Archives for posts with tag: camel

So here’s yet more yarn I spun up. This is the 4 oz. of indigo-dyed Coopworth from Handspun by Stefania I bought at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. It was such a dream to work with, smooth and easy to spin, I couldn’t stop working with it…

It started as roving:

Z-spun singles were not enough, so I made them into an S-twisted two-ply:

And then the two-ply was not enough, so I plied it again, with a Z twist, making it into my first cabled yarn:

Gorgeous, isn’t it? In some lights it reads with a greenish tint, almost teal, while in full natural sunlight it looks closer to a pure, cool blue between cornflower and cobalt.

I have about 93 yards of it. I kind of wanted to do a cabled hat to take advantage of the roundness of the yarn, but I don’t think I have enough yarn for that… what to do? Perhaps colorwork, or a contrasting brim? I have some cabled Di Ve’ Zenith in frosty gray that might work in terms of texture and weight. Or I could just start with cables from the top down and see what happens–perhaps it’s enough, if I use large enough needles.

I’ve been so obsessed with spinning fibers on Etsy lately. I keep clicking around and putting things in my cart and then taking them back out again. But I couldn’t resist buying this champagne-colored baby camel-tussah silk fiber when I saw it on sale:

I hadn’t spun with it before; I was pretty much 100% inspired by rainydaygoods’ post about her little glowing camel-silk sample from A Verb for Keeping Warm. (And also the incredible sensual pleasure of seeing and touching Handmaiden Camelspin.) Coming off my experience with spinning buffalo fiber, I was a little afraid I wouldn’t be up to the task of spinning it.

But as it turns out, it is the dreamiest stuff I’ve ever touched. Fluffy and buttery soft, it’s easy to draft, and it wants to be spun fine and smooth and even. I worked up a tiny sample skein and then a little sample lace swatch from that, on size 6’s:

After petting the swatch for a while, I shook myself back to my senses and went back to finishing the bulkier yarns I had on my wheel (spinning some BFL, sampling the CSA fiber from Four Crows Farm, spinning up a rainbow tweed batt I bought in Point Reyes)… but I’m saving the camel-silk for a spinning treat for myself. Once I finish all the faster spinning, I’ll settle down to the hours and hours of creamy laceweight camel-silk. And I’ll have to come up with a perfect pattern for Camelspin, both store-bought and handspun.

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OK, the burn mark on our linoleum is still there (now covered by a throw rug), and my leg still hurts, but my mental state today is much better than it was yesterday. The sun is out (this is how deep the flooding downtown was yesterday after the thunderstorm), knitting night is tonight, Rahul and I might go see a play at the fresh-baked cookie store after that. And, as I mentioned, I have some good knitterly things to think about.

Here’s one of the nice things. When I finished the Hemlock Ring, I cast on for a new hat as a reward for myself. It’s no kind of weather for wool berets right now, but who cares? It’s pretty! And it was fun and quick to make.

Pattern:Rose Red, by Ysolda Teague. chemgrrl, who was done with hers, traded the pattern to me for a skein of Rowan Calmer.
Size made: Small, but using a larger gauge. I can’t tell you what the gauge was, because I was lazy and fudged it.
Finished dimensions: I was lucky–it fits! I blocked it over a dinner plate, and it came out to 11 inches in diameter with the hat lying flat, with a band size of about 20 inches.
Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted from a Whitknits sale, in Violetas, about 90 grams (i.e. just under 1 skein, or about 195 yards).
Needles used: US size 8/5.0 mm bamboo DPNs to start the hat (it’s knit from the top down), and US size 7/4.5 mm 16-inch Boye Needlemasters for the rest
Date started: June 2, 2008
Date finished: June 3, 2008
Mods: Aside from the gauge modifications, none that I can think of.
Notes: My Ravelry page for this project is here. I loved this pattern. It’s gorgeous and intricate, fast and pretty easy to knit, and very well-written and easy to follow (I used the written directions, which I think to many knitters is akin to saying you like white wine better than red at a gathering of oenophiles–sort of crass, indicating a not-very-advanced palate.)

I finished the hat in just two days, after some marathon TV knitting (season openers of Bones and House; Barack Obama’s speech accepting the presumptive nomination; two nights of Daily Show and Colbert Report).

I usually cable without a cable needle, but this time, because of the way the 7-stitch cable is worked, I had to use a cable needle. It was fiddly and annoying, but I think it improved the look of my cables–they’re usually sloppy around the edges, but looked pretty tight this time. I used a size 6 DPN instead of one of the special cable needles you can buy.

I actually have some red DK-weight angora blend in the stash, and after making Rusted Root I was thinking I should add more red to my wardrobe this winter, so I think I might make another one of these hats in fluffy red DK weight, exactly like Ysolda’s original. Or maybe not. I’m not crazy about the way the cabled band looks, although I really appreciate the tidy, knitterly design aesthetics of continuing those cables all the way down the band. It’s just that somehow I feel like the hat looks a bit too… chef-like? and I suspect I might prefer the look of a ribbed band instead.

