Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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It seems I haven't posted much knitting content in a while so here's an update.

Curlycue Scarf is now on the straightaway, which I'm doing in seed stitch. The idea is to have a straight section for wrapping around the neck and curly ends to dangle. It goes slowly.

Curlycue Scarf - in progress

Gram's socks are just past the heel, though I think I'll have to rip out and add a few rows after she tries them on today. As long as I'm not redoing the whole sock it won't faze me.

Gram's socks - in progress

Creamsicle T is a big disappointment. When I couldn't sleep night before wheel arrival, I started seaming her. Shoulders, check. Sleeve, check. Pinned the other seams for a try on. Hmm. Not good. Poofs in the wrong places, it does. Poke, prod, no help. Plus, with the mods for a snugger fit on the body, the sleeves looked a bit roomy overall. I've had trouble with sleeves lately, they just don't fit the way they should. Why??

Last night I ripped back, recalculated, and restarted. I added slight bell shaping to the bottom and took out 2" above the elbow. I'll probably have to readjust the sleeve cap shaping, which I've not done before. This may become a debacle. It may go swimmingly well.

On the plus side, the body fits me well, though maybe a couple of rows too long.

The yarn is holding up well to being frogged and reused. Plus, I reseamed the shoulder using it and had no problems.

Creamsicle T - sleeve redux

And in the spinning world

This is the superwash merino, re-plied tighter. That's more like it. Better for socks.

37: Superwash Winter Solstice

And this I call Stained Glass. It's Winderwood Farms Corriedale plied with black commercial textured yarn. I didn't want the colors to clash like they did before, so I plied with a solid. This will be interesting knit up, I think.

39: Stained Glass

Contest

Tomorrow is your last day to submit contest entries. I've picked out the yarns and will post photos tomorrow!

Ice Creamsicle

Woke up to a few inches of snow today:

Snow!

The clouds diminished lighting so I couldn't get any clear photos today. I did want to show you completed Creamsicle T sleeves, though!

Creamsicle T - sleeves done!

I finished them at Knitsmiths yesterday. I haven't been able to make it to Knitsmiths since early December; they meet on Sunday afternoons, and that's when we go to see Gram. (Gram's not doing so well. Her feet are completely swollen, they say it's nothing to worry about. Poor Gram...) I feel guilty going to Knitsmiths because it means getting to Gram's earlier in the day and either not bringing her favorite Boston Market turkey dinner, or else eating it early in the afternoon only a few hours after she's already eaten. It also means a much shorter visit and a tighter schedule. On top of which, Scott gets dropped off at South Station and takes the train home. All in all it throws chaos and inconvenience into the works; but I enjoy the knitting company and feel like I do need to do something for myself now and then. I'd like to be able to go every few weeks.

Knitting the cap shaping was stressful. I knew I was tight on yardage and brought my swatch to use. Even then it didn't look like enough, yet I was optimistic. With every row I'd look down at what I had left and (panic) wonder, yet knit on. Somehow, it worked out! Here is what's left: the little butterfuly on the right and the remains of the swatch. Boy, that's cutting it close.

Creamsicle T: remaining yarn

Though I had adjusted the body to make it snugger, I decided to knit the sleeves as is. If I had knit the body according to the pattern there is no way I would have had enough yarn, which confuses me. The pattern calls for Araucania Atacama, which is 110 yds to 50g. I used Malabrigo, which is 215 yds to 100g, just slightly less. Here's what gets me: I got the same gauge with the Malabrigo, and the pattern calls for 5 balls Atacama, or 550 yds / 250g, while I had 3 balls Malabrigo, or 645 yds / 300g. I had way more yardage and weight, and I knit a smaller body and I barely had enough. I don't get it. I guess Malabrigo knits a fluffier fabric and therefore takes more yardage?

Oh god. I just realized I have to knit the neck. It's only 1 row then cast off, but... This is going to get ugly.

Since my photos in the morning were crap, I asked Scott to take some photos of the snow for you:

Snow! Snow!
Look at all that snow. It kept piling up after I left; I think we got 7-8" in a few hours.

