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Even though it has been hot and humid beyond all reason I have still been playing with my yarn.

First up the Carbeth is almost finished.

knitting carbeth sweater

I know, what is that big hole if it is almost finished? That is the underarm section that needs grafting together. I must admit I stopped and put this aside for a few days while I pondered whether to do Kitchener Stitch or a three-needle bind off. What I finally realized is that the holes were not going to close on their own and I had to make a choice. Since the sweater is knit holding the yarn double so the closing needs tobe done holding the yarn double. I felt Kitchener wouldn’t work for me so I went with the three-needle bind off. It looks good.

The trouble is that either side of the bind off are holes that need to be sewn together. I thought a simple mattress stitch would work well and it would if the stitches on either side were not so large and out of shape. I ended up mattress stitching what I could and then sewing the remaining holes shut so it looked like a neat underarm. I have four more yarn segments to weave in and the sweater is ready for blocking.

I have also been playing with my spinning. My latest is definitely in the category of yarn and is almost dead on in terms of the size I want.

spinning yarn tibetan spindle

I wound this into a little ball and am going to make a second spindle full then ply them together. I don’t know what I will knit out of it, but I am going to knit it up even if it is just a square. If it comes out nice I might frame it as my first actual spun yarn and date it.

On my list of things to buy is a knitty noddy so I can get some sort of count on the yardage. I also need a wpi (wrap per inch) tool to get a handle on the weight of the yarn. I am going for fingering but I might be in the DK territory.

I can’t explain my passion for spinning. Just that every time I spin with the spindle my soul sings. It has been a very, very long time since I have experienced such a feeling and I am so glad that I finally got the nerve to give it a try. Of course I am still very much learning, reading and watching YouTube videos, yet the pleasure and peace I get from it is well worth all the research and attempts.

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I don’t mean to grouse but I am going to do just a little of that. I’m knitting the neck of the Carbeth sweater when all of a sudden a hole appears to the right of the final two decreases. A whopper of a hole. I try everything to get the decrease to play nice with the stitch before it. I even drop the stitch before it down and crochet it back up to tighten it a bit. No go. To make it even worse, I was following the instructions to remove the markers as the final decreases are made. Now I am faced with ripping back two rows to below where the yarn is making a hole while I try to get the now unmarked decreases in the right places. Why is it that even the simple things don’t go right?

Since this project is coming to an end I am in need of a new one. To that end, I put aside the Carbeth and decided to have a peek in the bins and boxes that hold WIPS. Naturally, the Security Guard of All Yarn knit up or not was right by my side. Yarn Rascal loves going through the bins and boxes because we never know what we’ll find.

This time I came up with a sock and a sweater that I started five years ago at the time of my breast cancer.  I started the sweater just after my mastectomy. Not a good time to start that kind of project because my brain was not fully working what with learning to accept the mastectomy, the cancer medications and the radiation treatment I had what they call brain fog. Because of the mastectomy I thought that everything I wore from then on had to be extremely oversized. Don’t get me wrong, I love loose fitting clothing. But there is loose fit and then there is wow that’s kind of big. Well the sweater fell into the latter category. The body is knit and unfortunately it is so large that I can’t see ever wearing it. The yarn is good yarn and I’d hate to waste it even though it is black. I never knit with black yarn so you can tell what kind of mindset I was in when I got this project going.

Along with Yarn Rascal, I decided if we locate the pattern I was using (another example of how my mind was not working. I usually keep all patterns attached to their wips) I will attempt to undo the whole sweater and start again. Unfortunately it is not a pattern I bought through Ravelry so it is not in my library there. I am looking in all the places the pattern might be without any luck so far. Again, I need to remind myself my brain wasn’t really functioning at the time.

As for the sock we uncovered it was just that: a sock that was three-quarters done. I recognized the pattern as one I have in a book on knitted socks, but as for the yarn…well we can’t find it. I have no idea why I snipped the unfinished sock off the ball of yarn or where I would have put the ball of yarn after doing so. Usually an unfinished sock goes in a see-through project bag with the pattern and with needles and yarn attached. Believe me, Yarn Rascal did a thorough search of all yarn balls and couldn’t find it. So I ordered the yarn and will start the sock all over again.

Of course first I have to finish Carbeth. If the knitting gods don’t throw me another curve it is possible that I could block the sweater this weekend. I can only hope.

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Yarn Stash

Over dinner about two years ago The Skipper was gently discussing the extent of my yarn stash. He ended the topic with the comment, “Soon you’ll have yarn hanging from the ceiling.” I laughed at the idea and said, “When I have yarn hanging from the ceiling then I’ll know I have a problem.”

