Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sweater Spin 2011

Don't know what possessed me but I joined a new Ravelry group, well that's probably not true, I do know what possessed me. Because while I've been working, dog-like, there is very little time to indulge any of my fiberly pursuits, I signed up for Sweater-Spin 2011. This gave me something to think about. In no time, my mind was turning it over like all of the other assignments I have going. I had some Blue Faced Leicester languishing in here, plain white, un-dyed. It took a few weeks to settle on a color scheme, and I spent awhile pouring over pattern possibilities. For this sweater, I'd considered some dark jewel toned colors at first but noting that a few group members were challenging themselves to produce two sweaters, I got the idea that the first sweater should feature SPRING colors since it ought to be done by then and no winter month is colder than April in my opinion. I'm not even sure whether two sweaters are not a requirement of the challenge but if they are, the second sweater in the dark palette ought to debut at the end of the year.
So I dyed my fiber: lime green, blue, orange and red-violet. According to Deb Menz (Color Works: the Crafter's Guide to Color) this is a square tetrad, another way of saying two sets of complementary colors: lime & red-violet, blue & orange. Now when it comes to spinning, I am not so smart I can do any more than spin this up randomly but I did divide the 16 oz. of top into roughly four chunks and then dyed each chunk so that about half a given piece was left a pale shade or white. I got exactly what I expected and figured the yarn would have to spin up in the mid to light range, what I was looking for.

For the design of the sweater itself, my first thought is a simple v-neck with bracelet length sleeves so I can wash my hands without getting my sleeves wet. I'm trying to spin a sport weight yarn because I haven't much use for a big heavy sweater and can't get one under my winter coat. There are plans for a less effective winter coat that will require a sweater underneath--- (which seems nutty even to me) but the winter coat I have now is too warm to put more than one layer underneath it. I am grateful for that puppy this winter, I hear tomorrow it will be 18°F here in New York.
Here's how the yarn is coming out so far. It's awfully like the last yarn I dyed and spun but I'm not bothered. That sweater didn't look so hot on me so I gave it to my son. My latest notion is to use short rows in this simple v-neck silhouette to get some interesting stripe action out of this yarn. We'll see.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dead of winter feels like time for a funny hat. I went for "Vortex" with extreme an point. The boy took one look at it, laughed and was eager when I suggested this pattern instead. I finished it, he put it on and wore it the entire day and then to bed at night. I learned today though that he has no intention of wearing it to school unless I devise the kind of buckled strap for it used to cinch cargo onto a semi's flat bed. That's grade school jargon for "never." He has not forgotten the Pre-K incident, where a little ruffian snatched the hat his mama made off his head and played keep-away with it.

It was fun to knit and very easy, essentially being a straight sided sack. the fins are added at the end. I didn't like the instructions for knitting the tail. Following them, it didn't seem the tail was coming out like the tails shown with the instructions. I'm helped when I think of knitting as drawing so I made up my own (double thick) tail from what I though the tail in the pictures was doing. The fins are k1p1 rib. By the time you get to this point in the pattern you realize stitch counts and what all don't mean a thing. I made the dorsal fin longer and used short rows to make it taller toward the front. The eyes are made from that fake chamois stuff for mopping up spills. I offered eyes dead or eyes alive, he chose dead. Great, four minutes at the sewing machine. I used bits of Brown Sheep lambs pride worsted as well as my own hand-spun wool.