I’ve been doing a lot of spinning since the New England Fiber Fest — I’ll save the details for a FO Friday post, but for now feast your eyes on my long-draw woolen 2-ply from Spunky Eclectic’s hand-painted Targhee roving:
This was my first time with a new spinning technique, so the finished product is a bit unevenly spun and is definitely “thick and thin” in weight. I chose a simple pattern for bulky yarn that would let me wear the sumptuously soft, pretty blue yarn right by my face: Twist and Flounce by Sharon Dreifuss. I love how it’s working up so far:
I also started a project with the test skeins from the gradient dyeing day with Kate. I met Christiane Burkhard (of Lismi Knits) at Fiber Festival, and got to see her Farfalla in person. It had been in my queue for quite a while, and seeing it in person made me bump it up in my queue. I had had plans to knit some faux-isle mittens and hat with the coordinating/contrasting skeins of bright fall colors and slate gray, but the yarn was perfect for a Farfalla. The design here is so clever, and it’s an enjoyable knit so far:
Three new projects this week!
First up: I cast on using some of my handspun for Geschenk. The handspin in question is from Patches and Butterscotch (of Long Island Livestock). I bought it at last year’s FFNE — spun it as skinny as I could and then made 2-ply. I got about 230 yards out of 4 oz of llama roving.
Second, I started a Stucco using two skeins of sumptuous Danu in Iris. It’s a simple pattern for a wild yarn — I’m a couple repeats in, and I think it’s going to be great! (I’m always worried about how strong-contrast variegated colorways will look as I knit them up.)
Last but not least, I started a new design prototype. I’m using Llyr in Leaf — a sweet tonal green. I’m using half-linen stitch again. The item in question is an asymmetrical cowl with two buttons — it’s going well so far, and I’ll show you more when I can :).
The 5th challenge of The Fiber Factor was all-consuming for me … lots of new techniques to conquer, and leagues of hand-sewing and hand-embroidery to do before I could rest. My fingers bled, my eyes crossed: my piece was a harsh mistress :). One thing that kept me at my task was knowing that I had not one, not two, but THREE mystery KALs lined up to start right when the project was due. Yippee! Naturally I started them all as quickly as I could. We shall not mention that I already have the specs (and a bit of bling) for Challenge #6.
First up: the RHK Mystery KAL by Sara Elizabeth Kellner. RHK stands for Rabbit Hole Knits — Sara designs adorable stuffed toys to knit, and this seemed like a great opportunity to make one. This MKAL is free — all you have to do is join her forum. I’m using some left-over Tosh Vintage in Rosewood:
Next up: the Autumn Mystery KAL by Susanna IC. Right now the pattern is still $3, but the price will go up as clues are released. Buy now to get the best price! 🙂 I’m using two skeins of Tosh Sock in Mare and the browner beads:
Last but not least, the Morticia Halloween KAL 2013 by Boo Knits. I’ve been dying to do a Boo Knits pattern, and I had this skein of Alfar just begging for a good use. I’m doing the “two kids of beads” option, making the larger shawl:
So … I got this knitting machine for Challenge #4 of The Fiber Factor. It’s really good at cranking out stockinette … so obviously, instead of working on the challenge, I packed up the machine and brought it over to Kate’s house. (You know, Kate, the amazing hand-dyer over at A Hundred Ravens.) We rigged up two swifts and two skeins of her sock-yarn base ( (aka Iachos). With her managing the swifts and me minding (and winding) the machine with the sock yarn held double, we cranked through 400 yards and created a tube-shaped dying blank about 5 feet long (tall?).
Why, you ask? Because with such a blank, we could do a fabulous gradient dye job! What fun! It took about 40 minutes (with two people) to make the blank, which is longer than it took to dye it. Later on Kate & Company reversed the process and made skeins out of the blank.
My desire was to emulate the beautiful fall leaves against a slate-gray stormy sky. With Kate’s guidance (and editing eye) we focused on the leaves on the test skein (dyed “normally” with short color repeats), starting with a pale yellow, moving through bright oaky orange and a cherry maple red, and finishing with a more mahogany color. I begged for a second skein of the slate gray to do colorwork with the short-repeat skein.
Here are those two colorways, skeined and then caked:
The gradient colorway is AMAZING in person — here it is in skein and cake:
I have selected Alexandra by Dee O’Keefe (shawlette size) — so far, I’m in loooove!
This week I started (and finished) a quick-knit hat in a new Classic Elite yarn, Ava. It’s sparkly! The sparkles match the colorways! Purple rules! Here is my version of Bastille.
