Sunday, October 23, 2011

Earth & Sky # 2

I have finally finished the second Westknits Earth & Sky Shawl, which I started almost immediately after finishing the first one back in August. It's bright, it's vivid, it's bold, and it's all made of yarns I dyed myself. The colorways are Rory's Blues, Wild Grapes, and Olivine.
I actually have two, or maybe possibly three, dresses this will go with. I really love this pattern, so there will be more of them, in various colorways, in my future.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This Week's Spinning

I've been having a lot of fun with my spindles and wheels this week. Finished off spinning the singles, then plied them all. First up is my own color blend, "Cthulu Rising." I've been selling the full-size batts in my shop, but of course held back some of the "leftovers" to play with. I wanted to see just how much yardage I could get from a small amount, so I spun the fiber (100% Merino wool) as fine as I could on a drop spindle, then made it into a 2-ply yarn. Between the two skeins, I have a total weight of 0.7 oz and 146 yds. That's probably the highest yield I have done with such a small amount to date. I have at least a half ounce of the fiber left, and figure I will very likely make it past the 200 yds per ounce mark. I should be able to make some nice, lace accessory out of this. And yes, I realize that the two skeins look very different, color-wise, but this is part of the charm with a hand-blended batt. Each one is a little bit different, even though I used the exact same amount of each color in each one. Any finished item made from this stuff will be truly unique.
 This next one came from Dyeing for Color -- a nice blend of wool and firestar. Firestar adds the most beautiful "bling," and I just love a bit of "bling" in my finished yarns. It dresses things up so nicely. 4.1 oz, 2-ply, 254 yds. Wheel spun. No idea what this wants to be yet, and I have another 4 oz to spin up, so whatever I make will be bigger than a hat.
 Lastly, here's some incredible Polwarth wool from Friends in Fiber, in one of my favorite color combos. They call it "Elegant Eggplant." 4.1 oz, 2-ply, 324 yds. Wheel spun. I have another 4 oz of this one, too, and when it's done, I'll have a better idea of exactly what I might be able to make with it.
This was my first experience with Polwarth wool, and it will not be my last. It was so soft, and practically spun itself.

I'm tempted to begin trying to sell some of my handspun yarns, but that's a bit of a wrench, as I have a very hard time parting with handspun. But I really don't have enough time to knit everything I spin, and it would be wonderful to see someone enjoy it, and create something beautiful. The trick is, getting to a point where I can let the yarns go to a good home, and once I am at that point, figuring out what might be a fair price for a yarn that's quite labor-intensive to create.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Europa Sweater

A one-of-a-kind Mad Angel Creation officially went to its very special recipient on Saturday Evening.
 The "Thanks, I Love It" Pose
(a.k.a. the "Aren't I Cute?" Pose)
 The GQ "Hottie" Pose
The Obligatory Punkatude Pose

But seriously, folks...I'm amazed that this fits Grant as well as it does. He never would tell me exactly what size he wears, and though it's a little bigger around the middle than he usually likes, it will accommodate lots of warm layers, which is a good thing when one lives in a cold climate and winter is on the way.

I'm very pleased at how closely this resembles Grant's original "Europa" sweater. The original one was a "found" item, and I did my best to copy the shaping faithfully, while adding a couple of unique features of my own.

Since this one was specifically for Grant, I will not duplicate the pattern for anyone else but him. I might draft out some variations, and maybe document my first prototype, but Grant will be the only kid on the block who gets to wear this exact style.

Here is my first prototype for comparison. Grant did not want a high neck, so I got rid of that feature for his sweater. And yes, it is indeed the same yarn in both sweaters. I had a lot of this stuff in my stash. Still do! Grant's sweater has some dark brown Persian tapestry yarn box-stitched around all the edges for contrast. Mine has no contrast stitching.
Here's Grant, getting his very first look at the afghan I made him, which would have been a Christmas present, if I could have stood waiting that long to give it to him. I made him shut his eyes and turn his back while I snuck up from behind and wrapped it around him.
And now I have to take a break from "yarn bombing" him and get on to some other projects!