Thursday, January 15, 2015


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Choice -

One of the best things about being on holiday is the choice, I wake up and once the 'chores' are sorted I can choose how to spend my day, I can spin, knit, weave, read, tidy the preserves shelves in the laundry/pantry, go to the library, tidy and clear/tidy/sort the garden/garage/back room/book shelves/ whatever. The cubs are old enough to entertain themselves, and sometimes we do things together -sometimes not.

So I have been weaving, so far there are five and a bit of the eight tea/dish towels done. I have the loom set up in a sunny room at the back of the house, and it's almost too hot to weave during the heat of the day. The first four towels were plain weave, the second four are waffle weave. So far so good. I am wondering why I chose white as the main colour - after all white towels used in the kitchen end up stained. A cleverer idea would have been to use a colour that was less clean ... But I live and learn.

My score of the year was a slim wood Venetian blind in 'mahogany' at the Restore shop at the tip. For $3 and an hour cutting and sanding I now have 84 wooden thin warp packing sticks that match the reddish wood of the loom. The blind was wide and the strips when cut in half are nearly the full width of the loom - so 42 blind slats turned into 84 warp sticks. Thursday I finished weaving the plain weave towels so Friday while little cub and friends made masquerade masks I crawled under the loom and set up the treddles for the waffle weave. It's not difficult - just awkward, and involves sitting on the floor in a space slightly to small reaching just past a comforable reach to tie up dozens of cords. I get why weavers dislike that step - and I see why looms are marketed on how easy the tie ups are. More learning - I'm not loving the cottolin I bought from the north island, it was cheap and local but is sticky. And my inexperienced warping has not helped with that - but every warp brings a greater awareness of the things I need to be careful with. With the warp sticks sorted I needed to find some where to store them - and the Arts and Crafts umbrella stand seems perfect and elegant. The wheel to the right of our old umbrella stand/new warp stick stand is Ana's Wendy wheel - which I am fostering for her whilst she globe-trots. Out the window is the trailer filled with the hedge clippings, tomorrow my main chore it it take it to the free waste place to be composted - Bear can't back the trailer and I can - so I'm driving.

I've cast on for Enchanted Mesa, and so far the progress has been slow but steady. I am recalculating the numbers as I didn't want my fingering yarn to be knit up like lace - all open and breezy. I want this to be an oversized winter pull on. I also modified the neck - moslty as I didn't want to waste my graduated silk merino yarn on a cowl where it would fold and drape and hide its lovely grey shadings. So far I am up to the fourth section - although others in the KAL are well into the body and sleeves.

And then there is spinning, I signed up for a craftsy class on spinning. I want to rave about it ... but I've only competed the first two parts of the class so I really should finish before I review. The class is challenging - which is the reason I enrolled. It deals with the detail of how to hold and draft the fiber - and the teacher (Jacey Boggs Faulkner ) is full of detail on how she works the process. So I've been working on spinning across the top - which is hard. Jacey suggests it could be months before the technique comes easily - and for the past week I have been practicing. I understand the technique, I even remember when Jacey taught it a few years ago when she was here for a workshop - but getting my hands to do what my mind knows takes effort. Learning new stuff is tiring - and perfect for when on holiday and work has not drained the energy from my body.

So far I have spun 2/3rds of a 100 gram bump of dyed top across the top. And I am tired - but beginning to master the technique. The top was one of the 2015 Vintage purls fiber club installments, the second I think. It is Polworth so will bloom amazingly - and while I want to spin fine I am practicing most on the drafting across the top more than the fine. I have two of these - so plan to spin both then ply them together for a two ply yarn that fades from purple to red to yellow.

More soon, Stella


Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Tonight is New Year's Eve, Wednesday the 31st of December 2014, and there is not much knitting to show, a ittle weaving prep, and lots of excitement with knitting plans for tomorrow. The sweater for bear is done, and was done Christmas Day, my dad came and so did my brother, so there were six of us, and with the meals being summery (cause it's Summer where we live in December) and four of the six being adults - there was lots of talking and knitting time.


Given the summer weather, hot days, it was not appropriate for me to ask bear to model the sweater, so I thought a few photos will have to do, and then I remembered it was a plain grey weather in stocking stitch - so no much to show.



The sleeves worked well, and we're done quickly, much as I love dpns and Magic loop - I don't enjoy knitting sleeves in the round. All that twisting and turning, with the body of the garment flopping around in my lap - not fun. I know I can do the sleeves first - perhaps I should?

Meanwhile I've been warping my loom, after a small delay when I had to add heddles to some shafts to accommodate my plans. I found answers of a sort on Ravelry, and my dad the visiting mechanic was observant. He didn't do any loom work but did point out a possible method which proved fruitful.





