Thursday, July 10, 2008

some knitting! some finishing! some stashing!

Today - I feel a little more on track, I've sorted my new stash additions and uploaded them into Ravelry, a knitters got priorities right? I've done a little washing, I've popped into work to hear a visiting lecturer speak about Design as Empathy, which scores me a few hours next week to attend a daytime spinning meet, I've dealt with the mail - both inward and outward, and I've eaten lunch. So - that gives me time to update the knitting blog with some knitting content. I provide a quick tour of my current working WIP's, and FO's. Warning serious stash additions occurred over the last 8 days, and I refuse to be judged negatively by the quantity of fiber and fiber related goodness that has entered my house recently.

First - Odessa is finished, and worn and admired.

In my first beaded knitting I strung the beads on the yarn and knit them into place using a knit stitch, it works but I'm not entirely happy with the way the beads sit on one leg of the stitch, it seems unbalanced to me. I guess it is only an issue when admiring the hat at a macro level, I know when worn on my head the slightly offset beads on each knit stitch would hardly be noticeable to the casual observer.

Odessa was a fun knit, especially once I obtained 40cm circs in the right size, these are I admit a little hard to hang on to with the short tips, but much easier to knit with than magic loop. I know much of the knitting world loves magic loop and its cousin, 2-circs, but I am not a fan of the sliding backwards and forwards that goes with both methods. I do admit such techniques have a place and latter in this post, you can see me use the magic loop quite neatly on my latest sock project. My 13 month younger sister has a birthday soon, and I thought a Cashmere Merino Silk Glass beaded Odessa in the midst of winter, would be a suitable gift, so I strung up another 120 beads and cast on for Odessa number two. Same yarn but different colourway. I've treated knitting up the beads slightly differently this time, I knit the bead into place, but on the next row/round I've been purling the beaded stitch, and making sure the bead sits in the center of the purl stitch. This suspends each bead on a little horizontal bar across the knitting and satisfies my insanely technical need for symmetry, albeit at a macro level. Call me fussy - I do.

And socks, finally I have started a new sock, the first sock in the Vintage Purl sock club series. The instructions are fabulously clear, and intended for new sock knitters. Not being a new sock knitter and being completely unable to do what I'm told, I've embarked on a few modifications to the pattern, using Judy's magic toe up cast on rather than the suggested crochet provisional cast on, just quicker and less work. I'm also going to knit my sock with a reverse shaped gusset and flap not the short row heel detailed in the pattern. I prefer the fit and wear of the gusset & flap heel. I'm basing my heel on a modified Widdershins shaping, with the proportions I posted last year, once or twice. I am considering playing with the location of the gusset increases, perhaps in the sole around a central 6 or 8 stitch wide panel? Other than that I'm basically knitting the sock as designed, with no concrete idea of how to have a dark heel in a gusset flap sock - I'll deal with that, or not, when I get there.

Final update WIP (no I'm not counting, are you?), is my Knitters Study Group Project the Hooded BSJ. I'm near the end of the BSJ itself, having unknit all the knitting done at knit night, I knit on without doing the maths to lower the neckline and didn't lower it enough. Now I've cast off 5 stitchs on 2 rows, 3 stitches on the next 2 rows, 2 stitches on the next 2 rows, and on stitch on the next two rows. That almost doubles the depth of the neckline and brings me to the point of adding length to the body section - so I'm nearly finished the BSJ, with the hood to add on after.

And spinning, I've finished the beautiful fiber bundle that Jenni gave me, Mohair, merino, silk and alpaca, all shimmery and fluffy and soft white. I've not measured the wraps yet, but have 312m, so enough for a soft scarf. I've made this a 2 ply yarn and used the highest ratio whorl on my Wing wheel, surprisingly this yarn has nice bounce and given I used a small whorl I'm amazed it is not over twisted - progress!

I've moved on to spinning some more of my stash, a beautiful hand dyed roving from Morag, I think kettle dyed. I've divided the fiber into 3 equal weight batches and plan to spin 3 single as fine as I can. I'm aiming at a fine, thick fingering 3 ply yarn ... so lets see if I get there. I'm looking for that point where I spin what I want, not spin what I can.

