So, a while ago, I was talking to my friend A, who is a brilliant artistic person who does lovely handmade ceramics. She also knits, and I mentioned in a sort of casual, offhand way that if she ever wanted to make me a mug, I’d totally trade her for some handspun.
She delivered on the mug a couple of months ago, and it is 100% my new favourite thing. So, for the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to get down to the business of making some really, really good handspun for her.
This is one of my few finished yarns for which I actually have photos of the unspun fiber – I used Tanis Fiber Arts’ in Ultraviolet. It’s from her Etsy shop, as (I believe) she no longer carries spinning fiber in her regular colourways.
Is it not the prettiest? My favourite part is, obviously, that it’s blue.
With this fiber, I basically just sat down and spun, from one end to the other. This fiber was incredibly smooth, and didn’t require much predrafting at all. I’ve never worked with superwash merino, and I’m wondering if that’s it? It just didn’t seem as “sticky” as regular wool usually does.
I was going for a finished product somewhere in the worsted weight family, so I tried to do singles that were on the fatter side.
I chain-plied the singles, then gave them a bath in hot water to set the twist.
Overall, I feel pretty good about this yarn. It turned out fairly close to worsted-weight, once it’d been washed – I’d feel comfortable knitting it on 4mm needles or so, which is pretty close to what I wanted.
I also love the colours, quite a lot. They all work really nicely together, and because I spun from end to end, there are some nice long repeats of different shades of blue and violet. I sort of wish I could keep this for myself!
I don’t know if you guys have heard, but it was very, very cold here this weekend. Fortunately, I had the luxury of staying in and not accomplishing much, so I sat around with a few episodes of Lost Girl (so Canadian, trashy as only a show about sexy urban fantasy can be, so addictive) and made stuff.
1. I made this big orange thing, which I will blog about soon. It’s currently in my sink, getting a bath.
2. I worked on my Fiddlehead mittens. I actuallly finished most of the fairisle knitting for these mitts over the Christmas holidays, but I forgot to blog about any of it. They’re from a Tanis Fiber Arts kit I bought in the summer of 2009, in the Shadow/Deep Sea/Peacock/Seabreeze/Spearmit/Buttercup colourway. They got put aside for a while in my stash, and then for a while in my unfinished knitting pile.
This is in part because I am lazy, and in part because I occasionally need practical motivation to make stuff. (This may also fall under “I’m lazy,” it’s not totally clear.) But, the thing is, until recently, I already had a pair of mittens. My Bella’s Mittens from 2009 have lived in my coat pockets pretty much since then, and I loved them. They were purple. They kept my hands warm.
And then, on Friday, I lost them. I don’t know where or how. In fact, I spent most of the weekend thinking I’d just left them in my locker at work, but when I got there yesterday morning, I realized they really had disappeared.
Apparently, “my hands are cold” is the kind of motivation I need to finish a new pair of fancy mittens. Who knew.
They’re not totally done – the second mitten needs a bath and an inner mitten – but they’re more than halfway there.
Following advice from pretty much everyone on Ravelry, I knit the inner mitt quite a bit smaller than the pattern recommended. I ended up going down a needle size (from 3.75mm to 3.5mm) and decreasing to 45 stitches around. I also worked the hand and thumb decreases as the outer mittens. They fit into the outer mitts perfectly.
Hopefully soon, my hands won’t be so cold.
My mom is the best possible kind of knitwear recipient. Every single thing I have ever made for her is received with a smile and an “Oh, wow, how did you make this? It’s beautiful.”
Granted, I am her firstborn daughter, and she is a pretty firm believer in politeness – I’m pretty sure that, even if I made her the world’s ugliest pair of worsted-weight socks, she’d smile gracefully and say they were lovely and make a point of wearing them when I came to visit. But she does seem to enjoy the things I knit for her an awful lot, and I’ve given her enough gifts over the years that I’m fairly certain she’s not just being polite.
Last year, on her birthday, I gave her an Ishbel. She wears it fairly often – not the way I wear my shawlettes, with a hoodie and t-shirt, but in a dignified Mom sort of way under a nice winter coat. The Ishbel was done in bamboo sock yarn, because (she claims) a lot of yarns are “too itchy” for her. Since she wears her shawl mostly in the wintertime, I wanted to make her something with at least a bit of wool in it, this year. After checking to make sure that Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label (70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon, 375yd) passed the itch test, I set out to make her another birthday shawl.
This is not the best-lit photograph in the world, but it is the most colour true. I chose the “Chestnut” colourway, which is a lot of browns and oranges with a little bit of yellow, and – like the Sand colourway – absolutely maddening to photograph. It always comes out looking redder than it is. In real life, the overall effect when this shawl is on is sort of a deep maroon with yellow highlights.
The pattern is Knitting Kninja’s Arabella, worked on 4mm needles. I only modified it very slightly. The yardage I had available to me was slightly less than what the pattern called for, and the author stated quite clearly that the pattern used very close to the full 400yds required, so I knit seven repeats of the main lace pattern, rather than eight, and it turned out beautifully.
This was my first time working on an allover lace project – the pattern was fantastic, and very clearly written, but I’m not sure I like having to concentrate quite that much while I knit.
I mailed this off a couple weeks ago. Having spoken to her on the phone a few times since then, I’m pretty sure she likes it.