Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What a week, and there is more to come ...

Yup, just when the students arrive, teaching fires, up and we are all tired from it all beginning over yet again, it gets busier, but in an exiting way. So excuse the lack of content, not much more to any of the knitting than last time, CB's second sock is slightly longer, so is my hand spun shrug, and I'm scheming new things, but first two things are sucking much of my time and energy away. First a conference, a real biggie, design and art education (sorry Art and Design - design is being invited in for the first time, we are apparently the new kids) in New Zealand, planned for here in 2009, and right now, I'm spending 2-3 afternoons week on it, imagine closer to the time how much time I will need? 2nd, well thats more exiting, the ID emerging designer show, oh wow, just got home from after work drinks and mingles with the entrants and their minders, shows tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday night. I'm going to be one tired bunny by the end of it all, seriously I'm a morning person, and by the end of day with students - well I want my own mental space, but it is exiting. 25 international entrants selected from 95 and 3 are 'ours', and we are not judging!

So knitting, the sock grows, the heel needs turning and then onwards to the toe, not much else to report. I am loving the Crystal palace needles, so smooth and pointy. I'm also loving the linen stitch, nice texture, 'will buy again' as my favorite food reviewer says of the products she reviews in the sunday magazine.

And the shrug, yes it grows, and look two circs, again. This time I'm using a knit-pics harmony and an addi, so there is less chance of knitting the whole lot onto the one needle. But, yes two circs means I can make both sleeves in the round at once, but it seems slower.

... and I'm still planning a cardigan in that alpaca, oh I have not forgotten the vest, but thats for mid year, for now I want a cardigan. The latest IW knits arrived here on our shores, and I like bits of Slyph but not the over all shape. My body needs longer, and leaner perhaps. Also the guage is all wrong for the yarn I have, so this morning I measured one of my favorite commercial cardigans and compared those measurements to the ones taken of me at last years Knit to Fit workshop. I am thinking of using the overall slip stitch pattern, the waist detail and the neck line treatment (so pretty) and working them into a standard open front boring-middle-aged-pretty-cardigan, that I would just wear and wear. Not every thing needs to be edgy. I just need to work out what to do below the waist, and for the sleeve hems, I'm not sure picking up a cast on edge in the silky alpaca will give me a smooth finish, but I will need some flare, I do have hips.

and spinning, I've been admiring all the lovely multi toned and hued and coloured rovings out there, and the incredibly beautiful yarns made from them like this. But question is - what do yarns like that knit up like, I see lots of yarns and not much knitting of them, or am I missing something? I'm thinking that roving needs to be subdued and tonal rather than contrasty. Still I like the technique that Rebekkah discusses in her post, must try that.

take care, see you at the shows maybe, if you got tickets, I'll be in black at one of them ushering, and front row at another.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

more knitting, and licenced to spin

so ... licensed to spin, or at least a fresh newbie graduate of a learn to spin and ply class, but this post it is back to the knitting. Poppys modified GFS grows, and I've got a tour of my class work. First up the shrug

.. what can I say, there has been frogging. Mostly because I didn't quite think thru the shaping as clearly as I should have. The size I am making requires 78 stitchs around the upper arm, and usually the shrug continues across the shoulder section with those 78 stitches worked flat. Because I am trying to conserve yarn, I decided to knit the shoulder section narrower and use raglan shaping to increase to get the 78 stitches. Some where in the muddle, I only increased to 60 stitches, not 78, then I used the length of that increase to work the length of 'straight' required for the shoulder. So a false start, and a bit of frogging and back on track. I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time, so I can see if the yarn will stretch far enough.

This is the full lazy kate I trotted off to class with yesterday, 3 bobbins full of sinlges spun from the raw fleece we had, and in my bag two more spun with corridale top, and a part bobbin of white. In class we worked on plying and then advanced to Navaho plying, which I failed at. Oh I can do it, but the yarn I made is not pretty, its over-twisted and no you can't see it. Once i am more co-ordinated I suspect my yarn will be nicer, but when I get flustered I 'peddle faster' not slower, and then its all down hill from there.

