Friday, June 12, 2015

Spinning my wheel

It's always so much fun to get back to spinning, to re-expand the craft repertoire beyond the simplest of knitting projects, to dive into a new project.  I was inspired this week when a few of the Camel Knitters Guild members were describing with amazement a pattern on Purl Bee, the Bias Stripe Wrap.   The suggested yarn is described as over-twisted, which is essentially a singles that is meant to be plied.  I've been working with a batt that is a combination of cream, green and silver that I have named silver moss.  As I have been filling the first bobbin, I realized that the real beauty of the yarn is going to be diminished by plying, but I'm not very good at spinning singles yarn that is not biased. Then comes along Bias Stripe Wrap, and an exciting new option to consider.

Silver Moss batt and singles (stretched on the niddy noddy)
The extra twist is evident
swatch before washing
Swatch after washing, no pinning necessary.  It just happens!

Thursday, June 4, 2015


There was a point last spring, during an especially-intense string of impossible days, that I decided that I needed to escape to Webs.  My plan was to get through the week, and on Saturday morning get in the car, arm myself with an ample vat of Dunkin Donuts Toasted Almond coffee and procure myself some undyed bluefaced leicester fingering-weight wool hanks.  I had found the pattern Purpleplexy in my friend Casapinka's collection of awesome shawl patterns, and I found the undyed hanks on the Webs site.  I was going to dye my own yarn and follow the pattern.

Perhaps you remember sometime when you were a little kid, and something you had been waiting for with great anticipation failed to happen.  Perhaps you had a meltdown, and rolled around on the ground in protest at the horrific injustice that you had been dealt.  Such was my reaction (on the inside, at least, but I have to admit that tears were close to the surface) when I learned from the nice lady at Webs that they did not keep those skeins in the store, that they were actually several miles away in the next town, only to be obtained by mail at a later time.  Was she kidding?  I was on a mission, and had only that day to complete it! I stood in the middle of the store for what seemed like half an hour, wondering what to do.  Then it occurred to me, I was at WEBS, the yarnaholics' Mecca, and it was not possible to have a bad time there.

I made my way into the warehouse, and eventually found myself standing in front of a section that contained Charlemont, salvation in the form of 60% fine superwash merino, 20% mulberry silk, 20% polyamide sock yarn.  A few skeins of light gray and 5 of natural, and I had what I needed.

As soon as I reached home, I began dyeing the natural skeins, using all that was left of some Prochem One Shot in Lilac, and adding each skein to the pot in 7 minute intervals.  Seven minutes was an unfortunate guess for how long the intervals should be to yield 5 skeins of progressively-lighter lilac. Instead I got one very beautiful skein of lilac, and 4 hardly-perceptively different skeins of blue.  A very nice blue, but not what I was expecting.

So this whole thing was one fiasco after another, but I reframed it into a fun adventure, and began knitting the shawl.  The blue colors grew on me, and now I find them very appealing.

With a lot of blue yarn left, I made some mitts to match.

The blue daisy stitch pattern was placed at perfect intervals between miles of garter stitch, requiring one to pay close attention for only short periods of time.  I was eager to use the shawl, but sad that it was done.  I decided to make mitts, to keep the pattern going for a bit longer.
Thank you Casapinka!