Posted by caroline in Knitting, socks, Weaving on June 27th, 2012
I’m on a flying visit to the blog today, I have a new warp on the loom that needs tying on, error checking and then I get to fling a shuttle around. This is a cotton/linen blend, from the big cone that I’m still not admitting to owning as it contravenes my 2012 stash bash in a big way. It is a short warp as it’s really just a sample, I’m estimating that the sett needs to be around 30 epi and that’s what the first fingertip towel will be. I’m just going with what it said in the pattern but doesn’t “fingertip towel” sound so much more refined than “small dishcloth”? Depending how the first comes out the sett for the second might be different which will affect the size but seeing as I’m not making a set it doesn’t matter if they all come out different sizes as long as I find out what sett makes the fabric that I want. What I’m really not sure of is whether the fabric is going to feel really thin seeing as it’s made from itty bitty thread, if it is that’s not a huge problem because I fancy a handwoven apron and a lighter fabric would be better for that.
This means that the cowl warp is done, my estimate of thirteen was way off, I ended up with eight and a small bit left over. If I’d written down how long I made the warp I might know whether it was really shorter than I thought but I didn’t. I would make these again, they look very elegant when worn although you’ll have to take my word for that, after three failures with the self timer I gave up and hung this one in the bamboo. They were a fantastic use of odd balls of leftovers and the sewing required was minimal, it was much faster than twisting fringe. I made one that was four strips in length, it was ok but not good enough to make more that long. If I hadn’t have been in a hurry to start with the teatowels I would have ransacked the odd ball bag and made another set of these straight away, as it is the second set will have to wait for another day.
The ghastly socks are done. I can’t really knock the yarn, after all it was called “Neon” and I could see it that it was bright when I bought it. This photo makes them look more attractive than they are because it’s showing the venomous green as yellow. It’s the way that the green fights with the pink and the orange that I really don’t like, yellow would have been an improvement. They’re not mine, so I only have to look at them on washdays when they will be lost in the crowd of other socks. The other pair I finished is for me so it’s just as well that I like them. They were another stash busting project, using up 70g of sock yarn from the bag of leftovers. I like them so much that I wondered why it is that I don’t make more socks this way and then I remembered all the ends and the rewinding of balls to get equal lengths of yarn so that they matched. They look good but there’s more work in them than in the others and generally all I’m looking for in a sock is some nice boring round and round tv accompaniment.
That’s all from me for this week, now I’m going to go back to squinting at fine yarn and muttering at my mistakes.
Posted by caroline in Stashbash, Weaving on June 20th, 2012
I’ve been playing around with an idea that I had for a small scarf or cowl. I imagined a tube, woven as a wide and narrow piece, joined by tying the fringe from the top and bottom together, sewn at the ends with a half twist to make a continuous loop. I could see it in my mind, the fringe spiralled around in a pleasing manner and it was altogether lovely. I even dreamed about a beaded version in lapis and gold which was truly a thing of beauty. Sadly in reality such a thing is physically impossible, you either need to put it together with a full twist or have fringe at both sides. I was going for the full twist but I didn’t give much consideration to how much fringe there was going to be in a 60″ length. Would you believe it, there’s 60″ of fringe in this which is considerably more than I wanted to make. You will notice that half of the fringe is unfinished and it’s stopping like that, this piece is doomed. It has potential as a pocket or another type of scarf thing (the mark three version, of which more later)
This was where I went next, the mark two version. It has fringe on both sides so it can be joined right side to wrong side with a half twist. My loom isn’t wide enough to weave it all in one piece so it is three pieces seamed at the selvedges. This too was an evolutionary dead end because I don’t like the fringe at all. I didn’t need to twist it which is a positive and it was easy to make but it’s all thin and straggly. It’s never a waste if you learn something so I moved swiftly along to the mark three version (left) which has the half twist and no fringe (straggly or otherwise). I quite like this, they are all long enough to double over like this but this one needs it because it’s so skinny. I thought I’d like it more if it were wider. The mark four scarf (below right) proved that to be the case. I like this one best out of the four so far. I think I’d like it even more if it were longer and I’ll get to find that out in a bit because this warp is twelve yards long so there’s plenty of room for experimentation. The next scarf will be the same length but wider and then I might move to something about six inches longer. I’m hoping that by the time I get to the end of this warp I’ll have discovered what I like most in a circular scarf in terms of width and length. I’ll have also weighed in a considerable amount towards my 2012 stashbash which is good because I’ve had a slight blip on purchases this month (I’m using all of my top excuses – it was cheap, I have a plan for it, I have no desire to spin it and I don’t have anything like it stashed already)
