Dark, dark yarn

It’s 80 degrees out today, yet Salem is full-swing into October’s Haunted Happenings.  It’s only October 10th and so far I’ve survived the second annual Zombie Walk, which is silly, but I get it, the first annual Steampunk Walk, which I totally do not get, two weekends of Crazy Costumed Crowds, and criminally inflated prices on fried dough concessions.  It used to cost $3.00 a piece for most of the month, and then the price would go up to $5.00 for the last weekend in October through Halloween. This is the second year in a row stands have charged $5.00 all month long. ENOUGH!!

It’s crazy hot today, in a scary, global-warming kind of way, but that meant one last day to sit on the porch with a book, some knitting and my furry little friend Spike.  I’m reading Matthew Pearl’s The Poe Shadow, a mystery set in Baltimore shortly after Edgar Allen Poe’s death in 1849. I love period historical fiction, though I do find myself wondering how exciting this story can actually get, since Poe dies before the story opens and we’re following a protagonist who barely knew him as he tries to solve the mysterious circumstances of Poe’s death. I’m enjoying the period details, and Pearl’s imagining of early Baltimore.  After all, October is perfect for Poe, and all Poe-related musings.

I'm in a Goth mood today.

On the needles today: I present Almondine, a pattern by Anne Hanson from Ann Budd’s new  book Sock Knitting Master Class. It’s a simple but elegant lace pattern–nice mindless knitting, as lace patterns go. You can see how the diamond shapes undulate through the sock.  There are tiny lace peepholes in there as well.

The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts’ Blackbird colorway, in lightweight superwash merino. It’s black without really having black in it, and I like that.  It’s all dark purples, reds, greens and blues.  There may be a tiny bit of black in there but I can’t tell anymore. I flipped through several sock books to find a pattern to do this colorway justice and once I saw Almondine my search was over.  The colors put me in a Halloween mood.  I’m quite smitten with the slightly goth turn this sock is taking, with its lacy diamonds snaking their way down the leg. I believe this sock would look equally fabulous on zombies as well as steampunks! I was going to knit something from Cookie A.’s Sock.Knit.Love. but the patterns there were way too technical and I wasn’t in the mood.  I’ll save Cookie A. for another day.

I made yarn!

I’m still zipping through that 8-ounce bag of Romney/alpaca blend fiber I bought in August.  I have two roughly equal-sized balls of yarn.  I need to decide whether I want two-ply or three-ply, though right now I’m nowhere near plying.  But happily, the spinning is coming along nicely.  I need to pick up the pace on the spinning end of things. I’ve been spinning for two years but have never knit anything from my handspun except for a couple of swatches.  I’ve barely even plied.  This yarn is destined for something warm, elegant and useful. I’m determined that his will be the first yarn I knit a project with.  It will not end up with the other random balls of yarn sitting in my cabinet. It never fails to blow my mind that I’m actually making yarn. I mean, who makes yarn?! I can’t remember how I became interested in spinning in the first place, but somehow I came across some examples and wanted to know more about the process of making yarn from start to finish, of taking ownership and having complete control over color and thickness.  It was definitely before Ravelry, and I can barely remember anything pre-Ravelry except for a handful of outstanding blogs. It was probably Hello Yarn, since I bought a beginner spinning kit from her five years ago or so.

I started knitting Almondine Saturday night and so I’m quickly knitting up this first sock while watching TV.  The weather will get cooler sooner or later, no more sitting outside to knit.  I had a good summer, but I love autumn so I won’t be sorry to see the hot weather go.  Now I can look forward to knitting inside with some cocoa or hot apple cider, and Spike flopped down on the couch next to me.  Sometimes…he tries to lick my knitting…

Have you met Spike?! 😉


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