knitting


Last year was quite something. I’ve started several draft posts since the last time I blogged here. They’ve all started with something like “it’s been such a long time since I posted!”. But every time, I’ve gotten sucked into Doing Stuff again before I came anywhere near catching up on post-worthy events, which then made catching up here seem even more daunting.

I’ll cover the most important things, then, and I’ll mention the other interesting things as they come up. The biggest change since June is that I’ve moved to Boston. I’m still doing a combination of freelance editing, job-hunting, and Etsy-shop-running, but in my own space, and back in a city.

The other big not-work event since my last post was a spinning workshop with Abby Franquemont. I spent a few days at the end of June on apartment-hunting in Boston, before carpooling up to Newburyport for Abby’s Drafting Methods class. It confirmed that I need to spin more cotton, not that I’ve actually spun much more cotton since then. (In my defense, most of my leisure spinning lately has been walk-around-town spinning, and I’m not confident enough with cotton for that yet.)

I’ve also been knitting, still, primarily on my fall-colors shawls:

I’m nearly halfway through the edging on Desdemona.
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And I’m probably about two-thirds of the way through the edging on About Damn Time, but I haven’t totally decided yet.
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Of course, I’d finish both of those shawls sooner if I hadn’t picked up Spring Mix again:
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And started yet another pair of socks:
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At least these socks have a decent chance of being finished this year, since they’re not only handspun but stockinette (nice yarn and easy to pick up after being distracted for a while).

In 2013… I’m hoping to show up here a little more often, to actually finish some of these fiber projects, and to get back to doing science. I think all of that is doable.

Nearly two months since my last post? They zipped by awfully quickly…

Well…

I finished Leaflet:

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…Just in time to wear it to NHSW. Which was wonderfully full of fiber people.

Spring has continued–it feels more like summer now–and there are lots of things growing in the garden and at the CSA farm.

pale balloonflower

(a balloonflower in the front garden)

There has been some family and personal excitement, but things are mostly better now. Going forward, anyway. I’m continuing to look for a Real Job, but I have made some progress toward feeling more productive. I went to MAS&W (also a fantastic place to see fiber people), where Jennifer of Holiday Yarns let me use some of her booth space for my batts. That went quite well, and I have since set up an Etsy shop. Sooo… With the shop (which may soon contain things other than batts and yarn) and some freelance editing work, I at least have something to do that feels less like shouting into a void than the endless round of job applications.

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(one of my favorites of the batt sets. even though it’s merino.)

plum

amalanchier

forget-me-nots

spring beauties

trout lily

red leaves on green moss

I’m just a little excited about the lovely weather today and all the blooming and growing things outside.

Which makes it a little weird that I’m also excited about knitting a bulkyish wool sweater, but so I am.

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That’s the cast-on and first two rows of Leaflet. I’m being careful to avoid aggravating my hand, but it seems to be ok with short bursts of not-too-intense activity.

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This handspun sweater thing is kind of addictive. It’s a top-down raglan this time, and I’m about an inch past splitting off the sleeves.

(Yes, I’m still typing cover letters and occasional e-mails.)

My December was very full, with making stuff and going places and continuing to apply for jobs.

I identified a loom setup that works for me–sitting on a flat surface with either an upturned bin or a small cardboard box under the non-turning beam at the back of the loom–which meant that I got a good bit of weaving done:

Not Socks

That’s the Not Socks rectangle for Georg, though I did twist the fringe before sending it to her. I’ve been wearing the socks she knit for me a lot lately, as it’s been cold, so I’m glad to have sent her my part of our trade.

Next up was a very late birthday present for Anju:

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A merino/cashmere/nylon/organic merino scarf, only about ten months after her birthday.  (The warp is MCN from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and the weft is my handspun organic merino, Natural Beauty from Southern Cross Fibre.  Plainweave with a 12-dent heddle.)  And the colors are somewhat more saturated than they appear in this photo.

I finished Anju’s scarf just before leaving town for a week and a half, so my loom sat idly in a corner for a couple of weeks, but I took advantage of having the house to myself yesterday afternoon to warp again:

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This is theoretically a shawl warp for me, using the leftovers from my turquoise sweater, some teal alpaca-blend handspun that was a gift from a friend, and a few other handspun yarns that I thought would go well.  I’m a little concerned that I don’t have enough weft yarn, but I’m sure I’ll work something out.  Maybe some extra green or tan.

