Posted by caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, socks, Weaving on March 6th, 2013
Here are the contents of the plastic bag shown last time – two 2lb tin loaves. I have the same attitude to arty bread as I do to arty yarn – unless you have a use for it there’s no point in making it unless you really enjoy the process. The whole product vs process discussion applies equally to breadmaking as it does to knitting or spinning except that you can’t stash bread particularly well. We eat all of the bread we buy as sandwiches or toast so it needs to be regular in size (so one round of sandwiches is about the same size as another) and small enough to fit into the toaster. I like the look of those monster domes of arty bread but I can’t see that they have much practical application (rather like supercoils). There isn’t a powerful incentive for me to make bread because we shop at a real bakers which is right next to the real butcher who sells beef from cows and has animal parts on hooks in the cold store at the back. Last weekend the timing of other stuff meant that there was no way of fitting in the bread run so I made my own. They were good loaves, I should have slashed the tops deeper and maybe dusted them with flour but they were as good as any I’ve ever made. The first two didn’t last very long so I had a chance to see what they would have looked like slashed and dusted because I remembered to do that with the second two. The second two were prettier but had a slight flying crust because I was pushed for time on the final rise. I think my next stop is croissants and to do that I need to clear the breakfast bar off to create some serious rolling out space. I used to buy my bread flour by the sack then junior came along with his preference for floppy bread. I am hoping that now is the time to wean him off plastic shop bread and if the trade off is chocolate croissants then so be it.
The scarf from last time also came out well. It needed some fixing because yet again I managed to do an outstanding job of threading (not), I had one threading error and three pairs of crossed threads. It would have come out better if I hadn’t woven a foot before finding the third pair. You can’t tell now and that’s what matters. As this is all sock yarn and machine washable it can go to a home where it may not be properly washed so as soon as I’ve written a thank you note it will be going off to school. This took about 120g of sock yarn bits, I have enough red scraps to make another without getting too inventive with the colours, I’m not sure if I have enough for a third without it being too striped.
The latest socks are finished. The black tops are so that he can wear them for band concerts and school, provided that they are visibly plain they’ll do. What happens in the shoe, stays in the shoe. They were too plain to be fun and another time I’ll know to show him a shortlist of yarns rather than letting him pick his own. I used all of one 50g ball of black, I knitted from both ends of the ball with two sets of dpns so I finished just past the gusset decreases with less than a yard left. I used all of the purple and there’s so little left of the blue after knitting the toe that I’ll keep that bit out for yarn ties. Even though it sounds like a big win over the scrap bag in reality I’ve used less than 30g out of it. I suppose that’s better than putting 30g into it but it’s the scarf that takes the win this week on using leftovers.
The thrummed hat is still in the bag, not one row longer than last time. I bet it wouldn’t take an hour of my time to finish it, even so my next project is going to be winding another warp from the scrap bag. I’m pushing myself to finish the hat, I have no other knitting (my inner knitter whispered something about a Victorian stocking but she’s wrong) and I’m not starting anything else until it’s finished. It has to be done because I can’t face the thought of attempting to frog thrums.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, lace, Weaving on November 12th, 2012
Yes, my book did come but the fibre that I ordered to spin the yarn to knit the patterns in the book (in the house that Jack built) didn’t. I’m currently filling my time by attempting to see the difference between five near-identical colours on a chart and muttering about how long things take to ship. Moving swiftly along…
I was asked to knit something short sleeved and lacy with a scoop neck that was close fitting and had a zip. I didn’t think zips and lace would look good together because I couldn’t see how the hard line of the zip would work with the openness of the fabric so I was planning on using buttons. The yarn came out of the cupboard, I bought it for for weaving and I’ve used a surprising amount of it already. I made three bags using it as weft, the leftover piece made a phone slip cover which apparently the blog has never seen and there’s a length of doubleweave fabric upstairs in a bag somewhere. It’s JC Rennie 2/11nm supersoft lambswool and although you can buy it in balls for handknitting I’ve been buying it oiled on cones. I think it’s intended use is for machine knitters, that’s certainly the section I buy it from when I have a periodic falling down on Ebay. This one is “Fauna” which is still in their colour range. What’s left on the cone is now officially a leftover, there’s less than 200g left now and that is just not quite enough to knit another of these.
