Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Weaving on November 28th, 2013
I was trying to work out how it is that I’ve been knitting these gloves for a week without them being finished yet and then I realised that although I’ve been knitting gloves for all of that time they’ve not all been these particular gloves. Last week I needed some round and round knitting to take my mind off things, I decided on gloves because my hands are cold in the mornings, found some suitable yarn (Apple Laine Apple Pie in Godiva) and needles and cast on. That is of course where it all went wrong because scarves and dish clothes are more suited to thoughtless knitting than gloves are. Scarves can be just about any size but gloves need to be sized to fit the hand that wears them. I knitted 3″ of cuff before accepting that the glove was going to be way too big and I ripped it back. I cast on again with fewer stitches but still no consideration as to tension and hand size so it wasn’t that surprising that when I tried on version two it was still somewhat generous in size. Some knitters may have concluded that it was too big but I convinced myself that it was nothing that a bowl of hot water wouldn’t cure so I could keep on knitting. The next morning I started the second glove because again I needed a distraction although I didn’t get very far because I was sitting in the car and my hands were so cold that I couldn’t hold the needles. When I came to start the fingers I was passed the stage of needing soothing knitting and I had plenty of time to think so I took a note of what my stitches per inch actually was, measured my hand, ripped both gloves out and started for the third time. I regret nothing.
These are the keepers, I’ve lost track of how many fingers I’ve knitted but it’s several more than there are now, I’ve shortened some, narrowed others and generally fiddled with them in an attempt to create the perfect dog walking glove. I am currently short of a pinkie and two thumbs so they should be finished for tomorrow morning’s walk. They never will be perfect – dog walking gloves should not be leaf coloured so that you have a fighting chance of finding one if you drop it. I’ve been knitting these now for long enough that I’ll settle for them being finished rather than perfect. It is time to move on.
I had a few hiccups with this warp. I wound it back in October and fortunately made a full page of notes that told me how many ends I needed, how many I’d wound in each bout and what I intended to do with it. I’ve had too much on my mind to think about weaving so the wound warp has been sitting in a bag until the magic time of “after Thursday”. When I came to get it out I found that somehow I had only half of the number of ends that I needed. That’s a big mistake, even for me, and I couldn’t work out what was wrong. It came to me eventually that I’d wound the warp with a cross at both ends intending to cut it in half but I’d packed it away without cutting it. By the time I’d worked this out I’d come up with plan B which was a different design altogether and worked better with the narrower fabric that I thought I’d be making. I’m quite sad to see plan B go so that might be coming up next. This is a four yard warp, it should fly once I get moving on it but at the moment it is having to compete with the backlog of other things that also have been waiting until “after Thursday”. It’s time will come but at my current rate of threading that won’t be much before this time next week. I will confess that this is the prettiest shot I could find, the other side is a mess of masking tape that’s keeping all the ends in order.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sewing, Weaving on October 7th, 2013
My brain hurts. It’s been decades since I last sewed a garment so this is more of a challenge than it should be. I’m of an age to have been taught sewing at school, proper sewing involving tailor tacks and darts rather than “textiles” which from a display I saw recently seems to focus more on creativity than skills. My school projects included a nightdress with a yoke and ruffles and a trouser suit that was so successful that I wore it as school uniform. That was a long time ago and it’s fair to say that I’ve forgotten everything that I ever knew. That’s not quite true, attaching the yoke did seem vaguely familiar, I couldn’t work out what should be pinned to what until I’d done it and then I knew I’d done it before. I’m starting with the assumption that I’m going to make a mess of this shirt so this is officially the learning piece, made from a sheet to test the fit and my ability to make a stand collar. I’m being easy on myself and making it short sleeved so I can avoid making cuffs because I think I’ve got enough challenges to start with. I have a post it note on the pattern with a list of the things I should do differently next time although I didn’t write “avoid fusing interfacing to the iron” because that is a lesson I will have no trouble remembering for years to come. The thing that worries me most is the buttonholes, I may have to get my fancy pants (but touchy) machine from the bottom of the wardrobe and beg it to stay on task for long enough to sew the buttonholes.
I have some other learning to do, I recently turned Poppy the wheel into a sectional beam for my loom. It was the right thing to do, her new owner spun more on her in the first week than I did in the six years that I owned her. This is why the loom has been sitting idle, it’s been waiting for this enlarged toast rack to go on the back beam. I’ve been dithering over this purchase for months and what made my mind up was falling across a cheap tension box. I bought the tension box, sold the wheel and bought the sectional rakes and then looked at them for a month. They are now on the loom so I have to give some thought to what I want to make next and then leap in with a new way of warping. It also means that I can get rid of the pile of paper that slithers all over the floor whenever I so much as look at it, I don’t need it for packing the warp so it is officially a mess and can all go in the recycling.
