Happy Groundhog Day! I took a vacation day today simply to try to catch up with life a little. Due to circumstances beyond our control, neither Mr. MmmYarn nor I got a weekend this weekend, nor did we get much of a long weekend last week. Today I realized it has been ages since I’ve posted. I don’t have too much finished work to show for this big posting gap, but I’ve definitely been practicing various fiber arts.

Finished item #1, a hat:


Pattern: own, 3×3 spiral rib made on 61 stitches (a multiple of 6 plus 1 to create a right-leaning spiral)
Yarn: 4 ounces of handspun Widdershin Woolworks merino wool
Needles: size 10 (plus a little of size 9 at the very top as it turns out I have no size 10 double-points)
Size: adult
Started 1/23 and finished 1/26/2009

I am very proud of this as it is the first garment I have knit from my handspun. So far, handspun yarn has been relegated to a special section of the stash, the part I don’t knit from. I came to the conclusion: what’s the point of having this yarn if I don’t use it? This stuff is early spinning, probably made in 2000 or 2001. Bulky and uneven, but it sure made a nice hat:


I made hardly any progress at all on the baby cardigan since it went to Stow Lake. The sleeves were truly terrible. Here is a blocking photo from a week ago that I never got around to getting posted here:


Look how big those dots are in the sleeves! I’m working the body on size 2 Addi Turbos and for ease of working I switched to Susan Bates short double-points (with a rubber band on each end to make straight needles) for the sleeves, which completely changed my gauge. The sleeve fabric was totally floppy, nothing like the body. Since I took this photo last week, I have ripped out and re-knit both sleeves, this time on the Addis, and am now chugging away at the body. The sleeves’ gauge is far more satisfactory. I blocked them again just to be sure.

Finished item #2: I had this idea in my head a long time, that as a quasi-environmentalist it’s really shameful that I waste one cardboard sleeve on my teacup every Monday night at knitting group, so I cut a strip off a failed felted bag and needle-felted together a cup holder.

Failed bag with bizarrely wide strap and bizarrely narrow flap:


And voila, a cup holder:


Pattern: took apart a cardboard holder, traced it onto already-felted bag, cut out basic shape, needle felted together, put the cardboard holder in the recycling bin
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, 85% wool, 15% mohair
Started and finished 1/25/2009

Of course, three of the felting needles were broken after my last adventure with needle felting and I did not remember where I put the replacements until this item was finished. Grrr. At least I know now I do not need to buy more replacements at Stitches West at the end of this month. And the next needle felting project will go far more quickly with a full complement of needles. When I used this last week, the cafe owner asked if I could make one and put the cafe’s logo on it. Uh… I kind of weaseled out of that one. I don’t see myself going into mass production on these.

I swatched with some lovely Rowan Kidsilk Night for the Sweater Girl Pullover:


However, the swatch lied despite my doing everything you’re supposed to do (wash and dry, hang a bit), and the 5″ of sweater I managed to crank out this weekend I ended up ripping out today because the work was too wide. Ripping is hard in this yarn. I cannot rip the waistband part but managed to re-use the rest of the yarn. This morning I cast on again with fewer stitches and have a whole 8 finished rows to show for it. Whoop-de-do. The Kidsilk yarn is fabulous, though. I can see why it’s known as Kidsilk Crack.

Spinning took place, too. I finished the last bit of purple for the purple and orange 4-ply last night. I’m deciding whether I have time to ply it now before heading to knitting group in an hour.

And wrapping things up, I finally was able to part with the way-too-big-for-me sweater. It’s on its way to its new home with the Cheyenne River Reservation youth project in South Dakota. They need warm, natural fiber sweaters and large ones are welcomed. This one’s Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted and has a 48″ chest:


Besides the hugeness of it (huge due to delusions about body size for the first 10 years or so after I learned to knit even though it is the correct size as dictated by the pattern), the colors simply don’t flatter me, so I decided a long time ago I wouldn’t rip this and re-knit it. I hung on to it a long time, unable to let go of something I put so much effort into. I was able to very peacefully send it on its way on Saturday with nary a regret. Nice.