Sunday, November 25, 2007

more new stuff

so, yes I have been knitting, and have 1.95 finished objects to show for my time, and I have been spending (but only a little), I've been spinning, or trying to, i meet a new friend, one that I've known for years, and lastly I have discovered new items to stash. Firstly thank you for the positive comments on my ramble last week about what makes me a fussy knitter, I was thinking I had gone way off track - but given my blog is a knit journal of a sort, well the record of my thinking belonged here, thanks again for putting up with me.

First, my hand spun Poppy Brioche Hat! This hat is finished. It is a little on the short side, but there is plenty of yarn remaining - I could knit another. Poppy thinks it is great and wears it, despite warm early summer days. We visited an A&P show in the weekend (agricultural and pasteral), I'm told the US equivilent is a State Fair? At the show wee Pops wore pink board shorts, a hospital fund raiser tee shirt, leather boots and this - in a weird way she looked like a farming kid. Any way - what did I learn - always size hats on the person before you start to decrease for the crown, even if they go to bed at 7:30 pm and are children. Hats need to be much longer than you think. Brioche stitch in the round is easier to do knitting into the stitch below than yarn overs. I've got two videos to edit and upload for the next blog-post. Finally - all the knit bloggers who warn you to take care with Brioche - as it is hard to repair if you go wrong - they are right, so right. Still it is a night thick, bouncy, warm easily repeatable stitch, once you get into the swing of it.

And finally, spurned on by knit sibs VP and KK and others, I finally succumbed to the fetchings lure. Having some heavy silken luxurious Alpaca arrive didn't help at all. I wanted to use as much of the skein as I could - so reversed the pattern and knit these top down, and lengthened and widened them. I also knit on a slightly smaller needles - 3.75mm so added a pattern repeat, casting on 50 not 45 sts, and using 10 for the thumb gap, not 7. To widen - I knit 5 rounds in the rib past the cables, then increased in the purl stitches, making a rib of K4P2, knitting a further 10 rounds before casting off using a sewn bind off. This Alpaca was heavenly - silky and soft, soo soft. It was a gift from Idaho - and very artisan, the two alpacas that produced the fiber were named on the band - Magic and New Moon, originally from here. We are just moving into summer and with these I am already looking forward to Autumn.

And spinning, well I bought the wheel to spin fine yarns, and was hoping to eventually spin sock yarn. Spurred on my my hat yarn sucess, but a little disappointed at the thickness of the yarn, 14 wpi, I attempted finner singles. I spun two small bobbins as fine as I could then attempted to ply them. On the web there is so much beautiful yarn - I thought I would post some failed sample yarn. I was trying to use the different ratio drive whorls to control the amount of twist, not my hands. So the skein to the far left has way to much twist in the plying, as given away by the Z twist in the skein. I followed advice in my new spinning book - by Margrate Stove, to belt the skein in the middle and wash only one end to set the twist. Skein 2, 2nd from the left - to little twist in the plying, as indicated by the right or S swinging twist in the skein. Skein 3, 3rd from the left, about right, but not fantastic - I tried to use the ratios to add 1/3rd less twist during plying. Skein 4, on the right - about right - balanced twist, using the same whorl ratio as the singles, but feeding in 1/2 more yarn for each treadle. That was the method that gave me success with my first yarns.

And here is a close up of the best of the sample skeins, nice and fine, not as even as I want but I'm still a beginner (novice). What I realise now is that I should make a 3 ply sample, and introduce much more twist to the yarn, so I have started a new sample of singles, trying with the smallest whorl (16:1) and putting 2 treadles to a little over an inch, or around 3 cm. I did a quick search before work today (as you do) and it seems that sock yarn needs high twist, which I gleaned from here. The first yarns were at around 16 tpi (twists per inch), the next batch I am trying 32 tpi. Although I might just get a stiff scratchy yarn as suggested here. I'll will let you know.

and here is some lovely hand dyed yarn, Hopi colourway from Austin Texas, and no I didn't buy it, it was sent by Magpie in response to me sending her some of my own stash. We are both thinking this will be perfect for a something from CB's new pathways sock book.

And almost lastly - at the A&P show I finally met up with KathyR, from Knitters Review, which was nice. She was spinning beautiful yarn, in a tent, a very pleasant thing to do on a warm Saturday.

and lastly - some new stash, now I spin, I have a lot more stuff to fall for, the good news is that small amounts of fiber to play with are cheap, here is some alpaca, some merino blended with Possum, and a cone of merino possum nylon sock yarn. But I admit the cupboard and drawers are full.


Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh! Nice stash enhancement material :) I love seeing how you're going about learning to spin; for the moment I'm living vicariously, but as I am sure that I will someday fall prey to the lure of the wheel, it's also pre-learning! I'm thinking maybe I need to make a pair of the fetching mitts for a swap partner I need to knit for...must contemplate...

Sarah said...

I LOVE the Brioche Hat! It's so textured and soft looking. In reading your post it finally dawned on me, you're in NZ. Of course I new that already but the seasonal difference didn't register. You're having summer right as it's starting to get wintery here! So cool. I've never known anyone in Australia or New Zealand before so this is my first "real time" aha moment! Simple pleasures I guess:)

KathyR said...

It was great meeting you and your children on Saturday, Stella! A pity we couldn't have spent more time getting to know each other. Another time, maybe. I love the hat - so soft and cushy. The Fetching mitts look good, too - I love your amendments to the pattern. Isn't it interesting how many folk are knitting this pattern at the moment!

Vintage Purls said...

I liked my attempt at cabled 4ply for socks and I'm working on spinning more at the moment. The down side is the time it takes to spin the quantity of fine singles required. But I do like the roundness of the finished yarn and it feels durable (but hopefully won't be scratchy when made up). You definitely need really well prepared fibre for fine spinning though. I'm working with some cheap stuff that was poorly prepared and despite running it through my drum carder and pre-drafting my little heart out I still have to stop to fish out little lumps as I go which makes the process slower (but this being experimental work I don't want to waste the good stash on it).