And I’ve continued to knit, mostly on Desdemona:

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There’s a lot more border than there was last time!  It’s useful that it’s a simple pattern to knit, as the center was, because I’ve been able to knit and either talk (during family gatherings) or listen (at concerts at First Night yesterday).  The rows must be something like 500 stitches by now, but they don’t feel like they take all that long to work.

And I finally mustered the time and energy and motivation to try something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years, a felted mask.

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This one was a midwinter gift for my grandmother.  The base is cormo/bamboo rayon, and it’s sewn with handspun merino/tencel.  I’m really pleased with how it came out, and I’m looking forward to trying a few more.

I mentioned going places as well as making stuff: these photos are from our trip south for midwinter.

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I love winter forests with trees with light-colored bark (especially birches), but this beech is interesting for more than its compact and mostly-symmetric immediate footprint.  The roots downhill from its trunk are a mix of its own, with smoothish grey bark, and roots from the red pine uphill from it, which are more of a red-brown.  I like the way they intertwine.

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And I’ve always liked the frilly shapes and tonal colors of lichens.  I’m not sure the tree is thrilled, but I was happy to see these.

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I am hoping for a new year full of more making things and finding beauty in the world, and I wish the same for all of you.

I finally finished Bernhardt!
finished sweater!

back of sweater

Specs: I started with ~20 oz of handspun, from 2ply combo spins of fibers from Spunky Eclectic, Southern Cross Fibre, and Enchanted Knoll Farm. The finished sweater weighs about 14.5 oz.

I was working with Bernhardt as a pattern, but I reworked it a little to adapt to my smaller gauge and then worked seamless set-in sleeves because it seemed easier than trying to adjust for my different row gauge.  The other major modification I made was to work different sizes above and below the waist shaping.

I am very pleased with how it came out.  It is now beautifully wearable (I wore it today, and it was the perfect layer over a t-shirt), and the shawl stick I bought at MDSW a couple of years ago makes an excellent closure.

It’s not perfect, though–the shoulder shaping and the edging shaping around the shoulders could be better, and I really should’ve figured out how to work the three-needle bindoffs for the shoulders after I’d knit them up far enough.  So that means I can make the next sweater even better.

Good thing, too, as I’ve just finished the spinning on the Spring Mix sweater lot!  Here’s most of it, minus only the last 40yd skein of Flannel:

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I’m taking a break from sweater-spinning for a laceweightish gradient yarn, but I’ve got the next batch ready to go when I’m done.

Whee, creative post titles.  Heh.  Well, I’m still in Vermont, still looking for work, still spending most of the rest of my time on fiber stuff.

I have done a bit more travelling, including the not-so-fun (clearing out the apartment that had been my grandmother’s) and the fun (visiting yarnfriends).  I turned 30 two weeks ago and spent the following weekend back in the NYC metro area, going to museums and generally hanging out with friends (and knitting a lot).

I took a fair number of pictures in the newly-reopened Islamic art galleries at the Met, where we spent a good chunk of that Saturday.  These are a few of my favorites (objects more than photos):

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interesting texture

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And I mentioned knitting! It looks as though I haven’t posted earlier progress pics of this shawl, but I started a Desdemona just before I left for my trip to Europe. After a few months of feeling like I was close to finishing the center square, I finally did, and I picked up the 400+ stitches for the border. I also learned that picking up stitches is hard when there’s only one stitch between the edge and the first YO–I was a few stitches off count for the other three sides (-2, +5, -2), but I had such trouble figuring out where to pick up stitches for a scant two stitches per three rows that I had 15 stitches too many on that last side. Next time, I’ll make sure I have an extra selvedge stitch.

Here’s what it looks like now:

Desdemona

It’s scrunched up because it’s too small for the needle (I’m doing Magic Loop for now), but it should be plenty big by the time I’m done.

I’ve also started a really simple shawl with some spindle-spun singles. I’d tried this yarn in the Prairie Rose Lace Shawl last spring and thought it was too busy, so the new project is a stockinette shawl with probably a feather-and-fan border. (If not that, some other lace pattern that works well with stripes.) I am quite fond of the way the striping is working so far:

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And I’m nearly done spinning my Spring Mix combo lot, so I’ll try to get a group photo of that by this time next week.

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