Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vactioning at home

There are few things I love better than having uninterrupted time in my own home, so the 2nd week of my vacation was every bit as wonderful as the trip to the Northwest. Since having a big chunk of time to spend at home is such a luxury I didn't want to be writing this post on the final Sunday wondering why I hadn't gotten much done, so I came up with a project to focus on over the whole week. More on that later.

The biggest news from the home front is that the Must Have Cardigan is finally done! It's a substantial sweater, so like the Hex Coat, it probably won't see any wearing action until colder weather arrives, but it's done and it's beautiful. It fits like a glove (Jezebel, my mannequin, is too small for the sweater) and the small effort in adding the waist shaping really paid off. Cables are often bulky, and the braided cables along the sides of the sweater are somewhat stiff. If I had made the body straight up and down it would have given me a much bulkier look than I wanted or needed. Otherwise I made only a few modifications to the pattern as written. I added about 4 inches in length to the body of the sweater to balance out my proportions better, but reduced the sleeve length by a couple of inches. I had read somewhere (sorry; I can't recall if it was on another blog or on someones' Ravelry description) that adding four of stitches to the armhole edges made for a better finish. In the pattern, the braided cable extends close to the armholes with just a couple of reverse stockinette stitches along the edges. To make that edge more stable and visually pleasing, I worked slightly fewer armhole decreases to enable 2 additional stitches in remain in moss stitch to form the armhole edges after the shaping was complete.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I had two button choices - 5 made of deer antler, and 7 from mother of pearl. I was leaning towards the antler choice to start with but ultimately went with the mother of pearl. The antler buttons ended up looking more yellow than I expected, and I preferred to have 7 buttons instead of 5. I did still prefer the heft of the antler buttons, so to give the mother of pearl a little more mass I stacked another very similar but smaller mother of pearl button on top of the larger one, which made them much more interesting. I sewed them on with the sweater yarn, first sewing down the larger one, than stacking on the smaller one with a couple extra stitches. The look is just what I wanted - interesting, but not distracting from the sweater itself.

I also finished a little project that got done so fast I didn't have time to blog about starting it! It's a baby sweater for a co-worker who's expecting her first child, and even thought the baby isn't due until December I was too excited to wait to make something for her. As of the last time I spoke to her before my vacation she didn't yet know the baby'sgender, so I chose bright colours that didn't scream girl or boy either way. The pattern is the One-Piece Baby Kimono (on Ravelry here)in Mason-Dixon Knitting, and is so easy-peasy it's hard to believe. I added the stripes and a neckband, but otherwise it's by the pattern. I used Mission Falls 1824 cotton.

So what was my major project for the week? I decided to drum card a big batch of fibres for spinning. After pulling out all of my available fibres (an embarrassment of riches, I must say) I found that I had a lot of corals, pinks, and red/orange colours, none of which was enough to do much with by itself but all massed together was enough for a sweater or shawl, or something much bigger than a scarf. I almost always do 2 ply yarns, so in order to try something different I deliberately set out to design a 3-ply yarn, mixing together as many of these analogous but different colours as I could without making a muddy mess out of them. I made a little swatch card of all the fibres I chose to work with, and got started.

I had a considerable amount more of 2 of the fibres than of the others - a bright coral Cormo and a pink wool/silk blend with lots of blue silk noil fibres. I first carded those 2 together to form a base from which to create 3 separate but related blends; 1 for each ply. The base colour ended up as an intense, cool salmon pink. For blend #1 (bottom) I used a touch of watermelon red along with more substantial amounts of marigold yellow and tomato red to make a warmer, lighter colour. Blend #2 (center) includes a lot more of the watermelon colour along with some red/blue/rust Firestar ( a metallicy nylon fibre) to add some sparkle; this blend is closest to the original base colour. Blend # 3 includes more watermelon red along with an intense blue violet and more Firestar; this blend is the coolest and darkest of the 3. In the photo a sample of the individual blend is shown on top of its corresponding blend, and the larger skein is a sample of the resulting 3-ply. While from a distance it is still very similar to the original base fibre in colour, up close it has loads of life and interest. The bits of silk noil in blue from the original blend really speak to the blue violet in blend #3 as well as adding a spark of a complimentary colour.

The goal for this week was to get the blend carded and ready to spin, which has been accomplished. I'll work on spinning it all up over the next few weeks so there will (hopefully!) be more and better pictures in the near future. What will I make with tis fibre? I have no idea. It will depend a lot on what yardage I end up with, and as doing 3-ply yarns is not as familiar to me I don't have a good sense of how far my fibre will go. All together I have about a pound if fibre so I'm hoping to have enough for a sweater of some sort.

1 comment:

hovercrafteel said...

Wow, wow, wow! You sure are busy when you vacation. Beautiful Must Have, even beautiful-er baby sweater (only because baby things have that cute factor, and I bet I know who this is for!), and really gorgeous fiber blends I can't wait to see spun up. I hope being back at work hasn't made you too blue yet. :) -- Kirsten