I think the recommended lighter weight yarn would also be a good idea. Malabrigo on 7s, even well-blocked, came out slightly too sturdy and the hat doesn’t drape well. For best effect, I think it should be really floppy. Also, I can’t quite decide how I feel about this semi-solid colorway–is it a distraction, or does it add to the charm and intricate look of the pattern? (This is not to say I don’t totally love the hat–I really do. This is all nitpicking.)

Anyway–on to the pictures. It’s really hard to take a picture of the back of your own head.

The hat lying flat.

The back of my head.

Plated up for blocking. The underside and band:

The flowery top, with cute li’l i-cord nubbin:

Me looking vaguely chef-like, or possibly medieval, from the front.

So–some other good things.

  • The Rainey Sisters alerted me to the fact that Niebling’s legendary Lyra doily is now available for $7 plus $4.50 shipping/handling through Lacis. It used to be rare and go for a LOT more on eBay–there are two copies up right now, the highest one, with 19 bids, currently priced at $81 plus $5.90 shipping. And I mean copy–it says you get photocopies of the pattern, not even originals. It must be a cash cow for the seller, since they can make infinite copies for 10 cents and sell them for $81+. That’s really kind of messed up.
  • You can now purchase a couple of my patterns through Sandra Singh. She posted them today and has sold a copy of The Water is Wide already!
  • Robynn sent me some freakin’ amazing yarn. Just look at how gorgeous this is.Handmaiden Camelspin, in Nova Scotia, glowing green and blue–this stuff has the sheen of Sea Silk but is much softer, probably the softest yarn I’ve ever felt, softer than the skein of cashmere I have in my purse:


    Artyarns Beaded Rhapsody in color 159, gleaming gold and silver:

Are those not just insanely beautiful? The timing was good; it made my day if not my week, and on balance more than made up for my Very Bad Day yesterday–thank you so much, Robynn.

The first real snow of the year was today–by “real,” I mean the snow actually stayed on the ground for more than a few minutes. It seemed like a good time to take some pictures of my finished You Bastard camel scarf. (Click on that link if you missed the earlier posts and want to know why it’s called You Bastard.)

you bastard scarf closeup

camel

you bastard scarf

you bastard scarf

camel

scarf on head

Pattern: My own–mistake rib worked on 27 stitches

Yarn used: 2 skeins Karabella Camissimo, currently $6 per camelicious skein from School Products, color 18109

Needles used: US size 10.5/6.50 mm

Started: December 3, 2007

Finished: December 5, 2007

Size: 7″ x 55″, pre-blocking, 7″ x 72″, post-blocking (that’s a lot of extra length! Wow.)

Notes: It doesn’t look like much, but it’s really soft and fluffy. So soft and fluffy, in fact, that I decided to rejigger my holiday gifting plans and give this to my grandma, who will probably really appreciate something else warm and cuddly, rather than my dad, who will probably receive a more interesting-looking scarf of some kind.

I will not, however, tell her what I named this project.

The photos from a sunnier clime were taken in 2002 at the Benicia Camel Races, which, in addition to adults trying to ride angry camels, also featured a children’s emu race. This was one of the most hilarious events I have ever seen in my entire life. The emus could run much faster than the children who were nominally herding them towards the finish line with their brooms, and the emus, with their pea-sized brains, were having a really hard time figuring out what was going on. So usually the emus would eventually turn around and run back after the children, who would drop their brooms and scream. The emus would be puzzled and frightened by this, and turn and run back towards the finish line again for a few feet, stop, look around, turn and run back the other way… eventually, I’m sure one or two of the emus finished the race, and a good time was had by all those who were not permanently psychologically scarred by the experience.

Just so it’s not all snow and beige drabness, here’s a picture of the Plymouth Boku Hyphening* mitts I’m making for my friend Ken.
hyphening

As I related in earlier posts, I ran out of yarn while I was making these in New York, and made them shorter in a desperate attempt to squeeze two mitts out of one skein of yarn, but failed. Now that I’m back home with my Boku scrap stash, I just need to insert afterthought thumbs and weave in the ends, and they’ll be done.

*Get it? Like Dashing, but shorter? hyuk hyuk.

I flew back to Indiana last night, and boy, are my arms tired!

I had a busy weekend–had a Chinese foot massage, got kicked out of a psychic parlor because my “energy” was spoiling my friend’s reading, went thrift shopping, snuck my friend’s 18-year-old brother into a lesbian bar in DUMBO, visited MOMA and saw the Seurat exhibit, helped cat-sit a ridiculously flat-faced Persian cat named Sasha, had delicious brunch with some friends at an Israeli restaurant named Miriam in Cobble Hill, caught the first snowfall of the year in New York (so insanely cold! I need a new coat) so the only other yarn shopping I managed to sneak in was at Purl, right before meeting my cousin for shopping and hot cider.

