Posts Tagged ‘mohair’


Starting where the last post left off…

I cast on 20 stitched on US size 9 (5.5mm) needles. That’s a huge size for fingering weight yarn, but felting/fulling always starts on large needles for the yarn.  Three rows of garter, three stitch garter border on each side, 10 rows stockinette, 3 rows garter. Switch to US size 8 (5.0 mm) needles and 3 rows garter, 10 rows stockinette, 3 rows garter, then did the same again with US size 7 (4.5 mm) needles and bound off.

By this point, the only thing I’m sure of is that the yarn is gorgeous, so the swatch has already let me know that I can make a shawl out if it even if I don’t like the felted fabric for a bag.  Except that mohair is really scratchy…

Doing the Math

So I took the swatch and my “Knit Check” and measured gauge.  I measured in a couple of different places on each stockinette band, so I’m fairly confident of my results.

FGF swatch

Unfelted Swatch
needle size stockinette width stockinette height stitch gauge row gauge
US 9 3.625″ 1.75″ 14 st/4″ 20 rows/4″
US 8 3.5″ 1.625″ 16 st/4″ 22 rows/4″
US 7 3.25″ 1.5″  17 st/4″ 24 rows/4″

Looking at the chart – the math just doesn’t work out.  I know that each stockinette section is 14 stitches wide and 10 rows tall, so the counted and calculated gauges don’t match up.  Obviously I have a measuring problem of some sort, I’ll just try to be as consistent as I can and hope for the best.

Then I found a tutorial about hand felting, because I’d been advised that mohair doesn’t do well in a machine, especially when it’s thin.

Then I felted my swatch.  Note to self: mohair felts fast!  I didn’t time it, but I probably should have.  I stopped the scrubbing while I could still make out the stitch definition, because I want to be able to compare before and after.  I might make my bag a little bit bigger than the measurements require, so that I can just keep going if I chose to at the time.Felted FGF swatch


Felted Swatch
needle size stockinette width stockinette height stitch gauge row gauge
US 9 3.125″ 1.625″ 20 st/4″ 24 rows/4″
US 8 2.5″ 1.625″ 25 st/4″ 26 rows/4″
US 7  2.5″  1.375″ 24 st/4″ 26 rows/4″

Once again the numbers seem a bit off.  Maybe it has to do with how I blocked the swatch, or how I pulled at different sections while felting it.  In addition, even though I didn’t felt completely, it’s kind of hard to count the fulled stitches.  Clearly there’s some leeway as far as how the fabric felts.  It does seem to shrink more in width than in height, which means I don’t have to worry about a repeat of the Seaglass tote (beautiful, but weirdly squat).

Now to look for colorwork patterns I like…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts June giveaway, the Ergo crochet hooks or Beaded Lace Knitting book from Mooglyblog or the  scissors fob from Lisa Bogart.  I entered her July giveaway for a copy of Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders (31 July) and a sock pattern giveaway from Snapdragon Crafts (3 July)

Doing the Math (again)

I’ve been tracking the giveaways I’ve entered since last April.  According to my spreadsheet, I’ve entered 79 giveaways and won three of them (stitch markers and patterns).  That’s almost a 4% win rate.  Not bad at all.

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Rethinking the Plans

Tapestry Mohair

Flying Goat TapestryI got four skeins of “Tapestry Mohair” yarn from Flying Goat Farm’s booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. Long term readers may recall that I have a complicated relationship with mohair yarns in general, but I also have a weakness for locally produced fiber, and I just fell in love with the colors (I think I’ve been going on a brown-orange kick lately).

FGF tagNaturally, when I got home, I went to add my new prizes to my Ravelry stash page.  Unfortunately, this yarn hadn’t (and hasn’t) yet been entered.  I opened one skein enough to plop a ruler down by it and guestimate 12 WPI, which would make it sport weight yarn.

FGF WPIFair enough.  400 yards of sport weight mohair should make a really cute felted bag.  I did a pattern search, found a pattern for a no-sew felted bag, which called for worsted weight yarn but listed sport, figured it would work,  and popped it in my queue.

The Problem

This morning I decided it was time to at least skein, if not cast on, the project.  So I took out my trusty nostepinne…

The distance between segments is one inch, so it’s pretty clear that this isn’t 12 WPI. 16 to 17 is more like it.  Which would make it light fingering to laceweight yarn.  The Ravelry database still hasn’t been updated.  I went to the Flying Goat website, and didn’t find a listing for the yarn, but there was a blog post which mentioned tapestry yarn.   What she describes certainly looks like what I have, and it’s a light fingering. So now I’m not at all sold on using the pattern, at least not as is.

