Saturday, June 07, 2008

And now for something completely different

When Ted asked me last November if I was up for a "Fiber to Scarf" exchange, I wasn't sure. When he told me there would be 6 months time to finish the project, I thought "what the heck, I can do that!". Mind you, I only had learned to spin two months earlier, and since I don't have a wheel I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

As a side note: I suck at organized knitting events. As much as I have been tempted to join "Socktober" and "Project Spectrum" (and did) I never managed to produce anything worthwhile in the set parameters. I figure I have my own rhythm and just don't want to be told what to do when.

Ted was very considerate in how to choose the fiber he would sent to the participants, and even worried it would cause problems for the not so experienced spinner. (If he knew me better, he'd be aware that there's nothing but a challenge like that to keep me on my toes!) Here's what he said in his email: "The fiber I was going to assign you is a Border Leicester / Mohair blend. I've had it out and played with it to see how it drafts (no problems) and the colours (hand-dyed) are really nice. But, Border Leicester is a "strong" wool, which means you won't be able to spin this into a fine yarn. It would make a great 2ply worsted or heavier yarn. You might get it down to a DK, but I'm doubtful."

When I got the fiber at the beginning of January, I unpacked it and just played around with it, trying to draft. Alright, I thought, this IS different from what I have worked with so far, the drafting wasn't as easy and, as Ted said, spinning finely could be a problem.

At the end of January Ted inquired about 'how the spinning was going'. Uhm, in my case not at all. I had so much work (knitting samples) that spinning was just out of the question.

In March he asked again, and again, no spinning from me. (At this point I was worried that he might think I was a bad choice for his little project.)

Early April I received the message that MY scarf was done, and please to contact my spinner/knitter for my address. I felt I better get crackin' on the spinning, eh?

I received a package with 8 oz. of 50/50 Border Leicester/Mohair blend, colorway "Priscilla Alden" from Black Bunny Fibers. There were two halves, both of them with lots of blues and pinks and fuchsia, but one had a bit of a warmer tone to it, with some peachy orange and lighter turquoise. I decided to spin each half separately and ply them together, so the whole batch would be a mix of the warmer and cooler shades.

I can't remember the actual timeline, but once I got used to the mohair in the fiber, spinning wasn't a problem. And, I am not sure, I think it was a heavy DK or light worsted weight (since I got better in the progress, the later spun single might have been a bit thinner...) after I was done plying.

Apparently I suck at documenting my work, since these are the only two pictures I took of the spinning in progress. By the end of May I was done with knitting (having ripped out half a scarf and restarted since I wasn't happy with the results...) and contacted Ted to find out who my recipient was.

In the end I settled on Jo Sharp's design "Misty Garden" from Scarf Style which contains your basic Feather and Fan pattern and brought out the variegation in the yarn as I had anticipated.

Today I got a message that the scarf arrived safe and sound at Barb's, and - as she had told me before when seeing the picture - that she loved the result. Barb is an accomplished knitter and designer herself, so a compliment from her makes my day.

I received my own scarf in May, I like it a lot. It's very soft and cuddly and I am sure that Duffy's (whom I don't know personally, but she serenaded the Yarn Harlot at a reading of hers, so I would bet she's got a great sense of humor!) work will keep me warm come next winter! She did a great job spinning and knitting up the green merino I got also from Black Bunny Fibers. Apparently Carol's work is well known and loved amongst spinners.

BTW, I didn't experience any of the angst not to do well enough as others have - it didn't even occur to me. What does that tell you about me?


nadine said...

your hair looks Gorgeous !
yes, lovely knitting of course.
but your hair looks really glamorous !

Jennifer Lori said...

Why are you hiding? :) How are you feeling, besides the heat? I'm really impressed with your spinning- the scarf came out beautiful!

I don't remember if you said- was it spun on a spindle or a wheel? Either way- great job!

So do you feel more accomplished having knit something you've spun yourself?