Welcome to this week’s installment of the SGY Roundtable! In this bi-weekly column, we want to share with you the current discussions and thoughts of some of the fibre artists around the studio.
Two weeks ago, we shared with you how we find our inspiration to craft. This week we will delve into what we actually have had time to cast on, spin up, or weave this season.
The topic we brought to the table was…
“What projects are you working on this Spring? Does the time of year affect what goes on your needles?”
I WISH I could show you my crop of spring projects. Unfortunately, I’ve been knitting samples in up-and-coming SweetGeorgia colours and yarn bases that have yet to be released! Even black and white photos would give away too much. Rest assured that I will gleefully share them once we’re ready to release our fall colours and yarns.
Wait, what? Didn’t we just start sending out yarn in our Spring 2014 colours? This is how the fashion industry works, loveliest readers. The next TNNA show is at the beginning of May and that’s when orders are placed to stock your local yarn store for the fall. So while spring is blossoming in Vancouver I am working on decidedly autumnal knitted goods.
Today when I left for work the tulips in my yard were just considering blooming, and when I got back this evening they had burst into citrus and lipstick shades. They only make me want to dive right back into the Vienne shawl in Superwash DK I cast on several weeks ago. I picked our new Coral Rose as the main colour and plan to work the intarsia panels in Melon and Basil. It’s been ages since I last did any intarsia and I’m really looking forward to trying it out again.
Also waiting on the needles is a sleeveless version of the Arianwen cardigan in Coral Rose on Merino Silk Lace. This is going to be a gift for my studio co-worker, Channa, in exchange for the stunning Metro Kerchief in Tea Party on Silk Crush she crocheted for me! The shawl has been perfect for the chill in the air that’s lingering as we rush into spring and summer (and, ironically, lots of fall and winter themed knitting…).
This is the time of year I tend to shed my ambitions of making another sweater and cast on small light projects. I think working with delicate, silky yarns is my silent way of willing the sun to come out and create weather I could actually wear a tiny fragile shawl in.
On my needles, I am currently working on a Seaflower Shawl in my own handspun. The shawl was designed by Jennifer Beever, whom I got to interview earlier this year when she visited our studio. I fell in love with her newest design immediately and started knitting it in my fingering-weight handspun ‘At The Ballet’ – a SGY Fibre Club offering in Merino + Silk from January 2013. Just a few more rows to go…
Over the Easter long weekend, I cast on a Buchanan Shawl in Merino Silk Fine. I wanted something convenient to carry around with me on my holiday travels, and during the copious amounts of time spent drinking tea and chatting with friends I managed to finish off the entire thing! It’s blocking now… I can’t wait to see the final results! I just love the colour Riptide.
After reading Ginny’s blog post on spinning gradient yarn and drooling over Felicia’s Instagram photo, I have been inspired to spin my “Night Owl” BFL + Silk fibre as a yellow-to-purple-to-blue gradient. I broke my fibre into ‘chunks’ of top in the colour sequence I wanted to spin, and simply alternated spinning between ‘chunks’ as I finished spinning up each colour. I found the colours transitioned beautifully from one to the other, and I chain-plied the entire single into one continuous three-ply yarn. I haven’t finished the final measurements yet – in fact, the skein was still wet when I took the photograph below – but I think it will make a nice worsted-weight yarn I can knit into a funky ombre hat or scarf.
Because I am a sucker for getting my hands covered in stinky sheep goodness, I have also started processing four ounces of Polypay fleece I purchased online. There was quite a bit of VM (vegetable matter) and dirt mixed into the fibre before I started the cleaning process. I scoured the fleece carefully so there is not much dirt and lanolin left in the fibre. Before I drum-card my sample, I am thoroughly grooming the fibre of any remaining VM and undesirable clumps. This process is taking a while, but hopefully this summer I will have enough to create a nice pair of mitts!
