Friday, October 31, 2008
But last night, after I posted to you, I got out this batt, to see if I could use it for the Norah Gaughan pullover. It's beautiful fiber, isn't it? It might even work with that Spunky Eclectic I spun a while ago, although I'll have to wait till the Spinner's Hill batt is spun up before I can really judge.
I decided I would be smart (for once) and knit a swatch from that Corriedale cross fleece I just finished up, just to see what gauge it was so I could judge how to spin the Spinner's Hill batt. Here's the Corriedale yarn knit and washed.
I'm in love. True, to-the-core, with all my senses, love. I took it to work today and made my co-workers fondle it. Shall we look closer?
It's a perfect Aran-weight yarn - 18 stitches to 4 inches on a size 8 needle (see? I got that size 8 needle for a reason). The fabric is soft, yet substantial. It does not bias, it doesn't show the inherent variability in thickness, it is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful yarn! And I made it!
Lots of it! A whole fleece worth! (well, minus the half-pound or so of roving the damned cats felted one day - kneading, drooling, warm-bodied cats are very good felters, it turns out.)
So, I'm thinking of Option D - Pebbles, by Elsebeth Lavold. I think this sweater would look great on me. I think I could knit this in one month. I think what I really want to do, as long as this is my hobby, my passion, is cast on or start spinning for all three sweaters, starting tomorrow, November 1, because hey, who says I have to follow rules, anyhow.
Which means I need to do a little dyeing tonight. Keep your fingers crossed - I'm aiming to turn that light brown into something dark blue with a hint of purple, and I just don't know what will happen next.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Except...except...there's that question of sleazy fabric or no. Remember I told you that trying Stockbridge on size 9 needles yielded fabric so sleazy, so lacking in substance, that I frogged the swatch immediately. The size 7 swatch, on the other hand, is perfect fabric. I would love to knit and wear that fabric. It has a good hand; it drapes, yet has a mind of its own; it's good goods. Furthermore, I suspect that Twist & Shout, being essentially a jacket rather than a cardigan, may need fabric like that of the size 7 swatch - something that won't just droop into formlessness.
This is a photo, on a convenient lamp shade, of the size 8 swatch on the top and the size 7 swatch on the bottom. Note the greater light coming through the upper swatch. It's a little sleazy. A little formless. A little worrisome. So I am dithering. Should I do as Laurie suggested, and refigure the numbers for a size 7 needle? Maybe the alpaca/wool yarn called for the pattern is more substantial than the alpaca/wool Stockbridge? (Ravelry research is called for.) Or should I bail on this pairing of pattern and yarn altogether? Once this rootlet of doubt took hold in my mind, I began to remember Norah Gaughan's Lite Lopi Pullover. I could spin the yarn for the body of that sweater, maybe for the yoke colorwork as well - certainly, it would take longer than a month to spin and knit even a fairly simple sweater like this, but then I'd have a sweater that worked. And I'd have an excuse to spin a lot, maybe even starting tonight - making the yarn for a November sweater ahead of time isn't against the rules, is it?
What do you think, dear readers:
a) Twist & Shout, Stockbridge yarn, size 8 needles, ignoring the worrisome sleaze factor;
b) Twist & Shout, Stockbridge yarn, size 7 needles, with recomputed stitch counts - anybody seen my calculator and graph paper?; or
c) The Norah Gaughan pullover, from handspun; in which case get cracking.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Size 7, as the yarn's ballband suggests, swatched, washed and dried, yields 20 stitches in 4 inches:
Is that good enough? This is a very nice fabric, sturdy, but with enough drape. Dither, dither...
Size 9, as the pattern suggests (for a different yarn): Clearly too sleazy. I didn't even bother with a photo, just ripped it out.