So, there are a few WIP's which I need to clear up (read - finish), the BSJ and the 2nd Odessa hat, then I will start some lace knitting. I mentioned this post would contain a WIP report, and it has, now comes time for the stash enhancement report, and I'll try and make it as painless as possible. First new books, Jocelyn brought me Folk Shawls, the book that started her on a knitting lace career. I kid you not, she test knits lace for designers as well as being a parent and an academic, I'm in quiet awe. I was thrilled to get this book and to discuss options for my 'first lace' project with her, this adds to the lace project temptation I've also been sent from Suzanne, of beautiful amazing shawls, and by KathyR - who lent me her Stahman's Shawls and Scarves book earlier this year. I have so many friends to guide my hands when I take my first lace steps. The second book, was spotted in an Ashburton 2nd hand book shop. I knew I already had one of Sheila McGregors traditional books, and hoped it was not this one. Truth is, I had wanted both, but had only bought one, and couldn't remember which was the one I owned already, now I have both.

Jocelyn also left me with my first Cashmere silk, 50:50 blend, my cry was "I'm not worthy yet", but I will be soon. Slightly scary stuff, as I don't want to muck it up but I do so want to play with it. In return I sent Jocelyn home with a 2nd spinning wheel, a Ray Chilsolm Pipy, a wheel the same as one of my keepers.

Lastly, I'm not going to try and explain all of this, suffice to say it is the result of three knitters, Jocelyn, her 10 year old daughter Tess and I, and a road trip that involved several fiber stops. The tiny purple skein is a little sample of my spinning, a spinning swatch so to speak, and the white my Jenni's special blend Mohair, Merino, Alpaca Silk spinning. There is some Southern Alpaca Black Spice Alpaca:Silk 75:25 fiber, some Merino:Silk 75:24% roving from Ashfords, some skeins from Touch Yarns (thats not all for me), some Wenslydale X Cotswold roving from Callifornia, the Cashmere silk shown earlier, and some Opal 6 ply that Tess left for me. There is a little more stuff in the back room, our library, which was bought on a trip to the Milton Mill late last week - but you don't need to see that do you?

OK, as you insist, - there you go, the 200g of black merino fiber has since gone home to California with Jocelyn as has one of bags of merino silk mill scrap, the 1kg pink cone will be something for Poppy, and the 10 balls of white 8 ply, Merino, Angora Nylon is Z twist is perfect to dye for Twined knitting, the grey cone is a mistake but only $2 so thats ok. I convinced myself in the shop it was merino, but a burn test at home told me it was synthetic, probably nylon. I also convinced myself and the gang of spinners I was with the silky blend 'scrap' at $10 a kilo was probably tencel as it was way too unlikely to be merino silk, and then saw the same mix sold at Ashfords for $129 a kilo, as a Merino:Silk blend. We found out in the impromptu tour of the Mill that they process yarn and fiber for both Touch and Ashfords amongst others. Lucky score! The beige cone is a Possum single, identified by its characteristic black halo. The two balls of moss are in fact possum merino with a Z twist, perhaps perfect for a Monmouth hat for Bear some time. . ....

So thats me, all up to date, I'm now off to stash the stash in the stash storage ... we (Morag and I) are attempting quite successfully to convert a few local knitters to spinning knitters, a spindle here and a loan of a wheel and there they go. One of them, Ana had her house-mates laughing at the drug related terminology in our supportive emails, so I've sent her this link, check out the post from Monday May the 26th 2008 - The Needle and the Damage Done, I thought I should share it with you all as well.

Next post will be next week, we are off to collect bear cubs this weekend, and back to work Monday.


Miss 376 said...

Someone is going to be busy-love the Odessa

Knitting Linguist said...

Boy, it really does all add up when it's in one place, doesn't it? I wasn't quite brave enough for the "group photo" technique, and split mine up (lol). You are worthy already, go girl go! (I'm off to read that post - it sounds familiar...)

Shirley Goodwin said...

Mmmm, lots of eye candy there!

neurula said...

I have 146 yards of the Alpaca silk.. I've been looking at neckwarmer/cowl/gaiter patterns, and they all seem to need more yardage. But maybe in a lacy pattern it might work?