Sunday, August 5, 2018

Slow summer making

I’ve been working on stuff, but somehow feel there isn’t much to show for my making. Yet if you take the long view, there certainly is.

First off, my Blackbird Shawl has been on hiatus as I await the right time to take the next step. Step one of this shawl is to knit a giant rectangle with sock yarn and mohair held double. That is what I have so far, a huge piece of beautiful fabric that measures 57.5 x 18.25”:20180805_073500

I blocked it to tame the curling stockinette edges just a bit, but it still wants to roll. You can see how gorgeous the drape is. This will be warm and cozy when the temperatures drop, but summer weather has not enticed me to pile it in my lap and begin step two. Step two involves picking up hundreds of stitches along the long edges of the rectangle and working a band in stranded colorwork. The kit I bought had black, white, and red yarns for this band, but I’ll swap out the red (at least) for something else. It would be striking but not work so well with my wardrobe.20180506_161431

Another long-term project that doesn’t seem to progress much (even though it has) is processing the fleeces I bought at MDSW this year. Once I worked out the technique for washing fleece in the kitchen sink, I zoomed through quite a few batches. Each batch is only about 1/2 a pound, though, so it is definitely an iterative process. I’m still not done, but I paused my process to thoroughly tidy and clean the living room prior to a party. In doing so, I moved all the fleece (clean and dirty) to cotton pillowcases for storage. It’s better than the plastic bags they came in:20180805_075522

I use rubber bands at the top, and I label each bag with a tag so I know what’s in there:20180805_075533

My mother is a prolific and talented quilter, and she went on a “novelty pillowcase” jag when the kids were younger. Who knew these would be perfect for fleece storage?!??

Yesterday I felt a strong pull from my wheel. Normally I spin projects monogamously and don’t switch bobbins and settings in the middle of a project. The only thing on the wheel was a bit of Tamarind (the chocolate brown fleece) I sampled with during my experiments with fleece washing. I felt I should decide between beginning to spin Tamarind in earnest, or setting that aside and working with something else. In the end, I got out my hand cards and started making up some rolags out of clean Tamarind:20180804_171112

I hope to start spinning these today, and I also hope that I’ll get much better at hand carding as a result of this project.

My most long-term project is the I Love Leftovers sock yarn blanket. I’m still seaming and currently have 12 rows (out of 16 total) stitched together. This is something I can only do at my dining table – it is getting really big!20180727_075214 I’m starting to think about what finishing steps will be needed after the main seaming is completed. I definitely want to put a border on (because two of the four edges won’t have black on them). Is that border just a giant garter strip? Do I knit it on, or work it separately and seam it on (this could result in a more stable edge)? I thought about doing an applied garter stitch edging (like on this shawl), which would be fun and could be done using only dpns… but I think I might want something more stable at the edges. If you have ideas, holla.

And finally --- in the midst of all these large, long-term projects, quick projects are especially alluring. So when someone admired my large potholders last weekend (made with the Potholder PRO loom from Harrisville Designs), I leapt into action and made two gifts. This one will be going to Shannon:20180730_072959

Shannon’s potholder is made from colors in the “brights” bag of loops, which I had on hand thanks to a thoughtful Christmas gift from my boys. For Shelly’s potholder, I wanted more shades of pink and orange… so I ordered some other loops from the “designer” and “pastel” lines. I also got a color card, which will be helpful in the future:20180805_075116

I found an Etsy vendor (AcornsAndTwigs) that sells small quantities of loops by color, so I was able to get reasonable amounts of just the colors I wanted. Here’s a nighttime progress shot:20180803_081548

…and here’s the finished potholder in the light of day!20180805_075056

I just love the PRO size potholders. They are made on a 10” loom and result in an 8” potholder. These are so much more useful in our kitchen than the traditional size, which are made on a 7” loom and result in a 6” potholder. They are thick and sturdy, and when you spill spaghetti sauce on them (as you inevitably will), you throw them in the washing machine and they come out great.

And you can’t beat them for a quick crafting fix.

1 comment:

  1. I do enjoy seeing all of your projects, but the potholder loom just makes my fingers itch to start on a potholder or two. My next month or so is really busy, but I'm picturing myself happily making potholders in October!