New Year, New Decade, New Projects

Several small projects were done since my last post – mostly socks and mitts, from the look of things below. I needed a little space between big projects and these kept me knitting while I was spinning the yarn needed for the next garment project.

The Cloudburst Mitts were knitted from some light grey Southdown & Mohair yarn that I spun last summer. I bought the fiber from Sincere Sheep in California & and spun it woolen to enhance the character of the Southdown fiber. I love the feel of the fiber and resultant yarn – light, poofy, very cozy on the hands.

The work socks were a quick, textured knit made from a Shetland and rayon blend that I’d purchased some time ago. The Shetland was processed and dyed by a Willamette Valley farm. I purchased it at Black Sheep Fiber Emporium before they closed their store in Hillsboro last year. The socks are “rustic” (read: a bit scratchy) and will be perfect for pairing with my garden clogs for tromping around outside this spring.

The lovely rust brown and white socks down below were knitted for B from “leftovers” – yarns remaining from the Winemaker’s Waistcoat that I knitted earlier in the year. The brownish yarn is a blend of two plies of Shetland/BFL/flax/silk (if I remember right) and one ply of Jacob. The Jacob is from cousin Robin’s farm, her ewe “Polly”. The white yarn is 100% Cormo. The yarns are soft and strong – a really nice combination. I will be sewing leather soles to the bottom of these socks so that B can wear them at Casa Norte without our rough tiles eating holes through the yarn.

The Haunui blend yarn shown, plus more spun, was destined for a Barcelona Tee for me. This yarn is a 3-ply comprised of one ply natural green cotton, one ply bamboo, and one ply of New Zealand Half-Bred wool (“Haunui”), dyed by Katy at Heavenly Wools (and here at her Etsy shop) in Oxford, New Zealand. These yarns were spun and plied on the Nano wheel.

While knitting, I alternated skeins using the Helical Knitting method created by Elizabeth Zimmerman and recently re-popularized by Grace O’Neill. You can see Grace’s tutorial video here. This is largely how the smooth blending of colors was achieved in the knitted piece. The really wonderful thing about the Helical Knitting technique is that in the finished piece it is very difficult to see where the yarns are joined in – much different than the “jog” you get when using the more traditional joining methods.

The only modification I made to the pattern was to knit the ribbing in 1×1 twisted rib rather than the plain rib called for. I felt that the twisted rib gave a more elegant finish than the plain rib & I really like the result.

The finished sweater is soft & squishy – just right for “cool” Oaxaca winter evenings. (Um, yeah: 65 or 70 degrees?)

Planning projects for the coming year, I’m strongly considering the following:

  • A Shift cowl (pattern by Andrea Mowry) using the Monet’s Summer Haystacks yarns I spun last fall, plus some additional “leftover” yarns.
Monet’s Summer Haystacks Yarn
  • More work with non-reversible double knitting. I worked through a sample of Nathan Taylor’s (“Sockmatician“) “Reinvention” cap and am learning a new skill. Not just two-color double knitting, but non-reversible double knitting, which has differing patterns on the right and wrong sides! Really requires focus and attention, but so fun!
Inset shows the inside of the cap!
  • More weaving! I need to finish the beach chair webbing, then I really want to warp up the loom and weave a rug or two. Between now and the end of February, I’m thinking about colors and weave styles. I’ll be using a cotton seine twine for the warp and handspun singles for the weft. I’ve got that ridiculous amount of coarse wool from the freebie fleece that I got at Latimer last year – while I was combing it, I was thinking then that it would be good mostly for rug yarn. I see yarn dyeing happening next summer. . . .
  • If I get to it, I also want to weave some kitchen towels for our new apartment in Oaxaca. We’ll be taking possession of a two-bedroom rental in the same building we’re in now at the end of February, so we’re busily planning and buying furniture & “stuff” for it. We are renting year-round, but with the intent of being here 4 to 6 months out of the year during the winter months. But the thing is, we’re starting from scratch in kitting out the new apartment – kinda makes us feel like newlyweds!

    By the way, the color scheme in general is Southwestern colors: turquoise/teal, rust, and cream, with a little light yellow and orange thrown in for fun. White walls and smooth tile floors – what a canvas!

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