Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I was so pleased to finish the Black Fluffy Thing and the Vintage Unvelvet and cross them off my WIP list! Down to 65! (AND, cross off 2 gifts as well.) But then, I realized that the Multidirectional Silk Scarf I started last week never made it onto my WIP list, so I had to add it in. Up to 66. And then, I started a new project, a scarf for a New Year's gift... So, back to 67. Hahaha. You see how this works? This holiday and gift knitting thing is going to throw a monkey wrench into the whole WIP Management thing.

Vintage Unvelvet

Vintage Unvelvet
Started: 11/3/05
Finished: 11/16/05
Pattern: "Vintage Velvet" by Lisa Daniels, Scarf Style
Yarn: Mini Mills 75% cashmere / 25% merino, one 4 oz skein
Needles: #8
Notes: The Vintage Unvelvet was mostly a joy to knit. The pattern really bothered me for the first, oh, 3 feet. There is just enough difference between the front and the back that I have to look several times each row to make sure I'm putting the knits and purls in the right place. Can't watch TV, can't read blogs. But, the last foot and a third I got over it. Maybe it was the crappy late night TV... I really like the way it looks; this yarn shows off the pattern much better than the Touch Me. The cashmere blend is extremely soft (that's where the "joy to knit" comes in), but might deposit bits of cashmere fluff on unsuspecting fleece... haha, not the sheep kind of fleece, silly. I'm still not crazy about the color, and I hope the recipient doesn't mind it too much... But if so, I'll consider dyeing it. Not with Kool Aid. Not this year.

Black Fluffy Thing

Black Fluffy Thing
Started: 11/10/05
Finished: 11/16/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Zegna Baruffa Mousse, tripled
Needles: #10
Notes: The pattern was kept simple because anything more would get lost in the black and boucle. And while the pattern irritated me (mostly because I couldn't see it), the last foot and a half didn't bother me at all. Maybe it was the home stretch. Maybe it was burned onto my brain. Maybe it was the extra light from pulling the floor lamp closer to me. The scarf grew a bit in the wash (almost 6"), and the fringe got a little ratty (gave it a trim). But it did get softer! I wasn't crazy about the yarn, but that could have been the needle size as well. But since it got softer with a wash, I may skein and wash before using next time. May as well try, I have pounds of it left.

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.

Started a new scarf yesterday (what? why ya lookin' at me like that?):

Fluffy Black Thing

It's a thank you gift that I need to finish soon.

Guys are tough to knit for, especially when it's supposed to be a surprise and you don't know them that well. Of course, asking Scott for help doesn't make it any better, his "acceptable color" palette is limited so most yarn suggestions were nixed immediately. Black is safe. Isn't it? Not fun to knit with, especially with 3 strands of microscopic boucle. It's not like I need to see the pattern as I work. But it's safe, right? Right?

In more colorful news, I Kool Aid dyed another ounce of merino:

Dyeing Fiber

Yup, that's more of the "dot" effect I was going for the first time before I got carried away watching the fiber absorb the dye. Great red, eh? Roarin' Raspberry Cranberry; looks blood red mixed up so I had a good feeling about the red it would produce. Wanted to add another color in but don't like any of the colors I have. Allison used Crystal Lite to dye her son's hat yarn, so I'll have to branch out. Who knows, I may end up getting (gasp) non-drink mix dyes before long.