Monday, October 31, 2016

Buttercup

Fleece!  This is not even the whole thing:  
Before the wash:
And after:
 
These golden, blustery days.  I love that moody gray sky so much.  It rained like a banshee the other day, so I went to my little spinning corner and lit a candle and spent a few hours spinning and plying some of this fleece, listening to the weather bang around outside.  It was bliss.  Listen, how I will ever spin all of this beautiful roving I don't know--there is so much of it!  One sheep, a single haircut.  I dumped it out of its basket and it completely covered the bed.  The luxury of all that, oh my goodness.  It was a gift to me from my dear friend Debbie, who raised a small herd of orphan sheep rescued from the animal shelter with the kind of love and care and attention you would wish for all the children of the world, so the wool is of Unknown Origin, but I'll tell you what, it is so soft and clean and is a pure plain joy to work with.  This is the fleece of a sheep named Buttercup.  I can't even.  Dear Buttercup, your hair is magnificent.  As a spinner, I am a complete novice [see results, above] but I am enthusiastic, and am always so thrilled when a few hours spent at the wheel, with it's comforting metronome of thumping along and a beautiful sheepy pile of wool in a basket beside me results in more yarn for my stash.  Seriously, what is not to love about that?  The yarn I make [I can make yarn!] always seems to be overspun and underplyed, and it always looks like garden twine before it's washed, but a little bath in the sink fluffs it up into a magical yarn cloud that weighs practically nothing.  I don't even know what to make out of something as wonderful as this.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lisbon Pullover

I know it seems like all I'm doing is knitting sweaters.  Actually that is rather what I'm doing.  The weather here (and probably everywhere) has taken a lovely, windy turn toward fall, and now that's happened, all I want to do is bundle up.  Also, everyone on the internet is designing and publishing beautiful new patterns, and it makes me want to knit all the things.  
This is Lisbon by Misa Erder, and I knit it using the stash--the heathery brown main color is Fishermans' Wool in, um, Brown Heather, leftover from, among other things, Doc's Brownstone, and the shelly pink contrast color at the yoke is Berroco Vintage DK, leftover from my recently completed DIY crew neck pullover--a brilliant move, because the Fishermans' Wool is a little big rough, and it's so much nicer to have a soft yarn at the neckline.  I really love the way this fits, and the way it felt to be wearing it today, up at the lake, as the wind tore at me and lashed the water into loud, frothy waves.  The water was just roaring.  It felt like a wild place, on a rocky precipice at the edge of the world.  
 It is not summer anymore.  It is time for wool.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My new Not Rhinebeck Sweater

From the Keeping It Real Department: along with [messy! Yuck!] Catdog-related vet visits for reasons which shall remain on the downlow but which--and I assure you she is absolutely fine--are GROSS, and also along with a whole huge lot of travel hither and yon on the schedule for the always welcome purpose of taking care of and loving on all of my dear ones who have scattered themselves across this wide land, I will not be going to Rhinebeck. Oh, Rhinebeck, you elusive siren, with your maple cotton candy and your Artichoke French...sob... Not that I had any actual Rhinebeck plans for this year (2017! Watch me!) but it always seems kind of a wistfully possible possibility, and how I long for all the full-on fall conviviality of meeting other knitters and sniffing some sheep and knitting a proper Rhinebeck Sweater, and all that. Well, I can't go this year, but as usual I am knitting like the wind anyway, so this one here is the latest to drop from the needles. I know, it is gray. (And black! But still gray, which is the same thing. I guess I really don't want to branch out into the rest of the rainbow. Know thyself.)

I started a whole big pile of things all in one rainy weekend back in August, and now a whole big pile of things is getting finished, which seems to be how it works. (That also gives me the feeling that I should cast on All The Things. So many ideas...)

This pretty little gray and black pullover is Ikemura by Laura Chau, knit by me in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, colors "Moonshadow" and "Pitch Black". I ran short of the black and had to stretch the contrast section of the cuffs longer than the designer intended, but I still think it looks great--the color change hit me right at the elbows, which still works well, I think. That yarn is so soft in the hands, and such a pleasure on the needles. Fuzzy, wooly, heathery, and comfy. Hashtag heart eyes.

As you know, I did go to my very wonderful local fiber fair, where--listen to this--I was spotted by the supremely cool Jill Draper, who recognized me, remembered my name, and was just kind of generally overflowing with style and kindness (day=made) and where I scored a bunch of great yarn (Jill's and more), a huge chocolate chip cookie, and a handmade nostepinne. It was fantastic. The lens cover on my camera, though, would not open at all, so there are no photos of men in kilts, nor smiling alpacas, nor porny close ups of hand-dyed Rambouillet. I feel okay about it because I was so busy gaping at yarn and sniffing the fleeces that I didn't really care about anything else. I may have bought a fleece. Big Project, coming up.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Seashell Pink

 

It feels so great to finish something, and to finally find something for this yarn to be. This pullover languished in my workbasket for so long, and it languished before that in the form of a wrap I decided I didn't really want, and it languished before that as a complicated garment that I was never, ever going to wear, and before that as an unnecessarily fussy project that I was never going to finish. This pink yarn (Berroco Vintage DK #2110) is the best color in the world, though, soft and seashelly. It was in my stash a long time, too, before I even set off on the lengthy quest to find just the right project for it. There was a pullover already in my closet that I wear so often that I'm afraid people will start thinking I don't have any other clothes. It just fits so perfectly, and it works with every single other thing in my wardrobe. I live in fear that some kind of laundry disaster or spaghetti catastrophe will befall it. So, armed with the perfect pink yarn and a measuring tape, I set out to replicate it. I got bogged down for awhile by other projects (there are so many things to make! I can't stop starting them! You all know how it is.) but when the cool breath of air that is the beginning of Fall arrived on my doorstep, I got motivated again.

We went on a long road trip last week, and I had only the sleeves and collar to finish. It rained, of course, because it always rains on a road trip, and I worked happily on it, tucked up warm in the passenger seat with the Beatles playing on a long loop (have you seen the new documentary about the Beatles? Oh mah gah. See it.) and Catdog curled up like the half-mouse she probably is on a quilt in the back seat. Hot coffee in the cup holder, steaming up the windshield. There is nothing whatsoever to mind about a long trip, because coffee, the Beatles, cuddled up with Catdog and knitting is exactly what I'd have been doing at home, too. And just like that, it was finished.

The top-down make it up as you go method is honestly my favorite way to do things. There are many beautiful patterns out there, and I have an enormous queue at Ravelry to reflect my enthusiasm for them, but I really do get the best results by just doing it this way:

Measure, either myself or a garment from my closet that fits the way I want the new garment to fit. Knit a swatch, do a little bit of elementary school math, and then just knit it. Measure and keep measuring as I go. Try it on when possible. Be ready to unravel when necessary and try again. That, my friends, is all there is to it.