And Yarn, new yarn, home spun yarn, on the far left is 2 ply corridale combed top, spun for home work and plied in class, this puffed up nicely, and I've got just on 90 meters and I think this will become a baby hat. I work with a design lecturer who is most firmly in the post modern camp, and I am in the arts and crafts camp. We laugh at the differences in design works made with the two philosophies, during the first years lectures. She is about to have baby number 3, I'm wondering if a beginners hand spun and knit baby hat would be an appropriate tongue in cheek gift, given arts and crafts is all about mastery of craft and design but is more often interpreted by those ill-informed as 'home made'. A point I'm careful to make clear in my lectures. This was the first spun totally on the 1970's Wing spinning wheel, and it was very nice to work on. On there left is two skeins of 2 ply wool, spun from the raw fleece. I'm not so proud of those skeins, but I have much much more fleece to spin, and I don't want the fiber to go all dry and stiff, besides my hands have never been softer after working with the lanolin fleece. While harder to spin, I have a new appreciated for those who can spin fine even yarn from raw fleece, and realise that learning to do so will improve my technique with other fibers.

And this is a little prezzie from KathyR, who passed by delivering family members and on her way to and from the Milton Mill. I told her about the secret stash of combed Perridale top they store 'out the back', and on the return trip Kathy had some very nice lambs-wool-hemp in her possession that is prompting me to visit the mill yet again, and I want to check out if they have more red merino possum silk. Thanks Kathy, new exotic fiber to try, I took it to class on Saturday to ask advice, seems because I am a beginner and the llama is shorter than what I am used to I should blend it with 75% merino and 25% llama, and that means getting my drum carder back together and dressed in its carding cloth. I spent some time today giving it a coat of linseed oil, and after a quick trip thru Dunedins mega hardware store I now have the nails and washers need to complete the assembly. fyi - drum carder washers can be found in packets of 2 in the garden hose section of the store.

2nd week of teaching this week, so things should be settling, back to the regular time table,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Look - some knitting!

See I have been knitting, only a little but it is knitting. I've started the shrug, and I'm still filling bobbins for my learn to spin home work. I want to have lots to practice plying with, and I know how quick plying can be. It is a quick post today, I've got a spinning buddy coming round tonight, so will loose my computer evening to fiber things.

But first some knitting, I've cast on for the shrug. Now I am basing on Wendy Bernard's Girl Friend Shrug, with a minor modification as I don't think I have enough yarn. I'm narrowing the shoulder section to half the width, and at each end putting in a raglan style increase to make it wide enough for the sleeves. It should work. I've used a crochet provisional cast on, in crochet cotton, and have started the increases for the sleeve right away. Once I know how long the increase section is I can work out how long to make the middle of the shoulder section before putting a second increase section at the other end. You can see my little planning diagrams. This is yarn I spun and dyed, my first into a real sweater type garment, its all slightly unreal, I keep being amazed that I did spin this yarn - until of course I meet a thicker or looser bit and then I know I spun this yarn.

And spinning, I now have two bobbins of 'in the grease singles full', and another nearly done. Plus I have some combed top in a lovely creamy beige on the 'other' wheel. All going well I should go to Saturdays class with 2 sets of two bobbins full to ply the usual way, and another 2 or 3 part full to practice Navajo plying. I've repeatedly tried and failed at that one, so I'm keen to practice and learn the secrets to coordinating the hand, loop, feet, drawing it on thing.

I've also got a 3rd wheel, in the house, but we have send away some of her little bits, the whorls to the fixed (they were chipped) and the bobbins to have more made the same. She is absolutely beautiful, a double drive Pipy. Mr Poore her original maker is still around, apparently now in his 80's but able to make the extra bits, which is really neat. Her vanish also needs a spruce up with linseed oil. She is beautiful (did I say that already?), but posting a photo of her now seems a little like posting photos of her in her undies or not at her best, so I will wait until she is tidied up.

Take care (told you it was a short post)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

So where is the knitting?

Ok, its technically a knitting blog, but there is not much knitting going on around here at the moment, thats 'cause I am doing my spinning homework. We have to return next weekend with 2 bobbins to ply together, and one to Navajo ply, so I have been filling bobbins. Oh, I have been distracted by other things as well just not knitting this week. Bear and I have 'refurbished' the Wing wheel a little more, and it is looking good, I have knit and frogged and knit and frogged and knit again on my 2nd Cat Bordhi Bartholomew sock. Its not Cats fault, it mine - I explain latter. But I do have some new needles to play with, Crystal Palace, and gosh they are nice and pointy and stiff and bamboo and just plain beautiful.

