Finished object photos copyright Frog Delacroix.
So, it turns out that we might be in Iceland (yes, I know you’re sick of hearing about it…bite me) at the right sort of time to see the aurora borealis! I was a bit dispirited that we might miss it, but apparently they’re seeing the lights already now and then, and since we’re there for a couple of weeks surely we’ll get lucky and see something?
Back to knitwear, though…The pretty Pink Glimmer hat I made sadly just wasn’t going to cut the mustard. Despite having been spun woollen (long-draw) and cabled, it’s just not warm. It’s pretty, and better than nothing, but it doesn’t keep anything resembling a breeze away from my ears. So I had to think of a better plan. Since I’m a yarn snob these days and prefer to knit with handspun (preferably my own), I wanted to spin for it.
Luckily, when this fancy took me, I was in something of a fey mood and I grabbed one of my most precious and confounding braids, a gradient from Corgi Hill Farm in “Continuum“. The colourway is deep, saturated rainbow colours, and in the braid it looked a bit dull, and not all that inspiring. I doubted my ability to make it pretty. I feared its merino/silk content. I was daunted by the implied need to chain-ply to preserve the gradient (I hate chain-plying).
The fey took me and I thought, “To hell with the gradient!” and split that baby down its guts. Taking the first long half of the rainbow, I split it once again, and spun both those pieces (2 quarters of the braid) end to end. The other half I split, still lengthwise, into five pieces and spun those end to end. Then I plied it, and watched those bright, beautiful jewels flow through my hands…amber and deepest sapphire, emerald and night-lit amethyst, brightest ruby and amber…in all the endless combinations.
The hat had to be quick, and warm, and stretchy. It had to be simple so that the yarn really shines. I settled on a simple 2×2 ribbing tube, long enough so that I could fold it generously over my ears. The ribbing will be stretchy and warm and the colours came up beautifully. Oh – and I put tassels on. Handspun tassels. You know how scary it is to cut your handspun into that many tiny little pieces?
How great are those tassels??????
I’ve been spinning now for about eighteen months, and while I’ve been very successful for the most part I must admit to being, in some ways, somewhat cowardly in my approach to my spinning.
I say this because I’ve never been game enough to spin for a specific project – you know, pick a pattern, choose the fibre, spin and wash and knit and wash and block a sample, rinse/repeat if necessary. I’ve always spun the yarn that I saw in the fibre, and almost always loved the result.
Now I feel like I need the challenge of doing the intentional, focused, project-specific spin. I’ve had the project and the fibre chosen in my mind for ages, you see, and there’s this Grand Adventure upon which I’m embarking in September (shhh! Those who know, no telling!) and I’m going to need . . . a hat.
Not just any hat, you understand. Oh no! This one. It captivated me the first time I saw it and I simply had to make one . . . eventually, a friend posted in Ravelry that she was destashing the book, so I snapped it up, and then I walked around it for months and months.
And what of the chosen fibre, I hear you thinking? Ah…’tis a special one, this one. It’s a club batt set from Jazzturtle, and very different from her usual chunky art-yarn fare. Superwash merino, Nylon and cashmere, intended to be a sock batt. It’s called “Poodle Skirt” – I don’t know why but it suits it, right? The two batts are a little different so I dizzed a 2g sample from each one and spun a single, aiming for 22wpi (according to some app or other that told me that…).
The singles were then plied, and the plied yarn then cabled on itself to give a 2×2 cable. After washing and whacking, it’s come out at exactly 10wpi, right in the zone! Now to knit the sample and test my gauge…