After a busy December we finally had some quiet time in Abu Dhabi which allowed me to think ahead of the year to come. As I feel that big plans for where life may go this year are difficult to formulate at this point of time I am confident that I have a bit more control over what I would like to achieve in spinning, knitting and crocheting. I have come to the conclusion that I definitely want to work with the yarns and fibres on hand and not splurge into more shopping for a few more months. My first two projects on my needles are a pair of colourwork socks and a two-colour-brioche cowl.
The colourwork socks are a copy of Kerstin Balke’s Soxx No. 15 from her book SoxxBook by TOPP publishing. I am knitting 56 stitches on 2.25 mm needles and have modified the heel from a gusset to my boomerang heel and used the mustard yellow as a contrast instead of the petrol in the white rhombus. The yarn used is Lang Jawoll superwash composed of 75% virgin wool with 25% Nylon and a super-soft hand. This pair of socks came about when I was visiting a yarn store to buy some knitting needles for my mother and my dad pointed out the book and a sample of these socks. The colours spoke to me and a few minutes later I bought the mustard yellow, petrol and light blue. So much for not buying more yarn….:) I love knitting them and am happy I was tempted.
The cowl is the result of many weeks of deliberating how to show-cast the wonderful squishy-ness of four balls of Mondial BiolanaFine made of 100% organic wool created in Italy. I received the two balls of gray and beige each in August and had been dreaming about knitting with them for a while. Finally, I could use some larger needles again: a 3.25 mm and have a smaller item to finish which will take a month to accomplish. It took some trial and error to arrive at this pattern. I first tried a PurlSoho pattern for a big three-color and slip stitch cowl, but noticed during swatching that one of the stitch pattern didn’t feel as soft to the touch as I would have liked. With too much of purl stitches showing at the surface the yarn took on a scratchy feel and lost its soft squishy-ness. So, I went back to look for a two-tone brioche scarf or cowl and found the Tistou cowl by Nadege Dereppe, a free pattern on Ravelry. It is a bit more difficult than a plain brioche pattern, but a challenge that I was up to. Once I understood how to read and knit the brioche pattern, especially what counts as a stitch when knitting together two (it means a stitch and a stitch and its yarn-over=brioche stitch), it became a pleasure to work on. I adjusted the stitch count to 220 as I prefer a less wide cowl and I will probably double the height to use up most of the yarn. The resulting fabric has a great structure and wonderful softness to it.
My spinning goal was an easier one to set. I liked the “Spin the bin” challenge hosted by the Completely twisted and arbitrary (CTA) group on Ravelry.com in 2017 and decided to try it again for 2018. This time entering about 12 ounces more of fibre than last year and some plans for what I want to spin for. This challenge will tackle the majority of my current fibre stash and open up opportunity for replenishing it later this year. The first two braids of alpaca fibre (Alpaca named “McDreamy”) from a farm in Saanich (Vancouver Island, BC) named Inca Dinca Do. One became a sport- to DK-weight 2-ply of 210 m/100gm (S-spun singles and Z-plied) which will be knit into a Dean Street hat by Nina Machlin Dayton to replace a hat I had knit for my husband and lost 2 years ago.
The second 100 gm of alpaca will be spun into a 3-ply with no planned use as of now. Depending a bit on how thin and long I manage to draft the fibre.
Last year I had started to dye some fibre and yarn and decided to start the year with a dyeing session. I had hoped to work through 150-200 gm of fibre in roving and locks and 2 x 100 gm skeins of yarn. But after 4 hours of leaning over the table to mix and apply colour I was tired and my back ached. Three colourful braids and 45 gm of Polwarth locks were the result, but no yarn.
One of the braids will be added to my blue fibres in the Spin-the-Bin 2018 collection to achieve 400 gm of fibre and a sweater quantity’s worth. The red braid may become a pair of short socks if spun thin enough. It may be a big challenge with less than 50 gm of fibre.
The biggest planning challenge was my next crochet project. I guess after 18 months working and thinking about the flower poncho and finally finishing it just before 2017 year’s end there was a big emptiness. I just couldn’t come up with any ideas on what to crochet. I knew what I didn’t want: an household item or accessories. At last a blanket was my choice and preferably with the yarns I have around. Two gradient-colour sock yarns had been added last year with some thoughts of knitting a shawl or socks with them, but nothing materialized so far. Now, the un-dyed two skeins of white sock yarn came in handy as a contrast and joining colour since I decided to sign up for a facebook group 2018 Granny Squares CAL. This group posts a new granny square pattern for every day of the year and after thinking, this may be a little crazy to crochet a square a day, I became hooked and finished four squares (without blocking) yesterday. I know I will not keep up that pace, but felt I wanted to catch up with the 20 days I missed this month.
The squares turned out to be about 8 x 8 cm square without a border (2.5 mm hook) and before assembly. If each square after joining will measure 10 x 10 cm then about 200 will be needed for a 1 m x 2 m blanket. As I do not plan to crochet every pattern that will be a great number and an interesting blanket as a result.
Thank you, for your interest in my blog. Until next time, Maike