It's been more than a month since I posted last. I'm sure you're thinking that I've been working in the garden (well, yes, a little) or out chasing dragonflies (well, yes, a little) or eating ice cream (well, yes, a little) or any of those other non-fiber things one does when suddenly it's spring.
What I've really been doing is knitting like a madwoman (well, yes, I am, a little - so?). As I said in my last post, I finished Citron - it's still too small for me. And against my better judgment, but since Sara encouraged me, I finished Gail - and I love it! I wore it to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend and got plenty of compliments on it.
I also started and finished Traveling Woman, in Ella Rae Merino Lace. I had my doubts as I was finishing it up - was it too small? Were my additional zigzag rows too much? Was the yarn really OK? (It seemed a little too plastic-y in the hand, not like wool at all. Plus, the yarn is a 3-ply and very round.) But yay! It's not too small, the extra rows look fine, and the yarn feels like real yarn now that it's washed and blocked.
So, I kept going. I was pretty sick of blues by then, even sick of rosy purples and dusky reds - here's a shot of my shawl rack to give you an idea of my usual choice in colors (these aren't all from my hand; that felted scarf in the middle with the white locks? that's my Christmas present from Pat) -
So, I found this in my stash and cast on for Multnomah:
This is Valley Yarns Franklin sock yarn, in the Frog in a Party Dress colorway hand-dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer. I love this colorway, completely unexpectedly, but I'm not so sure about how this shawl is working up. I've just finished the garter stitch portion and started on the feather and fan/old shale lace stitch part, and I'm having doubts. For one thing, I think I need to knit more garter stitch before starting the lace border, and for another - well, it's very bright pink and green. What do you all think?
In the meantime, more traditional yarns have been cast on for yet more shawls. Here's J. Knits alpaca in the Massachusetts colorway, just barely cast on for Anne Hanson's Nightingale Wing stole.
And some lovely, lovely lambswool with a smidge of nylon - a mill end from Pasa Yarns - dyed with many, many packets of Kool-Aid in some forgotten flavor (Blue Ice, maybe?) to a beautiful shade of jade, cast on for Cat Bordhi's Streaming Leaves shawl. The yarn feels wonderful and it even has a wonderful smell - something like the smell of cherry blossoms. I'm not doing the fancy two-circs-provisional-cast-on hem that Cat specifies, because I'm lazy and didn't feel like wrestling with three circulars in this heat.
So, I should be feeling productive, yes? I am casting on, plugging along, and by God actually finishing projects. Rather unusual for me, I must say.
Well, here's my secret: I'm procrastinating on my Pics to Picks weaving. It's not that I was uninspired by what Bety sent me - not at all! It's more just, well, um, I don't know - more just a feeling of yikes, what have I gotten myself into?
This weekend, I girded my shuttles and beaters, and waded into the weaving stash in search of the colors in my head. I have in mind to use the Floridian blues and greens Bety sent me to weave myself a striped cotton tablecloth using the dimity weave structure Sally Orgren used for her richly colored Tencel scarves in the November/December 2008 issue of Handwoven. Here are my first choices for the warp stripes...
Those reds peeking out are the warp for another rag rug; I'd say ignore them, except they echo the red flowers in Bety's images.
These are all 16/2 cotton, so I went poking about looking for a thinner cotton to use for the weft. Hmm ... I don't have one, unfortunately. I've got a nice pale green 20/2 cotton, but I'm not sure that would be fine enough. According to the Handwoven article, the weft should be half the weight of the warp yarn. So, I scaled up the warp yarns - here are some 8/2 cottons in the right colors:
And obviously, I have plenty of choices in 16/2 cotton for the weft. I decided I'd weave myself a generous sample, since I've never tried a dimity weave before, and sew it into a humdrum lunch bag for myself, since the bag I use now is literally in shreds.
I'm playing with stripe proportions and color choices now; if I can just resist the lure of the lace shawls, I may even have a dimity sample to show you the next time I post!