My neighborhood has a number of fiber artists and a few of us finally got together to share our interests. One of the things I never thought I’d do was spin yarn. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to get started with a minimum investment in both money and space – all I needed was a drop spindle, a niddy noddy, and some fiber.
The result is the collection of small skeins above. There are a bunch of helpful videos on youtube to get a feel of techniques: I found this one from MeganERisk helpful for learning how to park and spin. I also liked this one for understanding how to draft fiber consistently for different thicknesses from Spinning Sara. This one from Megan LaCore was helpful for learning how to ply yarns together.
It’s good to know there is a simple way to get started spinning if you’ve ever been curious. Like knitting, I have a feeling that it just takes time and practice to build skill.
With a baby gift to make, I decided to stay on the knit socks roll. I started with a search of Ravelry’s pattern database and found a great simple (and free) pattern by Judy Kaethler called Cozy Little Toes. I like that this pattern was created and tested by a mom making socks for her baby. It includes sizing for 3 months & 6 months with very easy and complete directions to follow. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for quick baby gift. It took me two days to complete the set. I used a beautifully dyed sock yarn from Spartickes Dyes called Tootsie’s (inspired by the Nashville cultural landmark of the same name) on Will & Grace Sock base.
I think I broke a personal record for hats knit in one week! I managed to knit eight hats from the balls of scrap yarn I created last weekend. I was having so much fun pairing the colors, I couldn’t stop. The hats above are the last 4 I created at the end of the week. The last two pictures are of the same hat. I like the subtle color transitions in some of them – the gray one stands out to me especially, but I also like the vibrance of the teal and green and the purples & reds.
I also purchased a few more skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino to round out my glove inventory. It took a while, but I finally settled on three colors that I call Apple Harvest – a golden “Topaz”, a beautiful deep red “Burgundy”, and a granny smith shade of “Lettuce.” I’ll be working on gloves for the next week or two and then it’s back to holiday presents!
I’m still working away at creating a bunch of things for the arts festival and trying to work from my existing yarn stash to maximize materials. Out with the old to make way for the new! After finishing up the last round of gloves, I had a small bag filled with scrappy little balls of yarn that I was saving to make pinwheels out of later.
I pulled the bag out and organized them by color into a rainbow of little balls and decided to Russian join them into larger balls by color to use in hat projects! The hats above are what they’ve turned into so far, combined with my stash of sock yarn leftovers to create highly textured and completely one-of-a-kind color combinations.
Its been so much fun to pair the yarns and see how it will all come out. I still have enough yarn to make a few more., stay tuned!
Fall is just around the corner, which means kicking the knitting into high gear for the Cherokee Heights Arts Festival and Holiday presents! When I started my stash busting/inventory building this summer I had a few skeins of Malabrigo’s Silky Merino that were perfect for making some fingerless gloves. I was knitting with size US5 needles and found that after blocking, I loved the lighter, looser fabric that the yarn creates, as well as the beautiful sheen and softness perfect for gloves. I fell in love with the combination and bought a number of other colors and can’t seem to stop!
The gloves above will mostly be given away as presents (except the teal pair which I made to match my fall sweater coat), but I’m making a few more pairs for the festival. I’ve found that I can get one and a half pairs of gloves from one skein, so I am combining the remnants of two colors to make a third pair. That’s a pretty good return for a moderately priced, but luxurious-feeling skein!
After knitting the cardigan for my mom, I wanted to knit a sweater for myself. I really like long, warm sweaters for the fall and winter that I can wear in the office kind of like a coat. I found the Centripetal Sweater by Lauren Dahl and fell in love with the simple design and beautiful detailing of the cables around the back and collar. It looked a little short for me, but found that by adding a stitch at the middle and end of each repeat of the circular body to the middle and then decreasing back up the other side, I was able to add length through the whole bottom section. I also decided to add a little color work to the innermost cables for a pop of color with a beautiful skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino Chunky I picked up on my trip to NYC (the body is Bernat Alpaca in Ebony, the better to hide kitty hair). Note that because the yarn I used was pretty fuzzy, the pattern isn’t as crisp as some of the examples knit by others on the project page. The cables are even more beautiful with a yarn that has better stitch definition.
I usually avoid knitting with chunky yarn, but it is perfect for the design and makes it a relatively quick project. I also found the directions to be pretty simple to follow and the description of the short row technique easy to pick up as I hadn’t done it before. I’d definitely recommend this design.
Its been a while since I’ve posted any knits because I’ve been working on a larger piece as a gift for my mom: the Hitofude Cardigan. She was looking for a unique lace cardigan that she could wear in the fall and spring, so we hit Ravelry and started looking through the boundless pattern library. After narrowing it down to a few options, we decided on the pattern by Hiroki Fukatsu for its timeless elegance and simple lines. The beautiful pictures made it an easy choice and the recommendation of Madelinetosh Merino Light gave us a huge selection of beautiful colors to choose from. (I recommend taking a look in the projects gallery on ravelry to be inspired by the beautiful variety of colors.)
I would highly recommend this pattern to anyone wanting to make a lace cardigan. The pattern is well written and so beautiful in its simplicity. It is knit all in one piece with seaming under the arms. The lace pattern is very easy to memorize but gives the knitting process enough variety for a longer project. It was so easy to make I am considering putting it on the list to make one for myself in the future.