Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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Here are my first pictures of Esther Williams:

Esther Williams Esther Williams

The color is somewhere between the two, but closer to the first. I was going to trial the pattern and then make one for my friend, but when I went stashdiving I saw this color and went "oooooh, perfect" and got started. So much for the trial.

There is a lot of stranding involved, which requires my attention, which means it's a little hard to get going these days. But I know the finished hat will be worth it, so I'll buckle down.

In other knitting news

The Buttercup is all knitted up, just needs some blocking:


I know, it looks just like all the other photos, except there's more of it. What? Yes, there's more of it, that proves I did do some knitting on it! The edges curl so I'm wondering if a pinned steam blocking will take care of it.

On the spinning front

Spun up the rest of the Wensleydale! That makes just under 4 oz spun to the same weight! That's the most of any one batch I've made! I waited to ply them all (3 spindles full) because if it's not there unplied to look at, I forget what I did and spin thinner. It's hard (for me) to tell from yarn that's already plied and set what thickness and twist I had put in. Is that something you get better at figuring out? Or do you just wait to ply, like me?

28: Winderwood Farms wensleydale

No, but my wrists are!

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers
Started: 11/27/05
Finished: 11/28/05
Pattern: "Hand/Wrist Warmers" by Joelle Hoverson, Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Handspun 2 ply Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester, just under 2 oz
Needles: #7
Notes: My first handspun, handknit project. Very cool. The two balls were spun at different times and thus were quite different. The second ball was a lighter weight and much more consistent. It made a slightly smaller wristwarmer so I added an extra row at the end before binding off.

I loves them. They also have a nice color gradation from dark at the wrist to light at the fingers. Because I split the roving lengthwise before spinning, the two balls are pretty close in colors; you could say they (more or less) match.

And now go gawk

There are plenty of spinners out there making amazing things. I'm still operating on a spindle so the goings is slow. But lookie here, Lisa Souza handdyes roving and yarn, and one of her customers sent her pictures of a WHOLE SWEATER that she spindled and knit. Let me say that again: a WHOLE SWEATER! On a spindle! Good golly miss molly, makes my jaw drop.

Back of Buttercup

The knitting is done on Buttercup! She just needs a good blocking because like so many Canadians, she just wants to curl (I learned this from the Yarn Harlot's readers). The color is off, but you can see the back in this photo. I see a bunch of faces and I want to draw in the mouths; what do you see?


I joined me a new knitalong over at Poor Miss Finch:

It's for a cute hat that she designed. First one will be a test run, and then I have the perfect recipient in mind!

Ahh, that's more like it!

The first time I spun some of the Winderwood Farms Wensleydale, it came out microscopic. That's what it wanted to be, so that's what I spun. But no way am I knitting that up. This time, I decided what I wanted it to be:

28: Winderwood Farms Wensleydale

Muahahahaha! To be plied.

She's checkered, she's done

Trimmed the fringe yesterday and she's now a done deal. No recipient in mind, just wanted to use the yarn. She's soft, and a quick knit. And for a handdyed cashmere blend, quite affordable!

Summer Rain Checkered Scarf

Summer Rain Checkered Scarf
Finished: 11/27/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Danette Taylor's 70% lambswool / 30% cashmere in Summer Rain, one 3.5 oz skein
Needles: #9
Notes: The dye came off on my hands and needles on this yarn. Same thing happened with another Summer Rain yarn, so it could be something specific to that colorway. Haven't had that problem with any of her other colorways, though. Also, the photo doesn't do the colors justice!

This yarn is crazy soft for only 30% cashmere. It's fluffy without bits fluffing off. The #9 needles give it good drape, but for a non-scarf item, I think 8's, or possibly 7's, would be more comfortable.

To knit:
Cast on 18 sts.
* k3p3 across x 4 rows
* p3k3 across x 4 rows
Repeat these 8 rows until desired length or out of yarn. Fringe.

Introducing... Buttercup

I mentioned her briefly one day, but I don't think her photo made it out. Here she be, in all her foot and a half glory:

Buttercup - in progress

Cashmere loverliness. I worked on her at the Knitsmithy yesterday. Lucky for me I didn't have to reknit everything, it's hard to follow three conversations and knit at the same time.

