Monday, July 14, 2014

Hello, I can explain

Or maybe I can't, this year has been a bit of a slow blog year. I suspect that the need to blog has been connected to a feeling that my knitting has not been adventurous, and therefor not blog worthy. I can't try and change that, it seems that weekly blogging is at the moment beyond me, but maybe monthly blogging is a good alternative.

So I have been knitting (secret midwinter swap gifts)( baby blanket as a standby gift), and frogging (the stripped socks), and bookbinding (knit books with knitters graph pages), and playing with a loom that found its way into my life a few years ago. Fist up the secret gift swap, for several years now the local Thursday night knitters have held a totally voluntary gift swaps. A questionnaire is filled in, if your life was a movie who would play you? Favorite colours, most detested, colours, items wanted - from hats to socks to antimacassars. I was a little sad that no one knit one, but I digress. My secret swap partner was PIp, a lovely knitter who had a totally different colour palette than I, and wanted something that just worked, life should be simple was her quote.

Enter Cheesehands, a double knit mitt by Julia Mueller. The pattern is great, four sizes, and complete instructions on how to double knit the mitts. I've done this kind of thing before, knit a secret swap, and double knitting, so it only remained to select a size and some yarn. Pip liked forest tones, so I chose Vintage Purls sock in the colour way TopSoil, and Fibre Alive Merino mania in a colour called Ranger. I figured between the ranger and the soil I had the forest theme covered. The merino mania is a now discontinued product, sadly, but it had lovely short yet coordinating colour runs. They went from green to blue, to rust, to sky blue, to tan, to gold and even an indigo.

The thing about double knitting is the colours are carried between the two layers, and the two layers are formed by knitting with the top colour, and purling with the other side colour. The result is a garment that is reversible - ta da! So this way Pip could choose if she wanted a topsoil background or a leafy/sky background. I blocked and presented the mitts as one of each, and hoped she would realize that which side was outermost was totally up to her.

Being a secret swap there is always some competition to disguise the present, so I wraped mine in tissue, and tidied it away in a small tin.


The tin is one left over from finishing my favorite hot chocolate, Evil Child. It's dairy free and comes in a lovely reusable silver tin. We have several having consumed a few tins over the past year. There was a wee bit of decorating on the tin, to make it look like a present but I forgot to photograph that. My swap pressie was knit by the amazing M of Vintage Purls, a Schiaparelli pink pair of stricken by Cookie A. She said she didn't want to pander to my love of blue grey, and I'm glad she didn't, the shocking pink is perfect for socks inside a pair of winter boots. I told her shocking pink is well within the blue grey colour palette, but she didn't believe me.

I've also been podding around the baby blanket, plodding as it is center out and so each round gets progressively longer. Last time it appeared here it looked a little like this. I had just started the green band. After that I decided to make that the last colour and add a double knit border - that double knit is kind of addictive. I thought of it like a wide icord - which is one of my favorite edges for things,



The double knit edging went well, the photo not so well, the colour needs adjusting, it is after all a brighter lime green. The dangers of making photos indoors on dull winter days with artificial light - and not adjusting the colour balance of the camera. I worked a purl round just before attaching the double knit sideways band, with an ssk, and love the way it snugs against the purl ridge.

The corner was short rowed, before the turn I short rowed and worked twin stitches on the right side rows until all there were no stitches left - then I workd back just like a short row heel, working the twin stitches as one, and short rowing back to the full stitch count, working twin stitches on all the wrong side stitches in turn . I've done three of four corners and should be done tonight or tomorrow if not distracted.


And weaving, I have a Structo table loom, with four shafts. Until re neatly it sat in the garage waiting for me to be inspired. A few weeks go I was inspired, some students wanted to learn to weave and we have several rigid table looms at work. So I helped them warp up two, several times and got them started. As always it was 'boring, so so very boring', so many steps to weave with the rigid heddle being both shaft and beater/reed. I remembered I had a four shaft at home, with its own beater ... I wondered if weaving might be more fun on a loom with more dedicated parts. So hauled it out. There was cleaning and minor restoration required, to remove rust and replace springs and soft padded cushions. And after a few days of that I warped it up with some 22/2 cottolin and wove a tea towel.


Again the photo colour is terrible, and my weaving shows a lot that could be improved, but it is a working tea towel, in use in the kitchen. The rest of the family are a little surprised that I want it used- don't you want to keep this? they ask. No I want it used, tested and commented on so I can learn what needs changing. And i learnt so much, about warping, about sett, about edges, about how and when to do what when weaving.

I know there is more to learn .... But the learning is fun. I want to do more, but that means a pause for supplies, a shuttle is on its way, as are some more colours of cotton thread, and I am investigating extra bits and pieces that are needed to weave a wider cloth on this loom, i might also be stalking sighlty larger (floor) looms that might fit inside our house.

Na Stella