Sunday, February 07, 2010

follow through

Thank you so much to everyone who bought one of my patterns in the past few weeks. Yesterday I sent $751, directly from those pattern sales, to Doctors Without Borders. I am continuing to donate through the month of February, as are many of the designers on Ravelry who started donating money from their January pattern sales. See my previous post for more details on how you can find these patterns.

And to follow up on stuff from a couple of posts ago, I have been doing a lot of knitting from handspun. I finished a couple of plain ribbed socks from handspun from two of my favorite fiber dyers. First up are the merino/silk socks, from fiber dyed by All Spun Up:

merino/silk socks

merino/silk socks

merino/silk socks

These are from fiber dyed by Hello Yarn. While I did a regular 3 ply for the above socks, these socks below were chain plied, with a regular 3 ply used for the heels, for added strength. They're superfine merino, and so soft.

dreamlike socks

dreamlike socks

dreamlike socks

I also finally finished the Cluaranach stole, designed by Anne Hanson. Anne is one of my favorite designers. Her lace is always interesting, and her other garments are always full of texture, and interesting to knit as well as to wear. She's really tops in my book, and lately I find myself knitting more and more of her designs. When I have some nice yarn without a pattern to go with it, her designs are among the first I look through for ideas. (I embarrass myself by gushing, but I really mean it.)

Cluaranach Mosaic

This is also a handspun yarn, from Red Stone Yarns batts. It's woolen spun, which means that it's a bit fuzzy and lofty, which is perfect for this stole. Unfortunately, that gave me problems when I was finishing the project. The stole is knit in two identical parts, and is supposed to be grafted seamlessly in the center. My yarn was too fuzzy to make that work well (it's really hard to graft with fuzzy, delicate yarn), so I ended up doing a three needle bindoff. It's not the perfect solution, but doesn't look bad at all. It's the kind of thing that a knitter would notice, but that looks so neat that nobody else would think twice about it, so I'm satisfied with the fix. And in the future, I'll remember to use a smoother and sturdier yarn in patterns that will require large scale grafting!

And, of course, how could I resist the call of the cormo?

more celtic icon

This is the Celtic Icon pattern, from Inspired Cable Knits. It's a sportweight cardigan, and just right for this handspun fleece-to-sweater project. The photo above is from the back of the sweater, and I've actually finished the back, the center panel of the hood, and half of the right front of the sweater since I took that photo. And now that I'm approaching the midway point of that big knitting project, I have been taking a little side trip with some pretty yarn and yet another Anne Hanson pattern. (A pair of socks, this time.)

I have some handspun that is ready to share, but I'll save it for next time, along with another handspun scarf that just needs to be washed and blocked before it's ready for its photos.

Based on comments and emails, many of the people who read my blog are spinners, or are people who hope to start spinning one day. There are a lot of things to learn about spinning, and one reason I enjoy it is that it's such a rich craft, full of opportunity to learn and improve. But one of the best pieces of advice I can give to a spinner or aspiring spinner is to knit with your handspun. (See, that follow through post title does mean something!) Knitting with your handspun is a really good way to become a better spinner, because you can't improve unless you know how you want to improve. Knitting with the stuff will tell you so much more about it than just looking at it and measuring it in various ways. Plus, it's lots of fun, and extremely gratifying.

If you're looking for inspiration, or just for a good way to pass the time, I will share my two favorite searches on Ravelry: handspun sweater projects and handspun sock projects. All good, all the time.


Blogger Unknown said...

That first pair of socks is *gorgeous.* I need to find the time to spin more sockweight.

And that blue sweater is looking totally droolworthy!

2/08/2010 10:03 AM  
Blogger NJStacie said...

Those socks are gorgeous! And it's so true about knitting with your handspun. I think it also improves knitting - so many people rely on ballbands for a needle size/gauge and knitting with handspun forces you to THINK about gauge and the finished fabric.

I'm off to check out those Ravelry searches :)

2/08/2010 12:03 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Wow - it's wonderful how much money you raised!

2/09/2010 8:01 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Lovely work. I read your blog just because I see your handspun from the start to the finished knit which I love. I am going to make a real effort to knit more of mine.

2/09/2010 11:33 AM  
Blogger Kathleen C. said...

The Cluaranach is beautiful! I really must keep working on the one I started... I just rarely seem to have the quiet time I need for lace.
And about knitting your hand spun... I finally have enough yardage spun of something to knit a small shawlette with it. I'm excited. Can't wait to use my own yarn!

2/24/2010 2:49 PM  
Blogger ~ Phyllis ~ said...

Beautiful knitting. Love your socks.

3/16/2010 3:48 PM  
Anonymous MJ said...

Hi there Rebekkah,

Please check your email regarding a pattern for Twist. Thanks very much!


3/21/2010 8:33 AM  

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