Just Another Mohair Monday

I’ve finished my Ostrich Plumes Scarf, and it’s lovely! The yarn is Kidsilk Lace from Hedgehog Fibres — it seems to be more or less exactly the same yarn base as Rowan Kidsilk Haze (70% mohair, 30% silk), but Beata is a wonderful independent dyer and I couldn’t be happier with this “Dove” colorway. You can (hopefully) see its subtleties in this close-up shot:

It’s an ever-so-slightly mottled blue-gray. You may also be able to tell from this picture that I blocked the sides straight — using blocking wires — instead of trying to pin them into their natural curves. I did this mostly because it was easier, but also because I liked the look of the straight sides better.

I knit this several repeats longer than the pattern suggested, and I still think it could have been a little longer, but I was getting impatient. It’s lovely, though, and perfect for spring!

I have also been spinning with mohair, which is proving to be quite challenging:

This is yet another of my finds from the Southern California Handweaver’s Guild’s autumn fiber festival. It’s a 50% mohair / 30% merino / 20% angora blend from Cheltenham Cottage in Riverside, CA. I’m not sure whether it’s the mohair or the angora that’s being annoying, but one of the fibers is very clumpy, resulting in a yarn that is going to be pretty darn “rustic” in texture. I pick out the clumps where I can, but it’s not worth it to go after every one and try to produce a perfectly even yarn. And isn’t part of the charm of handspun yarns their thick-and-thin “homemade” look? Right. We’ll see.

I’ve also been making progress on my Leaving Cardigan. I’ve finished the back:

and I’m about 3/4 of the way through one of the fronts. Sweaters in fingering-weight yarn sure do take a lot of time!

Prayer Flag Scarf

When I came across Fickleknitter’s One Skein Beaded Plie scarf  a few weeks ago, I knew I had found the perfect way to use up the handspun Ammons yarn leftover from my Andrea’s Shawl. It was one of those insta-inspiration knitting moments, when you drop everything you’re doing and cast on immediately. I could see in my mind’s eye that the long runs of color in this yarn would look fabulous with this pattern, creating an effect like tibetan prayer flags, and I was not wrong.

Plus, the super-low-yardage of this scarf made it a perfect candidate for using up leftovers. The pattern calls for just 80 yards! Even so, I didn’t quite have enough of the original yarn and I had to spin up the few scraps of the Mountain Colors Targhee that I had left over. I was happy to have a reason to use them, though! And this scarf knit up in seriously two evenings. They were just two… slightly spread-apart evenings with some spinning in between. I modified the pattern slightly to create the pointy ends you see in the above shot — the pattern is written so that the ends of the scarf are blunt. I basically just did this by extrapolating from the existing chart.

As you can see, this scarf is skinny enough that it’s really more decorative than functional, but that’s just fine! It’s long enough that I could wrap it twice around my neck for more warmth if I needed it, but it’s rarely legitimate-scarf weather here in southern California anyway.

The thing that’s been consuming most of my knitting time lately is my Leaving cardigan. My swatches weren’t very helpful, so I knit a whole sleeve on the recommended needles and blocked it — treating it like a giant, stupidly labor-intensive swatch — at which point I discovered that my gauge was terribly off and I’d have to start over. Wah! The reason my swatches were crappy is that they were not big enough and I did not block them. Why? Because I’m lazy and stupid, apparently. From now on, I solemnly swear that when I am knitting sweaters, I will knit real full-size swatches and I will block them. I’ve now knitted a whole new sleeve (on larger needles) and blocked it and everything’s fine, and here’s the progress I’ve made on the back:

I’ve also been making occasional progress on my Ostrich Plumes scarf, which is getting close to completion. It looks so unlike itself in its pre-blocked form that I figured I might as well scrunch it up into an interestingly abstract composition for you:

Mmm mohair! I’m excited to see how this transforms after blocking.

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I bought myself this amazing skein of Sundara fingering merino cashmere:

I am in constant awe of how gorgeous this dye job is. This might be the most gorgeous dye job I have ever personally seen. Who but the geniuses at Sundara could put purple, blue, and pink into a brown and have it come out this beautifully balanced? I’ve been a Sundara windowshopper for awhile, but this is the first skein I’ve ever actually bought from them. The colorway is called “Arabian Nights.” I want to cast on with it nowwwww, but I’m trying to restrain myself until my Leaving cardigan is done.

I also bought myself another spindle. I ended up not being a very big fan of the spindle I bought at the fiber festival, but I looooove the one I bought from my LYS, so I went to that guy’s website (Kundert Spindles) and ordered another one directly. They’re all made-to-order, so if you have some specification (I wanted mine as light as possible, for example), you can email him and he can probably accommodate you. I don’t think I ever showed you the beautiful top of my first spindle, so here’s both of them:

My old one is on the left, and my new one (which just arrived today!) is on the right. These Kundert spindles are excellent for beginners — they’re super-sturdy, and they have a hearty notch to help you secure your yarn. I’m excited to try out the new one, which is significantly lighter than the old one and should let me spin finer yarns. Yay!