So spinning, as home work we have 3 different types of fiber to play with, combed top (oh my, this stuff is just dreamy), carded roving (soo-okay), and raw fleece which I'm finding the hardest to handle. I'm on my second bobbin of this stuff, and feeling a little more in control. Now the singles are pretty much even, but my twist is highly variable, some tight, some looser, god only knows what it will ply up like. But after a day playing yesterday I now feel competent in taking a raw bag of fleece, thus ...

and turning it into a bunch of little fluffy tails like this ...

and mangling it into a single on a bobbin thus ...(I must admit while watching around 4 hours of various star trek re-runs on prime TV this morning - a girls gotta get her sci-fi where she can, and I'm doing my best to indoctrinate both kids). This bobbin looks much more even than the first one I spun with this fiber, so now I want to spin another one to make the plying more successful, if they match, they will be more successful right?

I needed a break after all that sitting and spinning this morning, so I turned my attention to the Wing wheel. I had used linseed oil and a 3M green scrubby thing to polish one side of the wheel a week ago, and it came up very nice. You polish the excess oil off with a soft clean cloth, in this house it is usually an old tea towel. Linseed and a fine abrasive pad is traditionally used to spruce up old fashioned varnish, and we were guessing that the wheel was originally varnished not polyurethaned.

I spread out an old towel to catch any drips and set about polishing the other side of the wheel. One thing lead to another and Bear got involved and before I knew it we had removed the split pin, had the spindle axle out and were cleaning and polishing it smooth, also with the scrubbie thing and linseed oil. We removed the spindle bush from the upright and cleaned it all out, and put it back with a few toothpick shims to stop the small wobbles. We sanded the slot that the tension adjustment moves in, and waxed it nicely. We cleaned off all the bits that screwed and reassembled them all with a drop of oil to help them along. All this took about 2 hours, including Bears trip to the hardware store for split pins - I point blank refused to let him disassemble it without the means to reassemble it. Deep down I must be my mechanic fathers daughter - some time I might tell you about the high school project where I took apart a 2-stroke engine and impressed all the boys in class, didn't score a boyfriend though. And now it looks fine, there is a nice sheen and the treadle action is smooth, and the tension adjustment is easy.

And socks, well some time between knitting sock one and sock two, I added 6 stitches, so when I returned to sock knitting a few days ago, I had pooling, or puddling of the colours. This is fine, it looked sort-a-ok, but didn't look like sock one. Some frogging and re knitting latter, after the same thing happened I did a stitch count and found 6 extra stitches on the needle. More frogging and re-knitting, this time with some new needles, the very very nice crystal palace bamboo needles (courtesy of Suzanne aka Magpie on Ravelry - we seem to have an ongoing swop thing going that is just fine with me).

This is where I am at now, I've got the right stitch count but the colour changes are not panning out as they did in the first stock. I need to check gauge and see what is happening, and I will, soon, some time, really I will. For now with the need to return to class with my 'home work' done, that seems more urgent than solving the sock puzzle. Yup - I'm one of those annoying swots who always did all the home work the teacher said to, at least in the classes I enjoyed, and the classes I didn't enjoy? Well I once got a D in a stats mid-term, and we will leave it there thank you very much.

More knitting next week, I promise, once my spinning home work is done.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What a difference a groove makes,

Today, a short post because, Bear and I married 20 years ago today, and we've just got home from a family dinner at a local pizza cafe with the bear cubs and put them to bed, and well - there is goood, and I mean goooood bubbly to celebrate with, and I love you all but I've loved him longest. But first, in the last 2 days I learned an amazing new thing, and because its what I do, I'm sharing it with you. This thing make a kind of clunky spinning wheel sing, I thought it was a pretty amazing yet so simple a thing.

I bought a new 'old' book, for a few dollars on line ($NZ4), The New Zealand Woolcraft Book, Spinning, Dying, Weaving, by Constance Jackson and Judith Plowman. Sorry I can' find a good stable link, they are all for auction sites so you will have to search for it on your own. Well what a gem, the first two chapters are on spinning wheels, and on how to set one up and diagnose problems on double drive and scotch tension wheels. The Wing wheel I just bought was ok, but heavy going to treadle and I couldn't get the yarn to feed on nicely, it either didn't feed at all or feed onto the bobbin at high speed. When I bought it the previous owner said she used it mostly for plying and I can see now that would be the easiest way to use it. The Wing is a nice compact and pretty wheel.