Snow! Snow!
That must be the rat's eye view of our back porch, followed by the kid's eye view of the front. We have neither in our house. Well, a big kid... okay, a couple of big kids...

Snow!
And of course, our Mini, covered up.

In what's shocking

A whole pile of Alice Starmore yarns went up for bid on eBay last week and sold for over $3,400. $3,400!!! (Here's the link, but you'll only be able to access it for 30 days, I think.) The list of what's included is quite long and the yarns themselves cover up a bed. And by cover up, I mean 3 times over. Naturally I broke it down in Excel: 453 skeins, mostly 1 oz skeins of Scottish Campion, but including 113 skeins of 2 oz Scottish Heather; 566 oz total = just over 35 lbs. That is a lot of yarn. Would you pay $3,400 for yarn? In one fell swoop, I mean, and one kind. Is there any yarn you would pay $3,400 for??

Just to be clear --

For those that have a creative bent I hope you are inspired by Cat to come up with your own take on the challenge. It doesn't have to be a story, it doesn't even have to be a sentence! I surely don't want to discourage entries. If anything, I am more likely to feel like more prizes are warranted. So, do submit your contest entries! At the least, you may win the random drawing! And I'm on the high of a new wheel on its way. You could say I'm in a celebratory mood. :D

Look, Ma, no hands!

OH. MY. GOD. Trapeze school was SO MUCH FUN!! Sorry to shout, but holy cow, what a rush! They moved pretty quickly through the instructions and then we were up there, getting ready to go.

I have an extreme fear of heights.

Yup.

Every time I went up, I was TERRIFIED. PETRIFIED. Sweaty palms, tense body, mind in overdrive. When they told me to stand with my toes over the edge, both feet, I wanted to back up and hold onto something. Tight. It took incredible force of will to stand 30-40 feet up*, toes over the edge, leaning way out to grab the bar, then release the hand gripping tight the side rail and grab the other side of the bar. Adjusting hand positions like my life depended on it: Can't fall! Hang on tight! 

"Ready ... HUP." A hop forward and aaaaaAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. Rollercoaster oh my frickin' flying through air rushing by fast fast fast scream! I hear chuckles in the audience. Couldn't hear the instructions I was just hanging on and sensory overload. Swing back, hear the instructions now, legs up and over the bar, hanging from my knees. Wheeeee! Arch back, look at the water fountain and scream again, this time it's a yaaaahoooooo, look, ma, no hands kinda scream! Back to hanging from the hands, and she says, "get ready for the back flip."

Flip? What? Me? No frickin' way. Doesn't she realize I'm afraid of heights? Doesn't she realize I've already done more than I thought I'd have to? I thought we were just going to swing a bit to get the hang of it (no pun intended). I didn't know I'd be hanging from the knees on the first run! Not yet. I holler, "I can't do it!"

"Yes, you can!"

"No, I can't!"

"Just give it a try. Legs swinging forward, backward, forward, now lean back and tuck your knees."

I got the forward, backward, forward thing. My hands wouldn't let go.

"I can't do it!"

We try again. Forward, backward, forward, hug your knees! Nope. Ain't happening.

"I can't do it!"

They lower me down, my whole body is shaking. I feel like I've biked 20 miles, minus the sweat. I feel good. I flew!

Back in line and watching everyone else, I realize the safety ropes will catch me. I won't die, probably, most likely not. I'll try the flip. I can do this!

Next three runs, I'm moving with efficiency, I know the drill; still feeling the scream, but focusing on what I'm doing, and enjoying the sensations. Still petrified when I'm standing at the ledge, still forcing my mind to realize I'm strapped in, they're holding onto me, I can do this, I will most likely be just fine. I try for the back flip and it's not pretty, but I'm doing it! Each time, I walk away exhilarated and spent, body shaking, limbs weak, fear conquered for that moment.

