Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: May 2003 Page 1 of 2

Finishing Blahs

I have the finishing blahs … I can’t seem to get myself to finish anything this past week. I have 2 pairs of socks in progress, but can’t seem to get motivated to finish them. I have about one bobbin left to go on my colored rovings (of the 11 ounces), and can’t seem to get into the rhythm for finishing it. Then, there’s the Pi Shawl.

I keep coming up with excuses for not working on these. The weather is too nice. I’ll just sit out side on the back deck. You’d think that I can take one of those projects out on the back deck with me, don’t you? Nope. Can’t do that. I pick stuff up, can’t concentrate, and put it back down.

I keep thinking of new projects that I’d like to be working on. Dangerous train of thought. I can just imagine if I started everything I wanted to start and get to the home stretch and leave them all hanging. I have enough unfinished projects without that.

intarsia samplerOn the same vein … I took an intarsia class last week. It’s something that has always eluded me. I always seem to have those gaps at the color changes because I can’t remember which way to twist the yarn. Well, the class solved that for me. Just a simple little mantra … “old over, new under”. That’s it. So simple. 3 hours for one mantra.

But now I think I need to practice it and get it ingrained in my head. So, guess what? A new project. Besides, there’s that 10% off class coupon burning a hole in my pocket. I’m thinking a small, quick project. And this looks fun. It seems that I suddenly have lots of little ones of varying sizes to knit stuff for.

Then there’s the new Spin-Off that just arrived in the mail this week. This is the second issue that has projects for knitting with rovings. This one has some beautiful felted bowls that were made by knitting colored rovings into giant bowls and then tossing them into the washing machine.

Knitted Tote using unspun rovingsI’ve been wanting to make myself a felted bag, so I thought … why not use rovings instead of yarn? After all, I had a blast with knitting that shawl from the silk cap. So, off to the store I went. 1+ pound of colored rovings of several different colors later, I started a felted tote from Simple Knits. I’m hoping that this will bust the finishing blahs since it’s difficult to put down those rovings.

There are a few things that I’m finding out about working with wool rovings. First, use a diz to make your rovings into an even size. This is much easier than using your eye and feel to get the roving into a consistent size for knitting. Even so, you’ll still get some thick and thin spots. It shouldn’t matter too much once you felt the object. We’ll see.

Second important learning experience … You may need to change the way you hold your yarn when you knit. It’s definitely not for speed knitting. I found that I had to change my knitting from picking to throwing, while holding the yarn in my right hand lightly. Otherwise, my normal tension of the yarn in my hand was causing the roving to pull apart. By throwing, I have almost no tension on the roving as I place it around the needle.

Once I’ve made these observations, it’s kind of fun. The photo shows a ball of rovings that’s already been pulled through the diz once. I found that it was still too thick to get the effect that I wanted, so I’m pulling it through the diz again before I knit it up.

Word of caution here … the next ball of rovings, I may pull it all through to the right size before knitting. The weight of the diz can be heavy enough to break the rovings. Remember, these things are delicate. There is absolutely nothing, apart from friction, holding all those fibers together!

Have fun!

Yoke Sweater


Look-ee what I’ve been working on! This was made with some sale yarn that I picked up a the local yarn store last weekend. I decided that it would make a really cute yoke sweater (a la Elizabeth Zimmerman) for one of the grand-nieces, grand-nephew, or niece. Since I don’t have any little ones around, I have no idea whether this actually fits anyone or not, or what size this really is. But doesn’t it look adorable on Sparky?

I didn’t weave in the end at the neck, just in case I need to rip it out and re-knit to fit the head. For some reason, it seams that all the little ones in my immediate vicinity are all head. I make hats on the large size for babies, with the hope that they’ll grow into it. Then I find out that it fits perfectly NOW. Well, what about next week/month?

Project Notes:

  • Yarn: Bergere de France, Irland. 50 g/70 m each. 4 balls grey, 1 ball blue, a bit of white.
  • Gauge: 9 sts/2″
  • Needles: US Size 3 (3.25mm) and US Size 6 (4.00mm)
  • Body: 125 sts; knit 12 rows with smaller needle, then switch to larger needle
  • Sleeves: 34 sts; same as body; incr every 5th row until 42 sts

I might leave it as a boat neck next time … by skipping the last decrease (just above the white peerie).

