Bus knitting yesterday plus a bit of Laundromat knitting today means the Otto pullover is moving along. Here’s progress:


I staged the project on the needles in this photo so you could see the right side and the wrong side of the work at the same time. On the right side, you see how the purple peeks through the charcoal a little, creating a slightly tweedy effect. It looks like a mistake in the first few rows, but once it’s an allover pattern, it looks deliberately tweedy. The wrong side shows just how many times I have to trap the yarn for this Armenian knitting technique. It’s a wee bit slower than stranded knitting is for me, but I find it easier to keep the tension consistent than I would have for 8-stitch floats. Onward!

Oh, and have you seen Ravelry’s new Index tab on your Projects page? It’s fabulous!


I noodled around with a few skeins of yarn on the bus today, trying to decide on color combinations and technique for my next project, the Otto pullover. It’s supposed to be worked stranded, but the design has floats up to 8 stitches long and I’m concerned little fingers will get caught in the strands. Not that that’s a tragedy, but I don’t want to make it harder for a parent to wrangle a child into a garment.

Color-wise, I settled on charcoal with purple:


For stranding technique, Armenian knitting (I have the book from Schoolhouse Press) produced the result I liked best.


You can see 4 rows of stranding with 3-stitch floats before the top part with the purple yarn trapped every other stitch; that’s the Armenian knitting bit, lots of trapping. Gauge is 7 stitches to the inch (a little big for size 2 needles, but that’s normal when you’re trapping like this) and I like how the fabric feels. You see long loose strands because I worked the swatch with only the right side facing to emulate working in the round.

On the ride home, I cast on for the ribbing and got going. This is a perfect bus knitting project so will progress relatively quickly.

Last May (gads, it has been more than a year), I took a kumihimo braiding class with instructor Karen Huntoon at the CNCH conference at Asilomar. I haven’t written about it here yet because it took me yonks to take photos of the finished items, but it was great fun and easy to learn. And today is the day to share! The first day, we did some practice bits with a bundle of random colors we each were given:


Then launched immediately into learning how to add beads to the braid to produce an edge bead necklace:


On day 2, we made a more complicated spiral bead necklace, which I ended up having to un-braid and re-do the following week because I saw I missed a bunch of beads, which spoiled the spiral effect. It turned out well the second time, every bead in place:


And on day 3, which was only a half-day session, we made a smaller project, a spiral ridge bracelet:


Since then, whenever I need a cord or drawstring, I grab some yarn and the kumihimo disk and go for it. I did not take photos of any of these, but the lanyard for my staff badge at work is pretty stylish in a striped red and orange silk/mohair blend.

I felt nervous about 2/3 of the way through the bind-off row despite my friend’s assurances that it looked like I had enough yarn. She was right — I finished off the shawl and had gray yarn left, hooray!


A yarn chicken triumph!


Well, here I am once more playing yarn chicken with this same project you saw at the end of April. You would almost think I did this on purpose for the sheer joy of having even more knitting time with this lovely yarn (Annapurna from A Verb For Keeping Warm, which is indeed divine to work with). Think again, readers!

Mystery Shawl 6 WIP

The little pile of remaining gray has to last for 6 more rows plus the bind-off, about 3600 stitches total. I have my doubts but will soldier on. If it lasts only the 6 rows, I’m happy to bind off with orange just to see this shawl complete.



Spinning with friends

While it is possible they were admiring my technique or wondering which salon they needed to go to to get their locks dyed just such a color, it turns out they were lining up to use the bench as a scratching post. One of the lambs played with my shoe and pants cuff a bit; the sheep here are all accustomed to humans wandering in their meadows and get pretty close.

After 3 more hours of knitting, I lost at yarn chicken. The little coil of orange is all that remains of the Annapurna yarn, with 2.5 rows to go. I hoped it would be enough to finish this row and I would just do the next two rows in gray instead of orange, but no joy.


Nothing apt turned up in the scraps bin, and the pretty terra cotta color is hard to match, but I dug around in my handspun and came up with that skein on the right, BFL from Tactile Fiber Arts in a color called Geranium. It’s only 2-ply and darker than the Annapurna, but I have plenty of it (184 yards!) and it will work if I use it symmetrically, so I will rip back to the start of the first orange-and-gray section and use it as the background in both those sections. Unfortunately, this means losing some 14 hours of work, so I won’t finish this in time to show it off in the mystery shawl prizes thread. Disappointing, to be sure, but I finally get to use some of my handspun to a good purpose and that’s kind of nice.

