Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Mission Continues

I've spent some time over the past week continuing my mission to learn to spin with a spindle and to practice dyeing up some roving. All of that focus on handspun got my fingers aching to finally knit up the lovely yarn that Anne spun for me oh so long ago.

I've had this gorgeous skein for ages now, but never seemed quite ready to knit it. Part of the reason is that I just loved looking at it and squeezing it in its skeined state. It's a little work of art just as it is! Or just as it was actually . . .

The other reason I hadn't cracked into this yarn yet is that I couldn't decide what to do with it. It kept crying out to me to become socks, but that just didn't seem grand enough for something so lovely and made with such care. In the end, I decided that it was best to listen to the cries of the yarn and allow it to become what it wants to be. These won't be socks that are squeezed into sneakers and mercilessly ground at the heels until they are worn and old. These will be socks that will glide onto warm pink feet fresh from a hot bubble bath. These will be socks that will pad along into the living room where they'll curl up with me for those rare evenings when a long stretch of indulgent and glorious relaxation while knitting and watching TV is on the agenda.

I also chose to make the socks pretty short in the cuff, since I'm pretty sure that I'll have enough leftover to perhaps whip out another small project. It's quite a hefty skein!

You can't see the stitch pattern terribly well in the photo, but I'll be sure to show you a modeled shot when they're done. I chose a simple lacy rib stitch that I think really strikes the right note for the handspun yarn.

For my own spindling adventures, I've moved on to my next attempt.

It's nothing to get too excited about, but I'm definitely making progress with my pyarn. (Side note: A few folks asked me what the heck this "pyarn" this is. That's just my name for my own handspun. The P is hard, as in "pleather" and the meaning is about the same. It's almost yarn, looks a bit like yarn, but is not quite worthy of the name yarn.)

I've got about 125 yards or so of this two-ply roughly light worsted to worsted weight in tones of heathery plum and gray. I'm thinking of whipping up a pair of fingerless mitts with this. It's still not really deserving of the time and effort to knit it up into something that will likely look quite a bit too handmade for my taste, if you know what I mean, but with the blood, sweater and tears that I've poured into my spindling attempts I feel compelled to see the pyarn through to its final destiny. (Okay. Perhaps there was no blood, but the sweat and tears aren't too far from the truth. I'm definitely not a natural at this spindling thing!)

I chose the colors for the fiber I dyed for that pyarn mostly based on a desire for something light enough to give me good visibility to the twist as a I spun. My next attempt will be with something dyed more along the lines of the style and colors that I enjoy so much.

This looks pretty messy in my hastily taken photo (no post-dyeing grooming and primping done, no pretty braiding), but you can see a bit of where I'm heading with the style of dyeing. I want to achieve lots of lovely variation of color but in a way that will spin with more subtlety than many of the more colorful rovings I've seen. I'm also leaning away from the use of undyed/white portions in the roving. As I learn a bit with my little spindling attempts, I can see the allure of that type of roving. The natural white sections provide lots of variation as they sometimes mesh and sometimes remain in tact as one spins. I can imagine that an experienced hand could also control how the colors mix and mingle quite well. The swirling colors with lights and darks mixed together is also great fun to watch emerge. But with that said, that's just not really my personal style. In the end, what is created is yarn (or, in my case, pyarn) which is meant to be knit and since my personal preference for knitting involves more detailed stitch patterns, I tend to gravitate toward more subtlety of color. I do plan to keep a good amount of variation of color in the roving, as you see in my first little sample here, and that will likely show up pretty strongly in the spun yarn (particularly if singles are plied together), but I'm not looking at this point to go for the really wildly varied shades that I so often see. They're very enticing and lovely and spin up into some gloriously beautiful yarn, but a gal has to follow her own voice and much as I admire that style of dyeing, it is not mine.

Well, I think I've rambled on enough for today. I'll leave you with this final note . . . Get ready for next week's big event: my Whisper of Spring Lace Club will be launching for signups! Here's one last reminder from the teaser photos I posted last week:

Everyone have a great day!


Tess said...

... they will be socks that pick up dog hair!
as I know from experience with my husband's felted slippers, and socks...
was great to see you last week, but forgot to ask (or didn't hear about in all the conversations) -- how's your puppy been doing?

Micki said...

Handspun yarn is meant to be knitted! And handspun, handknitted socks are something special.

You're making great progress with your spinning! Even yarns that look imperfect to your eye will look great once they're knitted up.

Dallas Schulze said...

The shawl is beautiful and so is the fiber you dyed. I hope you're considering adding fiber to your shop?

Your spindling looks really good. Careful - it's an addictive hobby. I went from a spindle to a wheel in barely a month, sucked right into a new hobby before I could stop myself.

Tiggywinkle Knits said...

So the spinning bug finally bit, eh? There are 3 or 4 of us who meet at Panera Bread on Cornell on Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 4 for spinning. Feel free to come join us; I'll give you some tips.

LookersMom said...

that gold tonal fiber is absolutely lovely!
looking forward to seeing more.

knitspot anne said...

oh, i'm SO happy you are finally using the blue yarn; i love those socks!
i think your spinning is coming along really well and i'm drooling over the newly-dyed orangey fiber.

Heather Whiting said...

I just purchased my first spindle - i'll be joining you too! (i'm pretty sure we'll be upgrading to wheels before summer...)

I love the roving you showed...I can't wait to see more...