Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Appearances can be deceiving.

I'm almost certainly not the only person who's done this: Buy a skein of the most gorgeous hand-dyed yarn, or a chunk of wonderful coloured roving and dive in to it's artisanical glory only to come up empty.

Then the beautiful dye job turns to mud in your hands. The colours blob and pool. They lose their individuality and spark, becoming a muddy indistinct mess.

This came up a lot in my thoughts over the weekend. I went (as usual) to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival, in scenic Contocook, NH. It was a bad day for colour selection -- grey and rainy, nothing much really shone. I pawed through several vendors sock yarn offerings, finding nothing that sparked my imagination. I ended up buying some lovely wool/mohair blend roving to spin my own sock yarn. Mostly because the vendor had spun up samples of all her rovings, so you could see what it might come out like. There were a few others doing the same thing. Unfortunately none of them had anything I wanted.

I did buy one skein of sock yarn though, in assorted shades of moss and pond scum green. Nothing there to lighten the mood of the day, but the subtly of the colours should lend themselves to a nice complicated pattern.

Although I've currently got 2 pairs of socks on-going -- one for myself in Plymouth Sockotta, and one for my son in Patons Kroy -- I started another pair last night. This is Fire Island Studios yarn in a colour she calls Stargazing. It's bronze, navy and purple. I did the toe of the first sock last night and have worked a couple more rounds this morning while watching paint dry databases process themselves and I've decided that I don't like the way the colours are striping. This gives me a couple of choices. I could try again with different needles and a different stitch count, or I could frog the sock and start over, using the yarn for Skew. Because, right now, I don't want to knit another mostly stockinette sock -- it's a bit on the boring side. Nor do I really want to knit more ribby socks. I've got lots of those. I was considering making another pair of Paraphernalia socks (someone else's picture is here,) but I don't think the colour striping will work with this yarn. I'm wearing my completed Paraphernalia socks today and that yarn (Indie Dyers' Lemon Tree) was a bit busy for the pattern, the Fire Island yarn would be even more so. The new grunge green yarn would be perfect for something like Paraphernalia, or some other as yet to be designed cable extravaganza.

I dunno. Maybe I'll satisfy my itchy knitting fingers with a bit more of the Sockotta sock, I'm on the leg of the first one and doing a 2x2 twisted rib: Simple enough to remember, but a bit better looking than a basic rib.

I picked up a Jumbo flyer for my Ashford Joy spinning wheel at the weekend too. It requires some disassembly and reassembly of the wheel to install it though. It came with one jumbo bobbin, but will take standard Ashford bobbins as well, so I should be able to use it for plying and get bigger skeins.  Perhaps I'll get it going this week. I have stuff that needs to be spun.

Also at the NH Sheep and Wool, there was a lady demonstrating the use of a great wheel. She was very happy to talk to another enthusiast, and gave me some useful tips. This is good as I'm demoing/teaching it on May 22nd. Perhaps I should practice that before I get sucked into modifying the Joy. I'm teaching spindle spinning this weekend at the Stonebridge Schola too. So I need to sort out all my kits, spindle collection, and so on. Busy Hugh is busy. No wonder I don't blog here much.

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