Weave faster, the stash is catching up

Posted by Caroline in doubleweave, Stashbash, Weaving on August 26th, 2018

Results day has been and gone, the teen will be going away to where he wanted to go and he has been allocated perfectly lovely accommodation at a standard of luxury that was unknown when I went away mumblemumble years ago.  His room is ensuite with a small double bed, the one size that I don’t have fitted sheets for. The bed has been my area of interest because depending on which of his accommodation preferences he got he could have had a single bed, a small double or a double. The eighteen inch difference in width is significant if you are aiming to make something to cover it. I now know what I’m aiming at and his throw is third in the queue for the loom.

This is blanket number one, the sample (as usual, click on the photo to see a larger one). As I didn’t know what width I wanted my plan was to weave four panels for a smaller bed or five for a wider bed. Now I know the width I want I could make four panels and just make them a bit wider. This is a sock yarn blanket and both the warp and weft came from the sock scrap bag. I’m loving it, every ball brings a different combination of colours and the balls are all small so there is always something changing. I was going to cut this in two, join the two pieces and make a lap blanket but I may put it aside for now and make more later to end up with something bed sized. No-one needs to point out the gap in the reed, I made so many mistakes with this because I’ve not touched the loom in two years and I seem to have forgotten everything I knew. There was a threading mistake in the middle that was on the lower layer and wasn’t evident until I switched layers. I solved that with scissors and I should have resleyed but I was a few inches along by then and I couldn’t be bothered. I’ll catch it when I come to tie on the next warp.

The next warp (all plans are subject to change at a moment’s notice) will be the burgundy and gold that was in the last post and the warp after that will be a black/grey/teal combination based on the colours in this rug. I have no black yarn and I as I’d rather not dye black I bought some. I did have a cone of grey, right up to last month when I dyed it burgundy so I bought grey too. I am aware that I am congratulating myself on using up lots of tiny balls of sock yarn whilst quietly adding two huge cones of yarn to stash. Providing that I keep on weaving and don’t get diverted then there will still be more yarn leaving the house than coming in. The stash will be providing the teal for the third warp, it needs skeining, scouring, dyeing and drying and that’s why this is going to be the third blanket rather than the second. I’m not sure how much of those three cones I’ll need because I need to do some serious number crunching and having seen what a mess I made of warping I’m not convinced that I’m ready for warp calculations. I know there are online calculators but I’ve always done it old school, now might be the time to let someone else check my calculations.

I’ve finished another two pairs of striped socks, they look just the same as all the others which was the point really. This month I’ve bought two cones of yarn (2.25kg), made two pairs of socks (180g) and made a felt cover for the worms (150g). If I’d been quicker sorting out the many threading mistakes I made rather than ignoring them and hoping they’d go away then I might have been weighing in a blanket this month because I can see the knots on the back beam. There are a few days left in this month but seeing as I’m writing this now I declare August to be officially over. Net yarn gain for the month is 1.920g, making the total to date 3.88kg. ETA The sample is off the loom within the month and weighs 420g. Net gain for the month is 1.5kg, total to date 4.2kg.

I’ll catch it up in September providing that I don’t buy any more yarn. When you are buying a kilo at a time a single purchase makes a significant difference.

The calm before the storm

Posted by Caroline in doubleweave, Family, felting, Spinning, Stashbash, Weaving on August 9th, 2018

I have been busy but I’ve nearly caught up now except for the dusting. We went on holiday where I decided I’d rather sail a dinghy than a yacht because although I like the speed I also like my holidays with a good shower, headroom and no marine toilet. We came back from holiday to an incredible amount of tile dust and a shell of a bathroom (no toilet, marine or otherwise). I ran off to a knitting retreat leaving someone else in charge of the bathroom fitters, all meals and gardening. Everything has settled down again and now we are waiting for A level results after which there will be another flurry of activity as we get everything together for the teen to move into self catered halls. So far all I have bought is towels which is better than nothing I suppose.

