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Go Ask Alice (or not…)

March 27, 2006
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St Enda is photographable this week. For the first day or so I stuck with it just because I didn’t know what else to do with myself, but the combination of the yarn and the pattern grew on me and now I’m quite convinced. I just hope I can get some good progress made before it gets warm and I feel more like working on my totally neglected silk Flower Basket.

The Bluefaced Leicester has a lovely sheen to it, and the fabric is coming out drapey and elastic. I’m knitting this on size 7 needles, because once upon a time I made a project out of this yarn using size 8 (which is the size recommended on the ball band) and it was too loose. Nice sweater, but it bagged a little.

The yarn is a true sage green – the photos make it look a little blue but it’s a nice saturated sage. I had knitted about 1 1/2 chart repeats when I took the photo. It’s about 3 1/2 chart repeats to the front neckline (actually, it’s supposed to be 4 1/2, but why would a 64 inch tall person want to make a 25 inch long sweater this heavy??). Sometime before I get there, I have to decide whether I’m smart enough to try what Janine is doing with her version of ‘Fern’ – doing shoulder shaping on a saddle shoulder sweater. I like saddle shoulders but don’t like all the bulk so I would really like to do it but I just don’t think I’ve got the brain cells to figure out where to start the underarm shaping. We’ll see if she convinces me.

The pattern is from Aran Knitting by a (formerly) famous Scottish designer. As I was starting this, I thought how this was the first St*rm*re design I have knitted in quite some time. I can’t exactly recall the last one I made. Then I thought – goodness, this designer seems to have become an ex-designer. I don’t believe she’s designed anything this DECADE. When I think how much conversation her work used to stir, and how whole yahoo groups were formed to talk about her designs, which she then tried to have shut down because we discussed yarn substitutions and maybe occasionally (gasp) shared an out-of-print pattern…. and now she seems like just one of many designers whose stuff I like, and not a current or prolific one either. Now, Elsebeth Lavold, there’s someone who’s current and prolific. (Anyone else excited about her new book?) It almost makes me want to say, Gee too bad about Alice, she used to be great.

Here is Latvian sock number one, minus a toe.

It’s minus a toe because I’ve pushed myself on the yarn yardage and want to see how far I get with the other sock before I go farther on this one. They may end up with bright blue toes out of Patons Kroy. The pattern calls for one 350-yard skein of Satakieli and size 0 needles. I have one skein of Lisa’s Sock! which is 488 yards, and size 0 needles. Wouldn’t that make you a little cocky?? I gave myself one additional repeat of the 10-row lace pattern on the leg. Then after turning the heel I weighed the yarn left in the ball. 2.6 ounces. Eek! I knitted the foot then stopped when I got to the toe shaping. 2.2 ounces. Hm. So I am going to knit the second sock, probably in a state of nervous tension that I will run out before I get to the toe shaping. Why do I keep doing this to myself on socks? I love tall socks but is it really worth it?

Continuing my Year of the Sock Yarn, I got two hanks of Lisa’s wonderful Merino Sock! on Saturday.

What gorgeous yarn – what a luster! That’s Shade Garden on the left and St Valentine on the right. I have so much wonderful sock yarn waiting to be knitted, I hardly know where to begin.

Saturday afternoon I took my wheel apart and put it back together. It had been acting cranky and I decided to do what some folks had been suggesting all along, and just break it down and rebuild it. I got out my Kromski video and all my tools and lubricants and set to work. About 45 minutes later it was back together and seemed much happier (although I have to say I still have not figured out how to be sure I have the wheel and flyer lined up the way they’re supposed to be).

For some reason, I bypassed all the wonderful color in my fiber stash, and started spinning this.

It’s a pound of tussah silk that I bought 2 1/2 years ago from an eBay seller that I think was called Spinsters Cottage, when I had been a spinner for less than 4 months. What was I thinking?? At the time, I spindled up a little hank of it, which was quite a learning experience, but ended up producing quite a pretty yarn.

This is about half an ounce, sort of a DK weight. I’m keeping it beside the wheel to remind me what I’m after. So I am reacquainting myself with spinning from the fold, trying consciously to make a single that’s a bit thicker than what I’ve been spinning lately, and it’s actually going quite well. I hope I’ll have a skein to look at next weekend. I’m thinking some kind of summer shell, if I get the yardage. Anybody have any thoughts on spinning pure silk? It sometimes feels like I’m pulling taffy if I let the twist go too far up. For something slippery it sure seems to hold together well! I think I’m putting a moderate amount of twist in it, I don’t really have much idea whether I should spin silk high twist or low twist, I’m just winging it. We’ll see!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mel permalink
    March 27, 2006 3:57 pm

    I hope it doesn’t get too got too fast there because St. Enda looks gorgeous in the BFL. Your silk skein has incredible luster.

  2. Sam permalink
    March 27, 2006 7:04 pm

    Caro, the St. Enda is just beautiful in that color. That’s going to be one you’ll love wearing! The silk is gorgeous, too. I still have the bump of that stuff that I bought – time to dig it out, methinks!

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