The last run is the special one. Being caught mid-flight by the instructor! I'm freaked, of course, and I nearly don't go because I'm wiped. A few words from one of the instructors and I'm thinking, Bah, I can do this! One more run!

It's all in the timing. You have to hop on their Hup. You have to be hanging on your knees, arched back and outstretched arms on the second swing out. And there's still the paralyzing fear to overcome. Yeah, that.

But I did it! Hanging upside down, arched back and reaching hands -- caught by the hanging upside down instructor. Flying through air! Dropped to the net. Shaky legs and happy happy happy.

Scott, he's a natural. He doesn't have that fear thing to overcome. He sailed, moved agilely, adjusted with ease and enjoyed every moment. His catch was smooth transitions, clean lines. First time, what? I can't imagine what that would be like, not being afraid of heights. Crazy boy.

* I just looked it up, it's actually 23 feet. But it felt like 30-40 feet.

PS  Until it messes up my bandwidth, here's Scott's catch (4.7MB). It's amazing to watch. First time, what??

Yeah, I still knit

After ordering the wheel I was so mindwhacked, like a chicken without its head, looking for something to do. I nearly started a new project before I remembered Creamsicle T. Successfully switched gears and now Creamsicle T sleeves are almost done. Here's where she was yesterday:

Creamsicle T - sleeves

I'm almost out of yarn and I'm pretty sure I won't have enough. I may have to use my swatch. Isn't that desperate? I hate getting that desperate...

Next Wed will be 3 months that I've been blogging and I plan to celebrate! Yup, you guessed it, contest time. I don't have the exact prize picked out yet, but if you've been reading for any amount of time you probably noticed I use a lot of yarns handdyed by Danette Taylor. So, the prize will be some of her yarn!

What do you have to do to win?

In the comments, tell me why you think my blog is named "Two Left Needles". The winner will be the most creative / entertaining / mark-hitting entry, as decided by moi.

All entries received by midnight on 1/24 will be considered. If there are enough entries I will also draw one at random for a second prize.

For those that can't leave a comment (some IE users have problems), send an email to mygomi [at] gmail [.] com with subject "2LN Contest".

The usual suspects

Creamsicle T sleeves in progress:

Creamsicle T - sleeves

That small ball of yarn is all I have left, save a few yards. It doesn't look like enough, but I was sure I would run out on the front and back, too; it goes a looong way.

It's very soft to knit with and that doesn't get old. I haven't had any problems, though multiple froggings in the very beginning did fuzz up the yarn. As a merino singles I know it is prone to pilling, but for the softness, I think it's worth it. Looking at the knitted fabric I definitely want to block it both to smooth out the look of the stitches and to make it behave (ie, lie flat).

And look, sunlight! Winter is slowly waning and there is more sunlight in the mornings before I leave for work and hints of light when I leave. Makes for crisper photos:

35: food coloring dyed merino

That's the food coloring dyed merino plied up. The feel of my handspun is so different from commercial yarns, more bounce and body. I haven't knit with much of it so I don't know how that translates in the knitting.

Tomorrow I have a bunch of knitting photos from Maria, a former co-worker and friend that I taught to knit. She has been a knitting fiend, finishing scarves left and right. Go Maria!

Creamsicle T sleeves are about 3" done. I'm knitting both at the same time, which is my preferred method of knitting sleeves. That way, I know my gauge is the same, and I don't have to figure out what I did on the first one. Creamsicle T shows that I can stick to one project if it's the right one at the right time. Sure, I threw a little bit of fairisle mitten and Kiri knitting into the mix, plus a wee bit of spinning. But that's as close to knitting monogamy as I can get.

The wee bit of spinning is plied and is lovely. It's soft and squishy. Pictures tomorrow.

I ordered some Jacquard acid dyes from Dharma Trading Company. I'm starting with primaries and black, and some tools. We have a second crock pot in the basement that I'll put to good use. I'm reading good info on the Dye Happy Yahoo group and can't wait to experiment. I'll admit to feeling a bit intimidated and clueless, and I'm hoping it will all work itself out once I get started. In addition to good ole fiber dyeing, I'd like to try some superwash wools for self-striping sock yarn.