The pattern is a free one, the Horseshoes Cardigan that was originally published in Magknits. It ended up being slightly too close fitting because I made a cardinal error with the swatch in that I measured it after washing and blocking but without then leaving it overnight for it to relax to its final size. It’s the usual story, I was in a hurry to cast on and get to the knitting and you would think I would have learned by now to take the time to get gauge right. It worked out well in the end because it meant that I had a good excuse for adding a wide seed stitch border and that stopped the zip from running alongside the lace. I’m having to imagine the zip at the moment because the local shop that sells buttons, ribbons and zips only sells dress zips. I never thought that open ended zips were any more specialised than their closed bottomed cousins but it appears that I’m wrong.
If I were knitting it again I’d change the neckline and make it less scoopy. I’d convert the short row shaping back to cast offs (because I’d rather have a step than short rows in lace) and I’d plan on adding an edging to stabilise that long neck edge. I’d already added icord to the edge of the fronts to make a dip where I could hide the stitches for the zip, I continued it all the way around the neck once I’d seen how much it was wanting to roll. The previous scoop neck tops I’ve made had a crab stitch crochet edging and now I know why.
I have been tidying up this week although very slowly. On the left is the result of me starting to tidy the freezer. I found a bag with three teacakes in it that had been lingering long enough to be stale on thawing. I could have thrown them away but it was more entertaining to play with them a bit and turn them into a bread and butter pudding. I haven’t made one in decades, it was delicious and I suspect that there are more leftover teacakes in the freezer that will be meeting the same fate. On the right is the result of me finding a bag with the remains of the Blueberry Fool yarn that I made in April 2011. I could have just taken the bag upstairs and put it in a box but it was so tempting that I had to play with it first. There were several small balls left over from making a run of shadow weave scarves last summer, not enough on their own to make a single colour scarf so they had to be helped along with something else. I don’t usually make the pattern blocks this big, these have eighteen ends to a repeat and I generally go with ten or twelve. I prefer the larger ones which is something worth remembering for the future. There are now only two small balls of the handspun left and they can join the Fauna in the leftovers pile.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, lace, socks, Weaving on October 31st, 2012
The navy yarn arrived and proved to be the perfect colour. I managed to get it measured out, tied on and beamed just in time for everything to stop for half term. I’m sure that the actual weaving will go fast enough once I get to it but that might not be until next week. Until then I get to admire it every time I walk past the loom and imagine what it will look like as cloth. I have a suspicion that there will be navy stripes.
This was the fibre the last time I showed it. I don’t have a photo of the resulting yarn but it looked just the same as all the other skeins of this that I’ve spun, it makes two skeins that start off dark at one end and slowly change to white at the other. When I spun this for the first time I wondered what it would look like woven but I’ve kept selling the yarn without finding out. I needed something to do at the weekend while sitting around at a craft fair so I warped the rigid heddle loom with one skein and used the other as weft. Another time I’ll take a second warp with me because I’d finished the scarf with three hours still left in the day. Fortunately this was not a major cause for panic as I’d taken a ball of sock yarn and a set of needles with me just in case. It’s not just Scouts who are well prepared.
The scarf runs light to dark across the width and light to dark along the length and I quite like it. It’s only “quite like it” rather than “love it beyond reason” because half way through I started wondering what it would have looked like paired with burnt orange or red in a log cabin pattern. The colour change in the yarn would need to take place in half the length but that’s not difficult to achieve. It is lovely and soft, snuggly and woolly and I’m glad that I took the time to find out what the yarn would look like. The photo on the right shows both ends side by side with the white edge of each running down the centre. You can see the effect of changing the colour of the weft, the left side has the light end of the yarn and the right side has the darker end.