Size 8: well, I didn't have a size 8 circular free, except for the 40-inch-long one with metal tips, which I hate, or dpns, which I didn't want to fiddle with at 10:30 last night. Thus, after a short trip to a LYS today:
Monday, October 27, 2008
So, now the choices for November are:
a) Finish up old WIPs (there's at least three sweaters-in-progress I can think of), but that's really cheating. One is supposed to start and finish a sweater in the 30 days of November, 2008, not the 30 days of November, 2006, and the 30 days of November, 2007, and the 30 days of November, 2008. It's just not cricket.
b) Dye the approximately 3.5 pounds of worsted-weight yarn from the Corriedale cross fleece I just finished spinning (did you hear that? I finished spinning an entire fleece, a 2007 Rhinebeck Correidale cross fleece. I deserve cake, thank you very much), and use that in a NaKniSweMo sweater. The natural color is a bit of a yellowish-medium brown, which doesn't look good on me; that's why I'd have to dye the yarn. I could dye it tonight or tomorrow night and the yarn would be ready by Nov. 1st, but...eh, this doesn't inspire me. I think I'm scared to dye a whole sweater's worth of yarn at once - I'm not sure I have a big enough pot. Anybody got a restaurant kitchen handy I could borrow?
c) Use commercial yarn in the stash to knit something new. Now this appeals to me for some reason (today it appeals, at least; tomorrow I'll want to spin all the time). There are a good eight or more sweaters in my Ravelry favorites that I bet I have suitable yarn for in my stash. A few I'm eliminating because their gauge is 22 or more stitches to 4 inches, meaning lots of knitting. Wisteria, you may remember, is knit from Aran-weight yarn; that's one reason it was so quick. The other reasons it's quick are that much of the sweater is plain stockinette and there's very little finishing. So, if I were smart, I'd knit something like Norah Gaughan's Lite Lopi Pullover - 16 stitches to 4 inches, plain stockinette from the bottom up to the colorful yoke (hey! I could even use my handspun for the yoke!). And if I wanted to challenge myself, but still aim for something doable, I might go for Robynn Weldon's Twist & Shout - 19 stitches to 4 inches, lots of seaming, lots of ribbing and cables, about 1650 yards in my size. A challenge, but a lovely one.
You do realize, of course, that I just wanted to justify casting on for Twist & Shout, right? Tonight, I'm going to swatch the gray Valley Yarns Stockbridge I bought for just this pattern and see what I think. If all goes well, you know what I'll be doing next Saturday morning (besides eating Halloween candy). If swatching doesn't work out, hmm...maybe I'll go for Norah's pullover - I'm sure that would be a piece of cake!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
When last we left our intrepid fiber fiend, I was home from SOAR. The next Friday, Sue and I zoomed off to Rhinebeck after work, bringing Sue's pets with her: meet Sparky and Shadow, hatchling Painted (the bigger one) and Musk (the tiny one) turtles that Sue is head-starting inside this winter.
They need their water changed every day and they need to be fed every day, so of course they had to come with us. Since we were staying in unheated (but quite nice) cabins at the Mills-Norrie State Park south of town, the turtles came with us to the fair (parking lot, no further) every day, too, and basked in the sun-warmed greenhouse of my car while we were shopping and eating and shopping.
My friends Pat and her two daughters Isabel and Olivia were at Rhinebeck, too, showing two of their Shetland ewe lambs and a Cheviot ram lamb in the sheep show. They tented on the fairgrounds Friday night, but since the fair officials werre concerned someone would run over their tent at night (apparently, all 'real' farmers have RVs), they came and stayed with us Saturday night. Here they are showing the Shetlands on Sunday.
We saw Deanna's prize-winning (second place) hand-washed (a Romney fleece), hand-dyed, hand-flick-carded, hand-spun, and hand-knit St. Brigid sweater - gorgeous! Really, really, really lovely!
I ran into lots of people I know, but not into lots of other people I know who were there. I suppose I will have to break down, join the modern world, and get a cell phone, if only to find my friends at fiber fairs.
Despite my best intentions, I bought fleeces. Um, three fleeces, to be exact. The blue-ribbon (colored fleece) fleece - a dark, dark brown Corriedale cross from Homestead Farm, in the upper left. A fawn-colored Corriedale cross, also from Homestead Farm. A dark brown 'Natural Color Long' (meaning a mutt, I think) from Marilamb Farm. Yes, I am nuts (but I just yesterday finished spinning up one of last year's Rhinebeck fleeces!).