And in the "I'm an idiot" category, I got off my butt and decided to figure out how to write a pattern for Buttercup. I mean, it's only been, what, a month??? Sometime before winter ends would be nice, eh? It was then that I realized: Buttercup is in NC. I already gave it away! My notes are, well, let's just say, I didn't even write down how many stitches I cast on. Yup, I'm an idiot. I can rework it from the photos and memory, and I'll probably use an easier to find yarn to test knit it. Sigh. Live and learn.

Therese said:

I was pondering that the other day - why do patterns always call for knitting the back first? Now that I'm working on something with a complicated all-over stitch pattern, I'm thinking it's so you can make your mistakes on the back and not have to look at them. Makes sense, right?

That's a very good reason for it. A couple of others I can think of are:

  • The back is the most boring piece (well, the sleeves are, really), so you get the interest of working out the pattern on it. The front has some neck shaping to save you from utter boredom. The sleeves, well, the sleeves are always tough, but for most of it there is some shaping going on...
  • Sometimes the front is measured off the back: "when your piece measures 8" less than back..." so maybe the back is easier to measure off of? I dunno, maybe I'm reaching here. Heck, maybe I'm making it up.
  • That's how it's been done so that's how it's done! Quit questioning and obey! Follow the pattern!

Any other reasons?

Popsicle

Here's the back of Creamsicle T:

Creamsicle T - back

Looks remarkably like the front, just a higher neck and different splotches.

And a wee bit of spinning done! This is the merino I dyed with food coloring (right-most in last photo). Prepped width-wise:

35: food coloring dyed merino, prepped

And spun:

35: food coloring dyed merino

I tried for a slightly thicker weight than usual and did a pretty good job of remembering. I like the color variations and look forward to seeing it plied.

Knitting of the Gods

The Yarn Harlot is hosting The 2006 Knitting Olympics, and I've joined the madness. There are rules, there are medals, there will be blood, sweat and tears. Well, maybe sweaty palms and a few tears... frustration or elation, who knows. Yeah, you know me, it'll be both.

I haven't decided what I'll make yet. It has to be challenging, but do-able. I was thinking a second, more challenging lace shawl. Is that do-able? In 3 weeks? Scott suggested a sweater for him. I was stunned, and then laughed one of those "ha ha, I don't know how to react" laughs. A man-sized sweater, not in wool, likely DK weight at best, and probably good amounts of frogging involved. Hmm... We are looking for Olympian knitting, not Herculean... It would be challenging, in many many many ways. Would it be do-able?

Despite the post title, I'm in a better mood today. I took PumpkinMama's advice and took a break this weekend, even got enough sleep last night.

Much progress was made on Creamsicle T last night while watching the rest of Gone With The Wind - in between bawling and wiping my eyes. At heart, GWTW is a love story, and a tragic one at that. I think it must have been many many years since I saw it last, because I don't remember Scarlett being so in love with Ashley before. That part of the story gives the rest of the story its meaning. I think I was in high school or middle school when I saw it last... Well, being older and catching onto that crucial plot line, the story made a lot more sense to me, and really got to me. I'm sitting here shaking my head. It's just too bad, it really is.

Anyway, here's the front of Creamsicle T. Hmm, I think usually patterns call for making the back first, didn't even think of that while knitting.

Creamsicle T - front

Since I'm adjusting stitch counts and decreases on the fly, I'm not sure how it will turn out, but it's a quick enough knit that I'll plow on just the same. I did redo part of the shoulders, and have had to redo rows here and there. Nothing major so far, in the "reknit the whole thing multiple times" category. Strange, I picked this sweater and yarn so I could follow the pattern, but as soon as a I get 4" done I scrapped that plan and started readjusting everything. What's the point, I say? Mumble, mumble. [wink]

The back is about 2/3 done. Here's where it was this afternoon:

Creamsicle T - back in progress

I was going to do some spinning but couldn't do it while watching Slap Shot. Man, what a crazy (and entertaining) movie. Paul Newman cracks me up, and he is so charismatic. Crazy hockey players, reminded me of growing up, being forced to watch hockey all winter long by my brother, the remote hogger. Hmm, I don't think we had remotes back then, had to walk to the TV to change channels, imagine that. AND, we changed channels by rotating a dial. Hehe, those were the days.

