Busy Hands

Finished the Hemlock Ring blanket last night. Took more than four total hours to complete that bind-off row! Not one to stay idle long, I started two new projects right away. The first: a Berroco pattern called Sacha's Slippers.

I had picked up a few skeins of Berroco Suede at a deeply discounted price a couple weekends ago when J and I were hanging out at the Acorn Street Yarn Shop during C's Irish Step lesson. (A dangerous habit we indulge weekly!) I had no idea what I might do with the yarn, but I liked the color, I wear a lot of suede, and I trusted I would find something. A little searching turned up these slippers and a lariat necklace in a leaf motif. I think I have yarn enough for both!

It's been ages since I’ve worked on straights or done a two-of-a-kind project one at a time. When I saw that the pattern requires you to join a second skein to work the sides, I didn’t feel like dividing skeins. So here I am with a single, partially finished slipper!

The slippers seem to move quickly. The pics show about 2 hours’ work while watching TV (WWWTV). Right now I think it looks more like a Barbie dress or a flamboyant man's tie than a slipper.

The second project is more of an adventure than anything. I've been interested in the idea of recycling yarn from thrifted sweaters for awhile. Last spring, my MIL and I felted some thrifted sweaters for various projects (including a nifty laptop case for me!). So I popped by Value Village on my way home from work Wednesday to see if there were any good potentials. There were. I could have brought home a dozen things. I decided to play it cool and pick one, safe bet to see if I liked the endeavor. $9.99 later, I walked out with this:

A nearly new crew-neck in black New Shetland Wool. This morning I set about deconstructing it. Seam ripper in-hand and website tutorial in front of me, I fearlessly set to work. Just taking the pieces apart took a little longer than I expected. Even though I had "good seams" to work with, I had a lot of trouble seeing the crochet line at the seams so I could just unzip it. As a result, I did a lot of piece-by-piece cutting. I mangled the neckline, too, but figured that was ok since I could cut that off without creating a bazillion little pieces like would happen if I were working on the side seams.

And, hey, I only gouged myself with the seam ripper twice!

I checked gauge on the original knit before beginning:

Looks like 6 stitches and 7.5-8 rows per inch to me. You?

The yarn is much more delicate than I expected. It's definitely sport/light worsted or DK weight, if not fingering. Looks like it gets 14-15 wpi.

Things I learned:

Try to get sweaters with heftier fiber until I get better at the reclaiming process.

This job is messy! My goodness — the yarn dust floating in the air while I frogged the thing was amazing. Like a mini storm in my dining room. Not only was I covered with the stuff, but later that night I found myself blowing black dust out of my nose. It was almost as bad as when J and I removed cork from the solarium walls at our house in Ohio!

I used my ball winder to help move the frogging process along — and I highly recommend that. This yarn sometimes broke, though, when I was winding faster than the fiber wanted, so I have a higher number of skeins than I might have otherwise. Even with all my rookie mistakes and the pile of useless, too-short-to-mention ramen noodly-looking fiber littering the table, I got about 12 ounces of usable yarn broken down into one 3-ounce ball and several 2- to 1.5-ounce ones.

I still need to re-wrap into hanks and wash it.

What will I do with it? J's been thinking about making a cool monk's satchel, and this yarn fits the profile. I'll give it to him if he wants it. Otherwise, I think it will make up into a shawl and/or some dynamite socks — perhaps even a pair for J, who's asserted his belief that men only wear socks without color. [Sigh.] Enlightenment has its limits!

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