Back to the book, I was reading away last night and on page 25 found
"On some spinning wheels, particularly antique wheels, the groove in the bobbin is not U-shaped, and consequently a bulky drive band with not allow the bobbin to slip. A finer drive band will be necessary."
Something twigged, the whorl grooves on the Wing wheel are clearly V shaped not U shaped, all those grooves are most clearly V's. Thats the Wing whorl groves in the first image, and yet the drive band in use on them was thicker than that I had on the Ashford.

Compare with the generous curves on the Ashford bobbin whorl, very U and not at all V. But the flyer whorls are both V's - now I get it, thats for grip. Inspired by my $4 book I replaced the thick string drive band with a thin crochet cotton one and wow, the Wing now sings, plus I now have the slippage needed to let the bobbin do its thing.

Here is a closer comparison of the two drive bands, you can see the almost 2mm thick Wing band compared to the replacement band, a mere 1mm. Who would have thought that 1mm extra width would have made such a difference to the performance?

And I have not started the shrug yet, I've been dutifully doing my spinning home-work and my cable swatch home-work. This is the start of my fourth sample, the 'cable suspended in the middle of a stocking stitch ground' one. But enough for now, those little bubbles are twinkling in the twilight, in a two tall sparkley glasses ...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Learning new things, finishing and starting new things

What a weekend! Well the last two weekends in fact, this weekend I attended the first of the 4 hour learn to spin workshops, and conquered my imagined fear of spinning in the grease, and last weekend I learned things about working cables that I didn't know I didn't know. On top of all that I finished Toby's Possum merino jersey with the twined hems and bands, and started a new swatch in my own hand-spun yarn.

Starting with the knitters study group last weekend, this is a lot of fun, it runs monthly on a Saturday 11-2 in a church hall. This group is a subset of the local spinners and weavers guild and was set up for those interested in learning more knitting skills. For a simple craft with sticks, yarn and the two standard options of knit and purl - well there is a whole lot of sophistication and technique out there to investigate if you feel so inclined, and those of you who know me, you will recognise this is something I'm inclined to learn about. The February and March sessions have been set aside for Cables, and within the first 5 minutes I had learned new things. 3 new things to be exact. First using cable on a cast on edge, second starting cables in a stocking stitch ground, and third growing cables out of rib. I was floored by the simplicity of the cables at a cast on edge, This workshop was inspired by an article by Mary Spanos in the Winter 99/00 Interweave knits, and Mary suggests some clever adaptations to make the cables work neatly. I particularly like casting on or working half the number of stitches required for the cable and then on the first cable row - picking up and using the purl bumps behind the first half of the cable.

And this weekend I took one step closer to feeling like a spinner, not like a beginner spinner. I had organised thru the same guild starter spinning lessons, and 6 of us of were enrolled to learn. Betty expertly took us thru oiling our wheels, knowing about fiber, where to get good fiber, and spinning from first a carded roving, then a combed top and finally locks of wool fiber. She even had a fleece there for us to clean up and divide amongst ourselves. Our home work before the next lesson 2 weeks away is to fill some bobbins and return to learn about plying. We all went home with a supermarket bag of raw fleece to trim, flick comb and spin, and a bag each of carded roving and combed top. Plenty of fiber to practice on. The four hours went all to fast, and the shared lunch was yummy.

One of my 'fears' was spinning 'in the grease' which is the term used for spinning raw wool. Not a real fear, but I imagined it to be messy and smelly, but no its not. Here are my humble beginnings, the locks, trimmed locks and a bobbin part full of singles I spun from them, Oh this makes me feel like a real spinner, knowing how to turn those sheep locks into yarn. And no - you can't have a close up till my threads are far more even, and yes it is greasy but in a nice my hands have never been so soft way.

I finished the twined neckband for the Possum merino sweater and grafted it on, one day I might work out how to cast off to match the cast on for twined knitting, but for now grafting was simpler. When I finished the body I counted the neck stitches and carefully wrote 137 in my knitting workbook, 137 stitches. So - I cast on the twined knit band using 137 stitches and worked it in the round to match the sleeve cuffs and body hem. One hundred and thirty seven stitches, I checked the stitch count on the neck band when it was long enough just to make sure and began grafting. I got to the last dpn and found 10 more stitches left on the neckband needle than on the sweater body needle, - ARrrrghhh. So I frogged the grafting, and thanked whatever knitting deity looks over me for merino possum being furry and stable to frog not slippery and likely to run when the stitches are free. After the stitches were all parked back on the needles I counted the body stitches - 127 not 137 - where on earth had I got 137 from, who knows, not me? So I worked an extra row on the neck band decreasing away the extra 10 stitches and grafting them together for the second time. Yes a better knitter would have reknit the band, or better yet have been able to count accurately to 127 without adding 10 extra imaginary stitches.

