Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I finished knitting the second Gatsby sleeve! Torture by twisty yarn. Trying to decide what to do about all that lanolin. Wash and block? Or just block and keep the lanolin? No photo because it looks just like the first. At least, I hope it does.

Started spinning up the Northern Mist roving from Belfast Mini Mills. It's 1/3 each of quiviut, alpaca, merino. I was saving it for when I'm a little more experienced, but I figured the alpaca and merino would give it a longer staple and make it easier. It did.

17: Northern Mist (quiviut/alpaca/merino)

It spins up pretty easily, feels nice in the hands, and the yarn on the spindle is so pettable. I spun with enough twist to make a 2-ply and maybe a nice (small) lace scarf will come out of it.


In the comments, Jane says:
Gorgeous blog! And, you have a real eye for colour. The scene on your opening page looks so much like the Annapolis Valley near my home in Nova Scotia. Where are you other than virtually?

Thanks so much! I've always thought of myself as color impaired. Only in the last year or so have I gone boldly where I have been too chicken to go before: mixing colors and yarns in unspecified ways, letting my instinct guide me. My first steps were to buy handdyed yarns that I love - colors are already there, just have to make something with it. I slowly started mixing yarns and colors here and there. I have a ways to go before I'm truly comfortable with it, but it is exciting. Unlike you! You're VERY comfortable with colors and playing. It's inspirational.

The photo was taken on Prince Edward Island on our honeymoon. We didn't make it to the Annapolis Valley this run but hope to take another trip out that way soon. We LOVED PEI. Love love LOVED it. This photo though, we were driving from Charlottetown to the Belfast Mini Mills, and stopped to check the air. Behind the gas stand was that gorgeous view. When I was putting together my blog, I thought of the colors I love. Whenever I see handdyed yarns (or any yarns, for that matter) I always go for the reds and the blues. Always. Then I thought of this photo. Perfect.

Hubby and I live in Holliston, MA, about an hour's drive to Boston (durned traffic). Nice and quiet, lots of trees and breathing room.

I went a little crazy this year and bought a LOT of Danette Taylor's handdyed yarns. The problem has been figuring out what to make with it all.

I had some silk-merino and nylon eyelash in similar bright not-me colors, so I thought I'd play and see what I could come up with. Here's the result (back and front):

Silky Soft Confection - unblocked

I call it Silky Soft Confection, and it is VERY silky soft. It's a modified version of the usual fan and wave (or whatever it's called). I had twice as much silk-merino yardage-wise, and I also didn't want the silk-merino to get lost in the nylon eyelash 'cuz then what would be the point of using silk-merino? Plus I wanted to maintain a little textural interest but also keep it subtle. And, wanted to maximize number of knit rows (vs purl). 

I'm happy with how it turned out overall. The only thing bothering me and keeping this from being a FO is the bind-off edge. See at the center of the picture, how it looks kinda ... flat and straight? And at the top and bottom of the picture, it's nice and wavy?

I was thinking of undoing the cast on edge, picking up the stitches and then binding off so they'd match. But then they'd both be ... flat and straight. Not the effect I want. Will a good blocking take care of this?

Gatsby Pullover Sleeve

In other news, I finished the first sleeve of the Gatsby Pullover:

Gatsby Pullover - finished sleeve!

And may I say, Wow, what a pain.

It was the whole yarn twisting thing. I mickey moused a setup that allowed the cone to rotate and therefore introduce less twist in the unwinding, but it hardly helped. It's the cone itself. Too much twist. I can totally see why I lost interest in this project.

Worse, I'm thinking the fabric created by this yarn and this needle size is a good deal heavier than the yarn used in the pattern. I'm worried about the ease factor. (And, I think the sleeve may be a bit too long. And I knit 1/2" less than the pattern called for, too.)

Meanwhile, I started the second sleeve and am around where I was when I lost interest last time. Which means I have a whole sleeve to go. Lovely.

My Birthday Scarf

Last, I leave you with a photo of My Birthday Scarf. This was my birthday gift to myself this year: 2 skeins of sport weight cashmere handdyed by, you guessed it, Danette Taylor. This is the Calypso colorway. I loves it. The colors are great and the yarn is soooo soft. Even for cashmere. The 2x2 rib, while interesting enough the first 12" or so, is now, well, not so interesting. I add a few rows here and there when I can (stand to) and hope to be done before it gets really cold.

My Birthday Scarf - in progress My Birthday Scarf - closeup

Is it just me, or have they always had so many creepy movies and horror-related shows for so many days before Halloween??? I know my memory is for crap. I'm hoping it's just the whole weekend before that makes it seem especially insane. Maybe the commercials for Hulk every 10 minutes have done me in (how many times can you hear that too catchy tune "monster! monster! monster!" without turning green and going Hulk?). Maybe I've just been spending too much time in front of the TV.

The kids are a-prowl. Scott says he heard them. Nothing against the kids, they're so cute dressed up and all, but man, our house looks dressed up for fright night. Cobwebs, leaves, general disarray. And then there's the outside. Plus we don't have any candy. I was looking around the kitchen today, thinking, "hmm, Ritz crackers... maybe these unopened Tic Tacs... ooh, we could give them ramen, we got lots of that..." I mean, in case our scary unlit exterior doesn't scare them off.

If you want to see cute and devotion, look at Alison's Thing 1 and 2 outfits. Aren't they the cutest?

Gatsby Pullover

On the knitting front, my project and stash guilt are ever growing, so I flipped through my project notebook to see what I could close up. (I'm also trying to counter startitis brought on by newly acquired stash 1 and stash 2.) I settled on the Gatsby Pullover from Interweave Knits Spring 2003. Front and back are done, just need to do 2 sleeves and the usual finishing. Yarn is Donegal Tweed in light grey on a cone; it has some lanolin, which I'm not crazy about in general, and also working off the cone introduces lots of unnecessary twist, which I have to fix every few rows. The latter is probably why I dropped the project, since it does knit reasonably fast and with enough interest from the shaping.

Gatsby Pullover - yarn

Grrr, that twisty twisty yarn... but it's so purty knit up. First sleeve is about a third done.

Gatsby Pullover - sleeve

I ran into a knot, pretty near an edge. We had talked about spit splicing at Knitsmiths that night, so I decided to do a non-spit spit splice. Worked nicely.