Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back on track, lots of updates, and a new video

Today, I take risks with my knitting, I've got a video showing how I pick up stitches, some colour work swatching, and progress on a hibernating project, I'm putting my first spinning and plying efforts on display to the world, I dig up an old skill for show and tell, and my 'polish' recipe as requested especially for KathyR

So first up, I sat down a few days ago to pick up the band / facing stitches on Fannigan, and Bear asked if I wanted a wine, mmm wine and knitting mmm? .... wine and knitting fine gauge? ... wine and picking up up stitches at 8.5 spi on 2mm circs .... "oh why not I replied". So here is my dicing with danger, drinking and picking up stitches at the same time - which I am sure is both illegal or encouraged some where in the world. So how do I pick up stitches, well I use a crochet hook, and a long circular needle thus ...

but I imagine most people pick up stitches like this, but I find that is fiddly for a few reasons, it seems harder for continental, because I like a firmer gauge which makes hooking the stitches through with a knitting pin more difficult, and I am using a larger needle. Why - so the first row of picked up stitches will be loose enough for me to pick up the loops on the back and knit them into a facing to cover the steek. It all went very well, but is on hold while I wait for some much longer 2mm Addi Turbo's from Kangaroo to arrive. I just hope that I made the right call, in dropping from a 2.5mm needle for the body, to a 2mm for the facing, I have picked up stitch for stitch, not 3 in 4 ... I'll let you know.

And, Andean knitting workshop this Saturday, yeah!, Instructions were to bring lots of fine gauge yarn, in colours (got that - remember that weekend spend dying a few weeks ago), and appropriate needles. Well - to work out "appropriate" one has to swatch, so I swatch on 2mm needles, and it seems fine, then - I thought "perhaps I should work out some colour combinations in advance" -- well what do you know, I've got a mini colour work blanket. And all in the flat, so colour work was done in the flat, including purling! Maybe I need the tee shirt "feel the fear and purl anyway"? And the really good news is I washed it and soaked it and the colour didn't run - always a fear with dark blue with white, and especially so for a novice dyer like myself.

And here is the almost forgotten or hibernating Garter rib cardie for Bear, back on the needles for a short spell while I worked out what to do with Fannigan's steek.I've worked about 30 cm of the 40 cm required for the body and I am still liking the garter rib. One row K3P1, next row K. I also like the inside, a rustic nubby texture - there are possibilities there for other garments methinks, or this one if Bear like it. I'm not liking the yarn so much, its sticky, and drags ... but it was cheap, and is soft when washed.

And this little nubbly and lumpy and uneven yarn is my first 'baby' born of the spinning wheel, all 90m. I'm told that I need to keep this as a reference point or latter.

And this is my finally using the white roving I bought with the wheel from Ashfords, Corridale for beginners?. When I switched from spinning the coarse sticky brown fibre to this, it nearly slipped out of my paws, but 2 days latter and I'm much more happy with my yarn. I've set the traveller up as a double drive, for aesthetic reasons, I thought the scotch tension 'looked' messy, and because I read once on a knitters review thread and in the Ashford book that double drives produce a firmer more even yarn which is what I want to knit with. Oh the things we do when we don't know what we should do.

Tatting - Before I was a knitter, well I've knit since I was 8 or so, but only in the last 4 or 5 years have I been a "thinking knitter", I had other fiber crafts. I sewed. and tailored and draped garments, I patch-worked, I made porcelain dolls, and I tatted edgings for reproductions of historical doll clothes. The pen is for scale. This is a tatted lace edging, abandoned some years ago - probably interrupted by my PhD, I put a lot of my previous life on hold to finish that within the scholarship period. Some how after a 3 year 'hobby' break, I picked up new hobbies, but recently chatting with lace-lunatic Suzanne aka Magpie (who kindly shipped me knitpics harmony circs to work brother Amos sock 2 on and a set of gorgeous stitch markers for CB's sock architecture book - pictures next time) we've been discussing Tatting. A very portable activity.

