Friday, November 21, 2014

Fresh Off the Wheel - Sunshine on a Cloudly Day

I'm not really a big fan of yellow, but when I saw this plant dyed yellow batt called "Daffodil" in Judy's shop I felt compelled to purchase it.  Something about it really called out to me and I think it was that it reminds me so much of the warm bright sun of summer which I sorely miss at this time of year.  It also reminded me of this post I read a while ago on Tonya's blog about how there are so many plants which give us yellow dye and her thoughts that maybe wearing yellow sweaters would help us think of the warm months to come.  Well, I really liked that thought of wearing yellow to cheer oneself through the darker months here in the north, thus for a change this yarn is intended for me and not my shop.

Now, I only had a few ounces of the yellow wool so I needed to ply it with something else to make a good sized skein.  I've been wanting an angora hat for a while and found I still had some angora/wool roving that could flesh out the yellow nicely.  The angora is a soft dove gray which got me thinking about how the roving looked like a fluffy gray cloud waiting to be spun as it sat pooled at my feet.  Then I thought what a nice juxtaposition of clouds, which are the mainstay of winter, and sunshine, the mainstay of summer.  Needless to say I'm happy with my lumpy, fluffy, squishy "Sunshine on a Cloudy Day" skein of yarn.  Oh, in case you were wondering it came out to be 250 yards of DK/worsted weight.  I've already begun knitting this hat making just a few modifications, but more on that in another post. 

Joining in with Linda for Creative Friday and Andrea for Fibre Arts Friday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Touch of Indigo

I'm chugging right along on my Amber sweater - it's body is all sewn up, ends woven in, and the cowl neck close to done.  Now, I have to say I am not a natural at knitting lace and even though this project is pretty simple it made my head hurt.  Seaming up of the lace fabric at the shoulders was fudged at best.  I'm happy the cowl, when completed, will cover most of that seam up.  It's not a knit while you watch a movie kind of project.  More of a "wake up super early before your child wakes up" kind of knit.  Well, at least for me.

In my last post I believe I told you I dyed the yarn for this sweater myself with natural indigo dye.  It was my first time using indigo and I accidentally made it too concentrated (which I discovered afterwards of course.)  All the yarn had to be washed many, many times with a cleanser that helps removes any excess dye for the water to run clear.  Most of the yarn from this dyeing batch I have been able to use without issue, but this particular yarn still has excess dye that rubs off on my hands.  This is called "crocking" and could happen indefinitely if I dyed it incorrectly, but I'm hoping this isn't the case since most of the yarn was fine.  So, Amber's success is a bit risky as I made no swatch, then made modifications to the pattern, I'm not too comfortable knitting lace and indigo dyed yarn that could continue crocking.  Wow, I'm living on the edge - a knitter's edge.  I do wonder why I've taken such a risk with my precious knitting time.  My only conclusion is I simply didn't want to give up on this yarn's ability to be something wonderful.  Routing for the underdog again. 

Joining in with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fuzzy Weather Equals Fuzzy Sweater

Daylight savings time occurred this past weekend which for me means the dark days of Autumn have begun.  While I love the sunny colorful part of Fall, this time after all the leaves have fallen and the days turn gray and fuzzy is my least favorite time of year.  It's the waiting for Winter to come and blanket us with snow and cold that's hard for me.  Once Winter hits I'm fine again and just tuck in drinking tea, knitting, reading and sitting back to enjoy the inward season.  So, with what I call "fuzzy" weather (you know that dark, drizzly, hazy kind of day) comes knitting and what better to knit than a fuzzy sweater.  

That's right, I'm back to knitting Amber by Lisa Richardson in Cascade Ecological Bulky Wool (that I dyed naturally with indigo) and Aloft super kid mohair yarn from Knit Picks (which gives the sweater it's fuzzy look.)  I love how the very bright mohair yarn gives the more muted indigo a spark of color without being too overt (it is laceweight against bulky yarn after all.)  The body is done and I'm beginning to knit back and forth instead of in the round to split the front from the back (which also gives me two armholes.)  The pattern is not too hard, but I have been relying heavily on notes of other Raveler's to get the fit I want.  I'm gambling a bit too not having made a swatch (I know. You 'd think I'd learn by now after all these years of knitting to make a swatch, but they drive me crazy) on how much the lace will stretch out, but I'm optimistic as it's meant to be loose and has no shaping.  Hopefully I'll finish it in a few weeks if not sooner.

Since this post is linking with Yarn Along I need to share with you my current reading book.  It's Slowspoke - A Unicyclist's Guide to America by Mark Schimmoeller.  It was recommended by this blogger whom I read regularly.  Well, I'm only 70 pages in, and I'm hooked.  It's a memoir but somehow it feels larger than a story of just one man.  He goes back and forth in his narrative from his childhood and youth, to his long distance unicycle trip, to the present and while this could be confusing, instead it flows as naturally as your thoughts flow from one to another.  Really beautiful writing.  

Joining in with Ginny for Yarn Along and Tami for WIP Wednesday.