Friday, October 26, 2007

Last Friday in October

And here we are, at the last weekend of the month. October went quickly.

This weekend is the big Halloween party weekend. Some interesting logistics have been required. We are busy tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night, and all day Sunday, sometimes with different people going in different directions at the same time. Not all of the events are Halloween events.

Usually, we get dreadful weather for Halloween, the party weekend, or both. I'm not sure what will happen this year. We might get some snow tonight and tomorrow, but nothing major (in theory). So far, Wednesday night looks pretty good.

Here is a picture of some pretty yarn. In my last post, I wrote about the virtues of spot-dyeing. The above photo is an example.

I call it "sherbet yarn" because the colors of the roving looked a lot like orange and lime sherbet. A friend and I used cheerful spring-like shades of yellow, green, and orange. We left plenty of white. I don't remember what kind of roving we used, but I suspect it's generic Brown Sheep white roving.

We used our usual method for this kind of stuff. We mixed up dyestocks. We soaked the roving in a mixture of water and vinegar, then gently squeezed out most of the liquid. We placed the roving on a piece of plastic wrap. Then, we dribbled dye all over the roving. We rolled the plastic wrap over the roving, then steamed it for a half hour or so. We use a large canning kettle for steaming, with a steamer basket or rack set above some steaming water.

The dyed roving made us smile. I spun it up and self-plied it, and you can see the results.

As usual, I don't have all that much of the yarn, maybe 200-250 yards and 2 ounces of each. I have no idea what I'll do with it. For now, I take it out when I'm in the mood to look at something cheerful.

I think that warm shades of yellow and green are under-rated, too.


I am almost done with the Lacy Cables shawl that I started in September. I am ready to be done with it. I decided to make it one repeat shorter than the initial pattern calls for. That's actually one of the variations recommended in the pattern. My reason? I don't want to have to ball up another skein of the yarn. I'm pretty sure I can finish with the ball of yarn I'm using now. If I am mistaken, then I'll go ahead and add that last repeat.

I'm hoping to have photos of the unblocked and blocked shawl by next week.

It's been a fun pattern to knit. I like the combination of lace and cables. I like the way the cables cause the columns of lace to undulate. The rhythm of the pattern made for pleasant knitting. I like my handspun yarn, and I like the way it interacts with the stitch patterns.

I am somewhat dubious about the utility of the shawl. What will I do with a lacy rectangular item that is about 1 foot wide by 5 feet long? It's not really a scarf. It's not really a shawl. I suppose it's closest to a stole. But I do not live the stole-wearing lifestyle.

Some of that is my own fault -- I chose a darker colored, variegated yarn. It may be a bit too informal for the pattern. If I make it again, I'd probably choose a more formal-looking yarn, something that's white or a solid color. And yet, I do like the way the yarn looks with the pattern.

I'll have about 450-500 yards of yarn left, and I'll have used about 650-700 yards. This means that I'll have yet another small batch of yarn in the stash, not quite enough for a major project.

My current plans for the leftovers are to self-ply them and then use them in a stranded-color pattern such as a hat or mittens. But who knows what I'll really end up doing.

I'm having fun dreaming of the next shawl. There are several possibilities. The most likely one is a doily pattern adaptation. I've seen a few different versions of the doily, shown on the right. It's composed of 2 or more square motifs that are joined and then edged with more lace. This particular photo shows a 1x2, but I've seen 2x2 and 2x3. It's pretty in all its incarnations. Yes, it's probably a Niebling design.

I'm going to take a single motif and do only 2 pattern repeats, to end up with a half-square triangle shawl. I thought about doing it as a square. However, I only have about 1000 yards of yarn in the batch I'm thinking of using. A half-square triangle is more likely to fit with that quantity. It'll end up being about 130-140 rows of knitting. That's a bit bigger than the Hyrna Herborgar shawl.

I'll add a narrow garter stitch border for the top edge. It's possible that the half-square adaptation won't look very good. In that case, it's on to Plan B. I'll gather enough yarn to do one full square someday, but won't worry about it for now.

I think this design looks great as a half-square triangle, as a square, and as a multi-motif rectangle. I could do it as a doily, but I think it would look good upsized to a shawl.

There are a few other candidates for The Next Shawl, any of which could be my Plan B if necessary. One is another doily, a circular pattern that is about 120 rounds and has flowers and leaves on a hex-mesh background. The same batch of 1000 yards of yarn would work well for it. Another possibility is a diamond-motif idea I've been wanting to play with. I'm also interested in doing another shawl from the Icelandic lace book, or a Shetland hap shawl using small batches of handspun for color stripes, plus several more ideas.

The yarn is from Robin and Russ Handweavers, a long-ago purchase. It's white, some kind of blend. I can't remember if it's wool/silk or silk/mohair, but something like that.

Although I dream and make plans about my next project, I am often seduced by some totally different pattern without any warning. So don't be too suprised if this shawl idea never gets mentioned again, and I start rambling about some totally different project next time.


My other projects are progressing. The scarf is past the halfway point. It's good for productive fidgeting in public. I do like the way it looks. It should be a warm and attractive bit of neckwear when it's finished. It has satisfied any garter stitch cravings I might have unknowingly been suffering from. I'm ready to be done with it.

The Azalea doily is slowly chugging along, too. I'm finding it quite tedious to knit. I'm in the third set of petals. Will I bug out after this set is done, or will I find the fortitude to go all the way to the fourth set of petals and round 62? I probably will get to round 62, but it will take a while. Snooze city. I'm definitely not going to do this pattern as a lap afghan. I bet it will be lovely, though. Kinzel's patterns usually are.

The other stuff is still progressing, but I don't feel like writing about any of them.

I am finding it somewhat stressful to have so many projects going on at once. Usually, I have one main project and one smaller project, with occasional quickies in the middle. I might actually finish my sweater before starting another shawl in order to relieve this mild anxiety.

As you may be able to tell, I'm also suffering from a multi- mid-project malaise. I'm sure that will dissipate once I finish something.

I am thinking about doing some braiding and kumihimo posts. I'll need to be organized, though. I want to take a series of photos of the braiding process. We shall see.

(It took a couple of tries to get Blogger to upload my photos. I wonder what's going on?)

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