Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feeling Productive

I finally finished spindling the merino top from The Arts at Eagle's Find, in the Leaves and Stones colourway, that I started way back in December.

Plying seemed to take forever, but I did it in stages and that seemed to help. I tried a different way of wrapping the yarn around my plying spindle. I kept more weight on the bottom, and more open space at the top for twirling, and that seemed to make it easier. Not faster, just easier.

While spinning it, I tried to concentrate on keeping it even. Once my fingers got used to the merino, it just kind of flowed. I put a bit less twist into the singles and bit more into the plying, and I like the result -- it's much softer and bouncier.

Even though it's mostly shades of browns, it was a lot of fun to watch the colours slowly meld into each other. I'll be watching for more semi monochromatics.

End result: about 600 yards, 24 wpi - laceweight!

I was hoping for enough for a shawl, but I don't think it's quite there. Maybe a large-ish scarf? Haven't quite decided.

I also finished another Kaleidoscope.

This is Silk Garden No. 217. Again, no knots in either skein.

What a fun colourway -- me likes it lots.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


According to Oxford, one definition of "mirage" is "something illusory."

The brief meltdown we had this week was just the illusion of the coming spring, a taste, a teaser, but still, a welcome reprieve during a cold and difficult winter. The illusion of spring was further enhanced by knitting my spring-coloured handspun into a nifty new scarf.

The pattern is Mirage (free on Ravelry) and it worked wonderfully with this heavy fingering weight and limited yardage. It's knit on the bias so the stripes go diagonally, with ruching for extra texture, and, bonus for a thinner scarf, extra insulation factor.

This yarn was much nicer to knit up than my last batch. It actually felt soft and bouncy. I didn't block the final result, as I liked the texture so much. Final dimensions, 6.5 in x 60 in - pefect.

Yes, it's maybe a bit foo-foo, and the colours just a titch loud, but I delighted in wearing it this week. Even if it isn't spring yet, I felt spring-like, especially compared to the black and navy crowd that seems so prevalent and .... dreary.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Lessons learned

They started with this beautiful BFL top from All Spun Up.

I've already posted about spinning it and plying it, which took, frankly, what seemed like forever.

But I think it was worth it.

I've learned that even if your yarn is a bit overspun and crunchy, it's still worthwhile knitting. Knitting will cover a multitude of sins, and you can cut out the worst parts. But next time, don't strangle it.

I've learned that handspun knits up a bit more sturdy than it looks, as the yarn is denser, so you can't just look at it and guess at a needle size. If you do, chances are that you'll have to rip it back and start over.

I've learned that my normal method of making matching socks by matching row counts doesn't really work when the yarn is uneven. I've also learned that I can live with one cuff being slightly shorter than the other. :-)

I've learned that handspun is warmer than commercial yarn. This is a good thing, since it's still the middle of winter.

I've learned that I still LOVE the Fleegle heel -- perhaps more than is healthy.

I've learned that even if it appears that a colour is disappearing when you're spinning it up, it can resurface in subtle ways and enhance the other colours -- witness the beautiful blue that's not apparent at first glance.

I've learned I love spinning sock yarn and knitting up socks with that yarn.