Over the last couple of months there has been little knitting because it has been far too hot. This summer is being compared with the summer of 1976 which I remember very well. So far we’ve not had a hosepipe ban or a plague of ladybirds but it has been consistently very hot and very dry. The British summer is usually lukewarm with frequent rain so this is not at all what we are used to. On the plus side the grass has stopped growing, I think it may have stopped living but we’ll see what happens the next time that it rains. I have managed to keep spinning. This is just shy of a kilo of yarn for the weft of a doubleweave blanket. It could be the warp but I think it’s the weft, I need to sit down with a calculator and crunch some numbers to work out just how big a blanket I can make with 2kg of yarn. I’m aiming for “big enough” and if it isn’t then I’ll be looking round for some other yarn to add in as stripes.

This is the test piece for the doubleweave blanket. You can see the vertical colour changes as the bottom layer swaps with the top layer. You can see that one stripe started with red on the top and then switched to white on the top. No-one needs to be polite about this photo, this is the header and is unpicked/cut off at the end. It looks as if I’m nearly ready to go but I’m not because the friction brake is slipping. I’m assuming that dust is a lubricant and all I need to do is to wipe down the brake with some sort of a solvent so that it grips instead of slips. This is husband territory, he would have vanished into the garage, come back with a smelly cloth and sorted it for me. This time I am on my own. I should really disassemble the brake but seeing as the beam has the warp on it I’d rather not do that if I can get away with it. First I have to locate the appropriate smelly liquid and then see if I can clean it enough to get by, possibly with the aid of a toothbrush.

One of the touristy things on sale everywhere in Greece was olive oil soap. I didn’t bring any home because I know where I can buy it locally in great big blocks as it is sold for feltmakers. It did get me thinking about soap and how little I knew about it other than having covered saponification in chemistry. I now know more about it than I did before and know what a particular oil will add to a recipe in terms of lather, hardness, cleansing or conditioning. The bars on the right I’m using now as they were cold pour oven process, a heated phase at the end speeds the reaction so you don’t have to wait six weeks for the soap to cure. The ingredients for those came off the shelf at the local supermarket, you could eat it right up until the addition of the caustic soda. The bars on the left are at week two of curing, these are intended as shampoo bars but obviously I’m a way off testing that. They are coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and caster oil, it’s the caster oil that is the big thing in shampoo bars. It was an interesting diversion and as I still have a chunk of shea butter in the bottom of the fridge I will be making some more soap/lotion/hand cream. It has all the fun of cooking without the calories.

I used some of my new soap to make some felt, not a lot because I did the bulk of the felting in the washing machine. I needed a new cover for the wormery, the top layer that keeps it moist and dark. There is a plastic lid that goes over the whole thing but this is in effect a duvet to keep the worms happy while they get on with the important job of making compost. What I did was make a swiss roll of wool and bubble wrap, tie it up and run it through the washer. If I’d made a better job of tying the swiss roll together or had a single piece of bubble wrap rather than two I might have got away with it. One of the pieces of bubble wrap escaped, the wool folded back on itself resulting in one end that is very thick with the whole piece being a bit short. It’s fit for purpose, has cleared some wool from the floor and I quite like it even though now I wish I’d attempted to do something with the two colours rather than slap them together. I have some fleece that is not good for much so I will be doing this again but not until I’ve found a bigger sheet of bubblewrap. The worms seem to be happy on a cardboard and caffeine diet, the bulk of what they have is tea bags, coffee grounds, toilet roll middles and the odd eggshell and ripped up cardboard box. The bottom tray of the wormery is now full of black compost and the ghosts of tea bags, there is a small amount of plastic in the bag that does not compost. I am not yet annoyed enough to switch to leaf tea but I might be after I’ve picked hundreds of them out of the compost.