Alvin Ramer combs in cherry. Wicked implements!
We had a ball. And then we came home. Going back to work the day after Rhinebeck is so hard!
Luckily, there was the Fiber Twist to look forward to. I helped set up and take down, so 'twas an all-day event for me, which also meant I took more photos that usual. There were great vendors, there were demonstrations, and the local rug-hooking chapter was there in force as well. Here, have a few photos...
The real highlight of the Fiber Twist for me (well, yes, I did buy a Leslie Wind shawl pin and some ruby red cormo/silk Foxfire Fiber sliver and 3 skeins of beautiful Jager Farm Icelandic yarn that I've already cast on, but nevermind...at least I resisted the fleeces) as Marcy Moffet's (aka Habetrot) talk and demonstration of some of her historic spindles, whorls, and distaves. Wow! I have no words; to have it made concrete for me just how much work went into clothing, bedding, sails, rugs, bags, curtains, everything before spinning wheels and commercial spinning jennys, really rather blew me away. That's not very articulate, but my head's still reeling. Take a gander...
If you ever get a chance to see Marcy show off and talk about her spindle collection, do it!
And with that, you'll have to excuse me - I have just a little spinning and knitting and even weaving to do!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
But first, the obligatory photos.
The Delaware Water Gap from Cheryl's and my room.
A couple of photos of Abby Franquemont's Spinning for a Purpose workshop.
Marcy hard at work on her Alden Amos wheel, for once.
Deb Menz's table o' colors, with close-ups. Anybody want to join me in a dyeing spree?
Now for what I accomplished. On the third day of Abby's workshop, she asked us to choose a project to spin for, and to start making samples for that project. I thought about spinning Romney top for an Irish fisherman's sweater, but decided to kick-start my weaving by spinning for a woven shawl. After several tries at devising a makeshift loom, I finally produced this:
That's Spunky Eclectic BFL, in the colorway Thunderstorm, spun two-ply for the warp and most of the weft. The purple stripes in the weft are three-ply, just as an experiment. The woven part of this sample measures a grand 1 by 3 inches. I had wanted this to be a relatively balanced weave (meaning both the warp and weft would be visible), but this ended up being very weft-faced - and I love it that way! This is such a great fabric - drapey, but not too much, soft and warm, but not too much; just wonderful fabric. Then I knit up a 3-ply version into the swatch on the left in the first photo - very, very, very nice (aside from my wonky plying giving an odd slant here and there). I want a simple cardigan from this.
In Deb Menz' s retreat session, I spun five of the little poofs of dyed merino top shown above, and plied them with one strand of the pastel, multi-colored top on the bobbin below, to get five very different, but related skeins. Interesting, yes?
In Sara Lamb's retreat session, I dyed this raw silk warp. OK but not thrilling, at least to me.
Finally, remember how in my last post, I was planning to start a Mason-Dixon rug? Well, forget it; my stash wasn't suitable. Instead, I started this.
That is Manos and Elann Peruvian Sierra Aran (the solid dark red), beginning to be a throw, or wrap, or big swatch.
A few days later:
I don't know how this will turn out; stay tuned. (No, it will not be finished for Rhinebeck!)
Randomisms: As we were driving home, we saw the replica of Henry Hudson's ship migrating south along the Hudson River to New York City to spend the winter. Square sails, dark hull, high forward and sternwards, just like a pirate ship. Cheryl quickly looked up "old ship Hudson" or some such on her iPhone and was able to tell us all the details immediately. I think I may have to abandon my Ludditeness and get me an iPhone.
Beth's sparkly shoes. Pretty!
Good company:Janel. No, she's not being obscene:
Well, it's taken me three days of moments snatched from work, sleep, bills, laundry, etc., to get this post cobbled together and I have to pack for Rhinebeck tonight, so you're not getting any thoughts as promised way back at the beginning of this meandering. Maybe after Rhinebeck...That Sue and I are zooming out there Friday night, by the way. That Sue has decided she doesn't want to knit any more, so we all need to gang up on her, OK?