The fun thing about making these is that I’m not going to be making thirteen identical scarves, so far they are all very different. Even when I determine what my favourite width and length is they will still be different even though they use the same warp because I’m using up odd bits of yarn for weft. At some point there may need to be stripes but I’m still some way off that yet. I’m liking this so much that I’m considering winding another long warp of browns and moss greens, there seems to be a lot of that floating near the top in the odd ball bag. Common sense is telling me that I should wait until I’ve made a few more of these because if boredom sets in before I’m done then I don’t want to be tied to another twelve yards. My guilty conscience says that under the terms of the stash bash that I committed to this year I should be accounting for those two cones of yarn I just bought even if they were cheap and not something I have or can make and furthermore another twelve yard warp might not be enough to cover it.
Next time I should have knitting to show, leaves and socks most likely, and I should have finished struggling with my conscience over my recent yarn purchases (did I say that it was cheap, useful and difficult to make?).
(Someone will ask – what am I going to do with twenty cowls? Any that turn out to be drop dead gorgeous will be having a day out on a craft stall but the plan is for them all to go in the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes later in the year. My aim here is to prune the stash rather than stock up on cowls)
Posted by caroline in doubleweave, Family, Weaving on June 14th, 2012
Strangely enough my idea worked, winding the next warp really did get me moving. My feet knew the patterns they needed to be making and so it was much faster to weave the second time around. I came to the end of the warp before I’d done the last repeat of the pattern because my keys are bigger than they ought to be. It doesn’t really matter that it’s not the same size as the keyboard it’s covering, I’ll cut off the bit I don’t need and it will come in for something. I’ve been pleased with both of these pieces, the Rennie behaved impeccably at both 12 and 15 epi and the one thing I was worried about didn’t happen. I was really concerned that when I dropped it into hot water (it needs to be hot to get the spinning oil out) it would shed the black dye and make the white keys grey. There was a bit of colour loss but not as much as I’d feared and the white is still white.
The lace is still grey, that would be because it hasn’t moved at all since last we saw it. I am going to change the pattern into something leafy but that requires five minutes concentration and some graph paper. When I sit down to knit at night I realise that I haven’t charted the transition and so I put it aside in favour of something else. During the day I don’t knit so don’t think about sitting down to work out the chart. I need to pick a leaf of some sort and then get down to making one pattern move into the other. It should be a one cup (of tea) project once I actually get to start it.
In other not-knitting news I ripped the orange and brown baby jacket, it wasn’t really talking to me. I’m glad that I found that out on a small scale rather than being half way up an adult sweater before boredom set in. The horrid socks are still horrid but closer to the toe. I know I go through a knitting slump every summer so I’m not bothered that I’m not feeling the love for knitting at the moment. It will return with the long nights because it always does.
The final monkey update – they’ve all left home. He sold ten at school, two went into a raffle and one came home to be sold to the chief monkey stuffer. As well as making monkeys we aimed for the pocket money market and made nineteen crochet bookmarks, little bookworms with googly eyes. He sold all but one of those, I’m sure he could have sold more if he’d had them because it was the grey one that didn’t sell, grey not being a terribly popular colour with the average twelve year old. It’s also cross eyed in the photo but that was just a temporary affliction. It’s now the end of the year’s fundraising at school so I now can stand down from making odd stuff and go back to playing with wool.