In June I sold 300g fibre, knitted one pair of blue/bright striped socks (90g), three pairs orange/brown socks (270g) making a total used of 660g. I did buy fibre and yarn in July, both are going into the blanket and half of the fibre is already dyed and spun. I knitted a pair of socks (90g), threw away 240g of fibre (I know, shock horror but it wouldn’t have felted and I didn’t like it) and bought 500g of yarn and 600g of fibre. It was a net gain for the month of 800g and a reduction to date of 5.8kg.

Done and buttoned

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Stashbash, sweaters on February 28th, 2018

The button tin came up with the buttons for the little pink baby jacket, they were too small for the holes that I’d made so there was some additional sewing involved. This is Muscardinus, it’s a free pattern and there is an English version. It was the hood that I was interested in, I wanted to know whether I liked it enough to bring it into my repertoire for adding to other baby jackets. It’s a nice enough hood so now if you see a little jacket with a hood you know where I snagged it from. I wasn’t sold on the extra knitting for the turn back cuff nor the slipped stitch edge trim and another time I would make the buttonholes smaller. I ignored the instructions for joining the hood, there should have been a decorative twiddly bit at the tip but I was done at that point. In my mind it was going to be a quick little knit, the reality is that knitting 170g of sock yarn does not happen overnight.

The larger blue cardi is also finished including the buttons and sewing in the few ends. I took the buttons from last year’s brown cardigan as they are my favourites. Eight would have been better than six but I only have six so that’s just too bad. The pattern is the seamless yoke sweater from Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and it’s knitted in Forsell’s Touch of Silk. I bought two kilo cones of it last year and the brown sweater that I finished last Spring has worn very well. The photo on the right shows the blue cardigan on top of the brown cardigan, it is too big but it’s still wearable, I could fix it by reknitting the bottom and grafting it back together just short of the underarms. I’m thinking about doing that but in the meantime I’m going to give it some new buttons from the button tin. You can see in the photo on the right that the blue one is looking a bit pointy at the bottom front, I’ve pulled it out of shape while I was sewing on the button but it was straight before I started and it will be straight again.

I’ve rehomed some big bags of random yarn this month which outweighed the 850g reduction in stash from these two cardigans. My totals for the month were 2.93kg out, 100g in. That makes a net total to date of 4.43kg so that 4kg target that I set myself for the year was not too hard after all. I think I’m going to keep track of the movements for the rest of the year as I still have lovely yarn that needs to be knitted and I’m more likely to do that if I stop buying more.

I’ve spun and plied the 100g of yak/silk fibre, I thought that I’d dye it copper but now that I have the yarn I’m not sure that I will. Maybe I’ll look at that next time.

Stashbash 2018 – January

Posted by Caroline in hats, Knitting, socks, Stashbash on January 22nd, 2018

These may look like hats but they are part of my strategy for tidying up the front bedroom. The spare bedroom has yet again reached the stage where I look in, sigh and walk away even though I know from previous experience that it never takes as long as I think it will to clear it up and get everything back into boxes.  The last time I had a serious sort through of the stash was six years ago when I decided to move out a net two kilos of yarn. At that time I had no idea how big a challenge that would be and it was a surprise to me that by October I’d used up 8.9kg. Admittedly I’d bought rather a lot during the year but once the purchases had been netted off I still hit the target. This year I’m planning to buy less so I think that to aim for a net four kilo reduction is possible. It’s not only about having less stuff in boxes but also about seeing the wood for the trees and getting reacquainted with what I have. I’ve reopened the Etsy shop and intend spinning all the fibre into yarn as that takes up less space. There will no doubt be a number of project bags that will need new homes once I’ve moved enough stuff off the floor to be able to get to the box with the fabric in.

The hats on the right are random odd balls together with the leftovers from the grey cardigan that I knitted for mum in 2014. There are a few small balls of grey left now but not enough for another hat. The hats on the left feature the leftovers from the brown cardigan that I knitted earlier this year. There is one more brown hat on the needles which I think is the last one. I could have done something radical such as weigh how much yarn one hat takes but that thought eluded me. So far all of the yarn has come from off the floor and knitting it means that I don’t have to put it away. There were a few other grey hats but they left in a parcel of other woolies earlier in the month. I also sold a few odd balls of cotton yarn making the total used for January 1.5kg. I bought nothing so that’s 1.5kg net.

