I was felled by some sort of hell-plague this weekend, so I mostly stayed in bed and read archives of the Yarn Harlot. (I re-read her every once in a while. As one of my blogger friends says, it’s like reading a good book over and over.) While this meant that I achieved little in the way of life stuff, it meant that I got to spend some real quality time with my knitting. (I even did a tiny bit of spinning, but that was limited due to needing to be flat on my butt almost all weekend.)
Have I told you about my lovely handspun Holden Shawlette? I know I showed you the finished yarn back in the day, but I finally decided what it needed to be! It was spun with a shawl in mind, because I wanted to showcase the gradient, and the silk/cashmere/merino was so incredibly soft, particularly since I spun it as a single, that I wanted it around my neck. The Holden Shawlette looked beautiful and not too tough (since I’m a bit new to lace and had never knitted a lace shawl before.) Even though I was about 100 yards short according to the pattern, (270 yards) I planned some modifications in order to make it work. I slogged my way through the stockinette body, but when I got to the lace, it just seemed to zoom by! (this may have been because I get a lot of knitting done when I’m not working or doing errands.) I finished the lace section this weekend, and then it came to the bind-off. (this was on Saturday.)
I’m in the bind-off black hole. I’m not even to the center point, and I’m going insane. The sweet, lovely, charming little picots take an age and a half, and while I know it’s going to be worth it in the end, I’m feeling a bit of hostility towards the little jerks. There’s something about edgings. You feel like they’re taunting you, because you should be DONE ALREADY. It drives me bonkers. On the other hand, they *are* beautifully decorative, and they really add something to the edge of the shawl, so I know I’m just going to suck it up and pander to them. They don’t have to be so smarmy about it though..
So I recently made a discovery (which was kindof a “duh” moment for me, but please try not to laugh.)
To preface this, I have to tell you that I used to paint my nails all the time. Like two or three times a week. I was obsessed with everything glittery and shiny and brightly colored. I even had glow in the dark nail polish. I don’t have very many normal colors, even now that I’m (sortof) a grownup. It’s all heart-shaped sparkles and shiny silver lacquer and metallic sapphire. But I rarely have time to paint my nails. I just lost the habit because it takes so long for them to set and my days are always jam-packed with things I need to do.
However, all that has now changed, because of knitting. I gave myself a manicure yesterday, my first in an embarrassingly long time (think years.) I was motivated to do this by seeing an amazing manicure on Instagram. It was called “Galaxy Nails” It actually makes your nails look like an amazing nebula, and is pretty simple. I ended up with these:
Which in my admittedly biased opinion I think are pretty spectacular. However, what put me absolutely over the moon (no pun intended) was when I was knitting at lunch today. See, the thing about knitting is that pretty often you look at your hands. (I know this is as big a shock to all of you as it was to me. Who could possibly have guessed that you look at your hands to knit?) I have never enjoyed a manicure more. Every little twinkle and glimmer from my glitter-encrusted nails filled my heart with such glee. It made knitting even more fun, and I was filled with such deep appreciation for my painted nails. I may just be a simple person, if such a thing fills me with such delight, so tell me, is it just me, or do you guys feel the same? If it is just me, bear with me, because I’m going to show you a few pictures of my manicure artfully posed over my knitting.
Until next time!
P.S. The knitting in question is a Holden Shawlette in a handspun gradient. My love for it is pure.
What am I doing?
I feel like I mostly have been updating the blog lately with finished things. Finished things are always nice, and you get that lovely warm glow of a completed item, but that’s not enough blogging for me! Especially since I’ve been doing a lot of crafty things lately, and plotting even more! And I need to tell you all about them!
Alright, I know some of my family members read this blog, but Nana, Grandpa, Uncle Graham, Aunt Elisabeth, Aunt Chantal, and Uncle Matt, STOP READING HERE. I like things to be surprises.
