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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

I think this shawl is going to kill me

So, on Monday I actually wound the first ball of the lace yarn for Abby’s wedding shawl.  I used my trusty nostepinne and an amish swift.  It took basically the whole day.   Now, mind you, I have the time to do that at this point (the advantage of being between jobs).  There was a little bit of awkwardness at first, with that laceweight yarn trying to escape and tangle, but I kept an eye on it and it was fine. it was even pleasant and meditative, and I even got some Netflix in, but still…   I had to put the swift and ball up where the cats couldn’t get it in order to break for dinner.

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So I gave in and decided to use a ball winder.  Of course, my old one is broken.  I asked around to borrow one, but couldn’t get hold of it.  I decided not to get another decent one from Knitpicks (my go to) because it’s a lot of money to spend on something I only plan to use once.  So I got a cheap one on eBay.  It was about $12 (a fraction more than half the price of the KP version).  I figured it wouldn’t be as relaxing, but it would take me a couple of hours to do what it took all day to do with the first skein.

On Wednesday I called my sister Alice.  She’s both my beading guru and my lace knitting expert.  I asked her what kind of beads to get (I was thinking clear, silver lined, in size 6/0 or 8/0).  She said not to get lined, as the silver does wear away over time (yes, we both know, this shawl is going to be worn once, but it’s intended to last).  She also said that 8/0 was death on the eyes, even though 6/0 is a little big for laceweight, and that she thought Abby would really enjoy A/B (opalescent) beads.  Her thinking was that clear was a waste of effort, go for the matching color.  She also very strongly suggested Japanese rather than Czech beads, because the holes are more uniform.

So I went to JoAnne’s – no Japanese beads.  I went to Michaels – they had Japanese, but no A/B.  I was tempted to just get the Es and call it a day, but they only had 11’s and 8’s, and, again, it’s going to be a lot of work now, and probably a single photo shoot, but it’s something I really want to do and do right.

So I looked for a local bead shop.  Bead Soup is pretty close.  I called ahead, and she said that they had ivory A/B in both 6/0 and 8/0.  I went down to Savage Mill and took a look, the beads she showed me were a perfect color match, and I thought the 8/0’s were the perfect size (I have tiny crochet hooks, and if the holes are consistent I was confident).

Then I went home and swatched.  Got gauge immediately.  Added beads to the lace pattern, and I was happy with the color and the size of the beads, but the pattern just didn’t work.  So I cast off the swatch and started another one, with a slightly smaller and distinctly pointier needle.  This time it clicked (I just swatched the edging, the body pattern looks really straightforward.)

Two Swatches

I only used one row of beads, if you look closely at the rectangular swatch you can see just a hint of shine.

Then, yesterday, I wound the second skein of yarn.  Remember the ‘couple of hours’ plan?  Um…  Nope.  Not the way it worked.  The ball winder really wasn’t happy clamped to the table, and the yarn guide didn’t snap into place well, and so I had to keep an eye on it, and that start up weirdness with the swift?  Yeah…  HUGE snarl.  And I didn’t want to put it aside and risk the cats getting into it, so basically I was up until dawn this morning.  No, I mean literally by the time I went to bed the sun was up.  I’m definitely too old for this.  The second skein broke several times, so I have two yarn cakes.  The first one isn’t too bad, but the second one is full of slubby bits and knots…

The shawl calls for knitting two pieces and grafting them.  I figure if I knit them both at once on a long circ I can knit to the end of the second cake, if I’m in the middle of a repeat I can use just enough of the second cake to finish and kitchener.  It’ll work.  (I’m determined).

This is going to be a long haul project.  I usually have a ‘TV’ knitting project going, so if my brain turns to mush I can switch over to that, but I don’t anticipate having any knitting mojo left over.  Maybe I’ll spin a bit, but I’m not even sure of that.

