Sunday, November 18, 2007

Right slanting decreases on trial

Today - Brother Amos, I've turned the heel, things are going so well I'm playing with different decreases, I'm swatching some of my own handspun. And finally a book report, that is a report on books that have come thru my letter box recently.

So I finally sat down and had some focussed quality time with Brother Amos, the sock and I are now on good terms, so much so the heel is turned, and I have only 2 lace repeats to finish the leg section and bind of in i-cord. Sadly I have had to forgo my lovely harmony wooden knit picks circs, and am now back to plain old Innox circs, as the leg is shaped by increasing a needle size every repeat. The Innox needles I'm using now do have a smoother join than the ones I started this sock on and gave up in dispear with, but the cord is twisty and stiff. I expect many of those who dislike circs for socks, and prefer dpns, were like me, struggling with low quality, stiff, lumpy circs, while our encouraging friends had smooth slippery circs with un-kinked cords. For lace socks, circulars do make things much easier. I will shout my self some new knitpics in the new year. Once you have tasted quality it is hard to go back to cheap and nasty.

Last post I told you all about introducing a sytk into this pattern, replacing the older style ssk. I also mentioned how at that stage I hadn't seen any real difference. Suzanne, messaged me to say that twisting the stitch resulting from the decrease in the next row might help, so I tried that. For the first leg repeat, I sytk'd all the left leaning decreases, and in the next row, knit thru the back to twist that decrease stitch and then K2tog the left ones. It resulted in this - the left leaning bit (the right leaning bit is next to a set of of m1's), a very nice line of straight stitches, with no twisting around. What I have not been able to find in a quick search is any 'hints' on line to twist the stitch backwards in the next row to straighten out a line of Right leaning decreases.

Then I realised I hadn't really given the new immigrant sytk an opportunity to show me what it could do on its own, so this repeat I am just sytk. I know one should test these things in a swatch, not in the second sock, but I'm impatient. Given these will be under jeans, under boots or hidden inside hi-top chucks, well, whatever I do in the leg will be just fine. So this is where I am up to, right now it looks twisty, but I will continue till the end of this repeat before deciding which method to use to finish the sock.

I've knit up some of my white 3 ply corridale homespun, seems really weird to be knitting yarn I made, surreal almost. And thankfully when I knit it up, the knitting was square, not trapezoid like the commercial Alapa swatch a few posts ago. You can't believe how happy that made me. After the Alpaca spiral incident - well that was a fear, what if I couldn't spin yarn that knit up nice? That was an even bigger fear than the "what if I don't want to knit what I spin?" fear. So this swatch, 12 wraps per inch, I knit up on 3.75mm needles and was fairly happy, but look =>

Rowing out, can you spot that rowing out in the first section of the swatch? It is more obvious on the wrong side. That hasn't happened in ages, I blame the thickness of the yarn. I know how much to compensate my purl and knit stitches for fine yarns when I knit flat, but obviously not for heavier yarns. I tried a few rows tightening the knit stitches, my standard fix - but it didn't work. So I switched to knitting combined, which fixed the problem but resulted in a much tighter gauge, so I knit on with larger 4.5mm needles. Then thinking I should swatch for something, I swatched Brioche stitch for a EZ style watch-hat for Poppy. I found some good on line instructions for bi-colour Brioche in the round, and for knitting different methods of Brioche. All my EZ books suggest Brioche is better worked flat, much arder to work in the round but the instructions i've found on line seem clear. I'm as yet unclear of the difference bewteen the 'knit into the stitch below' and the 'yarn over whist slipping stitches' and if they end up looking the same, the sound like they would be the same structurally.

And here, I've been following KathyR's advice to keep some of my unplied and unwashed spinning to use in guiding me towards better consistency. As part of that I clipped a little section of the yarn after plying but before washing, look it does puff up! I guess in time I will learn to 'see' how the yarn will be after setting in hot water not the yarn I have just spun.

And books, Well I have obtained a copy of Twined Knitting, a Swedish Folkcraft Technique, by Birgitta Dandanell-Ulla Danielsson, well 2 copies actually. An embarassing internet hic-up - which I am sure happens more often than we like to admit. What I don't like is that one copy is a de-stashed copy from the Oshkosh public library. Legally I might add, but I now know that knitters in Oshkosh can not access that copy because the library decided it was 'old' and out of date, and sold it off to make room for newer and probably non knitting books. I spoke to a librarian friend here, an she knows of this library phenomenon, and regularly takes out all the old knitting books from our local public library so they have a record of use, I think I will join her in this. I also ordered Sheila McGregors Traditional Scandinavian Knitting, because when you buy from Amazon they helpfully say "people who bought that book also liked this one", and some times they are just so good at guessing what I want that I give in. All of these were second hand. And, yes embarrassingly there is more, I sometimes think this blog should be renamed, "knit-shop-frog' because I seem to spend as much time posting about knitting as about shopping for knitting related items. So there are one more book still to come, both from Fishpond (new zealands version of amazon - with much cheaper shipping for me), Mary Thomas's book of knitting patterns, This book is vinatge, circ 1947> I stumbled onto an online discussion of 'good' knitting books on Ravelry's Knittech where knitters were raving about Mary Thomas Knitting, which I have, I have both her Embroidery and the knitting book by Mary Thomas, a legacy of a crafty MIL. I suggested that there were much better books than MT knitting, only to discover they were singing praises of MT Knitting patterns book, so off I went to obtain one. Then Vintage Purls (local knitter) brought one to knit night to show me, and so now my own copy is winging it way to me.

Take care


KathyR said...

Your spun yarn looks good knitted up, despite the rowing out. During most of the many years I have been knitting I have never been a very "thoughtful" knitter (hanging my head in shame!). As long as the item looked good when finished, I wasn't concerned that maybe some of the stitches looked uneven or my decreases didn't match, etc. No-one I knew thought about these things, either (was it the era and/or heritage I grew up in?). I love that, now, I have come across so many knitters who are actually concerned about how their stitches are formed etc so that I can, in turn, improve my own knowledge, and process, of knitting. Thank you for being the "thinking" type of knitter you are!

I'm also glad that I am not alone in making purchases of knitting related items. I sometimes get embarassed when I admit to knitting/spinning friends just how many books wing their way to me from overseas! I know you understand that there are so many books available out there that we never get to see on bookshelves here.

Knitting Linguist said...

Wow. Knitting your very own yarn. What an amazing thing, no? It looks great too, in spite of the rowing out. I can't wait to see what you make of it!

I'm so glad I'm not the only book fiend out there -- I haven't even posted about the two I just bought last week (oops)! Enjoy them :)

Vintage Purls said...

Inox needles - talk about slumming it! I was one of those who gave up knitting things like socks on two circs because of the awful needles that are easy to access here. I just used my two 2.5mm Knit Picks and oh, the difference!