it’s a wash

Posted on Posted in lace/shawls, projects

in my monday morning class we had a couple of people with finished lace scarves that wanted a blocking lesson, so about an hour before they got here, i put the scarves on to soak got out the wires and the old bedsheet and set up the blocking spot in the living room.

one of them was anne marie’s japanese feather scarf which has unusually curvy edges that are not the same from side to side. it’s a little challenging to block by oneself, so we did it in class, where an extra set of hands is never far away.

taking the time to pin out every bend will result in curvaliscious edges like this. it takes a little more time, but it’s worth it. we only used blocking wires through the ends to secure an even length, pinning those out a little as well.

the result is a light-as-air scarf with a halo of lit fiber springing from it—beautiful. this is one of the first patterns i published and i’ve seen it worked up in almost every fiber imaginable by now, but every time i see it transformed from a lump of sodden wool to a blocked accessory, the fabric takes my breath away. it’s an ingenious motif and whoever thought it up should get to roll around in a pile of this lace til the end of time.

i got an incredible box of yarn yesterday afternoon from cheryl at newhue handspuns. cheryl has been spinning professionally for some time (ya know sock hop yarn, from crown mountain farm? uh-huh, cheryl is partly responsible for that).

anyhow, cheryl also sells her own yarns on etsy and boy are they nice . . . she sent me some sample skeins of her bunny patch yarn which is a handspun merino/angora blend. above is the burning bush colorway, which is a beautiful blend of fall colors.

each skein has a generous 200 yards of high-quality luxury fiber, hand-dyed and hand spun.
here we have the rose petals colorway, which is brand new

um, weren’t we just talking about mitts and hats and scarves the other day? and doesn’t this look way cozy? i think i’ve got my next mitt project right here.

i finished one of my sweater sleeves today. it was too dark by the time i got done to photograph it, but maybe tomorrow the other will get done and then i can do a little blocking and seaming story.

before i settled in to work on that, i pulled a double armload of sweaters out of my dresser and headed to the basement to wash them. i figured i could knit while the washer worked on a couple of loads and then i’d have lots of clean sweaters and knitting progress to show for it.

i use the washing machine to clean almost all of our woolens; we mostly have workaday knits in sturdy yarns and fabrics, so they stand up well to it. i use the hand wash cycle and good wool soap. it’s the best way i’ve found to clean our stuff efficiently and spinning them out in the machine makes them much easier to handle.

after i pull them from the wash, i give them a good shake , then lay them flat and reshape as needed (some need more, some need hardly any). the wrinkles in the fabric mostly shake out and/or disappear as they dry.

these are not all the sweaters i own; i had to leave a few dry ones behind so i’d have something to wear. those will get washed when these dry, i guess. notice any theme running through this group?

i’m boring—that’s what they say. maureen is right; i need some color in my sweater wardrobe. there’s nothing wrong with neutrals, of course, but where is the blue, the green? trust me, it is not upstairs with the dry sweaters. i do have two red ones, but that’s it for color.

ad of course, what do i want to knit next? a cardigan from a natural brown handspun yarn—like i don’t have one of those already. but wow, you should see this yarn . . it is aMAZing

this is an old photo from when i spun it two years ago, showing a variety of yarn weights. but i have enough for a sweater in the middle weight there, which is a nice soft DK. yup, i got my eye on that.

after that, i promise i’ll start using more color (i even have some old donegal tweed upstairs in colorway parrot—an all-time fave and i’ve never used it, why?).

i do have shots of each of these sweaters which i took while the sun was shining its last rays of the afternoon on them. i can show them to you tomorrow if you want—kinda like i did for david’s sweaters in the christmas post, only my own go back further than his (some of mine are 20 years old or more, whoa).

33 thoughts on “it’s a wash

  1. I don’t think I had seen a close-up of the Japanese Feather scarf stitch pattern before – wow, it’s quite unusual, and so pretty! Anne Marie has got a lovely scarf there!

  2. LOL at your sweaters – mine are just the opposite! I look at my sweaters and think, “Why don’t I have any neutrals? Why is everything lime green or hot pink? Where are the greys and the browns and the tans?” I’ve made a concerted effort this year to buy a few neutral sweaters, but I fell off the wagon today and bought orange. What can I say, it looked great with the color my hairdresser has determined should have been my natural color.

  3. Darlink,

    With your hair, blue or blue green would be fabulous for your next sweater….after the current amazing (hopefully kal). Liven it up!! Something to go with the apple green eyeglass frames you’re looking for. (Park Opticians in University Heights by John Carroll University.) I’ll go with you. M.

  4. I can understand the comment about color but I love your palette. I love the earth tones too and I think your sweater collection is stunning! 🙂

  5. Oooh nice yarns! I’m not fast enough to spin professionally, I’m SO slow. Love all those sweaters, I need to finish my tangled yoke, here it is just the weather for it…

  6. The Japanese scarf is beautiful! So delicate and airy. And I like your sweater collection very much 🙂

  7. Those sweaters are all gorgeous, but it’s true that some color would jazz them up a bit, and blues and greens look amazing on you! I understand the pull towards neutrals, though — if you’re going to do all that knitting, why not make it something that goes with everything, right? 😉 The yarns look gorgeous — I’m waiting for mine (almost went with burning bush, which I love, but decided on a different colorway…). Soon, soon…

  8. Oh, just such a beautiful piece. I really feel blocking is so critical and really a way to transform your knitting a 2nd time. First when you take string essentially and then knit a stitches in such a broad range of stitches from pattern to pattern, and you get an FO, which is just beautiful that you created it from string, then to block it, and see it transform again, is just the best satisfaction of all.