Fast forward to yesterday. Yarn Rascal and I were walking by the craft room and I briefly glanced in then stopped. I abruptly entered the room, Yarn Rascal by my side, and slowly closed the door behind me and leaned against it. A bit of the stash had escaped its confines and was collecting in the large wicker basket I had by the side of the love seat. Hanging from the tops of tall bookshelves was yarn that I had spun and set to dry. Okay, yarn hanging from the top of bookshelves is not yarn hanging from the ceiling, I thought. Get a grip here. And that’s when I saw it. I had two small spun “skeins” (I use the word in its loosest sense) hanging from two separate small brass hooks stationed in the ceiling. The brass hooks once held hanging plants. They now held yarn. I had yarn hanging from the ceiling.

My heart beat wildly. This couldn’t mean…I mean it just couldn’t be, I thought. I have two skeins of yarn working their way via the mail to me as well as another large bundle of unspun yarn. I don’t have a problem. I just have to think about this for the moment.

One: Bookshelves don’t count. They are absolutely not the ceiling. Two: I grabbed the small step ladder and immediately removed the two skeins hanging from the ceiling. Thankfully they were dry. See? No yarn hanging from the ceiling. But…my mind said, they were there. My eyes swept the room as I thought. No this is wrong. It’s not what it looks like. Then I got it. The spun “yarn” ( I use the word in the loosest sense) is really not yarn, it’s not like true yarn. I wasn’t, technically, hanging yarn from the ceiling. It was an experiment with wool that I was undertaking and I had run out of hanging space so I hung the wool, not yarn, from the ceiling. My heart began to beat normally.

I took a deep breath and decided to tidy away the escaped stash. I opened the closet door and there hanging from the ceiling like a piñata was an unopened package of yarn that I was keeping away from Yarn Rascal. No, No. I thought. This doesn’t qualify as yarn hanging from the ceiling. It’s a package. A package that inconsequentially happens to contain yarn. I can explain. I can explain it all and immediately closed the closet door.

Slowly I opened the door to the craft room and peered out to make sure The Skipper wasn’t about. Then Yarn Rascal and I slipped from the room and I quietly closed the door to the craft room.

Today, all the drying “yarn” is down and stored away in Yarn Rascal’s favorite bin. Except for the stash that is sitting in the wicker basket, all looks normal. False alarm. I really don’t have a problem.

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I wasn’t far off. I’d said the day the yarn arrived would probable reach 90 F / 32 C. The day the Buachaille yarn arrived from Scotland the temperature was 88 F / 31 C. The previous day had been 56 F / 13 C. Who knew that the way to finally bring spring/summer to the area was simply to order yarn one would normally work with in the autumn/winter? The knitting gods have such a sense of humor.

I was anxious for the package to arrive since this would be a very different yarn than Yarn Rascal  was used to mangling  handling and I wanted to see his reaction. We walked down to the mailbox and about 5 feet / 1.5 meters from it Yarn Rascal started going crazy. Yipping, jumping, walking on his back legs while his front legs did the frantic begging motion he usually saves for when he wants a treat. What with the yarn coming from Scotland and knowing how slow mail within the US can be I really doubted that his reaction was a signal the Scottish wool had arrived.

Was I surprised when I opened the mailbox. Yarn Rascal was right. The wool had arrived. He was so wound up that if he could have he would have jumped right into the mailbox. I pulled the package out. Yarn Rascal immediately knocked it out of my hands, digging to open the package all the while he whining and yipping. He had lost what little control over himself he possessed.

The only way to get back up the hill and to the house was to hold a squiggling, yipping Yarn Rascal under one arm and the package of yarn under the other. It was a struggle making it back up the hill in the heat and twice I had to stop.

When we got in the house I immediately opened the package so Yarn Rascal could get at the goodies. To say Yarn Rascal has found a new yarn he likes much more than merino is an understatement. He wiggled his whole body around in the yarn trying to transfer the sheep smell onto himself. He was in Yarn Rascal heaven. As The Skipper and I watched him enjoy the yarn, I said, “I think we need to buy him a sheep or two for his next birthday or move to Scotland where he can be near them.” The Skipper, always the diplomat, totally ignored the comment.

I have a sock for The Skipper I need to finish as the pattern is in my head and not written down before I can begin work on the sweater. In the meantime, I am deciding on the length and whether I want to do a regular swatch or work on one sleeve first and use that as a swatch. Never having worked with this yarn before I don’t know it’s characteristics after blocking.

Yarn Rascal is looking forward to the beginning of the project. I have a feeling this will be one of those projects where Yarn Rascal will be draped all over me and the yarn as I knit. The warm, furry little body combined with the wool should make for perfect summer knitting.

 

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carbeth_04_copy_medium2

My new obsession is Carbeth by Kate Davies. I love the interesting construction, the shape, the utilitarianism of the sweater. Best of all, it will give me a chance to work with her Buachaille yarn.  From descriptions I’ve read, the yarn is really sheepy. It has the natural lanolin of the fleece still in it and it smells sheepy. I can’t wait to work with something other than merino. I am also very interested in what Yarn Rascal’s reaction will be. Again, from the descriptions, this will be way different that any yarn he’s seen so far.

