Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Fever

This month I've been feeling a little off knitting and spinning-wise. I just can't seem to settle in and focus on a project. So, when it came time to figure out what to turn in for Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup, I was at something of a loss. The Darling Clementine socks worked fine for Detention (a project started earlier that has not been finished, then gets finished during the month). Unfortunately, that doesn't count for your class and students are required (in order to keep their good student standing for sorting purposes) to turn in at least one class. I like to do at least two just in case there's an issue so last week I whipped out a couple of projects.

Here we have a handspun BFL Toilet Paper Cozy. (It's really a baby hat, just going incognito for the purposes of class turn-in.)
Then I also knitted this round dishcloth.

Nothing to write home about really. I've just been feeling sort of blah about dealing with complicated things lately. I think it's Spring Fever, despite the fact that Spring has not actually arrived. I keep telling myself to finish some things before starting new things too and I'm just not in love with any of my current projects.
These totally count as finishing things right? That means I can start something new? Like a little teeny sweater to match that baby hat? I have lots of yarn left.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hello Clementine

Last night I sat myself down and told myself that I was about half a foot away from some finished socks and it was time to do something about it. So, I buckled down and finished my Darling Clementine socks.

Aren't they bright and sunshiney and lovely next to all that fresh snow? I continued the cable down the sides of the foot and while it is a lovely cable, I did not enjoy knitting it.

I ended up using a cable needle which seriously slows me down but dropping stitches every time and having to pick them up (repeatedly usually) made it not worth cabling without a cable needle either. I managed to lose the cable needle somewhere in my living room last night just before the last cable too. How do they disappear like that? It really is a mystery. I'll look for it later.
It's a good thing these are done too because I noticed something the night before last.

These are my handspun Whomp socks. They have a cable down the side of the leg. That's where I got the idea for these Darling Clementine socks as a matter of fact. They weren't particularly favorites but they were a little thicker, being handspun, so they saw a lot of use this winter. I could darn them or reknit the heels but the whole heel area is worn very thin on both so I think it's time to retire these lovely socks. Good-bye Whomp Socks. Hello Clementine.
(Never fear, I still have some of the Whomp handspun left so I could always make something else in the same colorway, to will remind me of these socks, and how much they helped keep my feet warm on this cold, cold winter. That is if I can ever bear to remember this winter.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stripe Kit

If you've been reading for any length of time you know that I'm in the Gritty Knits Merino of the Month club. Each month I get a braid of beautifully dyed Merino from the lovely Natasha and add it to my fiber stash. Sometimes, of course, it isn't my favorite colors but it's a club and that's bound to happen. I love the versatility of Merino and I really enjoy spinning it so I stick with this lovely, very reasonably priced club even though I often have more than 10 braids of Merino sitting around waiting to be spun at any given time. (That's probably a low estimate but I'm not going to reveal the truth about the stash.)
Every so often Natasha will use her lovely color sense and come up with an idea. Sometimes, being in the club gives us a chance to test it out for her and such was the case in January of 2012. I got this lovely big package in the mail and ripped into it to find...a Stripe Kit. It was 6 ounces, rather than the usual 4 and was in 2 ounce pieces. Each piece was dyed differently and the idea was to spin them and chain-ply for predictable, gradual stripes or alternate for a random pattern or anything else. The idea created a sort of stir in my Knitting and Spinning groups and lots of people spun 3 different-colored braids together. The results were gorgeous and I recently realized that I had never spun my Stripe Kit. It seemed like a great time to practice double drive on my wheel so I changed things up and got to spinning.

As you can see the three braids are very different, although the third one (on the right) has elements of both of the other two.

It was hard to get an idea of how they would spin up together though. So I dove right in and started. A traditional 3-ply all the way.

It turned out to be a very unusual yarn. It's all different and it's so hard to tell in the photos about the subtle shifts in color on each section of the yarn.

It's about a fingering weight but dense. Only about 420 yards from the 6 ounces.

Maybe here you can see a little bit better how the colors shift slowly in each part of the yarn. It's really unusual and I really can't wait to see how it looks knit up. I'm thinking after I finish some socks I have on the go, this might need to become some socks. Even though it's 100% merino, it has a nice tight twist and will be dense and tightly-knit so I think it will be okay. I'm not too worried, I have enough hand-knit socks in the drawer that I can afford to experiment a bit.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Slow and Steady

This week has been a little odd. I didn't feel that great for a couple of days and with the nice weather, (everything is finally melting!) I've been restless. I'm trying so hard to not cast on anything new but I'm not feeling a ton of love for any of my current projects either so I worked a bit on a few things and not enough to show off. 
One thing I haven't mentioned for awhile though is the mini spindle. I've been pulling it out for a few minutes' spinning here and there and I still really enjoy it. I'm spinning some absolutely amazing Into the Whirled fiber. It's Rambouillet in the colorway Captain Tightpants which is a Firefly reference. I'm really enjoying it and it's a nice break in between knitting.

The only trouble is that when you're spinning on a spindle like this, when you get stuck in the "boring" bits of color, you're stuck for awhile. I made it through this bit of brown now and I'm ready to remove the little ball the spindle has on it and start again. How exciting. It's a very slow process but sometimes with a lovely fiber like this, it's nice to take your time and really enjoy it.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Handspun Half Pi

I could resist the siren song of a new project no longer and I had to cast something on. Does anyone remember this?

It's a 2 ounce skein of chain-plied Rambouillet from Cloudlover in the colorway Maenad. I love it so much! I finally spun the second half as well awhile back and reunited them recently. (Somehow they had gotten separated and I couldn't remember where one was when I had the other one. I should really try to be more organized or something.)
I decided it was begging to be knit into a shawl and I wanted something a little different. I decided on a half pi shawl. I dug out my Elizabeth Zimmermann books and took a look at the pi shawl directions and made some decisions about how to make it a half pi. I'm sure there are instructions out there, sometimes I just have to work things out for myself (read: the hard way).
Then, I knit.

I'm on the second skein already, (It's really hard to take a decent picture of a half pi shawl on the needles. At least, once it gets to a certain size it is.) I absolutely love it. The colors aren't quite like this second picture, they're more like the first. The only thing I'm running into; I want to keep knitting, I'm afraid it won't be a very large shawl so I've put out a call on the Cloudlover Ravelry boards for more fiber if it's out there. Otherwise, I may have to beg dear Natalie of Cloudlover to custom dye some for me. In the meantime, it's a lovely, fairly plain project (I decided against a lace pattern in the plain sections so the yarn could be the focal point) and I'm enjoying knitting (or purling) away while reading.
I hope you have a great weekend and get some wonderful, quiet time to knit!