Shameless shameless pretty

Yes, yes  the obsession continues.  No, I am not sorry.  I’m also not done, so there are going to be at least a few more of these.

rainbow curl 4But, in the interest of being useful, I’ll answer a few questions.  Yes, it’s skinny pencil roving (about sport weight maybe?  I’m knitting on 4s.).  No, I’d never seen it before either, but I’m fond of it.  No, I don’t know where to find this exact stuff (I got it at Rhinebeck, three years ago, at a jewelry stand that just happened to have this one kind of yarn), but if you search etsy for pencil roving, you’ll find something similar.  Yes, it does pull apart if you sneeze on it too hard, and yes you’ll want to keep a very light touch.  But, once it’s knit up, it’s surprisingly sturdy.

But don’t worry, it’s not all rainbows all the time.  We’ll be back to your more traditional sock stylings tomorrow.  Anemochory is coming back out (be sure you’re on the mailing list if you want a heads up and a coupon when they do) and they are totally rainbow free.

anemochory d small

One more row

Right, so, I’m starting to want everything I knit to be in gradient yarn.  The knitting would go much much faster.  Everybody else really really really wants to get through one more color change before they stop too, right?  That’s totally normal I’m sure…

rainbown curl 2

Uncharacteristic

So you know me.  You know I knit with skinny yarn.  Skinny gray yarn (with occasional hints of grayish blue or grayish brown for variety).  I knit small things, mostly tubes, and on dpns.

Which makes the appearance of this at the top of my stash somewhat perplexing.

rainbow pencil roving And the slow emergence of this doubly so.

rainbow curl 1Not quite sure how I feel about this development, I’d better knit some more to check…

Stanch the Bleeding

When last we left the pillow, it was in a rather precarious state, feathers open to the world, at the mercy of any of the Kitten Overlords.  I want this pillow to be an elongated tetrahedron (think a 4 sided die, stretched).  So basically I needed to close the open side up perpendicular to the original seam.

It quickly became apparent that this would be an iterative process.  First stanch the bleeding by whatever means necessary  (the feathers wanted to escape everywhere).  In this case, binder clips.

DSC_0684The next step was to get a seam – any seam – in there just to hold the explosion at bay.  Tidy was not the goal, keeping the feathers in was the goal.  Then I shook the feathers down as much as possible, folded my messy seam over into a slightly tidier bundle, and stitched it down again.  It looks like 8 shades of hell, but it will be forever trapped inside a pillow and never seen by anyone but me (and, well, I guess now also you, but you won’t tell).  I decided functional and finished was more important than perfect and never ever ever done.

DSC_0688So that’s the goal for the shape, now what about the cover.  I thought it was long enough, but alas no.

DSC_0685I had wanted the light part to be about half as long as the dark part.  If I keep going in the light, they’ll be close to the same size, and that won’t be what I was going for.  So I’m going to throw in one skinny dark stripe, then knit the rest of the length I need with the lightest shade.  I’m particular about stripes, but I think this will end up being just perfect.

No really, I have a plan

Remember the most boring soothing knitting ever?  The pillow case made with pencil roving in lovely shades of calm and sleep?

DSC_0671Yeah, it’s fought its way back into my lap for some knitting time.  But before I could go too much farther with it, I needed to actually get the pillow it’s going to go around.  I want the final product it to be pretty big, so I went with one that’s 18×26.  So if I left well enough alone, we’d be somewhere like this.

DSC_0674But I am not leaving well enough alone.  Because what fun would there be in that.  I’m doing some pillow surgery.  This should go super well.  I’m sure nothing will go wrong with this plan at all.DSC_0681

 

Wrap up

So, the pillow is approaching its end, and I find myself with a question.

I began with Judy’s Magic Cast On, which let me get all my stitches on the needles and ready to start knitting in a nice, tidy, seamless fashion.  If I were working with a sturdier wool (ie, not pencil roving), I would just kitchner the sides together when I was ready to bind off.  But, kitchner (where you have to drag your working yarn through each stitch two times) is too taxing for this pencil roving.  It won’t take the stress of all that tugging.

So, I want something that makes as seamless a join as possible, but is worked without having to break the yarn, thread a darning needle, and drag the yarn through the individual stitches.  My first thought was three needle bind off, but that’s only really moderately seamless if you work it from the wrong side.  And, for a host of reasons, most having to do with pillowforms and stubbornness, I need to work this one from the right side.

So you guys are way smarter than me.  What are your favorite ways to join two bits of fabric, from the right side, as seamlessly as possible, without having to drag a tail through stitch after stitch after stitch?

Stripes

There is probably some sort of limit to how many times I can show you a rectangle of brown fabric and expect you to continue to feign any sort of interest.  We’ve probably actually reached that limit already, and I fear the addition of a few stripes, no matter how lovely, may not make much difference.  They’re proving unreasonably entertaining to me though.

pencil roving pillowcaseI’m taking them as a lovely demonstration of how nicely all the various undyed shades of sheep-y goodness seem to go together.  The next step is to obtain (and them modify) a pillow form.  I have an idea for a sewing project turned geometry pop quiz that should work out nicely.  I just need to find a way to ensure a kitten free area while I do a bit of impromptu surgery on a down pillow.  Open pillow plus kittens seems like asking for trouble.

Withhold Judgement

I know this looks like a jumbled mess right now (I assure you, I am very very aware of that), but I have absolute faith that it will be exactly what I pictured when I’m done.  I’m going for this whole elongated tetrahedron thing.  It will be an extremely snuggly pillow (that I can already tell just from petting it), and I will be delighted with it.  But right now it looks like a willful pile of mistakes and regrets.

pillow caseI did get more pencil roving (thanks for the suggestions last time, I have a feeling I’m go want to experiment more with this stuff in the future).  I ordered this from etsy.  It went in the mail about 10 minutes after I ordered it and came a day or two later.  It’s super soft (markedly softer than the stuff I already had) and looks absolutely delightful.  It will be a perfect fit for what I have in mind.  I totally recommend it if anyone else is looking for some.

Plain

I’m as surprised as you are.  I know what I normally knit socks and accessories, with fairly small fairly soft yarn, using intricate stitch patterns.  So imagine my surprise when I found myself clicking away on the plainest pillow in the world, made out of pencil roving (which is neither soft nor small).  I’ll be doing something interesting with the shape, but pencil roving does not lend itself to fancy stitch patterns, so lots and lots of stockinette it is.

pillow case Speaking of pencil roving, I’m totally going to run out.  Or rather, I’m going to want to make several of these things and I don’t have enough yardage to make as many as I want.  Anybody have a good source for more?  I’ve found some on etsy I think will do.  But an awful lot of the ones on there are skinny, and this is quite thick.  If anybody has a good source, I’d love to know (especially for undyed stuff in a range of nice sheep-y colors).  Handy pic with ruler for showing how big the strands are…

pencil roving

Oh the Weather Outside was Frightful…

But my hat was so delightful! See, I told you the hat was much cuter on.

And warm…very very warm.  I’m fairly sure I could stand outside in that bluster and blow for just about forever and my head would not be cold. (Please pardon the blowing hair, it really was kind of stormy outside.  We’re standing in the driveway out of the main force of it because otherwise the tassel sticks straight out in the wind.  Speaking of tassel, it’s really the tassel that makes the whole thing, it’s ridiculously fun.)

Everyone should immediately go get their very own wheel (plate, disc, what are those things called) of pencil roving and make their own.  1×1 ribbing for a row or two in a contrasting yarn, 3×1 ribbing for a nice long time, decrease, add tassel.  It will take you about two days if you dawdle. You won’t regret it!