Archive for the “Verdant” Category

Janis asked,

So the important question is, what spinning and knitting will you be bringing to Pennsic?

Well!

kureyonsock2For knitting, I will bring the Noro Striped Socks. I'm up into the leg of the first sock, and would like to get them finished, but honestly - they're not holding me. Counting five rounds of stockinette stitch over and over is sort of dull, and I will be glad when they are done. I was also thinking about bringing the green yarn for the "Verdant" sock design that I started in Cookie A.'s class, and working on that. Or perhaps I could bring some Trekking XXL and work out the heel numbers for the fine-gauge rib pattern that I used for the Bloo Sock; then I'd have heels for two sizes and could publish that pattern, which will be called "Brother's Socks".

bullens-wullens_falkland2For spinning, I am definitely going to bring the Bullens Woolens fiber that I picked up at MDSW. There are four ounces each of Falklands and Merino/Silk, and I'm going to spin for a fingering weight with one ply of each. I will almost certainly take another braid or three of fiber with me. I decided against the batts that I carded and the "Starry Night" roving; I don't want to mess with weighing anything. If I spin from braids, I can just fold them into half or thirds and tear. They'll be even enough that way.

There will undoubtedly be fiber in Merchants Row to purchase, but it may or may not need processing before I can spin it. I seem to remember some silk hankies last year... in colors that I didn't care for. Maybe if I get there as soon as they open, I'll have better luck this year!

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Yesterday was gray and drizzly, and I didn't accomplish much in the way of knitting. I did catch up with friends for a bit, and had a lovely dinner with Pirate-Husband of chicken, sweet potato, and acorn squash over couscous... but no knitting! This morning was black and rainy, my commute took twenty minutes longer than it should, and I'm a little grumpy about it. In order to make myself feel better, I'm looking at my stash on Ravelry.

(I also ordered a three-pack of Malbec from wine.woot to make myself feel better, but that's not as closely related to yarn and fiber... though it's just as relaxing!)

So anyway, my stash. It's so soothing to look at it, even in pictures, even without the tactile pleasures. I can imagine what I'll knit or spin, I can envision the excitement of casting on and the accomplishment of binding off, the curiosity to see how dyed top will spin up and the milestones of filling a bobbin, plying, washing, and parading the finished yarn around the house.

I'm starting to plan out my 2009 fiber arts. Mom's gloves should be done in two weeks (I'm being realistic; I can knit a glove in a week but my hands will hate me for it) and my socks should hopefully be finished in the next few weeks after that. Maybe I can get both of those projects done before the New Year!

Two fairly complex projects need to be worked on. The first is the Pomatomus socks; I have no excuse for not having those complete already. The next is Napramach, a colorwork bag for friend Angie, who has made me some beautiful SCA garb. I have the yarn and am thoroughly intimidated by the pattern.

Two sock designs are percolating in my head. One is the written-up pattern for the with numbers for a smaller size worked out, and a new name of "Brother's Socks." The second is the design I started in the sock class I took with Cookie A. back in September, which is much more elaborate. I'm going to name it "Verdant."

2009 will also be a year for spinning. I can't justify the purchase of a second wheel until I'm spending more time at the one I have. And I can't justify the purchase of more top/roving until I've spun up some of what I have. The Yarn Harlot says that Tuesdays are for spinning, so perhaps I will take her advice and schedule time that's specifically for turning fluff into usable yarn. I would really like to have a pair of socks made from my own handspun. I also have a dream of a lace shawl from my own handspun, but I'm not touching those rolags until I'm more confident in my ability to spin smooth, fine yarn.

It's possible that 2009 will be a year for dyeing. There's only one room in the house that hasn't been unpacked and set up yet, and that's the crafts room. Well, right now it's a boxes-and-laundry room. The washer and dryer are going to stay right where they are, but there's no reason that the rest of the room can't be set up for arts and crafts! I'd like to arrange a fiber station with areas for both carding and dyeing.

Ahh, I'm feeling better already...

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The ribbing on this new sock is not really working with the pattern. I think I'll give up on it - I'm not really liking the size 0 bamboo needles, but my aluminum size 0 DPNs are otherwise occupied for the next 90% of the second Bloo Sock.

I don't mean I'm going to give up entirely, just on the ribbing. My new plan is to knit the rest of the pattern repeat on the bamboo needles as a test swatch, try it on to be sure it fits, then rip it out and begin again with different ribbing on the aluminum needles. Frustrating, perhaps, but I'd rather have this thing look *good* than have a design element that doesn't really flow. I might just go with a 1x1 rib.

Meanwhile, I'm way behind on the baby blanket. I've knit ten pattern repeats in the last three weeks, rather than twenty-one as I should have been doing one per day. I'm not getting as much done in the carpool as I'd hoped, but the due date is only a month away so I'd better get cranking on that!

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Today I attended a six hour sock class taught by Cookie A., hosted by Nature's Yarns in Fairfax. It was a lot of fun! It was half lecture and half working on our socks, first finding a stitch pattern, converting it to be in the round if necessary, charting it out, and figuring out how to apply that pattern to something that's roughly the size and shape of a sock.

Cookie talked about a lot of the little details that make a good sock into a great sock, like how to adjust when some pattern stitches (like cables) take up more yarn than others (like ribbing or lace), where to hide increases, how to decide which stitches go on the top of the foot and how to deal when your chosen stitch pattern doesn't neatly fit anything you want to do.

I had swatched the yarn for this sock on size 1 needles, and was getting nine stitches to the inch. After some poking and prodding and hrrm'ing, I decided that the stitch pattern and the yarn both would benefit if I went down to size 0... but my only set of size 0 DPNs was already occupied, so I bought an emergency set in bamboo. Sixteen rounds later, I feel like I made a good choice (and that the socks I make will actually fit me).

What I really found fascinating was how much of the lecture portion of the class seemed to be permission to play around with stitch patterns, to make adjustments, to change and work and fudge things until they're really yours and really right. I have a tendency to follow patterns fairly closely, and I know some other knitters who do too. I wonder how many people walked away from today feeling a sense of freedom that it's okay, they *can* change whatever they like.

P.S. I bought a copy of the Rhiannon pattern and Cookie signed it for me!

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