I cast on Frostfangs Hat yesterday. I frogged it today.
The final straw was the colors. There just isn’t enough contrast. I need something brighter and lighter to go with the black. So the pattern goes back in the queue until I find/buy that yarn (whatever it might be).
The other straws, you ask. Well, the pattern itself was…umm, not the best. It’s a hat, designed for a very large male head. To make it fit a woman’s head, there are a lot of alterations to be made. You need to drop one repeat and remove some (10) rows so it’s not too tall (unless you want it really slouchy). I actually charted out the pattern so I could decide which rows to remove. Most of them were at the bottom but there were a few higher up. The ribbing was very loose, even done is a smaller needle size (size 2, instead of 3). I knit colorwork very loosely now so I stayed with the size 2 for the body. I still think it would have ended up a bit too big. I think that I’ll make this into a cowl when I find the right yarn. Then I won’t have to skip any rows or repeats although I will have to fiddle with the chart at the top to remove the crown decreases. Gauge won’t be so important so I could maybe go with size 3 needles.
There won’t be a knitting wip post this week. I only worked on this and my cowl design. I finished the cowl but can’t show it until I’m ready to post the pattern and with this hat being frogged I’ve got nothing to show. Tomorrow starts my month of spinning and I won’t have anything interesting to show after one day. Actually I might not have anything interesting to show most of the month. A bunch of grey singles in cakes isn’t very interesting. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
Sing a Song of Sixpence – Still on the first color but I’m getting near the end. I’ll soon do another increase row and I think that either during or right after those increases I’ll get to start the next color.
Vinorina Shawl – Just started this one. It’s bottom up so you cast on a lot of stitches and decrease your way up. I have to say that the beginning was a bit confusing. The stitch markers kept moving. I’m now in a section where they are staying put but the next part is a bit confusing again. This is all in the written instructions. I expect that the charts aren’t as confusing but I can’t read charts easily. I can do it but not while knitting at the same time. Yarn is reclaimed silk/cashmere.
I did a little work on Dracula’s Bride but not enough to show. It really just looks like a scrunched up red mess.
I’ve been working on the red and black fair isle cowl but I’ve decided to publish the pattern so custom says I should no longer show it. I expect to release it by the end of February. I’m almost done knitting, then it’s washing and blocking and photos. I’ve been working on writing the pattern and that’s starting to look pretty good. Now if I could only think up a name that’s not color based and original.
I’ve decided to drop the Winter Twilight Mitts. I’m pretty sure they will fall into the painful sock knitting category. I’ve figured out that its a combo of thin yarn, small needles and small circumference. I can knit with the thin yarn on small needles but only if the circumference is larger, such as a hat or cowl or larger. I’m planning on designing more fair isle cowls and I’ll use the yarn for that.
I’ve been thinking about picking up my weaving again after 6 months or so. I have a Harrisville Easy Weaver that I picked up at an estate sale early last year. I’ve woven a few things, mostly using acrylic, both reclaimed and commercial. Just practicing. I’m planning on making the fabrics into pet mats to donate to the local humane society.
But I’d really like to use some handspun on it. My first fleece, before I knew any better, was a free Hampshire, badly shorn and vm filled. But I actually like it. It’s an easy fiber to process and spin. It’s coarse, not to be worn near the skin, so I won’t knit with it. But it’ll be good for weaving.
I have a few skeins done, all spindle spun, but I’ll need lots more to weave with.
Last year I dyed up the remaining fleece (which was most of it) in a variety of colors. I’m combing each color into little nests. I was planning on spinning them on my wheel but honestly, that’s always in use with my nicer fleeces. I haven’t spindle spun much lately and this was really nice and easy on the spindle. So I decided to spindle spin the rest and get back into the habit of spinning whenever and wherever I have a few minutes, for example, while making supper or waiting for something or watching tv or when we have fires in the backyard (when it warms up).
So I need to finish the fabric that’s on the loom and get spinning. And maybe do some calculations to see how big of a piece I could weave with the leftovers from 2015’s Patrick the CVM fleece. It’s already spun and dyed and I knit a shawl from it but there’s not enough left for another shawl.
Sing a Song of Sixpence – I just cast this on this morning so there’s not much to see. It’s handspun CVM.
Cowl – I’m about 3/4 done. I adore this. It’s turning out so well.
Jacob Shawl – The third of a trio. This one is a triangle shape like the first one. It’s just knit until I run out of yarn.
I rather overdid it on the cowl on Monday and my thumb/wrist has been hurting. I seem to do this every couple of weeks. So I was doing things other than knitting, including going through my stash and labeling everything. I also matched yarn to about a half dozen patterns so I know what I’ll be casting on all year.
I also spent a few days dyeing yarn.
The first is one colorway for the Ring of Fire brioche cowl. I also did one in shades of purple. The second is fifteen 100 yard skeins for Sing a Song of Sixpence. There are 6 colors, although it may look like more since there were some oddities in dyeing. Some I oven dyed and some kettle dyed and the oven dyed ones are somewhat unevenly dyed. It’s fine since the plan is just to knit until a skein runs out and then semi-randomly add a new one.
