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December 2020
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February 2021


Today is one of the first days that feels like winter this year. Snow is falling and the temperature here in Rockport is a chilly 18°. I just wanted to share my progress on Fiadh, and my spinning, and tell you about using up leftover bits of laceweight yarn.

I decided to let Compton hibernate, as Fiadh is a beast in every way. It's big and heavy and I usually only  get about 4 rows a day knit because of all the cables (and it's big... and heavy.) It's size and heaviness isn't really the sweater's fault though; it is huge because of the size of me, and because of the way it is knit: all in one piece, seamlessly.


So although it's a beast right now, I will be glad not to have to sew all those seams to finish it. Actually, I don't mind sewing seams and finishing a sweater, but I think it's kind of cool to see how Marie Greene does it all without sewing any seams.

I was dismayed when this happened, but it is a sign of heavy sweater + little cables on a circular needle:

Broken cable

Luckily I have a *few* extra needles. Ahem.

The bit of green there is where the pocket goes. Very exciting!  Also, I am knitting Fiadh using no cable needles. Knitting cables without a cable needles is both faster (when it works) 80% of the time,  and slower (when you try a cable 2805335 times, swearing, and give up and use a cable needle) 20% of the time. 

I took a week off spinning but today I picked it up again. I just finished a second bobbin and got ready for the third bobbin. Then I'll have to dig out the rest of the fiber and separate it into thirds and finish filling the bobbins.



I'm eagerly awaiting what the three ply will look like; I am anticipating  it to be bulky (or at least Aran weight) and very squishy. I want to make mittens and hats out of it.

Finally, I am using evening TV knitting time knitting a scarf/wrap/stole thing using up my laceweight scraps. I took a size 4/3.50mm circular needle and cast on about 200-ish stitches (204 actually) and started knitting in the round. Then I added another color and started to knit helically to avoid having a jog at the beginning of the round. 


I started out with tan merino/silk which I had quite a bit of, and pink wool. Then I switched to aqua blue just last night when I ran out of pink. This is how far I've gotten in about a month, about 18 or 20 inches -- laceweight takes a bit of time to get anywhere. After the blue runs out, I'll have to go excavating to find my bag of laceweight bits to see what colors will be next. I figure I'll knit until I get to around six feet (or put it into hibernation til I get more bits of laceweight yarn). If I have enough bits, I'm guessing it'll take me until spring. Or, in Tom Baker's Dr. Who style, I could knit all year and have a 17 foot scarf. Wild!


My Little Copper Skein

I can't spin straw into gold ... but it turns out, I can spin copper pennies into yarn!

I had a jar of old pennies, so I put them in a big glass jar and filled it with ammonia. I didn't really check the pennies I had, but enough of them were from before 1981 to make this work. Since 1981 the copper in pennies change to be just a plating, I guess.

It is important to do this outside, because you can pass out from ammonia fumes! I soaked about 50g of white merino top in water, and then put it into the penny/ammonia bath and let it soak for about a week, maybe more. You can see why it is good to do this in the summer!

The dye bath was a bright, pretty blue. I thought, this will be such beautiful blue yarn!


The merino top had changed to a lovely, soft green .... the color of money! I loved it. So I let it dry and stashed it away to spin sometime. Years later, I had a stroke. Even more years later, I found this lovely green merino roving and spun it up.

Despite its age, the merino, which was all predrafted, was very easy to spin.

Plying  Plying 2

I spun it all in 5 days since it was only 50g and was easy to spin, and soon I had a wonderful, balanced skein of yarn. This photo was taken just before I put it in the bath to set the twist.


This photo was taken in natural light and is closest to the real color of the yarn.

This is my little skein of copper yarn:

Copper yarn

I'm happy.

Spinning & Arans

I started spinning on January 2nd. I've finished up some red and black wool that has been a monkey on my back for the last year:


Not sure what it will become. It is not particularly soft yarn, so it will probably be something for me. Maybe socks, you can never have too many socks.

The big skein on the left was spun last year or so. The two skeins on the right that are better spun were spun over the last two weeks. The last little skein above Pogo's tail was Navajo plied (making a 3-ply) out of what remained after I finished the two-ply skeins. I'm getting better at Navajo plying..

So then I started spinning about 50g of merino top that I dyed years before my stroke (2007? Dunno.) using a pile of copper pennies. That was really fun! Who knew that copper pennies made the color of paper currency! Anyway, the wool came out a soft green color. I have about half of it spun.