Here be the beginnings of the T Shirt Sweater, named Creamsicle T, the one using super soft merino from handpaintedyarn.com:

Creamsicle t

I had knit about 4" but was worried about it being kinda loose on me. I recently read about negative ease but can't for the life of me remember where; they linked to Purly Whites's post and it musta made an impression. I'm on the petite side, and a snug soft sweater would be poifect, accentuate the girls, ya know. ;)

So I frogged and restarted by measuring my Nothin' But A T-shirt, the body of which fits pretty close to what I want, just a bit short. The plan is to add an inch to the overall length, some at the bottom and some at the waist. I had to adjust my NBaT for length cuz I'm petite (ie, short) and I got pretty close. The sleeves didn't work out so well for me so I'll use the instructions for the T-shirt Sweater on this one. Mix and match, it's all good. Maybe. Hehe.

I also worry about running out of yarn. In theory, I have enough, but you know how these things go.

Lotsa knitting accomplished during the first half of Gone With The Wind. It's been a while since I've seen it and I'm enjoying it in an entirely different way. I'm watching the performances and can't help but notice the age differences between the actors, and of each actor in relation to their role as the movie progresses. I'm marveling at the creative solutions used in special effects, and their sometimes super cheesiness. I'm thinking about Hollywood production values and large casts and the scene to scene intermingling of painted sets and outdoor scenes. I'm imagining the movie when it came out, seeing the attitudes of that era imprinted on the story of a past era; and amazed at that past era, even if through a 1930's looking glass. I'm charmed by beautiful Cinderella dresses and mystified by corsets and complex social rules... and surprised by how funny the first quarter of the movie is.

Scott had never seen it and sat with me even after I "released" him after an hour. His one question: "So when does he say, 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn'?" Oh, 4 hours from now, honey, 4 hours.

Done with the knitting, just need to weave in ends, add some fringe, and give it a gentle bath. Bought the yarn on eBay and it's supposed to fluff out and get softer with washing.

Black Fluffy Thing - almost done!

Black and fuzzy are a difficult photo combo. It looks a little washed out here, but you can see the checkerboard pattern.

In other knitting news

Knit the body to the armpits on the Hourglass Sweater:

Hourglass Sweater - body

and started on a sleeve. I'm using 2 circular needles and I actually cast on for both sleeves at the same time, finally had an 'A-HA!' moment on how to do it without transferring any stitches. But, while 2 circs and 2 sets of knitted items may work well for socks, it's way too confusing and complicating for sleeves. Every time I switched needles I had to follow the cord to find the other end of the needle. Too much work. 2 circs work nicely for one sleeve, however.

Hourglass Sweater - sleeve

And as I previously mentioned, I did try the body on once I hit the armpits and it looks like a nice fit. Likely will need to wear a t-shirt underneath, though. As I figured.

It was a plying kinda day

As promised, here is how the Kool Aid dyed roving looks plied:

21: Kool Aid dyed merino - plied

and a close up:

21: Kool Aid dyed merino - plied

Doesn't it look kinda tweedy?

I look at it, squeeze it, turn it over and over, and can't believe I made it. I dyed it, spun it, plied it. It was just some (nicely prepared) wool before I played. Now it's interesting yarn. (Granted, only 1 oz. Work with me here.)

Here is the plied Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester, also from yesterday's post, though with the harsh early morning lighti you can't tell the colors as well:

22: Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester - plied

And here is some older spun wool that I finally got around to plying (the fifth thing I ever spun!). Before:

5: White Coopworth

And after:

5: White Coopworth - larger, plied 5: White Coopworth - smaller, plied

Dey curly! Haven't been set yet. Came out much bulkier than I expected. The top one barely fit on my spindle. It's white Coopworth and now I want to dye it! Muahahahaha... It has a very crisp texture, unlike the merino and BFL I've been using lately. I generally prefer soft wools, but my horizons are expanding.

