I’ve finished spinning the first two ounces of the Rambouillet. Oh, lawks; this is the sweetest thing. It’s like creamy Merino, only better, somehow. (Without going into a major digression about breeds and history, Rambouillet is essentially a offshoot of the Merino breed, created by breeding Merino with French or German sheep in the eighteenth century, and handles very much like it. I find it a bit silkier.) This is the “Wistful” colourway from Squoosh Fiber Arts. Her dyeing and preparation are spectacular, and her fibre is absolutely going on my list of things to stalk in Ravelry destash RSS feeds.
I thought it would be more like the first photo, pale olive greens and crabapple reds with some barklike grey-brown. As you can see for the second photo, it’s got those colours in it, but overall the browns and pinks became more predominant. I find how dyed fibre spins up fascinating. It rarely behaves the way I expect it to. I’m going to preserve the colour changes in this by chain-plying it to a heavy fingering weight. (I am lazy and have not measured the WPI of the single, but my eye and experience tell me that it should yield a heavy fingering weight after chain-plying.)
The wheel continues to work well and is a pleasure to use. I’m testing out the Scotch tension this time, since I’ve tried and like the double drive setting. And it wasn’t until I read the article on flyer wheels in the latest issue of KnittySpin that I realised durr, if I can set it up in Scotch (flyer-lead) tension by putting both loops of the drive band over the flyer pulley and the brake band over the bobbin, it’s also possible to set it up in Irish (bobbin-lead) tension by putting both drive loops over the bobbin and the brake band on the flyer. I’m sure this hasn’t occurred to a lot of people, since Irish tension is considered the most basic and limiting of the three settings. Having trained on a Louet, which is bobbin-lead tension, I know it’s not limiting. It just doesn’t occur to most people to use it if they’ve got the preferred Scotch or double-drive options.
Oh oh oh! Hey, gentle readers! You know that I am not a knitter, right? I knit very basic things like scarves, but somewhat badly. Well, I’m having a baby, and while there are spinning-then-weaving projects in the works for this event because that is my forte, I thought it would be kind of neat to actually knit something for her, all myself. I know plenty of fabulously talented knitters and I am aware that there are already two or three blankets on the go for the Owlet, as well as hats and variously snuggly things (plus a quilt!), but I wanted to knit at least one thing myself. It wouldn’t be heirloom quality, not by a long shot, but it could be cosy and pretty in whatever colour I chose, and it would mean something to me.
So I did. This is the Owlet’s Daffodil cardigan:
It’s a plain old garter stitch cardi done in a soft yellow Pima cotton yarn. I used a pattern for 3-6 mos and modified it to fit a 0-3 month old. (Yes, that’s me, converting a pattern I haven’t yet knitted before I can see how it works, with little to no understanding of how knitted objects are put together. I change recipes before testing them as per the written instructions, too.) It seems to have worked. I may add a couple of rows of crochet in pale green cotton to the bottom as trim. (No, I do not crochet at all. See how fun this is? My enthusiasm far outweighs my skill.) I forgot to put the buttonholes in when I knit the front because I was paying such close attention to making sure it matched the back, so I made button loops for the lovely buttons I bought for it instead. I love how rustic this is, with the bumpy garter stitch and the little wooden buttons.
My next project is tiny little boots in pale green Pima cotton, made from garter-stitch squares that you fold up like origami to magically make a shoe shape. There’s no point in taking a photo, because at the moment it’s only three four-inch-long rows of knitting on a needle. But hey, garter stitch squares! That is totally within my skill set!
And for fun, here is a snap of the test samples I did for the blanket I’ll be weaving for the baby. I spun test skeins of Corriedale, Merino, and Falkland, and have chosen Falkland for the warp to use with this lovely green Manos Clasica yarn I bought to use as the weft. Thing is, I didn’t know if I wanted it to be weft-faced, which makes it more green but creates a stiff fabric (left), or a more balanced weave, which drapes better and feels softer (right). I like the visual of the left, but prefer the feel of the right. I may try a dye test on the white Falkland warp and see if I can get it a pale willow green that matches one of the paler variegations in the Manos; then it will vanish more into the warp colours, and I will have my cake and eat it, too. The Falkland fibre I need won’t be in at my LYS Ariadne Knits for at least a month or so, so I’ve got time to mess about with dye tests on the sample Falkland skein I spun. I designed this to use a fingering weight warp so the green of the weft would be predominant no matter what, but I’m wondering if spinning a fluffier two-ply Aran weight to match the Manos wouldn’t be better. I have some Falkland left I could spin a sample of that with, too. (I theoretically could use the Manos as warp, too, but I don’t think I have enough for both warp and weft, and it’s a single instead of a plied yarn, which fares less well in respect to the beating of the heddle; a single gets worn away more easily than a multi-ply warp does.)