white saturday

It’s very white outside.

Again, with feeling

I got tears in my eyes reading your comments that said you would indeed read just about anything I write, daily or otherwise. Thank you. I think I’ll just write, whenever, and see where this all takes me. It’s like I need the permission to explore, to try different things, to see what fits and what doesn’t.

And of course, I could write just for myself and not worry about anyone else. But I’ve always written as though I were speaking to someone, as though my writing was only half the conversation, as though there were others out there with things to contribute to the discussion, too. I’m not one to just pretend I am all alone in a room and there’s no one listening.

Onwards, as EZ would say.

A Ball of Goodness

This is a ball of handspun goodness.

It’s a blend of various different wools (with a bit of silk thrown in for oooShiny), all of them hand-dyed by Amy King of Spunky Eclectic. Amy dyes her fibres in all sorts of different ways; what I did was to separate out some of the solid-ish colours from three or four different handpainted rovings, put the colours in piles, and then mix the colours, literally by hand, a bit at a time until I got the effect I wanted.

When I say by hand, I mean that I would lay a puff of one colour in one hand, lay a layer of another colour (or bits of several colours) on top, and then pull out the fibres from one end as a group, repeating until blended. It’s not a very efficient way to blend fibres, but it was what I had before I bought the drumcarder.

Hand-blending took a long time. Yes, I could have used my hand-cards, but I didn’t want woollen fibres in rolags with the fibres going all different directions. I wanted worsted-style, all-sort-of-lined-up fibres, and since I lack hand combs, this was the way to do it.

It also meant that I didn’t do very much of it, and so, after spinning two fine plies and plying them, I ended up with exactly 150 yards of really lovely tweedy 2-ply sport weight yarn.

Now, I’m trying to come up with something to make out of it. Any ideas out there? (I did the Ravelry search where you can enter in yardage, but sometimes The Wisdom of the Commenters is awe-inspiring.)


A drumcarder, for those who haven’t met one yet, is a big machine with two rolling drums covered with a similar sort of toothy stuff that covers fine wire dog brushes. Mine’s a Strauch Finest.

You turn the drums with a crank (or a motor, if you have a Really Big Carder), and feed the fibre in, and the teeth on the drums mix and blend and brush the fibres into a nice poofy layer called a batt. It’s a faster way to mix colours, or types of fibres, than doing it by hand. It’s also used to prepare clean raw fleece for spinning, much the way you would brush your hair smooth and knot-free prior to braiding it.

Spunky targhee in "Flannel", after 2 passes thru drumcarder

I’ve been thinking of spinning some rainbow-progression yarn for a while, mostly because we love rainbows around this house. Also, because yarn that has long colour repeats is fun to use in weaving and some knitting projects.

Once I saw how the Baby Surprise Jacket worked, I realized that it would be AWESOME if knit up in stripes alternating between a rainbow progression yarn and black yarn, for example. Trouble is, the baby I have in mind for this bright jacket might be learning to read before I get all that fibre blending and spinning and knitting done! But it just seemed like a fun idea, so I thought I’d share it. (Couldn’t find an example on Rav of what I am thinking of, but here is a BSJ done in pastel progressions; here is one done in darker colours. Here is Jared Flood’s BSJ which I just adore. Am going just a little cuckoo with the whole BSJ thing. Just humour me.)

Minding my P’s and the ever-lovin’ Q

I’m at a point in my craft queue where I have a choice to make: Buckle down and work on some of the projects I have been avoiding, or do something new? I think that is where I am stuck. I just finished writing out a pattern for my bare basics socks so I can pass that on to you as soon as I get it posted. Yeah, I know, like the world needs another basic sock pattern. These socks aren’t done with sock yarn, though, they are done with Serious DK sock yarn (although you can make them with thinner yarn if you like) so they are thick and warm. I’m tired of cold toes!!

Thick Simple Socks

I want to start something lacy and pretty. That’s the problem, I’m down to the projects for other peoples and I want something for me. I think I’ll compromise; I’ll work each day during the day on one of the Must Do projects, because those take more focus and concentration (since I’m designing them, especially), and then at night when I am tired, I can sit in front of the TV and knit on something playful for me.

But the good news is: I am making progress. I’m going to seam up the Baby Jacket tonight; then figure out buttons for it tomorrow. I wove another 6 or 8 inches on the tote bag today, and wrote up my sock pattern. Tomorrow I will work a bit on two of the doing-for-others projects (Geese and WiseSweater) and see how much closer to finishing I can get one or both of those.

