There was three kings unto the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

A late Lammas gift!

Reminding me of rows of corn, Barleycorn is a simple cabled scarf with lots of textural interest. Featuring two versions of the traditional wishbone cable, Barleycorn is appropriate for both men and women. The cables are easy to memorize and make for a fairly straightforward piece- the trick is to remember that you’re cabling the corn stitch every other rightside row.

Needles and Yarn

Sample was knit on size 10 1/2 needles with sport to worsted weight yarn (handspun and weight seemed to vary from skein to skein).

Test scarf took roughly 350 yards- this is a cable intensive project, and cabling sometimes requires more yarn.

Stitches  Used

Both cables are variantions of the traditional wishbone cable. These versions came from the Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary of Stitch Patterns.

Corn Stitch (Side Cable)

over 9 stitches


r2- p9

r3-slip 3 to back on cable needle, k1, sl 3 from needle back onto left hand needle and knit them, k1, slip 1 to front on cable needle, k3, sl 1 from needle back onto left hand needle and knit

r4- p9

Reverse Cable Rib

over 11+3 stitches

r1 *p3 k8* p3

r2 *k3 p8* k3

r3 *p3 k8* p3

r4 *k3 p8* k3

r5 *p3 slip 2 to back on cable needle, k2, sl 2 from needle back onto left hand needle and knit, slip 2 to front on cable needle, k2, sl 2 from needle back onto left hand needle and knit* p3

r6 *k3 p8* k3


Cast on 38 stitches.

Work 4 rows of garter stitch (or to desired border depth).

set up row- K3, place marker (PM), work r1 of corn stitch, PM, work r1 of reverse cable rib, PM, work r1 of corn stitch, PM, K3

*With stitches of different repeat lengths it can be tricky to figure out where you are in the repeat. In this case, the corn stitch is cabled on every other rightside row. Eventually you may not have to count rows for the corn stitch at all- the pattern is cable, k all rightside stitches, cable, k all rightside stitches, and so on.

Continue in patt. for desired length. Test scarf was approx. 65 inches long. When piece has reached desired length, end with a wrong side row and work 4 rows of garter stitch. Bind off.

6 months ago- Just Where Do Cantaloupes Come From, Anyway?


Each year in July we go to a week long festival. The way that the festival is set up is such that each week day is color coded, starting with yellow.

At some point along the way I decided that I wanted a shawl for the evenings (which tend to still run cool enough to want a shawl)- one for each day.

The way that I spin I end up with little bits of fluff, left over singles from multi-ply projects, stuff like that. I’m too cheap to throw those bits away so at some point I started carding them together and plying them with a strand of natural colored wool.

That habit collided with the desire to have a shawl in every color.

The thing is, during last year’s tour de fleece I tried my hand at solar dyeing, and started my ripley project to have a skein of this recyled/garbage yarn in every color. It occured to me last fall that I could just have one shawl for this year’s festival- but have it be in a running color gradient so it would be appropriate for every night.

Thus Doyle was born. I have no idea what the yardage on this thing is, I took the very scientific approach of spinning between 75-150 yards for each skein, dyeing it, and then reserving a skein of rather ugly 100% merino to overdye to make up any difference between the halves. There’s much more green because I used that as the mirror point, and instead of splitting 150 yards in half I spun two full skeins to increase length on each half.

(Doyle has also been christened the chakra shawl…and I have never seen so many knitters come out of the woodwork when I was working on this at Brushwood on Saturday…)

Next recycle project- overdying the yarn yellow- I’ll start that at this year’s festival.

6 months ago- Merry Christmas!

Posted here (please scroll down), craft envy  postively splendid

Spinning Basics-Spindle Spinning Heavier Yarns

Every spinner will eventually find themselves spinning a default single. It’s the weight that your singles fall into naturally if you’re not trying to get a specific weight. Mine happens to be fairly light- a recent project (smoke rings) worked up to be roughly 16 wpi prewash in a chain ply.

That’s roughly 28 wpi per ply, well into the lace catagory.

Eventually though you’re going to find that you want a heavier yarn. Even if it’s just a matter of not needing miles of lace weight- which is what got me thinking about spinning heavier yarns.

A wheel will give you slightly more control, but I’ve said here before that a wheel isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be for spinning in the bus station.