After putting it off for two weeks I sat down with a pen and paper and worked out what I should be doing with the neck of this baby jacket and then wrote it down. Having been bitten by this several times recently I didn’t write it on the back of an envelope or a shopping list but on the bottom of the knitting pattern that I’m adapting. Hopefully when I come to do the second side I won’t have to work it out all over again after an extensive search for the scrap of paper that I’ve thrown away as rubbish. I had no option but to buckle down and work it out because the more interesting knit has now reached the final few rows. After tonight this will be my only knitting project so it has to be in a ready to knit state.
Please excuse the short post, I have to go and hammer the rest of that shirt together.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters, Weaving on September 29th, 2013
The blog has graciously consented to reverting to photos that enlarge when you click them so feel free to enbiggen to your heart’s content. Today’s post is brought to you by way of a bunch of seemingly random numbers.
Three is the number of bags I got out of the length of fabric (it was a four yard warp). There is a bit of fabric left over that will come in for something at some time but for now it’s going back in the box. I couldn’t bring myself to make two bags the same so I added a contrast trim and some buttons to the third which had the same lining as the second. They are intended to be bags for socks in progress and they are a nice size for that. I like them, they aren’t perfect but I’m still learning. I tried to improve on the first handle which finished beautifully but was a pig to turn and got two handles that turned easily but the seam allowances fought with the pressing of the edges and as a result the contrast edging isn’t as even as I would have liked.
I have released two more socks into the wild. I have no idea where the pokey end has come from, that will be sorted with scissors as soon as I reclaim them for the wash. This is a 50g ball of black sock yarn and the leftovers from a skein of Lorna’s Laces Jungle Stripe, it also made a pair of Fiesta Feet in preblog times, a pair of stashbuster spiral socks for my husband and a phone cosy. I had to finish the second of the pair by missing out one of the plain rounds in the toe shaping because otherwise there wouldn’t have been enough to graft the toes closed. That’s one ball of yarn that won’t be going back into the scrap bag.
The baby jacket that I was knitting last time reached the neck just as I needed something to take with me for my Saturday morning tea-drinking music school attendance. I’m making the pattern up and I hadn’t worked out exactly what should happen when I divided for the neck so I needed something else to knit. That means I now have one more baby jacket on the needles and yes, it’s the side to side DROPS one again. This is the third one of these I’ve knitted, I am unrepentant because they are fun and use up sock scraps and anyway, I sold the other two so they don’t count. Needless to say the project that only needs a few minutes thought and a calculator to sort it out is now stuck in a bag and will probably stay there until the newness fades from this.
The number series could also read 3-2-1-28 because although there are seven buttons on this cardigan there are an extra twenty one in the button tin. I bought two sets of buttons and decided both were unsuitable then my mother bought two sets as well. We could discuss whether this is still the same cardigan as the original Sirdar one, I think that it is even though it’s knitted at a different tension with different yarn and I changed the length, the neck, blended two sizes and added waist shaping. It still looks the same because of the lace panels running up the fronts. I knitted it in JC Rennie supersoft lambswool, I bought it for weaving but it’s lovely to knit as well. It is very fine for knitting and for adult garments it makes for a lot of work. Had this been long sleeved I might have stuck it in a bag and denied its existence rather than face yet more plain stockinette. I think I’ll stick with using it for weaving in future.
Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, Spinning, sweaters, Weaving on September 24th, 2013
Posted by Caroline in Family, Weaving on September 15th, 2013
I didn’t put the sewing machine away when I finished the bunting because I knew that I’d be needing it again straight away. Dan is now playing with a group that needs its players to bring their own music stand so now it gets to leave the house occasionally after years of living under the settee. Neither of us realised that it was going to be so difficult to carry, the top section has a tendency to flop about and poke people in the legs. When he got back at the beginning of August I said that I’d make him a bag for it before he needed to carry it anywhere again. I’ve spent the summer thinking about a doubleweave pick up creation with a musical motif but realised that this was silly for two reasons, firstly because there are only three days where it needs to be carried and secondly that at some point he’ll want a more serious looking (=black) stand rather than the bright red one that was the best choice for a seven year old. There was the other consideration that he needed it for Saturday and I didn’t start cutting out until Thursday.
