Knitting Stories.

Today, my lovely knitty friends, I have been contemplating why it is that my projects all take so dang LONG. 

Now, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I knit reasonably fast, and I devote a reasonable amount of time to doing it. (My boyfriend might argue about the “reasonableness” of my knitting obsession, but we hearken not to the muggles on such a subject. They know not of our ways.) I was thinking and thinking, when I finally realized why it is. I am a knitter, but I am also a writer, and a perfectionist. Now, my mom (who has seen my house) just fell off of her chair, snorting with laughter, because I am a messy, messy person. This is true. I am OBVIOUSLY not a perfectionist when it comes to keeping things neat and tidy, but I definitely am when it comes to things I create. I want things to be exactly right, even if it takes three times as long. (Like how I now use a sewn bindoff on everything. It takes forever, but is impeccably beautiful.) 

Then let’s add to that that I am a writer. Everything I make and do has a story, and I don’t feel right about a project until the story has completely unfolded in my head. It may not be a story that I share with people, but it at least exists in my mind. Every knitted item has a backstory (Some incredibly silly) and it’s one way that I personally give depth and meaning to the craft of knitting. I can’t really finish an item or write up a piece about it until that inspiration strikes, and that is entirely separate from the “work” of the knitting. It needs to find a place in my creative world before I am ready to share it. Sometimes it is as simple as imagining a tiny, perfect baby wrapped in snowy white angora, just before the snow falls. Sometimes it’s considerably more detailed than that, and that brings me to my current project. 

Not too long ago, I got this:

(Superwash Blue-Faced Leicester from Iknitiatives on Etsy.)

 

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And when I finally held it in my hands, I realized that it was the ocean, trapped in fiber. Before long, I realized that it needed to be a beautiful sweater, something traditional and special, but most of all, something that would allow the nature of this fiber to shine. This would be the yoke of a sweater, shading from the soft, light blues of the surface of the ocean, through the fluttering greens of seaweed, down to the deep, murky depths. The rest of the sweater, perforce, needed to be something that wouldn’t detract from this vision. I settled on a light grey, to be a beautiful setting to this exquisite fiber. I also realized that to make this extra special, the yoke pattern could be mirrored on the cuffs. 

Once the vision was complete, I started spinning. I tore off a smallish strip lengthwise, and then split that in half evenly. I spun those two little rovings end to end, chain plied them, and finally I had these:

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Two little pieces of the ocean. I was entranced. I had to immediately start the larger chunk of roving for the yoke, and in record time I had three full bobbins! 

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Now, I was spinning for a 3-ply worsted weight, but it still went crazy fast. CRAZY. I plied it up in record time, and then finally I had what I wanted.

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It is absolutely perfect. I see the shifting shadows of the ocean reflected exactly in this yarn. I can’t wait to get it on my needles, because I’m hoping that I can design something that lives up to this. I have a lot of ideas, and a few sketches, and we’ll just have to see how it goes. There will probably be lots of ripping back and angry noises before it’s done, but I have faith that with enough perseverance, what currently exists only in my mind will be made manifest. 

And the yarn I got to go with it? 

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It actually matches a grey that exists in the handspun, and I think that it will serve as a lovely setting in which the jewel-like blues can shine. 

So there you have it. A little glimpse into my creative process. I think that what draws us to knitting (and blogging about it) is that it can be so personally expressive. It lets you take the images out of your head, and turn them into something tangible, something that will always evoke those daydreams for you. I’m imagining a girl on the Shetland Islands, wearing the sweater that I’m designing, looking out over the cliffs to the ocean, wind blowing through her hair as the sun tints everything gold. That’s only one imagining that goes into this. There’s also the idea of a mermaid, swimming deeper and deeper into the dark of the ocean. Inspiration comes from everywhere, and then when we turn it into something, it always exists as part of that thing, and that’s why I love knitting. (and designing, though I’m crap at it.) Personally it’s always been hard for me to share my thoughts with others, though I’m much better at it in a written medium than a spoken one. I don’t always know how to articulate things, but when I create something, instead of stumbling over the words I clumsily fail to say, I can just say “Look, this is a window into my mind. This is me, shown through what I have created.” And there’s something very special about that.

