Handspun inspiration

The next round of samples is almost done, and I’m ready for a break. Between indie releases and commissions, I’ve been going pretty much non-stop since July, so I’ve promised myself at least two weeks away from sample knitting when these are out the door.

samples
Today’s project: redo the crown shaping on that hat.

Once these are off, I’ll need to spend a day or so digging the apartment out from under the mess that accumulates during a big work bender. After that, though, ohhhhh, yes. I’ve got more plans than could reasonably be accomplished: set up my workspace, finally; finish himself’s sweater, which has been a sleeve and a button band/collar away from done since April; get started on at least one of the sweaters I’ve been sketching and swatching for myself; finish my Circular Reasoning cowl before another winter’s come and gone; play Fallout 4 until my eyes bleed…it’s a very long list, and I won’t get to all of it, and I’m okay with that. The thing I’m most looking forward to, though (apart from exploring the post-nuclear wasteland), is getting re-acquainted with my spinning wheel. Continue reading

Crivens! Some actual spinning!

I’ve been sick as a pike, dearies, with a lovely head cold/flu thing that left me very tired and cranky, with the distinct impression that gnomes had come in the night and replaced my brain with soggy cotton batting. Too stupid to work, even on simple things, unless I wanted to go back and check every single detail later to make sure I hadn’t decided that 2+2=146 or done eleventy hours of knitting on needles that were .5mm too large. One thing I could do, though, was spin. I’d been working on the same spin since May 2015: ~330g of Southern Cross Fibre 60/40 Bond/silk in Vetinari, from last year’s Discworld MegaSAL. Continue reading

Fibre in the mountains

Well, SAFF was wonderful. Of course. I only tasted a bit of it, because I didn’t get it together to book classes and my non-fibre-obsessed friend had taken the weekend off for my visit, so I mostly wandered around on Friday and took everything in and got a feel for the thing. The thing, let me tell you, can be pretty overwhelming. A lot of the classes looked amazing, though: the schedule’s gone from the site now, but I remember seeing spinning instructors like Abby Franquemont and Judith MacKenzie, and a colour theory class with Franklin Habit, so that should give you some idea of the lineup. Fortunately, the fleece judging was open to all attendees, so I spent a very happy hour watching Judith MacKenzie walk us through many, many primitive breed fleeces.

Ms. MacKenzie lays down some knowledge about Jacob sheep.
Ms. MacKenzie lays down some knowledge about Jacob sheep.

Continue reading

Hybrid Vigour: Continuing Adventures in Socks

Some of you may remember the Great Handspun Sock Blowout of this past winter, in which my two pairs of handspun socks developed a cascade of failure points, resisting all attempts to save them from an untimely demise. At the time, I decided to rethink how I was spinning sock yarn, and relegated the yarn already spun to other projects. The one exception — a cabled Romney yarn — repaid my trust by becoming a sturdy (if somewhat fuzzy) pair of warm, comfortable, and durable socks. (So far. Knock on wood. With fingers crossed.)

These are exactly as cozy as they look.
These are exactly as cozy as they look.

(If you’re interested, the pattern is Kalajoki by Tiina Seppälä. It’s top-down, which I don’t normally do, but I fell in love with the waves down the leg and the rather ingenious anatomical toe.) Continue reading

The lazy Tour

The Tour de Fleece* has come around again, and I’m sort of participating, in a half-assed kind of way. There’s a lot going on Chez Cusser, including eleventy dozen shelves to finish and put up, a pile of designs to get out for the fall/winter season, and an ongoing search for ways to use the ridiculous amounts of fruit & veg I keep bringing home from the farmers market. (It’s as though I forget there are only two of us, and himself is not a huge consumer of produce. No matter how good and healthy it is, I cannot eat every fruit and vegetable produced within a 50 mile radius of this city, and I should probably stop trying.)

Given the general crush of things that need doing, and the fact that I’ve had enough stress in the last year without adding to it voluntarily, thank you, I’ve decided that this year will be the Tour de Slack. My sort-of-goal is to spin this Shetland top for a blanket.

Widdershin shetland for TdF 14 blanket spin
All the pretty colours.

Continue reading

Knit first, ask questions later…

…is the approach I went with for the next Christmas project, which is why there are two hats in this post. Always ask the parents, people. It’ll save you grief in the end.

A while back, a dear friend sent me some merino sliver, all the way from New Zealand, which spun up into a pretty, soft, red and pink yarn:

Touch Merino spun up

Now, I may not be a big fan of pink, but The Ever-Growing Niece loves it. Loooooooves it. Pink, pink, pink, the brighter the better. I knew who this yarn was going to. Continue reading

How can we learn if we don’t sometimes fail?

I’ve run into a problem.

holey socks

My first handspun socks, the product of the Great Shetland Experiment, are experiencing severe structural failure. Barely past their first birthday, these beloved objects are wearing out, and quickly. I darn, I patch, I try to save, but as soon as I do, new holes appear. The same thing is happening with another, newer pair, too. Since I made these socks from the yarn up, I’ve only myself to blame, so I’d better figure out what went wrong. Continue reading