I knit a lot of stuff for my family and friends. Honestly, a lot more of my time goes to knitting for them than knitting for myself. For me, knitting is a great way to show love. It is basically a physical vessel for your time, and I think that makes the gifts I give people very special and meaningful. I’ve got a lot of stuff going right now for my family. (Some is even complete, but not yet given so I can’t show pictures.) I knitted my Aunt Elisabeth a really cute kerchief for Christmas, but I haven’t seen her or my Uncle Graham since, so I still have those! I don’t mail handmade stuff unless I really, absolutely have to. It gives me the heebie-jeebies like you would not believe. My Uncle Graham scored a pair of cabled mittens, because not only does he live here in Massachusetts where it is absolutely freezing, he travels a lot to Russia where it is considerably colder. He also just had a birthday, so I’m whipping up a matching hat to go with. He is a Harvard professor and a very smart man, and I think that they will definitely work with his elegant, scholarly style. So whenever we finally have lunch again, I’ll give him his stuff! Those things are all basically finished, and they will be photographed and blogged in the fullness of time (i.e. after they are delivered) But I’ve got even more stuff coming down the pipeline!
Project number 1: The triple-generational shawls.
So this has been in the works for a good long while. Many years ago, my Nana gave me some laceweight alpaca from a farm right next to their ranch in Colorado. I’ve been saving it for something special, and last summer I realized what that was. I decided to make shawls for her, my mom, and me, so we could all match! (different patterns though, because the yarn is black, and knitting three identical black laceweight shawls would put me in the nut house for sure.) I gave my mom hers last Christmas, and I knew my Nana was going to get hers next, but I couldn’t decide on a pattern. However, I finally figured it out, and she will be getting an Indian Feathers shawl! I think the pattern will be lovely with the slight halo of the alpaca.
Project Number 2: socks for Grandpa.
My grandparents live out in Colorado, up in the mountains, and it gets quite chilly during the winters. They do a lot of walking and are very active, and I’ve been feeling for a while that my grandpa needed some nice socks to keep his feet cozy. I scored some really nice merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn on sale, so I’m getting ready to start those next! I think I’ll just do plain vanilla socks, and they’ll be nice and cushy on his feet. They will be my handbag project when I’m done with my Uncle Graham’s hat.
Project Clusterbomb: All the baby things!
I just recently found out that my Aunt Chantal is preggers with her seventh baby. Yup, lucky number seven, and she’s due in September. And I was thinking that after having that many kids, you don’t really need a lot of new stuff for another baby, because you have all the necessities at least. However, since that’s the case, the baby doesn’t get as much cute, special stuff as the earlier kids, and so my plan was born. I will knit a gorgeous, heirloom-quality baby layette for this little baby. There will be angora. It will be soft and fuzzy and cute as all get out. However, since that sort of thing doesn’t necessarily get used all the time, I extended my plan. There will be another sweater, and it will be red and cream fair isle. There will probably be reindeer on it. It will be perfectly practical for a baby who lives in a secluded mountain valley in Colorado. There will also possibly be a hat. And bootees. (if I can’t control myself.) There will be no way that this baby will come into the world feeling anything less than smothered in knitted love. I will elaborate more upon this plan once the yarn arrives and I can make you all envious. (Side note: my mom and I have a great thing going. She buys the yarn, I knit it, and the presents that result are from both of us. Clever, right??)
That’s what I’m doing right now! Do you knit mostly for other people or yourself?
P.S. There’s still time to vote on my next spinning project! The poll is in the last post :)
Blog friends, I have a new challenge for you!
But first, the backstory (you didn’t expect me to be straightforward about it, did you? That’s not how I roll. Sorry peeps.) I’ve been spinning on one project for a looooong time. I started with eight ounces of fibre in a gradient, and I’m Navajo plying it so that I have a light fingering to laceweight and the gradient is preserved. It is a thing of beauty, and once it is finished, it’s going to be a pet for a very, very long time until I decide what to do with it. I’m almost entirely certain that it will be a shawl, (because what else do you do with approximately 800 yards of gradient laceweight?) but it needs to be the perfect shawl for the yarn, so I will be patient. Similar to how I’m being patient now, spinning up my biggest batch of fibre yet, at the finest gauge I’ve ever attempted. Nope, I am totally not going crazy. (The twitch over my left eyebrow is, um, allergies! Yeah, allergies.) Anyhow, all that was a long way of saying that I have been spinning the same thing for ages, it’s meticulous and fiddly and as much as I love it, the next thing needs to be different. However, I don’t know what it is that I want to do next, or rather, there are several things that I want to do, but I’m not sure which one is the right choice.
