Despite my best intentions, blogging really got away from me during the month of January. I decided instead of doing a bunch of little posts to catch up on all of my January knitting, I'd do one big round up post.
Here's a collage of my crafting FO's for January (click on the photo to go to flickr, where you'll find links to photos of each project):
January was a phenomenal knitting month for me, my needles were on fire. I started out committed to trying something new: knitting with my own handspun yarn. I was surprised by how challenging this was for me, as I adapted to variable and very much non-standard yarn gauge. You know when you're knitting with Cascade 220 that it's going to be, well... the same through the entire skein. I'm not quite at that point with my handspun yet. The start of the skein might be bulky, the middle worsted, the end DK - just not consistent yet (although I'm getting better!).
My first handspun knitting attempt was a cowl (upper left of the collage) knit from 2 ounces of BFL from A Verb for Keeping Warm, which has shaped up to be my favorite online source for fiber. A basic mix of garter stitch and stockinette, it's just big enough to cover my neck. Now, this is normally the kind of thing that would take all of an hour to knit up but it took something like 4 days because I would knit the cowl, discover it was too big, rip it out, start over, repeat, repeat, repeat. Once I figured out the right gauge, it zipped right along. (Ravelry project link)
I was more successful with my second handspun knitting project, a pair of Elizabeth Zimmerman's mitered mittens (upper right of the mosaic). All last year, I was inspired by the beautiful mitered mittens from Grace and Alice of kathrynivy and I knew I was going to knit some of these simple but fun-looking mittens at some point. When I finished spinning this Shetland roving from A Verb for Keeping Warm (colorway: Fruit Loops, from the AVFKW fiber club) I knew it was the perfect yarn. I finally started getting the hang of knitting with handspun with these mittens: I only had to rip them out once :) I love love love the finished mittens, they're so comfy and warm. (Ravelry project link)
Both projects in the middle row of the mosaic were knit with yarn that was a gift from Tim. The socks, which are a pair of Show Off Stranded Socks, were knit from a local fiber dyer named Jan (Daily Fibers). Tim got it for me for Christmas 2008 and I cast on for these socks the day after Christmas. I used my standard toe-up, two-socks-at-once, slip stitch toe and heel approach. This sock yarn is great, very soft and smooshy. (Ravelry project link)
The project on the left, a Montego Bay scarf, was knit from what people in the Ravelry Stash Knit Down group call The Shrine of Precious Yarns - yarns that are so special that you just can't bear to knit with them. Tim got me this yarn as a Christmas gift the year that I started knitting (2006? 2007?) and I was instantly intimidated by it. The yarn is La Luz from Fiesta Yarns - a gorgeous 100% silk handpainted yarn that's a total joy to knit with. I'd made several previous attempts to knit something, anything with this yarn and just never found the right pattern. Of course, it turned out the perfect pattern match had been sitting in front of me all along - the Montego Bay scarf from Interweave Knits. A great match between a yarn and a pattern PLUS it has a cool finge... does it get better than that (for me, at least)? (Ravelry project link)
In addition to knitting from my handspun yarn, I also did more spinning in January. I feel like I'm really getting the hang of the spinning process and most of the time, I'm ending up with some usable funky yarn. After I took this photo of the singles, I used Navajo plying to turn this into 3-ply yarn - which is drying right now.
My final project for January was probably my favorite knitting for the entire month. I'm a happy member of the Yarn Pirate's Booty Club, but I was totally thrown a curveball by January's shipment. We usually get a fingering weight yarn, which I generally knit up on #1 needles. This month's yarn, in a gorgeous colorway called Hope (very appropriate for the times) was DK weight. I'd be miserable wearing DK weight socks because they'd be too warm for Nashville, but DK weight is perfect for some fingerless gloves. I had two things in mind with these gloves. First, I've had the idea of elbow length gloves on my brain for weeks. I don't know why, I just thought "Elbow length gloves, that's totally what I need". It was turning into an obsession. Second, turtlegirl made some super-cool Leyburn socks as part of a Socks That Rock KAL and I decided the stitch pattern was the best thing ever for hand-dyed yarns. I'm totally going to make a pair of Leyburn socks but in the meantime an enterprising person applied the stitch pattern to fingerless gloves to create Mahayana Flying Gloves, to which I just added length and a bit of shaping to make them longer. I love it when multiple obsessions converge! (Ravelry project link)
Just because I love how it looks, here's a close up of the stitch pattern:
Also, it turned out to be a really smart thing to knit both gloves at one time on a single circular needle since I almost ran out of yarn!
That's it for January crafty projects. I've got some fun projects on the needles and the wheel so far in February, too! Happy crafting everyone!