Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Knitting

I have been working on a top-down raglan sweater with my handspun yarns over the past couple of weeks.  I was inspired to knit a top-down raglan after taking Stefanie Japel's workshop at TNNA last month.  I spent the bulk of last afternoon and evening watching the Academy Awards and working on this sweater.  I can't think of a better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Lichen and Wine Yarn

The yarns that I am using for this project have been on a long journey (see my January 2008 post about some of the yarns I am including).  I originally cast on for a Fair Isle vest on March 1, 2008.  I didn’t like how it was turning out, so I frogged it and began to knit a top-down poncho-like garment on March 6, 2008.  During March 2008, I worked this garment until I was about 4 inches from the cast-off edge, and then I put it aside so that I could focus on preparations for my April 2008 wedding.  In early February 2009, I found this project in the bottom of my WIP pile and decided to finish it.  So I did.  And then I tried it on.  The poncho was lovely, but it was clearly much too large for me.  There was another fatal flaw: the entire garment, including the bottom edge, was worked in stockinette stitch, causing the poncho to roll severely toward my neck.  After thirty minutes of wearing it, it had morphed from a lovely poncho to a very large and heavy necklace.

I was quite discouraged at this point, so I put the garment down for a few days.  During this time I spoke with my good friend, Emily, who convinced me that I must make something worthy of the handspun yarn.  At this point I was able to muster the courage to rip out the poncho, and immediately cast on for the top-down raglan sweater.  Fortunately, this effort has been a success so far!

Top-down raglan sweater

Top-down raglan sweater

Top-down raglan

Top-down raglan close-up

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spinning at Common Threads

Lori, Karen, Margie and I made the pilgrimage today to Common Threads in Encinitas for some spinning fun.  There was a great turn out - nine ladies in all.  As always, we had a great time sharing spinning stories and knitting adventures.

Before all spinning journeys, I search through my entire spinning stash with the hope of identifying the perfect spinning project for the day.  As I was searching through my stash this morning, I was overcome with indecision about what colors and fibers to bring.  After a few minutes of hemming and hawing, I just grabbed a few different things and off I went.  I ended up spinning a 80% superfine merino/20% tussah silk blend in a colorway that I call "Tourmaline."

Tourmaline - merino/silk

I spun this yarn using the fractal striping method that Janel Laidman described in the Summer 2007 issue of Spin-Off Magazine.  I am really pleased with the look and hand of the final yarn, and I can hardly wait to start knitting with it.

Tourmaline Handspun

Monday, February 2, 2009

Spinning Workshop with Janel Laidman

On January 31, a group of us spinners got together at Lori's house for a workshop led by Janel Laidman on how to get the most out of your handpainted rovings.  During the workshop we learned several techniques for splitting handpainted rovings prior to spinning in order to reduce the stripy look.  All of the rovings we used were handpainted by Lori, who has an amazing color sense.  We spun for about 5 hours, and in the end everyone had some very beautiful yarns to take home with them.


I have already decided that my yarns are destined to become Lynne Vogel's Starry Night Scarf.  I purchased the pattern from her Etsy shop back in December, and have been wanting to cast on since then.