So! I will be putting my destiny into your hands, intrepid knitting and spinning friends! I have options. At the end, I’m going to make a fancy little poll so you can cast your vote! I’ll let it run for about two weeks, or until I finish my current project. I’ll also have it going on my Instagram, so whenever I finish up the current beast of a project, I’ll tally up the votes from both places, possibly even make a pie chart, and post the results! There’s not a prize or anything, just a happy glow from having some control over my future. Be kind to me.
Here are all the contestants! I’ll have you know that they are all seriously sexy fibres, and I would be lucky to have any one of them on my wheel. You don’t have to be a spinner to vote on these! Just pick whichever one you like the best :)
This lovely lady is Polwarth in the Igloo colorway from SpunRightRound on Etsy. It’s vibrant, and lovely, and incredibly soft to the touch!
Obviously it’s beautiful. Also it’s as soft as a cotton candy cloud. There’s a lot of color variation, which I think would be good after something where the color progression is sloooooooow. Additionally, I’ve never spun Polwarth by itself, (my only experience with it has been a polwarth/silk blend) so that would be new to me!
I am currently working with purple, so I wonder if maybe this isn’t quite different enough. Also, I would be planning to Navajo ply this because I do want to keep the colors together, so I would still have to spin pretty thin. (Though not as thin as my current project.)
This creature was just a bear to photograph, so I stole the picture from the shop where I bought it. It’s an absolutely GIANT batt in the Grey Bunny colorway from Upstream Alpacas (also on Etsy,) and it has a blend of Alpaca, Angora, Mohair, and Mulberry Silk. I also wasn’t sure that it had enough angora, and I wanted to stretch how far this would go, so I bought an additional two ounces of soft and lovely angora bunny fibre from Dayspring Farm. I opened up the batt and just layered it inside so it’s like a wonderful angora sandwich.
It feels like beautiful fuzzy heaven, light and airy and soooo soft! Most of the fibres have a silky feel to them as well, it’s very luxurious! Also, I actually know what I want to do with this. I want to knit myself a pair of Veyla fingerless mitts with cute little pearl buttons, and some kind of matching beret. I will be very cute and chic and warm next winter, and the slightly sheeny silvery grey will let any lace pattern really sing. Also, since I don’t have to worry about preserving any color changes, I could do a 2 ply. Easier, faster, and way less of a hassle. In addition, I have only spun from a batt once, and that was when I was learning. I’d like to try it again now that I actually sortof know what I’m doing. Last but not least, it has a very interesting texture. It’s mostly quite smooth, but there are little bits of silk nubbins and mohair locks that aren’t completely blended, and I think that any yarn spun from this would have a lovely and fun texture, slightly rustic but very luxurious.
It IS grey. Granted, I just saw my first crocus yesterday, but I’m not sure if I’ve got the winter blahs totally out of my system yet. I might need color. Also, I’m currently working on a big project, and this is six whole ounces of fibre in one color. It might not be a good idea to go from big commitment to big commitment. Maybe I need a little fun fibre fling before going back to a steady, dependable, (boring?) project.
Bachelor number three is a pair of cute little batts in the Blue Skies colorway from WintryFlowerByDesign on Etsy. (Have you guys figured out that I spend way too much time on Etsy? It’s a gateway drug to the fibre arts.) It’s a mix of Merino, Angora, and Angelina.
ANGORA. Obviously. I have never actually spun with angora, other than once at an event where we were learning about angora rabbits. My spinning was still complete butt at the time, so (as the Yarn Harlot would say) I really arsed it up. However, I think I’ve learned enough now that I could do it. Also, this is a blend with merino which I love with a deep and enduring passion, so it would be easier than straight angora. It’s only four ounces, which means it would be quick, and the fact that it doesn’t have color changes to deal with once again means that I could do a 2-ply yarn, ergo faster and easier. It also has charming color variations, just in a tonal palette rather than dramatic color changes. The sparkle would be fun too! I’m not usually one for bling, (the complete and utter lack of jewelry might have tipped everyone off, although it’s not that I dislike it. I just don’t know how to coordinate it with my stuff >.<) however, the sparkly bits in these batts are enchanting. I like that they’re subtle, not metallic, and I think that they would really add something special to the finished yarn.
