one of the best things about our yearly rhinebeck trip is the crazy amount of knitting and spinning we get to do, despite our busy social schedule during the weekend. because, thankfully, it is completely socially acceptable to whip out one’s knitting (or spinning) over coffee, cocktails, snacks, or while traveling, chatting, and waiting. everyone does it.
it is also totally cool to get up, put on coffee, and proceed to wallow for hours in our pajamas drinking it leisurely, with all manner of knitting spread across the dining table, sofas, coffee table, or end tables—a sort of knitterly pigsty (you think i’m kidding?). no one objects.
i got my third ivy vines neckwarmer (using fibre isle bison/cashmere) done the night before kim arrived—i was able to knit six or seven repeats of the body motif for a nice long, lightweight gaiter (maybe ten inches in depth total?).
this was the easiest of changeups—i cast on for the larger-sized piece with a 3.25 mm needle and proceeded through the instructions as written, then kept repeating the body motif til i saw i could not get another repeat out of the yarn i had. i knit a couple extra rounds of garter edging at the top, since i had some yardage left (no sense wasting any), and bound off with about an inch of tail to spare, effectively using all the yarn in my little one-ounce skein (about 180 yards of laceweight). in such a light fabric, this translated to a piece that collapses into velvety folds just right for capturing warmth (but breathable, too, because it’s a little lacier).
i washed it the next morning and it was dry by the time we left town on thursday. this was the single best item of clothing i brought with me—not only was it a big hit as a show-n-tell item, but i wore it all weekend long as the perfect neck cozy; not heavy or bulky at all, but totally soft and warm. i couldn’t even tell it was there, except for the warm; hence a lack of modeling shots. it’s not one bit itchy; i would wear this against my bare neck.
(that’s my wiggle cable scarf with it in new hue handspuns bunny patch yarn; i never did get around to writing up the pattern for that . . . ooops)
once we got on the road i pulled out my brown skye safari sock to knit on the trip out. i’m tentatively calling this on uncomplicatedly, because its so unassuming, but easy to love . . . waddaya think?
i got the whole leg done on the ride to NYS and worked the heel friday afternoon while socializing at the marriot, then worked on the foot at the fischer’s sunday evening, and finished as far as my yarn would take me on the ride home. as you can see, i ended up a little short on yarn for this man-sized pair; i need to dig through my stash of sock leftovers to find something to match—i have so little to go. i knew it would be close, but i was hoping for the best (and i almost made it).
when that project came to a halt, i pulled out the gray cabled sock, hoping to fare a little better. david is sorta chomping at the bit to get his hands on this pair—we did a photo shoot with the first sock only, for the pattern cover, and he fell in love with the way it fits and feels.
roxanne’s squooshy sock yarn in silver moon colorway is so cozy and the lace cables create such a nice firm fit (but breathable, too). there’s even a touch of nylon for durability—everything a guy needs in one handsome package.
unfortunately, i ran low at the finish on this yarn too (rats!). last night i was just at the point to begin shaping the toes when i noticed i had only about ten inches of yarn left. oops.
i might have something in my stash to fill the gap or roxanne just might have a bit laying around; we’ll work something out.
so, i have two stalled sock projects. which means i need to start thinking of what socks to get on the needles next. for one thing, i know i’m working with roxanne on a new sock for the yarn4socks december club, but i’m not sure what that will be quite yet; i’m waiting to see the yarn. i might also have an unfinished regatta sock (or two) laying about that i really should complete (they’d make nice gifts, right?) i’ll keep you updated . . .
at the house, i opted for working on a less portable project in the early mornings and evenings (oh man, you would not have recognized me, i was up so early every day. ha! that’s what happens when i get to bed by 10:30 every night . . .)
not that this sweater is at all heavy or bulky, but it’s not a sock, either—it has shaping and directions i need to take along. no worries though, i got the back almost done while i was away—i’m just a few rows shy of the shoulder shaping now. after this, two narrow sleeves to knit and then i’ll be all set to start the finishing work (my fave!).
i also brought my wheel along since i was taking a sunday morning class. no sense letting it sit idle for several days, so i set it up the first night and did some spinning on a couple of evenings. i brought some of beckie’s beautiful cream romney wool and she brought me some black shetland which i’ll be needing for a project david and i are planning for january.
i spun one bobbin of the cream to ply with a bobbin i had done at home. i plied and wound off two nice skins of poofy cream yarn which i then did not get a photo of, dummy me. i sent those home with kim so she could make a hat or something fun with it.
then i started in on the black shetland—beckie used to raise sheep and her shetland is some of the nicest i’ve ever spun. this black fleece is from angus, a little pet of hers. she has since given up the shepherding life, but has lots of fiber still. when i said i needed something black for our project, she found a small bag of angus fiber for me in her stash. i’m thrilled to be including it in the project.
on sunday i took a class in spinning luxury fibers with beth smith, owner of the spinning loft in howell, michigan. i rarely get to take classes, so i was excited.
we got to spend three hours spinning all sorts of beautiful luxury fibers (translation: short, difficult-to-handle fibers). beth passed out samples of camel, camel down, cashmere, cashmere/silk, cotton, and finally, yak (in two colors). there may have been a couple more types, but i can’t remember without traipsing off to dig through my bag . . .
we warmed up with the regular camel, which was a bit wiry and hairy (well, compared to what was coming, heh). then beth handed around some camel down, which is the soft undercoat alone, dehaired
mu-u-uch better, mmm. we all set our drivebands on a higher whorl and released the brake to a minimum takeup, for better control with the very short fiber. i’ve been spinning some baby camel/silk blend at home on my merlin wheel, and i have to say that i think using the single-drive wheel worked much better with this type of fiber. there’s more opportunity to create that necessary differential, at least for a beginner, like me.
next we progressed to some gorgeous cashmere top beth procured from amy, owner of the spunky eclectic, who just happened to come to beth’s rescue with this superlicious top.
i admit, once i started spinning this, i just couldn’t stop. beth kept circling the room, handing out one sample after another and i’d just shove those in my bag—i was sticking with the cashmere to the end. i plan on spinning the cashmere/silk blend to ply with it; i’m hoping to end up with enough yarn to knit wristwarmers or something . . .
i did finish my bit of cashmere up, just in time to try some yak
the yak was the most difficult of all to handle, actually—it’s as short as dryer fluff and about the same consistency. i found that trying to use all but the lightest control while drafting caused it to break off, so i went with a long draw and let the twist take complete control of the fiber release. i didn’t use my thumb at all unless i needed to straight an uneven part. normally, this would result in a very uneven yarn, but with yak, when the twist takes up too much of a clump, you can still draft it out even after the singles has acquired some twist—fascinating. i also found i had to spin it a little heavier than the other fibers, at least to begin with.
this is why i love spinning; fiber has an endless number of facets to explore . . .
i’ll get all of the fibers out again this weekend and finish up my samples so i can wash them and show you the resulting yarns. it’ll be fun to have a little gallery with everything from the class finished . . .
the night we got home, kim went to bed early and i stayed up with david to watch TV and knit. thanks to our friend johanna, who sent me her fearless fibers cashmere leftovers, i was able to finish my second ivy vines (the one i started with my own leftovers)
it’s almost dry now and ready to go to the gift shelf in my closet; i’m glad to have a spare one of these so i can keep one for myself and give one as a gift. thank you johanna; you saved the day.
i think that catches me up with you completely now, yay. here we are in the present again—later today we’ll release the tottering cables sock and soon i’ll be nattering on about yet more knitting and new projects.
it’s so good to be home . . .