Saturday, April 19, 2008

I've got a blue thing going on here

Blue fiber that is, appears I have a very soft spot for blue fiber blended with hints of other colours. I've been busy buying, spinning, and knitting, all since the last post. Ok so buying is not really about being busy - but it did happen 3 times (4 if you count individual items). Some times, just some times, I wonder if I should have named the blog more accurately 'knit, frog, shop', or 'knit, knit, shop'.

Doe Arnot visited the guild on Saturday (there were lots of other experienced crafters but newbies to the guild there - so good company). Doe is lovely, and told us lots about Suri alpaca, and blending and bought her alpaca fiber goodness to sell. Alpaca skillfully blended with merino and silk and tencil and such, and in the most amazing dyed colours. So yes I bought some, how could I not? This lovely Blue-green blend is two batts of Doe Arnold alpaca blend (alpaca, merino, silk, and bamboo). Its Suri alpaca (I think - please correct me if I'm wrong) which has a nice luster and very soft rich feel. The two batts don't quite match, but J and M suggested I spin a single of each and ply them together. One is 100g and the other 120g. Doe has a blog, and a textile shop that is now on my must stop at list when in Oamaru, right next to Slighly Foxed where Bear loves to stop.

Thursday night at knitting, M brought the latest batch of her kettle dyed sock yarn and so I bought some (I think this is to be called Bunker - but because I bought the sample - its not yet up in her e-shop. (update Monday its formally Bears Bunker and its in the shop now)I was thinking of engineer type socks for bear. Then latter on Saturday we spun-in at EB's place where Hamish Black visited with a selection of his fresh lamb gotland fleeces and - yup, I bought some of that as well. His flock is of the chocolate wool fame. I can't show you the gotland yet as Hamish is having mine carded (yes Jenni - I'm just a spinning wimp), its dark, blackish grey - but may lighten up when washed. All up from Thursday to Saturday my stash grew nicely. I am trying to add fiber in 'usable' or practicable quantities, that is amounts that can be used for making something. It is so tempting to add 50g here and 100g there, but I don't know what to make with small amounts like that even if I spin it fine. I've got enough of Doe's alpaca for a scarf, and enough of Hamish's gotland for a cardigan or a shawl (my first!). It should be here end of May.

And Salto sock number two grows, I have been knitting betwixt the buying. I'm half way up the plain cable repeats before the shaping starts. Now I am ticking off every row - as you do when its a complicated thing and you want them to match. I was quite curious to see if I'd added an extra repeat or two since the sock leg is quite long, but no, I apparently did follow the pattern when knitting Salto one quite faithfully. I guess the leg has to be long to allow the shaping for the cable movement to occur. I'm working all these cable without a cable needle, as in here or this video, although I tend to slip the stitches to across to the right needle, knit the next stitches then rearrange them. If you use a cable needle, try this, at least 6 times - I think the cables are less stretched out along the sides when knit this way than when knit with a cable needle.

And more garter rib, thats when row 1 is k2p2, and row 2 is k. Repeat these two as long as you want. In the round purl the knit row. Very simple, and very effective. I did a K3P1 garter rib on Bears last sweater, and liked the inside as much as the outside. It is prettier on the inside, much prettier. I must play with reverse garter rib for a hat or tea pot cosy or scarf some time. I wonder if there is a version with the two sides looking the same? The rib is just nudging the 10cm, and I need about 19cm I think. This is a long term project, but so far I'm pleasantly surprised by the progress on such small needles (2.5mm)

Lastly - I've been spinning sock yarn, 4 singles which i will ply into 2xtwo plys and then ply these into a cabled yarn. This bobbins is officially half way there, its full of an over-twisted 2 ply yarn, ready and waiting for its match and to be plied into the cabled yarn. I only have 3 bobbins for this wheel so I've plied to free the bobbins up to spin the other 2 singles. That was a lot of plying - a lot over two nights, to add enough twist for the next stage. I've done some wee samples to make sure its going to work.

School holidays this week, so I'm on leave and home with both bear cubs. There will be much fiber time I hope, but we will have to play and run outside while the weather holds as much as we can - before winter arrives fully.

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

Looking good! That alpaca-blend fiber is absolutely stunning (I, too, am a huge fan of blues); I can't wait to see what you spin with it! I know what you mean about getting amounts of fiber that are usable -- I need to be sure that when I spin something, there's enough to make an actual item with it! Enjoy your week with the cubs -- I hope the weather holds for you!