As with all sweater patterns, I purchased it and studied it before I bought the yarn and needles. I don’t have a waist like Ms. Davies, so I will be making adjustments to the length. Since I plan to wear this with turtlenecks underneath I also decided to go up 4 inches (10 cm) larger than my bust size.

There are very sane mathematical ways to figure out how much extra yarn will be needed when altering a pattern. I’d like to say I employed them before I ordered a whole batch of yarn in the Haar colorway, but I didn’t. I winged it. But that will be alright. Haar is one of the natural colors of the sheep so if I need more it will most likely blend in. Haar is a silver grey. I ordered the color because it will go with all my turtlenecks. I also ordered it because I’ve gotten so use to the grey skies and days (we haven’t seen the sun since I don’t know when) that I was afraid when the outdoors finally became sunny and colorful I would go into some sort of detox craving and needing to see grey.

What I can be sure of now that I ordered the yarn is that the day it arrives and I start the project the temperature outside will shoot up from 50 F (10 C) to 90 F (32 C) along with oppressive humidity. Yes, now that I’ve bought this sheepy yarn the entire east coast of the United States is sure to get hot, humid weather with plenty of searing sunshine. What better weather to knit a winter sweater in?

 

 

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Spinning Dilemma

It’s April 6 and it is snowing. This is the latest I ever recall having snow in this area. I am doing my best to ignore what it is doing outside but the animals, birds, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, etc. are not happy.

Mom had a slight stroke last week. It hasn’t affected her physical abilities though she seems somewhat weaker and very tired. She is sleeping a lot. Meanwhile I am running her small real estate business, getting one of the houses she owns prepared for showing and rental. Just when I think I am done and can turn it over to the real estate agent, something else pops up that needs doing.

At the moment I have a fiber related dilemma. A couple of weeks back Nothingbut2knit had a picture on her blog of a woman looking so relaxed and at peace while spinning with a supported spindle. I know nothing about spinning, but I haven’t been able to get the picture out of my head and desire to purchase all that is required and give it a go. I envision myself sitting as peacefully as that woman.

Quite a while ago now, I made myself a drop spindle with the whorl at the bottom. Bought some roving to practice on and proceeded on to disaster. At the time I had a bichon named Sport who couldn’t have cared less about yarn, knitting, or spinning. I also had a Labrador Retriever, Dakota, who loved to retrieve things including skeins of yarn. The drop spindle was to Dakota like candy is to a child, irresistible. Every time I would roll the spindle down my thigh and drop it to spin Dakota was right there to catch it. Finally I gave up and the spindle became a fetch and retrieve toy for Dakota. She was very proud of her spindle.

Back to the present day dilemma. Yarn Rascal is interested in all things to do with yarn. He recently began chewing on my knitting needles again after I had thought we’d gotten past that habit when he stopped teething. He loves things he can put in his mouth and hold, especially if they are not suppose to be in his mouth in the first place.

So the questions I am debating are these: Do I spend close to $100 on acquiring the materials needed to do supported spinning knowing that: 1) the spindle may become a plaything for Yarn Rascal; 2) Yarn Rascal might go crazy when he sees roving for the first time and may render it unspinnable in his joy?

I bought Fleegles’ book in pdf form about all one needs to know about supported spinning. I haven’t had time to read through it, but some of the other questions I am debating are: How do you know how much yarn you are making when you spin? Answer: I don’t have to worry about that because I won’t be able to spin. I’ll never get the knack. What does one do with the yarn once it’s spun? (See answer above). Can you ply with a supported spindle? (See answer above. Also read the book you bought).

Last question. How do I hide explain my new playthings from to The Skipper until I am proficient at it? (See answer above).

 

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nor'easter 2018This is dawn over a part of our front yard after last week’s nor’easter that cut power, cable, and internet for six days. Today we are lucky to have missed most of the nor’easter that is hammering New England. Not much snow and roads are clear. The generator remains set-up and ready to go if needed. We lost a number of beautiful trees because of the storm pictured above. It always grieves me to lose trees.

But onto some sunshine.

lorna's laces shepherd sock yarn island madelinetosh sock nassau blue

The discerning yarnie among us (aka Yarn Rascal) was wriggling with utter delight when not one but two skeins of merino wool showed up in the mail this week. The closest to the camera is MadelineTosh Sock yarn in Nassau Blue. The other is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Island Blue. Both are destined to become socks for The Skipper as soon as I can get them away from Yarn Rascal. I am trying to move The Skipper out of his comfort zone of dark blue or grey socks and into something more lively and easier on my eyes to work with. What better color than turquoise?

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