Friday, May 29, 2009

C-Ks Unite

While waiting at the bus stop and working on my sock yesterday, a woman came up and started a conversation. It turned out that she was a crocheter turned knitter also! We both stood at the stop for about 30 minutes, knitting socks (hers was fair isle) and wondering what all the people driving past were thinking :) Another lady came, right before the bus drove up, and it turned out that she was a crocheter too! We all sat together on the bus and talked was such a nice change from waiting at the bus stop with rowdy teens and sitting on the bus alone, afraid of getting assaulted. A perfect end to the day.

I finished the pink lemonade socks last night! They're super comfy, and you can really tell the difference between the two socks, skein-wise. The first skein I spun was not done very mindfully, so it was thicker. I also split the roving for that skein, rather than predrafting it, so the color changes are much more differentiated. They're both navajo plied, but the second skein is plied tighter, so it had more of a sock yarn feel - bouncy. The second skein was 18 wpi, and my guess is that the first skein was about 14 wpi. This was a great self study project, and I learned that I need to spin mindfully if I want to get reproducible results. Not that such a thing should surprise me, but a change from my standard willy-nilly way. I'm not going to stop spinning just for fun, but it's good also to know that I can make something to specs if I concentrate.

Quick note: the toes on these socks are what I call "potholder toes" - I cast on one stitch, increase up to half the circumference stitches of the sock, then decrease down back to one stitch, working knit on both sides. I pick up all around the square and start knitting the foot. I much prefer this to the other garter stitch square toe where you cast on one side of the square. I won't say I invented this toe, but I've not seen it in any of my books. Try it - anything that cuts down on steps is worth trying once!

My next project is a Danish tie shawl - I saw it in Spin-Off and have been waiting for the perfect yarn to present itself to me. I decided that I'd make it of handspun, using the Foxfire mohair/wool spun as a singles, supported long draw. I skeined and washed it, fulling it a little to make it bloom and try to stop the shedding. Then I realized that there is no way in the world that I want THAT fiber on my neck - it's just way too hairy.

On that note, I decided that I'd use handspun all right...just various different versions of it :) I spindled up some caramel colored alpaca from Alpacas d'Auxvasse - if you've not tried alpaca (or frankly, even if you have) I suggest you buy some of her fiber. It is the most amazing fiber I've ever spun, and I've spun silk, cashmere, bison and angora :) I have about a pound of washed fleece, still in lock form, that I bought a few years ago. It's so clean and orderly that I finger tease it and spin directly from the locks. It's navajo plied, because my singles was too thin and my andean plying bracelet came undone (never try to Andean ply while watching your favorite MST3K episode). I also navajo plied the end of a silk/cashmere blend and dug up the ends of the Smooshy yarn in Orchard and my attempt at Loet Mooi. All these fellows will be the ones hanging around my neck, and we'll be well past my delicate decolletage before I start in on the mohair.

Once I run out of the Foxfire, I'm going to jump into that Icelandic. I figure this will be a true viking shawl, inasmuch as it will have bits and bobs from as far away as Byzantium on the one hand and the New World on the other. Onwards!

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