Latter that evening success, I grafted very loosely, and every 30 stitches or so, used a spare dpn to tighten up the stitches. I find this way takes a little longer but gives a nicer result than pulling firm as you graft. You can just identify the grafted row - if you really look for it in the unblocked sweater.

After a blocking and still damp - the grafted row has blended more into the knitting, and a few wash and wear cycles and it won't be noticeable at all. All I have to do now is add the 'belongs to Toby phone this number' label and its all ready to wear. The sweater is still drying on a frame, we have light rain for the first time in ages so it could take a day or so to dry. I'll try and get a photo of my Toby-Possum wearing his Possum sweater some time soon. All up it took a month and 2 days to knit.

Now the Possum merino is finished, I've made a start on a shrug for Poppy, for her 4th birthday I knit her a little Girl Friend Shrug(GFS) by Wendy from Knit and Tonic, and its lasted well. I knit a generous ribbed cuff and one and a half years latter it still fits and looks fine. That shrug is one clever and useful knit for a little girl child, the fact is has no front means it misses all the dribbles and paint splashes and so looks good much longer than a normal sweater and the other charm is that it has no right way up, so small girls can dress them selves.

So I swatched for a new shrug, using my merino 3 ply hand spun, which is knitting up much more even than I expected, but not as soft as I would like. So I will wash it and block it and see if it softens and I plan to use less twist next time I spin merino. So the swatch - inspired by the cable class I've swatched cables, but they are not right, so I'll try a rib instead. I have about 650+m I think, but I've lost my notes, and I'm not sure if thats enough or not, the pattern hints 4 x 203m. I think both skeins were over 300m and there are two skeins now dyed and wound into balls. I am also wondering about narrowing the shoulder section of the shrug for a better fit, and so using less yarn would be enough of a change to let me knit it out of the 600m I have. I plan to knit from the middle out so it might yet be a 3/4 sleeve, or a contrast rib

Take care
my students are back in a week, on the 18th, so lots to plod thru to prepare and I'm not getting to check out the blogs I follow as much as I want, but thats life. Right now its sunday late afternoon and I'm off to fix a snack for Bear and the cubs and then settle in for some spinning home work.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Is pre-loved wanton consumerism?

I'll be honest, this past few weeks there has been wanton consumerism in my fiber hobby purchases, or at least a level of consumerism that feels wanton. Oh its all been bought with money that was available, not credit or the grocery money, we can pay the bills and have savings, but the items bought have been extras, 2nd- helpings, or 3rds, put another way its all been things not essential to daily life. Oh yes, they do enhance the quality of my life - now that is an entirely different issue, but I could have lived, and knit and spun without any of them. Bear suggested that because these things were 2nd hand, or pre-loved, that big business was not making horrendous profits on them, and as such it was a return to village idealised trade between equals. That got me thinking, I do think we live in a bigger, better, newer is best kind of world. I do think that there is incredible pressure in various media and by default imagined from peers to have and own and be an achiever on a consumerist scale. At the same time is a weird dual pressure from the media, first to have all the 'stuff' (adverts and product placement), and second to resist the 'stuff' and live a simpler life (media reporter of the big bad capitalist producers and pressure of such). It all leaves me much confused and slightly guilty for buying anything not really essential.

But one of the reasons I keep this blog, is as a kind of public workbook of my knitting (and now spinning), and as such there needs to be an honesty to the posts, as much for me as for you. At this point you are all wondering what I have bought. What are the items that I so wantonly purchased? Well - two more spinning wheels - yes 2. That is two more spinning wheels, not just the one that I told you we were off to adopt, but another as well, making my total collection 3. When I blogged last I had just bought on an on line auction site, a mid to late 20thC wheel of unknown origin in the upright or castle style. Even before the auction for that wheel closed I fell in love with a Saxony wheel listed on the same auction site, a Pipy wheel. I fell in love, I found and I read owners reports, I developed a severe case of want for the Pipy, even though I had not seen one in the flesh or used one. I can't explain it, but it was soooo pretty. Bear, always an enabler, decided that the Pipy was a perfect 20th Wedding anniversary present, and so we bid, and we won the auction for it. As we drive away to collect wheel number two, we both knew that as soon as we got home, we had to organise shipping from the north island for wheel number 3. So now we have 2 wheels in the house and one on the way. And thats not all, recently I've also acquired a 2nd hand drum carder, and the bits to make it all new again.