The Solution

I realized I have to swatch and felt before I make up my mind.  I really don’t swatch as much as I should, so something that forces me to do it isn’t all bad.  It’s just a different process.


Yarn Diet

There are two large projects I’m considering once my self imposed summer yarn diet is over.  One is a cricket sweater for my husband (he’s a ‘universal’ sports fan, and the Peter Davidson is “his Doctor”), the other is the Aidez sweater for me.  I’ve already priced out the yarn for these projects at my LYS, and planned to use my accrued ‘frequent customer’ discount for both.

Craftsy currently has both these yarns on sale for 40% off.  I was very briefly tempted to break the diet, but when I compared the sale price to the LYS price with discount the totals (for each project) were within a dollar of each other – not counting shipping.  So I’ll stick with plan A.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered a drawing for a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light from This Knitted Life (3 July)

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Sheep and Wool Festival

Linked BorderI was only at the Festival for one day this year, but it was a very good day.  I had a lovely time.

I saw some marvelous knitting, as you can see from this really delightful linked border,  There were some absolutely fun shops, such as the yarn bus here.


There were also so many marvelous festival goers, the sheep to shawl competition, shearing and sheepdog demonstrations, and of course all the marvelous food vendors.

I have to admit, however, that I mostly go for

The Loot!

SWF loot

I got Hitch from Cooperative Press.

Flying Goat TapestryBrowns and Orange tapestry mohair from Flying Goat Farm.  I know, I know, Mohair and I have a problematic relationship, but I have a real weakness for local vendors at the S&W, it was just $5 a 100 yard skein and, besides, the colors are just so vibrant and amazing!

I’m thinking of a stranded hat here, with the orange just popping out.

Spinaway Farms BoucleThis wasn’t the only mohair bargain which suckered me in.  Early Sunday afternoon, the proprieter of Spinaway Farms booth must have seen me coming, because he put up a sign declaring all his boucle yarns at 50% off.  I scored 200 yards of mohair boucle for $6.  How could I walk past that?  The website isn’t operational yet, and he hasn’t got an entry in the Ravelry database yet, so this years festival is presumably one of his first venues.  Very exciting.

Montdale MohairI also bought a wonderful skein of worsted weight yarn from The Cavey Family Sheep and Wool company.  It’s 80% Montdale, 20% mohair (yes, I know, it’s a trend) and died orange with “Gaywood Wattle Bark”.  It’s about two shades darker than the Swanns Island fingering I got last month, I’m thinking co-ordinating hat and shawl.  They Cavey Family also doesn’t have a Ravelry presence, or even a web site.  She said she has a shop in her home, hours by appointment.  If you’re going near New Windsor Maryland you might want to give her a call at 410.635.2459.  Tell her I’m the woman who said she’ll enter something from this in next years contest, and that I said hi.

BOTI yarnLast, but not least, I picked up some yarn to knit a replacement “Bigger on the Inside” shawl. (It’s a sad story, I must have left it at a restaurant on the way from here to Ohio last year, when I was getting the younger child from school.) This is from Ashton Studio Arts, whose online store is currently down, but also has an Etsy shop,   This is another shop in the home.  I actually drove by there once and couldn’t find the place, because it’s not only in state, it’s a short drive from my home.

So, yeah, I scored lots and lots of good loot.

The Competitions

I entered three items in the skein and garment competition this year, and won a ribbon for each.  I have to admit, I’m walking about six feet off the ground right now.


Playing to the Judges doll cowl – fourth place ribbon in “Knitting for Dolls and Bears” category.  The judges really liked it, but thought that it should have been blocked.

Vexing Socks – fourth place in the “Socks – Commercial Yarn” category.  The judges liked the design.  Thought that the fairl isle technique was good, but that the top was stretched out, and that they showed signs of being worn.  Should have been washed out and blocked.

Tam of Rassillon – first place in the “Garment with more than one color of commercial yarn” category.  The judges liked the color and the finish, and said it had a beautiful hand.

So, yay!  Go me.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts April giveaway, the Messenger Bag from Lisa Bogart or the Merletta from This Knitted Life.

I entered the May giveaway from Lisa Bogart – a cute scissors fob (30 May).

