Spin Questing

I’m in the mood for handspun, whether it is knitting handspun, or the making of it.

First, the knitting of it. As I mentioned in the last couple of posts, I used up bits of handspun for charity knitting, which is a good thing. That means I can now spin more, quite happily! But there was some yarn to knit – this lovely BFL from Into the Whirled.

20140716-103638-38198857.jpg

It is nice, but it didn’t come out how I planned to spin it – I wanted to try Fractal Spinning, which means taking a hand-dyed top, splitting it in half, and then with one of the halves, you split it lengthwise again. Then you spin each half, and the thinner quarters are spun end to end, and it turns out really cool. So I did the splitting and the spinning, but my labels came off the spun singles, and I was left with a mess, so I just spun it any old way, and the result was two different hanks:

With the new show Outlander on Starz taking up more of my time than is reasonable to admit (I was a reader of the books back in the early 90’s, so not a surprise), I got hooked on the idea of handspun fingerless mittens. So I knit one fingerless mitten – and it looked great:
image

and then I knit the second one:

image

And they didn’t match at all. In fact I kinda think no one would say to themselves – hey, they were part of the same colorway (see what I mean when I said the plying was a mess?). What to do? I decided to knit a third one:

image

and now I could pick which ones matched the best.
image

image

I picked the last photo. And now the unloved third mitten will be frogged and with the other yarn, become either a cowl or a hat to match…
image

The other spin-related work is the lovely Targhee wool from my on-line friend Suzanne – I had spun the warmer tones, now it was time to play with the greyish-taupes. The yarn I’m shooting for will be a 2-ply light fingering/lace weight with a mostly worsted style of spinning. The light color is done, and I’m half-way through the darker color. I’m hoping to do a tone-on-tone shawl of my own pattern devising. Should be fun!

image

image

image

In the meantime, I knit a chemo-cap for one gal in my high school class
Zelda cloche

It’s the Zelda Cloche (rav link), which works well for chemo gals because it has a bit of style, but fits well. Now it appears another classmate will need one now. I am beyond sad and frustrated that our exposure to chemicals is systematically underplayed as a cause of cancer. Too many good folks are getting it!

Now onto some secret knitting and a sweater for my little cousin Rachel. I’m knitting Hitofude in Shibui Linen (rav link) – a fun pattern done all in one piece and the yarn will have some serious drape to it!
Hirofumi swatches

Download PDF

A New Stash-itude

IMG_0028Back in the great Clear Out, one of the benefits I accrued was the ability to interact with my stash – I actually was able to reach, sort and otherwise discover what is in it. While my reward on my vacation was to buy some yarn early in June (for a shawl for me, and some hats for charity), I have been knitting from stash since then, until this week.

It was nice, and I had the pleasure of figuring out which yarns to use for what, and since a lot of my knitting was for charity, I was using up lots of bits and ends and handspun that wouldn’t have gotten used otherwise. While it didn’t start as a stash enhancement ban, by the middle of July I started to realize what was happening, and then it became a game of “how long can I go?” I had bagged up a couple of projects for knitting, so that worked out well too. Those are now done.

How long can I go? Answer: Almost three months. To make the full three months, I’d have to get through next week. The tipping point came when an acquaintance on Facebook revealed what I had guessed, she is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. And she’s lost her hair, so I offered to knit her a hat, because looking good when your hair is gone is a really good thing. So I had almost all the yarn I needed, but needed some more wool-cotton to make the hat. So I had to look, and figured WEBS was the place to find a tricky wool-cotton blend, and sure enough, they had it in pink, the color I needed. But to simply buy one skein seemed dumb, so I bought two (figuring I could get one more fun hat out of it if I did that), and then it hit me: I need to get yarn if I’m going to knit Christmas Gifts. So, into the shopping cart I bought light grey and charcoal for two men’s hats. And while a number of other things were briefly in the cart, this was what ended up getting purchased.

It made me realize I have a new stash-itude (attitude toward my stash).¬† While I love many of the yarns that are in the stash, I am not dying to knit many of them right now. It’s not the yarn, it’s me. My tastes and/or needs have changed, and while I will knit it up eventually, it’s not like I need any more yarn in the “ok” category, which is what can happen if it sits there long enough. I’m not talking about the Cascade 220 (enough for two sweaters), or the hand-spun I’ve made that I will design a shawl for. But there is enough cotton for me to tear my hair out, and that bulky yarn sweater that I bought to remake the one I made for Afghans for Afghans but really wanted to keep, hmm. I’m not sure I need a bulky sweater, even if I loved the sweater.

For now, for me to add to the stash, it’s gotta qualify. Right now, that means it has to have a project I’m going to knit soon. So, the yarn I bought from WEBS – yep, that qualifies.

IMG_0020

Today I went to buy yarn for a birthday sweater (these tend to get done after the birthday, you understand), and found the Shibui Linen in this really interesting grey/green color, and then a skein of wool to help stretch some handspun that is going to be a fingerless mitten/hat or cowl set. Finally, a set of mini-skeins in fun-fun colors in cashmere¬† that I lusted over at Bluebird when they came out of the box, and realized that I really, really needed to get one now for a gift for Christmas.¬† All of these qualify perfectly, and I’m not worried that they will haunt me 3-4 years down the road.

IMG_0022

How long will this last? It’s hard to say. But for now, it seems like a reasonable rule.

Download PDF