Yesterday was a day of knitting penance. Or torture. Or both.

I knit another foot on the Black Fluffy Thing. It's a simple pattern, but just complicated enough that I can't watch TV or read blogs while knitting. Maybe if it wasn't knit with 3 strands of fuzzy black loopy, maybe if I could actually see the pattern without inspecting, maybe then I could. It's 2 feet long now. 3 more to go. I figure one foot a day should do it, just enough to be painful but not enough to actually go insane. This one needs to be sent out asap.

On the plus side, Scott approved the black color!

Next I knit another foot on the Vintage Unvelvet. Lovely cashmere softness. 3 feet now, 2 to go. As I was putting it down (with great relief and pride at my fortitude), I noticed the ball of yarn looked smallish. In a panic I weighed it. 1.25 oz left. 4 oz in the ball. 3 feet complete. My equations in Excel tell me I will have enough yarn for 52.36 inches, or just more than 4' 4". Is this enough? Enough scarf, I mean? For a man? (Oh, the agony. I had to choose a cabled pattern, didn't I. Just had to. When I knew I only had one ball.) The scarf that Grumperina just knit for her dad was 53" plus a bit of fringe, and it was specially requested at that length. So there is hope...

On the plus side, what I do have looks really nice! (And I really do enjoy knitting with this yarn; the pressure is beginning to spoil that, must be careful.)

Last, I knit some more of Gram's sock.

Gram's socks - 1st sock

I don't know why I'm not knitting it faster. I'm just not enjoying it. It's Fleece Artist sock yarn,

Fleece Artist sock yarn

beautiful blues and purples, soft. (The one unphotographed Canadian souvenir.) Maybe the needles feel small for the yarn. Maybe I'm bored of stockinette socks after knitting 3 pair just like it. It's hard to say. But her birthday is coming up, so I'll have to work on that fortitude thing and suck it up.

After all that, it was ME ME ME time. I resisted the urge to start a new project and picked up a dusty Hourglass Sweater that I started in March (I was pleased to find I had only started it this year; some of my dusty WIPs are much, much older).

Hourglass Sweater - body

I was about 9" in when I stopped; if I remember correctly, I was worried about a bulky hemmed bottom, and about the softness of the yarn. It's Tragelly's Silk Blend singles in Desert Shadow; it's got wool and silk, and it's fairly soft, but is it Cash Iroha next-to-the-skin soft? Not sure...

Hmm... Now that I've spelled it all out, is this such a good idea? To keep knitting? Invest hours and hours on something I may not quite like or wear?

Enh, I've done worse.

Okay, I'll temper that. I'll knit to the armpits and then slip it off the needles and try it on.

My first knitalong!

Can you feel it? The holiday knitting pressure? I'm feeling it. That's why I joined my first knitalong:

The Who Wouldn't Love A Handknitted Gift?! Along, aka Knit Some Holiday Cheer.

Alison is running this one; she has instructions on her blog for signing up, so come join us! Let the madness end.

Before I met Scott he hardly ever wore sweaters. He couldn't find any he liked. He's allergic to wool (that's a whole other topic right there). But he LIKES sweaters. In fact, he likes the look of certain wool sweaters, especially tweedy wool sweaters. He likes roll necks and sleeves. He likes slouchy sweaters; if necessary he will (attempt to) buy a sweater two sizes too big to achieve that look. He likes ... subdued colors.

When he finds a sweater he LIKES, Hurrah! Hurrah!

So when I found him the most special sweater -- light grey tweedy look with roll neck and cuffs, casual, roomy, and not a jot of wool -- I was excited for him. He didn't pick it up because it looked like wool. What a find! And next to it, sweater number two: dark blue/grey tweedy look with wide ribs, casual, roomy.