 

Anyway, I didn’t intend to get so contemplative, but I don’t think it’s necessarily bad. I think that we occasionally need to delve into what inspires us, and why. Where does your inspiration come from? 

Shawl Fever.

It’s all shawls all the time here at chez Lolly. I want to knit all the shawls. My love for them has finally reached a critical mass, and I keep going through my yarn stash (it’s smaller than you might think) and picking out yarns that I think would be perfect for shawls. I cruise Ravelry and look at all the lovely patterns (I’ve even downloaded a few and saved them in a folder on my computer.) I think that they are both practical and clever, particularly if your lifestyle is such that you spend time in a freezing office where the extra warmth is extremely pleasant. They can also be exceptionally chic, draped elegantly around your shoulders. Plus, they are fairly lightweight, and make good summer knitting.

All these reasons, though logical, are not the true reason that I am currently hankering after shawls. My first foray into the world of shawls was so wildly successful that I am delirious with the joy of creation. I’ve been wearing it as often as I can possibly manage in the hot and humid weather we’ve been having in Boston lately. So here it is, the story of how I fell in love with shawls.

It started with this:
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A braid of fiber from Violet Linx on Etsy. She does amazing things with luxury blends, and this was no exception, merino, cashmere, and silk. (The fiber blend, though amazingly luxurious, is part of why I haven’t been able to wear this much. This baby is seriously warm.) I decided on a single ply, and I ended up with about 270 yards of scrumptious goodness.
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After searching and searching for just the right pattern to set off the lovely yarn, I decided on the Holden Shawlette, despite the fact that I had nothing like enough yarn. So I made modifications.

-The original pattern has you increase four stitches every two rows, but I changed it to six stitches every two rows, increasing every row on each edge until I had 91 stitches.
-I did yarn over increases in the center of the shawl, but make 1 increases on the edges.
-I then switched to increasing four stitches every two rows like normal.
-However, I started worrying about having enough yarn, so once I got to 165 stitches I started increasing two stitches on the wrong side rows again.
-When I reached 189 stitches, I followed the pattern as written for the smallest size, and switched to yarn over increases at the edges (for a little tiny bit of extra ruffle)
-I added an additional plain knitted increase row and a wrong side purl row before starting the edging instructions.
-The pattern has you knit two rows in order to give a purl ridge before the edging. I knit four rows before the edging, and increased on the right side rows with make 1 increases.
-I then did the picot bind off as written.

These modifications will give you a decent sized shawlette out of only 270 yards, which is great for those of us who spin and frequently end up with awkward amounts of yarn :P

Once I was finished, I had this.
Blocking:
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And beautifully finished:
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I love the gradient, it works perfectly with the pattern, and I think that this is the most beautiful thing I have ever knit. Creating a finished thing that started with a pile of fluff makes me feel quite clever, and it makes me excited for fall (so I can actually wear it.) I do, however, still wear it now, just only for a few brief minutes at a time :P

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It makes me feel like the prettiest princess. I adore it with every fiber of my being, and I’m still kindof shocked that I knit that. Also, I’ve gotten some really good validation of my efforts because a couple of my friends have tried to steal it right off of my neck! (Fortunately I have excellent reflexes!) I did let my friend Liz wear it when she was cold in a restaurant, but I kept a VERY close eye on her. She tried to make with the grabby hands, but I took it back safely. 

I don’t think that I would ever have made this if I hadn’t started to blog. (For one thing, I would never have learned how to spin!)I have to say that blogging has been the best thing I ever did for my knitting skills. Reading about what other people are making helps me learn so many new things, and gain the courage to just try stuff! Sometimes, it works out even better than you could possibly have dreamed. 

Halloooo?

