Monday, November 30, 2009

Going Down The Woad

Hello! Yes, I’m back from 4 days of having T-Man around. Not his fault that I haven’t posted really – but I’ve/we’ve been busy. Especially since the weather was pretty nice…ok, not raining…on Thursday and Friday. We went for a long walk Thursday (and – surprise - I bought some magazines and a book!) and on Friday we worked in the garden. Still not finished putting the veggie garden to rights yet not to mention the rest of the flower/dye beds, but it’s coming along. My back and arm muscles have been protesting mightily ever since so I didn’t join T in raking leaves out front yesterday. Instead I finished up the closet cleaning in my study and got everything put away so now that room is done for the time being. Feels good to check something off the never-ending list. Next candidate for my cleaning urge is the studio. Two more bookcases and a whole lot o’yarn to sort.

T also had an adventure yesterday afternoon. My sister from Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) called with a request that he pick up 3 little puppies from the airport and take them to the Vancouver SPCA for her. D (aka Blondie, but she hates it when I call her that!) is The SPCA for QCI and they have run out of placements for these poor little critters so a small local airline donates the trip to bring them down here where the population is so much greater and there is a much better chance of finding them good homes. Her regular pick-up person was unavailable so this was a one-time thing. Now T just has to take the carry cage back out to the airport so they can return it for the next critter delivery.

I think I’ve mentioned sometime in a past blog post how I once helped D send a baby seal down to the Vancouver Aquarium for rehab and release. And this is just one of her 3 jobs: SPCA, Parks Canada and Guest House host (this last with her husband). It’s a pretty remote place so whatever ways one can manage to keep body and soul together, one takes ‘em. Unfortunately her DH has been pretty ill lately with coronary artery disease (much to-ing and fro-ing to civilisation for tests and stent operations) and she has had to do most of his jobs too along with her own. Plus they have a young teenager. Yikes! Too much on her plate these days methinks. Hope things improve for them soon.

I finished the Candy Legwarmers for Princess Pink and hopefully will be able to photograph them later so I can blog another FO. And then of course I started something new! I had a skein of bulky wool left from my woad workshop:

Wool_woad…and quelle horreur! T is sadly without a wooly cap. He has a handsome leather Barmah that he wears but it’s not appropriate for things like raking leaves. He also has a Tilley but it’s not warm enough for winter and neither hat keeps his ears warm. So I’m making him Clara Parkes’ “Hill Country Hat” (Ravelry link) which, although I don’t own her Knitter’s Book of Wool, has been excerpted and offered free from Interweave (PDF link). This is a great pattern: starts from the top, intuitive to follow, doesn’t use much yarn, easy and quick to make. I just started last evening and I’m nearly done! Only mods I made were an Emily Ocker Cast-On and shifting down a needle size for the ribbing. Now I know why so many knitters like bulky wool. Instant Satisfaction. Though I must say it took me a few rows to get used to knitting with what feels like oars in my hands! Size 6.5mm (US 10.5) dpns are honking huge. Especially when I’m much more used to 2mm (US 0) instead.

When I’m done this hat, I’m on to yet another project with fatter-than-usual yarn. This one began with a very elderly sweater that I made about 30 years ago. Near as I can figure anyway. I found the notes on the spinning and knitting but I forgot to date them! Doh. Judging by their location in my notebook and the quality of the spinning, it was definitely some time before 1982 anyway. T-Man was reluctant to get rid of this heavy turtleneck pullover even though there is no way that he would ever fit into it again. His loss, my gain. My excuse is there isn’t enough yarn here to make him a sweater that does fit him! So I’m going to make me one instead. I’ve wanted a Shalom Cardigan (Ravelry link) by Meghan MacFarlane for soooo long but didn’t have appropriate yarn. 1794 knitters (so far) can’t be wrong. This is a great pattern!

Here’s the sweater before disassembling:

GreenSweater_before Man, did I sew those seams well! Apparently I didn’t want this sucker to come apart. Ever. Took a long time to pick them carefully out. Then it was a lot of work to pull the partially felted stitches out, wind it all in balls and then into skeins for washing one more time. I had already washed the sweater before I started this exercise because it was so dusty I didn’t want to breathe that as well as the fuzz from frogging. My arms were tired when I finished and there were fibres in my tea cup! (And I’m sure some in my lungs as well.) There was only one worn spot on a cuff and one break in the yarn somewhere in the middle. Perhaps I broke it when I was trying to unpick the seams? Otherwise this is pretty nice, if somewhat funky, handspun 2-ply bulky yarn:

GreenSweater_after 750 yards and 850g worth. You can still see the wrinkles from the ancient former stitches even after rewashing. According to the notes the wool was Romney and I blended several colours including blue and gold to make this tweedy effect. Since back then I only had my original Sleeping Beauty wheel (now in the loving hands of Milady Daughter) that must have been what I spun it on. I know I couldn’t repeat that particular early spinning style again ever no matter what wheel I used! Surprisingly though it’s pretty evenly sized overall although there are “interesting” textures and the plying leaves somewhat to be desired. Now to figure out which of the many modifications of Shalom to follow or invent my own. Hmmm…swatching needed asap. More winding to get this stuff back into balls. Ugh.

So we were back to the rain today though it’s quit now and the sun has come out, hopefully for a couple of days. Long-range forecast is for clear and cold next week so I’d love to get the garden done before it freezes out there. I guess I’m scheduled to go bend my poor back again as soon as it dries up somewhat outside. Need lunch first.


Suzanne said...

beautiful yarn color! looks dangerously close to the famous EZ cardigan that brooklyntweed was talking about. I'm with you for the garden, trying to get out to finish the last of the leaves, and maybe a few raspberries(miammm), still have some lettuce but it's getting bitterish...but the mache is growing well. yeah, I've had the Shalom cardi in my sight for awhile now but have to terminate this throw for my daughter in France, deadline Friday!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love the original sweater, but I agree that re-using the yarn makes sense, even if that seems like a lot of work. The cardi is lovely and looks very practical.

I'm not knitting these days, having promised Christmas red jumpers for the 3 grandaughters (ages 3 1/2, 2, and 1 1/2) as well as a matching vest for the grandson (3 1/2). I know soon clothes made by Gram will be "uncool" so I'm enjoying the process now. And since we live in 3 widely scattered states, and we will all be together this Christmas which doesn't happen often, it will be fun to see all the cousins dressed to sort of match! So..... off to cut out all the pattern pieces....

Barbara M.

Louisa said...

I still have some tiny mache from those you gave me, Suzanne. But something ate the biggest ones and it wasn't me! Sniff.

Barbara, the sweater was my own design, very simple except for the knit/purl pattern on the yoke. Not too much use though when nobody could fit into it! When I made it, T was a young skinny guy. We've both fluffed up some since then. LOL!