The last springtime adventure I have planned is my first weaving project on a Cricket Loom. I am going to attempt to weave a scarf of Merino Silk Fine in Deep Cove. Even though I plan to weave this project in a very simple pattern, I think the variation within the Deep Cove colourway will give this scarf a beautiful depth that will only be accented by the shiny yarn base I am using. Now, finger’s crossed that I can figure out how to use this thing!
My spring is filled, nay, consumed with sample knitting.
I am currently taking my first dabbles in designing, which is fun, yes, but very time-consuming, leaving me with little time for anything else. I am working on a secret number of patterns, to be released at a secret point in time, with secret types of yarns and highly secret styles.
So that’s all you’ll get for now.
I am supposed to be making a pair of birthday Barney socks (outrageous stripes in Grape Jelly and Lucky) for my boyfriend – the most patient of muggles out there, who, seven weeks after his actual birthday, still only occasionally brings up the topic of their progress, and clad in the most delicate web of affection and hope, as if the mere insinuation would scare me back down my gopherhole, only to be seen six weeks later, if at all, bless his little heart – but alas, prioritization must happen. I swear to eventually deliver the socks with a batch of cookies though, and hugs, and kisses – that makes up for something, right?
I’m spending my spring preparing for summer! That’s right… in preparation for teaching at Brighton this July, I’m feeling the desire to spin and re-make all my teaching samples. I already have a perfectly good set of swatches and yarns demonstrating the different techniques I’ll be covering, but I feel this need to make more samples to prove the point. Hence, my latest works:
On the needles right now is a Pogona Shawl knit in my handspun yarn using September 2013’s Club Fibre “Indian Summer“. It’s 321 yards of fireball red and yellow fractal-spun yarn in a 2-ply. I’m all but 3 rows from finishing and then my needles will be free for the next shawl! By the way, I’m using Addi Sock Rockets for the first time and they are so smooooth. It’s amazing how good tools can actually make you want to knit.
It’s always a struggle for me, trying to decide what to knit. I guess I fear commitment to a pattern. The fear of having to slog through the boring parts. I’ve become this way with so many things… like Netflix. I’ll choose a movie and sometimes click off and cancel my selection after watching for only 15 seconds. I do this… I cast on for a new knitting project, knit three rows and decide against it. I don’t know if this is me thinking my time is too precious to waste on ho-hum knitting projects or if this is indicative of my intensely short attention span. In any case, blocking a finished object always feels sort of rare.
I’ve also just finished spinning 360 yards of 3-ply Navajo plied ombré yarn from the January 2014 Club Fibre “Night Owl”. This seems to be the trend with this fibre! Ginny, Diana, Grace (pic above), and I have all spun navajo-plied gradient yarns with this colourway.
With spinning, I’m in this constant pursuit of making yarn with a better hand. I prefer the sleek, smooth look of worsted-spun yarns, but I feel like my handspun is always turning out a bit too harsh and wiry. So I consciously try to lighten up and not overtwist my yarns as I spin. All my spinning is trying to find the balance between soft and strong. This skein of yarn feels full of bounce and spring while also being a bit wooly. I’m thinking about casting on for a Frisson shawl (as Ginny did) as soon as my 4 mm needles are available again.
And finally, I’ve been working on the “Lucky Quilt” from Thimble Blossoms using a fat quarter stack of “Heirloom” fabric from Joel Dewberry. All the half-square triangles were made, pieced together, and the whole quilt top was finished back in February. But it’s taken me forever to machine quilt it all together. I think it was pretty good advice I got from people to send it out to a long-arm quilter. Advice that I neglected to follow, sadly. Next time. Having someone else machine quilt it for me, rather than me pushing it through my little Pfaff, would leave me free to work on the next quilt top! Ohhh, the challenge of crafty time management!
That’s it for this round! I can’t wait to see all the finished projects and all these secrets revealed! What are you knitting this spring? Please share with us on here on the blog, or on Twitter and Instagram! Stay tuned for for our next topic, to be delivered to you two weeks from today!