This will be the basis of the third phase of hats but not until I’ve made myself a cardigan out of it and have some actual leftovers. This is a kilo cone of aran Forsell Touch of Silk which was so incredibly cheap that it would have been rude not to buy it especially as I bought a second kilo at the same time thereby saving on postage too. It is the same yarn as the brown that I made a cardigan from last year so I already know what sort of fabric it makes and that it changes significantly on scouring as it is oiled for machine knitting.  I would usually start with the measurements of the last cardigan I made but that is already too big because I’ve lost a stone in weight since then. I have the yarn, I have the buttons but I need the measurements and a design idea.  Don’t hold your breath.

It’s not been all hats this month, I’m knitting them on straight needles and they won’t go in my handbag so they don’t make for good travel knitting. These are socks for feet I don’t know very well, if I’m lucky then they will fit but if not they may return for some minor adjustment. I’ve written down the number of rounds so I could reproduce them again if I get lucky. If I don’t get lucky then at least I know the starting numbers from which I can make adjustments.





Weigh in

Posted by caroline in Stashbash on October 1st, 2012

Back in the dawn of time (that would be 2011 then) I decided that it would be a wizard idea this year to concentrate on using up some of the unloved odd ball yarn. What usually happens is I see a pattern I like, reject every yarn I already have on hand as being unsuitable, lovingly spin the perfect yarn for the project, realise it could be improved on and then spin another variant. By then I’ve seen another pattern I like and I’m off again adding more yarn to the stash. I have been a good girl this year and I have stuck to my resolution to see 2012g of stray yarn out of the door. When I set off I had no idea of how much yarn I use in a year, whether 2kg would be a walk in the park or a herculean effort but it became obvious early on that I was going to have no trouble using up and moving out that amount so I decided to keep track of what was coming in and make it a net 2012g.

I’ve another month to go but I’m done with it now. It’s turning cold and I might want to knit a sweater sometime soon without worrying how that might affect my figures. Net of purchases I used up 2.4kg of yarn which on the face of it would show that the 2kg target was a realistic one. This figure lies – I bought quite a lot of cotton this year for weaving teatowels (which is not happening at the moment, more about that in another post) and so the net useage tells you nothing at all. In the ten month period I used up 8.9kg which would explain why it was that when I last tidied up I emptied one plastic storage box.

I still have a lot of odd bits left but I think I’ll be taking 2013 off and maybe doing this again in 2014. I’ve not been spinning anywhere near as much this year and that’s because I’ve been so focussed on using stash yarn for projects rather than making the yarn for the project. I like spinning, I like spinning a lot, so it’s time to take my mind off stash management and focus on doing what I want rather than doing what I feel I have to do.

Answering machines – if you’re looking to replace one anytime soon and are plagued with cold callers I’d suggest looking for one that has both a night function and call barring. The night function is a whitelist, callers not in the address book go straight to the answering machine without the handset ringing so if you set the night to be very long the international/withheld numbers always go straight to the machine (where of course they immediately hang up). If you have telephone pests who don’t withhold their number you can blacklist them after which they don’t even get the answering machine option – they get the engaged tone before being cut off. I have a Panasonic KX-TG8521E but any machine with night mode and call barring should do the trick providing you have caller id. We’re not getting any less sales calls but they are less intrusive because I only move for the phone when I hear the ringtone that’s specifically for known callers. I wish I’d read the manual twelve months earlier, as it was it took a combination of late night sales calls and being stuck up a ladder to make me use all the facilities on the phone.

A variety of chores

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.


Do what you love, love what you do

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.

