Monday, March 27, 2017
Sidewalk by Cristina Ghirlanda, knit (yes, in a week) in Jill Draper Makes Stuff Windham, in the beautifully purply, pinky blue-gray "Stone" colorway. Windham is labeled "worsted" but I knit it at an aran gauge for this project, and it worked perfectly. Windham has a crispy lightness that surprises, given that it is a many-plied, smooth yarn with 220 yards per 100 grams (uh oh, I think this is about "grist") much like what I think the Quince and Co. yarns are like. Springy, cotton-soft, light as a feather, but smooth and round, for stitch definition. It's the wooliest worsted-spun yarn ever. How do they do that? I don't know, but it's great. It looks like Jill's Etsy shop is out of Windham right now, so you'll have to come with me to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival in September to get some. We'll eat Artichoke French, and Doc will wear his kilt--you can help me pick out my two fleeces!--Fiber Festival Day is one of my favorite days of the whole year.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Yokes, has been in my mental queue ever since I saw it. Love. LOVE. I want this cardigan to be a success so badly that I am still trying to convince myself. That neckband, you guys. All that knitting, and then those ten little ribbed rows using the wrong needle (my fault) at the bitter end. It's causing the neckband to flare just enough to irritate me, and I'm not sure. It's pretty, though! It is too late to do anything about it now except worry, and worrying will get you nowhere, so I am saying that I don't mind the flaring. I don't think. It's a small enough part of the completed whole, and the rest of it is pretty great. That yoke! Hoo.
Monday, March 13, 2017
We He got it running and then my friend Louise helped me figure out how the heck it worked and I made some generally terrible yarn which was tighter than a bowstring and hard as nails, but whatever, it was yarn, and I'd spun it! Hoo, that really felt like something. A few years later, Doc gave me an Ashford Kiwi for christmas, and everything changed, because the Kiwi was new and well-oiled and it had all the parts it needed, and the drive band wasn't constantly coming untied or falling off. I sat out on the porch with it, spinning clumpy wads of wool into lumpy skeins of yarn, and they still looked like the dog's breakfast, but I was happy. Once time, somebody actually stopped their car and came up onto my porch to watch me at work, fully amazed that people still did this sort of thing. I wanted to braid my hair and wear brown boots and calico aprons. Grow wheat and flax, maybe acquire a cow. I also entertained an irrational thought or two about getting a couple sheep, because why not? We live in the country, and I have this idea that they are really just dogs anyway, and how hard can it be, right? They're so cute in their little straw-filled pens at the fiber fair, gnawing on hay, letting the little children--and also me--scratch their wooly foreheads through the fencing. Eventually, Doc said one of the best and smartest things of his entire genius life: "Instead of getting two sheep, why don't we just go to the fair every year and buy two fleeces?"
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Buttercup's fleece, and am letting it hang out there as singles for a day, to set the twist. By the way, spinning: I am such a total and complete novice at this beautiful craft, and I have only the most rudimentary understanding of any of it, but wow, it is so much fun. It is such a comfort, the repetitive treadling while soft fibers pass clumsily through my fingers. I love love love it. I don't know why I wait so long in between times, and why Buttercup's fleece is still such a gigantic basket full of fiber that has not become diminished in any way, despite so many hours of working with it, but that seems to be the magic of fleece. It never becomes gone, at least I've never seen it happen. Why, as Doc has wondered, does the world need more than just the one sheep? A single fleece lasts me forever. Buttercup, you may recall, was one of my dear friend Debbie's cherished flock of adopted orphans, and nobody knew anything about her, so her breed is a mystery. I don't know anything about fleece yet, either, so I can't even make a guess. The fleece is white, and it's as soft and weightless as fog. I've been enjoying Sarah's Fibertrek podcast (which, by the way, just might make you start knitting monogamously, and also in all gray) and have learned a few things about fleece and spinning through watching her that have eluded me up until now. Actually, I think there are some things about spinning--don't even mention "grist"--that may elude me permanently (repeatedly I look up "grist" and try to understand it, and Doc of course understands it immediately, but I just feel my brain go dead and skip down the paragraphs looking for where the fun words start up again. Much like photography, and "aperture". I can't. I can't!) but yesterday I looked down at the prepared fleece funneling out of the basket and into my lap and went "Oh! This has been carded! It is ready for me to spin it "woolen"! Which, happily, is what I've been instinctively doing with it!" Lucky break, that. It was nice to have that lightbulb go on. I'm getting closer, but as with all new things, there is so much more to know. Photos on a gray day of bobbins full of spun singles are blurry and dull, so here's Catdog for you instead. She knows exactly how to spend a slow, rainy morning. She opened her eyes briefly, between snores, to say hello.