It’s not important to do ALL the things. It’s only important to do SOMETHING. (Anything. Some days, just getting out of bed if you are ill or having a rough life, that counts as something.)

Today’s Random Good

It’s a wee crocheted mole critter! And a FOX. And a BADGER. It’s like a whole yarnia Narnia playset; but these fuzzy fellows are really part of a set someone on Ravelry made in honour of the animal buddies who squeeze into a mitten in Jan Brett’s children’s book The Mitten.

Honestly. The cuteness of small knitted/crocheted toys, and the cleverness to make them, just slays me.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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16 Responses to white saturday

  1. melanie teabird says:

    Jan Brett’s The Mitten is one of my favourite books. Ever.

  2. InJuneau says:

    A Pretty Thing cowl?

  3. Sylvia Dresser says:

    Sandi, any day that you want to write, I will enjoy reading what you write AND it will enrich my day, plus has a good chance of making me laugh/smile/grin.

    I also resonated with your post the other day, about wandering around for a bit and then sitting down to write. I think that writing in small bits (blogs, and the like) is very different than writing a book, which I classify as sustained writing. I know I write better if I mull around a bit and then sit down to write when the words are ready to come.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, photos, animals, Sir N, and all that with us.

  4. Wendy says:

    Awww – I love that book! I read it to my kids when they were little. It’s still around here somewhere. I love that she made the mitten for them all to squeeze into.

    My daughter has a similar “system” to yours for getting her UFO’s done. She has to do something on each project every day – even if it’s just one stitch. (That way the less popular items eventually get done.) I, however, have no such discipline…

  5. I second the vote for a cowl – those colors are gorgeous and would look so pretty up close to the face. A nice lacy cowl methinks.

  6. Donna Cooper says:

    I like the idea of the cowl also, if there is enough yarn, or one of the short scarves that you close with a really unique button. Cute idea for the Mitten book. I did this with the Princess and the Pea for a friend’s little girl. I gave out after knitting nine mattresses,but the pea pod was adorable. Write whenever, whatever, I’ll be here to read it.

  7. Ann Williams says:

    It has been white here for over a week. I actually got out of the house today for the first time in eight days. Now I want to make the BSJ. Gotta get to my LYS soooooon!!

  8. Karen says:

    I LOVE that book…..I think I enjoyed it more than the kids….I know I enjoyed it more than the kids. I am sure I have that books somewhere in one of those boxes, that never seems to get unpacked when you move. alot like those UFO’s!

  9. Jerri says:

    I will be here to read whatever you feel like writing. I love any book by Jan Brett. I have made a deal with myself to finish my UFO’s before starting anything new. We’ll see how long that lasts.

  10. Donna says:

    I don’t think you have enough yardage to pull off a Windward Cowl which is perfectly designed to minimize leftover yarn. What about Anne Hanson’s Cabled Keyhole Scarf?

    Thank you for the little animals.

    I feel joyful everytime wiseheart knits shows up in my sidebar. I alternate between clicking on it right now and waiting so I can anticipate reading it as a special treat.

  11. Laura says:

    Oh, I love the orange in the middle of all the white (both snow and tablecloth)! While I like the idea of a cowl, too…I combined the orange and white in my head and came up with bright, fire-y fair isle mittens. Like a campfire in the snowy woods. It’ll be pretty whatever you do, I have no doubt.

  12. Rachel says:

    I will read anything you write — whenever you write it.

    You’ve inspired me to work on WIP before starting yet another new project. My new goal is 2 out before I can start a new one. At that rate I might actually catch up.

    I have a question though — looking at the picture of your sock — why are there stitch markers between every stitch on 2 of the needles? I can understand the ones running down the sock as a way to count rows but I’m puzzled by the others.

  13. molly says:

    your plan for working on different projects at different times of the day seems very workable. i use a similar system and believe me – it’s the only way i can get any serious knitting/sewing done. just remember to be gentle with yourself, and if there comes a day when getting out of bed is your only accomplishment, then so be it…you’ll get other things done another day! and i do love the little animals…wouldn’t a little person love a pocketful of them?

  14. Shirley says:

    Your snow looks like ours all last week but we are not supposed to have such weather in GA. Ours was mostly ice – which only looked like snow.

    I am starting the BSJ but the instructions are not very clear. I hope mine turns out as nice as yours.

  15. ginger says:

    a friend did the mitten creatures too…love them! do you know if yours has patterns at all…here are my friends who did them for a teacher friend to use in class!


  16. EEE! Those are my critters! 🙂

    Your linking to them made me get off my duff and blog about ’em, too. Thank you so much, Sandi! I’m incredibly flattered to be mentioned here.

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