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It must be scream like a f*ing pirate day, because I just realized how badly I’ve messed up Haruni part B.  As in, now I need to frog back all 11 rows I’ve done on it.

I was so SURE I had downloaded the corrected pattern (but apparently I hadn’t), even sent notes to the designer to make sure I was knitting it right, and still I managed to totally mess up the repeat structure.  I think I know what’s needed now, though.

So, back in the freezer with it, and I will just have to go to my socks for comfort knitting.

Did I mention the benefits of multiple WIPs?

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Well, didn’t win the Knit – A- While Vampire Giveaway.  Ah, well. so it goes, there’s a great KnitCircus giveaway from Sunsetcat

toes and beginning of ribbing on size one circs...

On the plus side, I cast on Ann Bud’s “On Your Toes” socks from Interweave knits. Used Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On (which I love, btw).   It’s a nice, simple pattern, perfectly suitable for TV knitting or late night casual conversation knitting.  The Knit Picks yarn is a great change from my love-hate relationship with mohair as well.  It’s well behaved and doesn’t surprise me (and it looks yummy too).

As I mentioned in the Labor Day Episode of the Ramblin Ambler, I got mixed up about the size of the Addi circs in my knitting bag, and wasted time buying more US #2’s when I needed #1’s. Fortunately, the LYS was really nice about letting me swap them, so that’s cool. (Of course, I probably should have gotten shorter circs, but live and learn).

I’m still working on Haruni (and well into Part B now, need to get a good picture of that I suppose).  Just getting to the point where that part is starting to ‘make sense’, and approaching yet another transition point.   I actually decided I had to print out the chart key, because otherwise I’ll never remember where it’s K2Tog first and Sl2K1PSSO for the other repeats and where it’s Sl2K1PSSO first and Sl1K1PSSO for all the others (or however it goes).

I also frogged the Calla.  I think it had just been hibernating too long, and when I picked it up again I couldn’t get the stitch counts right, and besides, the pattern really would have been better with a shinier yarn.  Maybe market bags for that cotton poly blend…?

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Got some more pictures taken.

GrassHere’s  some nice grass gone to seed by the Dorsey Train Station.  I think it’s beautiful myself.  I also took pictures from the train station itself, from the front and the back. I particularly like the Maryland flag on the front and the sunlight through the window on the back.

Entered Knit-A-While’s Vampire Knits giveaway (end date 9 September). I didn’t enter the contest at You Just Gotta Keep Knitting, because I just couldn’t beat one of those names, but if you think you might the deadline is 27 September.

Dorsey Station Front Dorsey Station Back

I’ve recovered the five rows I frogged on Haruni, putting it in the freezer did the trick nicely.  I talked a little bit about the recovering/lifeline process in today’s episode of  the Ramblin Ambler, mostly because I’d never heard anyone else addressing the issue I’ve been having with it (i.e. the lifeline is there, but it doesn’t hold the stitches ‘nicely’ as a needle would, even if you tug on it, when you’re working with really grabby yarn like, say, mohair).  Took it to the first Labor Day foodfest an showed off how pretty it is even on the needles (can’t wait to see what it looks like blocked…).  Will take more pictures once I have enough of the border that the change of pattern is clear.

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Knitpicks cable linker visable through stitchesWell, as I was nearing the end of the last round of lace repeats in part A of Haruni, I realized that there was a BIG problem.  The first ‘stem’ was really, tragically, misshapen.  I finally realized that there was no way to delicately work back on this one, there was nothing for it but to frog back to my lifeline.

Remember how I said I didn’t much liking with the Claudia handpanted mohair, but I’d probably start to love it by the end of the project.  Yeah, I was loving it, up until I started to frog.  Then it turned into this cobwebby, goopy, grabby ooze of a yarn.  That, and it broke (so I spit spliced it).   That was just, well, a really gross tactile experience.

On the other hand, now that I’m back at the lifeline, with all the stitches neatly picked up again and my Knit Picks cables neatly linked together with that little adaptor I picked up, I’m prepared to start loving the project once more.  Hopefully I’ll be back where I was soon, then I’ll check the size of my yarn ball (expecting the 17x mm circumferance or more), and get on to the excitement of knitting that lovely border.

In other news, it’s damn hot here.  And my A/C is broken.  Posting from the computers in the public library (did I ever mention that I love my library?).