So Polish, I'm sure this recipe isn't copyrighted, its pretty generic, and I've got several variations in several old and new woodwork and housekeeping naturally books, one book even credits it to Queen Victoria who apparently liked the smell! Like the woman made polish and used it!
  1. 1 cup bees wax
  2. 10 cups fresh lavender flowers, or half a cup lemon peel or few drops essential oil
  3. 4 cups linseed oil (thats a litre bottle) or olive oil if using on food safe bowls and boards, even sweet almond oil - in short any oil you fancy.
Heat the wax and the lavender flowers or lemon peel gently, in a double boiler or metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. When melted add the oil carefully, stir for 3 minutes, pour into clean tins or warm jars (not plastic), straining out the flowers thru muslin. Leave to set.
To use rub in with a soft cloth, leave 30 minutes and polish of any excess with a clean cloth. Store covered or it forms a skin on the surface. The linseed smell is quite 'pungent' at first but in a month or two the polish smell softens and the lemon or lavender or orange comes thru. You can use immediately. Apply two coats to raw wood and refresh yearly with one coat.

We make a batch every now and then and it lasts us 3-4 years, and that includes giving away at least one jar. It refreshes old varnished wood items nicely, but not polyurethane'd items. And I don't think the quantities are to exact, if you want a softer polish use more oil, and for harder more wax ...


Miss T said...

Interesting...I usually pick up stitches with a crochet hook, too. It's one of those things I always just bumbled my way through without knowing how anyone else did it.

Knitting Linguist said...

I love that rib texture on the sweater -- especially on the inside (does this make me weird?). Thanks for the polish recipe. I may have to try that out for our dining room table, which is eight feet of wood which must be polished. Usually I use Briwax, but that has toluene in it, which means I have to be careful to do it outside, wearing gloves...this seems much nicer.

Hilary said...

Wow! All that and a PhD too. I am awed. I especially love the (pre) Andean color knitting -what vibrant colors, and how beautiful together. The garter stitch sweater also looks great (and I agree, the inside does too!) and of course the Fannigan is gorgeous.

Re. your question about my alpaca fulling, I think you might not need to do this for machine processed alpaca, vs. handspun, but it was something the woman I bought it from suggested as a way to make it less itchy -- she said she does it for yarns like angora, to make them shed less. I don't think you *need* to do it -- most people don't seem to have heard of it and my yarn was very soft to start with. But I thought maybe it would shed less, and I *think* it does -- the difference is very slight, but then again I am not good at noticing things like that! I probably could have fulled it a bit more -- maybe I should have agitated it some, but I was SO afraid of it felting.

This is the only reference I could find to it on the Web (scroll down to Nov. 6)

though now I have found all sorts of references to fulling handspun in general, ie.

Anyway I posted about it at KR and got this advice

and that is all I know! I just filled one big pot with hot water (from the tap, as hot as I could get it) and another with cold, and dunked hot, cold, hot. I didn't agitate at all, just pushed to keep it underwater.
So far the results are not dramatically different, but I will keep you posted.

KathyR said...

Thanks for your polish recipe. Sounds good, so I may just try it soon. Glad to hear the linseed smell dissipates after a while as it is not my favourite odour! Interesting to see how you pick up stitches. I sometimes do that, especially when the gauge is tight, but I'm not quite as co-ordinated as you and do find it rather awkward.

KathyR said...

I knew there was something else I wanted to say - your first wool-spun-on-a-wheel looks really great! Well done! The corriedale is looking good, too. I think you may just be a natural!

Knitting Linguist said...

BTW, it's great to hear that I'm not the only TGMBC fan out there; may have to rent it tonight!

Kirsty said...

I'm another fan of your pre-andean knitting colourwork!

Was the stranded purling very painful? I'm having a quandary with my current project- to steek superwash merino, or to purl some fair isle. Oooh the dilemmas

Thank you for commenting over on my Wonder Woman Jumper!