Monday, 14 April 2014

A study in orange

I discovered when I was about seventeen that I'm able to wear orange well. It's a strange colour, orange - people either love it or hate it. I happen to love it, so being able to wear it makes me very happy.

Consequently, my stash features a lot of this delightful hue. I'm working on a delicious orange shawl at the moment (in cobweb-weight Posh), but I've mostly been playing with orange handspun recently.

I decided to do some experimenting with a braid of bamboo/merino that I bought at the first Knit Nation. I had never tried spinning bamboo before, nor did I particularly have any desire to. However, it was literally the only orange fiber I was able to find in the entire marketplace. It's been sitting in my stash ever since while I decided what to do with it. I was taken with the urge to master singles yarn, so out came the orange. It was horrifically compacted. Not felted, which was good, but it took me most of an hour to fluff it out enough to spin. And once I'd unbraided it, I discovered that the bamboo wasn't blended in very well. In fact, it was almost possible to just pluck it out entirely. I didn't, of course, but I ended up with rather barber-poled yarn.

Merino/bamboo singles

I'm happy with it overall. It's pretty, and I managed to have it not be wiry. I like very tightly spun and plied yarns for the most part, so it was difficult to keep the twist to a minimum. 250-odd yards, 105g. Once it came off the wheel I fulled it slightly with alternating hot and cold baths, and then beat it on the side of the bath.

After that, I dug some older orange handspun out of the stash. This was from some batts I won on Ravelry. It's very soft and fluffy, but I had no idea what to do with it until Heraldic Friend pointed out that I'd never made anything for her daughter, who happens to be my niece in the SCA. This was an appalling state of affairs, so I resolved to make something for my lady Makeblise immediately.

The result of this was a pixie hat. It'll be a bit big for her right now (it's nearly big enough for me), but I was determined that she'd not outgrow it in less time than it took to make.

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Big hat, little hat

Two more recently-finished projects, both using up some leftover yarn. First, I crocheted myself a snood.
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It used up every last scrap of this yarn, which was excellent. I bought it before I really figured out my yarn preferences, and this really didn't match up. Still, it's gone now and I have a perfectly serviceable snood. Crochet is DEFINITELY not medieval, but hair cauls/snoods/hairnets definitely are. I really don't feel like taking up netting, but I needed an alternative to loose-and-flowing-Lady-of-Shalott or all-the-plaits-Princess-Leia. I'm hoping this will do for things like hanging out in kitchens and doing archery. Up and medieval-esque, but nowhere that anyone's going to be looking too closely.

I tried wearing it to work the day after I finished it. It worked pretty well, but the wool was a bit too slippery on my fine hair to stay put, even with the drawstring. (Elastic is a step too far, even for grubbing in the kitchen!) So I'll need to figure out an arrangement of hairpins to keep it in place all day. Still, it was comfortable, and I got compliments on it from my trendy colleague, which is promising.

After that, it was another gift for a small person, this time a little boy who was born at the beginning of March. I was concerned that it would be too small, but it fit him perfectly. :)

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Yarn left over from my sister-in-law's birthday hat

Friday, 28 March 2014

One of those years

There is a bumper crop of babies expected this year. Seems like I can't turn around for the announcements! Consequently, there will be periodic digressions into the small and obscenely cute. Case in point:



These will be winging their way to Canada in the near future to warm the wee toes of a long-awaited small person. Now I just need to decide on a hat or more booties for the next project...

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

What's this?

Is that...?

It can't be.

Can that really be handspun?



Good lord. I believe it is.

Yes, my kittens, I have finally finished a spinning project in 2014. This is my most recent "spin on a spindle while at SCA events" project. I was definitely working on it at Raglan last summer, and I'm pretty sure I started it well before that. Let's say I've been working on it, on and off, for the best part of a year. High time it was finished, in other words.

As is my usual practice with event spinning, I divided a braid of fiber into rough thirds, spun each of them on a spindle, wound off onto a wheel bobbin, and then 3-plied until one of the bobbins ran out. The smaller skein is the chain-plied leftovers from the two fuller bobbins. Given that the smaller skein is also a full quarter of the fiber, I'm thinking I should start dividing with the aid of my scales instead of eyeballing it.

Monday, 17 March 2014

A trio of finished projects

My sister-in-law made it onto the knitworthy list a while back, so when she asked me to make her a red hat to go with the mitts I made her for Christmas a couple of years ago, I was more than happy to oblige. Especially since it meant I didn't then need to figure out what to give her for her birthday!



After that, it was time to finish a couple of gifts for some SCA friends. The first was this pair of socks for a friend who looked after me at an event last summer.



Finally, we spent the weekend visiting friends. I made these as a hostess gift. A little unusual, perhaps, but she liked them!


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Keeping warm


Back when I was an undergraduate, I spent a lot of time hanging out with goths. (Not Goths.) My mother, awesome person that she is, made me a floor-length black wool hooded cloak, complete with lavender satin lining. It was the Coolest Thing Ever.

Fast forward mumblety-mumble years and I'm still wearing that cloak to SCA events despite the lining, because hey, it's warm, and you mostly can't see the lining if it's wrapped around me properly. Replacing it with something a little more appropriate has been on the agenda for a while now, but there have always been other projects that took priority.

Last weekend I was tidying up my stash, because fiber falling on one's head is annoying if not actually dangerous. In the process I found some fur. Rabbit fur, to be precise, sewn together to look like vair. And as it happens, there are three blankets of the stuff. I'd been toying with the idea of turning them into a fur-lined cloak, but never gotten around to buying fabric.

Then I had a brainwave. I could disassemble the Coolest Cloak Ever and repurpose the wool into a new, improved, Even Cooler Cloak, No Really It Is. Goodness knows there's enough wool there. I could even sew up the wee holes from bonfire sparks and moths. It'll go well with the apron-dress, and perhaps it'll keep me from freezing at a future tournament!

Now, where did I put that seam ripper...

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Finished objects!

Having just finished my third project for the year, it occurred to me that perhaps I ought to post about them. Crazy, right? So, in order of finishing:

Garters for the Viscount. There came a point before the tournament where I realized that I could finish the handkerchief well or on time, but not both. Consequently, I made him a pair of garters to wear as a favour in the meantime.


PLAID! More than two yards of it, in fact. It would have been about a foot longer, but one of the warp threads frayed and was threatening to snap. I was so close to the end of the warp that it didn't really seem worth the effort of fixing it, so I cut it free and called it good. I'm really, really pleased with how this turned out. Admittedly one of the selvedges is a bit wonky, but I know exactly why and can fix it. (Turns out that putting paper in between the layers of warp to maintain even tension is REALLY IMPORTANT.)


Finally, a knuckle sandwich.

I mean, a pair of hobo gloves for my mother! :D The main part is the leftovers from the cardigan I knit for wee Ned more than a year ago now. I used every scrap I had left, and then knit the cuffs in some mystery yarn I received in a swap. It's hand-dyed and very soft and wool. Apart from that, no idea. For the record, both shades of yarn are a very orangey red/scarlet, not pink in the slightest.