My own handspun

Muahahahaha. Think of that TV bit that followed X-Files episodes - "I made that". That's what runs through my head when I work on this:

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers

It's knit with yarn I spun! My first handspun handknit! It's Fleece Artist blue faced leicester, and the first half was spun much before the second half was spun and plied. This means the first wristwarmer is a little bulkier and the yarn less even and the twist not quite so nice. In the photo you can see the one on the right is just a little bit skinnier. But I don't care! It's soft, it's cozy, it's purty.

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers

Catharina Rose is done! She's my second shawl, my second faroese shawl, my first lace shawl, and my first blocked shawl. Here she is blocking:

Catharina Rose - blocking

And some close ups:

Catharina Rose - blocking

Catharina Rose - blocking

Catharina Rose - blocking

Catharina Rose
Started: 7/19/05
Finished: 11/26/05
Pattern: "Catharina" by Myrna Stahman, The Best of Knitter's Magazine: Shawls and Scarves
Yarn: Danette Taylor's lace merino in Bramble Rose, ~5 oz
Needles: #5
Notes: This was an easy knit. Because it's knit from the top down, you increase 8 stitches every other round; around 300 stitches, I was getting batty, took soooo long to finish 1 row! But, as with other monotony, I settled down, and the last few inches were no problem at all. Also, with Myrna's shawls, you cast on invisibly and then pick up and graft stitches shortly after, so you get the nice continuous seed stitch border that goes around most of the shawl and only 2 ends to sew in.

Blocking was time consuming and since it was my first blocked lace shawl, I really didn't know where to begin. The faroese shawls have a bit of shoulder shaping that helps the shawl sit on your shoulders, but that makes them a bit trickier to block. In the end, I started with the middle section, stretched it out good and tight, pinned the wing tips, and then stretched everything else 'til it was tight.

I love the colors in this pattern. When I chose the yarn I wasn't sure if the colors would obscure the lace, but after the first triangle I was pretty happy. The yarn on these needles was a good fit.

Pink Clapotis

With the Hourglass Sweater done, I turned my attention to the Pink Clapotis. Because I was worried about running out of yarn, I frogged several inches and settled on a narrower scarf.

Nope, it's not holiday knitting. Yes, I know, only a couple of dozen days to go, and plenty of projects left. Just. Can't. Do. It.

Pink Clapotis

Fun locks

Locks are fun. The colors are off, but you get the idea. No carding (don't own anything resembling carders), just fluff and go!

27: dyed locks 27: dyed locks

It's done, it's done! Here she is blocking:

Multidirectional Silk Scarf - blocking

I used blocking wires on just the silk boucle portion, since I liked the garter part just fine and didn't want it to stretch out. Gave it a good steaming and then let sit to cool.

Multidirectional Silk Scarf

Very cool.

She competes with Seaweed Love as my new favorite scarf!

The blocking took care of the buckling middle and the bulging ends. I would still use 4 rows on the half diagonal diamonds in future because of stitch count, but it's good to know the bulging goes away. I think the boucle holds a firmer edge than the Regal Silk. In the pattern photo it sags just a bit.

Multidirectional Silk Scarf
Started: 11/5/05
Finished: 11/20/05
Pattern: Multidirectional Silk Scarf by Iris Scheirer,
Yarn: Danette Taylor's silk boucle (~2.3 oz) and 50/50 cashmere/merino (3.5 oz), both in Bramble Rose
Needles: #8
Notes: See above and yesterday's post.
The cashmere/merino has nice spring and is lovely to knit.


Thanks, Noelle, for your comment about Winderwood Farm. I like their rovings and hope I can figure out the email and delivery delay problems. The package smelled smoky, but the rovings themselves, sealed in their baggies, had a different smell, could have been vinegar as you mentioned. I have heard of packages getting a smoky smell en route with the USPS.


Yesterday was Gram's birthday. We brought Chinese and chocolates. What more can a birthday girl want? Oh yes, watches with replaced batteries. Check!

I had her try on mostly done sock one. Too tight! To frog pond we go.

10 Things about Gram

  • She had the blackest hair in Neponset.
  • She could out-skate her brothers.
  • She had 7 or 8 brothers and sisters and took care of most of them. She has 1 daughter.
  • Gram retired from Gillette after 41 years as a chemist.
  • They wanted her to go to Europe to help but she refused; she doesn't like flying.
  • Gram loved to shop at The Christmas Tree Shop; I always expected to see her in the next commercial.
  • She has a sweet tooth the size of New England; she always leaves room for dessert.
  • Gram crocheted dozens of afghans for family and friends.
  • When Scott was younger and lived nearer to her, he would come home to chicken dinners hanging from his door.
  • She welcomed me from day one and is one of the sweetest spitfires I know.

