The Bunny Is Okay

This post comes to you from a chair in the airport in Chicago, where I’m waiting for "some weather" to clear.  I flew in this morning from Toronto,  and everything seemed just fine, so how long it’s going to take to catch a flight out of here is beyond my knowing. This – things being beyond my knowing? It makes me crazy. Completely crazy. So crazy that everyone in this airport should be glad that I am a knitter, and am therefore able to put my feelings about not knowing when/if this plane will go into a really fierce knitting session – because frankly the alternative is me stomping up and down this place while (loudly) refusing to believe that we, as a species, can be considering manned flight to Mars, but are wholly unable to tell me when my flight to Little Rock might be leaving.  My knitting is letting me feign calm and peace as the airport does what it can to get all flights moving.  (Apparently they’ve cut incoming and outgoing flights by 50% – so at least it’s nowhere near personal. I’m starting to get the feeling I wish I’d brought extra yarn and needles. There’s a whole lot of my fellow travellers who could use a little help getting their mellow on. The lady across from me has 5% battery left on her phone, and the guy sitting by the only outlet doesn’t care.  It’s getting intense. )

Speaking of getting one’s mellow on,  the angora experiment was a train wreck.  Nothing short of a big hot mess with a cherry on top.

I decided cormo would be a good thing to blend with angora, and fetched some roving from the upstairs. I weighed it, so I would have 80% cormo and 20% angora, and then I started gently running it through the carder.   It was an almost instant disaster. After the first pass I could see the cormo starting to get neppy. Neps are little knots of fibre that make bumps in the yarn when you spin it.  They aren’t always a horseman of the apocolypse, but for this yarn they would be – they’re also often a sign of over-processing. After the first pass, I assessed my situation. The angora and the wool were still pretty discrete, not mixed together at all, and I was pretty sure it was going to take three passes to get them mixed the way I wanted them. Three at least. If the cormo was already starting to look over-processed, I figured I wasn’t going to get a lot of satisfaction out of it.  I ran it through twice more to be sure that I was right.
I was really, really right. The resulting roving was terrible.

I put out a few feelers to friends, I put on my thinking cap and I thought of a few ideas. First, I wondered if was too impatient and was running the carder too fast for the fussy little cormo.  I tried again – but it changed nothing, except that it took longer to get pissed off and disappointed.

Then I wondered if my carder was too coarse for these fibres.  I can’t change my carder, but I do have fine cotton hand cards. I tried those – and it was better, but still not awesome – and I’m aiming for awesome. It was suggested that I try combining them on combs, but since my combing skills are such that I couldn’t comb my way out of a paper bag with a map and a guide,  that’s my last choice.  

I wondered if I was using the wrong wool – and that’s where things came to a screaming halt.  I think I’d like to try this with something else, something that isn’t roving, but every attempt mangles a little more precious bunny, and that means washing some wool, and that means…

Well that means that I left this trainwreck on the table and left for Little Rock.  I sort of had it in my head  (because I’m nuts, obviously) that I’d throw this through the carder, then spin it up super-fast (but perfectly) and then ply it (exceptionally well) and then set the twist, ball it up and be knitting it on this trip.  All of that was insane, obviously, but it’s not going to stop me from doing a little more experimenting when I get home.
I’ll get it, but I need to do a little research first, so I don’t run out of bunny before I get a clue. Any suggestions?


Many weeks back, Amy Herzog published a pattern called Afterlight, and I was instantly smitten. It’s one of those sweaters I like so much, ones that are garments, things you’ll wear by themselves as a top, rather than over another top. I know the distinction is likely silly to most of you, but there you have it.  I decided to make it, but it’s an investment.  The sweater is finely knit, with fingering weight yarn on small needles, and the yarn, while not ridiculously expensive for what it is, was going to make a considerable dent in a few months of the yarn budget.  I decided that I would go ahead, but wait until Amy’s book came out first.  If I was going to make this thing, I was going to make it perfect.  Knit to Flatter arrived in the mail, I read it (you should too, it’s quite good) and then set about altering the pattern to make it smashing. One of the things I’ve learned from Amy, is that it makes no sense to make a sweater bigger all over if you’re really only bigger in one area, something I’ve been guilty of over the years.  I’m not a big woman, not really. My chest measures 37 1/2 inches, and that’s the size sweater I’ve been knitting for years – with some disappointing results.  It took Amy to teach me that the issue is that I’m big in the front.  I’ve been choosing sweater sizes like my chest is that of a woman who’s almost 38" around, and I’m not. 

What I am is a woman who would be a size 34 if you saw me from the back, and a 38 if you saw me from the front, and thanks to Amy and her book, I’ve realized that I should think of myself as two sizes. Petite in the back, and er… not, in the front.  Yes, I need some extra fabric to get around my assets, but my breasts are located on the front of my body, and that is where the extra fabric to cover them should go… not all over.  Following her instructions, I’m making one size for the front, another for the back, altering the length to recognize the fact that I’m short all over, and dropping the vee in the front of the sweater a little deeper to try and balance my broad, square shoulders.  I’m really happy with my plan, and over the last few days I’ve been knitting away. (For the record, making those changes and combining the pattern pieces turns out to be easy.)

I’m almost at the armhole shaping of the back, and I love the sweater, love the yarn, and have high hopes for its eventual greatness.  I even swore a vow of monogamy to it – but then, oh then I went to Yarnover, and there was this booth (it was Angora Gardens – thanks for the detective work, my friends) and in the booth was this little baby sweater that I can’t stop thinking of.  The sweater was just a little garter stitch bit of business, but it was knit out of a wool/angora combo that was almost perfect to me, but for two things.  First, the yarn had a little more angora in it than I would choose – which is not to say that it had too much angora – it just had more than is to my taste, precisely, and second, it wasn’t free.  It was reasonably priced – but there’s no reasonable price for yarn if you’ve just blown your budget on some snazzy Ultra MCN for a sweater.  I left without it, but I just can’t stop thinking about it. 

I can’t stop talking about it either, and so yesterday when I was waxing poetic about it to a knitting friend, she said it was too bad that I didn’t have any angora – because if I did, I could fix both the proportion of wool to angora – and the cost by spinning my own. Lo, the heavens opened, a bit of angora rabbit has been fetched from the stash, I’m hunting up a bit of something good to blend it with, the drum carder is getting dusted off and…

I swear I’m going to finish the sweater too.