I don’t really know what I want to do with this yet. Maybe a hat? I think that I would just spin a lighter (fingering/sport) weight yarn and stash it until I have an idea. I do like to have something in mind when I’m spinning though, since I feel like if you have the ability to control the entire process from fibre to garment, don’t you want to make sure you get exactly what you want? Especially since spinning and knitting are such slow arts.
This is six ounces of Rambouillet in the Cloud Dreams colorway form JulieSpins on Etsy! (damn, Etsy strikes again!) and it’s sortof in a bit of a gradient, but not a very sharp one.
Rambouillet is a new fibre to me! It’s soft, and sproingy, and just feels interesting. Also, since the gradient is subtle, I could split this roughly in half and do a 2-ply. Even though I would undoubtedly have some left over on one of the two halves, I could just ply it back on itself and add it on to the end of the skein, and no one would really notice. I can be a bit finicky about some things, but I know that this would not make me particularly crazy. Another point in favor of this is that the colors are beautiful. Not only that, you get some random little purple bits, and there are so many shades of blue in there. It would be an interesting spin and really fun.
This is nearly six ounces. That seems like kindof a lot, though there are the color changes to keep things interesting. Also, I know already that I want this to be a big, gorgeous, delicate shawl, so that means spinning a laceweight. Yes, doing a 2-ply means that the singles wouldn’t need to be quite as fine as what I’m currently spinning (which has a strong resemblance to sewing thread) but it might make me slightly crazy (crazier?), and that twitch over my eyebrow might worsen.
So there you have it! Vote away my poppets, and remember, my future is in your hands! Have fun :D Feel free to explain the rationale for your favorite in the comments, as well as giving me any advice you can think of for these new to me fibres. I’ll leave you with a couple of group shots so you can see them all together. Until next time!
Well friends, it looks like I’m all caught up on my handspun! It feels good to have all that backlog disposed of. Of course, I’ve been creating a new backlog of knitted things while I’ve been tidying up my spinning, so there’s still plenty of blog material percolating in my skull. Today, I’m going to tell you about my Epic Quest!
It began with one boy’s love of a terrifying marine arthropod, and one girl’s obsession with the perfect present. It began with the mantis shrimp.
Let me tell you a few things about the mantis shrimp.
The mantis shrimp has 16 different color receptors in its eyes. Humans have 3.
The mantis shrimp has crazy claws that it uses like little guns. It can move them so quickly that it creates a shockwave by boiling the water around its claws. (you know, if it fails to kill its prey by bashing it with 1500 newtons of force.)
Their claws are so strong and so resilient that they are being studied in order to create more effective body armor.
I don’t remember where I first learned this stuff, some article somewhere, but you can see these and many more mantis shrimp facts in this comic by the Oatmeal.
Long story short, the mantis shrimp is awesome, and Greg LOVES the mantis shrimp. Like really loves it and follows research on it and it’s probably his favorite animal.
In a mostly unrelated fact, Greg is very hard to buy presents for. It’s not so much that he’s picky, though he is a bit picky. It’s more that he is the type of person who appreciates every thought that went into his gift. He will happily listen to me explain my whole process in getting the gift, because that makes it more special to him. He realizes when something is unique, and takes excellent care of all of his presents. In fact, he is an ideal gift recipient, because you can safely give him a gift that requires a lot of thought and effort and customization, because he will REALLY appreciate all that went into it and love it to bits.
However, since that is the case, the bar is set rather high for gifts. I often make his presents, because he loves handmade stuff. Gifts from previous years include a stuffed Weighted Companion Cube from the video game Portal, a Link doll from Legend of Zelda, and a stuffed Gir from Invader Zim. (I sewed all of those, and while my sewing skills are complete ass, the workmanship on those is lovely because it was primarily done by hand.) I’ll show pictures later if you guys want to see. He has been the recipient of several scarves (one that required something of a mini quest to achieve.) a crazy goat balaclava, and the first pair of socks that I ever knit. I also knit him a sweater once when I was really stressed out, and although it’s a crap sweater, he still keeps it safely tucked away in a drawer and pets it sometimes.
