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Slowly simmering….

I’m slowly and only very occasionally working on my latest Lacy Batkus.  I still love the pattern as always, but I’m not falling in love with this version yet.  My handspun is a bit stiff and though I embrace all yarns thick and thin, it appears that the skein is getting increasingly thicker overall and thus the needle size may end up a bit small.

Lacy Baktus progress

But my old favorite pattern may start to feel the pressure of a new pattern in town…

Mimsy Hitchhiker

I’ve started a Hitchhiker by Martina Behm out of my handspun Pigeonroof Studios BFL “Mimsy.”

Mimsy progress

I wasn’t crazy about garter stitch and handspun before, but this single yarn is perfect for it.

Mimsy detailAnd damn near downright ethereal with incredible lightness and drape.

I’ve had problems in the past determining what to do with fuzzy yarn and this pattern is perfect in its simplicity – it was also perfect for some recent airport knitting time.  I do fear that I may run out of yarn before I make it the perfect size, but I should have just enough for an acceptable length, and I’m sure I’ll be able to block out a little more.

Other projects still in the works?  The cotton blanket is currently taking its last laps and I still need to decide how to do the border. I’ve started a quilt with applique letters that is kicking my ass at the moment.  And my spinning queue is bigger than ever.  My goals for the Tour de Fleece are spinning my recent PRS purchases:

PRS Tour de Fleece

It’s all superwash merino in colorways from left: Jadeite, Storm, and Lettuce.  Rather subdued and monochromatic for PRS, but I love them, and I love them combined.  I have plans for a shawl and I was initially thinking it might be something feather and fan-ish, but I’m on a garter binge now so it might be one of the trendy stripey patterns, or one of my own if I get my act together.  You may have noticed how “perfect” I’m feeling with my new handspun and Hitchhiker above, so now I wish I could make fulled/felted singles out of this, but it will have to be two-ply.  I have another braid of SW merino in a brownish colorway, but I don’t want to commit to finishing it in the near future and I’m determined to perfect my chain-plying skills on it, so it will be for another time.

And I need to finish spinning the zucchini blossom I put aside earlier.  I still want to turn it into socks, but I’m still on the fence about making a two or three-ply.  I found some complimentary commercial sock and other superwash yarn in my stash that could be used for stronger toes and heels, and possibly soles.  I thought these would be lighter summery socks, but if I make a three-ply they will be thicker… either way I’m happy I can eek out some more yardage with the commercial stuff.

PRS-squashblossomHmm, I will need to decide soon.

Decisions aren’t easy for me these days.

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More progressions than halts…

I finished spinning the dirty Romney “Rhinebeck blues” roving (and I did in fact originally photograph it with the wrong Shetland sweater that matches it and will be frogged if I need to stretch out yardage).  I’m not sure what I’m going to make with this yet although I know it will be something more along the lines of outerwear since I doubt I’d want to wear this next to my skin.  This will be stored indefinitely at the moment while I work on some other projects this summer.  And silly me, I forgot to count the yardage before I skeined it for the photo…

rhinebeck-finished

During our woods weekend last month, I got out the old long-suffering UFO cotton blanket and came up with a plan of how to finish it.  I ripped out a green stripe/strip that was nearly finished just because I’d have to make another and I didn’t want to.  Instead it will have a couple of narrow white stripes and then a border of green…  I think.  I may take it with me to another upcoming woods trip to hopefully finish or at least complete the body.

cotton blanket

And I just finished a short-sleeved sweater that has yet to be mentioned in public because it was another very long-suffering UFO and I was considering tossing the whole thing in the frog pond.

chocolate top detail

chocolate top full

It is the the Chiton Pullover by Melissa Wehrle, and yes it was on the cover of the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of Knitscene.  It was the first time I got a magazine (hit newsstands in 2010) and got some yarn and started right away.  I don’t know why I didn’t get the recommended yarn (which is quite lovely) but I think I wanted a cotton blend, and I know I wanted dark brown, and what I got was very inexpensive.  But it ended up that I really didn’t like this yarn – Elann’s Luna – it is slick and splitty, had lots of knots and broken parts, and of course is without the elasticity and sheepiness of wool, so I found I didn’t feel like working on it very often.  I also fear the weight of the cotton will pull it downwards – the pattern is already long-torso friendly which I love, but things could get too long.  I originally wanted it to wear in my former overly air-conditioned office, which I no longer have.  And I also didn’t really consider the practicality of somewhat thick, but short-sleeved sweaters – indoors your torso is cozy but your arms goose-bumpy and then you go outside and your arms are comfy and torso is sweaty…  not to mention the added impracticality of having to wash the damn thing nearly every time it’s worn due to the odoriferous nuances of summer armpits.  But it’s done and I’ll keep it around for the time being.

And the latest spinning technique I’ve attempted is Navajo or chain plying.  And I suck at it.  But I found a good use for the redwood roving as my f*ck-it-up-all-I-want-because-I-don’t-care  practice fiber.  And I’m glad I used it because I would’ve destroyed some great new hand-painted roving instead, but now I need to make an old-fashioned three-ply out of it which I was hoping to avoid.

N-ply

Yarn only Roebling could love.

And I also discovered I’ve been spinning left-handed.  I’m ambidextrous in many things except writing and continental knitting (you’ve noticed I don’t do a lot of stranded color work, eh?).  But it was a little surprising that when I switched to right-handed, I sucked, so southpaw spinning is the way for me.

My other publicly proclaimed UFOs from months before?  The sweater quilt is packed away to discourage summer moths, I’m still picking at the shirt quilt, and the rug and a couple of others I’ve yet to mention…?  Well, let’s not go there just now… but at least there are fewer than before, right?  Do I get a cookie?

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Fiber high

I have other things I should be doing, other things I should be finishing, more important life/money/job things that really need my attention, but instead I started another project.  A very simple one with very lovely fiber from Pigeonroof Studios.  I spun it last summer when I should have been doing other things then too, but I couldn’t resist its siren song of buttery sproingyness.  I bought it on impulse, wondered why others praised it, and spent more than I normally do for just a few ounces (but I normally buy rough raw stuff or cheap rejected bits).  And then it came and I realized it’s fiber crack (or whatever is better than crack but just as addicting).*  Seriously, I don’t want to go back to my cheap street farm-level habit now.  The fiber basically spun itself and the colors popped through my fingers – spinning happiness at its best.  So now in the frozen days of winter, I couldn’t stop myself, and I’m enjoying every bright and buttery-kitteny-soft moment of letting it slip through my fingers.

pigeonroof1 - Copy

The pattern I’m vaguely following is the Lazy Daisy Shawlette by Orange Flower, and alas, I can’t afford to buy any more of the fiber at the moment, unless I start pawning selling some of my things.

*Drug addiction is serious stuff, I apologize for making light of it, but what other colorful exaggerations about addictions can be made? Saying it’s like a nice stiff drink on a thirsty day actually makes me sound like an alcoholic (and making light of alcoholism is bad too), saying it’s like having a [insert good poker hand here] when the pot is huge sort of endorses gambling and I hate casinos, saying it’s like a daily mega-hunk of chocolate while under the throes of PMS would alienate a male reader, and I don’t even want to get into the sex-addict analogies… [hee hee anal is in analogies]…addictions of any sort are bad, get help.

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