I also cast on for a new Sivia Harding cowl, Wild Iris. I’m using a skein of Tosh Light in Mare that I’ve had stashed for some time now.
I’ve been waiting and waiting for the solid colors of Liberty Wool Light to come out … lucky me, here they are!
I bought yarn for two different double-knitting projects: Fractal Cowl by Emily Peters, and Open for Business by Alasdair Post-Quinn. The Fractal Cowl is knit in the round, with a straight-up double-knitting pattern. I’m doing this one first to learn more about double-knitting, before I tackle the “Open/Closed” sign (which has a different pattern on the front and back).
Here’s my yarn for the Fractal:
I’m done with the knitting (and finishing) for my project for Challenge #3 of the Fiber Factor. We had the photo shoot on Friday just before sundown — my friend’s daughter modeled for me, and my other friend took the pictures. I knew we were getting great shots while on site, but the actual proofs were even better! I’m looking forward to the time when I can share.
Still on the to-do list for this challenge:
- finally finalize the all-important name
- arrange for and complete my “for the public” session with our mentor, Josh Barrett
- make the video for the judges (I have some footage, but probably need more)
- select the 12 best photos, and decide which two will be the “main” and “supporting” photos
- finish up grading and pattern writing (just have sleeves to go)
So, I cast on two new projects this week!
First-off is a new(ish) design project — it’s destined to be a Classic Elite Web-letter pattern, sometime this fall. I’m using scrumptious squishy-soft Chalet to make a cable-edged squared-off vest — a layering piece for fall and early winter. I swatched for this design some time ago, but now is the time to get the thing done. So far, so good!
Second, I started yet-another-cowl. This time, I’m using glorious Llyr in the new-ish colorway “Aphrodite” (drool at it, I command thee):
I’m making a Song of the Sea with it — perfect combination of yarn and pattern, IMHO.
This week I started a new challenge for The Fiber Factor! The theme for challenge #3 is “Blank Slate.” All twelve contestants were told “no need for a color card this time.” I knew this meant we would either be working with a yarn we already had a card for — or, more likely, we didn’t have any choices. On Challenge Day, we each got a box with 15 skeins of Kenzie in a gorgeous oatmeal-cream:
I’ve been doing a lot of swatching — used up almost a whole ball! Of course I’m saving the swatches just in case I need the yarn, but I think I’m going to be ok. I actually sewed a mock-up of my design in caramal-colored knit fabric from my local JoAnn’s. I am in LOVE with the shape I’m working towards, and I have a great “special detail” in mind that I haven’t seen before….
I’m done with my project for Challenge #2 of The Fiber Factor! I still have to film the video for judging, and mail the sweater off … but for all practical purposes I’m done. So, time to catch up on some neglected projects, right?? Wrong. Time to cast on three new projects, yay!
For what it’s worth, I also pared down my Ravelry queue and went through my stash and put a LOT of things up for sale — see something you like? PM me on Ravelry!
Here are my new projects, in order of casting on. (I cast on TWO after midnight, the night I finished my FF project.)
#1 — My very own Oswin, using A Hundred Ravens Alfar. Oswin is a crochet project. No, really!
#2 — I’m using Malabrigo Mecha in Arapey to make Hester’s Hope, a shawl from the latest “What Would Madame DeFarge Knit?” book.
#3 — After a false start with a too-colorful yarn, I settled on The Fibre Company’s Road to China Light in Malachite for Sivia Harding’s new cowl pattern, Lorelei.
Having finished one pair of socks for my mom, on to the next! This time the yarn is Claudia Hand-Painted in a lovely shade of olive. I chose Andrea Fox’s pattern Medallion Lace Socks. I decided to do these ones two-at-a-time, and I’m already done with both cuffs. Yay!
I also dug up some old-ish sweater stash: two batches of Shadow Tonal in Blue Yonder. I bought this is two chunks … which means I have two different dye lots. In person, they look the same, but from experience I know that sometimes even “same-looking” yarn will make an ugly line of demarcation in a finished object. I should be ok though, because I plan to knit with this yarn mostly double-stranded, so I can easily take one ball from each dye lot and thus avert any dye lot lines.
I’m making a Lambton Top (Theressa Silver) from the 2011 Jane Austen Knits. Instead of trying to find a lace-weight and DK weight in the same colorway (or using stripes like some knitters have), I am using single-stranded Shadow for the laceweight portion, and double-stranded Shadow for the DK portion. So far, so good! I’ve read in other people’s project notes that the neck can be too big … for now, I’m making it as-written. I used a crochet cast-on, so it will be easy to go back and add some more fabric if I don’t like the size of the neckline.