Happy Birthday, Gram!

The knitting's all done on the Multidirectional Silk Scarf from I have one problem, and one comment.

Notice the buckling? In the silk part?

Multidirectional Silk Scarf

That's the silk boucle not wanting to behave like an icelandic silk. I'm hoping a good stretched pinning and steaming will take care of that.

And the comment:

Multidirectional Silk Scarf

Notice the ends. One bulges out more than the other. I think there is a small problem with the pattern in Step 3, diagonal half diamonds. The first half diamond I followed the pattern and used and ended with 7 stitches over the 5 rows (that's the lower scarf end in the photo). It didn't seem right; the pattern is in multiples of 6, so I should have used and ended up with 6, not 7. But, what do I know, I figured I'd just trust the pattern.

Sure enough, I got to the end and was supposed to knit 6 but only had 5 stitches left. Yep, that's a problem. So I knit 5, and in the second diagonal half diamond, only knit 4 rows. That's the upper scarf end in the photo.

So, in conclusion, the diagonal half diamonds, if knit over 4 rows and using 6 stitches, would work out stitch-wise and give you a nicer looking end.

Also, this pattern is not fun to frog, and the boucle even less so. Otherwise, I might have maybe considered going back and redoing; then again, once I got to the end it was 39 triangles later, and each one took me a good 5-10 minutes... so yeah, chalk it up to experience.

Would I knit one again? Hmm, probably not. Too much turning every 1-5 stitches. On the plus side, it was a good excuse to learn to knit backwards. On the plus plus side, I LOVE the way the scarf looks. The colors coordinate nicely, and it feels and looks beautiful. It was worth doing once and learning the multidirectional stuff. 


Amanda asked about the cashmere blend I bought from Mini Mills. Their website is not great; I dug around and found a page on their fibers. It doesn't list the blend I bought, though. When I was there on honeymoon they said I could email them (or call) to order more. They were very friendly, just not high tech. In fact, we had trouble finding any internet access on The Island and just gave up and enjoyed quieter country living.

PumpkinMama asked about navajo plying. I've done it before, but since it's on a spindle, it's parking and slow goings. There is a video of it (on a wheel) at The Joy of Handspinning. If you've crocheted, think of it as making chains with really big loops.

I was so pleased to finish the Black Fluffy Thing and the Vintage Unvelvet and cross them off my WIP list! Down to 65! (AND, cross off 2 gifts as well.) But then, I realized that the Multidirectional Silk Scarf I started last week never made it onto my WIP list, so I had to add it in. Up to 66. And then, I started a new project, a scarf for a New Year's gift... So, back to 67. Hahaha. You see how this works? This holiday and gift knitting thing is going to throw a monkey wrench into the whole WIP Management thing.

Vintage Unvelvet

Vintage Unvelvet
Started: 11/3/05
Finished: 11/16/05
Pattern: "Vintage Velvet" by Lisa Daniels, Scarf Style
Yarn: Mini Mills 75% cashmere / 25% merino, one 4 oz skein
Needles: #8
Notes: The Vintage Unvelvet was mostly a joy to knit. The pattern really bothered me for the first, oh, 3 feet. There is just enough difference between the front and the back that I have to look several times each row to make sure I'm putting the knits and purls in the right place. Can't watch TV, can't read blogs. But, the last foot and a third I got over it. Maybe it was the crappy late night TV... I really like the way it looks; this yarn shows off the pattern much better than the Touch Me. The cashmere blend is extremely soft (that's where the "joy to knit" comes in), but might deposit bits of cashmere fluff on unsuspecting fleece... haha, not the sheep kind of fleece, silly. I'm still not crazy about the color, and I hope the recipient doesn't mind it too much... But if so, I'll consider dyeing it. Not with Kool Aid. Not this year.

Black Fluffy Thing

Black Fluffy Thing
Started: 11/10/05
Finished: 11/16/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Zegna Baruffa Mousse, tripled
Needles: #10
Notes: The pattern was kept simple because anything more would get lost in the black and boucle. And while the pattern irritated me (mostly because I couldn't see it), the last foot and a half didn't bother me at all. Maybe it was the home stretch. Maybe it was burned onto my brain. Maybe it was the extra light from pulling the floor lamp closer to me. The scarf grew a bit in the wash (almost 6"), and the fringe got a little ratty (gave it a trim). But it did get softer! I wasn't crazy about the yarn, but that could have been the needle size as well. But since it got softer with a wash, I may skein and wash before using next time. May as well try, I have pounds of it left.

