13 October 2007


What little fiber time we've had around Yan Tan Tethera this week has been all knitting, all the time, as I try to get my sweater done for Rhinebeck.
I have to start accepting that it ain't gonna happen.

The body is blocking now, but I only have a few inches done on the first sleeve. And such a tough work week ahead that my husband just laughed incredulously when I outlined everything I had to do.

Being me and stubborn, I am unwilling to face facts on this one (add it to the long list of unpleasant realities about which I am in denial), so I will probably knit furiously at every opportunity, and end up wearing my Faroe to Rhinebeck, draped around my shoulders since it is not likely to be cold enough to actually don such a garment.

As I struggle with the end of this sweater, I keep thinking about what makes a design "original" or not (something that's discussed quite a bit on Ravelry).

I've been playing with the idea of a Chanel-ly tweedy jacket-y sweater for a long time. I also had some yarn in various colors that I originally meant to use for a brocade sweater, then perhaps one in stripes. One week this idea and this yarn came together in a three-color tweed stitch pattern I found one evening when playing with Barbara Walker. So I figured out the kind of jacket I wanted, consulted Ann Budd, changed everything Ann Budd said, and started knitting.

I had gotten partway through the body when someone gave me Jean Frost's book of jackets and I found a jacket in the same stitch pattern in there. This month, I even saw it in the Knitpicks catalogue.

Now, mine will fit differently; I'm going for a more tailored look. (Let's be honest: my design skills are pretty embryonic at this point, and I'll just be thrilled if it fits.) But it will look similar.

For me the distinctive thing about my jacket is how it uses color. Each panel blends four colors together in the three-color tweed: two of the colors are the same throughout, but I use three different colors for the third color, so that the overall color shifts from bottom to top, wrist to shoulder.
(After all, Kaffe Fassett's originality is in his use of color, not so much in the shapes or styling of his garments.)

And goodness knows, I'm wrestling with measurements, sleeve tapering, I-cord cast-ons and finishing details that I'm figuring out myself, with plenty of reference to other sources. I certainly didn't use anyone else's pattern to make it.

So will my sweater be original?
At any rate, it probably won't be finished.

Here, for comic relief, is something I did finish: some wristwarmers with my first handspun. Since the yarn got less chunky and more even as I went along, one of these is sized for me, and the other one is sized for the Incredible Hulk. (Same number of stitches in both.)

As for Rhinebeck: I've got my button and bag. And anyone looking for me will know me by my Monkey socks.

01 October 2007

Spun Out

After a rough week I couldn't muster the energy to make it to the Spin-Out, which I'm sure was amazing. Instead, I had my own private spin-out in front of the Mets games on TV, which were by turns exciting (on Saturday) and devastating (on Sunday). I am heartbroken.

On the bright side, literally, there is fiber. I have to say one more thank you to Kit Kat Knit for sending me my first roving as a prize. There was something liberating in having this wonderful fiber given to be out of the blue (or whatever color the Internet is). First, it's awfully pretty.

Then, because I won it, I had a sense of freedom about experimenting with it. I also have some roving I bought from Knitterly Things, but I was worried about messing it up. But because this was a gift, I got to luxuriate in it. As a result, and because it has so many vibrant colors, I figured out more about spinning with colors, striping, plying, etc., than I would have in weeks of careful spinning with undyed roving, and I had much more fun than I would have had in anxious spinning with non-gifted roving. So it has turned into an exceptionally appreciated gift.

My anticipation about the finished product was so intense that it was but a short step from this to this:

For all my excitement, I was a little disappointed at how chunky and homemade it looked, in comparison to other people's amazing homespun yarns.

Then, the fantastic guest blogs by Laurie over at The Yarn Harlot (these things can keep a beginning spinner awake at night, kind of like Christmas Eve for a small child, but more involved) led me to one of Stephanie's own tutorials, this one on predrafting.

Oh. So THAT'S what "predrafting" means.

So I went back to my wheel.

Before and after:

Left: the first skein of handspun from KitKatKnit's roving: about 112 yards, 6 or 7 WPI.
Right: the rest of the handspun I spun after I read Stephanie's tutorial, with about one-third as much fiber: about 140 yards, 10 WPI.

Strike another blow for the power of the Internet.