Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Monday, April 19, 2004  

Well. Yesterday brought me a "No Duh!" moment as I bound off the gorgeous boucle fabric that was intended for the folded cuff brim of that plain blue hat. The hat is knit from a aran weight merino, spun in a woolen style but from combed top. The brim is a two thread mohair boucle - in other words, a fairly tightly spun single of mohair trapped in loops between two threads. I picked up the stitches from the cast on and knit 4 inches - and now I have a blue hat with a drooping blue boucle brim that hangs down like a legionnaire's cap, not just in the back, but all the way around.

Well, No Duh! What did I think was going to happen when I knit with thread? It's a complete mess - I can't think of a way to fix it either. It has been set aside to stew - while I decide to rip, or cut the stuff off that hat. I am not sure it will rip off the hat anyway, since it's a very loopy boucle. But I can snip off the picked up stitches and lose only some of the stuff. At least I’ll be back to the clean slate of blue merino watch cap.

One fix would be to knit a brim carrying both what is left of the boucle (there's enough) and a strand of merino. I have some spun as a thin single on my drop spindle, and rather a good bit of the aran weight I knit the hat with.

Another fix would be to spin up some white merino and make a brim of blue and white yarn in either slip stitch or stranded colorwork.

But mostly I'm thinking what an idiot I was not to realize ahead of time that this would happen. What a dolt.

Eh, so. Knit and learn. What I did discover is how utterly beautiful the boucle fabric is. Also - that I want the color changes in the accent color to be much shorter, when I come to spin up the boucle for my jacket. And I believe I will also have a little strand of something like a thin wool single to knit along with the boucle. It's too light and fluttery a fabric for a jacket. It would make a great shawl though. oooo. Delicious. It's like any lumpy novelty yarn; difficult to rip or tink back, so the simpler the pattern for it, the better.

Well. Nobody could have told me this. My fingers needed to learn it. My eyes had to. This had to be a kinesthetic learning experience. And it was.

Man, though, that boucle knits up into something pretty.

Of course, disaster on one front means turning in a different direction, so I picked up the Alice Starmore hat and finished the brim last night. Now it's time to decide on the exact design for the crown. It will be a trellis design, something curving, but geometrical. It's just a matter of deciding how many repeats I want - thus how many increases I need to make. This hat is one I plan to wear, so I will slip half the stitches onto another needle and try it on before settling on the eventual size of the crown. Since it is Crack-0-Dawn right now I will probably get a little knitting on that done this morning.

And I ripped out all the bunny bonnet yarn and soaked it. It's hanging in the downstairs shower as you read. More thoughts on that are bubbling around inside the old, and quite meagerly stocked, noggin. I still can't believe I did something as stupid as to forget the nature of loopy boucle.

But as I typed the above, I suddenly realized, not only why I made that idiot decision, but also what the difference is between loopy boucle and core spun boucle! I had made a hat back in '02 of handspun core spun boucle, carried along with a wool single. The technique for a core spun boucle is to take wisps of mohair and spin it around a core of thread, pushing it up and letting it tangle in glorious abandoned puffs and fluffs of cloudy color. It is then bound down with a ply of a second thread. But all that winding of long, strong mohair fibers around the core thread adds to the tensile strength of the yarn. This gives it heft and bulk. It also makes more of a lumpy yarn than a loopy yarn. The loopy boucle is just a thread yarn and the mohair, spun into a fine, tight single, is pure decoration. It adds color, texture and filling to the fabric, but no structural effect - no heft. Essentially you have a thread yarn. And this particular boucle was spun with two lengths of a silky quilting thread with even less structure than a cotton thread would have had.

Well. I shan't forget again.

A hot weekend has left the house in that wonderful state where I can go barefoot. What a joy it is to be shoeless. The D's spent the day on the river, and I reorganized my stash in the den. Ugh! I am a greedy glutton. This is truly a deadly sin. Thank goodness I found this out before Maryland Sheep & Wool! I simply must use up some of this stuff before I purchase more.

Of course, that doesn't mean I might not buy some alpaca, and more angora bunny fur, and perhaps some kid mohair top. I have promised myself to take the easy road with color, next time I try to make loopy boucle, and go with handpainted top instead of fiddling with combing the locks - and having static filled piles of colored goat hair all over the dining room table, floor, my body, pets, and wrapped around the brushes of the vacuum cleaner. Who knows what surprises are lurking at the festival. I could succumb to a fleece - only I won't. I mustn't!

But - I will take my correidale to one of the mills, Zielingers or someone like that, and have them card it up into roving for me. I am even thinking of taking all my Falkland Island Polwarth, which is so full of second cuts, and see if they can comb it into top for me. I won't have much left over, after such a preparation, but, oooo, what I would have would be so delicious. I think I'll call today and see if they can do this for me.

And now it is a Monday. A Monday with a Board Meeting in the middle of it. With rain predicted for the Board Meeting Day. And GwP come today to do the kitchen. I see nothing but huge PutBack evenings ahead. I am so glad I didn't believe these guys were ever going to come. If I had, I should have been a nervous wreck, trying to clean the house and "get it ready" for them. I would have done a ton of work and it still wouldn't have been ready and I would have still had it all to PutBack when they were done. This way, I just get hit with the fait acomplis and have to deal with only the consequences, none of the angst.

Hmmmm. Maybe I plan entirely too much. Bring on the serendipity!

P.S. On a silly note, Marg led me to do a googlism on my name, but I already knew I was in for embarrassment, because there is a filtering software called Bess and so of course I came up with this:

"bess is now currently serving millions of people in thousands of organizations across North America"

Hey, I'm nice and I'm helpful, but I'm not that nice or that helpful.

posted by Bess | 5:56 AM