Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Time to Spin, Part 7: When spinning and knitting finally collide

Like many before me, I have a huge number of works-in-progress, both knitting and cross-stitch. The evidence is in the albums - if there's a WIP pic and no corresponding "finished" pic, then it's not finished. A couple of the knitting WIPs have been sitting for 2-3 years. Some of the XS has been sitting for nearly a decade, which I suppose puts it firmly into the category of UFO.

Spinning, on the other hand, is constantly in-progress. That's its nature. I don't consider any spinning to be a WIP, which probably helps explain why I find it so easy to start more spinning. Even once I spin a full batch of roving into singles, I don't necessarily have a plan for it. I spin because I like to spin, and I usually worry about what the yarn will become later - I might eventually ply it with something I spin up year from now. I probably won't have a spinning "finish" until I've completed a knitted thing with some of my handspun, and then it will be a knitting finish.

But even I occasionally find myself feeling goal-oriented, and I now have an actual project in mind for some handspun:

Batt of black superwash merino mixed with golden-brown tussah silk by Pat's Colours. Laceweight 15 gr. zebrawood spindle by Hound Designs, both found at The Purple Purl in Toronto.

I'm planning for this to become either a light shawl or another black shrug. I need a dark shrug for my sleeveless black concert dress that is lighter in weight than the Shimmer shrug, which is very dense and warm - great outdoors in the winter and fall, not so great in the spring and summer, and always sweltering under hot stage lights.

As for whether I make a shawl or a shrug (or, dare I suggest, both?), I'll have to wait to see how much yarn I get, how strong it is, if it needs to be plied instead of singles... who knows. I'm not worried about quantity: when I run out of the superwash merino/gold silk mix, I have this black alpaca with another batch of the same silk. I can mix them together to make more of this colourway:

I'll spin them both laceweight, so if I decide to ply, I'll ply each type of single together. I don't even know if it's going to be a crochet or knit project, to be honest. It all depends on how much I end up with in singles.

I made a trip up to Gemini Fibres yesterday, ostensibly to see what they had for weaving thread (for another group project which I don't think is secret anymore, but I should check first). But really, I just wanted to show a friend the marvel that is this little shop. Unsurprisingly, I came home with the Forrester turkish spindle that I've been coveting for months:

2.58 oz., wild cherry whorl and maple shaft

She also had a small batch of local Romni fleece. It's still in the grease, but I think it might have been washed once. It barely smells. At $18/kg, ($8.18/lb) I couldn't pass it up. It's just over a pound, total cost $11.80. And gorgeous. Look at that crimp!

Newer knitting WIPs on the needles:

My first foray into double knit. This will be a toque for Daniel. There is no pattern. But can I just say - double knitting hurts my hands. And it goes so slowly, I feel like I'm making no progress at all. But I can finish a hat, right?

And finally, a mystery project. Well, not too big a mystery, but just in case a particular someone stumbles upon it, I won't give away too much. On the needle is the beginning of yet another afghan square, with its siblings lined up behind it. This is a joint project with three other knitters and a crocheter. Each of the knitters has a colour and a certain number of squares to do, then the crocheter will put it all together (brave woman!).

Obviously, I am doing the orange squares. This is number 10 of 10. The Bernat Satin acrylic has been a nice change from wool, despite the honking bright orangeness of it all. I might do one of the other colours as well, since I'm nearly finished with these. There will be a finished pic when the whole thing is done, or once the cat's out of the bag, whichever comes first.

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