A few things I’ve been working on…

These were so close to being done before I went to Japan. All I had left was a toe. I wasn’t about to bring a project that was almost done, with airplane-incompatible needles, so I finished them right after we got back. The yarn is Pigeonroof Studios sock yarn, that I bought at Piedmont Yarn. I would kill to get some roving from Pigeonroof, but the yarn is almost as good. The base yarn is strong but soft, and has a nice sheen, and the short, random bursts of color make for interesting knitting, and almost no pooling! (Oh, and the pattern is Garter Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks.)

Last summer I started making granny squares for the Color Bar Blanket from the Stitch n Bitch Happy Hooker. I completed the squares in a few colors, and then they sat in a bag for several months. Lately I’ve been in the mood to make some more, especially during the heat wave we had last week. I’m almost through half the colors…just need to finish up this blue. There was a sale on Plymouth Encore at WEBS, so I got most of the other colors I need. If I don’t completely lose momentum, I hope to finish the squares and sew it all together over the summer so I will have an awesome afghan for fall!

This pattern came out last month over at Purl Bee. I instantly wanted to knit it…even though I’ve been queuing patterns and accumulating yarn for several bigger sweater projects, I can’t bring myself to start any of them right now. This shrug, however, is small enough, and wearable in the summer, so I finally decided to go find yarn and cast on. Our bamboo selection is a bit lacking at Piedmont Yarn, so I went to Article Pract on Sunday. There were several bamboo and cotton blend selections, but I couldn’t find a yarn I liked in a color that was inspiring (and wearable), or if I did, there wasn’t enough in the store (like a certain cotton tencel blend that I fell in love with). I went into the sale room and ended up coming out with several skeins of Berroco Glace, a rayon ribbon yarn, in an amazing deep indigo color. I’ll admit, it’s the color that did me in, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s knitting up. I just finished the first sleeve, and now I’m on the back. I’m trying to knit it fast and keep momentum because if I finish it, it will definitely get worn this summer.

James requested a hat last fall, I may have mentioned it at some point on here. It is to have mushrooms, snails, and squirrels. There will be earflaps, and we found some awesome buttons that will be integrated into the earflaps somehow (either decoratively or functionally, it is not yet clear). I did a little swatching a few months ago and started to cast on, but the size 1 needles and 190+ stitches were sort of uninspiring. I also realized more planning was necessary…I needed to draft an entire chart of all of the Fair Isle components, rather than just trying to wing it. I have been putting it off for several months now, but the other night I got motivated and drew up this chart. It looks like there will be 6 pattern repeats (3 repeats of the chart), for a total of 180 stitches. My chart is a conglomeration of several Adrian Bizilia charts (the mushrooms, snails, and swirls), and the squirrels come from a mitten pattern (pdf). The snails are actually significantly altered to fit into a smaller number of stitches. I have yet to start the knitting, but now that I have this chart I should be able to get at least to the crown decreases pretty easily. I know I will be using a provisional cast on so I can deal with the earflaps later on. If James is lucky, he might have this hat to wear next autumn…or winter. Those needles are still mighty small…

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I got a spinning wheel! The Lady was kind enough to GIVE me one of hers – for free! It’s an Ashford Traditional, and I’m sure it’s seen many owners…but it still works beautifully and is simple enough for me to figure out. I got a quick one-hour lesson, which was enormously helpful, and since then I’ve just been learning by doing. I spun some green Corriedale for practice, and then I dove into my build-up of Spunky Eclectic club fiber. “Pie for Everyone!” seemed like a good place to start.


(click for bigger)

Can I just say that spinning on a wheel is awesome? I knew I wanted a bouncy, springy, bulky weight yarn, and that’s pretty much what I got. I spun and plied all 4oz in just a few nights, and I had so much fun while doing it. It’s not perfect, I could have given it even more twist in places, and my drafting needs work (though it’s loads better than it was with the spindle), but I love it.

Spunky Eclectic Club Roving, November 2007
100% Falkland wool
4 oz, 116 yards
something like bulky weight

I’m envisioning turning this into a squishy Urchin or Zeebee hat. I’m a little hesitant to knit it up because I love looking at it so much, but I haven’t knit with my handspun yet and I think it will be awesome.

Right before Stiches West, I sort of went through and reorganized my yarn. I had seen the Inga Hat a few weeks prior, and found some random worsted weight wool to use for it. It’s amazing how much nicer stranded knitting looks with real wool, instead of superwash.


Leftover Cascade 220 (lavender) and Galway Highland Heather (blue)
size 3 needles
I love the braid around the bottom. My excuse for casting this on (amongst my many other projects) was so I could try out the braid as a possible embellishment for the completely ridiculous hat James wants me to make for him. I think I’m going to give this to my sister, because I never finished her second mitten for xmas and I’ll be seeing her next week. These are definitely her colors.

Just for fun, my fabulous model: