleaned. I can live with that trade off.
Despite the surprise extra days of leisure due to weather, there hasn’t been a lot of sewing lately – I’ve been on a knitting and spinning kick – but I do have one small sewing project I can check off the WIP list.
These four placemats have joined their kin in a kitchen drawer, replacing some woven ones that were irretrievably stained. A fun, quick project that used up a bunch of scrap strips and batting pieces. I stitched each strip to the batting as I went along, so minimal topstitching was needed to keep the backing in place. Of course, the tops lingered on the work table for a month before I actually got those backs sewn on . . .
Meanwhile, I’m still dunking fiber into dye pots.
And I’m completely obsessed with how the colors of handspun are coming together in my cardigan knitting project.
And then there is watching the snow fall – 8″ since it started last night. A tremendous amount for where we live in Oregon!
Another stuck at home day, worsened by a very slight temp increase that has turned the powdery snow from yesterday to slush and icy rain. Tonight it is all supposed to freeze over again and kill anyone who dares roll wheels out of their driveway,
A lazy day for me is a new handspun cardigan knitting project started, plus tea and popcorn.
A lazy day for the boys is electronics, sword fights, HGTV and Wii.
I’m not actually sure what my husband’s been up to. He holed up in the office doing accounting type things for work. He did come out at one point to play Pokémon Monopoly with Son #2.
My cardigan is mostly the pattern Less is More, from Knitty. I’ve made a few mods – worsted yarn instead of DK, I dropped the extra rows for the rolled neckline because I’m planning I-cord, and I abandoned the stripe pattern because I have about eight skeins I plan to pull yarn from rather than the pattern’s four. But the basics and the shape remain the same.
I’ve changed the yarn line up since taking this photo, taking out the red and adding in a medium purple.
Lots of winding yarn into cakes. I’m a bit dubious about my gauge, but I’m really liking the colors together. Wrangling all those yarn cakes and balls takes some effort. I’m carrying the extra yarn up the sides, occasionally breaking yarn when the distance gets too wide. The plan is to hide all the ends and carries in the I-cord edging. Fingers are crossed that works.
Happy New Year, everyone!
I felt a rare organization urge this morning and decided to tackle the yarn stash.
I dragged yarn bundles, baskets and bins from all corners and with the help of my boys piled it in the living room.
This is the before picture.
I sorted by type and weight, created a bin for lace weight, one for fingering, a big bag for bulky, and so on. One big bin is now filled with remnants to go in the slip stitch afghans I make, and another is for thinner yarn remnants for similar scarves or weaving. Sweater lots were put together, and all the full skeins of handspun went into a zipper bag.
I did try to cull. There is a fair amount headed for Goodwill:
One woven basket of yarn showed some signs of moths, so I threw out a lot there and put some in the freezer. And no more woven baskets for storage. I was also able to get rid of the big white plastic bins from the before photo, which frees up some floor space in the little craft room.
Here is the after picture:
Still a ridiculous amount of yarn, and there may be more pruning, but it is more organized and took up less space when I put it all back.
I also pulled out all the yarn I spun in 2016 for its own photoshoot.
In 2016 I spun 6 lbs of fiber into these skeins. That leaves 26 lbs. more to be spun. My 2017 goal is to get at least another 6 lbs. spun and to get and keep the fiber stash below 20 lbs.
The fiber is next up to be pulled out and sorted, but not today.
Another WIP can be crossed off my list. I finished spinning the blue and purple merino that I dyed once upon a time, long enough ago that I don’t remember dyeing it.
I plied the bobbin with an even earlier spin. That is the stuff wound on the toilet paper cardboard, which tells me that it was spindle spun – whenever I filled a spindle, I would use my yarn winder to wrap it around a paper tube.
Sidetrack: I went through quite a hand spindle stage a couple years ago. I learned on a wheel first, and then experimented with different sorts of spindles – supported, Turkish, top and bottom whorl drop spindles. Top whorl drop spindles turned out to be my favorite, and I carried them all around, keeping the spinning going. Somehow, I fell out of the habit though. I could spin faster on the wheel, which was part of it, and knitting was even more portable, so I reverted to those.
I still have a bunch of spindles though.
Anyway, I plied the newly wheel spun single to the thinner, much older spindle spun ply and got a lovely varigated skein of a bouncy DK to worsted yarn.
I have more left on the bobbin, so I should end up with about 350 yards in all. Maybe a hat and mittens?
I finished my sock on the last day of vacation, though the photoshoot had to wait until I got back to Oregon as the sun had gone down.
They fit perfectly.
Despite my troubles due to inadequate note taking and letting far too many months pass between the first and second sock, with some ripping back I got them to be the same size.
The pattern is Hedgerow Socks by Jane Cochran. A simple broken rib pattern with lots of stretch. I made mine 6 stitches narrower and change the heel out for a partridge heel as I think they wear better. The yarn is something I dyed, but I’m not sure when or what. It was in my stash a long time.
I’ve learned my lesson about knitting pairs. I bought another set of my favorite sock needles and I will be knitting two at a time from now on to avoid the replication and memory problems.
Back in the airport for the trip home I cast on 331 stitches for a crescent scarf. So many stitches!
This one is being knit with handspun yarn – I don’t spin singles very often as I worry about their durability, so it will be interesting to see how this goes.