All this is just to say that Greg is an awesome person to knit for. As a knitter, I really couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend. However, this Christmas he really got the shaft. I had an awesome gift in the works, an awesome mantis shrimp themed gift.. And I had so much commissioned knitting that both Greg and my dad got pushed to the bottom of the pile (sorry guys, I love you.) However, here’s how it went down with Greg’s present.
The yarn came first, and it was a thing of myth and legend. I’ve always been a big fan of Cephalopod Yarns. They do nice yarns in pretty and unique colors, and the marine animal theme they’ve got going on is totally awesome. Imagine my surprise when I found out that they had a mantis shrimp yarn! However, it is very rarely in stock, so I stalked it, and I waited. Eventually victory (and the yarn) were mine! (that’s a link to the longer version of the yarn hunt story.) That was just the beginning though. Then there were the hours spent on Ravelry, trying to find the perfect pattern for a brightly colored, variegated yarn. I didn’t want the yarn to do any stupid pooling or anything weird, so I needed something that would blend all the colors together. I finally settled on the Leyburn socks, because not only do they pretty much always look cool in variegated yarn, the little x’s look a bit like coral polyps and I wanted to keep the undersea theme going. Now, don’t get me wrong, these socks are brilliant and I love them. However, I didn’t realize that every fourth row is a slipped stitch row to create the pattern. What this means is that for every four rows you knit only three add any length. For men’s socks, this means a LOT of knitting. So the socks took a little longer than I was expecting. However, they turned out just beautifully. Want to see?
Forgive me for completely overdoing it with the pictures, but I LOVE these socks! They are just so beautiful! I used a new heel pattern too, it’s called the reverse round heel, and it basically has a short row heel encased in a gusset! Fancy! The pattern of these socks isn’t very stretchy, so I knew that I would need the gusset to help get them over his heel. Greg loves them! They’re a merino cashmere blend, so they feel very luxurious! They’ve still got a bit of nylon to help them be durable though :) They’ll help keep his feet nice and toasty during our crazy Boston winters! I’m actually really sad that it took me so long to finish them, because he really could’ve used them all dang winter! However, he should still get some use out of them, because winter ain’t done yet (alas.)
I even had a bit left over! I’m saving it for my eventual Beekeeper’s quilt. (and any possible sock repairs in the future.) These are almost certainly the best socks I have ever knit.
“Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.”
I’ve always loved that poem. It has minimal relevance to what I’m going to talk about today, except for the fact that my latest handspun looks like mint ice cream!
I’m still on my Inglenook fibers kick, so I started with a pretty braid from the lovely and talented Macrina. It was about three ounces of gorgeous, smooth tussah silk.
This is what I got!!
I attempted to spin very fine for laceweight. I got 440 yards of 2-ply from three ounces, so it really is proper laceweight! It’s the first time I’ve ever consistently spun so fine, and I am feeling rather accomplished and proud of myself. This will DEFINITELY become a very precious shawl. (eventually. once I’m done petting it) It’s hard to see in the photos, but it’s not all one color. The saturation varies somewhat, and that makes the yarn just gleam. I love this. I got a little bored while I was actually spinning it, because it doesn’t have exciting color transitions (it takes little to make me happy) and I was obviously spinning it very fine so it took longer, but the end result is just beautiful. I actually found this to be a little more difficult than my previous foray into spinning mulberry silk, because the fibers were different lengths and it took some adjustment to get used to that. However, once I figured out that I needed to pre draft if I wanted the fibers to align perfectly, it spun up like a dream. I could’ve just spun it from the roving, but I am very anti-slub. Tussah silk is collected after the moth has escaped, so the fibers are cut and some of them are quite short and uncooperative, and just want to be lumpy bits. I was having none of that, let me tell you!
Question for you more experienced spinning peeps. When I finished plying the yarn, it looked lovely. I wasn’t going for a very high twist because I wanted the yarn to be for a shawl, but it looked balanced after it was spun. However, now that I’ve washed it, it looks a bit under plied. In addition, the strands have stuck together a bit, I think because of the leftover sericin (sticky protein that holds silkworm cocoons together) in the fiber. Should I attempt to add more twist on my wheel? Should I just let it alone? Advice is appreciated :)
Today’s post title is brought to you by the fact that I am ON FIRE! Why, you might ask? (I’ll pretend you did.)