Yes, I’m still here :P and still knitting, what’s more! It seems like all I want to do lately when I’m not at work is take naps. However, I thought I would at least drop by to show you my latest knitting obsession. Self-striping shawl yarn from Caterpillargreen Yarns. It’s not released yet, but soon, and I was lucky enough to be one of her test knitters. I have it in the lovely G Biv colorway, and I “just one more row”-ed myself until shockingly late on Saturday night. I am working on a version of the Boneyard shawl by Stephen West but I’m doing the purl ridges more often to delineate the color shifts. It is way too fun!

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Tour de Fleece update!

Well, my goals for TdF are going pretty well! (if by pretty well you mean that there’s no way I’ll ever finish before the end) I, however, am not in the least cast down by that. I have gotten two lovely yarns so far, which I’m just itching to show you!

First off, this is some merino from Three Waters Farm (I have all the love for their stuff.) Isn’t it perfection? I did a fractal spin, which basically just means that I split half of it up into little bits to get a subtle stripe. It looks like that worked, though it’s hard to tell from the photos. It came out to about 290 yards of a sport/DK weight, and it is just smooshy and bouncy and cushy like you wouldn’t believe.

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Secondly, I got this lovely bit of business. This is a merino/silk blend from Pigeonroof Studios, and it was simply a dream to spin. The colorway was Honeybee, and I think it is perfectly apt. I love how the colors in the fiber look almost glazed. It’s too lovely! I wanted the colors to be in little pops, so I split it into many thin strips on the advice of my Internet friends, and it worked like a charm! The benefits of having smart people at your virtual fingertips :P This will almost certainly be a shawl, if I can make the design in my head a reality. I spun it as a low twist fingering weight single, and got 460 yards out of 4 ounces. That’s some of my best yardage yet!! It’s a little thick and thin, but I find that that’s part of its charm.

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Finally, I will show you the definition of “biting off more than I can chew.” I had this lovely white mulberry silk that I originally bought to ply with something else and then later decided against it. So it was just sitting around, waiting for its destiny to be made manifest.

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However, when I was at the Massachusetts sheep and wool fair (yeah, I went to that) I found something that would elevate it to pure art. There were these amazing prime angora carded batts, perfectly white and soft and airy like little clouds. They were heartbreakingly lovely, the way things are when they’re almost too perfect. (I have a serious love of angora, and I’ve never felt nicer angora. That’s saying something.) I only made two purchases at the festival, and this was the only one for me. I got two wee batts of this, and I imagined it plied with the mulberry silk. I thought of the softness and fuzziness paired with the smooth sheen of the silk, and I was inspired. Then I started spinning the silk singles, and let me tell you, it was NOT fun. This wasn’t the first time I had spun silk, but it was my first experience with mulberry silk sliver. I wanted it to be thin and even and smooth. It wanted to be lumpy and to fall apart at the least hint of too much tension. I kept trying different spinning methods, different drafting methods, any way possible to get it to spin nicely. I tried everything to beat this stupid fiber into submission, and it fought me every step of the way. I thought I would spin it up in an evening, whip up the angora the next day, ply them, and be on my merry little way in two, maybe three days. That was so far off it’s laughable. Three ounces of silk took me three days of near constant spinning, one of which was a Saturday. Not only that, when I would get up from spinning, I would look like silk worms had attacked me. There was silk EVERYWHERE. There would be silk in my hair, in my nose, stuck to my shirt, it was maddening. Add to that that I felt like I was spinning like someone had hit me with a stupid stick, and it was just entirely too much. When I finally got to the end of the silk, I favoured it with my opinion of its character and morals (of which I did not think highly) and did an obnoxious little victory dance because it was finally finished. Want to see?

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Pretty right? It looks innocent, but I assure you that it quite shook my confidence in my ability as a spinner. I wanted to challenge myself to spin finer than I had ever done before, because it could just be such brilliant lace, but the fiber compounded the challenge dramatically. After that, I moved on to this.

