31 October 2006

Handspun

Krista was entirely right about handspun. I get it now. It's dangerously fun to knit with.



Hubbster said this sock feels like "cream" on his foot. Given the extreme affection he feels for anything made out of cream, this is strong praise indeed. I used plain (commercial-spun) brown alpaca for the bottoms so I could make the handpun stretch to two full-size socks, and also because I couldn't stand the idea of that handsun touching the floor. The alpaca matches astonishingly well, and is easily replaced (I have loads more leftovers from that particular sweater). I also like the idea that the part of the sock that's on the floor has the excessive warmth of alpaca, while the rest is the more reasonable wool. The gorgeous way the handspun shifts from more brown here to more white there was really fun to watch as I knitted it up, and the texture is delicious.



The second one is just waiting for a finished sole.

Meanwhile, it occured to me that the burgundy handspun from Krista would be perfect for my first foray into the Red Scarf Project. I really like the idea behind this charity, and it's one of the ones where I really do see how my knitting something can help as much as cash or some other more practical or direct effort. And I LOVE that the student who receives this scarf will be getting not only my handknitting, but it will be knitted from yarn spun by Krista, and a wheel given to her by someone else still. I'll definitely attach a little card to the scarf explaining its generation.



Here's the start of it. To make it long enough and to ensure that it wouldn't be ruined if accidentally thrown into a washing machine, I added a second ball of Katia "bufalo" yarn, which is a machine-washable nylon ribbon yarn that has the texture of suede. The colors are a wonderful match and the play of textures has me fascinated enough to even be enjoying the garter stitch! I'm going to knit this piece until it's square, then turn it, log-cabin style, to knit from one side for most of the length of the scarf, then turn again at the end to make another square attached at the same 90 degree angle on the other end of the scarf. I got that idea from another scarf shown on the Red Scarf Project blog, though I'm doing mine slightly differently.

My plan is to make this, and hopefully more red scarves, my subway-knitting project from now until January, when it's time to send off the scarves. I have temporarily stopped reading on the subway because I don't dare get into a good book (will make working on diss very hard) and can't concentrate on work-related books. So it'll be great to have a constant, on-going, easy travel project.

Those of you who looked closely at the above picture will have noted a small tragedy I suffered lately. One of my favorite plastic straight needles broke. I loved using these purple needles with red tops for warshcloth knitting (it really made that PnC sing!), so I'm very sad now. :-( Although it's just as well to switch to circs for all future subway scarf knitting, since the cramping I incurred as a result of crushing my elbows to my side to keep the straight needles from hitting people was more than a little annoying. The tip that snapped off the needle rolled away to the far end of the car and is thus lost forever. *sniffle*.

In other news, I finished the second slipper for my MIL (I consider them finished even though they're not felted, because I'm going to felt them there, in Georgia, over xmas). There's no pic because it looks just like the first one (which is a good thing of course). Will start the pair for my FIL soon. Will not be tempted away by handspun. Will wait to be tempted away by handspun until the second pair of slippers is done, at least. Thank goodness both in-laws have relatively small feet. Anyway - the patterns. Most of you are familiar with the felted clogs(scroll down) by Bev Galeskas, available in a one-off pattern from Fiber Trends. The slippers I'm making for the in-laws are also by Bev Galeskas and are basically put together on the same principles as the clogs, but are shaped slightly differently. The patterns are in her book; I'm making the ballet slippers for my MIL, and the moccasins for my FIL. I'd made ballet slippers before for my grandma (but forgot to photograph them, along with the first pair of clogs I made), and they came out great. I haven't tried the moccasin-style slippers yet, but the look seemed just right for my FIL (that picture I linked to above makes them look rather awful, but I couldn't find a better picture, much less one from the actual book, where they look very pretty indeed). Also, since I plan to make still more clogs one of these days for myself and Hubbster, I just had to do something a little different with these. I use Paton's Classic Wool, as I've been doing for almost all my felting, because it's easy for me to get and I'm now very familiar with how it felts. I'm going to make mine and Hubbster's clogs out of wacky-striped leftovers, because I have TONS leftover. The yarn requirements for the Galeskas patterns are very generously calculated in my experience. Which is also a very good thing - I covet leftovers.

Actually, is it just me who feels this way about yarn leftovers? I wonder. Somehow, a whole package of yarn that's enough for a project can inspire some mixed feelings in me. Sure, I'm totally excited about the project(s) I might make out of it, and it's beautiful, and I love having enough. But, I also feel a wee bit guilty about each set of yarn that's enough for a whole project, but which is just sitting there instead of becoming a project. It seems to be calling to me, and more than a little disappointed in me for neglecting it. Leftovers, on the other hand, are what they are. They're content. Just as beautiful as the yarn was in a whole bag, the lone ball or ball and a half sits quietly, without expectations, taking up little space. Yet...its potential is infinite. Where a bag of yarn can really only become a sweater, and where two hanks of 190-yd sock yarn must be made into socks, not defiled by sneaking parts out of it for other purposes, a stray partial ball of sweater or sock yarn can become a part of any kind of knitted object whatsoever. The tiniest bits of yarn can be stranded or plied together, tied into a magic-ball, or possibly needle-felted. Made into pom-poms. Trim. Random bands of color on otherwise dull garments. I feel completely free to turn leftovers into anything I want, no matter how frivolous, silly, or unlikely to turn out well. There are no potential bad consequences, because this yarn was waste to begin with. It's like making something out of nothing.

Not that I actually do much of this. Most of my leftovers are still sitting in the closet, or, in the case of the really small leftovers, in my cool big triangle-shaped clear glass jar. Somehow, it makes me feel secure and warm and happy, knowing they're there, waiting to be turned into...anything.

Back to regularly scheduled programming for the day: work. Work, work, work. Yes, siree.

8 comments:

Marianne said...

I just love those felted clogs, a lady at my knitnight had some with her, I'm completely charmed. I can hardly wait to get the holiday knitting finished so I can make a couple of things for mememememe. I also like those leftovers, I never throw them out, although I do bag up the ends I trim and put them out in a basket for the birds and squirrels for nesting material which come to think of it, I need to go do that...for their winter nests.

The Purloined Letter said...

I love the idea of the not only handknitted but handspun red scarf for the project! Beautiful thought. I hope it will be appreciated!

Krista McCurdy said...

Those projects look great! And I love the sentiment of the red scarf.

Kirsten said...

Sorry to hear about your needle! It's awful to break a beloved tool!
Your husband must love those socks! They look amazingly soft and yummy!

Specs said...

I like the leftovers, too. And recently I washed out a tomato sauce jar just so I can store them somewhere that isn't the bottom of my yarn bin.

And your husband knows what it feels like to have cream on his feet? Eeeeew.

Brena said...

I also love leftovers, even if they're never actually used. Sometimes I like to just stare at them, knowing that the rest of the bag was turned from balls of string into a wearable/playable/carryable object that I love more than anything I could buy.

hege said...

Those are some great socks! You know, I also have a lot of mixed feelings about the new balls of yarn. I think they are so pretty in their own right, that I am sad to see them go! :) I plan on making a sweater at some point with lots of cheerful stripes from lots of different leftovers.

Judy said...

Delurking to say hello and to offer you what encouragement I can regarding your dissertation (did one myself and survived).

And LOVE the knitting.