Welcome back to another installment of the SGY Roundtable blog post series! 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.
Last time we got together, we discussed our favorite ways to cast on and bind off socks. But what sock projects are we planning for our own participation in the Summer of Socks Spin-And-Knit-A-Long? Is there anything else we are planning on casting on before the summer is out?
So this week, the topic we brought to the table was…
“What are you working on this summer?”
I am really good at inverting these Roundtable questions. Last time I couldn’t show you any of the super secret TNNA projects I was working on, and this time around I’m not supposed to be working on anything because I managed to injure myself!
Yup, I failed to heed my own cautions that it is just as important to find time to rest and do nothing with your hands as it is to be creative about finding time to craft. I have a full blown case of tendinitis in both my arms that is currently preventing me from even lifting a coffee mug one handed.
When the pain hit me four weeks ago I’d already had a few bobbins of singles ready to ply for the SweetGeorgia Summer of Socks and (following my doctor’s and my physiotherapist’s guidelines) I very slowly, very carefully plied them to create a pair of very different skeins of sock yarn from the June 2014 fibre club. I would spin for 10 minutes, and then take a 15 minute break to ice and carefully stretch my hands and forearms. Spin for 5 minutes, ice for 10 minutes. Then do nothing at all for three hours until I felt like it was okay to alternate a little bit more spinning with icing and stretching.
So in the last four weeks of careful daily exercise I have plied together a whopping 270 yards of heavy fingering weight yarn. Once upon a time that would be a regular evening’s worth of spinning for me.
Now I am knitting the slowest pair of toe-up socks ever… for every round I knit I am taking a 10 minute break. Completing five rounds in a day is pushing it for me strain and pain wise so the following photo is indicative of about 12 days of very slow, very careful knitting. Yikes!
I know the socks don’t match at all but that is for a very important scientific reason that I will explain in a pair of blog posts later this summer! I’m looking forward to sharing my experiment with you and (slowly, carefully, unpainfully) getting back in the crafting saddle.
Let me just start off by saying that the Barney socks are finally done. I just want to put it out there. I don’t have proof, but they’re done. You’ll just have to take my word for it. And in case you were wondering, they were not delivered with cookies, because I was busy and a horrible girlfriend, but as far as I can tell the socks were sufficiently appreciated anyway.
I also just finished a little Raindrops pullover for my niece, who’s turning 3 next week. I don’t have proof of that either. I can see a pattern forming.
But now that those two and all the pattern sample knits are done, it’s high time for some selfish knitting. For my birthday last year I bought a sweater’s worth of Superwash DK in Cayenne and I’ve been eyeing Joji’s Looking Back cardigan all spring long, so this might be a good chance to actually knit from my stash. There’s just something about wearing clothes backwards that appeals to me greatly.
I’m also heading back to Finland in August for a vacation, and because my mom has gone through her entire stash of wool socks during the time I’ve been here, I feel like I’m obligated to make her some new ones before I go. Perhaps I should submit them for the Summer of Socks KAL too… hmm…
Summer is the time for weddings, so it becomes the season for knitting wedding gifts as well. But this summer I have fallen woefully behind; I would normally have finished knitting my gifts months in advance thanks to my over-eagerness and Type A neurosis, but the last few weeks I have also allowed sketching, gaming, and fiddling on the computer to intrude into my spare time. Alas, my cousin’s wedding is just a few weeks away and I have yet to cast on a single stitch!
However, I have the yarn selected and the patterns chosen. I will knit my cousin James a handspun Turn A Square hat in the colourway ‘Rusted’ on BFL. I think a fun and slouchy Tumbler Ridge Hat would be perfect for his beautiful bride, Paula. I will use my December 2011 Fibre Club handspun ‘Vampire Christmas’ in Superwash BFL for this project – I think the colour will look great on her! Luckily I have a family road-trip planned in the next few weeks; I will knit these in the passenger seat as long as I don’t get car sick!
I am participating in the Summer of Socks Knit-And-Spin-A-Long as well! On Canada Day I kicked off my spinning endeavor with some Superwash BFL in Boheme. Despite the warnings I have read concerning comfort and strength, I am going to chain-ply this fibre for socks. I want to keep the quick little colour repeats intact and a faux 3-ply yarn will have enough roundness to give my socks the right texture. Since these sock are for myself, and I have a pretty good tolerance for wearing imperfect yarn, I don’t mind experimenting with this technique. Spinning this up is going to take FOREVER though – the single is thinner and tighter than I normally make for my default DK weight handspun, so naturally it is going to take longer to spin. But that’s ok… I have all summer, right!?
The last project I plan to cast on is a hat for my gaming buddy Ryan. He has come up with his own design for a beanie and my job is to work the magic of interpreting it into Cashluxe Fine. In exchange for the hours of swatching, testing, and knitting, he has offered to fix up my bike. I think hobby-swaps are the best way to exchange talents; I would have a difficult time placing a price tag on my handknits, but I have no problem with exchanging time and skills with a friend.
But before I get going on all these new projects, I still need to complete what I already have on my needles! Months ago I cast on my second Line Break shawl, this time in handspun Merino + Tussah in the Fibre Club colourway ‘Big Blue Wave’ from May 2012. I fractal-spun this into a sport-weight yarn — it will be interesting to see how the short rows play with the colour shifts when I finally get around to finishing it!
I’ve finished my Baya Shawl! Well, I should just say, I’ve finished knitting it. It still needs to be blocked to full glory… but already I’m thinking about the next thing to start.
Summer of Socks means that I’m spinning lots of handspun samples as experiments. I’m playing with different ways of combining the colourways in the socks six-pack that we recently released. I’ve divided up all the colours into little packages that I’m using to spin either by combination drafting or successive strips from different colourways. Hope I’ll have some pics to show you… and I really hope to have a pair of handspun socks by the end of the summer.
And finally, I think I’ve caught the Lush bug. After seeing all the beautiful Lush cardigans that have come out from the Purlescence KAL recently, I’m itching to make one for myself and all the little girls around me… I sorely overestimate how much time I have to knit, but what else is new?!
What are YOU working on this summer? Have you cast on a sock for the Summer Of Socks? Or do you prefer to work with laceweight in the summer heat? 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!