Monday, February 23, 2015

All. The. Things.

That's what I feel like I'm making. In a sudden burst, it seemed like, once I finished the Wool-Aid socks I was working on (more on those another day). Once they were off the needles it was like everything looked tempting and possible.

I showed you the red cashmere swatch I had started (here) and now I've picked (and even purchased) the pattern. It's an Amy Herzog design called Trimmings. I'll do it with the larger cowl neck and three-quarter length sleeves. Or shorter sleeves if the wool is running out!

Somewhere she suggests doing the contrast colour in some handspun. That caught my attention and I thought, "I don't have any handspun. But I could make some!" So I took the fiber I got for Christmas in a kit (a spindle and 2 oz of three different kinds of wool) and got to spinning.

I had started one batt or roving or sliver or whatever you want to call it while on the Christmas trip and had done a little since then, but not much. I set to it in earnest after having watched the "Spindling" class from Craftsy.com. I learned more by watching the class, but the real thing is to do it.

So I spun some wool and my fingers and hands learned better what to do. By the end I had this:
"I made that." It never gets old. I made that!
 I thought some areas looked pretty good:
 And others were still a little thick and uneven:
I tried knitting some of it onto the top of my previous swatch. (I just undid the bind off, picked up the stitches and knit a few rows.)
You can see that all is not well. The handspun is thicker than the cashmere and either the cashmere gets stretched out or the handspun buckles.

I liked the idea of using grey as the contrast at this point though, and I had another grey batt in my kit. This time Jacob wool instead of Coopworth. No you don't have to remember that, but they were different to spin with. I think the Jacob acted much more like hair.

I could tell pretty quickly that I was not getting a much thinner product with the Jacob wool. It was also going to be too thick. Well, then. I thought I may as well dig into the last batt in the kit--some white Blue Face Leicester. (That last word is pronounce "Lice-ster".) That's the same breed that I knit Troy's sweater out of and I loved working with it.

I started spinning the BFL and got a lot thinner results. I'm still not sure I'm spinning really nice yarn, but it's all a work in progress. Certainly this feels better and drafts more easily than the Jacob for me.

Here are the two side by side:
Top is the grey Jacob. Below is the white BFL.
I am using both "drop spindles" as supported spindles and I enjoy that way of spinning much better. For one thing I can sit more comfortably instead of leaning forward to let the spindle drop in clear space. I put the point into a smallish bowl that is sitting on my lap. I've taken the hook out of both of the spindles because they were catching the yarn too much and now the wool just spins off the top of the stick. Works great.

Here is a close up so you can compare the two:
I have put the Jacob aside for now and I have quite a bit more of the BFL to spin up. Naturally since I am spinning it thinner I am getting a lot more yardarge out of 2 oz and it is taking longer. But I am enjoying it and not in a hurry. Assuming it works with the cashmere, I think the white will be fine with the red cashmere as well. A little different than grey, but still good.

In between all that, I raveled a sweater I picked up at Goodwill:
So much potential released!
The wool felt great and I liked the stripes, but it was far too short and wide for someone to wear. It didn't take long to cast on a sweater for Wool-Aid to work on when I'm out and about.
So far I have a few inches done of the back. I'm making the same pattern as last time (see it here) in one size larger. And don't worry, I'll be adding some stripes very much like the original.

And then in the last day or two, I finally jumped off of the fence I was sitting on and started a swatch for a skirt I've been thinking about since last Squam!

I picked up a book from the "free-take me" table, Modern Knits Vintage Style just because of one skirt pattern. I love the classic look!

I've haven't had a yarn to use for it and also I've been plagued with doubts about whether I need another knitted skirt. (And let's face it, no matter how nicely it comes out, it won't top my Missoni inspired Vogue skirt.) But I threw those thoughts away and got started because I couldn't forget about the idea.

Plus I'm going to Squam again this year so I would love to wear something that resulted from my last trip to Squam.

It also helped that I raveled this sweater that Troy no longer wears:
It's a lovely maroon/burgundy colour and about the right weight for the skirt. I'm not certain I have enough of it to cover what the pattern calls for, but I keep thinking that a sweater has got to have enough yardage for a skirt. (I mean you could pull it on over your hips if your legs could go through the shoulder seams, right?) Worst case scenario, I figure the skirt will be a little shorter than the pattern, but really I think I have enough.

First up was a swatch (because apparently I am being such a responsible knitter these days):
The bottom was done with the smallest size used in the pattern (US2) and the top with the largest (US5). But you may have known that already by the holes I knit in! (Refer to my previous tip, if you are wondering what I'm talking about.)

Once I get the skirt going (math done for size and cast on), I think it will be an easy sail.

So do I have enough projects going? I don't know but I've been enjoying them all. I'm just missing a fabric project. The art gallery in my church is going to display work from the congregation and I wish I had a quilted project to display, but nothing comes to mind. But I did just have someone offer me an old quilt they got years ago wrapped around a bed frame when they bought it! Sounds like it will be worn and used enough to justify cutting it apart and using the pieces. Hmmmm....

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