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Isn’t it just like a lovely little cloud? Don’t you want to bury your face in it? I eyed it with some misgiving, since the silk had me quite cast down, but once I started spinning it was like all of that had never been. The angora was a dream to spin. It just flowed through my fingers, effortlessly turning into beautiful, soft, fine singles. It was pure pleasure, and much needed after my horrible experience with the silk. The only thing they had in common was that the angora was inclined to cover me in a thin layer of fuzz as well, but I found even that to be charming. After a very short while spinning, I finished the angora. Here are the singles side by side:

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Now I’m going to ply them, and I really hope that the reality lives up to my idea of it. (it would really be a shame to be disappointed after all the work I put into it.) I think it will though. I have never spun finer singles, so I expect to get really good yardage from these! I’ll let you know what happens when it’s all plied up. And after that I’ve got this:

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And this:

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I can’t wait! I need more color in my life.

Tour de Fleece

It may shock you, due to my relative blog silence on the topic, but I am actually doing the Tour de Fleece this year.

(For those uninitiated into the ways of spinning yarn, it’s a bunch of spinners who try to spin every day during the Tour de France. It’s a chance to challenge yourself and feel like part of a community of makers. It’s awesome.)

My first challenge was to try a new way of spinning color, a fractal spin with some seriously soft Three Waters Farm merino. I’m absolutely head over heels for the yarn I got, but it currently needs a bath to set the twist, so no pictures of that yet!

Here are the three braids I’ve got planned for the remainder of the Tour de Fleece:

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I started with the amazing Pigeonroof Studios merino/silk. This is the Honeybee colorway, and it is so out of my normal comfort zone. However, I am absolutely enchanted with this fiber.

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I wanted yarn that was basically exactly like the fiber, just thinner. For that reason, I decided to do a singles yarn. (I know a couple of the more experienced spinners just lost their minds. I promise I have done this before, with excellent results. I spin with very low twist naturally, so my singles yarns tend to behave themselves and not get too twisty.) I also wanted little pops and flecks of color all through the yarn, so I split it up into a lot of lengthwise strips so that the color changes would be quick.

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It’s turning out great so far, and I wish you could reach through the computer screen and feel this, because it is AMAZING. It’s destined to be a shawl because I can’t imagine not wanting to snuggle into this in the winter. The fiber is also beautifully well prepared, so the spinning is very stress free and smooth. This is my first Pigeonroof Studios braid, but I’m sure it’s not my last. Lovely stuff.

After that, I think I’m going to do
MORE Three Waters Farm fluff. I have this little bit of perfection:

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It is a mixture of polwarth and silk. There’s a subtle sheen if you look closely, but the biggest contribution of the silk is the wonderful depth of color you get. This is the Red Cake colorway, and it is destined for a fair isle mitten/hat set. I’ve ordered some snowy white polwarth to go with it, and I’m going to do the Beaumont tam and Freja mittens (which are by different designers, but look to me like they go together.) I think that this will be a perfect dressy set for winter, and will go beautifully with my red coat. I love my red coat.

Last, but definitely not least, is this great braid from Iknitiatives.

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It really looks like the ocean to me. I snagged it when she was having a sale, and I’m in love. It’s over six ounces of superwash Blue-faced Leicester, and it’s going to be the yoke for a ridiculously cool sweater. (well, I hope it’s cool. Right now it only exists in my mind, but I’ve got what I think is a very good idea.) Im thinking that since there’s so much of it, I may tear off a tiny strip and then split it lengthwise so I can do cuffs that mirror the yoke. Is that too anal retentive? I like things to match. I am not going to start spinning this one until the yarn for the body of the sweater arrives. I couldn’t find the perfect grey yarn, so instead I found some undyed yarn (so cheap it would make you weep for joy) and I’m going to dye it. Wish me luck!

A little of this, a little of that..

It seems like lately I can’t really focus on one thing. Now it may surprise you, but I am usually a very monogamous knitter. I don’t like to have too much stuff on the needles, because I don’t have tons of time for knitting and I don’t want to get overwhelmed. I knit for fun and relaxation, and if I have a bunch of things going I start to get stressed out about finishing all of them, and then the fun and relaxation go right out the window. However, right now I’ve got two different knitting projects and two different spinning projects all going on at once. This is very unusual for me. I was working away on the baby set, (which is so close to being done I can smell it) and here is a picture that is a few days old.

