Do you remember when you were a kid and life seemed to go by so slowly? A single day lasted forever, let alone the length of time until it was until Christmas or your birthday. Lately life seems to be going so, so fast and just speeding up every minute. I’ve been in desperate need of something to slow me down. Crafting does just that.
I started spinning some superwash BFL quite a while ago – long enough that I forgot about it. I never thought I would be the kind of person who would forget about a project. I finished spinning the singles, and decided this yarn needed some beads.
It turns out that if you add scads of beads to a yarn, it takes a lot of effort to slide them all down the yarn as you ply. The tension and abrasion from this broke my single, so I took most of the beads off, and I’m periodically adding more to the yarn in more manageable amounts. Won’t the finished yarn be gorgeous, though? I’m thinking of using it for a shawl.
I have shawls on the brain right now, and beads, it would seem. I’m reading through the Knitter’s Almanac again, and have come to the conclusion that I desperately need a Pi Shawl. A little search through the stash, and I came up with my Rumpelstiltskin yarn that I finished last year. I love this yarn so much. It’s recycled sari silk with beads every few inches. The drape of this yarn is incredible! Every time I see it I can’t help but think of a pile of treasure!
So that’s me, slowing down. I have a kitchen to clean and laundry to do, but yarn is just so much more interesting!
My husband commented the other day that we had run out of washcloths. *Gasp* how could this be? I immediately cast on for a washcloth with the half-ball of Peaches and Creme that I had in my stash and ran to the store for more.
Then I commenced washcloth knitting hard-core. Ok, hardcore may be a bit of a stretch, but I had a goal to prevent the Washpocalypse!
The first washcloth was the simplest garter stitch square. Cast on 50 stitches, knit 50 garter ridges (100 rows) bind off. Pure zen.
I like a generous washcloth, but this one was a little too big. The next one was log cabin, and I aimed for a 40 stitch/row square.
This was oh so satisfying! I really wasn’t sure about the log cabin pattern until I picked up the 4th log, and then I truly began to love it. I see more of these in my future.
The 3rd washcloth is the Ballband Dishcloth from the first Mason Dixon Knitting book. I’ve been meaning to knit this for quite a long time. It was such a fun knit! I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on! Stripes, with slipped stitches. Instant colourwork!
I think I’ve begun to amend the problem (it turns out doing the laundry also helps with the washcloth situation), so I think I’ll take washcloths off the “must make now” list for the time being. But I still have a few balls of dishcloth cotton in my stash. You know, just in case.
What is your favourite washcloth pattern/recipe?
I don’t want to alarm you, but it is February now and Valentines Day is creeping up on us. There are a lot of people who don’t like Valentine’s Day because they think we should express our love every day and not just on a Holiday. I completely agree. We should express our love to the people that matter to us every day. But why not take a holiday that’s focused on love and use that as an excuse to do something extra special? Go out to dinner. See a movie or a show. Do something nicer than you normally would. Every relationship needs those times when you do more than usual.
Now, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t bring yarn into this discussion (that is why you read my blog…right?). Hunter Hammersen recently released a pattern for the most adorable heart stuffy. The genius of her design is that you can use any yarn and needles you like. If you haven’t made a heart yet, stop what you are doing, get the pattern, and knit one right now! They only take a few hours to knit, and they are so sweet! And the pattern is 10% off with the code SMITTEN through February 14th. Hunter is running a knit along right now, and it is so wonderful to see all sorts of hearts popping up, and especially to see all the people making multiple hearts.
My heart was a great stashbuster. I used aran weight yarn, so it turned out quite large. The cream background yarn was the cable plied BFL from this month’s breed study. The pink is a sample of Miss Babs, and the purple was a handspun sport weight yarn held doubled. I used all the pink up, and had only a few yards left over of my handspun yarns, so I used them to stuff the heart along with some poly-fill and a lavender sachet.
What is your favourite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
My husband was looking for a washcloth the other day. Apparently he was having trouble finding one, because he told me we need more (We used to have piles and piles of washcloths. I don’t know what happened to them…). Instantly I went into knitter mode. Must. Find. the Cotton. Yarn!!
It turns out I had precisely 1 ball of washcloth cotton, and it was only a partial. What a pity. I just had to go buy more yarn. That really broke my heart.
I am really loving the simplicity of garter stitch right now. I have so many plans and projects and thoughts in my head that I need to just slow down and knit one stitch after another. Since I have lots of colours now, maybe I will join the Fringe Association LogAlong bandwagon. Everyone keeps saying how fun and addicting log cabin is. And I do need washcloths….
Last Fall when my husband and I visited Colonial Williamsburg I bought a basket weaving kit.
It sat in my stash for a while as I got up the courage to learn a new craft. It turns out, basket-making is not hard (and YouTube is awesome)!
I started by soaking my materials to make them pliable. While they were soaking I found a basket weaving tutorial by Nancy Jacobs and figured out what to do.
It was odd working with a rigid material (yarn is decidedly flexible). For the most part, though, this was not hard to weave.
Tadah! If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend weaving a basket. When it’s done you can prance around the house excitedly chanting, “I made a basket!!!” (Not that I did that…)
What new things have you tried that turned out way better than expected?
I love garments with interesting constructions. I think it’s fascinating how many ways people can come up with to do the same thing. I have been knitting the Squircle socks by General Hogbuffer with Knit Picks Felici in Mint Chip. Whoo, is this an interesting construction! Let’s take a look and compare classic sock construction with this sock construction.
This is a regular sock construction. You cast on a number of stitches (64 in my case), join in the round, and knit your leg. The heel flap is worked on half the stitches, then you turn the heel with short rows and/or decreases, pick up stitches along both sides of the heel flap, and decrease for the gusset. The foot is worked even, and the toes are made with decreases every other row.
And this is how the Squircle sock is constructed. You can see how this sock starts just like a normal sock. Everything changes, though, when you knit the thinnest heel flap ever! You then pick up a million stitches and start double gusset decreases while increasing for the heel! Once you’ve finished the heel increases you finish decreasing as for a normal gusset. The foot and toe are done much in the same way as a normal sock, but the toe decreases are graduated instead of being every other row for the whole toe.
One sock down, and one to go.
What is your favourite sock construction?
I am part of a spinning group at my LYS. We meet twice a month, and this year we have decided to do a breed and fiber study. So once a month our meetings will focus on a specific wool breed or fiber, and we will all take turns teaching each other about them.
January’s focus was on Blue Faced Leicester. What a luscious fiber! I have only spun BFL once before (as part of my Skywool), and I had forgotten how easy it is to spin! The fiber we were provided with has a staple length of about 6 inches. The wool is wavy, rather than crimpy, and it is a commercial top preparation.
From about 1 1/4 oz I spun 92 yds of singles at my default spinning size of a light fingering/lace weight (Spun S). I like the yarn to be tight and plump when plied, so I spun with quite a bit of twist. In addition to trying a new type of wool. I decided to try a new plying method by cable plying my yarn. So after I spun my singles I plied both ends together, adding more twist than I would for a balanced yarn (Plied Z). I then plied both ends together again to create the cable ply (plied S). This resulted in 23 yards of a thick, almost ropy, Aran weight yarn, and I love it to bits!
Do you have a favourite kind of wool to work with? What about a new technique that you’ve recently learned?