He would have managed with a plastic bag and an elastic band but where’s the fun in that? The fabric was the result of some selvedge and speed experiments back when I first got the floor loom. My beaming wasn’t as good as it could have been and that made a fabric that looked like a scarf but had more skips in it than I fancied fixing. It was the right width to make the bag and I have about 8″ of fabric left from the length, enough for a pocket on something. This is the first bag I’ve made with a zip, it was straightforward enough although I’d have made a better job of it if I’d have taken the time to find the zipper foot for the machine. I think there may be a run of zippered bags coming up soon now I’ve worked out what I’m doing.
The result was fit for purpose, you can see that the stand was under control and had no opportunity to flail around and he had a free hand for opening doors. I learned about inserting zips into lined bags and got rid of a substandard scarf so all in all it was a total win. I need to buy a few zips, find the zipper foot and then see what fabric I have that is waiting to become bags. I also need to sew the sleeves into the cardigan body, zips are much more exciting than sewing up.
Posted by Caroline in doubleweave, Family, Knitting, sweaters, Weaving on August 7th, 2013
The weather has cooled off to the extent that I can think about touching wool again and so I’ve been back to knitting and weaving. I’ve now finished the back and both sleeves, not as big a job as you might think because it’s a short sleeved cardigan and I think I had to knit less than four inches before I started decreasing. I had planned to knit both fronts at the same time because it would make keeping track of the waist shaping much easier but I thought it would be sensible to start with just one front until I’d got the hang of the pattern panel. The pattern is mirrored on the other front and I thought it might be asking too much of my overheated brain to start off knitting both. I’m struggling because the pattern is written rather than charted, I did think of looking for the graph paper but the stitch count changes and it was too hot to think about graphing anything with “no stitch” squares. I would like to say that I’ve now got the pattern nailed but that’s not yet the case.
This might look like a rug but it’s really a sample. I once bought two kilos of yarn on ebay that was poorly photographed and poorly described. Not surprisingly there was only me that was interested in buying it and I bought it for not much more than the cost of the postage. It is very rough and definitely came from a carpet sheep but that’s fine because every sheep has a purpose. This is my doubleweave experiment, the rug is about 29″ wide which is just a bit wider than my loom. I wanted to see whether I could weave two joined layers without making a total hash of it and whether I ended up with a very obvious fold line.
The first piece of good news was that I managed to not join one side of the V to the other except at the edge so it did unfold into one wide piece as it was supposed to. You can see in this photo that the fold was much more visible as the piece came off the loom and I did wonder whether the magic of wet finishing would work this time. Now that it’s been washed and dried it looks much better, the fold is running along the line of the knitting needle in the first photo and I can see it but I doubt that a man on a galloping horse would. I have enough wool left to make two more this size and sooner or later that’s what I’ll do with it, something in orange, ochre, dark brown and navy would look better under the dog because then I’d be able to see him.
My last post ended with my son being away from home for a week – it all went well, he came home with all the clothes he went with and he had a great time. The only thing that he was missing turned out to be a tennis racquet and to be honest that was never going to feature on my packing list for a music course even if he did actually own one.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters, Weaving on June 11th, 2013
I was hoping to be able to show you a pointy hood to contrast it with the rounded one from last time but I’ve knitted and knitted and I’m still not there yet. This started as a big slab of garter stitch, knit 120, turn, knit 120 and that was as exciting as it got all the way up to the armholes. Thinking about it, that’s wrong – it was slip 1, knit 119 so marginally more entertaining if you think a slipped stitch is racy. I guessed at the sizing thinking that at five stitches to the inch it would be a 24″ chest or at six stitches to the inch a 20″ chest and I planned on working out the actual tension once it was big enough to measure from the piece. What I have here is another Tomten, enough time has passed since I knitted the last one for me to have forgetten how bored I was with that by the time I got onto the sleeves. I looked at my blog entries and I can read that I was bored but I don’t remember how that felt so I know that it’s been long enough for my feelings for the first one not to affect this one. The yarn is from the sack of acrylic that turned up on my doorstep, I like this one more than the pink because you might be able to see that it’s not quite solid. I was so confident that I had enough yarn that I knitted the hood first and this might yet prove to be a mistake. I’ll knit both sleeves at the same time and add stripes if I need them. I can graft in garter, there’s always the option of going back and adding a stripe to the body if I need to.
