That's what this is. Remember that post about colour blending with handcards in which I mentioned the 2009 Rampton Project? I said I was going to make a bag for my head? I've made some decisions since then. (Well of course I have, that was weeks, er, months ago. Bother. Where has the time gone?)
I'm going to make something based on Susette's p-chullo pattern, a simply beautiful hat available free on Ravelry and from her blog, Knitting Letters: A to Z. If you've never heard of it, go and read the first entry now, then savour the rest slowly. I ration myself to one per week as I re-read them. The pattern requires 10 colours; I'm going to work from a photograph, as I did for 'Hellebore'. This photo.
Taken just as the early morning sun rose above the hills east of Inveroran on the West Highland Way, it was the start of one of the best days of my life. What better way to commemorate it than by using those colours in a hat? In the margin of my colour laser hardcopy I've written: dawn sky; river/cloud; grassgold; beachbrown; islet brown; bright grass green; mid grass green; dark grass green; shadowblue; cloud. The list has been laughing at me for nearly a month while I tried to find both the time and the space in my head to make these colours from dyed wool and silk. This weekend is the beginning. I've got sky, river/cloud, and a start on grassgold, which looks like this on the handcard and as a rolag:
The white is filament silk cut to roughly the same length as the dyed merino. Note the dyed silk noil; I'm using dabs of bright yellow, an orange, and a few hints of bright green. I'll use the same colours in the browns and in the greens, but the proportions of each will change. I might add some heather pink/purple to one of the browns. I haven't started spinning this yet; I'll save any rolags that end up the wrong colour (one so far) to practice. The pattern calls for Berroco Ultra Alpaca and, fortunately, I have some so I've made a control card from a small sample, including one of the singles (it's a 3-ply). I want to roughly match the weight so I don't have to fiddle overmuch if at all with the stitch count. I've got at least another two afternoons of carding before I deserve to spin any of this. Yes, spinning is the reward. I'm warning you, if you don't spin, beware: it's addictive. I had no difficulty kicking my trivial Geo Defense habit... I'd much rather be spinning :-)
Let's see, what else can I show off? I love to post pictures of a shawl blocking, but you'll have to settle for Aeolian on the needles ready to bind off.
Once again I CANNOT get the photo to do justice to the yarn. That's Blue Moon Fiber Arts silk thread II in Rook-y, and it's simply, utterly gorgeous. The Raven Clan colours are striking on wool, but on silk they're beyond beautiful. The shawl pattern is great fun, but I have serious reservations about the beads. There are a LOT of beads on this. The shawl is so heavy that I've wondered whether a heavily beaded shawl, say one with a border of real silver beads, could be used as a lethal weapon. Swing this thing by one corner and the entire length would wrap tightly around someone else's throat like a bolas. Beading it added at least a third to the time needed to knit it and... I'm almost certain I don't like it. Just too much glitter. So I'll bind it off tonight, block it tomorrow and I might just attack it with a hammer on Tuesday. Beads are glass. In a contest with a hammer, they'll lose.
No photos of any walks, though. Of course there have been walks! We broke out the big packs a fortnight ago for 13 miles there-and-back on the Monsal Trail, along the Wye in Derbyshire. Last weekend we took my sister and her husband to Ashopton and walked about 12 miles along Derwent Edge. Next weekend... who knows? But it's no wonder I've had difficulty finding spare afternoons for the Rampton Project. Especially as there has been spinning.
Hullo, my name is Sarah, I have a problem... and I love it!
This is 640m of noiled silk singles, spun from Gnomespun's Surprise Sapphire (a custom blend). Dan's got a really good eye for colour. This wanted to be a weaving yarn, so it's gone to Lynn.
This was fun: 255m of 2-ply lace spun from a 50g (less a good handful given away as samples) cloud of dehaired guanaco from Heathylee in Derbyshire. Treated harshly in hot water, then thoroughly thwacked, it's very soft. I've decided I really, really like spinning shortish fibres from clouds; it's good fun and I just rather like the imagery :-)
What else... this is 88m of 3-ply 'Jackaroo', 'Come in Spinner' dyed Polwarth from the Socktopus Fibre Academy Club. I've decided this club will be an opportunity to challenge myself by spinning outside my comfort zone; for this I wanted something bouncy and warm and significantly thicker than my usual lace singles.
I think there's enough to make a hat to replace the one I lost on Derwent Edge a month or so back. There's more, but I have to go and deal with the hamburglar* buns for dinner tonight. Lesson for today: if you alternate making bread and making rolags, you might be able to avoid bits of dough in the rolags, but you will not be able to avoid bits of rolag in the dough. I picked the big lumps out, maybe he won't be able to distinguish the rest from the usual cat hair.
A final thought. If you like being active outdoors, if you climb or ski or dream of whitewater kayaking, there's a podcast for you at The Dirtbag Diaries. Good stories, well told, with well-chosen music and silence, as appropriate.
*Don't mess with my stash. Srsly.*