Done with the knitting, just need to weave in ends, add some fringe, and give it a gentle bath. Bought the yarn on eBay and it's supposed to fluff out and get softer with washing.

Black Fluffy Thing - almost done!

Black and fuzzy are a difficult photo combo. It looks a little washed out here, but you can see the checkerboard pattern.

In other knitting news

Knit the body to the armpits on the Hourglass Sweater:

Hourglass Sweater - body

and started on a sleeve. I'm using 2 circular needles and I actually cast on for both sleeves at the same time, finally had an 'A-HA!' moment on how to do it without transferring any stitches. But, while 2 circs and 2 sets of knitted items may work well for socks, it's way too confusing and complicating for sleeves. Every time I switched needles I had to follow the cord to find the other end of the needle. Too much work. 2 circs work nicely for one sleeve, however.

Hourglass Sweater - sleeve

And as I previously mentioned, I did try the body on once I hit the armpits and it looks like a nice fit. Likely will need to wear a t-shirt underneath, though. As I figured.

It was a plying kinda day

As promised, here is how the Kool Aid dyed roving looks plied:

21: Kool Aid dyed merino - plied

and a close up:

21: Kool Aid dyed merino - plied

Doesn't it look kinda tweedy?

I look at it, squeeze it, turn it over and over, and can't believe I made it. I dyed it, spun it, plied it. It was just some (nicely prepared) wool before I played. Now it's interesting yarn. (Granted, only 1 oz. Work with me here.)

Here is the plied Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester, also from yesterday's post, though with the harsh early morning lighti you can't tell the colors as well:

22: Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester - plied

And here is some older spun wool that I finally got around to plying (the fifth thing I ever spun!). Before:

5: White Coopworth

And after:

5: White Coopworth - larger, plied 5: White Coopworth - smaller, plied

Dey curly! Haven't been set yet. Came out much bulkier than I expected. The top one barely fit on my spindle. It's white Coopworth and now I want to dye it! Muahahahaha... It has a very crisp texture, unlike the merino and BFL I've been using lately. I generally prefer soft wools, but my horizons are expanding.

Yesterday was a day of knitting penance. Or torture. Or both.

I knit another foot on the Black Fluffy Thing. It's a simple pattern, but just complicated enough that I can't watch TV or read blogs while knitting. Maybe if it wasn't knit with 3 strands of fuzzy black loopy, maybe if I could actually see the pattern without inspecting, maybe then I could. It's 2 feet long now. 3 more to go. I figure one foot a day should do it, just enough to be painful but not enough to actually go insane. This one needs to be sent out asap.

On the plus side, Scott approved the black color!

Next I knit another foot on the Vintage Unvelvet. Lovely cashmere softness. 3 feet now, 2 to go. As I was putting it down (with great relief and pride at my fortitude), I noticed the ball of yarn looked smallish. In a panic I weighed it. 1.25 oz left. 4 oz in the ball. 3 feet complete. My equations in Excel tell me I will have enough yarn for 52.36 inches, or just more than 4' 4". Is this enough? Enough scarf, I mean? For a man? (Oh, the agony. I had to choose a cabled pattern, didn't I. Just had to. When I knew I only had one ball.) The scarf that Grumperina just knit for her dad was 53" plus a bit of fringe, and it was specially requested at that length. So there is hope...

On the plus side, what I do have looks really nice! (And I really do enjoy knitting with this yarn; the pressure is beginning to spoil that, must be careful.)

Last, I knit some more of Gram's sock.

Gram's socks - 1st sock

I don't know why I'm not knitting it faster. I'm just not enjoying it. It's Fleece Artist sock yarn,

Fleece Artist sock yarn

beautiful blues and purples, soft. (The one unphotographed Canadian souvenir.) Maybe the needles feel small for the yarn. Maybe I'm bored of stockinette socks after knitting 3 pair just like it. It's hard to say. But her birthday is coming up, so I'll have to work on that fortitude thing and suck it up.

After all that, it was ME ME ME time. I resisted the urge to start a new project and picked up a dusty Hourglass Sweater that I started in March (I was pleased to find I had only started it this year; some of my dusty WIPs are much, much older).