I don’t know why this warp is plodding rather than flying, it might mean that I’m getting to the end of this weaving phase and it’s moving round to spinning time or it could simply be that I’ve been spending all my odd minutes on knit 120, turn, knit 120. When a project isn’t moving it usually means that deep down I think there’s something wrong with it but with this I can’t think what that could be. Whatever the reason I’ve not woven two yards yet whereas with the last few warps I’ve woven the five yards off inside a week.
I know that a bucket of fleece doesn’t look that exciting but this is a good breed to be crossing off my list. This is one of the rare breeds that’s difficult to get hold of, it’s number one on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust watchlist and as they used to say on tv “not available in the shops”. This is a bucket of Boreray and although it seems like overkill to buy a whole fleece to get the 20g sample that I wanted I’m pretty sure that I’ll have no trouble in getting rid of the rest of it. The very observant reader may have noticed that there is a decorative droplet effect around the rim of the bucket and the visible stonework looks as if it may be wet. Yet again I’ve looked at the weather forecast, confidently set my fleece to soak and then seen the sunshine been replaced by rain. I might have to dry it on a towel on the bedroom floor if the weather continues to not co-operate but seeing as the husband is in Paris all week that isn’t a problem. I have no issues with my bedroom smelling like a wet sheep, especially is it’s a rare wet sheep of a breed that I don’t already have.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Weaving on June 4th, 2013
Before anything else, let me show you this week’s warp. This is a handspun stashbuster, I used up three balls of yarn completely but had plenty of others to throw into the mix. I was going to say that the flash has emphasised the lighter contrast stripes in the middle and it’s not really that bright but I’ve been back and looked at it and the camera does not lie. After carefully selecting a draft, tying up the treadles and weaving an inch with scrap yarn I don’t like the pattern as much as I thought I would so this might end up being plain weave with a thinner navy weft.
The weather warmed up enough for me to wash the navy and white striped fabric and get it dried in less than a lifetime. Just for once I had something come out better than it was in my mind, I didn’t expect there to be enough contrast for there to be any sort of a pattern in the light stripes. I thought it would be a solid light stripe and a patterned dark stripe. After the magic wash the lighter pattern appeared, the oatmeal yarn fluffed up enough to be seen against the off white. It’s subtle but at least it’s visible. (If it’s invisible to you then you may need to click on the photo to make it bigger)
The new warp is an indication that I managed to knock my knitting into shape. I didn’t buy more dpns, it occurred to me that seeing as I’d knitted the body of the pink sweater on a US needle I should probably put that through my needle sizer and check what size it really was rather than relying on what the internet told me it should be. It turned out that the needle that supposedly converted to 3.75mm was actually 4mm according to my measure. I had plenty of dpns in that size so then it was a quick job to knit two very small sleeves. This is as finished as it’s going to get just now, at some point I’ll take a trip into town with a bag of tiny garments and get buttons for all of them. It’s an hour each way so I’ll wait until I’ve enough piled up to make it worthwhile.
This is the Hoodie Bear #002 pattern, I bought it solely because of the hood construction. It starts with knitting a rectangle at the top of the hood, picking up stitches around and then continuing seamlessly to the hem. This gives you a flat topped hood without a point at the bottom, pixie hoods are sweet on cute little children but are not such a hot look for teenage males. I’m not yet at the planning stage but I’m starting to think about a zipped hooded sweater for Dan for next winter. I think this is the hood that I want, flat topped rather than pointy. I could start with something other than a rectangle, add some shaping to round it slightly at the bottom but keep the idea of a flat section with stitches picked up around. It’s given me something to think about anyway.
There was only one thing I’d change if I was to knit this again. It’s knitted on two sizes of needles and I quite understand the smaller needles being used for the rib at the neck and the pattern at the cuffs and hem, it stops the garter flaring out. I wasn’t at all convinced about using the smaller needles for the whole of the hood as well. To me it looks a bit small, little people have disproportionately large heads which they eventually grow into. There’s a lack of modelled photos on Ravelry so I don’t know whether I’m worrying over nothing. It’s not so small that I feel the need to take it off and substitute a collar (the pattern has a second version with a collar and a hat) but I wouldn’t be happy knitting another until I’d seen this one being worn.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, sweaters, Weaving on May 30th, 2013
All of my knitting ground to a halt earlier this week. I needed to switch to dpns for the sleeves of the pink hoodie which meant that I had to sit down with the jar of dpns and the needle sizer. This was not my idea of a fun time and promised to be much less fun than weaving so I didn’t do it. In the end I talked myself into it but after sizing all the needles I could find I was one short. This is worse than it sounds because one of the three needles I did find is several inches longer than the others so it’s not one needle that I’m missing but four or more. This feels even worse than not being able to find one missing needle because I know that there’s a set of them out there taunting me from the bottom of a project bag. I refuse to buy yet another set to add to the two part sets I can find so I need to knuckle down, look through bags and put some things away. Faced with a choice between weaving or looking for needles it wasn’t hard to put off the needle hunt for another day.
