Blue Period

All’s been quiet on the crafting front lately. Baby decided to grow out of her lovely habit of falling asleep with her daddy in the evenings, and often enough we just want to go to bed early anyway.

Very lately, we’ve been in vacation prep mode. In forty-two hours, it’s wheels up on the Osborn travel wagon. Before we go, I wanted to post a wee update on what I have been working on… and for some reason, it’s all been blue.

Out for a walk on Knit-in-Public Day. The weather turned a couple of weeks ago, so we have been out a good bit.

I decided in May that I wanted to knit my friend a pair of socks for her birthday. I had left myself over a month of lead time, and I used to knit socks in a month all the time, so I figured it’d work out. A week went by, I had cast on… another week, and I had to rip out the cuff and redo… another week, and I had started the patterning… Then she announced her party was a week before her actual birthday. Oops. I worked on the socks incessently and got one done for the party. I cast on the other and had it done for her actual birthday, so all in all, it’s as good as if I’d planned it.

The pattern is from Nancy Bush (who else?) and her book Knitting Vintage Socks. I believe it’s called “Child’s French Sock.” No, I’m not embarking on another knit-through, but I did turn to that book first. These grabbed my fancy with the pretty lace business up the sides, and the in-between knit-purl stitch is apparently called “diaper stitch.” I was tickled, since my friend and I have a thing for cloth diapers.

I think my favorite part of the pattern is the way the uneven ribbed cuff swoops into the top of the lace pattern.

The other bit of blue is the lovely batt I opened for the first month of my birthday fibre club. When I was finished the socks I gave myself permission to really start.

Part of the appeal of Loop! bullseye batts is, I think, that you can pull from the centre. But I’d heard through the grapevine that they can be a little compacted. So I was neither surprised nor disappointed when pulling from the centre resulted in a bunch of messy breakage.

I decided to wind the whole thing off into bumps, very carefully keeping the strip of roving flat and fluffy, and breaking at the end of each repeat. I wanted to rearrange the order a bit anyway, and I got the intriguing experience of peeling back the layers of the batt. 

As you can see, two of the bumps are identical, and the other two are a little smaller. There are four repeat of dark to light, but the first one starts a little late and the last one and a little early. I am going to spin the bumps into pairs, the two smaller ones, and the two larger ones, reversing the order of the second of each pair. Each half will be wound into a separate centre pull ball and plied against itself. This should make two skeins of two ply gradient, the smaller one matched up a little bit more unevenly. I hope you followed that!

The spinning it’s self is proving challenging. The fiber is truly a roving (see below). I am trying to spin it short forward – it honestly didn’t occur to me to do anything else. I don’t know that I would want to use my fledgeling woolen drafting skills on such a precious, and besides I am spinning with baby on my chest most of the time, which does not lend itself to large movements. But this fiber does not want to become an even worsted yarn. Fair enough; it wasn’t made to.

I’m aiming for around the 28 wpi mark on my control card, though I’m more often hitting the 32, with plenty of thicker and thinner bits. I’m letting the thicker bits sort of swallow up the occasional nupp or clump of what must be silk or cashmere (this is a merino/silk/cashmere blend) and not stressing it too much. I find that what feels uneven in the drafting looks nicer on the bobbin, even better in the plied yarn, and just fine in the knitting.

The colors are really pretty wonderful. Three shades of blue, carded together over long heathery transitions into a nice gradient. I’ve been inspired by this picture, taken by an Iqaluit photographer named Tristan Omik, with its many brilliant shades of blue. Many people think my home is monochromatic; it’s not, but it does take eyes to see how.

Anyway, this project will have to sit on the wheel while I’m gone for nine weeks. I’m being bad and forgoing the control card, so I hope this page and the yarn’s ravelry entry will enable me to pick it back up on our return.

Blue. I rarely pick it up; the warmer colors draw me in more. But it’s so wearable and calming, and I don’t mind a little calm right now!

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