Now that the trauma of the tea burn has subsided, I’ve picked up the pi shawl again. But it could just be more procrastination on finishing the LL spiral socks (the mate looks nothing like the first) or the purple raglan that I’ve been working on since last year. I’m working on the sleeves right now. This is different from the EZ pattern in that the sleeves are worked last, while it is attached to the sweater. I’m not enjoying turning the entire sweater over and over in my lap — and getting the body and the yarn all twisted up. Anybody have any tips on dealing with this?

Web Logs

Interesting show on what a web log is and why people keep them on KUOW today.

Why do I keep one? I started this primarily to track my fiber projects and thoughts on future projects. I didn’t create it with the intention of putting it out for the world to see — perhaps a few selected people when I want to show them what I’ve been working on. But, I also thought that by writing about my current projects, it would become another tool to help me finish it. There — my goal is out there for all the world to see — whether anyone looks at it or not, I know it’s out there. And I want to be able to show that I have indeed completed them in some fashion or another.

I had kept a project notebook, when I started to knit socks again in earnest a couple of years ago. But I’ve noticed that I’ve slacked off on that quite a bit — attaching sample yarn, yarn label, gauge, needle size, etc takes work. But I also didn’t have pictures. Taking pictures, printing them out and attaching it to the notebook was just too much. But snap a digital picture, and put it on the web log with the stats, now we are getting somewhere. And, I have the benefit of scribbling some thoughts I have on the fiber as I work through it. Hmm, experimenting with a new heel? How do I like it? It’s all here. Well, that’s my intention anyway.

And Movable Type allows me to search my archives. It’s not quite so easy with my paper notebook.

Yeah, I know, my geeky nature is showing. But that’s why I do this. If someone else gets some benefit from my web log, then that’s a bonus that I didn’t plan for.

Why do I read web logs? For a long time, I only read blogs of friends who I no longer share an area code with — to find out what’s going on in the portion of their lives that they choose to share. I didn’t even know that there was a webring (or two or ten) dedicated to people who enjoy knitting, spinning, and all other types of fiber pursuits.

There are a few people on the fiber/knit rings that simply inspire me. I’ve been a fairly conservative knitter. I knit. I knit boring things and and sometimes boring patterns. Not because I’m not capable of doing more complicated things. But because I’m lazy and sometimes not very motivated to find new things/patterns to try. Reading Wendy’s and Bonne Marie’s blogs inspire me to do more challenging and fun knitting. And I thank them. I read Marilyn because she amuses me. She says stuff that I wish I had thought of. What a mouth on that woman! And I love it!

Haagen-Dazs Knitting

Completed Silk Cap Shawl

Ta Da! The silk cap shawl is finished! You can’t tell from this picture, but it’s the color of a field of spring violets. Lovely.

Boy, this stuff is addictive. Let’s just rip up one more cap to knit … uh-oh, can’t stop in the middle of a row … let’s rip up some more silk … before you know it, you’re done. No more silk cap to rip. The completion was just like staring down at the empty Haagen-Dazs pint container. Where did all that ice cream go? I swear I wasn’t going to finish it all in one sitting. (And where to do they get off saying that there are 4 whole servings in one of those little containers? What kind of alien can actually only eat 1/4 of the container in one sitting?)

Silk Cap Shawl - In ProgressAny way, yesterday was a beautiful day in the Emerald City. I wanted to sit out on the deck and knit, but do you have any idea what it’s like to control cobwebs in a light breeze? Ix-nay on the knitting.

EliSpot helping with the shawlBut inside wasn’t must better because of my little helper. I swear I only turned my back to the silk for about 2 minutes. Last seen, EliSpot was sound asleep across the room.

Don’t worry, Grace, I’ll wash it before I send it down to you.

Anyway, the finished shawl is 44″ wide, 17″ deep. It was made with a single silk cap (approx. 0.5 oz.), knitted on US size 8 needles. It’s a plain garter stitch pattern. Cast on 3 stitches. Knit 1, make 1, knit to end. Turn and repeat. I decided to increase at the beginning of the row, every row, because I knew that I was going to be putting this down often and didn’t want to remember front vs. back side of the work. Nice, mindless knitting. And lots of fun. I highly recommend it. (And all that ripping was completely satisfying since I couldn’t scratch my leg.)

Hmmm, I have a couple of other silk caps that I picked up along the way. Then there are the royal blue silk hankies that we dyed last summer at the guild …

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