The sweaters received much care, wear, attention. They made him happy. But, sadly, his sweaters don't have a long shelf life. They shrink. This is a cause of great sadness.

My first knitters tip: don't put it in the dryer. That helped.

My second knitters tip: stretch it out when it's wet. That helped some more.

But when these failed and the most special sweater was too short to wear, it was a dark day indeed.

But wait! I'm a knitter! I'm (sorta) fearless! I just read about recycling sweaters!

We made a plan. Sweater number two took one for the team.

Sweater number two - recycled

And the most special sweater was gonna get a graft. Extensions, if you will. A "regrow".

Except it was almost summer and who wants to work on a fall sweater in the summer???

Ahem.

Time passed.

Here are the beginnings of the "regrow":

Regrow - in progress

With right side facing, I picked up stitch for stitch all around the cuff. Here's the inside:

Regrow - in progress

It seems a smooth transition (no pun intended). And when I unroll the cuff, you can see a slight puckering at the pick up point, which I hope will remain hidden in the roll.

Regrow - in progress

My first pick up attempt was a few rows below, where the ribbing ends, and was done with wrong side facing. Besides the puckering, the roll no longer rolled, just sorta folded over; and since it was picked up wrong side facing (what was I thinking?), it wasn't a smooth transition. This time, I looked at where the natural roll occurred and picked up a row or so higher.

Holiday knitting

Here be a new scarf I started using the cashmere/merino yarn I picked up at Mini Mills in PEI.

Vintage Unvelvet - in progress

The scarf is for... a man. That's all I'm gonna say.

I finished knitting the second Gatsby sleeve! Torture by twisty yarn. Trying to decide what to do about all that lanolin. Wash and block? Or just block and keep the lanolin? No photo because it looks just like the first. At least, I hope it does.

Started spinning up the Northern Mist roving from Belfast Mini Mills. It's 1/3 each of quiviut, alpaca, merino. I was saving it for when I'm a little more experienced, but I figured the alpaca and merino would give it a longer staple and make it easier. It did.

17: Northern Mist (quiviut/alpaca/merino)

It spins up pretty easily, feels nice in the hands, and the yarn on the spindle is so pettable. I spun with enough twist to make a 2-ply and maybe a nice (small) lace scarf will come out of it.

Comments

In the comments, Jane says:
Gorgeous blog! And, you have a real eye for colour. The scene on your opening page looks so much like the Annapolis Valley near my home in Nova Scotia. Where are you other than virtually?

Thanks so much! I've always thought of myself as color impaired. Only in the last year or so have I gone boldly where I have been too chicken to go before: mixing colors and yarns in unspecified ways, letting my instinct guide me. My first steps were to buy handdyed yarns that I love - colors are already there, just have to make something with it. I slowly started mixing yarns and colors here and there. I have a ways to go before I'm truly comfortable with it, but it is exciting. Unlike you! You're VERY comfortable with colors and playing. It's inspirational.

The photo was taken on Prince Edward Island on our honeymoon. We didn't make it to the Annapolis Valley this run but hope to take another trip out that way soon. We LOVED PEI. Love love LOVED it. This photo though, we were driving from Charlottetown to the Belfast Mini Mills, and stopped to check the air. Behind the gas stand was that gorgeous view. When I was putting together my blog, I thought of the colors I love. Whenever I see handdyed yarns (or any yarns, for that matter) I always go for the reds and the blues. Always. Then I thought of this photo. Perfect.

Hubby and I live in Holliston, MA, about an hour's drive to Boston (durned traffic). Nice and quiet, lots of trees and breathing room.

I went a little crazy this year and bought a LOT of Danette Taylor's handdyed yarns. The problem has been figuring out what to make with it all.