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As you can see, I’ve got finished booties, a nearly finished bonnet, (I just have to decide whether the ties should be finished with tassels or pom poms. Instagram says pom poms, but I’ll give you guys an equal say. Which should it be?) and the sweater needs only part of a sleeve and some applied i-cord edging and buttonholes. (and buttons, but I’m not thinking about that yet.) I figure that since the plan is for this to be an heirloom, I shouldn’t muck it up with a substandard button band, so I’m going to learn to do applied i-cord in order to match the ties on the bonnet. I hate it sometimes when I get like this. I have so few perfectionist tendencies that they often take me by surprise.

Anyway, that’s nearly done, and I think the lack of color and tiny needles must have been killing my soul a little, because out of the blue I cast on this with big needles for a shawl.

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This is some of my favorite handspun, and it is a beautiful gradient from cream to deep purple. (if you need the specs, check here) I had been trying to make a plan for what to knit with it, and I kept coming up blank. Either it was a colorwork shawl that I’d have to convert to be in one color, or the yardage was wrong, or the yarn weight was off, or something. What I really wanted was something that would use up nearly every precious inch of this handspun, be semi-circular, and have lace that didn’t distract from the gradient. Apparently that was too much to ask, because I couldn’t find anything that met my criteria and now I am designing something with it instead. All shall be revealed in the fullness of time.

Additionally, I started spinning some mulberry silk, which was lovely, but a bear to work with. (also cream, and I think the lack of color was getting to me.) See?

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Pretty, but lacking color. So I ripped that bobbin off of my spinning wheel and grabbed a roving with some seriously wild colors. Green, pink, purple, and chartreuse. I decided to try to blend the colors with a fractal spin, and it worked beautifully. Pretty soon I had these:

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Followed by this little plying ball:

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Which became this yarn!

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I need to give it a bath before its photo shoot, but it is very soft and nice. It’s from Three Waters Farm (of which I am a big fan) and it’s probably the squishiest merino I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I am absolutely wild about the finished yarn, and I will be sending it off to live with a friend whose stash was tragically reduced by some problems with her house. I shudder to think about what I would do if anything happened to my yarn, so I’m mailing a few little bits off to her to take away some of the sting of that loss. Hopefully handspun can do something to ease the pain.

Last but not least, who is doing Tour de Fleece this year? I’m doing it in a fairly relaxed way, not as part of a team but really just trying to spin every day. I’m going to dig through my stash and see what I want to try to spin, because so far I’ve only been working on finishing things. I think I’m going to go back to the mulberry silk, and then try plying it with some seriously sexy snow-white angora. I feel like the resulting yarn could be nothing less than spectacular. We shall see.

As a side note, I went out to dinner with my great aunt and uncle, and they both spontaneously said nice things about stuff I had knitted for them and how often they use it. It’s nice to be appreciated 😁

Okay, seriously the last thing. If you guys have been wondering where I’ve been for the last few weeks, you can blame this virus I picked up. I was completely felled by its nasty little germiness. It strongly resembled the common cold on steroids. The symptoms have finally left me, but I am still so tired all the time that my hair hurts. Anyone else have any experience with a cold that just won’t quit? How do I get my energy back?

A Tale of Two Yarns.

Well, I finished the Merino/Yak yarn for my Grandpa! It is one of the heavier things I’ve spun on my wheel, and I was completely stunned by how quickly it went! It’s about 200 yards of DK to chunky weight, but it’s mostly in the worsted weight range with only a few thick and thin spots. It’s the color of milk chocolate and I really love the softness of it. I think it will make a perfect warm hat for Colorado.

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I want to start knitting it nownownow but I’m still committed to the baby sweater I am working on. It’s angora and incredibly squee, so it’s not as though it’s a big sacrifice. I don’t think there’s anything inherently better about having few projects instead of many, but I get overwhelmed if I have too much on my plate so I’m keeping the numbers low for now.

Anyway, that’s just one of the yarns I had to show you today! The other one has been a bit more under the radar. I felt like I was spinning it forever, but I never blogged about it! The yarn started out as this enormous smooshy batt from Upstream Alpacas: (Highly recommended, it’s lovely stuff.)

