Purple Mohair/Silk Triangle; Creme de Menthe Scarf

Some recent finished objects with handspun yarn, and one in progress.

1. Triangle, bottom up, improvised variant on “Falling Leaves” lace, bounded by criscrossed diamonds. The yarn: I blended mohair, tussah silk, and a dash of the horrible-looking orange and black firestar nylon, and that is this 2-ply yarn.



http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=mohair-silk-triangle

2. Sampler scarf, including lots of fudging! The goal: fit various lace patterns into bounded diamonds while using up the yarn, which I’ve been meaning to do something with for 2 years now. It’s a cashmere/tussah silk/merino 2-ply yarn, and the scarf, knitted on size 2 US needles, came to about 6 feet long.


http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=creme-de-menthe-scarf

3. Again with the using up stuff I spun a while ago, this yarn was dated 1/4/2004, and is a L:ouet camel/tussah blend that gave me because he rules.

What is blocking?

What is blocking?

It’s when you stretch your completed object out or finish it in one of various ways in order to make it stay a given size and shape. The shawl I’ve been knitting on, here:

will not be that size or shape exactly when it’s done, and the pattern will really pop out once it’s blocked. As it is right now, you can’t really see the pattern — it’s very muddy looking.

Once the shawl’s complete, I’ll wash it (because I also want the mohair to bloom) by hand in cool water, and then roll it up in a towel and squeeze it till it’s only damp. While it’s damp, I will spread it out someplace big enough, tug it here and there to be make the pattern show and line up and so the whole object is the right size, and then pin it, weight it, or lightly go over it with a not-so-hot iron to make it steam a bit. Once it dries, it’s set in place like that (until it gets soaking wet again, of course).

Before blocking:

After blocking:

Before:

After:

I’ve promised detailed blocking pictures for the next project to be blocked. 😉

Articles That Irk Me Somehow

A selection of the kind of article I’m talking about, that definitely does heighten the profile of the fiber arts, but about which I have mixed feelings. I have seen links to these in some cases, but to collect a selection I just went to google news, put in “knitting,” and poof, all the same sort of articles crop up. I’ve been reading these articles for a few years now, in every local paper everywhere I go, in webzines, all over the place.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/fashion/thursdaystyles/19spinning.html

Unlike their colonial counterparts, whose clothing often depended on what was spun at home, many of today’s spinners are not concerned about turning their handiwork into fabric. Nor are they claiming to follow in the footsteps of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who spun every day to persuade Indian villagers to renounce imported textiles and resume making their own cloth.

Many spinners say they have no intention of making anything at all. They churn out skeins of wool, cotton or more exotic fibers like alpaca or camel, and pile up skeins, in their varied colors and textures, for display. Or they give them away to friends and relatives. It is the calming, rhythmic and even meditative effects of spinning that have won many people over.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/01/16/Business/Wrapped_up_in_knit.shtml

Today’s bulky threads and bigger needles mean fewer stitches and less time. They also hide mistakes, which are obscured under embellishments.

“You don’t have to be really bright and know all the fancy stitches to make something beautiful anymore,” said Terry Schuster, a former JCrew and Urban Outfitters executive who took up knitting last year after moving to Tampa. “You just knit a pattern and the yarn does the work.”

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/0112cobbizfea.html

“Knitting has definitely become the hip thing to do,” said Dana Lerner. “The yarns are so cool these days. You can make these gorgeous one-of-a-kind things. … It’s a timeless tradition that’s become new again.”

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-orspinners1206jan12,0,2161853.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-orange

“It was a very spiritual thing. All of that fiber went through my hands the whole time I was spinning and knitting,” O’Donnell, 46, said. “A part of me was in that shawl by the time I was done.”

Spinning, which dates back thousands of years, has been performed primarily by women, Colcord said.

Men, meanwhile, traditionally took on the more elevated roles of knitting and weaving.

On the way home from work last night, Chad and I were talking about this whole trend, and I commented that these articles seem to always interview these people who say the exact same things. “Well,” said Chad, “I mean, they make good copy, and all the people who’ve been involved with textiles forever aren’t going to say that kind of stuff.” I snorted. “Yeah, that’s a point — I mean can you imagine if they called up, oh, Alden Amos, and he said ‘Oh, it just makes me feel so connected to my ancestors to make spinning wheels — it’s so spiritually fulfilling!'” I don’t know Mr. Amos personally mind you, but from the things of his I’ve read, I don’t see that happening.

So, then I got to thinking — what would I say? What would YOU say? If I were going to write an article about this resurgence… well perhaps I should. But I’m also curious: how do y’all react to these articles and quotes?

Denim-Look Mohair Silk Sweater!

From ages and ages ago, I had this yarn that I strongly felt should be a sweater, a sweater I even wanted, but which I had no desire at all to knit. A friend of mine kindly offered to knit it for me. We sat down together, talked it through, took measurements, and she designed and knit me a sweater. But, then she decided she didn’t really feel satisfied with how it came out, so she redid it! And now I have it.

Original post a bit about the yarn, which is a mohair and silk:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/spinningfiber/183539.html

Photo gallery: http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=denim-mosilk

My designated knitter, who’s been knitting longer than I’ve been alive, says she really enjoyed the yarn, and — as I hoped would be true — it didn’t shed, it was possible to frog the entire sweater, it was pleasant to work with, and it has bloomed in the garment finishing process and should bloom a little more still. All in all I’m pleased. 😉