The two-colour hat is coming along; I’ve re-knit everything that I had to rip out and then some. This coming weekend I’m going to get my 16″ size 6/4mm circulars back from Mom, and transfer the project over. That should help make it go even faster. I still need to figure out how I’m going to do the decreases, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.

Meanwhile, there’s a possibility that I will make it up to Rhinebeck this year! It’s not that I plan to buy anything, or that I really need new yarn or fibre, but I love going anyway. Being around all the knitters, yarn, and beautiful projects helps replenish my motivation and inspiration!

At MSDW in 2013, I bought two skeins of Noro Silk Garden Sock with the intention of crocheting a shawl that I could wear to events like these. After much deliberation, I settled on Schultertuch/Dreiekstuch, a free pattern from a German Raveler. Noro being Noro, the first colour off the ball was a rather icky shade of yellowish brown. Since this is the centre/top of the shawl and will be up by the nape of my neck, I decided to just work with it and see what happens, rather than lose any yardage by skipping ahead to the nicer black and teal.


It’s been a quick start, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get it all finished and blocked before heading northwards. I can’t imagine using this yarn for actual socks; even though it’s called “Silk Garden Sock” it’s a rough single with slubby spots, generally unsuitable for anything like socks. But for a shawl, I think it will be just perfect!

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You know what would be fun? Making up a colourwork hat pattern by the seat of my pants!

First, I tried a variety of cast-ons to figure out what works best with corrugated ribbing (i.e. doesn’t make it curl up like a pillbug) and discovered a nifty two-colour cast-on that totally works. Then, after the ribbing was done, I decided to line it with the softer KnitPicks Andean Treasure left over from Stef’s armwarmers. Hopefully that doesn’t make the hat too small. If I’d thought of lining it before I started, I would have cast on a few extra stitches to make up for the added thickness.


With the lining folded up and joined in, I got started on the body of the hat. At first I was trying to knit with one strand in each hand, but that was slow and awkward, so I switched to having both strands in my left hand. I even remembered the thing about dominance in stranded colourwork and was super-careful about consistently keeping one yarn to the left and the other to the right. Everything was going so well, and looking so good…


…until I fouled it up, and knit another four rounds before I noticed.


Don’t worry! I can fix this!


But maybe I should use lifelines when I’m knitting things that require me to pay attention?


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I’m very excited to be able to share my latest design, the Carved Lines Armwarmers! This project has been in the works for several months and is finally ready for release.

Inspired by the sinuous shapes that skiers and snowboarders leave in the snow as they carve down the mountain, the Carved Lines Armwarmers are meant to close the gap between your jacket and your gloves, keeping the snow off your wrists and keeping you out on the slopes longer! The slipknot cast-on and sewn bind-off are stretchy without being floppy, giving neat finished edges to your work.

~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~
Through August 2015 the Carved Lines Armwarmers will be available at a discounted price of $1.49.
On September 1, the price will go up to $1.99. Get your copy today!

Check out the Carved Lines pattern page on Ravelry or click the button to purchase the pattern:




YOU WILL NEED: A set of five US 4/3.5mm double-point needles (or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn), and a darning needle to weave in ends. Optional: stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS: The stitch pattern has some stretch to it, and should fit hands 7 to 7.5″ around.

YARN and GAUGE: Approximately 1.5 skeins (160 yards) Jo Sharp Classic Wool DK, or any DK-weight yarn you like, to get a gauge of 26 stitches to 4 inches/10 cm in stockinette. To make a larger size, a light worsted weight such as Cascade 220 and US 6/4mm needles is recommended.

Important Copyright Information: The Carved Lines Armwarmers knitting pattern is © 2015 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the armwarmers you make, and Knitting Pirate would very much appreciate it if credit is given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact the Knitting Pirate.

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My dad’s gotten into throwing pottery in the last few years, which is pretty awesome. As with any craft there comes an inevitable surplus of finished objects, so he’s been offering me pieces and told me to pick out anything I want. I’m in minimization mode as I’m getting ready to move at the end of the year, so I didn’t want a purely decorative bowl (although they *are* very pretty). Instead, I asked him if he could make a yarn bowl for me, and sent him descriptions, preferred dimensions, and links to several examples on Etsy and Google Images search.

This is what he’s come up with. It’s lovely!


I’m trying it out with a ball of Cascade 220 Superwash, which is just the right size… and it works perfectly, as you can see in this video (click to play):

Thank you so much, Dad! This is great – I’m sure I’ll get many, many years of use out of it!

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Pictures of bobbin after bobbin of the same gray mystery wool are getting repetitive, so here’s the Rambouillet that I finished chain-plying just before the Tour de Fleece began:


It came out to 268 yards of fingering-weight yarn that’s perfectly coordinated with my wood floor, and once again I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. Maybe it’s time to list some of these handspun skeins for sale, since my collection of them keeps growing.