After working out how to add extra heddles (hint you have to undo some of the countermarch tie up and remove the shafts from the loom), I was able to finish warping up. Having to remove the shafts made me much mor confident about working with th loom. This time I was inspired by books and blogs where weavers sley the reed While it is out of the beater. I undid the nuts and bolts and removed the reed and sat it along two support rods. This was fantastic, I didn't have to reach behind the beater to find the next threads and I was able to see what I was doing. With the reed in the beater - the hanging beater and reed assembly blocks the view and creates all sorts of access problems. This was so much easier and neater.


For now it's all tied off and I've checked the threading, only two errors - and not so much threading errors as places where the threading was correct but the warp yarn was wrapped around a adjacent heddles so its path was disturbed. All sorted now and ready to weave eight dish towels. As a bonus today we took a trailer load of green waste to the 'til' and scored a wooden Venetian blind in perfect condition. I've been informed the wooden Venetian blinds make great warp sticks - and this provided 42 sticks for $3! Even better the sticks are twice as long as they need to be, so once cut in half to fit my loom will provide 84 warp sticks. And they seem to be mahogany - which is reddish so match the red jarah of the loom beautifully.

And tomorrow, I cast on for Enchanted Mesa, (EM) quite frankly it's a sweater that intrigues and scares me a little. It's not fitted, beyond not fitted, pushing not fitted to the limits. Now most sweaters and cardigans skim the body they are knit for, sometimes the designer adds flare, or ease so the garment is larger than the body, like a swing skirt or a draped nck cowl, And there are sweaters that bend body proportions, batwing springs to mind where the sleeves blend with the body. Enchantd Mesa takes sweater fitting further, and presents a design that no only messes with the propitious and shape of the human body then deliberately exaggerates asymmetry of the underarm placement. I love it, I'm not sure it will flatter - but I'm knitting it to see how far I can be pushed in the body distortion scheme of things. I'm not the slim bodies thing of my youth - and I'm planning to work this as a a loosely fitted sweater, oversized. I have to add lots of people knit it with the sleeves and underarm in the right places, or should I say conventional places.

I'm casting on tomorrow, and surprisingly I've convinced a few local knitters to join me, some in a KAL of enchanted Mesa, some in another sweater or cardigan of their choosing,


In preparation I've switched, on 2.75, 3, 3.25, & 3.75 mm needles, in the round. I've drawn up a schematic showing the stitch counts of EM for you see - I'm wanting to knit this in finer yarn, and the pattern is written so that changing the gauge changes the finished size (as opposed to the more conventional changing the stitch count changing the size). Which means regauging - which I've also planned. But I'm out on a limb here, I hope I've thought it through in a way that works when knit.

And I'm not knitkng it in blue, the yarn I've chosen is actually grey - I just have some of the same in blue that I swatched in.

I have this grey gradient, in merino silk, from Spinning a Yarn, designed to be knit into a shawl that transitions from pale grey to dark grey so there are varying amonts of each grey, some less to more - and I have a dark grey BFL sock yarn from Veranda yarns that is perfect to work the sweater body in.



Like this, so that's my 2015 off to a knitting start - what about yours?

Hope your year both ends and begins well, and the bits in between match

Na Stella.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Not for Christmas

When a knitter is knitting close to Christmas - people assume what they are knitting is a gift and must be done for Christmas. I am a knitter, and I'm knitting before Christmas - and not its not a Christmas present. I do want it done, so I can cast on something new for nw year.


I'm making good progress on bears sweater, but it won't be done on Christmas, although I might knit on it for Christmas. I've worked almost all of the first sleeve, picked up the finished shoulder saddle. And the underarm gusset, and added stitches to the front and back armscye.


Once I had the saddles done, I worked the neckline. Often patterns have you do this last but I think the neckline band stabilizes the opening and so when I knit the sleeves I can see where they will sit. If I worked the neckband last - I might find the sleeves pulled up a little and nearly too short.


When I say nearly done on the sleeve, the ribbing cuff is half done. Today I should start the other sleeve. And it may be done Boxing Day. Then again it may not,


There are other projects afoot, this is half a warp for eight cotton linen tea towels. I'm further ahead than the photo suggests - both warps are done and have been wound on the loom. There it is paused as I work out how to add more heddles. A small. It important step that I hoped question posted to Ravelry and my visiting dad can sort.


For now it is make some sort of impact on the weeds in the garden, make pastry for Christmas mince tarts and various other things that need to be done for Christmas,

Take care, hope the upcoming festivities bring calm and relaxation despite all the turmoil that seems to go with the season.