When we got our new front loader washer, I was pretty sure I could not felt in it. But, according to Kathy, you can. Unfortunately, I found that out first hand, although unintentionally. I washed all my handknit socks, as usual, and imagine my dismay when two pair came out felted!
The ones on the right are some pretty old socks from Mountain Colors Bearfoot. No big loss – as you can see they've faded at different rates. From the very first washing I might add. But the ones on the left are brand new. This was their very first washing! They are out of Araucania. And I loved them! The socks didn't even have the good grace to shrink all over, but just widthwise, so there's no use taking them down to the granddaughters. I checked the settings on the machine and the only difference is that I usually wash on warm/cold and the setting had been changed to warm/warm. It's hard to believe it would make that much difference. The 8 other pair in the wash are just fine. So, I will not be using Araucania again, despite how luscious it is. Problem is, I already have a pair started:
These are Nutkins (and yes, I did check that they are indeed Nutkins) and were destined as a birthday gift for a friend. However, I can not in good conscience gift socks that might shrink, so I will be looking for another yarn for her. These were a little larger than my size, but the pattern is pretty stretchy, so I will keep them for myself and hope for the best. That does, however, leave me with a dilemma. I currently have four projects started. That is pretty much my limit for "knitting peace". Do I start a new pair for her so that I will be sure and have them for her birthday in mid-April? Probably so. I can put the Nutkins aside and the Evenstar shawl knitting is pretty sporadic as the clues only come out every two weeks. I'm almost done with the clue that came out Friday:
This is a nice project, although the charts are a little odd. Nothing an experienced lace knitter can't decipher, but I think it's got the new lace knitters' knickers in a little bit of a twist.
I've started on Ivy's Christmas sweater. I'm very excited about it. Abby has expressed the desire this year to be surprised, so I will not be posting progress photos. However, if you'd like to see it, pop on over to Ravelry and check it out on my project page. Just don't be too specific in your comments, please. If you're not on Ravelry and want to see, leave a comment and I'll email you a photo.
I've been spending a lot of time on spinning lately and I think all the practice is beginning to pay off:
This is Ashland Bay merino, Baltic blue, two ply. It's about 20 wpi and the most even yarn I've made so far. I messed up on the plying of the other 1/3 of it, so it doesn't match very well, so there's a not a huge amount that's usable. I'm hoping they'll be enough for a pair of fingerless mitts. However, I just finished plying another batch of the same fiber in the color Riverstone (brown, with hints of blue and yellow) that came out fabulous! It's a 3 ply and still came out to 20 wpi (about a sport weight). There was very little waste on this and I figure I have about 450-500 yards. I think this will be destined for a nice cowl for the Christmas box. I'll post a picture next week. It's currently hanging on a towel rack in the bathroom drying.
One of the things hubby told me when I retired was that I would be so busy that I would wonder when I ever had time to work. He is so right! It seems that my days are so full and I don't get done half the things I'd like to! I haven't even touched my scrapbooking and there's some hand quilting that I had hoped to get accomplished. But, I also have to keep reminding myself I don't have to get everything done the first few months. And I'm having lots and lots of fun. Abby and the girls came down last Monday and spent the night. I taught Abby how to use my old Bernina and she started working on curtains for the girls. I may have just enabled another sewer. I certainly hope so!
One last picture. Saturday before last I met with our quilt group at church and we worked on American Hero quilts for returning soldiers. I started this one and brought it home to finish:
We received a really nice letter from a nurse in Baghdad. Apparently there were enough quilts at Madigan Army Hospital that they sent some to Iraq to use for the soldiers who were transferring out from combat to the hospital in Germany. She said the soldiers who were conscious were so touched by the fact that someone they didn't know would make a quilt for them. And for the ones who weren't aware, the nurses said it gave them such pleasure to wrap them in a little bit of home.