Friday, August 15, 2008

Storm Clouds

This last week in Vermont has been full of misty mornings and magnificent thunderstorms. I wish I could paint the the mist nestling around the white pines, or the clouds rolling, dark and tumultuous, across the sky. But as my medium is fiber, what I did was knit myself a little storm cloud to wrap around my shoulders.

This was the first garment that I knit out of my own handspun. I started with 3.5 ounces of silvery kid mohair from an angora goat farm in Connecticut. It was drum carded, which loosened up the locks, but I still flick carded the whole batch to align the fibers and sort out second cuts and fiber tangles. Here's a handful of fiber to give you a sense of it:

I spun it on my spindle over several weeks into into a fingering weight, Andean-plied yarn. It took me a while to figure out how to get those silky, slick fibers to behave, but I ended up with about 150 yards of usable yarn. I had half a dozen small hanks - like this one - and I used Russian joins to seamlessly weave them together (Andean-plied yarn works well with Russian joins, because one end of each yarn strand already has a tidy loop)

Since I wasn' t sure how much of a wrap I'd get out of that yardage, I wanted something that I could knit until the yarn ran out, and that would be usable at any size. I settled on a half-circle shawl in elongated garter stitch, constructed along the lines of Elizabeth Zimmerman's pi shawl. It's just big enough for a traditional shoulder shawl (I'll never wear it this way, but it shows off the size):

I prefer to wear it wrapped asymmetrically around my shoulders. For the time being, I'm fastening it with a spiral pin that I improvised from galvanized steel wire. I'll be keeping my eyes out for a lightweight pewter pin - let me know if you have any suggestions!

This shawlette is also the perfect size to casually nestle around my neck. This is where the mohair really shows off its special qualities: it floats like a cloud and creates the most luscious, airy layers rather than just sinking into a mass. So, I do feel like I've reached up to the sky and grabbed a stormcloud to cloak myself in!

I promise a pattern in the next post ...

8 comments:

ponyknit said...

Beautiful! Lovely handspun, I'll be watching for the pattern ;)

Kim O'Brien said...

I'm sure we shared many of the same storms because the Adirondacks were quite wet and windy. But the shawl and yarn look yummy! And your cat is quite the elegant model. See you soon (and you can explain what half those terms mean in your post--I feel like such a beginner!).

nicole said...

How lovely! It looks so beautiful on you!

tara said...

so pretty!

mollymollymoonpie said...

Simply elegant, and a wonderful example of what handspinning is all about.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Your wrap is beautiful. Isn't it nice to knit something out of your own handspun?

Kathy said...

A lovely lovely creation. Beautifully photographed you as well! I welcome the pattern

maryeb said...

I found your contest blog and decided to check out your knitting blog.
Among my many interests, I love to knit for myself, family and friends.
I also love to read about other knitters adventures!

This is a very cute wrap. I love the yarn you chose for it.