On the knitting front, I am knitting two Aran sweaters at the same time, weirdly. The first one is Compton by Pat Menchini, which I am knitting out of some blue wool that Rachel had. I had promised myself that I would start it in January; who knows when I'll finish it.

Compton beginning

The second Aran is the January KAL by Marie Greene; it is called Fiadh. I got the pattern free because I'm in Knit Camp, and I had enough Bartlettyarn in my stash, so I figured what the heck -- it's a good way to use up nine skeins of my stash! It's a seamless sweater, knit from the bottom up, with pockets (though I will only knit one pocket, because the right hand pocket is pretty much useless for me). I have been picking away on it. Because it is all one piece, I had to cast on a lot of stitches and I almost gave up right there! But I didn't.

Fiadh beginning

This is what they look like so far:





I really don't wear off white sweaters, but this is an Aran sweater and my yarn was this color, and I can dye it afterward if I don't like it. But ... I'm really quite lazy, so I'll probably just wear it the color that it is. At least it will go with everything!

Also, I am learning to knit my cables without a cable needle, and the cables go much faster that way. I'm sure there are tons of videos out there, but the way I am learning it is through videos that Marie Greene made for Knit Camp. I am learning a lot!




I've been keeping a private knitting blog since Ravelry decided I was a white supremacist (I am not.). It replicates the projects function of Ravelry. It has pictures of what I knit, lists the patterns, yarn. needles, start date and finish date of everything I knit. It keeps track of my FO's and my WIP's. It also has a list of my WP's -- Wishful Projects, the projects that I plan to make, and the yarn in my stash that I will make them with, if any is found. Usually, yarn is found. I rarely have to buy yarn anymore since I got my stash settled, which for me is a good thing, but which for the yarn stores is not.

I haven't been knitting much. I am going through a period of no-knitting that I hope will change very soon. I find that knitting things that are extremely easy is about all I want to do for the moment, so I knit gauge swatches for two sweaters that I want to make (simple stockinette and simple knit-purl double moss stitch), I have a simple scarf, a garter stitch blanket, and a circular knit stockinette (every round is knit! Knit knit knit!) scarf that I am knitting helically with my three leftover balls of lace weight yarn. It is going slowly, but that is fine, because I don't really care. I knit on it at night watching TV; sometimes I don't knit anything and I just watch TV or play Solitaire on my iPhone, which really is such a waste of time. I should be slapped.


Image by succo from Pixabay

I don't even have pictures of any of them, sorry. And I set my harder yet more boring project aside to hibernate for a while. I'll get back to it. It's a shawl, by the way. Yet another warm shawl of sport weight yarn that no one actually uses or wants, so I'll keep it and use it occasionally.

So, goals. I'd use Make Nine again, but that seems like so much to do.

Goal #1: Knit what I can. I plan to knit less but use up my yarn responsibly. There are two sweaters that I want to make, one aran sweater for my husband that I doubt he will ever wear, but it uses up 10 skeins of stash yarn; and an aran cardigan for me because a) my October Frost finally wore out and I need another one (it was knit of really old yarn from the eighties), and b) Marie Greene of Knit Camp is doing an aran cardigan for the January knit-along this year, the timing was perfect, and c) I'll use up 9 skeins of Bartlettyarn from my stash. If you are not in Knit Camp ,you can find it on Olive Knits as the January Workshop for $29.95.

Goal #2: Help my husband as much as possible to deep clean our house, get rid of a ton of stuff we never use, simplify and organize, and get some new chairs for the living room. There will come a time when we will have to move, probably far in the future, but it will be easier if all our residual stuff is gone and the rest is mostly packed up.

Goal #3: Spin more all year. I'll try.

Goal #4: Read more. You know, I used to read all the time. Now, I don't. I don't know why. I like reading. I just find that I don't like many of the books anymore. Maybe I have to dig a little deeper to find them. There are some historical non-fiction books that look interesting:

Goal #5: Lose weight. You know you are old when the reason for losing weight is primarily to please your doctor. But there it is. I've gained a lot of weight since the lockdown started.  Weight gain is anathema for a person with diabetes, and since I was able to get off my medication because I had done so well by losing weight, I should really try to take some extra weight off.

There you go! Five goals! Happy New Year!


Image by Mees Groothuis from Pixabay