Edited to add – I found a blog contest which gives away a skein of Lorna’s Laces (I’ve always wanted to try that!) Check out Kim Werker’s blog.

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The ICC (Inter County Connector), MD rte 200, is being built across I95 between DC and Baltimore.  Leaving aside the myriad issues this brings up, ecological and otherwise, and just talking about the physical structure, it’s really pretty.  I’ve been wanting to take pictures for a while, and the other day I finally did.


There’s a problem, however, with pulling off 95 to take pictures of construction sites, and that’s getting back on 95 afterward.  So rather than trying to ease my way back onto the shoulder and then merging into traffice, I pulled through the gravel path and onto the on/off ramp, also being built.  I’m glad that I did, because once I drove up the rise I saw some more really pretty construction. (images link to larger copies).

Several layers of ICC

I took all these pictures at very high resolution, figuring I had the option of either scaling down the finished picture or cropping in regions of interest.

So then I had to figure out how to get back on 95.  I asked a friendly construction worker, who suggested I pull through the site, turn left, then right, and I’d end up back on MD 198, which I did.  So that was a bit of an explore.  Drove off to a quaint littl hardware store I like and spent too much for a weed wacker.

Following up to Thea’s question about the stitch marker, here’s what happens if you use a non split ring and the ‘trick’ to thread a lifeline through, the ring gets stuck.  Click to get a larger image which really shows the unblocked texture (purl side of shawl).

I’ve entered a couple more Blog Contests.  Sunset Cat is giving away some combination of yarn, stitchmarkers and patterns, plus is fixing to review knitting books (drawing from a date guessing pool).  To celebrate her 50th post Implausible Yarn is giving away yarn and a bag, (drawing from those who explain their blog or screen names).

The Haruni itself is coming along nicely.  The ball of yarn is now 19.5 cm in diameter, so coming up on that halfway mark (I’ve totally lost count of my repeats, so this is now my only check…  GAK!  If I miscalculate and run out of yarn I’ll scream).

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I found the camera, and did drive down 95 yesterday, but chickened out when it came to pulling over and taking the picture.  I got this on through the passenger side of the car while driving down route 1, though:

Vet's Liquor, Route 1Of course, as soon as I uploaded it to Flickr I found a better one of the same thing, actually, a whole bunch of them. Notice how well KimberlyFaye composed the picture.  I’d be jealous if I hadn’t taken mine while driving by.   I think I did reasonably well, considering.  I guess rule #1 for take better pictures is stop the car?  Meh, I’m not unhappy with it.

…and speaking of knitting, today’s blog contest is brought to you by ArizonaKnitter, who’s giving away the Vogue Lace Knitting Stictionary.  Check it out!

I’ve been working on Haruni, and am really pleased with the progress.  I followed a tip from Ravelry, and threaded my lifeline through the hole in my KnitPicks interchangeables (it’s there to tighten the tip with).  This brings it through easily and without worrying about skipping a stitch, and it doesn’t slow down the knitting either.  The downside is that I can’t use my ‘snag free’ stitch markers, there needs to be a break in the loop to free the lifeline with.  Ah, well, it’s a learning experience anyway.

Haruni Lace PatternI keep taking pictures of the Haruni, hoping I can show how the lace pattern develops.  I’m not really satisfied with what’s been coming through.  But see if you can spot how the center of one ‘leaf’ leads to the next ‘stem’ and vice versa.  Little, interlocking curves of stitches, making airy and dense sections which flow into each other.   I’m really happy with it.  As predicted, the mohair is growing on me as well.

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Haruni - A Work in ProcessWell, I’ve been working on the Haruni, and it’s coming along nicely.  I’m getting used to the Claudia’s Handpainted Mohair as well.  That beautiful halo (which I love, BTW) comes from horrible, hairy, loosely plied yarn, which I didn’t think I could tolerate.  Who knows, by the time the project’s done I might well miss it.

I’ve been dealing with Cast-On withdrawal by working through the CraftLit back catalog.  This is actually more entertaining than downloading directly from Libravox, both for the book-clubish elements and because rather than choosing from hundreds of books I’ve been choosing from a limited library.  Just finished Turn of the Screw, and am in the middle of A Tale of Two Cities.  I’m thinking I’ll skip Frankenstein, because that would be re-reading, and it’s not the point of the exercise.

I’ll probably be starting another project in the next few days.  It’s always nice to have more than one thing on the needles.  I’m also considering joining a yarn swap.  If I do it, I’ll post it.

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