Friday, December 21, 2007

a little more progress all round

Despite being off work last week - I didn't get as much fiber time as I planned, still today there is an update on the not Merino Lace Socks, the garter ribbed cardigan finally reaches a milestone, some spinning and plying success, a new book, and goodies. I have done all the Christmas shopping and have only to wrap it all up. Smallest bear is getting a purple bike, with a teddy seat, a pink sparkle helmet* and lots of purple streamers from the handle bars (as per repeated requests), slightly larger bear is getting a guitar, and a sewing machine (no gendered assumptions around here - he is a boy), largest Bear is getting a set of powered speakers for his i-pod, and a coffee grinder - both of which I can share!

First - the 'not' Merino Lace Socks by Anne Woodbury, from Interweave 25 Favorite Socks. Why the 'not'? Because I'm not knitting them in merino but a generic budget sock yarn from my LYS (St Ives - sorry the link is to the UK - the only info I could find on St Ives). The socks are growing slowly. It is a nice lace to work. I frogged back half a lace repeat this morning, some how last night I had ended up with the 'front' of the socks 2 rows ahead of the back pattern-wise. How that could happen I can't imagine, and there was not even wine involved. I was tired, weary to the point of putting the knitting aside and just sitting. Still back on track - one and a half repeats to go and then the heel flap.

And this is my latest spinning, the white, I've been working with merino, trying to spin fine singles that would 3 ply into a sock yarn. I have 2 half full bobbins,and yesterday spun a little more onto a 3rd bobbin - just so I could test the results. I wanted to see if the yarn would be fine enough to use for socks as a 3 ply and look - it is! My white merino 3 ply is next to the St Ives 4 ply sock yarn. Success - it is a nice feeling after a failure.
My new spinning book arrived this morning - just in time to sort how much twist to put in a 3 ply yarn. My first sample was over plied, by the second hangs nice and balanced. Because the last yarn/string I made was so over twisted I was careful to limit the twist I added this time, perhaps to careful? I think I could have add a little more twist to make this more of a match for commercial sock yarns. My plan for this 3 ply merino is to dye it and knit a scarf or something lacy, Although Brenda Daynes latest pod cast has me admiring her Milano stitch and thinking that could be used soon in some as yet unidentified project. Anne Fields beyond the basics spinning book tells me to keep good records, and I should, it also suggests using little embroidery skein cards to record wrap samples of singles, plied and washed-plied yarns. I really should start a spinning notebook, I really should. I should, I should, I should - why haven't I? I feel like I'm still a beginner and I'm not ready to settle, but if I was my own student, I wouldn't let me away with such lax-ness.

The garter ribbed cardigan, well finally I am up to the arm-scye, so ready to put the body aside and cast on for the sleeves. That means I have to fossick around and locate my previous knit journal for info on needle size and number of cuff stitches to cast on. This project has been in progress for so long that I have long ago used up all the pages in the notebook it was planned in, and started a new one.

And look - My kids and I were totally spoilt last Thursday at night night. Jenny has made fudge and packaged it up so sweetly for my two wee bears, and gifted me this beautiful roving. The photo does not do it justice, it is caramel, and blond, and ash, white/grey and cream - truly spectacular. I know Jenny is a fan of Navaho plying to keep the colour runs intact in her spinning - so I might have to be Jenny's new best friend to learn how to do that for myself.

take care
happy christmas - hope it brings some fiber time to you all.

* In New Zealand it is illegal to ride a push bike on the roads without a helmet, so most kids wear one even when biking on footpaths, school grounds, play grounds or at home. Oddly it is legal to ride a skate board in traffic with no brakes, no reflectors, and no helmet! When I was a post-grad, a fellow student did her masters on cycle helmets, it was just post the legislation being enacted. My favorite quote in her masters was from the head of the Injury Prevention Unit was something like "sure helmets are inconvenient, hot, uncomfortable and leave you with really bad hair, but its much more inconvenient thinking after your brain has been mushed on the pavement".


Knitting Linguist said...

I really do love those socks. Maybe I'll have to find some yarn and make them when I'm done with Rick's Christmas socks. I'm working my way up the leg of the second one; I might even have a shot at finishing them on time, barring the small distraction that arrived today in the mail, in the form of two drop spindles and a small batch of roving... Of course, looking at my first couple of yards of singles (all I have at this point) and your gorgeous yarn...well, let's just say I've got a ways to go!

I love the helmet quote. I *think* that kids must wear helmets around here now (mine certainly do). For years when we were first dating, Rick refused to wear a helmet when riding (he's a very aggressive mountain biker, and used to road bike). He finally had a horrible accident (details omitted for the weak of stomach), in which he hit his head so badly that he had a seizure the next day. He wears his helmet now, and it's saved his life at least once since (when he fell so hard he cracked his helmet in half, and walked away from it). Helmets are good! Sparkly ones are even better :)

BTW, Older Daughter is going to be SO envious of that sewing machine -- she's been dying for one!

KathyR said...

Your socks are coming along very nicely as is your merino spinning! Are you sure you didn't spin in a former life?

Yes, helmets are good! I would hate to think what my youngest son would now be like if he hadn't been wearing one when a car knocked him off his bike. I don't think he would have appreciated a sparkly helmet but I'm sure your wee one will!

All the best for a wonderful, joyous Christmas!

Gizmo said...

I Like that quote and should have my kids read it!

Shirley Goodwin said...

Good on you with the socks - I have trouble getting past the first of a pair. It's not on my blog yet but I'm knitting an interesting cardigan pattern from the neck down, haven't done it this way before.

Have a great Christmas and New Year.