I love love love Purl Soho’s online store and the Purl Bee, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I was thoroughly underwhelmed with the actual, in-person shopping experience. The stores were cute, nay, beautiful, but in the way that makes them nice to photograph for a Martha Stewart Living photo spread rather than nice to shop in as an experienced knitter. The spaces were incredibly tiny and cramped (I almost stepped on a tiny Chihuahua someone had brought in with her) and the yarns were shoved into the shelves so that you could only see the very end of the skein.

Admittedly, this makes the store very beautiful, but it’s also really annoying. If you see a skein you like, you have to pull it out to look at the label and price, and then shove it back in, and I felt like I was mangling the yarn every time I did that. I would also sometimes want to know if I was looking at the same yarn or a different one and would have to continually pull out and push back new skeins, because it wasn’t always obvious which ones were the same or where the boundaries between yarns fell.

The selection was gorgeous–so many colors of the Fibre Company Terra!–but pretty limited, with the pricing set the way you’d expect it to be for a bijou boutique in Soho (Kelp Knits called this “the Purl tax”) and between all these factors, I ended up feeling like I’d rather just go shopping online, especially considering Purl’s 40% off yarns are only available on their website.

It was nice to see the gorgeous shop projects in person. I’ve made the Child’s Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts about 5 times, and I wanted to make it yet again after seeing their version in Alchemy Migration.

Because I’m not a particularly experienced or knowledgeable seamstress, on the other hand, I decided to buy some fabric at Purl Patchwork for aprons and bags.

1/2 yard of Kokka Trefle, a heavyish cotton-linen blend printed with chickens:

1 yard of Anna Griffin Blythe printed with a botanical pattern:

and some Amy Butler fat quarters in acid yellow and teal.

In case my own sewing doesn’t work out so well, I also invested in an absolutely adorable patchwork tote bag made by Along the Grain, being sold at a temporary holiday crafts store called La Superette, set up for this year in a storefront near Times Square. It has a zippered pocket inside, and little round appliques all over the front like bubbles. Floating in some of the bubbles are chickens and bunnies. How could I resist, especially when it’s such a cheerful color? (Mine looks exactly like the one I linked on Etsy)

So back to yarn shopping: School Products was wonderful. Thanks to everyone who recommended it! It was kind of the opposite shopping experience from Purl: hidden on an upper floor of a dark and decrepit-looking office building, it was totally empty when I went in, and had huge spaces with clearly labeled yarn spread out on tables and loosely stacked in bins and baskets.

There was So. Much. Cashmere. Brushed and smooth, chunky and laceweight, tweedy and handpainted, and so many droolworthy blends on top of the “plain” cashmere. It was kind of hard to shop for yarn here for a different reason, though: not all of the “special” skeins are labeled with yarn weight, yardage, skein weight, or recommended needle size, and many of them are sold by the ounce. In combination, all this makes it hard to compare prices in your head to see if you’re getting a good deal or not. You have to take any skein you’re interested in to the register to have it weighed and priced out for you.

I bought two skeins of Karabella Camissimo because they have a screaming deal on this yarn right now–normally $16-17, it’s selling for $6. It doesn’t look like it will be especially fun to knit, and it doesn’t look especially expensive–a chunky boucle, it has the look of something hairy and terrible from Michael’s. However, it is 50% merino and 32% baby camel and accordingly wonderfully soft and luxurious. (The rest is polyamide.)

The color I got was rather camelly, the brown/cream color labeled 18109 in the picture below:

I think I’m going to make a super-simple mistake-rib scarf with this. The yarn is so fuzzy, there’s no point in doing anything too special with the stitch pattern.

I also got two skeins of a chunky pale gray cashmere/merino two-ply and a skein of a redwood-colored, multi-stranded yak/merino worsted weight blend that, from the look of their shop sample, blooms into a fluffy, absolutely gorgeous fabric. I think the colors I got were 18 and 4, respectively.

I have one thing to say about MOMA. It was great to visit, but be advised that you cannot check in a suitcase at the bag check. The first time I tried to go, on my way from checking out from my hotel to my friend’s apartment, I was thwarted by the bag check people and had to content myself with buying some 3D sketchpads and lusting after the Reveal watch in the museum store–fun, but not quite the same experience as getting to see great art.

One of the sketchpads was a gift for the friend I stayed with–I also ended up showing him the Boku Hyphening wristwarmers and promising them at some future date. So I’ll have to add some wristwarmer thumbs to my knitting queue, and meanwhile my essential Christmas knitting has not progressed at all in the last week. A little less than three weeks left to go now…