I’m currently designing this sweater… (well, I guess it’s only a sleeve and a half so far.. hardly qualifies as a sweater)… which is going to be pretty stripey all over.  It’s knit from recycled and hand-dyed merino yarn, and it’s at a pretty fine gauge, knit on US#3 (3mm) needles.  As the same needles are being used for gloves that I’m currently knitting, I have had to wait before getting back to the sweater.  Of course, I’m impatient, because who doesn’t love stockinette in the round with only stripes to distract one from cheesy TV?!  And I think the end product will be very wearable – that is if I ever finish it!!


So the apartment now has colour, and I have the most amazing space I’ve ever had in which to adore fibre of all kinds: my craft corner!! OK, it’s more like an alcove, … and lets face it, it basically takes up the entire dining room… but I am overjoyed, to say the least.

So I’ve also been making some stellar progress on the Lady Sweater – I’m done the body, and part-way done one of the arms. I’m VERY excited, as I intend to ACTUALLY FINISH this sweater, and that will make it my first! Hopefully my aran cardigan will follow soon after…

I’ve also been unravelling more thrift-store sweaters, and dyeing roving, and doing a bit of spinning.

The blues/greys roving is polwarth sliver that I got from birkeland bros. here in Vancouver, and hand-dyed using the hot pour method (stovetop). It felted very slightly (not as bad as I have done before, but still not great), so I think I’m going to go back to the oven-dyeing method, which I think is a little safer.

Here are a couple of yarn shots of some spinning tests I’ve done with this roving:

This is a design I’ve been working on, and has yet to be entirely perfected.

Further pictures and pattern to follow soon enough. The mittens are knit in a recycled merino that is very springy and lovely. I dyed it last year, when I was just first experimenting with dying, using food colouring. The colour is somewhat more faded and muted than my generally intense and saturated preferences, but I do like it.

The mittens are knitted very densely, so they will be quite warm, without being bulky. I think they will be very practical, and I’m very excited to perfect and complete them! Of course I was inspired by the mitten craze and the current Vogue Knitting, which features a bunch of mittens with cable designs.

At the same time, I’m progressing on my February Lady Sweater:

I’ve gotten to the stage where I’m bored of it, despite loving the colour, and the lace pattern. So now I just have to suck it up and continue, despite boredom. Of course that’s why I started designing the mittens!!

And as the weather has started to turn crisp and cool in Vancouver, I’ve also picked my aran sweater back up… but then the Lady Sweater kind of eclipsed the progress I was making… I guess I’m not so much about finishing things, if you hadn’t noticed already from looking at this blog!!

Another dorky and uninspired post title… unfortunately the naming mojo just rarely visits me.

Went home to Vancouver Island, my place of origin, and my parents graciously took me out on a spectacular sailing trip, and didn’t complain when I just knit and didn’t want to crank on winches much. The weather was SO much better than the weatherman had warned, and we went to Rebekah Spit on Quadra Island, and saw HUGE stinging jellyfish washed up on the beach, and ate well. It was a cool but sunny fall breeze when we sailed back on Sunday, and it only started to pour once we got back to the house!

Well the February Lady Sweater is coming along beautifully… But I’m kind of afraid I might run out of yarn prematurely…. What to do? The yarn is 100% cashmere that I recycled from a thrifted sweater, and painstakingly (yeah, it took 2 attempts) dyed into a very happy shade of blue. I do have another recycled cashmere that I could use with it, but no way could I match the colour… but maybe I’ll have enough after all that.

I’ve recently realized that I hadn’t gotten around to trying plying recycled yarns to create newly spun yarns. So I got out the spindle; and had a go.

I haven’t knit with this yet, so I’m not sure yet what the result will truly be, but it looks pretty successful and beautiful to me! Perhaps I over-plied it a little.

Next I will try a 4-ply cabled yarn, so that the twist that I add into the first ply will be balanced by the second plying.

I’ve also blocked the first part of my pillow cover project; a yellow lace medallion in bulky angora/wool recycled yarn.

In the kitchen, I cooked up some deep purple sock yarn… OK, I’ll admit it, this was not the colour I initially shot for… But when the teal which I’d lovingly coveted turned to dark green after I added the vinegar and the yellow dye really STRUCK, then I had to dump in other random bits of dye I had hanging around, and voila! purple. Not bad though!

