Handspun Loveliness

When knitting took off again at the beginning of the 2000s, I was often found drooling at handspun yarn.  It was so pretty, so eclectic, and, unfortunately, so expensive!  I did buy a skein or two here and there, made some fingerless mittens, and the like, but I really mostly stayed away.

That’s why it is so satisfying to be able to make my own beautiful handspun now.  I present Pigeonroof Studios sw merino/cashmere/nylon blend in the Malarky colorway. It started like this (the package on the left)

Piegeonroof top.JPG

and in process looked like this, using my favorite Asciano Spindle:

Malarky1c

And my little sample made my heart flutter:

Merino-Cashmere1c

But the whole 4 oz spun up is just amazing:

Merino-Cashmere1b

So, I’m looking for suggestions on what to make (not socks!). I’m thinking maybe a Multnomah Shawl (rav link), but I have so many shawlettes, are there cowls, hats, other patterns that might work? Leave suggestions in the comments!

While I’m not officially joining tour de Fleece, I’m thinking of working to spin up 1 oz of tussah silk that is handdyed by A Verb for Keeping Warm – never done 100% silk, and it would be a challenge! Am I crazy?

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PJs

I actually pulled out my sewing machine to make something to wear.   The reason:  pajama shorts.  I love to wear T-shirts, but finding what to wear on the bottom has been harder to find.  I like shorts, but finding nice fabric is hard – most of what is out there is for teen girls, and not very appropriate.  Madtownmama has written about the problems of finding PJs for kids, but it’s also out there for adults.

So, inspired by madtownmama, I got some fabric, a simple pattern for shorts/pants with elastic.  The fabric is half-price, and pattern was on sale for $2.  I bought enough fabric for 2 pairs of shorts, and maybe a top to match.   But I start simply by doing the shorts.  Pulling out the pattern, I realize that I remember exactly how to do this – which is pretty interesting.  I sewed a ton of things while a teenager — halter tops, peasant blouses, shorts, pants, dresses, etc.  My grandmother was a seamstress, and apparently I inherited some of her skills, as my mother didn’t sew anything but hems and buttons.

The fabric is quite cute — kitties and hearts:

kittyheartfabric
and the shorts fit perfectly:

pjs

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Not Sock Yarn

Back at Stitches West, I took a class on spinning for socks, and I even bought some lovely BFL combed top from Miss Babs.  I thought about trying to spin long draw, and I had my beautiful interchangeable spindle to play with it.

Well here it is – and it is lovely,
NotSockYarn1c

but
NotSockYarn1b

it is simply not sock yarn.  It’s 3 ply, but way too thick for socks in my SF Bay Area part of the world.  Not sure what yardage I have, but I hope to make a cowl or a hat out of it, maybe some wristers if there is enough left.

But I am now spinning some amazing fiber from Pigeonroof Studios – a lovely merino/nylon/cashmere in the Malarky colorway.  This will not be sock yarn either, because I want to make a scarf or a shawl or a cowl in a light fingering weight 2 ply.  I’m about 3/4 done with the singles, and I can barely stop spinning to do the other stuff I’m supposed to pay attention to in life, like work, housecleaning, etc.

Malarky1d

And I’ve received approval from my little cousin Rachel on the pattern and yarn for her birthday sweater. I’m going to knit her a CeCe  lace cardigan in the lovely Rowan Calmer yarn in the Tree colorway:

Calmer1b

While I’m happy that I got this yarn for a reasonable price, the reason itself is sad – a local LYS, Llama Llama Knit, is closing. The folks who’ve run that store have always been lovely, they had a great following with dedicated customers. I wish them only good things for the future.

Speaking of which – it is expensive to have knitter/spinner friends.  I only went to the store at all because my friend Leslie sent me a photo of the very on-sale fiber left there.  I walked away with, for me, a total haul of fiber for a very reasonable price.  And it is ALL her fault! 

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Knitting Deadlines

Sometimes I knit for deadlines – and often it’s a good thing.  Keeps me motivated to finish.  Take this sweater:

MeetsintheMiddle2a

This is for my cousin Marie – her 2nd one in 12 months – I’m telling her to not get used to it.  Partly I think I did this because I sorta ripped the Twist I knit for her out of her hands to enter into the Marin County Fair – because I like the sweater, not because I think it’s gonna walk away with a big prize.  This sweater is a lovely one by Lorna Miser (yes, of Lorna’s laces), called Meets in the Middle Chevron Shell (rav link) – which can be done sleeveless, with short sleeves (I decided to adapt to 3/4 length sleeves per the recipients request). And yes, that’s me in my sweater (unfortunately after I gained weight post-sweater knitting) on the pattern page.  Although the pattern is just for one gauge of yarn (and the pattern co hoping you’ll buy the different patterns for different gauges) the pattern is actually a bunch of rectangles, so get out your calculator if you use a  different gauge. While my latest one is in solid yarn, it springs to life in varigated yarns too!

