Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Seeing clearly

These past few days have been really blurry. Sunday I lost a contact, really truly I did. the first one lost in over 30 years of wearing them, somewhere in the kitchen ... and despite a long search and being very careful .. it appears gone. Now for most contact wearers that is not a biggie, they simply take another disposable and pop it in and keep on going. Not me, I wear good old fashioned hard lenses, gas permeable, the kind that are cleaned and reused again and again. I asked my Optician about soft ones and disposables and his opinion was that hard ones corrected my 'astigmatism' in a way softs would not. My rigid lenses last me on average 8-13 years ... so the cost is really really low when averaged out. Now a replacement lens is usually only a few days away, note that usually. Right now the replacement rigid lens factory is operating in a quake damaged Christchurch so I must wait longer maybe two weeks. The edges of my world are blurry, and to be honest I miss my crisp contact lens corrected vision. Still I have been knitting, and spinning, and for the first time in ages there is a frog report! Plus I'm away next week, technically on leave but work is paying for me to attend a workshop that is quite exciting .. so if you are in Wellington and interested in new ways to patternmake - consider the Cutting Circle.
Spinning, so far I have spun every day for at least 30 minutes, sometimes more. As a result the basket empties .. and the wheel feels more like a friend than someone I barely know. I am remembering why I love this wheel .... just a little more and then I can start the second bobbin, and then there might even be plying before the tour is over.
Now - Adriene asked about pre-drafting roving, and if I always did or sometimes did, she spindle spins and had not thought wheel spinners would pre-draft. Well I do pre-draft all of my roving to some extent, usually just a slight tug to loosen up the fibers if they have been dyed after being prepared. When the fibre is dyed or natural and in a top or bat that is fresh and lofty - I just spin. Mostly I do just open up the roving a little but sometimes if it is special fibre that I want to spin smooth and fine I will pre-draft thru a diz to make the roving consistent - I need all the help I can get to achieve fine and even some days.

I made a start on the second (technically the third) double knit mitten. The pattern calls for a long tailed cast on and increases every stitch to create the front and back layers. I worked the first mitten that way, the second I worked using a modified Judy's magic cast on .. and I liked it so much I cast on this one the same. I cast on the total number of stitches using Judy's magic cast on, using a strand of each colour. One strand formed the stitches on one needle, the other strand formed the stitches on the other needle. Then I worked two rows (not rounds) on each needle in the required colour before transferring those stitches alternative to a needle. I have worked a tubular cast on other ways before but this seemed less fiddly than waste yarn or the twisty one hand one needle technique I have used from Montse Stanley's amazing book.

Here is my sock in progress, much of the lace on the leg was frogged and reknit over the past two days. When I began the lace section I was at knit night, and I did not have my beads with me so I just purled the beaded stitches and told myself it wasn't that important. That was way back weeks ago .. and subconsciously I think the lack of beads was haunting me. When I finally picked the sock up after a long break what I had on the needles and what saw in the chart didn't match (I blame the glasses - it was fine when I was wearing contacts). I frogged a row, still couldn't make sense of it, so I frogged back to a point in the chart ... but still I was confused. Then I frogged back the heart lace and started again. When I knit up to the B in the chart, B indicating a bead, I thought Bead! This time I was a home, and so I found beads .. and added them, subtle, tiny and sparkly ... and much much prettier.

Today I spent much of the day marking the hand knitting projects, which was fun. Everyone learned to knit in 3 weeks, and all learned to independently cast on, off, rib, knit purl, cable and make holes deliberately as well as shape with increases and decreases (paired no less). I am proud of them, and of me, it was busy but fun. The projects ranged from the ubiquitous long scarf, hat with pompom, some sort of looped cowl or scarf ... and oversize sweater. Yes three people swatched, and designed and planned full size garments like sweaters and cardies, three started them and one nearly finished. That I am the most proud of, on hand in day she was beginning to knit her sleeves, top down, pick up an knit in the round with a shaped sleeve cap - whoa! I didn't expect that. I also had a lantern constructed of balsa and paint dipped knit, a coin purse, and a few scarves with hoods. I did talk one young man out of knitting a barbie outfit, she is just to fiddly for 9mm needles - which were his favorite. I had the foresight this time to let them know that they only had to hand in evidence the knitting was done, swatches, samples, and practice pieces, together with research and plans. My cunning plan was to reduce the volume of matter around my desk and let them continue to knit their projects over the break. If you stop a beginning knitter in full flight .. with a hand in and take their work away for weeks .. well they might never return to their projects again.

so I'm off to deal with the cubs .. I hear sounds of a disturbance in the force ... in the kitchen where they are supposed to be drying dishes calmly and without fuss. Why do I set such high expectations of them, really without fuss? What was I thinking? Both have been off school with heavy head colds and coughs ... and have been very very good and patient while I marked, they were quiet and calm, mostly reading .. but now are either hungry, tired or getting better.

take care
keep well

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