Saturday, April 26, 2014

Necessity is the mother of invention, They say

Just this week I got up the nerve to resume work on my green Timberline cardigan. I am not daunted by the cabling; that's a joy to perform. Remembering the increases up the sleeve is easy enough to solve by marking each increase row with a locking stitch marker. I haven't gotten anywhere near the finishing yet, so that's no problem. So why have I let it languish?

The primary cause of my procrastination on this sweater during the last few months' extended wintery weather has mostly been the need to juggle six cantaloupe-sized balls of yarn. I adore the handdyed yarns of Briar Rose Fibers, and I'm sure this is going to be smashing when it's completed, so figuring this out is worth my while. The handdyed nature of the color requires that I rotate through all six skeins all the way through the sweater to keep colors blended. When I put the project down, it requires being placed in a bag to keep things reasonably tidy. So how do I ensure that I keep rotating each ball through the mix, especially the ones that have notably lighter or darker tones in them?

I think I have figured out a way to make it easier to manage. My first thought was to place them each in bags. This would minimize disturbance of the individual cakes as they are transferred to and from  the storage bag. But I don't want plastic bags making everything noisy or the awkward sizing and shape of gallon-sized zip-storage bags. These mondo cakes don't fit in quart-sized bags; I checked. And even if I had enough project bags that fit these skeins, they are all being used for random socks and shawls and cowls.

But I have plenty of hats! The cakes fit quite nicely in their own respective hats, and I even have enough on hand that I could separate them into two categories; three of the more highly-variegated skeins have been assigned to ribbed, worsted-weight hats, and the more consistent skeins have been relegated to the fingering weight, stockinette hats. I am most concerned about the regular employment of the highly-variegated skeins, and the colors of the ribbed hats is easy to sequence according to "rainbow order."

I realize that this is not really anything new, but for me it was a bit of a brainstorm, and I figured it's as good a time as any to send a springtime hello. Maryland Sheep and Wool is just around the corner! I'm looking forward to meeting up with some friends old and new, including the dyer of the Dorset braids I recently spun. By the way, I think I neglected to show you how the second skein turned out:

I'm very pleased with the results and look forward to getting my hands on some more wool from Fuzzyfrog when I see her. The part of this skein I most enjoyed was originally my least favorite bit - there are some parts in the plied yarn where the orange twists with the sea-foamy color; seeing the colors mix surprised me with how pleasing they turned out together. I guess that's one of the things that makes spinning with hand-painted fiber so delightful. This 4-ounce skein came out to 270 yards; the spinning is a definite improvement over the previous skein. I might have to take up spinning again!

If you live in the area and have been waffling on the fence about going to your first fiber festival, I strongly encourage you to give Maryland Sheep and Wool a go. It is about so much more than knitting or crocheting, and I find that returning each year gives me the opportunity to interact with the wool/fiber community and processes in new ways.  There's my plug in a nutshell.

Keep your eyes peeled, as I have a couple yarn process-related blog entries I want to share with you in the near future. Till then, happy knitting and spinning!


  1. kudos to YOU on the latest spinning effort ~ wonderful!!

    and I already told you I think you're a genius with the hat storage system but it bears repeating :)...GENIOUS!

    have fun at the festival!

  2. Great work! That yarn looks scrumptious. Now that I'm more east than I've ever been i might have to consider Maryland. I know we're talking about Rhinebeck since it's just 14 hours away by car now.