Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Granny Time

It's no secret that sock knitting is probably my favorite sort of knitting.  Nor is it any secret that my sock yarn stash has more skeins than I will probably ever knit up...and the likelihood of the socks ever wearing out is pretty slim.

What to do with all the little bits and bobs left from each pair?

Many knitters have succumbed to the infamous sock yarn blanket.  Truthfully, I'm not a huge fan of the mitered square. (never mind that the Modern Quilt Wrap is still on needles:  a combination of the squares and the ever fiddly Kidsilk Haze yarn--a blend of hairy mohair and silk which is enough to make you pull your own hair out)

I wanted something mindless to knit in the evenings.  So, I did the math to figure out how many stitches to cast on to get my desired width for a snuggly lap blanket.  After casting on somewhere around 300 stitches or so (I don't remember exactly how many, my brain is trying to protect me from the memory), and knitting somewhere around 7 inches of garter stitch...with sock yarn...on size 1 needles...I had enough.  This was not mindless knitting.

About that time, my Instagram feed was blowing up with people crocheting the Granny Stripe blanket.  Not to be confused with Granny Squares...which I suck at making...this looked doable.  Plus, the gorgeous color progressions of so many of my hand-dyed sock yarns were being lost in plain garter stitch.  However...crochet.  My crochet skills are rudimentary at best.  I can whip out the simple borders for blankets and the occasional crocheted dish rag, but this was going to be on a grander scale than a dish rag.  Not going to be deterred, the boring garter stitch was ripped out and the foundation chain started on July a baseball game.

Back to mindless evening crafting.  But the balls.  Oh, the basket of balls was beginning to drive me nuts.  So, this past Monday night at Knit Night, I sat at a table in Panera and proceeded to use my very best magic knot skills to hook together (in random order) all the bits and bobs of balls to make yarn cakes.

At this point, the blanket is close to being the general size I want to facilitate proper couch snuggling.  Then there is the border to add.  It's close...oh so very close...and, it's stunning and squishy!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New blooms...

Not even a year ago, we had the first shearing of our little flock.  Since that time there has been the joy of lambs, the heartbreak of lost lambs and ewe, the realization that there is A LOT of fiber that comes from 19 sheep, followed by the acceptance that I can't do it all myself.  So, some fiber (7 fleeces to be exact) was shipped off to a mill for cleaning and prep into roving for spinning and the rest I kept to process myself.  The mill prep stuff has returned ready to spin.  My stash...well, I got 4 fleeces washed, one (Rose) washed/picked/carded/spun to yarn and the rest are waiting. However, in about two months it will be shearing time again and the fleece flood will commence all over again.  

Back to Rose.  She is a white ewe with a lovely staple length and crimp.  Since she is older, there are some definite changes to her fleece, but it spins like butter and has a wonderful softness.  From her raw fleece weight of 1.64# I was able to get four skeins of navajo plied heavy worsted/aran weight.  Not enough for a sweater, but a pillow would do nicely.

Pattern:  Flower Pillow  Knowing there was not enough yarn to do the back or the flower within the pattern, I just made the front panel.  My plan initially included use of a different handspun for the flower, but the color tones did not mix well with Rose.  A few weeks ago, a good friend showed me some dying techniques and let me practice dye a mini skein of Rose's yarn.  After searching Ravelry for an alternate flower pattern, Agnes (a cottage rose pattern) was chosen.  I made an envelope back pillow cover from some unbleached muslin and hand sewed the front panel to the cover.



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