Saturday, December 08, 2007

2 stitches was all it took ...

to mangle my Punta edging. Today I'll explain more fully with photos, plus nothing knitted is ever wasted in this house, and more spinning progress - I'm inventing/unventing the low cost bobbin re-winder. It is such a simple idea I can't be the only one to think of using a lazy kate and a spinning wheel as a bobbin re-winder.

Remember last post I was going arrrrggghhh because the edging for the ear flaps of my Andean ccatta hat was to small. I did get around to knitting another edging, but not right away. I was distracted by knit night then spinning, and when I did return to knit the edging again I noticed this -

see how the Punta on the edging are much much closer together than the Punta on the hat. I carefully read the pattern and discovered one of those little instructions that can get over looked. In this case the words that said, K2, after the punta were shaped, and before the stitches were knit for the next Punta. What a difference those two stitches make, 2 stitches per-Punta, 22 Punta, 44 stitches, 1.5 inches of much needed edging. Although I must say - I kind of like the effect of the closer Punta, all ruffled up, and might use that on a Poppy-garment some time.

See - it fits, the edging fits, if any thing it might need easing as it is a little generous! Just one more edging to knit and then some sewing and its done and I will be doing the Ccatta Punta Andean hat dance, and you may even get a photo! The hat is a pointy elf shape - so perhaps I'll wear it Christmas morning?

Thursday knit night, there was one other Ccatta hat being knit, so I did a little "I'm not perfect - please don't copy me" show and tell and Tania (who has not blogged in ages!) suggested I make the rejected band into a little cuff for the Poppy-child. What a good suggestion, in fact I might have to make a few of these to grace party bags for girlie birthday parties over the coming year.

Spinning, this last few days the merino fiber was calling me, and asking to be spun, so I spun rather than knitted. I now have two half-bobbins of twisted singles. Being new to all this spinning stuff, and easily distracted by internet info, I wandered into the Spinners group on Ravelry to have a look around. There was a discussion on under-plying, which was quite informative. Especially the idea of running the singles thru the wheel again to add or subtract twist. I did a little ply test and decided my singles were under twisted so added some more twist. Here they are all twisty. More surfing (net not wet) from there, I ended up here, and here, reading more about plying. I also found a site with a table of suggested singles twist and yarn results, but I've lost it.

After that I wanted to wind my singles off on to another bobbin, which is said to even out the twist and so result in a more even yarn (scroll down to Jeannine Bakriges's comment). So what I wanted right then and there was a bobbin winder, I googled - as you do. Those things are $US99! or more! and they appear to be custom made from small appliances, like electric cake beaters or hand drills. I grew up with a mechanic dad, in Kiwi-land, home of make do and mend, and making or fixing things with electrical tape and number 8 fencing wire. Fencing wire is a flexible wire used in farm fences - but has become a lynch pin of emergency repairs in New Zealand.
Rough home made or repaired items are described here as being of the 'number 8 variety'. Tall tales are told of how number 8 wire saved the day. "Real men" seem to have a hank of number 8 at hand for saving the day.

So there was no way I could ever imagine telling my dad that I spent $US99 on a winder that appeared home made. I could ask him to build me one, and if I was lucky it might get done by 2020, I wanted it now. Then - bright idea, I could use the spinning wheel to drive the bobbins. There was a spare whorl grove on the whorl, and a drive belt grove on the bobbin, and I had a lazy kate - all I needed was drive belt.

I tied string into the right sized loop and set the bobbin winder (temporarily converted from a lazy kate by removing the brake band) on the table, looping the string between the wheel and the bobbin, and treadled away. I used my hand to guide the yarn evenly onto the bobbin, and sat the bobbin on the build in lazy kate on the front of the Ashford traveler. (You could suspend the bobbin in a basket or box with a knitting needle axis, or stand it on the floor). The total cost of this home made winder is less than a meter of string. I think I will boast to Bear how much money I saved while he was fishing ;-D

Re-winding the bobbins did seem to even out the twist, the singles lie much smoother, and I am expecting they will be easier to ply. I am itching to ply now but two things stop me. First all the advice seems to be to let the bobbins rest overnight, and second it is the work xmas party barbecue tonight. Bear is out of town fly fishing, so me and my two small bears are of to the gymkhana themed party in a barn (not my idea btw). Wish me luck, I've got my under $5 secret santa gift, and Poppy has her hobby horse.


KathyR said...

Great to see "Kiwi ingenuity" is still alive and kicking! I like the frilly puntas, too. Rather cute, but good that you managed to find where you went wrong. It is amazing how easy it is to overlook a small instruction with alarming results.

Knitting Linguist said...

I love the fencing wire story! Around here, it's duct tape. If it can't be fixed with duct tape, it's probably not worth fixing ;) I'm actually with you on the frilly puntas -- they're darling, and would be perfect on something for Poppy. Your spinning is looking absolutely lovely -- do you have plans for the yarn? I've finally caved, and have asked for a spindle and some roving for Christmas; do you think I can learn from a book? Because everyone I know who spins is very far away...

Windyridge said...

I just love that Andean hat. Will have to seek out the pattern. I have already have some spun up orang, redm white and brown. I would need to make some green.
I alos like the idea of two socks at once but I'm not clear on how you do that on one circ. Of course I've never knit socks on circs, just on DPN's but I have a terrible SSO syndrome and this would solve that problem!