So this is the first of my vintage or pre-loved wheels, sitting next to the Ashford Travellor Mk II. We think the older wheel was made by Mr S C Wing in Christchurch (NZ) in the 1970's, but have only a brief description and a few photographs here to guide us (you have to scroll down to see a good image of his upright wheel). It looks the same, but that is the only proof we have. It really doesn't matter, it was relatively cheap (compared to my brand new ashford and some of the designer name brand wheels that are traded on-line), and it is a double drive. Double drives seem scarce in the 2nd hand market, but I've found mine so simple to adjust that if I was buying I wanted double drive again. The two wheels look about the same, but the Wing is slightly shorter, and has a much smaller wheel. Bear was impressed, it has oil holes strategically placed where you need them, and it is nicely made. In fact Bear was so impressed he decided to become spinning wheel technician, he is an engineer and that side just took over.

And a closer look at the double drive set up, the wheel is much wider than the wheel on the Ashford, and the wheel has a lovely set of 4 bobbins, 3 store down the back of the wheel out of the way on a turned wooden rack. The wheel has a nice 'handle' just made to pick it up by, and despite a long trip in a hot car runs well. This wheel has a canter levered flyer, so there is no orifice, only a guide hook, just like on a spindle. We do need to rub a little wax on some of the threads, especially the two that adjust the double drive tension. The 'Wing' is heavier to treadle than my Ashford, which is nearly new, but Bear says with a little time and tweaking - he can make it sing.

And the prior purchase we picked up along the way? A naked Ashford Drum Carder. Well it wasn't naked when I bought it but it is now. This also was a Trade me purchase, from a few weeks ago, the seller was kind enough to drop it off at my dads house and save shipping to Dunedin. These things are serious money new, and this was old, and cheapish. I knew it had coarse cloth on it and I needed/wanted a fine clothed one, but I checked and Ashfords are very happy to sell fine carder cloth to re-cloth old carders. My Dad is a mechanic, and a handy person to visit, so together we removed the old rusty cloth, cleaned out all the fiber caught around the axles and gave it a light sanding and an now it is just like (almost) a new drum carder. Yes it is still naked, Bear wants to do a little more tidying up of it first before we put the new carder cloth on. Dad even fashioned me some of what have to be the most stylish carder clamps in the world as the original ones were not included in the sale. My new ones are stainless steel and have flamboyant wing nuts from some old motor bike, either a Matchless (his favourite), or a BSA or something else British. His hobby is restoring vintage motorbikes for others. All we need to make now are the little wooden blocks that protect the table, to put the carder cloth on and its all ready to go.

And fiber, on top of all the wanton spinning equipment purchases, I visited Wool Yarns and Fibers at the Arts Center in Christchurch, where local dyers, spinners, knitters, weavers and felters sell their wares. I found this little inexpensive 100g bag of Dyed ad carded Romney Mohair blend (90%/10%) which will be fun to play with for socks. I also had the opportunity to see hand spun on sale, and gosh it was beautiful. Evenly twisted, soft, light yarns in amazing colours, one day if I practice, mine might be like that.

And the knitting, despite the shopping this is a knitting blog. I did knit while away, and so Toby's possum merino sweater is very nearly finished, I backward engineered EZ'ds saddle shoulder formula to make it wider. I've found kids wear tee shirts and long sleeved tees and a snug neck seems wrong, not to mention garners complaints about scratchy necks. So I modify EZ's formula to give a loose fit at the neck. I've found 60-65% of the body stitches gives a good loose fit around a neck line that works with a tee shirt, while EZ recommends 40 - 50%. I left this neck a little wide knowing a twined band will draw it in a lot.

I've cast on for the neck band, and because I can't work out easily how to reverse the 3 strand cast on edge to get a cast off that matches it, I'm knitting the band top down. I plan to 3 needle bind off or graft it to the sweater. If I can draft a body of an adult sweater back together, I can graft a neck band on.

So, a little embarrassed by the excess of shopping, I'm off to take small bears to the park to ride their bikes. My dad also converted our old bike carrier that fitted only adult bikes to a form that holds up to 5 bikes, and will now take the bikes of small children. Toby and Poppy are almost insane with the waiting, so I will grab my knitting, load the car and make them very happy. Primary school starts tomorrow, so its all back to normal routines for a bit. What a relief!