I finished my socks but failed to take a photo before they went into service. They’re not my favourite colours but they are keeping my feet warm and stopping my shoes rubbing on my heels so therefore they are perfect. The next ball out of the sock yarn drawer was the emergency reserve that went with me to the craft fair and is very much more upmarket. It’s Maple Creek Farms Annapolis (75% merino, 20% nylon, 5% metallic) in “Boot Camp” which is a mixture of dark greens and browns with lots of glittery flecks that are showing nicely in the photo. Even though these would be a perfect match for these trousers they aren’t for me. These are for bigger feet than mine although exactly which pair of feet I haven’t decided yet. Both residents with 72 stitch feet have recent offences of putting handknitted socks into the wash as singles rather than pairs and it’s that sort of transgression that determines who goes to the back of the handknit queue (that and having feet that are growing by the week)
This was a collaborative project seeing as it is half term and we had a spot of free time in between homework, more homework and Minecraft. Dan chose the design, I drew it on the pumpkins and we carved one each. I did the debraining which is a first because in previous years I’ve not been able to grip the ice cream scoop well enough to cut into the flesh. I was proud of myself for that – I know that it’s not a mighty achievement in the grand scale of things but it felt good to me. Mine is the one with the eyebrows, the small one had much thinner skin and eyebrows were a high risk move. Halloween proved to be a wash out, it started to rain heavily just after 6pm and that was an end to the trick or treaters. I’m not complaining as there are are an awful lot of people who will be spending Halloween flooded with no gas, electric or phone service and trees on their houses. I am thankful that all I’m left with is a few unopened bags of treats.
Posted by caroline in Weaving on October 24th, 2012
When I lined up all the cottons for the group shot I noticed that I was a cone missing. It was a very dark green that I’d bought at the same time as the cone of olive (top left), it was like the olive in every way except for the colour. I bought the big cone of off white (top right) at the same time from the same vendor. I’d not used the dark green for anything so I didn’t understand why it wasn’t in the same place as the other cones but there’s only a limited number of places I could put a pound cone so I didn’t fuss about finding it. It was annoying not to have everything together but I knew it was around somewhere and it would turn up given time. I was happy that I could remember the colour pretty well so I could plan to use it even if I didn’t immediately have it to hand.
You will notice that the next warp is all tied on apart from where those six little bunches of white threads are waiting patiently. They are where I’d planned to have a dark green stripe in the warp but they are currently gaps rather than stripes because I don’t have anything to tie on there. I looked everywhere for that missing cone and then I looked everywhere all over again just in case I’d missed it the first time. After that I went back to the invoice just to check that what I was looking for was the shape and colour I thought it was, what I thought I was looking for was a cone exactly the size and shape of the olive only in a very dark green. Surprise, surprise – there is no dark green cone and there never was. When I saw the invoice detailing its two cones, not three, I remembered the purchasing decision. It was a redo of the Tom and Jerry cartoon where Tom has a little devil sitting on one shoulder and an angel on the other. The little devil said “Ooh, that’s cheap, buy lots and save on the postage.” and the little angel said “Don’t be stupid, it might be no good for weaving and then you’ve wasted your money.” I bought one cone of the green as a sample and deleted the other out of the shopping cart. This leaves me with a gappy warp because you can see that what I am really missing from that photo of massed cotton are dark shades. The postman should be bringing me some navy which will work better with those colours that I have now than a dark green would have done so it’s all good. It doesn’t feel all good when I’m looking at a half dressed loom but I’m trying hard to be positive.
The light colour in the warp (and the navy too when it gets here) is very fine and I’m using it doubled so that it’s about the same weight as the other cottons that I have. This is my nifty home made doubling stand, the ball that I wound off the cone is in the steamer underneath the rest of the cone (1.7kg, it should last me a while). The strand from that feeds up through one of the holes in the steamer and through the middle of the cone. As the thread comes off the cone it wraps around the central thread and in theory that bit of twist will hold the two threads together as one. If it doesn’t then there will be a lot of swearing over the next four yards of weaving. I did briefly consider running some through the spinning wheel until I thought about how long it was going to take me, I’m keeping that as my safety net.
I was really hoping to end this with a photo of a cone of navy yarn but you will notice that there isn’t one. Weaving certainly teaches you patience but not in the way that I expected.
Posted by caroline in Spinning, Weaving on October 19th, 2012
The teatowels are woven, washed, pressed, sewn, cut, hemmed and given away. They came out better than I was expecting, while the cloth was wound on the roller the edges went up in an alarming way \____/ and it didn’t bode well. As soon as I cut it off the stripes settled to being straight and it immediately looked better. While it went round in the washer I looked back at my notes to see how many teatowels I thought I should get from the length. I wound a 4.5 yard warp and planned to get four, each woven to 32″ long. The first one is long gone, it flew off to Canada weeks ago so I was hoping to get three towels from the remaining length and that’s what happened. The second one I wove was the same dark green as the first but when I came to start the next one I realised that the light green was really too light to work with the white warp. I could have cut the light out and gone back to the darker thread but stripes promised to be more fun so I kept striping until I’d nearly run out of warp.
All teatowels have now left the building. Although they weren’t as bad as I’d expected they weren’t good enough to give away to anyone other than my mother so I’m still short of the Christmas presents that I’d planned these to be. I’ve dropped the extra bits off the sides and I’ll resley the leftover warp for plain weave. I should be able to run off something simple and striped quickly enough to wrap up for this Christmas. This is assuming that I manage to resist the lure of the eight shaft project with strong vertical stripes that is currently calling me. I know that it would be fun to design, I know it would be better by being that bit wider but I also know that I could get the plain weave ones woven in the time it would take me to rethread. Simple towels now, fancy towels afterwards. It’s too long a slogan for a t shirt, more’s the pity.
Look what the shop bought me this month, lots of coloured string with plenty of potential for stripes. The yarn I already had is at the back, the new yarn is at the front. I’ve had yarn samples and price lists for a year but in the face of so much choice I’ve been unable to pick anything. I get the samples out, choose some colours, then put it all away again. I know that it’s perfectionism creeping in, I can’t settle on colours A and B because C and F might look even better together. Faced with a shade chart I can’t decide what the best combination would be so I end up choosing nothing at all. These came all together, I bought a box of someone else’s leftovers so I didn’t have to dither for months over what colours to choose, those were the colours, take them or leave them. Now that I have a smaller palette to play with I’m having no trouble putting them together in interesting ways.
The shop was very generous buying me the coloured string, I suspect that it has an agenda of its own and it thinks that it will soon be adding teatowels to its inventory. It needs to face reality, I’ve lost track of the number of failed teatowel projects but it’s certainly a number bigger than three so it may be buying me string for a while longer before I produce something that I’m happy with. In the mean time I am repaying it by spinning it these, black Corriedale and grey and white Falkland. This is the first thing I’ve dizzed off the new carder and it worked really well. I’m not sure why I thought it wouldn’t work but seeing as this was for me to spin rather than for sale it didn’t matter if I broke the roving while getting it off the carder. It was fine, it looks lovely and I can’t wait to spin it.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, socks, Weaving on October 14th, 2012
With a mighty bound our hero threw off her chains and leaped to freedom. That’s what this week feels like anyway. I gritted my teeth and plodded through the second fingerless glove, put the thumb onto scrap yarn, completed the pattern repeat and switched to single colour k2p2 rib. I carefully counted that I had the same number of rounds of rib as on the first one before savouring that wonderful cast off row – I was done. Knitting these has been tortuous and it felt so good to be done with them. I enjoyed that feeling of release for all of a minute until I tried the second one on and realised that it didn’t end in the same place on my hand as the first one had. I should have done an extra pattern repeat after completing the thumb but I was so desperate to get to the rib that I never bothered to check. It wasn’t a difficult fix, take off the ribbing, add another pattern repeat and put the ribbing back again. It took me less than a minute to consider my options and I decided to go with option B and rip the entire mitten and its mate. It might sound drastic but it got me out of having to do the thumbs.
The other millstone around my neck has been the warp of never ending teatowels that I started back in July. I should know by now that nothing much is ever going to happen during the six week holiday because of the seasonal increase in hours of my unpaid job of chauffeur/entertainer/educator/appreciative audience. The reason these have languished since the start of school was because of the double burden of being boring and also substandard. They were boring because it’s an all over pattern on a solid warp – knowing what my attention span is like I should have known better. The real problem with it was the edges. The previous warp was not quite as wide as I wanted for teatowels so I thought I’d try adding a narrow warp chain at each edge, weighting them separately. I won’t do it again unless there’s a real need because I now know that it is more trouble than it was worth. I fussed over matching the tension on the first towel and it was respectable but I couldn’t face it for the rest of the warp. My options were to cut it off and bin it, ditch the edge chains and live with the fabric being two inches smaller or to whizz through the rest of the warp ignoring all faults. I went for the latter, they will be just as absorbent as pretty ones and more importantly they will be off the loom so I can start something else. I learned something from them (what’s a good size for a teatowel, how much shrinkeage to expect) so it’s not a waste and it’s much less of a waste than it would have been if I’d dropped the rest of the warp in the bin. I have about a foot to weave and if I think of it as three stripes then that’s nothing at all.
The adequate-but-not-pretty socks have been stalled for a while because I never wrote down how I made my new favourite toe so I had to recreate it. That took all of five minutes to do but several evenings to get to. I know that I won’t remember how to do it next time but the blog will. Split work onto four needles. Decrease four stitches by working to the last three stitches, k2tog, k1, repeat on alternate rounds until 28 stitches remain. Shuffle stitches so that there are ten on the front and back needles and four on each side. Work on the front ten only, slip first stitch, work the last stitch together with one stitch from the side needle, turn and repeat until the side stitches are have been consumed and then graft the ten stitches from the front needle with the ten on the back. I prefer this to the more usual wedge toe because it makes for a more round toe and the socks that I reknitted with this toe aren’t showing any signs of strain along the edges.
As you can see this is where the bulk of my knitting time has been going, it’s made for ideal tv knitting because I don’t need to read a chart and it’s light enough to see easily in the evenings. The fronts and back are worked as one up to the division for the arms and I’m only a couple of inches off that point now. This is a Horseshoe Cardigan for my mother in JC Rennie supersoft lambswool. I’m already picking out a pattern for the next sweater (cardigan? cabled?) even though I told myself that there was no point knitting one for me this winter because of the fitting issue caused by the hips of doom. I’ve lost three inches off them recently so deciding what size to knit feels like a big decision and it seemed easier to wait another year to see if I manage to shrink them by another three inches. This seemed a very wise and sensible decision right up to the moment when it turned cold enough for me to put on my Celtic Dreams. There is room in it now for me and a friend and I’m going to have to see whether I can block some of the width out and convert that excess fabric to length. It was knitted top down so it would be easy enough to rip it back to the waist and reknit the bottom part but it would be more fun to knit a whole new sweater.
I’m off now for one last push on the teatowels, if I can get them cut off today then I can start the week with something new.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, Spinning, Stashbash, Weaving on September 21st, 2012
I now have space in my wardrobe (a bag of clothes weighed in for recycling), space in cupboards (unused crockery rehomed via ebay) and space in the dining room (condensed toy storage leading to a reshuffle of furniture). More importantly, I now have space on my to do list. It took all of last week to get the list onto one page. It wasn’t that I was slacking – I did one job and then saw four others that needed doing so although I was busy, busy, busy the list kept getting longer. After a fun packed day on Tuesday I finally gained on it and I now have everything on one page and some empty lines on the bottom. I still haven’t put paint onto walls but I’m getting closer. As you can see I have been fully supported in this by Mr Fluffy who can be seen here closely supervising me in the washing down of paintwork while hogging the only spot of sunlight.
I’ve created some more space in my spinning corner by turning the big pile of fluffy batts into scarves. For the warp for the first one I found a cone of leftover wool that I thought was lively enough to work with the brown yarn – it wasn’t and it produced a scarf that is the right size, suitably soft for going next to a neck but top of the class in dull and boring. I think it can be rescued by crochet sunflowers but at the moment it is too plain to photograph. I went looking for a bag that I knew I had in a safe place somewhere. Once upon a time I bought some twinkly sparkly yarns in browns and creams with the idea of knitting a throw. When I got them home sanity set in and I realised that I didn’t want a throw, didn’t want to knit a throw and didn’t like knitting with multistrand yarn because it’s too splitty. The bag of yarn has been in the wardrobe ever since waiting for its time to shine. I used the multistranded yarn as warp, the brown handspun as weft and I like these scarves much better than the first one. I made three scarves before the sparkle ran out. At that point there were still some batts left unspun, enough to make the weft for another couple of scarves. My options were
a) hunt out more warp yarn and keep on going,
b) pack the remnants back into the wardrobe or
c) throw the rest of the batts in the bin and move on.
I’m not saying which option I went for but I’m done with brown scarves.
There have been a few nights where after a full day of scrubbing things I’ve just been glad to sit down and sit there until it’s time to crawl to bed so there’s nowhere near as much knitting to show as I’d expect in ten days. I did start off intending to make mittens from leftover sock yarn but I wasn’t feeling the love for these, they are on the large side of acceptable and I didn’t like the thumb pattern in this yarn. I stopped as soon as was possible and made them into fingerless mitts. I don’t like fingerless mitts but they’re not for me so what does it matter? I’m still trundling around with the second one, it feels like a chore but I’ve started so I’ll finish. It’s not enough of a chore to make it onto the to do list though, I’m keeping those lines free for proper jobs.
When faced with twenty six rounds of no fun I did what every sensible knitter would do in this position – set that project aside and cast on for something else. The mitts will get finished, I’ll take them as a music school project because when I have nothing else to work on they will get done. The fun knitting is bootees. My excuse for this is that I’ve never knitted any so although I don’t know anyone in need of bootees I feel I can justify these in terms of the experience. It’s a feeble excuse but it’s the only one I have. When I’ve knitted the other one my excuse for a second pair will be that I’ve never knitted them from the sole up.
Next week should be the one where the paint meets the ceiling and hopefully just the ceiling and not the floor, my hair or the dog. By the time I return I should have three fresh looking ceilings, two matching fingerless mittens and possibly a bag of bootees.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, Spinning, Weaving on September 11th, 2012
I didn’t realise that I had a colour theme this week, not until I saw the photos. It seems as if my subconscious has been choosing yarns with an autumn theme without me really noticing.
First up are the gloves for me. The junior hand model is retiring after this, he’s an inch taller than me now and I’m not convinced that he got these on the right hands. They have everything I want in a glove – a gusset, cuddly wool and no colour changes that give me Frankenstein’s fingers. I don’t like them as much as the handspun merino/camel/silk that I lost but the big advantage of these is that I have two of them so don’t need to keep one hand in a pocket all winter. Knitting the fingers was nowhere as bad as I remember it being last time but I’d forgotten that there would be that many ends to sew in.
As I thought, there was enough yarn left for a pair of child’s mittens. They’re a bit small for adult sized hands but if I’d made them much bigger I’d have run out of yarn. I liked this pattern and I might knit it again (and again and again). For a child’s mitten it has two big advantages, there’s no left and right and the rib accommodates a big range of sizes. These are the spiral rib mittens from “Homespun Handknit” and although they don’t have a gusset (one of my usual requirements for gloves and mittens) they seem to fit very well, probably because of the rib.
I had to fire the junior hand model for sneakily turning into an adult size while I had my back turned but he might be reassigned to photography. This photo was well framed (I cropped my head off), level and in focus. There was a bit of yarn left from the gloves and mittens, it’s gone in the leftover bag that I had out after making this scarf. This is the shorter version, I sometimes make a longer one that will go around the neck in another loop but it’s not that cold that I felt the need. This is all handspun yarn except for the sparkly twinkly one. I added beads to one section but as usual went down the route of “so subtle I needn’t have bothered”. If the yarn had been darker or a different colour it would have worked better but small gold beads on a mid brown ground don’t stand out all that well. I have enough yarn left to make at least one more, maybe two but I’m putting it away for now because I have something more pressing to be doing.
Some time ago I bought two Ryeland fleeces, one was lovely soft crimpy fibre but full of short cuts and rubbish. What I would advise everyone else to do with shabby fleece is to cut their losses, dump it in the bin and save their valuable time for something worthwhile. I don’t always follow my own advice so what I did was spin half into a nice even four ply yarn by picking out every nepp and burr. I thought I’d spun it all but later I found another box full hiding in the garage. I couldn’t face picking over the second half of the fleece so I’ve carded it with some orange and I’m planning to spin it lumps and all. That is so totally alien to me that I suspect that it will be character building, it will certainly teach me to stop buying dodgy fleece. I think this has potential to be weft yarn for some soft and textured scarves, if they are heavily fulled the bumps should stay put rather than pilling out. The second fleece was much coarser, I thought I’d carded it all up and made it into a rug but the blog (which has a better memory than I do) says not. It’s either still lurking in the garage or I showed some sense and binned it.
If I vanish for a couple of weeks you may imagine me happily running that pile of brown through the wheel and then the loom. In reality the likelihood is that I’m tackling the very long to do list that greets me every September. I’ve no excuse for not tackling all those jobs that I’ve been putting off until school starts and because I’ve been putting jobs off I now have a list that reaches to the bottom of the page and includes the redecoration of two rooms. I considered how to split the list into long jobs and short jobs, woolly jobs and boring jobs and was working out how to set a weekly target when I caught myself. That’s just procrastinating, it all needs doing and it doesn’t matter where I start.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, socks, Stashbash, Weaving on September 2nd, 2012
It’s not been a good week for knitting. I started off well enough, the last of the holiday knitting finished itself and when I went to photograph the socks they had gone. They were in use before I had time to get a daylight photo so you’ll have to take my word for it that he has one on the other foot too. They’ve been released into the wild and that’s the last I’ll see of them until I wash them. I wish I’d made a note of what form of Opal these were so I could manage not to buy any more. I don’t have a problem with self patterning yarn but I’m not enamoured with spirals. I’m the only sock wearer that is anti-spiral but I’m the one that has to look at them while I’m knitting so I’m the one that counts.
That left me with nothing at all on the needles and that’s where things started to go badly as I tried to find something to knit while not wanting to knit anything. I had a look through all those patterns I’d queued to knit someday, read through a couple of knitting books and then cast on for something totally different. This is as far as I got with a Leftie, it should have been a winner as it has miles of plain garter interspersed with odd bits of leftover sock yarn. I badly wanted it to be a winner as it held the prospect of nice long rows of mindless knitting and so I was prepared to take a bit of a risk on the yarn. I knew that the coned white yarn I had was skinnier than sock yarn but I had thought that it would plump up enough when the spinning oil was washed out of it. I wasn’t entirely certain of this so I washed this bit just to see what it would look like. It didn’t fill out as much as I’d hoped, the white sections still look wimpy so it is doomed. I like the pattern though, next time I might even take the radical step of using suitable yarn.
My second attempt at forcing myself into some knitting worked out slightly better. This was a Mitred Mitten in a child size for the Christmas Shoebox appeal and that’s as far as it got before returning to a ball of yarn. There was nothing actually wrong with it but once I had tried it on to see where the thumb would fall it was going to be a ripper. Its problem was that it was altogether perfect. The yarn was lovely, the fabric felt lovely, in fact it felt as soft and cuddly as my much lamented lost handspun gloves. I remembered that I still have no gloves for the winter (my previous attempt having ending up in the shoebox box) and although I tried to convince myself that there was plenty in the ball for a pair of mittens and a pair of gloves for me I didn’t buy it. It’s going to be gloves for me first, using up leftovers second.
