September 17, 2009

FO: Striped baby cardigan

Stripes cardigan
Tada! It turns out that I still knit, too!
Pattern: b14-27 Jacket from Drops

Yarn: Anny Blatt Baby Blatt
Needle: US2 addi circs
Mods: I added a color to the pattern so the stripes were alternating blue and purple. Since this caused ther eto be lots of floats across the edges I did a single crocheted edge.

This really is a clever pattern. I love the way that short rows are used to create the narrowing stripes, which also then creates the cardigan shaping.
Stripes cardigan
I am no not super pleased with how my crocheted edge turned out. It could be (and is fairly likely!) that I'm a crappy crocheter, but it looks messy and is way less elastic than I'd like it to be.

Stripes cardigan
But I'll deal.

I've had enough of garter stitch to last me a good three years or so, so don't expect this to be a repeat pattern! It took much longer than I anticipated and while the clever stripes were novel at first, by the end I was ready to stab my eyes out.

Out the door it goes! Let's see, that takes me down to (mumblemumble) WIPs. And my fingers are itching to cast on with my Silk Forest yarn so the number just might grow. Whatever happened to project monogamy?

September 16, 2009

Silken Forest

And she's done!

Silken Forest

I was aiming for a deep, deep, deep green with the subtle movement between a black green and a slightly warmer than forest green.

Silken Forest

Silken Forest

I'm delirious over these colors.
Silken Forest

So there she is. 410 yards of light fingering silk cashmere blend in a color I'd like to swim in for the rest of my life.
Pattern suggestions?

September 15, 2009

Silk step two

2 ply silk/cashmere

Plying this silk was so satisfying, and while it was hard to see all my mistakes as I learned to deal with this new fiber (especially in the first batch of singles) overall I'm pleased with the yarn. All 410 yards of it. It's between 15 and 19 wraps per inch and So! Freaking! Soft!!

Today: step three. Dyeing.

September 14, 2009

Silk spinning

You know the drill. Summer, distractions, etc. I'll just sheepishly (HA!) say sorry and pretend there wasn't an enormous lapse in blogging, mmkay?

So, to distract you from my distraction, here's a fibershot!
Last night I finished spinning singles from a cashmere and tussah silk blend I picked up at Rhinebeck last year. This stuff is pure luxury, and I felt entirely NOT up to the task of spinning it how it deserves to be spun. But I was determined to learn to spin non-wool fibers, and there's no way to learn to spin these luxurious fibers without, well, a learning curve. So. Off I went.

Silly as it sounds, at first I found it terrifying. I mean, it isn't like the silk was suddenly going to turn into a spider web with a giant Vilde-eating spider attached. But that's what I was feeling: terror. My good, old wool had become so comfortable to spin that I completely forgotten the feeling of being out of control of my fiber. And I swear this silk just wanted to jump out of my hands and dissolve into a million pieces. (all of which, by the way, would go right up my nose and start a sneezing fit.)

One challenge of this particular blend is the mix of staple lengths. The silk has a staple of around 7 inches, longer than any wool I've spun. The cashmere? Less than an inch. Finding a drafting technique that suited both of these fibers was my biggest challenge, and eventually I ended up with a super light gripped short forward draw.

Another challenge is the fluff/shine balance. Should I be smoothing down the cashmerey fluff as much as possible to let the shine of the silk come through? Or keep a light touch to give a halo to the yarn? I don't know! I ended up feeling lucky just to have relatively even singles on the bobbin, even if the fluff/shine balance is extremely UNeven.

By the end I felt confident in how I handled the fiber, but I'll withhold any declaration of success until after plying. There's time to screw this up yet!

The natural color of this blend is luuuuucious. Sort of a steely gray with caramel undertones. I love it, but I'll love the yarn even more after dyeing it and I'm curious to see what my colors look like on this new-to-me fiber. So tonight I ply, and maybe tomorrow I'll dye.

This all started as an experimental kick, but now that I'm ten hours into this spinning project I'd be lying if I didn't say I really really really want pretty yarn when I'm done with it. But I'll try my best to remember I'm a beginner, and keep this in mind as I poke my nose back into the "non-wool" box of fiber in my stash to see what new challenges await me.