  9. I always read your blog since I found it earlier this year, and had great fun going through the sweaters you knit for David. You two seem to be incredibly well-matched as a couple. Don’t know how you accomplish so much, apparently keep a pretty spotless house, give lots of time to the garden and get along so well! He obviously does tons in the house/garden and to support you in what you want to do. I’m happy just reading about it. I think you are two very lucky people.

  10. Sweetie, You haven’t used the Parrot because then it would be ALL GONE!

    Makes no sense, I know – but that’s the same reason why the 15 skeins of red Noro Kureopatora still sits waiting here. It’s “old” Noro, what will I do when it’s gone? (sob) 🙂

  11. Oh, that lace scarf is pretty!

    I’d love to see more of your sweaters. I enjoyed the post on David’s very much.

  12. That lace pattern looks amazing! When you block lace, do you have any special tricks or techniques for inserting blocking wires into the edging? I’m never sure where to put them.

  13. Scrumptious lace, of course!!! And I love your sweaters!! I’m all for neutrals because they go with “everything” – just add a spectacular color with a shirt or a turtleneck to go underneath…very elegant in my book!!!
    Hoping to see your new sweater pattern soon….still hoping you publish your red one..:)

  14. I was so entranced by all the lovely cables in your sweaters that the colors seemed secondary, but I think they are beautiful and look wonderful together — a personal colorway.

  15. You know, the “lack” of colour never came to mind for me – my eye was just delighted by the shades and textures of all your sweaters…

  16. All right, that does it. I’m going to have to replace the japanese fan stole I gave to my daughter. I miss it just looking at that scarf!

  17. Wow. I have one sweater that’s pretty old fashioned for when I’m volunteering at Graue Mill and have to dress in costume. I have one sweater vest that I think I’m going to recycle because it’s a bit bulkier than I like. And I have one nearly finished “Hey Teach!” sweater, whose parts will be blocked tonight. Colors aside, very impressive sweater collection!

  18. Anne- Maybe because you use alot of color in your knitting, you tend to dress in neutrals. I have very boring clothes, plain shirts and jeans mostly. But I really enjoy working with color in my Fair Isles.


    …and I have some dark green with oatmeal flecked Donegal Tweed that I’m going to use soon because I love it.

  19. Not boring! Subtle nuances. The theme I saw first was cables, texture. After all, we can always add color with accessories, right? Not that there’s anything wrong with color – red is my favorite. I have a friend who says my knitting is boring because I like to knit in one color! No cables or lace for her, but that’s what keeps me interested. So if you’re happy with your sweater colors,that’s what matters. I think they’re gorgeous, by the way.

  20. Anne Marie! The lace is beautiful! I love, love love the color you chose. Please bring that back on Sunday.Now I want to knit lace…. um, Anne? I want that pattern ,too.
    And, Anne, your sweaters!! Oh, my. I think the colors are perfect for you. Now, I want to knit sweaters…um, Anne. I want those patterns , too.

    Um, Anne? How DO you keep up with everything you do. I’m sneaking down to your basement and look for the knitting faires.

  21. And here I am with two measly sweaters under my knitterly belt. Best get cracking!

    I’m working on a stole just now with the Japanese Feather pattern split in half along what will be the top and bottom borders. How wonderful to get a good look at how it will block out!

  22. Yes, do show more photos of the sweaters. I am particularly interested in seeing that light gold turtleneck at the far left of the photo. What is that pattern? It’s exactly the kind of sweater I love, and love to knit.

  23. I, too, was struck first by the textures before noticing the colors. While they may all be neutral, there is quite a bit of variety – i.e. they *could* all be grey! I especially love the top two pullovers on the left, well, those and the bottom left one, and oh, yeah the black one in the middle and…. And yes, yes, do show pictures of each beauty like the Christmas post of David’s.

  24. Oh! Which one of those sweaters is mine? Love them! The Japanese Feather and Fan is lovely. Hmmm. . .may have to snatch that pattern right up! Love the new yarns that people continue to fling at you!

  25. Gee, the first thing I noticed was how many have cables and they all have long fitted sleeves. Didn’t notice the colourway until I read your caption!

    I have mostly green sweaters, a few neutrals, and the blaze orange Aran cardi my grandmother knit for me in my 20’s, a truly beautiful sweater but I have naturally orange hair so didn’t wear it much until I moved to Montana and learned about hunting season!

  26. Oh Anne – so much wonderful stuff to comment on!
    The japanese feather pattern is amazing – truly. I’ll have to try that one some day. Right now I’m still doing my dance with Twinnings and loving it 🙂

    Isn’t Cheryl’s handspun fabulous! and her dyeing is great too. I am delighted that you are going to design something with it. lucky lucky you! I have a skein sitting here just begging me to knit it up. (soon, my precious)

    And lookey all those cabled sweaters. If you want color, I’m betting you’d look divine in deep burgundy.

  27. Yeah… I’m with the others who feel that that is NOT a boring collection of sweaters. The texture, the intricacy of the cablng, the stunning detail… no, definitely not boring.
    Although a hit of color wouldn’t hurt, I say… cable on!

  28. Those shots of the Japanese feather scarf are gorgeous! I had to log on to Ravelry and check out the different versions there 😀 Would you happen to know what yarn Anne marie used? It’s a lovely colour.

  29. All those handknit sweaters just give me shivers of delight and envy. Envy because I don’t live in a climate where I can wear them!

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