I’m really preparing for this one. I’ve got two separate tiny crochet hooks (one for  beads, the other for the Chinese Waitress cast on and nupps) and I’ve learned the hard way (think tetanus shot) to be careful with those possibly falling on the floor, so now they’re capped with wine corks.  I usually want just the right amount of background stimulation when I’m concentrating on lace.  I have somepodcasts, several new Big Finish productions (and a library of old ones) and three new books from Serial Box.

I’m ready for this…  I’m ready for this…   Wish me luck!

Everything assembled and ready to go

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So here are a few more FOs I’m particularly pleased with, which didn’t get into last week’s FO post.

First, a cute little pouch and a new technique from a great class I took from Nancy Bush at MD Sheep and Wool this year.  It’s an Estonian colorwork technique is called roositud, and it’s one of those things which seems so simple and obvious once you see it demonstrated.

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Basically, the contrast color is woven in as you knit!

I also finished a skein of handspun.

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Alpaca, merino and silk, fingering weight.  I’m pretty pleased with it.

And, a much anticipated crochet project which got done really quickly once I started it –

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This was  a gift for my friend Colleen, who is both a huge trekkie and the best personal chef in Baltimore.  So she needed an insignia potholder.

Finally, a really great oddball project, made with a bunch of leftovers and some of my handspun.

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The purple, which is the one yarn which failed to felt well, is my handspun.  I was probably told that the fiber was superwash, but by the time I got around to using it I had no idea.  MUST be better at using Ravelry’s record keeping.

So the bag is about as big finished as the yarn skeins which went into it.

I actually broke out the sewing machine and lined this one. I did manage to get the old dear up and running, but I may have put her out of true in the process. No, I was not foolish enough to try to machine stitch the lining into felt, but even so I did something wrong.

There might not be many more FO posts for a while. I’m starting on a wedding shawl for Abby*, and it’s going to be a massive undertaking.

I’ve got some lovely silk laceweight yarn from KnitPicks

It took me most of yesterday to wind one skein, and I plan to work both halves at once, so if I must stop short I can just kitchener it together and call it finished.

* We’ve discussed it. I know she doesn’t intend to wear it with the bridal dress, obviously it isn’t likely to be worn more than once. I want to do it and she is excited by the idea, and yes, it will be worth it.**

** Before Steve and I got married, back when ‘Parental Advisory’ labels were a new thing, I was bothered by the whole music censorship movement. Various parents (not mine) told me ‘when you have kids, you’ll understand’. Now I have grown kids, and I still don’t get that, but the fact that I am willing (no, eager) to put this kind of work into a project which will basically be used in one photoshoot, it makes not logical sense, but it’s so right. When you have kids, you’ll understand.

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I didn’t get the kindle cover finished in time for her birthday.  I didn’t even get it started in time for Christmas.  Now that I’m trying to figure out if I can get a significant laceweight shawl finished by the spring, it seemed like the time to just knock it out.

I’m really happy with the result:

 

I haven’t done all that much needle felting, but after frogging my roositud attempt it seemed like the way to go.

Also finished recently, a random baby hat, because it’s getting to be the time when random babies (and parents expecting babies) will need gifts.  (I don’t expect any grandbabies will be needing gifts in the next year to three, but somebody is going to…)

Here we have Captain modeling it.  He’s thrilled to always be my baby…

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Another WiP Wednesday

Have I mentioned before that my rule is not to have more than 5 WiPs going at a time?  5 project bags, 5 WiPs.  Well, I’m at 4 now, and I’m stretched a bit thin with that…  Still, it’s nice to give myself ‘permission’ to start one more project if I really have to.

1) Mont Royal Socks

Still working on (and loving) these. They’ve  been in progress for nearly two years now – no sock should ever take this long.  Believe me, it’s not an issue with the pattern or the yarn or even the combination.  I’ve just been really distracted.  Still, I’m plugging away, and looking forward to wearing them.  I’m less bothered by my choice in toes than I was.  I just haven’t decided how long to make them, and how much to increase to accommodate canckles…img_2284

2) Ex Libris

I’m not usually that bad in general.  This is my next oldest WiP, and I started it a bit more than two months ago.  Then again, it’s a small project.