I’ve also been to the thrift stores, and had some success;

  • Mohair/nylon sweater, which I over dyed to wear.
  • 100% lambswool LS sweater
  • 70% angora 30% nylon MEGA sweater in flourescent orange (AMAZING!!)
  • felted wool cable sweater, which I’ll make into a felted bag
  • 70% silk 30% nylon short sleeve sweater – very slinky yarn, which takes dye well
  • and last but not least, a 100% cashmere long-sleeve women’s sweater, in a purple I actually like!! This might have to be a vest? Or a hat+gloves set? Mmmmm something with cables? Maybe doubled up and bulky… Very exciting, that’s for sure!

70% silk / 30% nylon recycled yarn

The cushion covers I’ve had on my mind about have been started:

They are made of a recycled angora/wool bulky yarn which I’ve dyed to 3 colors; a bright yellow, light turquoise and dark blue.  They are going to be so very cushy and wonderful!! One problem, though, is I don’t think I’ll have enough yellow yarn to do both sides of a pillow… I have more of the turquoise and blue, however. I’m sure I’ll manage to improvise something, with the size of my stash being what it is….

I’m making up the design up as I go; working a square from the centre out by increasing at 4 points every round. I added a section of seed stitch, which is very attractive in a bulky yarn, and a *yo, P2tog* lacey insert, which creates a very nice little row of dense little ‘purls’, and I recommend trying! This one is almost finished now; a few more rounds and I’ll bind off and start the next. It’s very fast and satisfying knitting, as it grows so quickly!  It is very bulky, and I’m curious to see whether it changes a lot or not very much with blocking; because I seldom knit with this bulky of yarn.

On this spindles, I’ve got some new fibre; alpaca with a bit of wool, which I bought during a visit to Saltspring Island this last weekend, at lovely farm called Bullock Lake Farm. They raise sheep, angora goats (which produce mohair), alpacas, llamas, and have many other creatures. It was an lovely place to visit. I’ll get some pictures of the first bit of spun yarn up soon; it’ll be interesting to learn how best to spin the alpaca; and what kind of yarn best utilizes it’s qualities.

I’ve also gotten back to working on my handspun hat: (which has proved a bit vexing…)

After putting the project aside for some time, I had gotten to the point where I was ready to rip it back (it was too big… 😦 ), and so I did that on Friday night, and then started knitting on it again on the ferry over to Saltspring on Saturday. Then Sunday morning, I realized… &@#$^%!!! it was STILL too big. So I ripped again, farther back this time. I think there’s just something about the way I increased; every round, in 6 places… that makes it just balloon, even after I start knitting completely straight. But it IS beautiful, in the sort of way that kind of hurts your eyes with its clashiness!

Well I’m farther along now than is shown in the picture, and it STILL seems like it’ll be a bit too big, but there’s no way I’m going to rip it out again; if it doesn’t fit quite right when it’s finished, I’ll just felt it to size.

I feel like the last little while has been a very productive time for me, but I haven’t really taken many GREAT pictures; so I don’t have the ‘money’ shots which inspire me to blog! Regardless, I’ve been spinning very regularly, working with the polwarth fibre I dyed previously to blue/greens. This is the first ball of a fingering-weight 2-ply. I’ve finished spinning the last of the fibre into singles, and I’m almost done plying the second half. I think when I’m done I’ll have 300 yards… what will I do with it?!?

I’ve also started to try to learn to spin a bulkier single; which I’ve found surprisingly hard to get at all consistent. One problem is that the roving I’m trying to spin felted slightly in the dying process… MY fault!! I am also not used to the heavier spindle, which spins more slowly. Pics of that inconsistent bulkish yarn will eventually go up.

This hand-dyed, recycled bulky wool-angora is another result of my recent productivity. All told it is 5 skeins of nice, bulky, solid yarn, 722 yards. I’m moderately happy with the results of the dyeing, and I plan to start making cushion-covers for my couch with this yarn soon. It will be nice to have the instant gratification of knitting with bulky yarn for a change!!

Finally, I’ve saved the best for last (or maybe it’s not really the best?) Swatches. Of my birthday yarn, which I have already swooned over enough.

stockinette stitch

woven herringbone stitch

seeded or mock rib (top) / seed stitch (below)

mock honeycomb stitch

woven transverse herringbone stitch

daisy stitch