Sunday, May 03, 2020

The Pandemic Pile Grows

You may recall that in the early days of this pandemic (or least the early days of the stay at home orders), my knitting and reading mojo went AWOL and all I really felt like doing was crocheting and spinning. As a result of that time, I finished my giant granny square blanket and I've been positively plowing through my fiber stash. I've gone through more than a pound and a half of fiber in the past month and a half or so, including about half a pound alone in the last week. I think I've solved the mystery of why my knees have been so cranky with me lately -- too much time treadling! But I have to say that in the case of the most recent finished skein, it was absolutely worth it.

Part of the fiber backlog I've been trying to get through is shipments from the HipStrings Synergy fiber club that Jill was putting together for a while. If you're at all familiar with HipStrings, then you know that what the company is known for is really creative and unusual fiber blends. The club was really thoughtfully put together, offering in each shipment a miniature fiber study of sorts. This one was earmarked in my 20 in 2020 list because I loved the classic simplicity of it. The shipment contained about 2 oz. each of four shades of naturally colored wool that was a blend of 50% Shetland and 50% BFL. It was just begging to be spun into gradient, but rather than spin each color on its own or spin them all in order and chain plying, I decided to do more of a fade by spinning a traditional three ply, with each ply being made up of one section of each of the four shades. Because I am human and not a machine, I knew that the transitions would be gradual, meaning that the color changes would happen in slightly different spots in each ply.

I think if you look closely here you can see a bit of the marling effect where this happened. I'm quite pleased with it and think it will make for a gentler transition when I knit this up.

I'm planning to turn this into a relatively simple top-down shawl, something classic and cozy to show off the yarn. It ended up being about fingering weight and approximately 559 yards according to my estimates (for the mass, I would have expected more, but that's the BFL content for you). This finished skein was large enough that I had to get out my miniSpinner to ply it, and I honestly couldn't remember the last time I'd spun on that week -- I actually had to dust it off first! I suppose my knees would appreciate my using it more often now.

I pulled some more HipStrings fiber out to spin up next so I can add to this quickly growing pile of yarn that has been completed since I started staying at home:

I hope that you've had as nice of a weekend as I have. We got really lucky and have had two nice and fairly warm days in a row. Yesterday I went for a really good run and today we met up with my in-laws and my brother- and sister-in-law and nephew (socially distanced, of course) to take a long walk through the woods in one of our city parks. We spotted a deer and lots of chipmunks, and it was great to see everything getting green. I had a couple of nice Zoom calls with knitting friends, and I've had time to work on Rainbow's blanket and my shawl and to read a bit. Of course, under normal circumstances I'd be at Maryland Sheep and Wool this weekend, so I'm sad not to be seeing friends I'd normally see at the festival and sad for the vendors who are hurting from the cancellation of this and other festivals and events. I have been ordering from smaller vendors/indie dyers when I can and urge you to do the same if you're able. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Rhinebeck can safely occur later this year!


  1. Sarah! That skein turned out beautifully! Wow! Bravo to you! (and I did the tiniest bit of Sheep and Wool shopping this weekend!)

  2. I really loved your purple skein, but this one is equally beautiful in its own way! Here's to a week ahead that is as wonderful as your weekend!

  3. This gray gradient is so striking. Gray is so classic and I can picture a beautiful warm shawl. All of your spinning is wonderful. I love to read about it.

  4. Your yarn is gorgeous!! I'm so amazed.

    The NH Sheep and Wool festival had to cancel this year (it's usually on Mother's Day weekend). I'm relieved - I would have wanted to go to support the association but know I would have chose to stay at home for safety reasons. It's such a difficult time for all of these organizations!

  5. Your spinning is beautiful and giving me a new appreciation for what spinner do.

  6. I will be curious to see how events like these re-establish themselves, ultimately. I was supposed to be at the Denver Postcard & Paper Show this past weekend, and it's been postponed 'til September. Which, of course, no one is holding their breath about! I'm going to follow your lead, though, and do some online ordering. That's really the best option for everyone, at least for now... (And I can't wait to see that top down shawl!)

  7. That skein is my favorite so far - and I even understood what you said about how you decided to spin/ply it!! I had a dream last night about being in a shop, and it was crowded, and folks were so close to each other. and of course no one was wearing a mask. I woke up in a panic! It's hard to imagine what "gatherings" are going to look like...