Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Home made things

well .... the knitting is always home made, but today I've got some other knitting related home made goodies. First up progress report on the 'not' merino lace socks, then my home-made sock blockers, and wrap counters, whats on the bobbin on the spinning wheel, I've added a widget to the side bar, and a little Christmas sparkle.

The Not Merino Lace Socks, so called because I am using St Ives Wool not merino yarn, are growing. So sloooowly, very slowly, but growing. The longer the sock gets the easier the two socks/two circular needles is. Next time, I will cast on and knit the rib cuff section of each sock before I move them over to the two circs, I think there would be less stress that way. It is nice to see both socks emerge from the needles - which brings me to ....

... . my home made sock blockers. I've been wondering about sock blockers for a while now. The local shops don't sell them. They do sell dpns and budget sock yarn, around 3 different types, St Ives, Patonyle, and Opal (nothing exotic or luxurious) and a supply a free photocopied short row heel, stocking stitch pattern if you buy the Opal. What they don't sell is pattern books for socks, especially lace socks, and I have never ever seen a sock blocker in the 'hard copy' so to speak. Now I'm knitting my third lace type sock, I began to think even more about sock blockers, and wondered if I should order some. Trouble with ordering things from overseas is two fold, first the wait, when I decide I want thing, I want it now, and second is the shipping costs. International postage takes a while at the best of times and is expensive. I've come across the cheap and easy sock bockers from wire coat hangers and then a few days ago found sock blockers made from laminated place mats. This made me think about what materials I had available, the sock blockers had to be stiff, light, and waterproof, and ideally easy to cut and shape. I remembered a material that is used by our students - corflute, best described as a plastic version of corrugated cardboard, it is much used for advertising display, like house for sale signs. Corflute cuts easily with a craft knife and you can mark the cutting lines with pencil or pen. We had some slightly dirty corflute left over from our student show, so I've had a bit of a play and voila! Water proof, light-weight, Sock-blockers. I printed an image of sock blockers snaffled from the net and scaled it to size. Around the foot measures 8" on the blocker and 9" on me, allowing for a little stretch. I do have more corflute left over, so thought I would trace a pair of blockers on each piece, and make 'DIY sock blocker kits' available at this weeks knit night. Kathy - I'm happy to drop one off to you next time we are in Waimate - just let me know :-)

And still on home made items; these are wrap counters. Several knitting books and patterns describe yarn in terms of wraps per inch,and one of my favourite, Pricilla Gison Roberts, provides not only a table to calculate yarn requirements but also instructions on how to make these. Interweave also uses wraps per inch, as does Ann Budds Yarn guide booklet. Simply you wind the yarn around the stick, with each wrap touching the previous one, and count the wraps per inch, then times that count by 100 to estimate the number of meters required for a 'plain vanilla sweater'. The printed tables go into a little more detail about adjusting the estimate for cables, colour works, men and children's sizes, and also for hats, gloves, socks ect... Here is a handy on line version if you don't have one of those books. Here is a guide to using the wpi tools. I made one a few weeks back, and then ended up making a few more - just to perfect the technique. So now I have quite a few. I'll add them to the knit night help yourself take home basket.

Spinning - I'm still spinning the white merino as fine as I can. I broke off about a meter of roving, and spun one bobbin half full, then broke off a 2nd meter - which is being spun onto the second bobbin. Then I will spin a little more onto a third bobbin and play with making 3 ply yarn. If the final yarn turns out thicker than I want, I will just continue and make the merino up as 2 ply. I'm just practicing with this, and have no real plans for knitting into any thing in particular. I was spoilt at the last knit night - did I tell you two spinners there gave me little packets of fiber to play with, some grey superwash merino, and some black alpaca. It was like an early Christmas!

Widgets, I love that word, widget, widget, widget. Reminds me of my grandparents saying about a wigwam-for-a-gooses-bridle. I never really understood that saying. So what is a widget? Well ... as far as I understand its a little bit of code that does something graphic. I was entering my books into Librarything, and I found they will make you a widget to show books in the side bar of a blog. I'm a really book person, I love my knitting books, and am slightly surprised I have 45 knitting books (I just listed the knitting ones, and one is embroidery). Anyway - the widget displays a random selection of my knitting books. Five of these have not arrived yet - so I am a little premature entering them (counting books before they are delivered, is that like counting chickens before they are hatched?). And yes - I do have 2 copies of Twinned knitting - so if any one wants to make an offer for a swop - we can discuss that further.

- And yes - we put up the tree and decorated it, a tad odd given we are heading into summer, when Christmas was designed for dark cold winter time. But the tree is up, and small children are opening the windows on the advent calenders, and eating the chocolate. Bear has terrible hay-fever, so we are limited to an artificial tree, this year I have been admiring these(Thanks suzanne for showing me), and these, but probably won't get around to making either of them. Christmas shopping is pretty much taken care of, I'm part of a KR post-christmas-swop - so I have been having some fun filling a little box with knitterly goodies to send away after christmas.

Take care -


Knitting Linguist said...

Those socks are absolutely lovely! Are they for you? I love the pattern; I can't remember where it comes from? I still can't believe you're doing both at once -- I know that just because I can't get my head around it doesn't mean that other people can't either, but it always impresses me when someone does. :) The sock-blockers are wonderful, too. I think they're probably nicer and more efficient than the expensive wood ones (but if you ever need me to get something from this side of the Pacific for you, just let me know!).

Louise said...

I truly love your sock blockers and will check to see if I can find the material in my local art supply store. What did you use for a pattern for the sock blocker? Also, your sock pattern is beautiful. Can't wait to see the finish pair.

Anonymous said...

Nice story as for me. It would be great to read more concerning that matter. The only thing it would also be great to see here is some pics of any gizmos.
Kate Watcerson
Phone Blocker