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Duplicate stitch is not my strong suit, but I’m comfortable with how this is turning out.  I’m close to done here, but this one, too, keeps getting put aside for other projects.

3) Coming (Back) To America

Abby is coming home in late November.  She’s coming from Senegal, and although November in Baltimore isn’t that cold, I’m worried about the transition from equatorial Africa might be a bit much.  So I’m knitting her a sweater.  Because of the inordinate amount of time some of my recent projects have taken, I’m starting now.  Actually, I started about three weeks ago.

img_2282The pattern is Viva by Signe Strømgaard.  The yarn is Lion Brand Heartland.  I usually go for animal fibers for projects like this one (cables, warmth wanted, not being worn by a small child…) but Abby has an issue with itchiness, so I wanted to go as non reactive as possible.  It’s a stunning pattern, (though it could use tech editing) and I’m making good headway.

4) His Pewter Lair

Not that I haven’t been distracted by the next shiny.  In this case, it’s literally shiny.

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“His Golden Lair” by Kourtney Robinson has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time.  I picked up the yarn for it (Berroco Lustra in colorway 3107) in October 2015.  There’s a ‘designed in Canada’ knitalong running now, with the deadline by the end of September.

So that’s what I’ve got going now.  There have actually been a bunch of FOs since I last posted (three baby+big sister gifts which were done before the baby arrived and a needle felted notions pouch to name a few).

Wish me luck, I’ve got things to get done on time…

 

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This is Not TV Knitting

I Got Cocky

I’ve become a bit arrogant about the Walderton shawl.  It’s an eight row repeat, and there are 36 repeats in t he shawl.  It’s not an overly complex pattern, but there are four parts to it – two distinct borders, a body section (where the increases are) and a cable section.  It took me about 20 repeats to get the whole thing down.

Last night I took the shawl with me to ‘craft night’, which (as it often does) turned into ‘game night’.  I decided I could knit and play Wiz-War at the same time.walderton-boo-boo

I don’t know how I managed it, but I purled rather than knit for the first few stitches of the body section of this row.  That could have happened if I’d just been listening to podcasts, but I didn’t catch the error for another inch and a half (3 centimeters) of knitting.

Keeping Calm and Knitting On

Fortunately, I keep a well stocked notions pouch in each of my project bags.  I had already figured out what the pattern should look like wale-by-wale*, so that saved a step in the repair process.  It was just a matter of dropping the stitches down, then picking them back up the right way round.

 

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Knit stitch

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Purl stitch

You would think this would teach me a lesson about mindful knitting, but I have to admit that it won’t.  I will just accept that making the occasional repair is part of my process, and allow myself time to do that.  Fortunately, I paced myself well on this month long project, the deadline is six days from now, and I’m about 90% done (with the option to knit extra repeats if I choose to do so).  I’m calling this a win.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts giveaway for August/September, so I entered the September/October giveaway (15 October).  I also didn’t win the Manos giveaway.  I signed up for the Sonic Knits Yarny Bingo (October), and the Sweet Paprika Instagram giveaway (tonight).

*Wale: a single column of stitches in a knitting procect – those stitches which would unravel if you were to drop a specific stitch. (back to top)

 

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Working on It

I’ve still got two older WiPs going, (the Helical Hat and the Mount Gay socks) but I’m going to show you the other two today.

Spinning Project

I’m still working on the Millers Fire spinning project.  I happen to have a series of progress pics on it, taken and even intervals over August.  It isn’t my fastest spin, but I’m getting better at getting the single even.

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The spindle is a mini Destiny from the wonderful Snyder’s Spindles.

Knitting Project – Test knit

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Most of my crafting time has been going to a test knit for Michelle Stead (of Michelle’s Assortment).  I’m not sure how much I should show, since the shawl project hasn’t been published yet, but here’s a teaser –

This is an incredibly fun pattern to work on.  I set up a spread sheet to figure out how to pace myself (FO pics are due on September 28).  I started on August 29 and I’m about four days ahead of schedule.

