Sunday, October 23, 2016

Only 62 days until xmas

Another hat, same yarn, same pattern as the previous one but the k2p2 ribbing version.

Pattern: Ribbed Cap, by Judy Gibson, k2p2 ribbing option
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, in Navy and Desert Sun
Needles: US7
Modifications: none.

Even though I tried to follow the pattern exactly this time, I still think the crown is wonky. Anyway, having a warm head is what is most important.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Only 66 days until xmas

Usually I knit socks for xmas, but this year that seemed like a bit much. I don't want to work that hard! So it will be hats all around instead.

Pattern: Ribbed Cap, by Judy Gibson, as a beanie with garter rib stitch option
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, in Navy and Desert Sun
Needles: US7
Modifications: After the 1x1 band, I was supposed to switch to 2x2 but didn't (brain fart)

I don't know why I had so much trouble getting this simple project underway, but I started it at least three times, switched needles twice, and still goofed it up (see modifications above). Since I didn't realize my ribbing mistake until I reached the crown (and was NOT about to start over at that point), the crown is a bit wonky. Sometimes good enough is perfect.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dishcloth resurrected

Handknit cotton dishcloths last forever, or so it seems. Unless, of course, one is careless with a knife or there is a weak spot in the yarn. I'm not sure which happened, but the dishcloth in current rotation incurred a serious injury. My first instinct was to toss it, but decided to try to fix it instead.

Thanks to the miracle of blogging, the original post regarding this dishcloth may be found here. This one is the "ridge and rib" pattern. Even though the cotton yarn had nearly felted from long use, I was able to tink back one pattern repeat. The only Sugar 'n Cream yarn I have is this stinky one, but it worked fine.

The old green yarn feels somewhat fragile, so we'll see how long this poor dishcloth lasts. Executing the repair was a good exercise, though, something that would not be possible with a store-bought dishcloth. Next I would like to learn to darn socks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Vintage Kitchen socks are DONE

Socks are my go-to portable project, although sometimes I work on them at home, too. Especially toes and heels and bind offs. Still, it took me a while to finish these. Almost three months, in fact.

Pattern: Short-row toe and heel basic socks, by Wendy D. Johnson
Yarn: Knitterly Things Vesper Sock with Nylon, in 'Vintage Kitchen', and Simply Sock Yarn, in 'Natural'
Needles: US1
Modifications: None but for the contrasting toe, heel, and cuff

The Vintage Kitchen colorway came in one of the anniversary kits offered by Simply Socks Yarn Co. I don't usually purchase kits like these - my idea of a project bag is a clear ZipLoc - but I really liked the fabric pattern AND the yarn colorway.

And I am really enjoying self-striping yarn. Whether the stripes are narrow or not-so-narrow, the color combinations are very satisfying. No fancy sock pattern for these babies. The stripes say it all.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Pickin' and grinnin'

Yesterday I attended a workshop billed as From Animal to Product at the Big Red Barn near St. Joe. My goal was to get some hands-on experience with picking and washing fleece, then carding the result. The reality was heavy on the picking and washing, light on the carding.

No pics at the event itself because our hands were busy. We each received two small bags of fleece, sheep in one, alpaca in the other. We picked the sheep wool, washed it about four times, then rinsed it and laid it out in the sun to dry. We also picked the alpaca. The two fleeces were very different to work with, the former denser. We didn't wash the alpaca there - running short on time - but we were able to take it home to continue the lesson on our own.

We used a drum carder on some already carded alpaca, blending in colors as desired. Since I had to be somewhere, I worked a little orange wool into the undyed alpaca, just to say I had done it. I have some experience with drum carding already and was hoping for more practice with hand carding, mainly because I do not have $$$ to spend on a drum carder of my own. The Big Red Barn "rents" time on their drum carders, so I do have access, but I still want to learn to work with hand carders.

Just looking at the chubby rolag makes me itchy to get back to spinning. So much fiber, so little time!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Move it!

This morning (and not for the first time) I struggled with claustrophobia while trying to weave.

Once upon a time (last spring), I thought about creating a fiber studio, then decided my whole house could be my studio since I live alone. The yarn goddesses had a good laugh about that, after Beau the Destroyer of All Things Nice knocked the warping board off a table and the warping board knocked over and broke an Ott lamp (and its CFL light bulb - call the EPA!), and the lamp knocked over a planter. I moved most of my yarn stuff into the spare bedroom that my granddaughter considers "hers" - it contains a certain amount of pre-school crap and a bed she has never slept in - where I can shut the door against a certain marauder.

Even though the arrangement felt cramped, I resisted moving the bed because of the headboard and the picture over it, and making the bed is easier when it is in the middle of the room. But today I had had enough.

The bed is now against the wall, and the fiber library shelves and yarn wire shelves have swapped places. This means I can scoot my chair back more than six inches, and I have room for my wheel if I feel the urge to spin. I also find myself staring at all that yarn, wondering what I should knit/weave next. So much fiber, so little time!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

That was the weekend that was

Last weekend I anticipated much knitting would occur when I visited a friend one state over. Some knitting did occur, on the socks, but sweater knitting was non-existent since I had left the critical working needle on the coffee table at home. Just as well, as I noticed a flaw in the fabric today, one that I might have let go had it been only visual. Since it would throw off the matching of the front and back at the seams, I was forced - FORCED, I tell you - to rip back about eight inches.

Over at the knit-along I am knitting-along-side-of, someone ripped back an entire l-o-n-g cardigan since it turned out all wrong for her body. Other knitters-along have ripped back cheerfully as well. I won't say I was cheerful about it, but I do want my sweater to be as near perfect as can be.

My weekend visit just happened to coincide with A Wool Gathering. Despite all the pretty yarn, gorgeous roving, raw fleeces, and fiber arts do-dads, I managed to walk away with just a knitting belt. Right now, I tuck one 13" straight needle into my armpit, which sort of works for supported knitting. I envision a knitting belt as a necessity to improving on this technique. Unfortunately, I can't find any 13" double-pointed needles above size US6. From watching YouTube videos, I see I can simply remove one end of a pair of straights and use them.

Just before I left on my weekend trip, I wove a few rows using the "natural" colored yarn. The whitish yarn completely overwhelms the other colors. Argh! So I am contemplating alternatives. Right now I lean toward variable width stripes using the yarn left over from warping, interspersed with stripes of natural. Today I weighed the leftover yarn, and I think I have enough to do this.

Fiber arts are always an adventure.