Izzie wants everyone to know that she still lives here too, despite all the attention lavished on Brandy, and she is still on knitting feline inspection duty:

MeetsintheMiddle2c

The other deadline I was on was knitting up a bunch of preemie hats out of leftover sock yarn – I was going to hand them into the Knitmore Girls at the Retzlaff Winery spinning day tomorrow. But I’ve decided I have to go on a money diet, which means knitting and spinning from the stash only), and save my precious $ for Sock Summit, so these will wait for a place to send them along:

Preemie Hats

Now, Marie’s daughter Rachel has finally checked her email and would like a CeCe sweater – what a great choice – and I’ll have to start working on that – her birthday is in August – a new deadline for me!

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We’re calling it the “Half-Poodle”

Brandy had to get shaved because her romp among foxtails had caused mats right up next to her skin.  It’s summer air conditioning, if we indeed ever get summer:


Day by day we’re seeing improvement – a little weight gain, more energy, interested in looking out the windows.  Her buddy Izzie yearns for races around the apartment – maybe next week~

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FO: Tradisi Shawl

The Tradisi Shawl was the brainchild of Katie, who designed it to be a fundraiser for a well in Indonesia.  It’s a good pattern.

My shawl is a “unique” version of it, which is to say that

  1. I cast-on at the wrong spot;
  2. Failed to read the instructions about the charts
  3. Did a lousy graft to supposedly fix the problem of casting on at the wrong spot.  Project went into time-out for a few weeks.
  4. Then discovered that in the graft I managed to cast-on at another wrong spot
  5. Furthermore, in all the craziness, I couldn’t figure out the repeats, so to use the yarn up (it’s Bugga, after all), I made the edgings asymmetrical, which didn’t turn out all that badly.

All of that is now behind me.  I look at the shawl, and love it.  I love the color, I love the feel of the bouncy yarn, I love the lace pattern, and I love using light beads for a bit of bling.  For a crazy-making project, it sure turned out to please me.
Tradisi1i
Tradisi1gTradisi1j

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Brandy front, the vet appointment was very good.  She had (has) ticks – most came off at the vets, I found a few last night, she got shaved on her tummy and sides because of the matting and foxtails in them sticking her, plus some fluids (very dehydrated), an antibiotic, and updates on her vaccinations.  She gets lots of her favorite wet foods, and we’re hoping for very good things.  She’s pretty tired still, but Izzie is sticking close, so she’s got her bodyguard.

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Return of the Prodigal Cat

The short version – Brandy is back!

The longer version.  Brandy has been gone 25 days (yes, I’ve been counting).  Yesterday, I took a day off from searching, and felt guilty about it.  But I had to – emotionally I’ve had so many highs and lows.

This morning, as I was making coffee, there was a pounding at my door – and I really did think that it might be news of Brandy.  Trish, my upstairs neighbor was coming back from taking her girls to school, and she spied Brandy hanging out on the stairs leading to her apartment.  So, she quickly got me, and there she was – way thinner, but ok.

Brandy - the prodigal 1

I called to her, and she came down, but tried to go around me, and I nabbed her hindparts and didn’t let her go, getting a hiss (but no claws) for my trouble.  Once she was in my arms, she was totally calm.  After a couple of hurrays! with Trish, I got her back into the apartment.

She’s checking everything out, and eating up a storm – fortunately she’s pacing herself in that department. I think she lost a couple of pounds on this adventure, and her fur is pretty matted, but I’m not finding an obvious injuries at the moment.   She’s taken a nap on my lap, and now is on the eco-wool afghan (my cats do know the good stuff).

Brandy - the prodigal 2Brandy - the prodigal 3
Later today we head to the vet to have her checked out.  Whew!  The stories Brandy has in her that I’ll never know…

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Day 20

Sightings of the beloved Kitty continue.  I think she is close, but not coming when she hears me.  Sigh.

Tonite’s cat search strategy – stay up very very late and go out with Izzie to see if we can lure her with feline odors and tuna.  And knitwear, I think knitwear for cats (cat blankets) is sure to help, don’t you?

 


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