The striped jumper has been stalled for some time because I needed to sew in the ends and that was much less fun than weaving so I didn’t do it. I needed a carry along project to fill in a half hour of waiting and so I did what any reasonable person would do, ignored the sewing job and picked up a set of dpns and a ball of sock yarn. These will be another pair of school uniform socks for the son and heir, once I get past the heel and into the foot where it’s hidden in shoes I’ll break out some non-regulation coloured yarn from the scrap bag.
The underlying reason that I have had no knitting to work on in the evenings is because I haven’t been doing any knitting problem solving during the day, all I’ve been doing is weaving. The blue and white striped warp was irresistible and I reached the end all too quickly. This still needs to be washed, the pattern will fill out then because two of the yarns are oiled on the cone. I’m waiting for a good drying day as five yards of wet wool is a bit tricky to dry in the house and of course with my impeccable timing I got it off the loom just as the sunny weather disappeared. I talked myself out of immediately winding another warp, I have lots of yarn and lots of ideas but I made myself realise that I need a few hours away from the loom to get my knitting past the problem stage. Whenever I have a choice between weaving or something less entertaining the weaving wins out and the result of that is that I have nothing to knit in the evenings. The deal I made with myself is that once I’ve found the dpns for the hoodie sleeves and got the striped sweater finished I can load up the loom again.
That was enough of an incentive for me to knuckle down and sew in the ends, sew up the sleeves and knit the button bands. It needs blocking and buttons but I can call it done without feeling that I’m cheating. This is a variant on DROPS b19-3, I used the stitch count and lengths but changed the shoulder fastening and made a collar. It was a good use of leftover sock yarn but I’d forgotten how much I dislike weaving in ends, it might have put me off stripes for a while. I still have to track down the missing dpns, this might start with a trawl through my finished projects on Ravelry in an attempt to identify when I used them last. It’s got to be an easier solution than looking in every bag that I own especially as that usually results in finding more leftover sock yarn to add to the overflowing bag.
Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters, Weaving on May 21st, 2013
Did I sew in the ends and finish the striped green jumper? Nope, I added a collar, sewed in the ends on the body, looked at the ends on the sleeves and then put it aside to start something new. This is the “Hoodie Bear” pattern and I’m knitting it to use up some of the double knitting yarn that I was given recently. The reason that I chose this pattern rather than any of the others that I found is that this starts at the front of the hood and works down. I thought that had the potential to be interesting and might make a more rounded hood than the usual seamed at the top varieties. I’m starting to think about knitting a zip up hoodie this winter so hood construction is of more interest than usual. It has the advantage of being seamless so I know that I’m not going to be faced with a mass of ends at the end. I’ve split the sleeves off and it’s now mindless knitting with the occasional buttonhole all the way to the hem.
There’s been a lot of weaving this week and there’s a good reason for this. I’ve stripped the threads on one of the screws that holds the loom folded up and until I can get a replacement then the loom has to be open all of the time. Rather than thinking “I have a free hour, I’ll open the loom up” I can sit down while I’m waiting for the oven to warm up. It’s surprising just how much weaving you can do in odd ten minutes here and there. On and off throughout the week I wove five yards of green and white stripes and replaced it with a blue and white striped length.
I was originally going to make this with a navy weft and a white weft so it would make solid navy and white squares alternating with a patterned navy/white block. Thanks to the invention of weaving software I can see the result before I start and it looked lovely on the screen. Fortunately there was just long enough between me winding the warp and picking up the shuttles for me to have a reality check. I’m intending this for bags and because I’m me I’ll want to perfectly match the blocks at the seam as well as having them be spaced nicely at both hems. This means that all of my squares have to be the same size and I can do it but I’d rather not. It’s easier to avoid the whole matching thing by using a single weft and making stripes. I thought I was going to use the mid blue as weft right up to the moment when I tried it, now I think I’m going with my second choice.
Any guesses as to whether I’ll finish the pink hoodie before the green striped jumper?