-Use a heavier spindle

Spindle weight has a lot to do with wpi. A heavier spindle requires that you draft out a thicker single just to maintain enough strength to keep the single from breaking under its weight. This can only be taken to a certain point though, or it’ll be hard to flick and maintain spin. A good way of adding additional weight to a pre-existing spindle is to add washers over the shaft.

-Watch Your Drafting Triangle

Single width is dependent on part by how much fiber is pulled into the strand. I have found that a little bit of predrafting helps combat my tendency to draft out really thin. Pay attention to your drafting zone and make sure you’re drafting out enough fiber to maintain weight.

Watch Your Twist

In general, though this varies by fiber and by preference/intent, you want and/or need to add less twist to a heavier single than you do to a light one. Twist is used in part to maintain integrity, and thinner singles, in my experience, need a higher twist angle and larger amounts of twist than thicker. And less twist make a squishier, heavier yarn.

-Plan on Plying

At least until you’re comfortable spinning at the weight you want. Plying adds width to the finished yarn, so if you ply two heavier singles you’re going to end up with a heavier finished project.

-Drafting and Spinning Technique

This will be a matter of experimentation. You may not have to adjust anything, or if you’re like me, you may have to play around with how you both draft and spin. I have to do, currently, a very short inchworm draft and semi-woolen spin instead of my normal long draw and semi-worsted. Different fibers are going to demand a different technique, but don’t be suprised if you need to adjust how you actually spin.

6 months ago- Sunday Legends- The Naughty List

1 year ago- Spinning Basics- Fiber, part 2


Finished Yarns (Up to 6/9)

Smoke Rings

Chain ply, medium weight spindle. Shetland/Alpaca. Started in 2010, and put down frequently. Wpi, pre-wash- 16, 310 (first batch, more to be skeined)


2 ply, medium weight spindle. Wool of unknown breed. Started in 2012. Wpi, pre-wash-15. 81 yards

Red-orange (faux gradient project/ripley)

2 ply, various spindles. Mixed fiber. Projected started in 2011. 120 yards

smoke and ashes

2 ply, mid weight spindle. mixed wool, project started 2011. 75 yards, 16 wpi prewash


2 ply, mid weight spindle. merino. project started 2011. 167 yards

New Berlin

chain ply, light to mid weight single, locally sourced wool. project started 2010. wpi- 11 130 yards skeined, more to be skeined.

Ripley- Yellow Orange through Yellow Green

2 ply, various spindles. Mixed fiber. Projected started in 2011. approximately 5 oz total.

1 year ago- spinning basics: fiber- part 1

Level Two: Ridicule

"Venus and Mars" by Sandro Botticelli

Level 1: Limbo-Sunset

Level 2: Lust-Ridicule

Level 3: Gluttony

Level 4:  Avarice

Level 5: Wrath

Level 6: Heresy

Level 7: Violence

Level 8: Fraud

Level 9: Treason

So. Aphrodite. The goddess of physical beauty and sexual attraction, among other things. She was married to the Greek god of the forge, Hephaestus, except that it was sort of an unbalanced match. She was the perfect woman and he was about as ugly as that pantheon came.

Aphrodite and Ares, the god of war, fell madly in love with each other or at least experienced a deep physical attraction for each other that ended up producing children. For some reason it seems that the past few years have made Ares the under dog here, and people seem to want to have Aphrodite excused for her behavior. This isn’t how i remember the myth going and like it or not Aphrodite was cheating.

Hephaestus however didn’t exactly take this in stride. He got his own. The couple was caught together on several occasions, by Helios the sun god at least once. Hephaestus may not have had physical appearance going for him but he was exceptionally smart and he devised a trap to ensnare the two while they were doing their thing behind his back. thus bringing down the ridicule of the other gods onto the couple.

Again for some reason the way i remember the mythos going and the way that it’s popping up online isn’t matching up. It seems that now people want to frame Aphrodite as being stuck in a loveless marriage with a man that she hates but the way i was initially taught the myth was that she ends up growing quite fond of her husband.

I’m still working on the sunset alpaca for level 1 but i’m really sick of the purple wool i’ve been spinning so i’m moving on to the babydoll that i dyed last week for level two. I’m calling this one Ridicule. i’m going to do a randomish 5 color stripe that i’m going to 2 ply. (pink-red-cider-orangegreen-orangeyellow). and probably overdye orange.