Thursday, October 2, 2014

Phew! And a little tip on using gradient handspun yarn

I have been dealing with tomatoes for a month, along with the other vegetables and berries that came ripe. I have dried tomatoes, made tomato soup, made tomato bean soup, made chicken cacciatore, frozen tomatoes (12 quarts of the little buggers!), and canned some tomato salsa. There are still a few tomatoes on the vine and some green tomatoes in the refrigerator that will become Fried Green Tomatoes this weekend. And the red raspberries started about the same time. Then there was the cleanup of the green beans and other veggies that are done for the year. I finished most of the difficult work this morning, so I only need to keep an eye on the 6 cabbages and the lima beans and carrots. That seems like smooth sailing compared to the vegetable/fruit marathon I've been running this summer!

I've also been playing with spinning and using my own gradient carded batts and those very pretty gradient-dyed rovings that we're seeing everywhere. I started with the batts and wove a scarf (more on that in another post) just to see what would happen. It's gorgeous! Then I spun one of my gradient batts and designed a shawlette to see if my idea of blooming lilacs would work out (again, we'll cover that in another post). Yep, it almost worked but needs a little refinement in the spinning.

While cruising Ravelry to see what others had done with gradient yarns, I noticed that the knitted shawls had ever-decreasing (or ever-increasing, depending on which direction you're knitting) bands of color as the shawl grew outward. And I don't like that. Usually I like asymmetry but not in a shawl or shawlette, it just looks unbalanced to me. So I pulled out a 4 oz. roving that was a little too bright for my taste and spun it up to play with--if it was an abject failure it wouldn't matter because I don't personally care for the colors. This is the shawlette I designed for the yarn:

It's begun at the center and knitted outward and, as you can see, the bands of color are almost equal. How did I do it? Since it was a 4 oz. piece, I decided there was some sort of mathematical progression that related the length of color stripes to the length of the edge. No, I didn't do the math--I hate math!--I just guessed at it. That's why it was an experiment! Anyway, splitting the 4 oz. roving lengthways left me with two 2-oz. pieces. I split one of them again, giving me one 2-oz piece and two 1-oz. pieces.

I spun each separately, washed them and thwacked them to knock some sense into the singles yarn and make it behave, then I started knitting. I used the two 1-oz skeins first, then the 2-oz skein last. Since the color stripes were longer in the 2-oz skein it compensated quite well and the bands of color are almost equal. You could probably play with this a bit more--I wonder how it would work with a 6 oz. or 8 oz. strip of roving?--but it's not going to be me that plays with it.

If anyone decides to play with this idea, please let me know what you discover. It would be a fascinating exploration, and a good excuse to go buy some gradient-dyed roving.

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