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Here is the next step towards my yarn from these batts I made:

curlybits

I haven’t done any yarn with curls before. I am very excited about how it will turn out, but not ironically excited enough to ply it yet. Perhaps today will be the day.

Sorry to be incommunicado for the last few days. I have been traveling again. Here is a bit of carding I did before I left:

Until now I haven’t done any carding with different colours and fibres which makes the glorious batts I really admire – perhaps I was lazy and perhaps I was scared and perhaps I just liked doing one thing for a while. This is the time I decided to take the plunge; here is the fibre I used:

carding-1

Here is some carding in process:

carding-2

And here is a bit of a close up of the batt and locks (I haven’t spun with locks yet either):

carding-3

Pictures of what I did with them tomorrow.

I feel like I am coming out of some knitting doldrums, and since all of my projects seemed hard last week I pulled out a bit of hand painted mohair of questionable provenance. It was sold to me on E-Bay as Colinette. Really I have no reason to disbelieve it as it came in a lot with other more identifiable skeins, but it came pre-wound without tags, so the colourway’s name etc. eludes me.

I am knitting — wait for it — a stockinette stitch scarf, but the colours are pretty:

toasty-knitting

The colours remind of Stravinsky‘s The Firebird (I grew up in a household aware of ballet above many other, perhaps more sensible, things). Here is a painting by Léon Bakst to give you an idea:

leon_bakst_001

I feel such nostalgia for the early 20th Century avant garde; it always appeals to me. In this particular example, I especially like the tuft of armpit hair.

I always like the the avant garde from the 19th Century too — especially Chopin. That may come back to ballet again and spending hours each week through my childhood in a room with someone playing music on a piano: Chopin featured heavily.

I have been sick for a couple weeks now and nothing much has been getting done, except things that can be done from the couch. This skein has taken me several days to complete, but I am very happy with the results.

I bought this mohair roving from Inger Maaike’s Etsy store a few weeks ago:

I wasn’t sure what to do with it, as it was so dense I think I could probably have beaten someone with it. There was no way I could have drafted it as I spun. I did have it suggested to me that I could predraft it, but that is singularly unappealing to me.

This makes my drum carder perfect:

Isn’t it pretty, like mermaids tresses:

I would like to say that the sign that says to keep hands clear means it:

I don’t think I would trust a motorized one of these, and I really wouldn’t recommend one to anyone with problems with depth perception.

Finally the batts were done:

I have never spun mohair before. I thought I would attempt my first lace weight with it, but mohair is slippery and this was not going to happen, so I just started spinning a single.

It’s so shiny.

I thought back to Diane Varney’s Spinning Designer Yarns and decided this would be the perfect time to try boucle. I did the tricky plying as directed and came up with this:

It is a little odd, but I think it will be fine when knit — curly.

One of the best things about a long car ride is time to knit, and driving from Saskatoon to Kansas is very far. I spent at least 6 days in the car and knit almost the whole time — and I finished the Leaves and Waves shawl from Knitty, Fall 2004 by Kat Coyle.

I am so smitten with the shawl now it is done and absolutely over the moon about the fact that the oldest work in progress from my work basket is done.

It took so long because I got bogged down in the stocking stitch section. I don’t think I would ever do another project with quite this combination of yarn, stitch pattern, and size of pattern — I kept dropping stitches, but the dropped stitches were almost invisible in the mohair. Ironically, the lace sections went faster.

I could have knit several sweaters in the time it took me to make this.

All the same it is beautiful now, and it is just sufficiently unusual to really appeal to me. I like traditional lace, but it never looks like I would really like to wear it. This on the over hand is (in my opinion) a perfect combination of traditional stitching and textures with asymmetrical design.

It is also rectangular, and for some reason I find rectangular shawls to be more wearable, and I wear a lot of shawls. I think it is because I treat them like security blankets — just call me Linus.

When I was a child, one of my favourite stories involved a prince who fell in love with a commoner who would not marry him until he had a trade, so he learned to weave cloth. They ruled for several years, but he didn’t know how people really lived in his country, so he dressed as a poor man and went out into the city to see for himself.

He was taken by a group of priests to a cave and forced to work with others as slaves. He found an old friend in the cave and together they made a very precious piece of cloth that would only be suitable for the queen, and in it he wove the story of his capture and where he and the others were being held.

This was done in such a cunning way that the priests would not be able to understand the message, but the queen would. Whereupon she rescued everyone.

This story mesmerized me — I loved the idea of a message in the cloth, and I was thinking of how to do something like that myself.

This is my scarf with a secret message in progress:

So far the message is really secret as you can’t see the way I have rendered Morse code into the stitch pattern, but I will be more explicit and post symbol charts for this particular rendering in a few days.

I will now leave you with a final picture and a note: it is an Armenian story called Anaeet.

February 2017
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