While writing this I have assembled the graph paper, “Heirloom Knitting”, a pencil, a rubber and the pattern for Zetor. Today the blog has made me think about why the pattern isn’t drafting itself, that it needs some thinking time which doesn’t generally happen during knitting time. Once I’d explained it to the blog it was clear to me as well, I’m never going to play with numbers and graph paper at night sitting in my favourite knitting spot at the end of the settee. It’s never going to happen, I’ll just pick up a sock (even if it is an ugly one) rather than a pencil. Tomorrow I’ll make a cup of tea, find a leaf of the right size and morph Zetor into something else. Tonight it’s back to the ugly sock.
Posted by caroline in Knitting, lace, socks, Spinning, Stashbash, Weaving on June 7th, 2012
Thank you for your comments on the not-a-pirate-at-all monkey, we’re still making them as the sale isn’t until next week. This week’s monkeys have been black and bright as a result of my impulse purchase of a seven-pack of socks. These don’t need clothes because they are drop dead gorgeous, it’s the plain Janes that need a little something to help them along. I think this one might be Kiki but I haven’t set the bio-writer to work yet so it could be something else entirely. There was much less work in this than in the pirate as the total knitting content consisted of one bulky nappy with a tail hole, one little bottle of banana milk and a frilly bonnet with ear slits. I did think about a bib but I thought that the neck fastening on that would conflict with that on the bonnet so the bib didn’t make it off the drawing board. I liked making the bonnet, I could make them all day because it was interesting (changes of direction, short rows) and it finished fast. I tried to make the bottle banana shaped and it sort of worked but I can’t say that it came out the way I imagined it looking. I didn’t lose sleep over that, nor did I feel the need to rip it and start over so perhaps I am softening up as I get older.
It has not all been monkeys, last week I carded a three colour mixture of shetland for me rather than for the shop. I spun it over the weekend and started knitting it slightly before it was what non-knitters might consider to be totally dry. It’s already at the stage of being too big for straight needles although I’m pretending it isn’t because I don’t want to look for a circular needle. At the moment it’s a Zetor but I’ve knitted that twice before and I’ve had enough of the pattern already. I’ve finished with the white section of the yarn, it’s now as grey as it gets and at some point it will change gradually to sheep black. The yarn is mildly entertaining but it’s not zingy enough to offset the mind numbing pattern which will now repeat until I think I’m ready for the border. It might morph into leaves or diamonds (diamonds are big at the moment) or I could of course knit another row while I think about it some more.
I seem to have cast on for a pair of socks. You don’t have to think of something positive to say about these because I know that they are without a doubt the ugliest pair I’ve knitted in a long time, it’s the combination of pink and green that I’m finding particularly unlovely. The flash isn’t doing them any favours but the best lighting conditions for these is probably total darkness. I won’t be looking out for any more Opal Neon, this ball has put me off it. The leftovers will be hitting the dye before they go in the scrap bag, I can’t see me wanting to knit it again in its original colours. They will be hard wearing, prevent blisters and make another pair until washday.
The pile of monkeys on top of the loom is a clue that weaving is at a halt, I sleyed the warp that was left on the loom at 15 ends per inch per layer as opposed to the 12 epi I used for the first piano scarf. Since then it’s just sat there waiting for me to tie on and start. I thought a little incentive was in order so I’ve wound the warp that I’ll tie onto the end of the piano scarf once I’ve finished it (which obviously won’t be until after I’ve started it). I started off with a big pile of random balls of leftovers, there was a bag of blue, a bag of green and then I had a general rummage to see what else I could find that went with those. I’m happy to say that by the time I’d wound the warp there was very little left, by the time I’m done with weft stripes there might be nothing at all to go back in the bag. I still need to start by weaving in black and white but now I can see what’s coming along next. The idea is that I’m so taken with my plans for the blue/green that I overcome my reluctance to weave a second keyboard. Let’s see how that one works out for me.