I’m using that gorgeous skein of Neighberhood Fiber Company yarn (proceeds to help rebuild Baltimore after last summer’s insurrection).  I have to say that, although it is beautiful and feels yummy in the hands, I don’t love it as much as I thought I would.  The yarn is more of a variegated than a tonal, and there are random cuts throughout the skein.  I’m using a doubleknot to join them, but not 100% thrilled with how that’s going.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Smithsonian tote of cool things.  I entered a drawing for a skein of Manos del Uruguay Marina from Petals to Picots (8 September).

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What was I Thinking?

I’m working on at least four projects with due dates, only three of which I have started, and I’m starting a new craft.  This seems crazy.

Honestly, I wasn’t.  Thinking was something I was unable to do.  Spinning, I could manage.

I couldn’t think for the past few days, because I had a migraine.  Yes, a migraine which lasted (on and off) for about two days, which mine generally do.  So while I wasn’t lying down in a dark room, or scalding my head under pounding hot water, or shuffling around in a haze of uselessness and despair, I still wasn’t in any shape to knit.  True, I’ve got a couple of decent ‘no brain needed’ projects going right now, but even those would have required more ‘cope’ than I could possibly muster.

Alphyn

On the other hand, my drop spindle didn’t require much brain power.  At least, not at my level of expectation.  And the spinning was relaxing, almost hypnotic.  So, basically, my migraine meant that I finished that half ounce of sample yarn which came with the Alphyn spindle very quickly.

Full Spindle

See, that’s  lot of yarn, volume wise.  It’s also (supposedly) a single.  Yup, fuzz brain, needed the round and round, couldn’t make anything thin and fine and delicate, and you know what?  I don’t care in the slightest.  I took this big chunky single and wrapped it around my hand.

andean windThis weird little cat’s cradle looking thing is the beginning of  an Andean Bracelet.  This is a technique which lets you reach both ends of the single at the same time, to easily ply them together without tangling. IAndean bracelett didn’t take very long at all to transfer the whole spindle to my hand.

Then I could have just held the two ends together, and plied them directly.  I was cowardly, however, and didn’t want to be stuck with the bracelet still around my wrist if I couldn’t do it all in one sitting, so I wound the two ends onto my nostepinne as a center pull ball.

Plied SpindleThen I just attached the two ends of the single to the same spindle and spun it in the opposite direction.  Here you can really see how fat the yarn is.

Since I don’t have a niddy noddy to neatly skein and measure my yarn, I set my umbrella swift to a one yard diameter and kept track of how many times I could wrap the plied yarn around it. skeining

As it turns out, I had almost (but not quite) seven yards.  This is from a little less than half an ounce of fiber, that’s a lot of weight for a little length… A quick check counting WPI (wraps per inch) told me it was ‘super bulky’ yarn.  In my migraine fuzzed state I didn’t believe it, so I weighed it, and took a look at the bottom of my Knit Picks yarn scale, which also told me it is super bulky yarn.

So I soaked it, and whacked it a few times to even out the twist.set

Then I hung it up to dry, and wrapped it neatly up.

geode one

So here it is.  Super sloppy, bulky, uneven, not very much of it…  I don’t care.  I think it’s beautiful and I really love it.  I’m pretty sure I’d have had to rip out and reknit any of my ‘on a deadline’ projects, so I don’t begrudge myself the time ‘wasted’….

On the other hand, this Jacob/Alpaca fleece which has been hibernating in my stash for years (not always under a cat) is just going to have to wait.

Jacob Alpaca

 

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the tea from Lisa Bogart.  She’s not doing any December giveaways, but please check out her blog, she’s putting up wonderful Christmas album covers you won’t want to miss. I entered the Phat Fiber Drawing (20 December) for a skein of handspun hand dyed yarn from Willow Fairy Wool.

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