One of the knitting projects that has been consuming most of my time since moving has been this wrap, and I’m very excited to be able to share it. This project also has the distinction of being the first knit that I started and finished in our new city.
(Which is also why I get to take photos next to a river, because we have one of those right by our new apartment!)
I made this as a gift for my future mother-in-law, who did a stupendous amount of work in helping us pack for our move, and then generously offered to help us unpack, as well. She didn’t ask for anything in return, but it was such a huge help that I couldn’t not do anything for her. She’s also one of those people who’s almost always too cold, so I knew that a shawl or a wrap would be a good choice.
The pattern is Cardinia, which I first saw knitted up as a sample at my old LYS. I chose it both because it’s a nice, basic knit that doesn’t require a lot of thought, and because it’s constructed in an interesting way.
The shawl is knit from edged to edge, rather than point to point, which means there aren’t that many rows, but each one is LONG. It also uses a deceptively large quantity of yarn, which I didn’t totally realize until I was in the middle of knitting it. Early on in the grey section, I actually said, “Oh, this isn’t using much yarn, maybe I can use the leftovers to make another for myself.”
The finished shawl is nearly three full skeins of sock yarn. Because you cast on 280+ stitches at the beginning, it looks like you’ve started knitting the full width of the shawl, but the increases go up to a 300-400 st width by the widest part, and yarn starts to disappear pretty quickly.
It makes a big, cuddly, generously-sized wrap, though, which I think will make it a really wearable gift.
I was a little constrained in what was available to me (I’m still learning about the yarn shops here in Calgary!) so the only way to get the colours I wanted was to knit this in three different bases, with different fiber content, from three different dyers. I must admit, this gave me a bit of an eye twitch. You can sort of tell, but I think only as a knitter – the grey and brown sections have cashmere content, and the pink is a merino/silk blend, so the pink feels a bit rougher by comparison, but it’s not bad.
If I had to knit this again (and I might, I’m a sucker for yarnovers on stockinette), I think I’d leave one marker in the center for the stockinette portion, to help me keep track of the center again for the middle lace portion. Otherwise, I think this pattern is a total winner, and I’m really pleased with the finished product – I almost like it too much to give away!
So the Tour has come and gone, but while it was around I got some pretty good spinning done.
I spun one braid of Indigodragonfly fiber (the blue-and-grey skein in the top photo), and three braids from my ITW stash. The colourways were, in order: “Eureka” on BFL, “Captain Tightpants” on BFL, and “Andraste” on English Shetland.
The two BFL braids I worked on spinning for The Holy Grail – that is, a 3-ply sock yarn. I’ve been out of practice spinning very fine yarns, and while I find my way back into the groove, I’m spinning a lot of very high quality, even sport-weight.
My Captain Tightpants spin was the closest I’ve come in a while – it’s around a 16 wpi yarn (commercial sock yarns tend to come out at around 18 WPI), but the yardage was fairly unimpressive at only 280yd. I’m happy with how I spun it, in terms of the way the colours move and the quality of the yarn, but it may end up being not-socks instead.
The yarn that I ended up being the happiest with was my last braid, the Andraste on Shetland. I really wasn’t sure how to spin this – the Shetland was very poofy but coarse, and I couldn’t imagine using it for anything intended for next-to-skin wear. I decided to spin it as a two-ply, hoping for something close to a DK weight so that I could make mittens (which I could always line with something softer, if I needed.) I ended up with a really great, poofy DK weight with enough yardage for mittens, and sort-of-almost lined up the colours in my spinning. This will end up striping when it’s knit up, and I’m looking forward to that.
I don’t know what the overall lesson here is, other than knowing that I’m still finding the balance between spinning intentionally and spinning intuitively. I’ve got a good sense of how to use my wheel to make yarn, and I’m pretty good at controlling the size of my singles and keeping them consistent. I’m still finding, though, that it’s the yarns where I really want them to be something that turn out not-quite-right, and the yarns I spend less time fretting about that end up as lovely surprises. I’ll have to think about this in the context of one of my longer-term spinning goals – to try spinning for another sweater quantity, someday.
This is turning into such a spinning blog! I’ve been keeping up with my daily spinning for the Tour, but over this period I usually try to spin at least 30 minutes a day, instead of just spinning daily. I can only sustain a pace like that for a few weeks – I like working on too many other things to use all of my creative time for my wheel – but when so many other people are spinning the same amount, it’s fun to join in!
I spent a few days working on this braid of BFL, in “Eureka,” from the Into The Whirled club. I had high hopes to spin this as a 3-ply and end up with a lovely, barberpoled fingering-weight yarn with lots of yardage.
I ended up with 200yd of DK weight, instead. While not exactly what I wanted, it is pretty, and I think will make a lovely pair of mittens, or part of a sweater.
The other nice thing about ‘failing’ a little at my “Eureka” braid, is that it set me up really nicely to spin my next braid. This is the current spin on my wheel – “Captain Tightpants,” which I have been saving in my stash for about a year, now. It’s also BFL from Into The Whirled. Because I’d just finished spinning a yarn that was the wrong weight, I was able to correct and spin singles that were much, much finer.
This braid is taking much longer to spin, but I feel more hopeful that the finished yarn will turn out to be the weight I’m hoping for.