North Dakota Winds

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North Dakota from the air

I’ve been working through some of my handspun yarn (the skeins that haven’t already set aside for presents). The last remnant of one of my first-ever skeins (kingfisher blue and gold) was my first choice…mainly because I wanted to finally use it up. I worked up a pair of mittens, making the pattern up as I went along. I used a gold two-ply Targhee (the leftover yellow from the two tone yarn) to add a little color blocking interest to the pair.

[Also, the thumbs required the use of slightly smaller yarn in order to work]

I managed to finish off all of the yellow and most of the two-toned yarn…and promptly forgot them when I left for a week-long trip to North Dakota. Understandably, I was little upset – and not just because I had specifically tried to finish working on them before I left. I was also upset because it was FRIGGING COLD in North Dakota that week.

I usually bring an assortment of things to keep me busy on my flights – books, music, and some sort of hand craft. Lately, I’ve been working my way through some sawtooth quilt squares, but I had left my case back in my office, so I ended up packing the cowl I had started working on a few weeks earlier. The yarn was a fingering weight 2-ply that I spun from a beautiful Frabjous Fibers braid (BFL and silk). I would love to spin more of this colorway, but I lost the card for it before I even finished spinning it…so I have no idea what it is even called. For some reason I’m thinking either something to do with blue lagoons or pines…I don’t know.

What I do know is that the resulting yarn is so soft, and there is a lovely sheen to it in the light, even though it doesn’t contain any sparkly angelina fibers. It’s all due to the nature of the BFL and silk mix.

I did a fractal spin with this braid, which gave it a sort of heathered look where the colors blend. The pattern I used for this project was the Swiss Tweed Cowl from Knit Picks. The heathering in the yarn gave the cowl an interesting subtle striping that is rather hard to photograph in a lot of light.

I finished the cowl on my last evening in North Dakota – which provided some much-needed “down time” after two days of intensive meeting notes, a tour of an oil rig, and a great dinner with interesting people and the largest piece of fish I’ve ever seen on a plate.

[As an aside: I am what is known – by some – as an ambivert. I require both the interaction with people and quiet solitary reflection time in order to recharge.]

Since the weather was still rather frigid when I began my return travels that Friday, I wound up wearing the cowl home. It was comfy, and large enough to not feel constricting, while not hanging halfway to my navel, which boded well for the length. I often have a problem with cowls, as it’s hard to find that perfect length.

The jury is still out as to whether I will keep this one for myself or if I will box it up as a gift for someone this Christmas.

Don't let the sun and blue sky fool you...it was COLD outside!

Don’t let the sun and blue sky fool you…it was COLD outside!

The journey to North Dakota, by the by, will probably make the list of one of my favorites this year. I had not been back to the state since I was a little kid, and it was an entirely different experience driving through its beautiful rolling terrain as an adult. I left the reservation at New Town with the sunrise that Friday and managed to drive through four or five different types of weather. It was still freezing outside – as evidenced by the snow on my car and in some of the fields I passed – but there were times that the sun broke through the clouds and patches of the sky lit up bright blue.

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