Drat the cell phone picture at night, even under a daylight lamp. I look forward to finished items photos under a cloudy sky to show the colors off properly.

This week, I got to play that sometimes exhilarating, sometimes mood-dampening game of yarn chicken. Twice. I won on the hat, with far more pale gray left over than I thought there would be. The game is still afoot in the mystery shawl, for which we’re down to an anxiety-riddled finish on this skein. I have 8 more rows of orange to go and 10 grams of yarn remain. The rows are loooong at this point, and this section is striped with the gray, so it’s going to take me a few more hours to know. Wish me luck!

WIP 2018-04-28

I am weeks late with this post, but here it is. These are the spoils of Stitches West 2018:


Top row: Annapurna from A Verb For Keeping Warm as part of Romi Hill’s 2018 mystery shawl KAL (starts on April 6!); Oink Pigments DK; project bags from KC’s Pockets to Go and Front Range Bags; BFL fiber from Wonderland Dyeworks

Middle row: fiber from Shaky K Fibers; 3 skeins Jamieson & Smith Shetland; books and fringe twisting tool; green yarn from Dragonfly Fibers; gray yarn from Backyard Fiberworks; mixed BFL fiber from Houndstooth Fibers; Cotton DK from Paintbox yarns; Yowza from Miss Babs

Bottom row: gifts from Craftsy at the Friday night Pajama Party: possibly Romney fiber and 5 skeins Cloudborn Fibers sock yarn; grip-fid tool from my ply-split braiding class; Harry Potter stitch markers

I had loosely promised myself no more fiber from Wonderland Dyeworks, because I have a lot of it at home. I love her colors, though, and got sucked into her beautiful booth again, and gosh, some of her fiber found its way into my bag. Funny how that happens.

The Friday night pajama party was fun! This is the first year I have been alert enough at 10pm to want to attend a social event (I have one of those “early to bed, early to rise” internal clocks), so I went. One of the rules of the party was that you can’t talk about it outside the party, but I will dare mention that the mini-skeins of sock yarn in the bottom row of my photo were part of the fun, and the spinning fiber is a prize I got for showing up in my pajamas.

I used up most of the orange Oink yarn for a pair of fingerless mitts, the gray and green yarns are in the planning phases for mittens, I begun swatching for the sweater pattern I bought, and I’m looking forward to starting the mystery shawl on April 6.

I am grateful I am able to go to Stitches West and hang out with such fun friends every year. And shop for yarn with them! Such good fortune!

I present to you today my longest spinning project ever, as measured in years. Four years and 3 months (sheesh!), not counting the 17 months it took me to get around to measuring the skein and writing up my notes.


The fiber is merino wool from Tausenschön, a nice vacation souvenir.

The bottom (lumpier and more uneven) skein is what took ages. It is 97 yards (50g) of 2-ply that I spun over the fold on my 18g spindle. I started it in June 2012 on a trip to Oregon. Making this has good memories because I taught my grandmother and uncle and aunt about spinning, and my uncle even had a go at it. The day after that discussion, we went to the woolen mill museum which had spinning machines and looms, so all I showed the day before had context. But I digress… spinning over the fold is what killed this project for me. It was a technique I wanted to try, but I found it fiddly and unpleasant. I worked on this off and on and finally plied the yarn on 9/18/2016 at 15:1 on my Lendrum wheel. I read in the intervening years that merino is typically considered to have too short a staple to spin over the fold, although I know some spinners do so successfully. Perhaps I should have tried with my 35g spindle instead of 18g.

The top skein is 200 yards (90g) of 2-ply that I spun worsted on my 35g Cascade Bay spindle, and that zoomed along much faster from 5/23 to 9/10/2016. At first, I didn’t want to spin with a different technique because I knew it would not be matching yarn, but the thought of 90g more to go decided that one! Plied 9/19/2016 also at 15:1 on my Lendrum wheel.

Have you had success at over the fold with merino?



Flickr Photos