Posted on Leave a comment

In the Works

I’m going to be honest, (I say this, though, I always am when I am writing to you, dear readers), it has not been a very productive week on the fiber arts front. I have been doing a lot of reading and research on various topics lately. In particular, I’ve suddenly become very interested in soap-making.
You see, in my day job, and I may have mentioned this before, I specialize in selling Kansas-made products. I have two very good soap-makers whose work I sell in my shop. I had a customer complain to me directly that the soaps we carried contained lye. Now, I’ve heard this before, but it had never been broached to me directly.

Naturally, I was a little taken aback, because I was under the impression that lye was necessary in soap-making, I told her that all soap had lye in it–I thought I remembered that much from when we made soap in chemistry class in high school. Later, just to make sure I wasn’t inadvertently lying, I looked it up and found this blog post from Humblebee & Me and was relieved to see that I was correct. At the same time, I discovered a really cool new blog, which I plant on exploring more thoroughly. Naturally, I looked up a local soap maker, at lovingsoap.com a soap maker out of Kansas City, to see if there were any classes in my area. She has an affiliate link to Brambleberry.com and suddenly I was so far down the rabbit hole of soap-making that I am already a soap-maker in my head, even though I have never ever tried it, outside that one day in Chemistry Class in 2001.

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of research about soap-making and ruminating on my blog and the roll it plays in my business (by the way, did you notice that I put up a survey a couple days ago, please won’t you fill it in?) and so my knitting has not really been so impressive this week.

I knit exactly 3 1/2 inches on my Thrysos, but it feels like I should be so much further along.
thrysos blouse onto body
I am using smaller needles than I remembered, and things are going slower than I counted on. But I love, love, love this yarn at this gauge. It’s pretty gorgeous; look at that stockinette! Every now and then I remind myself that I am knitting a sweater for me out of silk and merino and it keeps me motivated to finish it.

In light of me hosting a KAL in a couple weeks, I did a little bit of swatching to try out needles size on my handspun. I decided on size sevens. Here’s a look at the alpaca swatch I made.
pogona swatch
I am loving the handspun. I can’t wait until July 1st. If you want to join us for the KAL, just stop by the PFA Ravelry group and you’re in.

In the meantime, I ordered a cold press soap kit from brambleberry.com, where I have spent way too much time the last few days. It’s a lot of fun to learn about something new.

What’s driving you lately?

Posted on 2 Comments

Thrysos Blouse

Shortly before Felix was born, in a fit of sheer optimism, I cast on a warm-weather blouse for myself. The idea was to knit the lacy yoke before the baby was born, so I could knit away on the solid stockinette body when I didn’t have a mind for anything else. I tried my best for a week to finish the yoke, but as the sweater grew, and so did my discomfort, I realized I wasn’t going to make it. The night before I went into labor, I broke down and cast on two pairs of socks, which has pretty much been what I have been knitting on since the baby came.

A few days ago, I picked up my Thrysos again. I was only two pattern repeats away from finishing the yoke and casting off the sleeves. That glorious stockinette body was in sight!

I set out to finish the yoke this past weekend…I don’t know what I was thinking, setting a goal like that when I know how big I am, which means the sweater must be at least equally as big–and out of sock yarn, that’s a lot of stitches–with an infant in the house, and a garden to tend, and a house to clean, and a seven year-old to love…so yes. I didn’t make it. While writing this, I only have four more rows before I cast off the sleeves, that’s 481 stitches four more times,(this is why round yoked summer tops are the best, the sleeves are done with the yoke!) and here’s what I’m dealing with.

Thrysos yoke
It’s kind of a bunchy mess. (Don’t mind the pictures, they were taken on a rainy day, with black yarn, in the early evening, and you can see all the cat hair from where my yellow cat slept on it. The fates were conspiring against me–and retaking them was apparently not something I was willing to put extra energy into, see previous paragraph for why.) Granted, I am using my 24 inch needles and knitting a 40+ inch sweater, it is only natural that there is some bunchiness. I am finding the lace pattern super bunchy as well.

thrysos lace patter
It took a lot of effort to get that blurry shot, mostly because of the darkness, but also because the lace pattern is one of those that needs to be aggressively blocked to work. You can kind of see what it’s supposed to look like if you cross your eyes and tilt your head at a funny angle. (Warning, don’t try this one at home, I pulled about 20 stitches off the needles getting this shot.)

I keep hoping that if I can just get through the sleeves, this thing will fly off the needles. It might be optimistic, but this whole project was conceived thus. I have to finish it by July 1st though, because I need these needles for my pogona.