Early this year I made a goal to finish my small mountain of WIPs. I then promptly cast on a new project because Ooh Shiny! I’ve thought about this subject a lot over the last few months: my desire for a new exciting project every so often contrasted by my desire for finished things and the resulting space in my stash. I haven’t come to a conclusion or made any world-changing discoveries, but in between all the castings-on I have finished a few things.
I must have started my black wool vest in November. I originally bought a few yards of black wool crepe to a make a Henrietta Maria top, but when I got this vest pattern (Very Easy Vogue, V8926) it seemed like a better option for the thicker fabric.
I wanted a hybrid of options A and C – sleeveless, but tunic length and with bias-bound edges instead of a collar facing. I cut out my fabric and pretty quickly finished the basic construction. Progress ground to a halt when I realized I needed to finish all my edges. I started whip-stitching, and quickly felt like the vest was sucking the life force out of me, so I put it in a shoe box, put the box into a cupboard, and started something new.
A few weeks ago I traveled to Arizona to see my family and be in my best friend’s wedding. My mom has a sewing machine and a serger, so I packed the never-ending vest in hopes of finishing it before it finished me. I am happy to report that I emerged the victor (this time). I serged the remaining unfinished edges and used the sewing machine to stitch on the binding and do some other finishing work. I do wish I had been more careful top-stitching the bias binding down, but at that point I was so ready to be done with the project that I didn’t care much. I just keep reminding myself that sometimes done is better than perfect (and I can always go back and do it again if it bothers me that much). At some point I may add a pocket since I have some extra fabric left over.
The vest is an odd mixture of hand- and machine-stitching, but it’s done and it fits and I love it. And can we just take a moment to admire the new yellow pants I’m rocking in this picture?
I finished spinning the SkyWool! It started as the bounciest Merino top I’ve ever spun.
I spun it quite finely (spun S or clockwise), hoping for a fingering weight yarn. I wanted to make a 3-ply yarn, but I didn’t want to divide the roving in 3 pieces and risk wasting some of my fiber, so I spun the merino from end to end and then spun some natural coloured BFL to go with it. I plied from both ends of the merino, with the BFL as my 3rd ply (plied Z or counterclockwise). About 2/3 of the way through plying I ran out of BFL (I talked more about this here). Oops.
So I spun some more of the BFL and finished my plying. I wasn’t quite happy with how the yarn looked, though. You can see in the picture above how loose the plying is, and I desperately wanted a yarn as bouncy as the Merino Top was. So I decided to run it though my spinning wheel again to add more twist. I am so glad I did this because now I love how the yarn looks!
Technically the yarn is overplied: it tries to twist on itself when hanging, even after a wash. But I don’t care. I have 290 yds of beautiful blue fingering weight yarn!
I have no idea what to make with it.
I have been wanting to buy some nice fabric, and this week I finally made it happen. I was looking for some black silk to make a Wiksten Tank and a Henrietta Maria top (my favourite black top died a month or 2 ago, and I have missed it terribly). I went to Mary Jo’s cloth store in Gastonia, NC – a little over an hour’s drive from where I live. You walk into the store and realize it is more of a fabric warehouse, and where do you begin?
Unfortunately the store didn’t have any black silk (apparently they are recovering from prom season), so I resorted to Plan B. I bought a black wool crepe to make the Henrietta Maria in,
And this orange beaded silk for the Wiksten tank.
As soon as I saw the silk, my heart belonged to it. I tried to leave it behind, but it wouldn’t let me go.
I have now washed the wool crepe in preparation for cutting and sewing. Has anyone made the Henrietta Maria? The pattern calls for 8″ of positive ease, and that just seems too much to me. I think I’ll make the top a few sizes smaller for 3-4″ of positive ease.
Here you see my lovely cat assisting me in cutting an altered pattern piece for the Wiksten Tank. I love the pattern, but my shoulders are just a wee bit wider than most, so I’m adding a bit of width.
Isn’t he sweet?
This morning I pulled out a project I started…quite a while ago. Before I bought my spinning wheel. In June I bought 4 oz of Corriedale roving from Three Waters Farm in the colourway “Before Flowers.”
I spun this up on my spindle, then started some ecru Southdown roving from Beesybee to ply with it.
The idea was that the natural white of the Southdown would tone down the gorgeous colours of the Corriedale so that if the colours pooled when I knit it up I wouldn’t hate it (I love variegated yarns in the skein, but pooling makes me cringe). Then I bought my spinning wheel and promptly forgot about my spindle. When I pulled it out this morning I wasn’t sure if I had enough Southdown spun or not. So I took a page out of Abby Franquemont’s book and wound the white and coloured yarns into a ball together to be ready for plying.
I don’t have enough Southdown spun (drat), but I’ve wound the rest of the Corriedale into a ball so it’s nice and tidy. As I was winding it I came to a place where the singles went from a light fingering weight to a worsted weight. What in the world?
I think this was where I switched from the park and draft method to drafting as I go. It’s crazy how changing your technique changes your yarn!
SAFF: Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, AKA heaven
On Sunday I walked into the main vendor building and nearly fell over with excitement! So. Much. Yarn! My dear husband came with me and I relied on him much of the day to keep me walking in a straight line. I wore my wedding shawl and received so many compliments! Miss Babs even liked it (oh, did I mention that I met Miss Babs?!!!)! My main problems were how to keep from crashing into everything (since I wasn’t looking where I was walking) and how to decide what to buy. Seriously. With a whole fairground full of yarn, roving, and tools what do you spend your money on? Here’s what I came up with.
A handmade yarn bowl from The Whispering Woodturner. I’ve been wanting one of these for forever.
Roving from Hippie Chix Fiber Art. ‘Nuff said. The red and yellow are sari silk, and the grey is carbonized bamboo.
Miss Babs. Need I say more?
A simple shawl pin and a hair stick – both made by hand.
And some rose-coloured wool from Bovidae Farm by commission for a friend.
But SAFF isn’t just about buying yarn and fiber. It’s also about the opportunity to meet the animals (and people) the yarn comes from.
Angora bunnnies! So fluffy (I want the big grey one)!
A very nice lady let me get in the pen with a BABY ALPACA!!! Squeeee! So fluffy!
Shearing a goat
And a very kind and informative gentleman from Wellspring Farm talked with my husband and me for quite a while about the possibility of us starting a sheep farm.
The fairgrounds SAFF uses is very close to Asheville, NC. Asheville is a very artsy, hippy town with lots of hole-in-the-wall places to hang out. My husband and I always say we want to go there, so off we went for the rest of the afternoon!
I’m going to SAFF every year from now on!
I don’t have enough time to knit. So obviously I need another craft to take up my (already precious) knitting time. I’ve started spinning! And I couldn’t be more pleased. I find spinning to be meditative but challenging, in many of the same ways that knitting is.
I think I’m in love.
The dyed roving is from Three Waters Farm in the colorway Before Flowers. The spindle I’m using with it is made by Schacht.
The rustic spindle is from Sheeps Creations, and I’m spinning an undyed Corriedale wool on it.