Notes from the Tour de Fleece

California variegated mutant (CVM) 2-ply Though the last week of the Tour was filled with travel and a visit from my parents, I was still a productive spinner – this is 8 ounces of California Variegated Mutant spun up into about 175 yards of sportweight 2-ply. Of course, I thought this yarn was worsted weight, and I ended up using a size 8 needle, three sizes larger than my typical worsted yarn choice. So it’s probably more accurate to say some parts of it were worsted weight. The skein on the bottom was spun and plied during an incredibly fruitful spinning workshop I took with my guild in March, then I finished the skein on top (notably less overspun) during the Tour. I loved working with the CVM, and it softened right up after a bath, so it’s perfection in a skein as far as I’m concerned. I’m hoping to make the Sweet Fern Mitts with this yarn from the Knitters Book of Wool. Mitts of some kind, at least.

Handspun Hat Even though the Tour was for spinning, I also finished my first handspun, handknit item: a hat. This is the clever Top Down Ribbed Beanie from Charisa Martin-Cairn with the addition of a stripe of luxury yarn I carded, spun and Navajo-plied myself during the aforementioned workshop in March. There’s a little bit of sable, a little denim waste – surely the most experimental thing I’ve knitted with in quite awhile, wooly girl that I am. The luxury yarn has too much twist, since I am still a Navajo-plying novice – but I did it, and that’s what counts.

Laila Socks, Cast OnAnother thing I did recently (not related to the Tour de Fleece) was cast on for my first pair of colorwork socks, from stash, from a pattern I’ve had waiting for at least four years. These are of course, the estimable Laila’s Socks from the frankly awesome Nancy Bush – as you can see, this is a popular pattern, and it’s hard to make it look bad; I myself went with the “if girly is good, girly with bling is better” combination of Lorna’s Laces in Tickled Pink and white sock yarn with sparkles in it. Let me tell you a secret, which when I say it will be just as annoying as hearing “I lost the weight and I ate whatever I wanted.” Colorwork is easy.

I hold the contrast color in my dominant hand to make it pop, I hold the main color in my secondary hand, and I never vary that pattern. That one piece of information (plus a sock needle two sizes larger than usual to help ensure looser even tension) is all I needed to feel like I cracked the mysteries of colorwork and make myself into a two-handed knitter. I’m at the heel of sock one, trying to finish these for the Sock Knitters Anonymous colorwork challenge which ends August 31, so the odds are in my favor. I’m just putting this sock-related promise here in writing, because I may have cast on not one but two knitted toys this weekend – wait until you see the cuteness to come.

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