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Which was alpaca, angora, mohair, and silk. Dreamy, right? I decided, however, that more angora is never a bad thing, so I ordered an extra two ounces of lovely grey angora, opened up the batt, and sandwiched it right in the middle. It worked a treat too! I just tore off strips for spinning and the angora in the middle came with. The batt was smooth, but still had a bit of texture. The locks of mohair were actually more distinct from the other fibers, so there are some charming bumpy bits where there’s a bit more mohair than anything else.

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I love this yarn. It’s about 500 yards of fingering weight, with a lovely soft halo from the angora. Greg gave it a cuddle and said it was “crazy soft” so it gets the seal of approval from a non-yarny person too. (I put all of my recently spun yarns on him when I get bored, but this was the one he picked out for its softness.) I think this is going to be a pair of fingerless gloves for the winter, and a cute matching lacy beret. I love the Veyla pattern for gloves, and the ones I knit for my dear friend Natalie turned out beautifully. She apparently gets compliments on them all the time, so they must be stylish as well. I think I could modify the pattern so I could have a matching hat, which would be too cute for words. For someone who knits as much as I do, you would think that I’d have more winter accessories, but most of my knitted creations walk right out the door with my friends and family. I’m trying to fix that bit by bit, since it’s cold enough here that I really need such things! I think this will be an excellent start, as a pretty grey hat and mitt set will match everything and be quite classic.

Until next time yarny friends!!

Socks for Me!!

Hello my lovely flowers!

(side note: boys can be lovely flowers too. If they want. I’m not leaving anyone out.)

I bring you something shocking on this fine day. I actually knit something for myself! (and it only took more than a year to finish the project :P) I almost overwhelmingly knit gifts, because wool=love in my mind. It’s not that I don’t love myself, it’s just that I don’t really think “Oh man, I just love and appreciate me so much! I should totally knit me something.” Which is often how I get started knitting something for someone else.

Anyway, I started knitting these socks a loooooong time ago, out of the now discontinued Cakewalk Yarns. (We mourn the passing of such lovely yarn. She moved on to bigger and better things, but her yarn shall never be forgotten.) I picked them up recently because I was in between projects and having UFO’s bugs me. Besides, I really wanted these socks! The speckly randomness of them charms me utterly.

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Pretty, non? I call them my water lily socks, because to me, the colors evoke a beautiful impressionist painting. The pattern helps with that too, because the purl stitches make the colors seem to subtly swirl together. I love the result! Everyone loves Hermione’s Everyday Socks, and now I know why. I was knitting on these last year during Greg’s graduation in May, but not too long after that I got bogged down in Christmas knitting. I never picked them back up until just recently.

It’s funny to see how much you learn in a year! I realized now that I was knitting the socks at way too loose a gauge, so the fabric isn’t firm and sturdy. I also made the foot too short, so the heels are constantly slouching down :P I know a lot more about socks now, since I’ve knit three pairs since I started these. I’ve definitely improved with each one! I’m not going to rip the socks back, but when they get a hole (as they will, swiftly) I’m going to unravel them and reknit them at a better gauge. It seems sad, but it’s actually encouraging to see that I’ve gotten to be a much better sock knitter since I started these! Besides, this yarn is lovely and doesn’t exist anymore, so it deserves a second lease on life.

Grandpa, if you are reading this, STOP RIGHT THERE. I love you lots, but don’t read anymore of this entry. (I am not being mean, I promise.)

Now, on to spinning. Ever since my total failure with the stripey socks (which I still owe you pictures of.) I’ve been thinking about what to knit my grandpa instead. My mom said that he would probably get much more use out of a hat, but hats are easy. I wanted to make it special, so I decided to spin the yarn myself. I knew that what would be the most useful would be a simple hat with reversible ribbing, long enough that the bottom could be folded up for a double layer around the ears. After I decided that, it only remained to find the perfect fiber, which I finally did at the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool fair. Check it out!

