Monday, April 29, 2013

Oh my, 1,152 is a lot of stitches.

There are 1,152 stitches after the seventh increase round of a pi shawl, 1152, which is a lot. The previous section has 576 stitches. Five hundred and seventy six stitches is slow going, I managed between four and six rounds in an evenings knitting. Somehow the reality that double that stitch count would mean halving the number of rounds I could knit in a sitting didn't hit home until I knit a round. The concept that more stitches equals more time was reinforced on the second round, and I suspect will be every round after that.
Given the number of rounds I can knit in a evening progress will seem to slow, but will in fact proceed at the same rate of stitching. There are at least two more weeks of evening knitting in this shawl ... At two rounds per day, 16 pattern rounds then a cast off ... And I know I won't knit on this every day. I also know how exciting it will be when done and blocked.
As a distraction from the ever increasing pi shawl, I've been spinning.
I took apart a dyed plait of combed top by Maude and Me, and divided the fibre up into three colours. Then I made Rolags from each colour, and played with how to spin them. This is the plan I came up with, one rolag of each colour, followed by two rolags of each colour, followed by three rolags of each colour ....and so on.

I divided my roalgs into two sets and spun two singles, the whole time wondering if I was working to a clever plan or just making a mess ....
If the plan works when I knit a center out baby blanket the repeats of each colour will be increasingly longer to match the increasing stitch count as the blanket increases in size ....I think.
Here are the unblocked plied yarn, right next to a tiny skein of woolen spun Gotland lamb. I did a little bit of tweaking as i plied, breaking and removing a sinlge if the colours didn't match up too closely, and adding the removed section back into the next section of that colour. I may have finally found a way to spin Gotland that doesn't result in string! Right now the yarn is soaking ... And plumping up nicely.

And today there is sun, and Yoyo is completely relaxed ...this is the way the world should be. One relaxed warm soft loose limbed cat.
Take care ... And let me know if you want to knit a round to two ... I'm open to volunteer knitters,
Na Stella

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Moving along

Things are still ticking along nicely around here, when I say nicely I mean as usual, so there is frogging of a kind, the kind that isn't so much frogging as starting again, and very slow progress on my pi shawl.

I finally bought a new phone, one that let's me text easily. This one has a typewriter style touch screen keyboard rather than a number pad, keeping up with the cubs is soo much easier. When I bought it I looked at the cases sold for phones, and part of me thinks such things are a tad weird. For a start one buys a new phone, usually because it is thinner, or smaller, with a better screen than the competition, and then immediately slaps a thick case around it making the super cool thin phone all thicker and heavier, canceling all the features one carefully chose it for. I bought phone with gorilla glass, toughened to resist scratches and decided to make a soft crafted case to keep it in. Knitting seemed too fuzzy, too soft, too likely to attract lint in my handbag, and I'd seen a crochet technique over cord on pinterest that held promise, stiffer, more case like. The first case was worked quite firm, with a teeny crochet hook, orange soft cotton over thicker yellow cord, and suffers from the goldilocks effect in that it is too small. Well it fitted, but actually slipping it into place on the phone was a struggle - i had assumed being cotton it would relax, but seems corded crochet does not (or not yet). Rather than frog it, as it was soo much work, I've set it aside and started another putting into play what I have learned, the second one is on 2mm hook, same cord and thread, and I am not pulling the cord quite so firm this time. Crochet is not my best craft sport ... so progress has been slow, but is faster now with a larger hook.
Look, I'm nearly half way there! The first case took nearly a week, the second might be only a few days. And today is a rainy dull day, a perfect day to keep warm and dry inside crafting. Yoyo shares the feeling, except being a cat, replaces crafting with sleeping. Being a cat she sleeps where experience tells her it is warmest, on the back of the sofa where usually the sun shines. Being a dull rainy day, the warmth from the sun is totally imagined in this case. Yoyo is not the kind of cat to let reality stand in her way.
I've not just been crocheting, and playing with my new phone and all its features (it has a very nice camera, f2.0 and a Carl Zeiss lens), but I have been plodding along with my pi-shawl, again with Yoyo as a photo prop, this time she is doing that cool cat thing, sleeping with one eye just open. I choose to knit mine on 3mm needles, making a thicker and more dense lace than if I used the recommended 4mm needles. Knowing that I suspected my shawl would end up smaller, so I've adjusted the maths a little. I plan to repeat the gull wing lace for the full 80 rows, then work a round of increase eyelets, the the lace edge. The pattern calls for only 40 or so rows then a fake increase row (eyelets only) and then edging. In the original the shawl finishes before the seventh increase round? I think given my use of smaller needles I need the extra repeat rows of lace, so my edge will start just after the seventh increase round (2x576 stitches). I also like the idea this way the repeats will demonstrate the pi principles more clearly, as each band of lace will be double the width of the previous one. Nice idea ... but at an average of four or so rounds a night ... progress is slow.
Take care
Na Stella

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Gaining ground

Look progress! I've been knitting, dealing with the outstanding WIPs, and mending. Mending and I have an odd relationship, I make things, and I do believe that things should be mended, where practical and where possible. But when it comes down to doing mending i find it rather boring, I'd rather be knitting some new project than mending an old worn project, even when the item in question is a favorite hand knit, and I can't wear it as to do so would create more damage.
My Owl cardigan had holes in it, and a few weak spots, like this. Just where the arm and body join, at the back armscye. I noticed this at the end of last winter, and this internist upon us here in New Zealand. I diligently dug out my left over yarn and set the cardigan aside for mending. And there it sat gathering dust ...for an entire spring, summer and into autumn.
Here it is post mend, not the same hole as above, but a similar one. All mended. Part of me wanted to celebrate the repair, to follow in the footsteps of Tom of Holland with his visible mending program, or Otto van Busch, or Amy Twigger Holroyd and make a clear statement of my mending. Part of me was awa that for much of recent history in the west mended garments have been interpreted as statements of poverty and need - I wasn't sure I wanted to go there just yet. Plus I wasn't sure I wanted to subvert my Owl cardigan into a political statement about mending and repair just now ... I liked it as it was. The mends are not perfect, but are near invisible when worn. I had wondered a out darning the mend but ended up working a swiss darn/grafting style stitch over the thin areas and the holes.
With darning needle in hand, and a start made I continued on to mend the second cardigan in my mending pile. My tangled yoke cardigan, I had left over yarn, and this one had worn in exactly the same places, where the body and arms join.
Again the mend was a combination of swiss darning and grafting. Again I ended up either mending or reinforcing all four areas where the sleeve and body join. Turns out that a stitch in time is easier than a full repair! Turns out that those who came before us and did all this first are worth listening to.

I've also dug out my unfinished knitting projects, the ones that I feel guilty about. I've made progress on two. The sanquhar mitts on teeny tiny needles have grown, as has my pi shawl. I'm over half way through the second to last lace band - except it might not be second to last. I choose to knit this on finer needles and so the shawl will be denser and smaller than designed. Knowing that, and knowing the mathematics of a pi shawl I wonder if I should just add a lace repeat or two more? I have plenty of yarn ... I have four more repeats of four rounds (16 rounds) to make a decision.
All in all it seems like I am gaining ground against the mending and the WIPs that lurk around the edges of my hobby time.
Take care, na Stella