The Lichen Sweater

That’s what I’m calling it, because a number of the yarns that I used to assemble and knit this sweater are dyed with lichens.  The background pale green that ties the sweater together was dyed with lichens collected in Averill, VT and the striking gold yarn at the top of the sweater was dyed with lichens collected around Dan Hole Pond in the Ossipee Mountains of NH.  That that makes the sweater extra special.  It was also a wonderful way to use up small amounts of handspun yarn, too special to throw away, and not enough by themselves for a project.  I wasn’t sure as I knitted along whether the colored stripes were going to be coordinated enough to achieve a sweater that looked right, but I’m happy with the result.

Striped sweater joining

Circular sweater ready for joining at the underarms.

Striped Sweater finished

Completed sweater

Perfect weather for knitting

The cold and icy weather continue, but it does encourage working with handspun and knitted projects!  I finished (except for weaving the underarms…. I haven’t done that in a while so I need to look up the best method to do that) my husband’s sweater.  I’m pleased with the colors and the designs.  All the wool is my own handspun, so it is an extra special sweater.   I’m on to spinning some grey fleece (mix of merino and silk) which should make a really nice sweater.

Walter's Sweater

Buzzards Bay is completely frozen over for the first time in a number of years.  It’s like an arctic landscape down at the beach.  Beautiful, but cold (we’ve been down to zero with below zero wind chills).

Waves of Ice

Waves of Ice

 

 

Winter Beachwalk

Cold Walk on the Beach

 

Another blizzard sparks some inside activities

The wind is howling outside and we have 12 to 14 inches of snow that is piling up in drifts outside.  I know we will have to get outside when the snow starts to taper off, but for now I’m contemplating all the inside activities that this cold, snowy, winter has stimulated.  I finished spinning a grey fleece and am in the process of turning that into a sweater for my husband.  I’m on to a lovely mixed grey fleece that is a combination of merino and silk; it should make a beautiful sweater.  And I’m practicing my cello much more diligently. I have several parts of Bach’s Third Suite memorized, as well as most of the pieces in Suzuki book 7.  They are almost sounding like music.

If the winter keeps on like this, I may catch up on my backlog of beautiful fleece that has been sitting in my chest, just waiting!!  Yes!  Let’s be positive about this very wintery winter.

Grey Sweater in progress

Grey Sweater in progress

Ancient Projects

Years ago, and I do mean years, I started a sweater from Alice Starmore’s “Book of Fair Isle Knitting”.  The pattern was named the “Waterlily Jacket” and not only did I love the blue and white patterns, but it reminded me of one of my favorite painters, Monet, and his wonderful waterlily paintings.  At the time I bought  many colors of Reynold’s Mohair Classic yarn and started knitting.  Now, you must realize, that this was long ago and it was my first experience with pattern knitting.  I got about 2/3’s of the way up the body of the sweater (knitted in the round with a steek–first time for that for me, too), and the knitting was so tedious for me at that time that I quit and just put it away.  I went back to it several years later and finished the rest of the body, but using some of my own patterns.  But then I was at the point where I had to cut the steeks for the front and the arms; I’d never done that, and again I put the project aside with all the yarn

Completed body of the Jacket

Completed body of the Jacket

This year I picked the project up and decided that I now was ready to sew and cut those steeks, and finish the arms and the borders. I sewed with my machine and cut the front and the armhole openings.  I sewed the shoulder seams and picked up stitches for the arms.  I have one arm finished now (knitting from the shoulder down) and am about halfway finished with the second arm.  I have to decide how I will finish the borders and the neck; something plain, I think, maybe in the dark blue color.  I welcome suggestions at this point!  The original pattern had color patterns throughout the sweater, but I have made the sleeves mostly plain and I like the effect of the plain versus the complicated patterning of the body of the jacket.  It is very satisfying to go back and finally finish this long abandoned project.  I’m smiling as I write this!

Jacket Nearing Completion

Jacket Nearing Completion

A Little bit of Merry Christmas Knitting

Hats usually are a successful holiday gift project, but this year I found a neat pattern on line that is for a hat that converts to a face mask, just the thing for the cold winter weather we have had so far this year.  The first time I made the hat directly from the pattern, but found the bottom was way too long (just bunched up below the neck and what a waste of yarn when you are using handspun).  So on my second try, in an acrylic yarn as I didn’t want to use up all the handspun yarn trying out a revision, I eliminated the 4 inches of bottom knitting and started with the four inches of K2P2 ribbing.  This made a much more successful hat (just about the right length and it folded more easily into a cap when you don’t want the face mask down).  Then I switched to special handspun yarn (spun from alpaca fleece that I was given earlier this year; it spun into a variated light brown to cream yarn, very soft and pretty) and did the final version.  I also narrowed the nose band by two stitches at the center in the final cap which is better for the eye holes.  DONE!  I like the cap, very warm and nice looking, AND when it’s very cold, just pull it down and it turns into a face mask!

Here’s the link to the original pattern if you want to try it: Jackyll and Hide Cap.

And here are some photos of the finished caps.

DSCN2873

The light brown alpaca hat is in the foreground.

DSCN2874

Alpaca hat converted to a face mask.

DSCN2872

Here’s the variegated acrylic version showing the face mask.

Lastly, I found another pattern called the “Curling Cowl”; very easy straight knitting in the round (200 stitches knit in the round on a size 7 needle for 6 to 8 inches.  Here it is knit in kid mohair; it makes a beautiful neck scarf!

The Curling Cowl

The Curling Cowl

 

Knitting with llama

Thanks to a gift of llama fleece and, also, some small skeins of already spun yarn from a friend, I’m able for the first time to work with llama.  The fleece is my next project; as soon as the weather cools a bit, I will be carding the fleece and spinning it into yarn.  Llama, like alpacca, yields a heavier yarn than sheep wool , so I will be spinning the fleece fine and aiming for a two ply sport weight yarn.  Llama is very soft and beautiful.

With the small skeins of already spun yarn that was sent (a thick lightly spun two ply), I’ve knit an Andean style ear flap hat.  I used some patterns I found on line for inspiration, but ended up using a simpler pattern of my own design.  I will send this along to my friend as a birthday present.  It will make a great winter hat for going outside in the winter to feed the llamas (I hope)!

Andean Hat

Basketry Week II

It was a rainy/snowy night, but everyone turned out for the second basketry session.  Turning the bottom up to the sides was a challenge for all of us new to making baskets, but with our instructor’s help everyone made great progress on the sides of the basket.  I finished most of the sides (This is an 11″ tall basket); we were sent home with the basket and some extra spline to finish the sides at home and “pack down” the weaving after it dried.  I have one or two rows to do and then I will finish with a tapered piece that goes 1/2 way around the basket.  Next time (we had to add a third session) we will finish the top and add the handles.  This is going to be a very useful basket!  I can’t wait to post the finished basket in a few weeks.

BasketII-1 BasketII-2

I’m also working on some knitting for a new grandchild!  I completed a white baby bonnet and am working on EZ’s Baby Surprise Jacket, made with wool I spun at Averill and dyed with lichens from the Averill woods.  A very special knitting project!

Bonnet 1

Knitted Bonnet before it was sewn together

Baby Surprise1

Beginning of the “Baby Surprise Jacket”.