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I know that it looks pretty normal, but this is 50/50 merino/yak. It’s incredibly soft, and soooooo warm!! For those of you who have never come across yak fiber, it’s actually the downy undercoat of the yak that they shed in the spring. It’s for insulation in the Himalayas, so it’s super warm. It’s also very fine and soft, as is the merino wool it’s blended with. The fibers are both different colors too, which should make a lovely heathered yarn. I’m trying to spin thicker than normal, so we shall see how even it is. I’m going for a worsted/chunky weight for extra coziness in those Colorado winters. That will make a very warm, thick hat! I hope he likes it :)

A wee bit of vintage finery.

Hello my pretties!

Today I am tired and thoroughly sunburnt, having just returned from a perfectly lovely trip to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal is a beautiful city, the race cars were fast and fancy, and the cheese curds in québécois poutine actually squeak! We camped a short distance outside the city, and drove to one of the endpoints of the Metro. We had a wonderful time, and I was thoroughly shocked by how much French I remember from the year I took in college! I guess total immersion language teaching really does work :)

Anyhow, that’s not even what I was planning to blog about! I know you all are just here for the knitting :P I’ve got a present to show off, because it was delivered long enough ago that the surprise wouldn’t be ruined. I made this for my Aunt Elizabeth who lives here in Boston, because she and my Uncle Graham (who also got a knitted Christmas present, but more on that later) have taken good care of me in the more than six years that I’ve lived in Boston. It will also hopefully match a pair of fingerless gloves I knit her last year. This was a reasonably quick knit, and turned out so cute!

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The yarn I used was Sandnes Garn Silk Mohair, and it was lovely and soft (especially after a wash) Mohair is a little hit or miss for me, it can be a bit scratchy but this was nice. I knit it using a double strand of the yarn, because I wanted it to be warm. Also, if you want to frog anything made of this yarn, you are out of luck. It is WELDED together once it’s knit.

The pattern was Knitted Neck Scarf by Martha Stewart. I didn’t know she did knitting patterns, but I’m not in the least surprised. The instructions are pretty minimal, but it’s quite an easy pattern and the construction is elegant. I really like the way this turned out! Apparently I’m not the only one either, because my dear friend Liz saw it, squealed, and immediately demanded one of her own. Fortunately, I only used about half of the skein, so it looks like she will (eventually) get her wish :P What wonderful projects are you working on today?

In which I confess something that surprises no one.

Friends, I may be just a wee bit on the obsessive side occasionally. ( I know, shocking.) When I find something that I really love, I stick with it. And, in the case of this particular obsession, I fill my underbed storage bins with it and dream of hoarding even more. (is that just me?)

What I’m talking about this time is spinning fiber by SpunRightRound on Etsy. I’ve got it bad. I’ve ordered at least six braids, and I need to stop before I bury myself in them. I just love her colors! Bright colors have always appealed to me, so her combinations are, to me, just exactly right. As much as I want to make a nest out of her stuff and just live there, I do have to be just a little practical and not use expensive spinning fiber for bedding! So I finally spun up one of the braids of roving rather than just keeping it as a little pet. Remember this?

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Well now it’s this.

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Isn’t it gorgeous? The fiber is the Igloo colorway in Polwarth, which I wasn’t sure that I would like as much as my beloved merino. It felt a little crunchy and rustic while I was spinning it (at least more so than merino.) When I was done spinning the yarn felt very firm and durable, but not as soft as I was expecting. It was also very “grabby” fiber, so I had trouble getting it as thin as I wanted. When I tried to draft the fibers they wanted to bring all their friends with them! However, it ended up as 300 yards of a sport/DK weight which was just about perfect. Also, after washing, the yarn was sooooo soft. Bouncy and springy, and I just wanted to smoosh it against my face! This is definitely something you can wear next to your skin.

With these amazing colors, I felt like my only option was to Navajo ply, in order to keep the pretty color progression with long repeats. And I am so glad that I did. I’m thinking maybe a chevron cowl for this? I know it would be amazing. When I spin something with such lovely colors, I don’t always know what to do with it other than admire it. It’s easier to find projects for solid colors, but bright, happy colors like this are much more fun :D

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