Staying Home & Crafting

We’ve been back in the PNW for about a month, and I’ve been keeping my hands busy the whole time. I’ve finished a few things and have one long-term WIP (Work In Progress) to share.

Spinning

When I pulled my wheel out of storage, I started off by giving it a good wipe-down with lemon oil and oiling the usual spots. Then I spun up the remaining bobbin of black alpaca that I’d begun last fall, and then did a 3-ply of Romney and Merino. It was really enjoyable to pull out the Valkyrie Extra-Fines and comb up pink and yellow Romney locks from deep stash (some of the first fiber that I’d dyed, back in 2017!) and some Merino that I’d dyed with dahlia flowers. After I finished those skeins, I spun the rest of the 100-gram bags of each color of Romney into singles for weaving and wound them off the spinning bobbins onto storage bobbins.

And then I moved on to cotton. . .

Hipstrings cotton, Macarons colorway

The cotton shown above is some that I’d started last spring. I bought 4 ounces (two braids) of the Macarons colorway from Hipstrings. Back then, I stripped out the braids into to two color groups: yellows/greens/browns and blues/purples/whites. I’m now spinning the blues/purples/whites group, and have just finished the first of two bobbins for a two-ply yarn. I’m intending to weave with this yarn, but won’t know what I’ll make until I know the finished yardage of the cotton yarn. The colors are so rich and striking – I’m looking forward to making something really great with this cotton.

Weaving

More weaving is happening, too. This spring I acquired a 25″ rigid heddle loom with a stand & am having a good bit of fun learning my way around it. Here you see my first warp: hemp warp with cotton weft. I pulled out some handspun cotton and cotton/linen blend from stash and had a go at plain weave, soumak (the gold stripe in the bottom left image, above), and leno (the open weave in the bottom right image, above). More playing to come, certainly, as I have a lot to learn. But for now, we have washcloths! (And they are so nice to use – just lovely!)

Next up: a long fringed scarf in alpaca.

Knitting

Back in February, I finished the Shifty Cowl. The first go-round on the pattern, I was reading the pattern on my phone & really bunged it up. I frogged the whole thing and knit it again, after having the pattern printed at a local print shop (I was in Oaxaca at the time & don’t have a printer at home there). The second time through, it was easy sailing & I finished the project in just a couple of weeks. (My Ravelry page on this project shows the full time to make the project.) It’s squishy, soft and warm. Nice around my neck – and there’s still some cool weather here to allow me to wear it once and a while!

The Winemaker’s Waistcoat finally has its zipper. But, blocked and finished, its too big in the waist and lower chest measurement for either one of us to wear. I can either alter (by cutting and sewing) it to take it in at the sides, minus the armholes, which fit fine, or give it away. I will be thinking on this for a bit. It’s a certain topic of discussion at my house, especially as it’s on blocking mats on the great room floor.

An update on my sole long-term WIP: the mitered square blanket is still going along – I haven’t abandoned it yet. This spring I found myself with no new cast-ons (!!) and worked on the blanket for a few weeks, diligently knitting a few blocks each day. One of my Ravelry friends ELFed me with a bag full of sock yarn min-skeins – enough for a pair of “Monster Socks“, but I saw them as a colorful infusion into my blanket. Apparently, there are some mini skeins of quvuit and cashmere in that bag, too: she included a hand-written tag noting them (but not saying which skeins were which), and when I hand-wound all the skeins before knitting them, I could feel the difference. Oh. My. I’m making sure to include them in the blanket – if only for the “lovey” petting value!

Oh, and the socks. You know how sometimes a pattern name just clicks – and you have to knit it? This is one of them for me: Water for the Elephants. The pattern name reminded me of the movie, which I loved, and I just had to knit the pattern. I’ve just finished the left sock, and have cast on the right. Really loving this pattern.

I’m knitting the socks in handspun (what else?) – the main color is a BFL-silk blend that was dyed by The Homestead Hobbyist last year as part of a Sweets Off the Wheel (a Ravelry forum group) SAL (spin-along). This is the Arachne colorway, which was inspired by a photo that I found online and contributed to the Greek SAL. So, yeah, of course I bought the fiber and spun it up into a luscious chain ply. The light colored yarn in this sock is a Southdown-Mohair blend from Sincere Sheep that I just love. It spun like butter and it’s like knitting clouds. Yum!

Spring is on its way to the Homestead – the bumblebees are happy with the dandelions, the salmonberries are starting to bloom, and the birds are in full song.

Must be time to go play in the dirt!!

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