It’s just as well that I have another string to my bow so that when knitting fails me I can find something else to do with yarn. I’m trundling through a scarf on the rigid heddle and that is behaving itself perfectly, so far at least. After weeks away from it (it’s still the school holidays here) I put up the floor loom to tie the teatowel warp back on. This tea towel was going to be the test for the pattern for the green blanket, it only uses four treadles so I can just use one leg to treadle. Now I’ve identified the source of my knee trouble I can go back to using all ten treadles but seeing as I’d taken the time to work out something that would work with the threading I had I thought that I might as well use it. This teatowel suffers from the same problem as the last one – a small all over pattern in plain boring yarn is fine if you want to wear it but if the fabric is just going to sit there and be a teatowel then it could do with being more exciting. I know this is a bit obvious but in my defence I’d like to point out that I rarely weave with plain yarn, my warps are usually more like the one on the left, handspun wool with random colour changes, sparkle and the odd lump. This plain thing is a whole new experience for me and I’m sure it must be character building simply because I’m not enjoying it at all. I’ll be back to the drafting software to see if there’s any way that I can liven up the remaining tea towels because this one is no fun.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, Spinning, Weaving on August 6th, 2012
I could at a pinch get away with calling this gold, it’s bright and shiny but too yellow to be copper. This was a set of batts that fell out of the shop, no-one wanted them – their loss, my gain. They were bfl and merino, copper angelina and orange tencel so managed to be soft as well as bright and shiny. I spun and plied them while sitting at a craft fair, it’s hasty yarn, woollen, imprecise and quick. Somewhere in the stash bins I have a bright yellow/orange and a pumpkin orange/brown and I’m seeing them all in the same warp with a plain weft. The significance of this particular skein is that it is evidence of spinning – the treadling embargo is over. My dodgy knee had nothing to do with treadling and everything to do with my move into sandals. Once I’d reverted to lace up shoes the knee of pain was no more.
That meant that I could finish the last few inches of the first teatowel. I cut the first one off because I was unsure what the last inch at each edge would look like. There’s a warp chain at each edge that isn’t wound on the back beam but weighted separately. If I get the tension of the chains the same as in the body of the piece then there shouldn’t be any visible difference in the weaving. It looked passable on the loom but I wasn’t entirely convinced, certainly not convinced enough to weave another four tea towels. As it was, it came out well enough on both sides and I can continue with the rest happy in the knowledge that I’m not wasting my time. I know now that I can weight a warp chain and tension it the same as the rest but I’d have to have a good reason to do it again. It’s a faff having to fill two water bottles every time I want to weave and to keep on moving them as the warp winds on and now that I’ve learned the lesson I’m trying to find a good excuse not to continue doing it. It’s made a nice sized teatowel and seeing as I don’t want to lose 2″ off the width I’m stuck with the water bottles until the end of the warp. That may be a while as we’re only half way through the school holidays.
This does look better in its second incarnation, it was the light green that I didn’t like and leaving that out fixed it for me. The light green is also fixed in that it is now olive and brown and back in the bag of sock scraps. From the front it looks like a baby surprise jacket but the back is plain vertical stripes. It’s a DROPS pattern (b20-15) and it’s made in two pieces with sleeve and side seams and a join at centre back. I ended up with the first size, 20″, by using the stitch count for the third size and the lengths for the first size. I have knitted sock yarn before at six stitches per inch and I didn’t like it, I prefer the fabric that results from knitting it at seven stitches per inch. There’s only one thing I don’t like about this pattern and that’s the amount of overlap on the fronts. If I knit it again I’ll stop the increases a few rows earlier which will make the fronts narrower and shorter and then add a few more rows at the bottom to make the fronts the same length as the back. It’s likely that I will knit it again because it eats up left over sock yarn and I could do with more of that.