WARNING: This is will be a knitting and fiber heavy post, so if you are uninterested in those things, now is the time to wander away.
A few months ago, Karie mentioned on Twitter that she was looking for test knitters. I volunteered right away, but I didn't have a chance to cast on for her lovely scarf until last night, owing to first the kilt hose, and then the Haruni shawl. The Larisa scarf is knit out of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and bookended by a few rows of beading on each side. It is both my first time using KSH1 and my first time beading. I was able to pick up the KSH in Barrie at the Knit and Quilt shop, which is the largest yarn store I've ever been in, and well worth the stop if you are in the area. The beads proved more problematic--there are a few beading stores in town, as well as WalMart, but I had absolutely no luck finding 8/0 seedbeads anywhere. Lots of 6/0, lots of 10/0, but no 8/0s. Just as I was about to succumb and just buy some from the internet, I had a flash of inspiration and decided to check my bead stash to see if I had any. I had a single packet of 8/0s (which I do not recollect buying) that were somehow, mysteriously, the exact colour (hematite) that I was going to order from the internet. Obviously it was meant to be. The grey of the beads looks pretty fab against the red of the yarn, if I do say so myself.
I was able to cast on for Larisa because I finished my Haruni this morning! The second chart involves increasing very rapidly and results in approximately 530 stitches before you begin decreasing again. That's a lot of stitches to knit back and forth, so the last chart really felt like a long slog. The leaves are just gorgeous, though. For some unknown reason, I own approximately 4 crochet hooks in a 6.0/6.5mm size, but none smaller. The crochet bind-off required a small crochet hook, so I had to run out to Wal-Mart last night at 9 p.m.2 I wasn't sure if they'd have my size (a 3.75mm) because I wasn't sure if they'd do quarter millimetre measurements in crochet hooks. That shows you how little I know; they actually had over twenty different sizes of crochet hooks, and apparently on the smaller end of the spectrum they actually make them in 1mm increments. Crazy. The Haruni is made from Fleece Artist's Woolie Silk 2-ply, which they have since discontinued (sniff sniff). It's lovely stuff, but I already have a shawl made in this colour, so I'm considering overdyeing it.
The other thing I got accomplished in the last week was the washing and setting of my second skein of handspun yarn. I spun this ages ago on Girl Tuesday's wheel, which is a Louet S17 and then left it to languish. Girl has been pushing me to borrow the wheel again for a few weeks3, so I decided that if I wanted to do that, I need to actually make something from what I made last time. It's an alpaca-merino-silk blend from my favourite alpaca farm, Misty Haven Alpacas and it is destined to be Kink from the latest Knitty.
It is Mat's birthday today. I will not tell you how old he is, because he is embarassingly young. This year, I have been trying to write blog posts on people's birthdays about all of the reasons why I love those people, and what I think are the neatest things about them. I am not going to write about Mat now, though; I'm going to save it for a pre-wedding post. We are going out to a new pub tonight, which has both of our favourites on tap, and that is a good thing.
1 And I can definitely see why some call it Crack Silk Haze.
2 I do generally try to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart, but when it's 9 p.m. and you need a crochet hook, there are relatively few other options.
3 I suspect, though I can't confirm, that she hopes that if I have the wheel and she can't spin, that she will stop buying roving on Etsy. ;)