Hourglass Sweater - body

I was about 9" in when I stopped; if I remember correctly, I was worried about a bulky hemmed bottom, and about the softness of the yarn. It's Tragelly's Silk Blend singles in Desert Shadow; it's got wool and silk, and it's fairly soft, but is it Cash Iroha next-to-the-skin soft? Not sure...

Hmm... Now that I've spelled it all out, is this such a good idea? To keep knitting? Invest hours and hours on something I may not quite like or wear?

Enh, I've done worse.

Okay, I'll temper that. I'll knit to the armpits and then slip it off the needles and try it on.

My first knitalong!

Can you feel it? The holiday knitting pressure? I'm feeling it. That's why I joined my first knitalong:

The Who Wouldn't Love A Handknitted Gift?! Along, aka Knit Some Holiday Cheer.

Alison is running this one; she has instructions on her blog for signing up, so come join us! Let the madness end.

Started a new scarf yesterday (what? why ya lookin' at me like that?):

Fluffy Black Thing

It's a thank you gift that I need to finish soon.

Guys are tough to knit for, especially when it's supposed to be a surprise and you don't know them that well. Of course, asking Scott for help doesn't make it any better, his "acceptable color" palette is limited so most yarn suggestions were nixed immediately. Black is safe. Isn't it? Not fun to knit with, especially with 3 strands of microscopic boucle. It's not like I need to see the pattern as I work. But it's safe, right? Right?

In more colorful news, I Kool Aid dyed another ounce of merino:

Dyeing Fiber

Yup, that's more of the "dot" effect I was going for the first time before I got carried away watching the fiber absorb the dye. Great red, eh? Roarin' Raspberry Cranberry; looks blood red mixed up so I had a good feeling about the red it would produce. Wanted to add another color in but don't like any of the colors I have. Allison used Crystal Lite to dye her son's hat yarn, so I'll have to branch out. Who knows, I may end up getting (gasp) non-drink mix dyes before long.

Spent the last couple of days in a Career Directions workshop presented by Workforce Central Career Center. They used the Holland method to map out what "type" you are, and what "type" your job or workplace is. Like any similar method, gives you a different way to look at what your interests, skills and values are, and a way to find jobs that match up to them.

At least, that's what I took from it. It was useful in the first part, ie, a different way to look at what I'm good at, what I'm interested in, etc. But not so useful in finding jobs that match up with the "results". For any that know the method, my profile is A(rtistic), S(ocial), and C(onventional)/I(nvestigative). A and S are pretty straightforward to imagine. The C has to do with things like routine, number crunching, attention to detail, etc. I'm very good at it, but not so interested in it; it clashes with my A side (and no, there is no "B" side). The I has to do with analytical, curiosity, someone who needs to see to believe, etc.

For kicks, some of the jobs my combination suggest are:
- dictionary editor
- pyschiatrist
- singing messenger
- dance therapist
- heating and refrigeration inspector
- librarian
- nurse

Quite a range, eh? Anyway, it was an interesting workshop and I'm glad I went.

Knitting FO's

Scarves, unless draped artistically on a chair or worn, do not look like much of finished object. That is, the blocking pic just isn't enough. To me, at least. So, here are the last 3 scarves I've worked on/finished.

Silky Soft Confection (does it need fringe?):

Silky Soft Confection

Balloon Silk Scarf (the funny face is because it's so short):

Balloon Silk Scarf

and Seaweed Love (which was named because I thought the colorway was Seaweed, but actually is Purple Haze):

Seaweed Love

Specs, in case you're interested:

All yarns are by Danette Taylor.

Silky Soft Confection
Started: 3/31/05
Finished: 11/7/05
Pattern: my own, modified version of feather and fan
Yarn: silk merino in Violets (I think) and nylon eyelash in...?
Needles: #8
Notes: Not my colors (came in a grab bag) but was a lot of fun to knit and to work out the pattern; very soft; cast on lengthwise so next go around I would make it a little longer.

Balloon Silk Scarf
Started: 4/28/05
Finished: 10/25/05
Pattern: Interlocking Balloons by Shirley Paden in Scarf Style; modified to use only 1 repeat
Yarn: icelandic silk in Azaleas, 1 ball
Needles: #6
Notes: Loved knitting with the silk; ran out of yarn, would prefer a much longer length; next time would block into curves instead of points. A fun experiment (hmm, 1 ball of silk, what can I do with this?).