Land of the long white cloud

Posted by caroline in Family, Knitting, socks, Stashbash on August 19th, 2012

It turned out that I’m not sick of pink baby jackets just yet although I have to admit that the shine is wearing off a bit now and this might be the last one for a while. This was my holiday knitting and I had hoped to bring it home finished but the weather conspired against me, that and the two pairs of socks that were fighting for my knitting time. The jacket is another one of the DROPS two piece productions in left over sock yarn. I’m currently at the stage of knitting along the mitre at the front, across the shoulder and down the back (the backs are squashed together in the middle of the needle). In another few inches I have the exciting part where I reach the neck, abandon the fronts and just knit on across the back. I know that part grows really quickly and I get to use up those odd bits of yarn that are now too small to go far enough on the long rows. After I’m finished with the back the rows start getting longer again as the mitre on the fronts gets larger but by then I will know that I’m knitting downhill and I’m near the end.

Despite the title we did not pop to New Zealand for the week, the long white clouds were made closer to home. I didn’t get a photo of the best ones because at that point I hadn’t unearthed my camera but for the first two days a steady stream of cloud rolled off every cliff and headland. Inland, downwind of the cloud factories, it was grey and grim but we got the sun because we were on an estuary at sea level with nothing in front of us to generate cloud. If that had kept up all week I might have got my jacket finished (if I’d managed to keep my hands off the socks) but the weather changed to include a howling wind and occasional rain that sounded like gravel thrown against the windows. There was nothing between us and the waves except a small wall and a road and the wind never stopped howling all night and then the next night and the one after that. I was so tired that I scrapped the idea of a blog post, forgot I owned a camera and put the knitting down. I was so tired that I wanted to come home early but I stuck it out to the end of the week.

The weather was “unsettled” which is a lovely way of saying that you could be baked and drenched in the same day. Luckily we managed to mostly be in the right place at the right time, to the left is Bicton Park where the weather was picking up, to the right Babbacombe model village where it had not long since stopped raining. Both mornings had started wet and windy and then we ended up looking for shade. (Both photos taken by my husband who slept better than I did and so didn’t forget he had a camera) ETA – Mr Indignant would like to point out that the Bicton Park photo is too wonky to be one of his and was clearly taken by our son who is not that concerned about a level horizon.

The sock in progress (both of them) did get out and about but I know that knitting with wet wool throws my tension off so they got a lot of mileage without getting out of my bag much. This is a holiday sock right at the beginning of the week before the wind put paid to sitting out on the balcony with a coffee. I still haven’t reached the heel but seeing as I have a sock and a half of the other pair done there’s a good chance that there might be something finished for the next post.

I believe

Posted by caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, Stashbash on August 10th, 2012

I do not believe in walking trees, talking cows or flying cars. I don’t believe in magic sacks that fill with whatever the holder is thinking of or enchanted bottles of oil from which gallons can be poured without the liquid level dropping. This means that I have to believe that one day I will work my way down through the bag of sock scraps because it is not possible that it is filling itself by magical means. I keep rummaging through it and pulling out scraps of similar colours and knitting them into a baby jacket. A big heap of scraps comes out and a few small balls go back. Each little jacket takes over 120g of yarn which is about the same as the leftovers from four pairs of socks. Intellectually I know that I must be gaining on it but I can’t see any signs of it happening.

This is another 120g of sock scraps. I should say that I don’t knit as many pink socks as it might appear, the various yarns all started off as fairly light colours and went into the same pink dyebath. I have knitted something in this shape before, it was the little jacket that started my current obsession with two piece baby jackets. The last one I made came out of my head but this one is someone else’s design. It’s Ulina, a free pattern in one size. It starts with a lot of stitches and decreases merrily away until you work down the sleeves and cast off at the cuff.

I knitted it more or less as written, I started with a provisional cast on because I knew that I would finish with a brown edging all around the body, the provisional cast on meant that the stitches along the bottom of the back and up the front edges were waiting for me. After I’d knitted an inch or so of the first side I undid the provisional cast on that ran up the back and started knitting the second side outwards from the cast on at the centre back. Knitting both sides at the same time made it easier to keep track of the stripes and that narrow brown stripe was handy as a counting aid.

