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Let me count the ways attempts…

On a doorknob…

Rising Dawn

Over the back of the couch…

Rising Dawn

On the bed…

Rising Dawn

Another doorknob shot…

Rising Dawn

Close-up on the doorknob…

Rising Dawn

Looking down on the doorknob…

Rising Dawn

On the headboard…

Rising Dawn

Nice pose but bad lighting.

Finally, over the mirror.

Rising Dawn

Rising Dawn by Stephen West. Knit with Malabrigo Sock, color Abril.

To. Die. For.

At the moment I am pushing the limits for the number of projects currently on the needles. Here are highlights of the ones I’ve be spending my time on the most as of late.

Rising Dawn

This is Rising Dawn by Stephen West knit with Malabrigo Sock, color Abril.

Last month at our local knitting guild meeting, someone had left two skeins of yarn on the table in the room at Yarn Charm where we meet.

Abril

I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to take them home, but to no avail. I found a project suitable for them, bought them, and cast on that evening. At the moment, I am working on the garter border – almost 700 sts per row. There is a chance I may have this with me and be binding off at this month’s guild meeting this coming Saturday.

Life Cycle

The most addicting knit I have at the moment has to be Life Cycle {Ravelry link} by Alana Dakos from her latest book, Botanical Knits 2. I am knitting it with handspun fingering weight yarn from a merino/nylon blend dyed by Sweet Georgia. Each half leaf is 14 rows so before you know it you’ve finished another leaf and have the next one half done. Talk about instant gratification. I have it sitting on the couch next to me, and whenever I have a chance I work a few rows. Not a good project for knitting night, though – I took it with me one week and completely botched it up and had to frog a few rows. Rising Dawn is much better suited for knitting night.

Little Shells Socks

Last weekend I cast on two new projects. Little Shells Socks {Ravelry link} are being knit up with a Cheviot/mohair blend sock yarn I purchased last year at Iowa Sheep and Wool. The pattern is from Clara Parkes Knitter’s Book of Yarn. I’ve found that and her Knitter’s Book of Wool are wonderful sources for yarn with handspun qualities. This pattern by Shelia January is no exception. If you are familiar with the pattern, you’ll notice I am knitting them from the top down rather than the bottom up. The foot will be in stockinette, though, as the picture shows.

Prairie Rose

My other new project cast on last weekend (as though I needed any more projects on the needles) is the Prairie Rose Shawl {Ravelry link} by Evelyn Clark, published in Clara Park’s Knitter’s Book of Wool. The yarn is Zen Garden Serenity Silk Single in colors well outside my normal berries palette. It is a singles merino/silk blend and a bit on the pricey side so I only bought one skein. It will be perfect for this project.

Daylilies

Ironically, here is my current spinning project: Daylilies on South African Fine Merino dyed by Spunky Eclectic (February 2013 fiber club selection). I thought the fiber was pretty when I got it, but it was merino and I was a new spinner and I wasn’t sure how to spin it and distribute the colors like I wanted. So it’s languished in my stash for a while. Our local spinning guild is focusing on merino at our May guild meeting. Since it’s spring and I love Daylilies, I decided it was time to spin it up. I’m making 3-ply yarn with this fiber, and two of the three bobbins are finished.

2013 Children’s Sweaters

Here lies the end of my 2013 obligation knitting – the annual sweaters knit for each of my children:

2013 Portrait

The original inspiration was Guston by Ann Budd. But the gauge was different, the scale was different, and once I got up to the patterned portion on the front of the first sweater, I decided the buttonband was way too much trouble.

So they are simple pullovers made with the same yarn base but different colors and different textured stitch patterns at the top.

I am well pleased.

Now, back to knitting for my own pleasure.

Luminosity

My latest spinning adventure began with this pretty braid from Pigeonroof Studios:

Luminosity

40% merino/40% superwash merino/20% silk

I spun the first half at home on my Schacht Ladybug. Then I began the second bobbin and ventured out with my spinning wheel to knitting night at Starbucks.

Now we are known to have fun at knitting night, and that week was no exception. Lots of laughing and chatting. I noticed from time to time that I was getting corkscrews in my singles, and I would correct it, but then I would notice it again a few minutes later. Apparently, in all the fun, my feet were treadling faster than my hands could draft the fiber.

I spent the next week correcting the twist, which varied widely through those last two ounces. I wound it from the bobbin on my Ladybug onto my Jenkins Swan, correcting the twist in each length of yarn as I went. It’s all a part of the process, right?

Luminosity

I might have minded it more had the singles not been so pretty to look at as I wound them on my Swan.

Luminosity

When all was said and done, I put the turtle from my spindle into my yarn bowl and plied it with the remaining bobbin on my lazy Kate.

This final result was this beautiful, bouncy skein of luminous delight.

Luminosity

It is destined to become a shawl as the drape is just amazing.

Luminosity

As I was working on that spinning project, my sweet Caroline informed me that she wants me to make her a handspun scarf with pink and purple and green in it. I went shopping for fiber and this luscious goodness from Woolgatherings was the closest I could find. I showed it to Caroline and she approved.

Caroline's Scarf

I then showed her swatches in the latest edition of PLY magazine of 2-ply, 3-ply and chain-plied yarn and how the colors mix together in each. She has selected chain-ply for this project. So that will be going on the wheel next.

Here’s to fall and scarves and lots of spinning and knitting!

Proud as a Peacock

Did we have pie for Easter? Did I make hot cross buns after my husband mentioned they sounded really good? Did I think hard enough to purchase the ingredients for a salad and mix it up to take with us?

No. No. No.

I was busy spinning yarn.

Handspun - Eye of the Peacock

My second finished yarn. Plied Saturday afternoon when I had oh so many other things I should have been doing.

Spun from this…

Peacock
Cotswald Sliver “Eye of the Peacock” dyed by Spunky Eclectic, January 2013 fiber club.

…using this: Bosworth Midi Spindle.

Eye of the Peacock

I was going to have felted singles, but that didn’t work out too well. The singles were rather thin and tightly spun. I did make an attempt, but after the yarn dried, I could still untwist and draft the plies. Thus I went to plan B and Navajo-plied all of it. Final thickness ranges from dk to heavy worsted.

Handspun - Eye of the Peacock

A whole entire skein of colorful goodness. Lofty, woolen-spun yarn.

For now I plan to stash it and admire it every time I pull out some yarn. Eventually it will probably end up as something felted, given the varying thickness. At some point I will swatch with it and see what I think.

But for now I am just going to enjoy admiring it.

You might even say I’m proud as a peacock.

Finito

My first “real” yarn. As in, an entire ball of fibre spun consistently from beginning to end, plied and finished.

Here’s the story.

Bare

Fiber from Knit Picks. 100% Wool of the Andes Roving, color Bare.

Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Roving, Bare

Singles…as they appear after being slid off the spindle shaft. Worsted spun.

Handspun

Shown with a coin for size perspective. Pretty fine, I’d say.

Wool of the Andes Bare Roving

Two plies wound together ready to add twist.

Bare - Handspun

Twist added…ready for it’s bath.

Bare - Handspun

Finito.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this yarn, nor do I have any idea what the yardage is. I would say it is fingering weight so probably 350-400 yards. But that is just a guess.

One of the skeins is slightly underplied. As in, it did a half twist when I took it out of the water and hung it to see what it would do. But a half twist is totally in the ballpark. [For the record, if it's perfectly balanced, it won't twist at all when hung as a skein.]

I say, pretty good for a newbie. Seriously…I bought my first spindle in December. Give me a little slack, will ya?

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