Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Two at a time and yes more DIY,

Today - look at me I'm turning two heels at once, my merino 3 ply worked, I knit part of the garter ribbed cardigans sleeve only to find it is to small and needs up sizing, and I've made my own dpns! Christmas was good, we caught up with lots of distant relatives by phone, the Welly(wellington) ones have sold their house (good news), the Auckland ones tell me my Nana is frail and going to be 94 soon, all agree she has had a good innings. She is fairly confused, and thinks I am my mum, and my sister is my daughter, and my aunt is - -oh far to hard to explain. We love her, and she is very old. My dad had a great day with my brothers 'in-laws' family. We didn't over eat and we had a tv free day by negotiation - and it worked great. We had hot sunny weather, and the small bears rode around and around and around and around for much of the morning on their bikes, then it rained. I goofed the Big Bears present ... the scrumpled bag of coffee beans I thought was in the hopper of the coffee bean grinder, well, that turned out to be a rather too realistic photo of a scrumpled bag of coffee beans, and me - I got 6 (count em - 6) bars of luxury dark chocolate - yes mummy was very happy. I am a simple bear at heart.

First the socks, the not Merino Lace socks by Anne Woodbury (from Interweave - 25 favorite socks), I've started the heel and all goes well. There was a small hicup where you are to move the first 3 stitches on needle one to needle two so isolating the 30 stitches on which to work the heel flap. Moving the 3 stitches from the front to the back needle on the first sock was easy. To move the same 3 stitches on the second sock required removing the first sock from both circulars, and putting it to one side while the 3 stitches were transfered from front to back needle, then replacing the first sock onto both circulars. I chickened out, I put the 3 stitches on a paper clip, and kept going, it works. I guess I could have slid it from one circular to the other - but hey, my brain was tired.

I've been reading Anne Feild's beyond basic spinning book, it is full of exciting exercises to develop working spinning knowledge. I've just read them, not yet done the practices, but I did glean this little tip, to use embroidery skein holders to make little records of singles, plied yarns and washed plied yarns. The bonus is the embroidery cards are really really cheap, and are pre cut with notches one inch wide. Extra bonus - was I already had them in the embroidery drawer from an earlier life. Perfect for counting wraps. The last few days I have been finishing spinning the singles, and plying the merino. I got 41 wpi on the singles, 21 wpi on the 3 ply, and 20 wpi on the washed 3 ply. The hardest thing is to let them all rest for a day after each step, for them to settle and not be so springy. I guess over time, if I keep records - well I will be a thinking spinner and will learn something. I now have one skein 318m long, 20 wpi, white 22 micron merino. 318m of this yarn is apparently all that will fit on my bobbin when I ply. I want to spin a little more the same and then dye it - perhaps blue, rust, purple ... ?

Bears garter ribbed cardigan. Two items of note to report. First the sleeve, I cast on and knit this much Christmas eve. I increased evenly around the sleeve. Several sweaters ago I wondered why sleeve increases were placed at the under-arm seam, especially when knitting in the round. Arms don't get wider there, well mine don't. I decided on Poppy's pink-mint merino to increase evenly around the sleeve and liked the shaping I got. I've done that to most sweaters since - except Fannigan. I had Bear try the sleeve on and ..... ummmm, ... well he informs me that men don't usually wear their sweater sleeves so fitted. Translated that means, pleases can I re-knit the sleeve looser. I reworked the math, and realized that I am sizing this cardigan based on measurements of a purchased sweater he likes not according to EPS. I've put the sleeve aside, and probably won't frog this one, I have so much of this yarn, I will just cast on anew with more stitches, and trust EPS.

I also discovered that I had knit the body 'wrong', the garter ribbed cardigan which the sweater is based on should be in a K3p1 rib, and I have worked a K2p1 rib. Bother - but it stays as is. Besides - K2P1 fits in with the k2p1 rib at the cuff and hem better, no sudden jarring mismatch as the rib pattern changes.

The second thing I discovered when knitting the sleeves for the garter ribbed cardigan, is how much I have grown unaccustomed to metal dpns. Once I loved them, I have an entire set lovingly stored in my knitting storage. What I didn't have was wood or bamboo dpns in size 5mm, my set went up to 4.5mm.

Now I like wood, it is warm, light and comfortable. Metal is not. Wooden dpns are hard to get in Dunedin, the lys stocks a few in sock sizes, and I can order them on-line from 'up north' or over seas, but that takes time. Knowing this I attempted knitting heroics - I made my own dpns. For $2.78 at the local hardware store I found 1.8 meters of 6 mm dowel. I cut this into lengths and sanded it until it fitted the 5mm space on my needle sizer. I then pencil sharpened the tips and sanded more until I made a nice pointy knitting needle shape. You can see they are a little blunter than the metal Inox dpn. It was not plain sailing. First I attempted to sand a section of dowel 80 cm long, but it snapped. So I cut it into needle sized lengths. I also discovered 6mm dowel, was larger than 6mm - more like 7mm - do you think wood workers notice that? They did have 4mm down which I didn't buy, maybe I should have? Next time I would take my needle sizer with me. What do I mean next time? I'm not sure there will be a next time.
Take care


Knitting Linguist said...

Wow, you had a productive Christmas! The socks are looking gorgeous, and I must say that the paperclip workaround seems much better than all the on-and-off again shenanigans (or maybe that's just my dislike of seeing knitting off the needles with all those stitches hanging out!). Your yarn is spun so evenly and beautifully -- it's definitely inspiring to this aspiring spinner to see what can be done :)

KathyR said...

Wow, your spinning (actual spun yarn and the methods to get there) sure put me to shame! I think my spinning is of the more "rustic" variety. :) The socks are looking great - I can't recall fiddling around slipping stitches from one needle to the other when I've made any (I have always done two on two circs). A real pain from the sound of it! I did make a set of wooden dpns years ago the same way you made yours - I needed some for a spinning group project using larger needles. Worked ok but I never made them again. Isn't it great what "Kiwi ingenuity" can come up with!