BAM!! Lookit that!
That is two skeins of lovely matching(ish) watermelon sock yarn. I spun them! And they came out exactly how I wanted! (insert massive amounts of shock here) They’re superwash merino, so easy to care for! Well, they will be once they are actually socks. The colors are bright and beautiful, and I love how they actually look like little watermelons. I am so happy with these!
This is 100% superwash merino from Mad Color Fiber Arts, in the Whattamelon colorway. It’s so fun! Seriously so many of their colors are drool-worthy. I tore the fiber in half in the center, which gave me two roughly equal amounts of fiber with an identical color progression because of the clever way that Heather dyes her fiber. For those of you who don’t remember or haven’t been around for a bit, I started with this:
I ended up with about 400 yards of heavy fingering to sport weight yarn. (And there’s only about 10 yards difference between the skeins! yay!) Now I have to ask for help for all you experienced spinners who actually knit with your handspun. I want to make sure that I get socks that fit, as well as making them as durable as possible. I did as much as I could for durability by spinning them with a pretty tight twist, but I’m happy to hear any additional tips on that. As far as fit goes, I’m thinking of doing two at a time, toe up plain vanilla socks, so I can try them on as I go. I’m probably just going to fly by the seat of my pants (how unusual.) so feel free to share any pitfalls that need to be avoided.
(and one more picture because I am shamelessly besotted with this yarn.)
I’ve got a bit more handspun loveliness for you today, my friends. Are you getting tired of all the pretty yarns yet? Does anyone think I have an unhealthy obsession with spinning? (that might be true) Nevertheless, I’m still in the first stage of infatuation with my new wheel, so spinning is currently beating out knitting as my favorite thing to do when I’m by myself. (although all bets are off when it becomes watermelon sock time. I’m just going to have to finish all my other projects first.) Side note on the new wheel: I feel like she needs a name. Do people name their spinning wheels? Is this a thing? She’s just got so much personality (as well as being tiny and cute) that I feel like she deserves one.
Anyway, back to my spinning adventures. You guys know about Woolgatherings, right? If not, go educate yourselves. They dye absolutely stupendous spinning fiber. Their colors are beautiful, with long repeats that bring so much joy to my heart. The preparation is also beautiful, with fibers drafting easily and smoothly. No unladylike language was used during the spinning of this roving. It was a beautiful dream. You wanna see it, right? Well, this was what I started with:
I tried to spin very fine, but I’m still getting used to my new wheel and I only spun moderately fine. I wanted to keep those scrumptious colors together, so I Navajo plied it on my big spindle. (I refuse to chain ply on the wheel. It upsets me.) Also, the fiber is Blue-faced Leicester and silk, so it’s a trifle grabby. I don’t mind that it’s a bit thicker than I wanted, because look!
I think it looks like pretty autumn leaves or striations in sedimentary rock, but when Greg saw it he thought it looked like blackberry lemonade, and it just stuck. (probably because I want it to be blackberry season reeeeeally badly.) Also, unlike many of my other spinning projects, it knows exactly what it wants to be! (I’ve already downloaded the pattern and everything) It’s going to be the Age of Brass and Steam kerchief! I’ve been wanting to knit this for ages, and the yarn spoke to me, (metaphorically. If my yarn starts actually talking to me, I’m headed right for straight jacket land.) and it demanded to be this! It also happened to be precisely the correct weight and yardage. (230 yards of DK weight.) I love it when stuff works out like that. What do you think about my selection? I’m always open to other opinions :)
…my obsession with yarn that looks like other stuff. I don’t know why, but I have a thing for yarn that looks like food (not just food, stuff from nature gets me too, but I am super into food yarns.) Like this bacon yarn, or this watermelon yarn. That last is particularly relevant, because I had seen it, and loved it, but there was a huge waiting list at the time. (now it’s like a couple of weeks, but I really am more of an instant gratification kind of girl.) However, it still stuck in my mind, somewhere in the back with all the other stuff I want (it’s a long list) until I came across something on this awesome trip that I took with Liz, which I really will eventually blog about. I fell in love many times over in the Mad Color Fiber Arts booth, she had spinning fiber in Blue Tang colors, and some that looked like Neapolitan ice cream. (I was only saved from buying that by my hatred of brown. I was willing to try to get over it, but I knew in my heart that I would never wear anything I made from it.) However, my heart was utterly, utterly stolen when I found this.