I did change the collar slightly because I wanted a sloping edge rather than a right angle. One side came out perfectly and the other failed to meet expectations. If I make it again I’ll move the buttonholes so that the first one falls just under the collar rather than in the collar because then I’ll not have the short rows fighting with the buttonhole. There again if I make it again I’ll probably drop the neckline because it’s not easy finding buttonholes under a double chin. My top button doesn’t line up with the others, I should have ripped and reknit but I was done with it by that stage.

I had thought that the next little jacket would be blue but it looks as if there’s enough pink left for at least two more. Whether I fancy knitting two more is another question altogether.


Change of pace

Posted by caroline in Stashbash, Weaving on July 18th, 2012

It’s not you, it’s me. Now you’ve had your edges fixed there’s nothing wrong with you at all. You’re good looking in an elegant understated sort of way. It is true that I’d rather spend my time with something that’s a bit more lively, even (dare I say it?) “stripey” but that’s down to me being a shallow weaver with a short attention span. We’re going to have to be apart for a little while, please don’t listen to the whispers because whatever they say this has nothing at all to do with the more interesting yarn that I bought at Fibre East at the weekend. There’s nothing between us at all and it’s not true that I was sketching out jazzy striped tea towels as soon as I got home. I am true to you right to the end of this warp and I’m sure that I’ll be more in love with your plain elegant lines after a week apart.

Seriously, it is down to me. I’ve been nursing a dodgy knee for weeks and I’ve decided that it’s time to try giving it a rest with a complete absence of treadling (both loom and wheel) for a week. If it’s better after that then I might stretch to another week, if it’s the same then it’s clear that treadling isn’t part of the problem. This means that the teatowel will be hanging around for a bit longer. It has a wobbly thread on the left that needs fixing and a couple of loose threads that are making weaving a pain (not just in the knee) but once they are fixed it should be a relatively quick job to get the rest of the warp woven off. I have six inches to go before the pattern change for the next towel and I’m ready for it already.

There’s still plenty of weaving about, just without treadles and not in cotton. I’ve been pulling yarn out of the odd ball bag in an attempt to make it go away or at least fit into a smaller bag. The first scarf (on the left of the photo) used the leftovers from the last scarf together with a few odds and ends, the second one was all the leftovers from that with a few more odd balls thrown in. The grey weft really calms the whole thing down which was what I wanted because I’m aiming for plainish, unisex easy to wear items. The third piece was neither plainish nor unisex because I found the ball of sequinned yarn that I made back in 2007. I’m undecided whether that will be a scarf or three bags, I need to see what it looks like after a wash and whether those sequins are too itchy to be worn. It currently has the drape of a cardboard box but that’s because it’s not had its beauty bath yet. The bag that keeps on giving has less choice than it did but it’s still a long way from empty. At some point I’ll need to go looking for some more yarn to pull the random leftovers together but I’m still a couple of scarves away from that yet.

I’m planning the next project to go on the floor loom after the teatowels but the weather needs to co-operate as it involves dyeing which necessitates drying. It’s summer and getting dripping wool dry should be as simple as hanging it outside then bringing it in a couple of hours later but that’s not the sort of summer we’ve been having. As soon as the weather forecast promises a few days of warmth I’ll be dyeing, in the meantime I’ll be skeining in readiness. The yarn crept into the previous two photos, it was holding the scarves up off the slightly damp wooden table. Here it is revealed in all its glory. You may well be asking why I bought such unlovely yarn. Yellow yarn is usually cheap because no-one wants it, it’s often much cheaper than white yarn. If you look on this as 2kg of dyeable wool then the original colour doesn’t matter as long as it’s light enough to overdye. This could be red, brown or green without trying too hard. I bought these last summer, I was already paying for the postage by buying some other reasonably coloured yarn so I got 2kg of pure wool for peanuts. My current plan involves blue dye but I might try red and brown too, there will be samples before I start for real because it’s not as if I’m afraid that sampling will run me short in any way.