I’m still taking it easy on the knitting as things still hurt. Good thing is that I’m dedicating February to spinning which generally doesn’t bother my wrist and thumb (although does bring different aches if I overdo it.) I did finish combing Patrick the CVM from 2016 and spinning that will be my main focus.
As I was finishing the last Brioche swatch today, it suddenly occurred to me that I really need to get back to spinning more. My shepherdess shears in May and while that may seem like a long time from now, last year’s experience taught me that it goes faster than I’d like.
Before shearing in May, I’d like to
- Finish combing and spinning Patrick the CVM from 2016. I’m pretty close to done on the combing but there is a lot of spinning left. That was a huge fleece.
- Work on scouring/dyeing Violette the Corriedale from 2015. There isn’t much left. It’s actually re-scouring as I didn’t get all of the lanolin out the first time. This is also a delicate fleece so I have to be careful with it.
- Comb and spin Violette the Corriedale from 2015. I’ve got a few skeins done but there is quite a bit to go. It’s slow going to comb because it’s so delicate (the sheep was sick that winter and died the following year.) It’s amazingly soft wool and worth the extra effort. I’ve not touched it since getting my fleeces in 2016.
Honestly, doing number 3 is a huge long shot. But I’d at least like to get a start on it.
Other spinning/combing to be done at some point.
- Comb and spin the Hawaiian Merino from 2016. I’ve got some of it combed and I’ve spun some of the waste.
- Comb and spin the Hampshire that’s all dyed and ready to go. This is easy to comb and easy to spin. I’m spinning it rough (or at least not worrying if it’s perfect). It’s to be used in weaving.
- Spin the Teeswater/Romney cross from 2014. All dyed up. Needs to be finger teased and spun rough and plied with thread. It’s also for weaving.
- Spin some of the “kits.” Packs I put together of carded fibers, mostly from a 2015 soft mystery fleece that I dyed.
What I want to buy this year.
- Patrick the CVM’s 2017 fleece. Or maybe just half of it. It was almost 7 lbs after scouring and probably around 12 lbs before. Or some other fine wool if she got any new sheep.
- 2 or 3 lbs of a long wool. I’m not fussy on breed or color, other than light so I can dye it. It’s for that rough spinning for weaving like the Teeswater/Romney cross.
- Maybe another Hawaiian Merino. It’s really nice once it’s cleaned up.
I have to remind myself that a little backlog is good. One of these years I’m not going to be able to afford new fleeces and I’ll be happy to have fiber in storage to spin.
I think I’ll declare February to be the month of spinning. Not to say I won’t knit during that month, but my focus will be more on spinning and combing.
In my last post, I said I was not going to do the collar for the dressing gown and than I didn’t like the lace edging in the pattern. I found an edging that I like – Angel Lace from Knitting Beyond the Edge by Nicky Epstein. It’ll look better once it’s blocked. Only 20 ft to go.
This is the next and last swatch from Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant. This is 2 repeats of Reversed Long Leaf. I think I’ll do one more repeat before casting off. I’m thinking of doing Ring of Fire from that same book but I’ll need to find/dye some yarn first. I think it’s the colors that grab me most in that pattern.
I’m just over halfway on my Fair Isle cowl. I’m quite pleased with it. I’ve had to correct a few mistakes on my chart. My tension and floats are good – perhaps a bit too loose, but I’m happy with the fabric I’m getting. Check out the backside up at the top. Those are the best looking floats I’ve ever had. I’m thinking of releasing this as a paid pattern, just a buck or two.
I blocked the dressing gown! And lost my dining room for two days while it dried. I tried not to stretch it too much but wow, this thing is huge. I had to fold up the sleeves as they didn’t fit on the boards.
The Dressing Gown has come to a screeching halt.
I was working on the collar. But there was a problem. I hated it. I might even go so far as to say I despised it. I dreaded working on it. I kept putting it off. I didn’t like the way it looked or how it was knit. I wasn’t even sure I was knitting it right (the instructions are pretty sketchy.)
It’s been absolutely frigid here for the last few days and I’ve been wearing the dressing gown (right over my clothes and it fits fine and it is nice and warm.) I came to realize that the collar would be…I don’t know…too much, maybe. I was warm enough with just the gown and I do have a problem with overheating (makes me cough). Honestly, if I ever needed more warmth, I’ve got plenty of shawls I can wear right on top of the gown.
So I didn’t see a need for the collar and I hated the thing anyway so I decided to skip it. I frogged it. And that confirmed my feelings right there. I normally cringe and feel bad about frogging but all I felt was relief.
So, on to the lace edging. I cast it on and ugh. I could tell right away that I’d hate this just as much as I hated the collar and I have to knit miles of it. So I went looking for another lace edging that I liked better. Turns out that I don’t have many lace edgings in my books and none of them really caught my interest. Same thing happened when I looked online. I did try out one but it was on a stockinette base and I need a garter base. On some parts of the gown you’ll see the front but on others (around the neck) you’ll see the back.
So the Dressing Gown is on hold until I can get to the library. I’m also waiting for it to warm up so I can stop wearing the gown and take the few days I’ll need to wash and block it.
In the meantime, I’ll ponder what I want to do for a belt and how to hold it on. Right now I’m using a lace sash that’s just wrapped around. It sort of holds it in place but not very well.