Saturday, February 16, 2013

Slow progress

Today its all about slow progress, I cleaned out my wip basket yesterday, and found:

  1. a colour work tam (two years old),
  2. one and a half pair of colour work mitts (nearly a year old and on 2mm needles),
  3. the first ten rows of a shawl (now frogged),
  4. an Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi shawl (six or seven months old)
  5. the start of a pair of socks,
  6. and most of a fine gauge cardigan.
There almost was a purple strip - but that is now done, and now the shawl that came to nothing is frogged that leaves me with five works in progress, the eldest being two years old. Im slightly uncomfortable with that, not having so many wips but that some have been sitting so long.

Some new projects are love at first sight, you know when something just has to be knit, other projects are selected to fulfil specific needs. The tam was for a tam class, the pi shawl because I had nothing suitable to take to knit night, the colour work mitts were also for class. For now I don't have a plan, other than to deal with the wips somehow, and by that I mean complete them - but that is the first step, and that is all I need to do right now.

The long purple strip is done - I'll fill in the details later as this is part of a larger body of work. I used yarn from the local mill, a 200g skein of merino, alpaca, and angora. I cast on 41 stitches using 4.5mm needles and knit a central panel of Horseshoe pattern with a wide boarder of moss stitch. Horseshoe can be found in Barbara walkers Treasury of Knitting patterns, on page 209.

I had a breakthrough on the cardigan, one sleeve done, and the other well and truly started. The cast off bothered me a little, I tried a tubular bind off on the single rib. In such a fine yarn it looked wimpy, so I frogged it and worked Jennys surpisingly stretchy cast off. That looked so much better, I think I also discovered I had been working the cast off 'wrong' until now. For some reason I had only 'processed' a stitch when switching from knit to purl in a k2p2 rib, this time I was working on a k1p1 rib so processed every stitch. The bind off looked different, not better, not worse but different, maybe more zig-zaggy. Given it was said to be super-stretch I worked the cast off with the same needles I worked the rib in - and it is super super stretchy. I like, I liked it so much I also spent the rest of that night casting off the hem as well. I had put the hem stitches on a holding thread until I had decided what cast off to use. It seemed more prudent to test on the smaller cuff with fewer stitches than the larger hip section.

    I've also been getting ready, and so far have 8 book blocks ready for my bookbinding class at Unwind. The class is only a few hours so I will show how to stitch a book block, and have one or two there for students to practice on, but I wont get them to make their own book block, that would take too long. Instead I will supply each student with their own blank book block all stitched and taped, ready to go. I was extra lucky in that a local firm had a clear out of letterhead paper, so I scored a large pile of nice thick luxury white paper to use in these blocks. That way we can get into the fun stuff of making and covering the books. If you are into details the top blocks are made using 'proper' book binding tape, the lower blocks with twill tape from the haberdashery shop. Bookbinding tape is starched and easier, but I suspect makes for a book with a stiffer spine. This sort of stuff is all the detail that is missing from bookbinding instruction books, and for good reason. A book with that sort of detail would be tedious to read.
    I've a few more blocks to make, and then I need to sort my self for the Woollen spinning class. I'd really like to have the class spinning woollen within the first 10 minutes or so, and then once they can, move over to making rolags and preparing the fibre. That might seem backwards but I think once you know how to do something you are in a much stronger and more informed position to select and prepare materials for doing it. Anyway - to have them all spinning that soon means have a few rolags for each student - no big drama - I just have to settle in and make them.

    I've got my first night class for printmaking this Tuesday, so am looking forward to being distracted by that, and our students all start their study this week (tomorrow!) - so they will keep us all busy. There is also a wonderful new book, Knitting, Fashion, Industry, Craft by Sandy Black, brand new (published in Sept 2012). This book deserves its own post, not to be buried deep in a housekeeping post - so I plan to a proper review next post.
    Till then, take care - na Stella

    No comments: