Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Which Shiny things are Finished, and New Projects Beckon

On the weekend, I finished up the socks! (Yay!) Between a meeting, a school field trip, and a camping weekend with the extended family, the rest of the sock seemed to take no time at all. (Double yay!)

The new owner seems pleased. I've cast-on her mittens, but they're only on the third row of ribbing, so they are not very exciting just yet.

Another thing I did on the weekend was to practice lucet-braiding to make new bootlaces (the old ones were falling apart, and one was already greatly reduced). I finished one on the drive out, and the other while visiting around the campfire.

I used some Regia Flusi das Sockenmonster in the Susi colourway. I had only bought one ball each of this yarn, and it turns out the kids find it scratchy anyhow, so I enjoyed using the yarn to add a bit of brightness to my boots.

I have a couple of new things to show off in October sometime, and am working on another thing in the meantime, but there is a project I can share that I will be joining-in on. I'm quite excited about my plans to participate in the Knit British swatch-along!

Now, swatches are wonderful things. For knitting, they help you to ensure that you will end up with the size you have planned on making, and, if you're substituting, they can help you sort out if you've picked a compatible yarn. For designing, they are the basis of all your math, give you a space to try a few things out if you're testing an idea, and can help you sort out if you've picked the right sort of yarn for the project type, stitch pattern, general look, structure, etc.

Another use for swatches though is to get to know a fibre better in general. There are so many sheep breeds (and so little time to spin and knit them!), and they are so very different from each other in how they feel and behave. Getting to know different wools allows for a better understanding of just what is available out there.

I will mostly be using this as a spinning exercise on top of a swatching exercise, and will be using both British and locally sourced wools that are from British sheep breeds (including a few breeds that originated elsewhere, but that are now popular in Britain). This is a great chance to use the small bits of sample spinning I have done or have been planning to do, and I'm jumping right in. I'll be blogging my progress on the various swatch projects, and will include notes to explain some of the spinning jargon I've slipped into using of late (with the disclaimer that I'm very much a beginner still and that I have a limited understanding of quite a few areas of spinning as a result).

My current list of fibre to try is: Manx Loughtan, Masham, Wensleydale, Romney, Shetland, Lincoln and Gotland, some Blue-Faced Leicester (already in yarn form, courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners), and with Dorset, Cotswold, and more Wensleydale (I have an idea) on the way via A Curious Spin!

Cast-on for the Swatch-along is October 5th (though I'll be spinning for it in the meantime as well), and if you're interested in joining-in, the Knit British group on Ravelry is a fun and lively place to do so!

Skeins: Top is Blue-Faced Leicester, below is Manx Loughtan. Balls, L-R: Romney singles x2, Shetland in assorted colours x 5, and Wensleydale.

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