I had some silk-merino and nylon eyelash in similar bright not-me colors, so I thought I'd play and see what I could come up with. Here's the result (back and front):

Silky Soft Confection - unblocked

I call it Silky Soft Confection, and it is VERY silky soft. It's a modified version of the usual fan and wave (or whatever it's called). I had twice as much silk-merino yardage-wise, and I also didn't want the silk-merino to get lost in the nylon eyelash 'cuz then what would be the point of using silk-merino? Plus I wanted to maintain a little textural interest but also keep it subtle. And, wanted to maximize number of knit rows (vs purl). 

I'm happy with how it turned out overall. The only thing bothering me and keeping this from being a FO is the bind-off edge. See at the center of the picture, how it looks kinda ... flat and straight? And at the top and bottom of the picture, it's nice and wavy?

I was thinking of undoing the cast on edge, picking up the stitches and then binding off so they'd match. But then they'd both be ... flat and straight. Not the effect I want. Will a good blocking take care of this?

Gatsby Pullover Sleeve

In other news, I finished the first sleeve of the Gatsby Pullover:

Gatsby Pullover - finished sleeve!

And may I say, Wow, what a pain.

It was the whole yarn twisting thing. I mickey moused a setup that allowed the cone to rotate and therefore introduce less twist in the unwinding, but it hardly helped. It's the cone itself. Too much twist. I can totally see why I lost interest in this project.

Worse, I'm thinking the fabric created by this yarn and this needle size is a good deal heavier than the yarn used in the pattern. I'm worried about the ease factor. (And, I think the sleeve may be a bit too long. And I knit 1/2" less than the pattern called for, too.)

Meanwhile, I started the second sleeve and am around where I was when I lost interest last time. Which means I have a whole sleeve to go. Lovely.

My Birthday Scarf

Last, I leave you with a photo of My Birthday Scarf. This was my birthday gift to myself this year: 2 skeins of sport weight cashmere handdyed by, you guessed it, Danette Taylor. This is the Calypso colorway. I loves it. The colors are great and the yarn is soooo soft. Even for cashmere. The 2x2 rib, while interesting enough the first 12" or so, is now, well, not so interesting. I add a few rows here and there when I can (stand to) and hope to be done before it gets really cold.

My Birthday Scarf - in progress My Birthday Scarf - closeup

Is it just me, or have they always had so many creepy movies and horror-related shows for so many days before Halloween??? I know my memory is for crap. I'm hoping it's just the whole weekend before that makes it seem especially insane. Maybe the commercials for Hulk every 10 minutes have done me in (how many times can you hear that too catchy tune "monster! monster! monster!" without turning green and going Hulk?). Maybe I've just been spending too much time in front of the TV.

The kids are a-prowl. Scott says he heard them. Nothing against the kids, they're so cute dressed up and all, but man, our house looks dressed up for fright night. Cobwebs, leaves, general disarray. And then there's the outside. Plus we don't have any candy. I was looking around the kitchen today, thinking, "hmm, Ritz crackers... maybe these unopened Tic Tacs... ooh, we could give them ramen, we got lots of that..." I mean, in case our scary unlit exterior doesn't scare them off.

If you want to see cute and devotion, look at Alison's Thing 1 and 2 outfits. Aren't they the cutest?

Gatsby Pullover

On the knitting front, my project and stash guilt are ever growing, so I flipped through my project notebook to see what I could close up. (I'm also trying to counter startitis brought on by newly acquired stash 1 and stash 2.) I settled on the Gatsby Pullover from Interweave Knits Spring 2003. Front and back are done, just need to do 2 sleeves and the usual finishing. Yarn is Donegal Tweed in light grey on a cone; it has some lanolin, which I'm not crazy about in general, and also working off the cone introduces lots of unnecessary twist, which I have to fix every few rows. The latter is probably why I dropped the project, since it does knit reasonably fast and with enough interest from the shaping.

Gatsby Pullover - yarn

Grrr, that twisty twisty yarn... but it's so purty knit up. First sleeve is about a third done.

Gatsby Pullover - sleeve

I ran into a knot, pretty near an edge. We had talked about spit splicing at Knitsmiths that night, so I decided to do a non-spit spit splice. Worked nicely.

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