Monday, February 02, 2009

The rest of the story

Surprise, surprise! I am back again to try and finish updating you on what I have been up to during the last four months. Yesterday I finished up with the skeins I had spun from some fleece I had dyed in the crockpot. Today I will begin with 2 ply skein I spun from leftovers of some multicoloured roving I spun, and blogged about here, a little over a year ago. The photo of this yarn is below:

The leftovers were only of the lighter roving which this time I spun and plied on itself to make:

Some people don't like yarns to barberpole but I don't actually mind it. Saying that, though, I have still not yet found a pattern for the main lot of spinning in this fibre. Not that I have looked too hard but it has been in the back of my mind as I trawl through the internet, look at books and magazines etc. One day I will find something which will call out to me.

For the little skein above, I intend to weave a scarf (yes, I do weave on occasion. You didn't know? Well, now my secret is out!) and include a soft little skein of dark blue wool I bought for this purpose. I think I will weave it in twill and may have narrow stripes of colour and dark blue alternating in the warp and use the dark blue exclusively for the weft. However, I may weave it in a log cabin pattern. I took a weekend course, years ago, in colour in weaving and this was one of the patterns we used. I was quite taken by it then but I'm not sure just how much drape it has. Being a scarf, I would like it to be quite drapey so that it sits around the neck nicely. Does anyone out there know how much drape a log cabin weave will have? Inquiring minds would like to know!

Next on the list of yarns I have been spinning lately is the leftovers of a bag of wool/mohair carded by Rotocard. I purchased this some years ago, spinning and knitting a small Faroese shawl for my late Mum to wear when she was more or less bed-bound. The leftovers now look like this:
The photo is a little washed out but the skeins are mainly a very dark blue with bright highlights of pink/mauve, purple, turquoise and teal. Squishingly soft, I really love this yarn! I spun this up in a bulky 2ply at approximately 7 wpi. There are four skeins here so maybe there would be enough for a vest, I'm not sure. (Have you noticed, yet, that most of my spinning does not actually have an end purpose? Sometimes as I spin I can visualise what I would like to do with the yarn but I usually wait until it has been spun before I really know.)

Some time ago, as in years and years ago, I was given a whole lot of carded "bumps" (more like roving which has been wound on a giant ball winder - possibly done by Belex carding) of wool when I bought a loom from an elderly Dunedin couple. The loom has long since been sold but still this carded wool lingers in my stash. I told you I had trouble throwing stuff out, didn't I? I used some of this to make a jersey for my Dad about three years ago but that hardly made a dent. Looking at what I had, I found this smaller bump of a grotty beige-looking wool. Should it go out? I pulled a little off and threw it at some water (all this wool has been carded greasy making it difficult to really tell if it will be nice or not). After its bath it felt quite nice and surprisingly soft. It had passed its first test. Next, I spun up a couple of bobbins and plied them together. The spinning went surprisingly smoothly considering just how long ago this wool must have been carded. It was also quite fine and definitely wanted to be spun fine too (unlike most of the other spinning I have been doing in my stash-busting excercise - spin it fast and thick and get it out of the way. Fun!).

The photo doesn't really do justice to this skein as it doesn't pick up its little nuances of colour. It is basically an oatmeal shade with some variations, darker and lighter, throughout. Quite pretty. Second test passed! It spun up into approximately a 4 ply at 13 wpi. Quite acceptable. I have since spun up two more bobbins and am halfway through plying those. I may get another two bobbins from what is left. Definitely enough to do Something with.

I haven't only been spinning during the last four months, nearly but not quite. I did start the jersey for D but haven't done very much of it.

I searched and searched for the Perfect Pattern for this jersey as I wanted it to be Special (so it should be Special as it was for a Special Birthday!) as well as wanting to showcase the lovely Gotland I spun for it. Originally I had thought of knitting it in a Fisherman's Rib pattern but then decided that it would look too much like the cheap, work jerseys you can buy in the stores. No, that wouldn't do. Maybe something with cables? I finally landed on John's Sweater by Nora Gaughan. I really love the pattern (plus the guy in the photo (John?) looks a lot like D although his beard is a little shorter (there is a story behind the long beard but not now!)) BUT it is a LOT of work! Cabling on every right-side row. I have to keep looking at the chart, too, as the pattern isn't untuitive for me yet. I have speeded things up a little for me by not using a cable needle but it is still slow. Our recent really hot weather (high 30's every day for a couple of weeks) really knocked knitting on the head but I still can't get back into the "groove" even though the temps have dropped somewhat. Should I carry on with this pattern? Or should I keep looking for a quicker knit? I don't know. I'll let you know when I know.

So, there you have it. The story of my crafting life, some of it anyway, over the last four months. I have really been enjoying the last couple of summer months. Maybe not the hot weather, so much, but certainly the lack of demand from responsiblities that other times of year have. So I have had time to actually work on MY projects for once. It has really been nice. Long may it last!

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