Seaweed Love
Started: 10/22/05
Finished: 11/8/05
Pattern: my own, but based on a scarf I saw in London-Wul
Yarn: silk merino in Purple Haze, 1 ball
Needles: #11
Notes: Love the silk merino, LOVE it. Nice drape. Would have added another half ball if I had it.

I've been wanting to try out Kool Aid dyeing for a while now. Finally gave it a go!

This is a soft merino roving/top, about 1 oz. See how soft and fluffy? (You can click on the photos to see more detail.)

Dyeing fiber - merino

I added enough water to fully cover and let soak for at least an hour while we prepared and ate dinner. It felt weird squishing it, not at all as I expected. Like there was a sheath around it.

Dyeing fiber - soaking

When I was ready to dye, I poured out the excess water and placed the fiber on a garbage bag.

I had pre-mixed a few Kool Aid packets in small jars, each with 2 tablespoons of water. The blue is Blue Moon Berry. The red is Solar Strawberry StarFruit and Soarin' Strawberry Lemonade (they looked pretty close so I used them more or less together). I used a small child's medicine dosing syringe and went at it. Probably used too much for what I was trying to do, I was actually hoping for a more dot-like effect, but got carried away.

Dyeing fiber - with dye

Yep, Kool Aid does dye.

Dyeing fiber - dyed fingers

I zapped in the microwave for 2 minutes x 3. Between each zapping I took a paper towel and dabbed to see if the dyes came off.

Dyeing fiber - cooked

It looks so... mangy. I imagine sheep do when they're soaked to the bone. Dogs do...

Now that it's done, I'm guessing the colors will bleed while I'm spinning and end up a murky brown. Maybe more blocks of color would work better. Or sticking with the dots, smaller and more separated. Well, we'll see. It'll be an adventure!

It's cooling; it's hard to be patient, I want to do something with it!

Seaweed Love blocking

Seaweed Love - blocking

Lookie what came in the mail -- stitchmarkers and soap from soapfibergal! They're from a trade on The Knitty Coffeeshop. I couldn't wait to use them. Look how purty! And they match the yarn perfectly.

Bead Stitch Markers

The soap smells wonderful. Thank you, soapfibergal!


What's that thing with the stitchmarkers, you ask? Yep, that's right, new project. I couldn't help myself. A friend was having trouble with the Multidirectional Silk Scarf on Magknits so I did a swatch to see what was going on, and well, this is what happened:

Multidirectional Silk Scarf - in progress

Me loves the colors, but I'm worried about how it will look in the end. The garter borders are knit in cashmere/wool from Danette Taylor, and the multidirectional part is her silk boucle. The original pattern calls for Artyarns Regal Silk, which is much slinkier. Here it is up close:

Multidirectional Silk Scarf - closeup

You can sorta make out the square that I just knit. Because it's boucle it doesn't have the same give, so... well, we'll see.

I took the plunge and steam blocked the Silky Soft Confection. Fingers are crossed.

Silky Soft Confection - blocking

The cashmere scarf is now about a foot long. Below is the back, which looks a little different from the front. The pattern is Vintage Velvet from Scarf Style. The original is knit with Muench's Touch Me, hence the "velvet"; but since mine is so very not velvet, I'm calling mine Vintage Unvelvet. Original, eh?

Vintage Unvelvet - in progress

And finally, I did some spinning! The brown is coopworth 2-ply. Worked on my long draw and non-parking techniques. It's a worsted to bulky weight, which was tough to do on my spindle (it's too light; good for finer yarns, though). Mebbe time to shop around for a second spindle. Any suggestions?

18: Brown coopworth 2-ply

The bottom skein is the Northern Mist quiviut/alpaca/merino blend that I spun the other day. I wound it around a small water bottle, and then put the ball around my wrist and plied it that way. Of course, it wasn't until it was all wound that I realized an empty water bottle would be easier...

I had seen a photo of something like this somewhere and thought I'd try it out. I like this method much better than the over-the-shoulders method. The ends don't twist around each other so much and I have much more control drawing them out. On the down side, it does take longer to wind. There's probably a way to incorporate the yarnwinder, maybe add something to the cone to increase the diameter...

Before I met Scott he hardly ever wore sweaters. He couldn't find any he liked. He's allergic to wool (that's a whole other topic right there). But he LIKES sweaters. In fact, he likes the look of certain wool sweaters, especially tweedy wool sweaters. He likes roll necks and sleeves. He likes slouchy sweaters; if necessary he will (attempt to) buy a sweater two sizes too big to achieve that look. He likes ... subdued colors.