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My weekend had no plans and nothing scheduled, so I got a lot of spinning done! First, I plied the first four bobbins of light grey onto two jumbo bobbins and skeined off about 350 yards of yarn. Then I finished spinning a second bobbin of medium grey. The fibre is drafting a little more smoothly now as I get towards the centre of the ball of roving, but there’s still a lot of neppiness which is leading to a “rustic” sort of yarn. I’m okay with that!


The jumbo Sonata bobbins aren’t quite large enough to hold all the plied yarn from two S-R bobbins, so I started filling them to only about 90%. These two on the right will be plied together for a marled look, as my ambitious plan for this sweater is to knit a gradient from light at the top to dark around the hem.


I also managed to get out for a bike ride this weekend between the rain storms. It’s been so wet lately that the good mountain bike trails have stayed closed, so I took the road bike out for a twelve mile jaunt through the hills. The next few days are supposed to be very wet; I guess that means my workouts will be indoors until it dries out.

Today is a rest day for the Tour, but I might end up spinning anyway – or I might take the opportunity to catch up on the housework I’ve been neglecting!

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So far I’ve been averaging a bobbin-ful of the gray mystery wool every day! Yesterday I watched Stage Four, the one with the cobblestones, while finishing up the fourth bobbin. I found a little more wool in the same shade of gray, but the roving is much thinner than the first batch and it isn’t drafting well, so I set it aside. If I need it, I’ll spin it up later.


I moved on to the next darkest shade of gray and was immediately annoyed by it. The lighter gray had some vegetable matter and a few lumpy, neppy pieces. This medium gray seems like it’s *all* lumps and neps. I’m hoping that it’s just the outside of the ball of roving with the problem, and that it will even out as I get more towards the inside. If it’s still really bad after two bobbins, I’ll set this colour aside too, and move on.

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It was a slog to get through, but I finished the Rambouillet project one day before the Tour de Fleece began! This project has been languishing for five years; I spun the singles for the 2010 TdF and then let them sit and sit and sit. My plan had been to chain-ply, and then I realized that the singles didn’t have enough twist for that. I moved on to thinking I would just finish them as-is, as a lightly fulled laceweight. Then I realized that I’d never actually knit anything with that yarn, and that what I really needed to do was add some more twist and go back to the original plan. That’s what I did, and it’s come out to 268 yards of light fingering weight… though I still don’t know what I’ll make with it.


And then on Saturday, the Tour de France/Fleece began! My main project this year will be spinning for a sweater on the new Schacht-Reeves and plying on the Sonata’s jumbo bobbins, using several pounds of mystery wool roving that I got from my friend Josh a few years ago. I have four different natural colours, and I started with the lighter gray. I’m starting to get the hang of the longdraw, though some parts of the roving aren’t drafting as smoothly as others.

I had friends visiting for the long holiday weekend. On Sunday morning we watched part of Stage Two of the Tour with breakfast, then went out for a 12.5 mile bike ride in the hills. After everyone had gone home, I settled down to spin while watching 1776, one of my July 4th traditions (I was a day late, but that’s okay) and by the time I called it a night I was well into the third bobbin. I’m absolutely loving how the Woolee Winder just lets me spin and spin without fussing with hook changes, and the thicker yarn sure does spin up fast.


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I don’t usually post twice in a day, but fellow Raveler CathyWeeks released this image into the public domain in honour and celebration of today’s SCOTUS decision, and… well… I think it speaks for itself.


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The blue merino/silk/bamboo that I started earlier this month is all spun up and wound off. Here it is showing off its lovely sheen before calling it a night and heading into a nice, warm, relaxing bath!


I’ve had problems with my singles drifting apart when I chain-ply, so this time I thought I’d put in a little more twist. Well… it was a little too much, probably because I didn’t fully account for the fact that thicker singles need less twist in general, and as a result they had an obnoxious tendency to corkscrew up as the bobbin unwound. This made chain-plying tedious, as I had to stop after making each chain to assure that the singles were straight, unwind any corkscrews that had formed, hold everything taut, build up some twist, and let it all in at once before it could kink up again. If that doesn’t teach me to spin a little looser, I don’t know what will.

So the plying, which is never my favourite thing to do even when it goes well, took longer than I wanted it to. But it was worth the effort – it came out to just over 100 yards, and I’m rather pleased with the shiny, squooshy result. Spinning thicker was a good challenge, since my default is rather fine yarn, but many of my project ideas (mostly hats and armwarmers) would do better with a DK or worsted weight.

With this yarn checked off the to-do list, there’s just one more bobbin that needs to be plied in order to clear them all before the Tour de Fleece begins next weekend. I think I can, I think I can…

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