Watermelon colors, in the only thing I love more than self-striping. a GRADIENT. And it’s smooshy-soft superwash merino wool too! The colors are just perfectly saturated, they glow with some kind of chromatic radiance, and I am passionately in love with them. However, they are more than just pretty colors. Now the sheer brilliance of Heather (I’m pretty sure that’s the name of the lady who runs the Mad Color show.) is revealed. She dyes her rovings so that if you tear them exactly in half, and spin each half in the same order, you should be able to ply them together and have them match up. Clever! (She’s a smart lady, that Heather.) If you hate chain plying, you can still get a lovely gradient yarn that way. However, if you’re not afraid to chain ply, other possibilities open up before you. Now I love chain plying. I don’t know why, I find it very satisfying and fun! Only on my spindle though, I tried it once on my wheel and did not like it at all.
So anyway, I already had socks on the brain, and this fiber is superwash, so I became consumed with the idea of having my own special watermelon socks!! I would tear it in half, and chain ply each half, getting two small skeins that each had the watermelon gradient. I was convinced that this idea is awesome. So I tore the fiber in half, stopping, of course, for a shot of the halves arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Here’s a few progress shots..
And there’s my first skein, cuddling with the fiber for the other one. I cannot wait to be done with this, so I can start knitting up my first pair of handspun socks!!
This may end up being the coolest spinning project I’ve done so far!
Guys, I am running out of titles for these posts. Someone help me think of something clever related to spinning! (I am not joking. If someone can come up with a good spinning related pun, leave it in the comments and I’ll use it as a post title.)
Some of you may think that since I have a wheel now, I don’t use my spindles anymore. If you assumed that, you assumed wrongly! I still use and love my spindles. In particular, I can’t use my wheel while watching shows on my laptop, so if I want to spin while I watch stuff, it’s gotta be a spindle. I have two types of spindles, one that’s just a normal learning spindle, about 2 ounces, from Ashland Bay. I use that for thicker stuff, or Navajo plying. (I still haven’t gotten the hang of Navajo plying on my wheel.) I also have quite a few lighter spindles from Tina’s Angoras on Etsy.
These spindles are very light, super cost effective, and pretty pretty pretty. I have three, and they are gorgeous. I will admit, I frequently match them to the project I’m working on because I’m crazy like that. (leave me my little quirks. they bring me joy.) They also spin quite fine, which is important to me. My favorite yarns to work with tend to be fingering/sport weight, and because I don’t normally spin more than four ounces at a time, I need to spin thinner to get enough yardage to actually make stuff. I love them!
So on to my current project. You have all heard me talk before about how I love Inglenook Fibers. (Inglenook Fibers is da bomb dot com. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees. Go look at those pretty fibers and tell me that you don’t love them. Also, Macrina, the girl who dyes them, is just a peach.) Well I saw this a few months ago, and I just had to have it. Look at those colors!!!!
It’s Polwarth and Silk in the Indian Corn colorway. Just stunning. Well, once I got it, I just kept it to pet for a little while. It’s soft like kittens and I adore it! But then I started to wonder what the heck I could actually use it for! I was seduced by the pretty colors and high contrast, but I wasn’t sure what it actually wanted to be. That is, until I saw the Princess Franklin Plaid Collar. It’s a garter stitch based plaid, which I think is very clever. Eureka! the pretty colors wanted to be plaid!! So I did this:
I split the braid up into its component colors, and started spinning each little battling on its own! (I don’t have a drum carder, I just pull the fiber into little bits and make a sandwich with the fibers facing the same way to blend the colors.) I’m tracking my yardage, and I will eventually do the math to decide how wide each stripe of the plaid will be. Probably with many gauge swatches, scribbled calculations, and the optional addition of unladylike language and tears :P But the end result will be worth it!! I love plaid, and I will really love plaid in these colors.
What do you guys think of my plan? Crazypants or awesome? Any advice on the best way to do this will be greatly appreciated.