Saturday, 15. November 2008
Last month, during a phone conversation with my mom, she finally asked me when I was ever going to knit her a sweater. I thought about it long and hard, and finally narrowed it down to two patterns: Toledo from Rowan 37, and also Ilga Leja’s Fluid Linen. I emailed her images of both patterns, and even before she responded, I cast on for Toledo. 12 inches into the pattern, she called back to tell me that she liked Fluid Linen. Oops. How presumptuous of me.
Nevertheless, yarn had been bought, and I was not about to let it go to waste. I ended up ripping out most of the sweater and modified it to suit my measurements. Realistically, this tank only took me a week to knit.
The tank wasn’t fully complete without its accent ribbons. And since I didn’t have the Rowan Linen Print called for in the pattern, it took a while before I settled on Berroco Suede and finally called it a FO.
Pattern: Toledo, Rowan 37, Sz L hips modified to Sz XS for the rest of the bodice
Materials: Sz 6 and 8 needles, 5.5 balls of Rowan All Seasons Cottons (Shade 192) and 0.5 balls of Berroco Suede (Shade 3764)
Notes: All Seasons Cotton is a lovely yarn. Quite unlike the ropey feel that I have come to expect of cottons, it is springy, smooth and quite spongy. A delight to wear and also to knit with, very much to my surprise. I used 12 strands of the Suede yarn per plait, in lieu of the Linen Print. I think this blue/gray combo turned out quite nicely. In all honesty, I have always liked this pattern and wondered why I never see more of them on the web. In hindsight, I think it would fare better for a DK-weight yarn instead of an aran weight cotton, to minimize potential chunkiness. But all in all, a great pattern.
Now that this one’s out of the way, I better get cracking on that Ilga Leja Pattern.
Monday, 10. November 2008
Since the last time I picked up a spindle kit in May 2008, I must admit, I haven’t attempted spinning since. I can say that I’ve been busy with other knitting projects, but deep down, there is only one reason: the home-made yarn was lumpy, frumpy, and down right ugly.
Fast foward to the Fiber Festival in Torrance last Sunday, and all of a sudden, I was swayed once again. This time around, I picked up a new spindle from the Custom Handweaving booth, and was determined to give spinning another go.
Enter Exhibit A – the bird’s nest.
The darn bird’s nest is so ugly that I don’t even want to show it “big”. Frustrated by the fruits of my labor, I started reading up on every single handspindling post on Ravelry. It seems that the general consensus is to keep at it, until one day, lightning strikes you up side the head and you’ll just “get it”. Really? Well I must be horribly dense because you know what? I’m not getting it.
Fortunately, the advantage of reading Ravelry forums is that people keep posting beautiful pictures of their spindle collections (I’ll explain how this is a fortunate turn of events in the next few sentences). And in particular, the awesomeness of Golding spindles
. So I called my friend Bobby
, who unfortunately has moved away from California to DC, telling him that I would like to collect the winnings of our bet. You see, back in September when we attended the Beck concert at Hollywood Bowl, he and I had a little bet on whether or not Beck would perform “Debra”. He was adamant that he would, and I said no. We agreed that the wager would be around $70 — the price of a new pair of earbuds from Mac. Suffice to say that I won, and I want a new Golding spindle.
Enter Exhibit B – Golding Le Fleur, all 0.75 oz of magic.
Within 30 minutes of its arrival since Friday, I was spinning thin strands of yarn. Hello? Thin, improved-uniformity strands of yarn. Then I realized in that very moment that I, self-proclaimed enemy of spindling, has “gotten it”. 2 days later, my little Golding is full. My friends, it’s all in the spindle. Quality tools make for quality spinning. I believe that firmly, and it is with this belief that I will justify all future purchases of additional Golding spindles. And to prove that I really really got it, I went back to the other spindle and tried it with a different fiber.
Enter Exhibit C – mystery spindle from Custom Handweaving, much much heavier spindle.
By golly, spindling is FUN! Unforunately, I did find that the 2 fibers that I have at home (both corriedale — cheaply bought from etsy) are somewhat felted in various spots, making the drafting and spinning process somewhat less pleasurable than it could be. My ultimate goal is to advance to spinning enough merino for a pair of socks. Of course, this means that I will need to learn how to ply… but we’ll talk about that much later because I haven’t the slightest clue what the difference is between Navajo plying and just normal 2-ply.
And lest you think that I have gone over to the dark side and abandoned knitting, you are sorely mistaken. But we’ll save that for another day, because it’s so very close to being a FO.