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

Month: September 2003 Page 1 of 2

The Chads

I made it, with days to spare. Yup. I’m talking about the California Recall Election. I finally finished all the paperwork with DMV on Saturday, including my voter registration. The deadline to register and still vote in the primary, now that it’s on again, was Monday. Whew.

I’m not telling you how I’m going to vote. That’s between me and the pregnant chads. Yup. I’m in one of the handful of counties that supposedly still use those ballots that made Florida famous for something other than the large retirement population. I’ll see when I get to the voting booth.

Knitting Cotton

Yuck. Now I know why I don’t do a lot of cotton knitting. I am finally on the home stretch of the second “T”, using Cascade Sierra. Although it has 20% wool, it seems to behave more like cotton. The knitted fabric shows every little bit of unevenness in my tension.

And during this project, I de-bunked a personal myth. I thought that switching to continental method evened out my tension. Wrong! I sprained my left thumb last week, and have changed back. And would you believe it? The tension is much more even this way! But it is much slower for me because I drop the right needle when I throw the yarn. I need to learn to hang on to that darn needle. Deborah made it look so easy, smooth, and more importantly, FAST!

I might put a picture up on the throwing vs. picking. The tension picking isn’t that bad, but the cotton shows every single flaw in the stockinette stitch. Perhaps it will even out more after washing it.

And because I’m doing something that’s no longer natural to me, and trying to keep an even tension, my other thumb is now aching.

Next project — wool. A lot more forgiveness to my uneven tension.

Lack of Progress

Ann’s progress and my lack of progress is a source of embarassment. I just managed to clean up my sewing room when the piles started to reemerge.

I lined up a bunch of balls of Cotton-Ease and told Iris mommy would make her a new sweater. Of course, she picked the only singleton ball, a medium lavender. I told her to pick a second color to combine with the first and she picked a light green.

In a fit of ambition, I decided to knit a sweater from the top down, with set-in sleeves knit as I went along (see Barbara Walker’s book), in a lace and cable pattern on the body. I then decided to make a semi-funnel neck, also knit in pattern. I left a yarn tail to continue the neck (no extra joins here).

Trying to figure out a good width to make the neck that goes over Iris’ head and continues the pattern from the body is no small feat. It ended up as a 1×1 rib. The yarn tail was too short so I had to join yarn in the neck after all. I used the green for 1 row and then bound off using a picot stitch. The front of the funnel neck is a bit droopy-looking, but maybe it will look better on Iris. That is, if she ever sits still long enough for me to get it on her.

Barbara Walker says knitting from the top down allows you to try the sweater on and check the fit as you go along. She didn’t mention that toddlers do not let you do that.

Anyway, I got to the bottom of the armpit, knit 4 rows more, then switched to the green using a 5×1 rib. Note to self, don’t even bother because you can’t see the 1 P stitch at all. The body is done and I have been stalled ever since I realized I miscalculated the # of sts required for the sleeves. It will have very
wide bat sleeves. I used the total armhole measurement instead of the arm measurement. The diagonal is always longer than the side. I will tell Iris to pretend she is a bat rather than rip it out. Remember, ripping the sleeves out means ripping the whole body out when knitting from the top down.

Anyway, I still have to update everyone on the domino sweater I made for Iris last spring which almost didn’t fit over her head because it started life as a potholder that grew and grew. Did I bother to measure her head and the neck opening? Of course not. That would mean stopping in the heat of creativity. Photos will be uploaded someday.

Did you know that the airlines do not allow even bamboo knitting needles on planes? I flew RT to Sapporo, then Berlin and am about to fly to Adelaide, and I can’t knit during the flights! Worse yet, because knitting needles need to be checked through to the final destination, I can’t knit during layovers either!

The next impossible challenge I set for myself is to find some possum fur fiber during my Australia trip for Ann to spin up.

Little Blue Bag

This handspun painted merino (2 oz, 320 yds, navajo plied, 20wpi) …

Became this (8.5″H x 8.25″W, 60″ I-cord strap) …

Which became this (6.5″H x 6.25″W, 57″ strap) after one run through the washer with some towels …

I’ve had this little project in the back of my mind for several months now — ever since my “geek” bag bit the dust. What’s a geek bag? It was a small little cotton bag I bought while in Mexico years ago. I used this to hold all my little gadgets … the cell phone, the PDA, and the old pager (which I don’t have anymore). This allowed me to carry my gadgets around from meeting to meeting fashionably, instead of having them hanging off of various parts of my body. And it was easy to transfer between my computer bag and my Coach bag when I’m not at work.

Unfortunately, that unlined, loosely woven cotton was no match for all that electronics and ripped.

I wanted to replace it with something a little more sturdy. But I really liked how light and portable it was. I did not want a thick felt. But something a little more delicate.

So 2 weekends ago, I picked out this roving I had sitting around for quite a while (Royal Rhapsody colorway from outbackfibers.com, purchased at Spinster’s Cottage), and spun it up into a lace weight yarn. I navajo plied it because I wanted to retain the colorwork. During the course of the week, I knitted up the bag, and then felted it over the next weekend. A very nice 10 day project (with lots of work in between).

To cast off at the “top” (the flap), I used a 3 stitch I-cord cast-off, with some extra unattached stitches at the center of the flap, to be used as a loop for a button closure. I seamed the sides with 5 stitch I-cord, that transitioned into the strap, and then picked up the edges on the opposite side to finish the seam.

My only problem with this bag is that the strap didn’t felt as much as I wanted. I think I will try to felt it some more in the sink. Also, there were a few “thin” spots where the yarn was a little too fine. However, since it felted nicely around these thin spots, I don’t think it will be a problem. It’s not big enough to put my wallet in, but as long as I have room for a credit card, a few bills, I’m happy.

I might try again, and adjust the pattern slightly.

Oh, I didn’t use all the yarn that I spun up. I still have 0.8 oz remaining, so the bag used just a hair less than 200 yards. I think I will knit one or two small bags, stuff them with some lavender.

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