When he finds a sweater he LIKES, Hurrah! Hurrah!

So when I found him the most special sweater -- light grey tweedy look with roll neck and cuffs, casual, roomy, and not a jot of wool -- I was excited for him. He didn't pick it up because it looked like wool. What a find! And next to it, sweater number two: dark blue/grey tweedy look with wide ribs, casual, roomy.

The sweaters received much care, wear, attention. They made him happy. But, sadly, his sweaters don't have a long shelf life. They shrink. This is a cause of great sadness.

My first knitters tip: don't put it in the dryer. That helped.

My second knitters tip: stretch it out when it's wet. That helped some more.

But when these failed and the most special sweater was too short to wear, it was a dark day indeed.

But wait! I'm a knitter! I'm (sorta) fearless! I just read about recycling sweaters!

We made a plan. Sweater number two took one for the team.

Sweater number two - recycled

And the most special sweater was gonna get a graft. Extensions, if you will. A "regrow".

Except it was almost summer and who wants to work on a fall sweater in the summer???


Time passed.

Here are the beginnings of the "regrow":

Regrow - in progress

With right side facing, I picked up stitch for stitch all around the cuff. Here's the inside:

Regrow - in progress

It seems a smooth transition (no pun intended). And when I unroll the cuff, you can see a slight puckering at the pick up point, which I hope will remain hidden in the roll.

Regrow - in progress

My first pick up attempt was a few rows below, where the ribbing ends, and was done with wrong side facing. Besides the puckering, the roll no longer rolled, just sorta folded over; and since it was picked up wrong side facing (what was I thinking?), it wasn't a smooth transition. This time, I looked at where the natural roll occurred and picked up a row or so higher.

Holiday knitting

Here be a new scarf I started using the cashmere/merino yarn I picked up at Mini Mills in PEI.

Vintage Unvelvet - in progress

The scarf is for... a man. That's all I'm gonna say.

I went a little crazy this year and bought a LOT of Danette Taylor's handdyed yarns. The problem has been figuring out what to make with it all.

I had some silk-merino and nylon eyelash in similar bright not-me colors, so I thought I'd play and see what I could come up with. Here's the result (back and front):

Silky Soft Confection - unblocked

I call it Silky Soft Confection, and it is VERY silky soft. It's a modified version of the usual fan and wave (or whatever it's called). I had twice as much silk-merino yardage-wise, and I also didn't want the silk-merino to get lost in the nylon eyelash 'cuz then what would be the point of using silk-merino? Plus I wanted to maintain a little textural interest but also keep it subtle. And, wanted to maximize number of knit rows (vs purl). 

I'm happy with how it turned out overall. The only thing bothering me and keeping this from being a FO is the bind-off edge. See at the center of the picture, how it looks kinda ... flat and straight? And at the top and bottom of the picture, it's nice and wavy?

I was thinking of undoing the cast on edge, picking up the stitches and then binding off so they'd match. But then they'd both be ... flat and straight. Not the effect I want. Will a good blocking take care of this?

Gatsby Pullover Sleeve

In other news, I finished the first sleeve of the Gatsby Pullover:

Gatsby Pullover - finished sleeve!

And may I say, Wow, what a pain.

It was the whole yarn twisting thing. I mickey moused a setup that allowed the cone to rotate and therefore introduce less twist in the unwinding, but it hardly helped. It's the cone itself. Too much twist. I can totally see why I lost interest in this project.

Worse, I'm thinking the fabric created by this yarn and this needle size is a good deal heavier than the yarn used in the pattern. I'm worried about the ease factor. (And, I think the sleeve may be a bit too long. And I knit 1/2" less than the pattern called for, too.)

Meanwhile, I started the second sleeve and am around where I was when I lost interest last time. Which means I have a whole sleeve to go. Lovely.

My Birthday Scarf

Last, I leave you with a photo of My Birthday Scarf. This was my birthday gift to myself this year: 2 skeins of sport weight cashmere handdyed by, you guessed it, Danette Taylor. This is the Calypso colorway. I loves it. The colors are great and the yarn is soooo soft. Even for cashmere. The 2x2 rib, while interesting enough the first 12" or so, is now, well, not so interesting. I add a few rows here and there when I can (stand to) and hope to be done before it gets really cold.

My Birthday Scarf - in progress My Birthday Scarf - closeup