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December 16, 2007
holiday spinning

I've been spinning some... This wreath of hand-dyed hand-spun indicates that I do tend to overtwist still; I think that I just don't have faith that it will stay stuck together as yarn with less twist. Still, the yarn is relatively even and I love the colors. I was planning on plying it when I started, and since my enthusiasm for twisting goes both ways, plying should undo part of the twisting. But now that I see it, I love it as a single ply and am reluctant to lose much of the color variation through plying. Currently I'm thinking of something lacy, but forgiving. If I'm feeling lazy, a larger version of the garter stitch scarf with elongated stitches from Knitting Patterns for Dummies. Or a feather-and-fan something. I'd love a modified version of Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Shawl in Fall 2006 Interweave Knits, but even a larger gauge/fewer repeats strategy, I believe, will come up short. By my quick calculation, I have about 350 yds and 105g. And I'm guessing a stockinette gauge of maybe 5.5 sts/inch. I'll know more after it's washed.

I have been experimenting with knitting up some handspun yarns, so here's a quick little patternlette for you. Perfect for handspun in all flavors and lengths. I've knit three variations on this theme. The green neckpiece above was some mysterious fiber that I played at plying and my friend Dawn spun up for me. It was really just a microskein -- an experiment -- but it's a fun little finished piece that you can manage to whip up in almost no time flat. Pair it with a vintage cufflink for a closure, or create one by sewing two buttons back to back -- an idea I picked up from Sharon Turner that I love! If you aren't using buttons with shanks, be sure to leave a little space between them and try using two wildly different buttons so that the closure has dual personalities.

Below you see another version of the same pattern, knat from a silk hankie I dyed and spun, then plied with sewing thread. This is a single hankie and the finished piece is in the smallish scarf range -- maybe 5 inches wide by 45 inches long.

The great news is that these knit up quickly and I think show off "interesting" yarn in a very positive way. The stitch pattern biases naturally and is forgiving to the idiosyncracies of a handspun yarn. Millspun yarns would work well too of course, particularly those with changes in color or texture, so dive into the oddballs and you can still whip out a couple of these for holiday giving. The smaller neckpiece will take only a couple of hours to finish; a full length scarf is manageable in a couple of days of unfrantic knitting.

a short attention span scarf:

One caveat: with some yarns (like the silk) the fabric has a tendency to roll. It's still cool, like a tube scarf, but you may want to assess this issue for yourself. The two woolier versions I knit did not roll at all.

Yarn: whatever you've got. The green neckpiece used well less than 50 yards of aran/chunky weight yarn. 200 yards should be plenty for a scarf in all but the thinnest yarns.

Needles: Use a needle appropriate for the yarn, or a size or two larger if you want an even lacier effect.

Directions: Cast on any odd number of stitches. I used 13 stitches for the green piece, 21 for the silk scarf and 17 for a "short attention span" version I made by plying all my random scraplets of spinning practice into a single skein about 100 yds long. "One of a kind" would be a charitable description of the colorway.

Row 1 (WS): Purl.

Row 2 (RS): K1 *yo, k2tog, repeat from * across.

Repeat these 2 rows until the piece is long enough or you are nearly out of yarn. Bind off.

10:48 PM | Comments (1)
December 6, 2007
feast of lights

Hannukah's a holiday without much musical backup. So I've put together my own soundtrack for the holiday.

Here are my picks:

Eight Days of Chanukah CINDY PALEY
Hannukah Snowman PHRANC
Hannukah Dance WOODY GUTHRIE
Ocho Kandelikas VOCOLOT
The Chanukah Song ADAM SANDLER
Hannukah Tarantella DAVID POLANSKY
Sevivon, Sov, Sov, Sov THE MAZELTONES
Nun, Gimmel, Heh, Shin THE LEEVEES
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah BRAVE COMBO
I Have a Little Dreidel BARENAKED LADIES
Ocho Kandelikas HIP HOP HOODIOS
Hanukkah, Oh Hannukah GBAR GIRLS

02:02 PM
December 4, 2007

The month of November has come and gone. Holidays, birthdays, visits, plagues. For one reason and another, there wasn't a complete week of school to be had. But here we are in December -- already! I've been working on a couple of projects for Curious Creek. The one I'm working on right now I'm particularly excited by. The knitting's easy and, I think, quite intuitive. But the construction is unusual and deliciously geometric. I'm onto my second sleeve, so it should be done soon!

I'm not going to show you that today, but figured I'd throw in this, the wing of an Anise Swallowtail. We've had wacky weather this year and a few hot days persuaded this butterfly to hatch in mid-November. I love the way the blue spots are pixelated. Turns out butterflies have scales of sorts. And yes, someday, there will be a butterfly sweater.

02:03 PM