I realized that as far as y’all know, I haven’t knit anything since, um, wow, last October! But I have indeed been knitting since then. For those of you who don’t really care so much about the knitting, I recommend just skimming down to the bottom where there are cute cat pictures. Most of this post will be boring if you are the sort of person who has never been so in love with a ball of yarn that you wanted to eat it. If you are curious about any of the pictures, they can all be clicked on for larger images.
First off, my sister brought some yarn with her all the way back from her trip to Italy, and it as the most scrumptiously soft yarn you have ever felt. It’s by Filatura di Crosi, and I’m afraid it’s discontinued. It definitely needed to be a scarf, so that is what it is.
I really like how it turned out to go around my neck really narrow, almost like a choker and then have a bunch of drapey folds in the front, but it turned out like that totally by accident. When I started it, I started it way too wide, and realized I was going to have a very small baby blanket rather than a scarf. A very wise woman at my knitting group suggested that, instead of having to frog the whole thing and start over, that I just decrease a bunch. I had only two skeins of the yarn, and it’s discontinued, so I decreased a bunch and went until my first skein was gone. I decreed that to be the halfway point, and used the second skein to increase back up. It created a pretty funny-looking flared end on both sides of the scarf which look really funny laid flat, but I like the way it looks on.
From there, I decided to tackle a felted slipper pattern that Jane had given me almost a year ago. I had enough handspun wool from Lupine, Kathy’s sheep, to make 10 slippers (or so I thought). I finished one of them (highlighted over on The Dailey’s Weekly back in March), but was almost out of wool and had to wait for an emergency shipment of more wool from Kathy before I could spin enough to make the second slipper. (Turns out it takes a LOT of yarn to make a felted slipper. When I made the first one, I just couldn’t believe that the instructions were right. The finished slipper, before felting, was big enough for three or four feet.) But anyway, I finished them both up finally, and Preston seems to like them. They look like Bigfoot Feet to me, and if I ever make another pair, I will try to felt claws on the front 🙂
It felt (haha!) really good to have completed a whole project using all yarn I had handspun myself, so I decided to tackle a project where I had to actually spin the yarn to a particular dimension with a particular project in mind. All the spinning I’d done before was just learning how it all worked and spinning the fiber to whatever dimension it seemed easiest to do. This time I decided that I wanted to make a beautiful and elegant scarf for a friend of ours. I knew she wanted something in red, and I wanted to be able to do a lacy pattern, so I looked around online and in some books and found a classic lace pattern called “Crest of the Wave” in a book I got from the library. (Sorry I don’t remember the book.) I spun up two slightly different shades of red, about an ounce each, and spun them as thin as I could. Then I plied the two shades together, and at a two-ply, it came out to be heavier than lace-weight yarn, but definitely lighter than worsted-weight. The red shading was very subtle but added some dimension to the color. I used #9 needles to knit up a scarf for my friend. She loved it. I think I could have blocked it more severely to open up the lace a little more.
Somewhere along the path, I think while I was working on the slippers, I discovered that I can knit and read at the same time! According to Elizabeth Zimmerman (who I am totally in love with and want to marry…her motto was “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.”), anyone who can read aloud can also knit and read at the same time, since both involve reading a few words, or sometimes a few sentences, ahead of the words that you’re actually understanding, sort of like the function on CD players that keeps them from skipping. I’m not yet good enough to do it on patterns, but I can work just a basic knit in the round while reading. And just in the knick of time, I came across the pattern for a Kitty Pi. (Based on a design by Elizabeth Zimmerman, called the Pi Shawl, and based on the concept that as a circle’s radius doubles, it’s circumference does as well.)
So I spun up a bunch more of Lupine’s wool (same stuff as Preston’s slippers) and made up a kitty pi for Pavarotti. Magoo already has a little Magic Carpet, the one and only weaving project I ever finished (and by “finished” I mean I got it 2/3 done, and then took it off the loom and tied off the extra warp ends and called them “fringe”). So I thought Pavi should have his very own place to nap. The kitty pi is designed without a top crust, but I thought Pavi’s should wrap over the top a little, since he is a burrowing animal. This was another felted project, so I made it huge and felted it down. I learned an important lesson about felting different wools. The Lupine wool was washed either by Kathy herself or by the small mill she sent it to be turned into roving. The creamy white merino that I used for half the top of the pi was processed by some large commercial facility. I think the Lupine wool still has a fair amount of oil in it, and it takes a lot longer to felt than the commercially processed white stuff. So I ended up with a lot less creamy white topping than I intended, since it felted a lot faster than the main body. Even though Magoo already has the Magic Carpet, she immediately knew that this was a fancy upgrade and moved right in.
Pavi also likes it, but he thinks it is better suited as a place to hide toys and then pounce on them when they are least expecting it.
Preston also loves the kitty pi and he wants to know how long it would take me to knit up a 6 foot one. I think this might take more wool than Lupine has to offer, so Preston made due with pretending that it was a kangaroo pouch and taking Little Roo (aka Pavi) on the hippity-hop tour of the whole house.
Pavi thinks bad attention is better than no attention, so he didn’t mind the tour.
And finally, we come to the most recent project, which is a Knitting Mystery. Preston couldn’t have a 6 Foot Preston Pi, but I agreed to make him a hat instead. He picked out colors from the yarns I had, and I used the same pattern I had used last year to make my favorite hat. I guess I must have finished it sometime during my blogging hiatus, because there’s no picture up, so you will have to trust me that this is a very fine hat. So I embarked upon the second one, using the blue and yellow yarn Preston had picked out. I followed the directions just as I did the first time. When the hat was done, and I cast off the circular needles, it seemed unnecessarily big. Rather then re-knit it, Preston suggested the we just felt it down a little, since it was all wool. Brilliant! So we dropped it in the washer, where the most peculiar thing happened. It turned into a kitty pi!
I often say that I don’t know what happened when I just don’t want to admit to a stupid mistake, but in this case, I really don’t know what happened. I made exactly the same pattern 6 months ago, and it turned into a hat. Very peculiar. I re-checked the pattern, but there weren’t any decreases that I missed or anything. I’ll take it with me to my knitting group on Monday and see if any of them can explain it to me.