Sunday, July 26, 2015

Digits

This last week the first of the colour full mitts happened, and the second is underway. I love the construction - first one knits a bunch of digits, various sizes and lengths, with a provisional cast on, the cast off at the finger ends. Then the provisional cast on is unzipped and the fingers slid onto a circular needle and the rest of the mitt worked. It was fiddle. Up satisfyingly fun. I have an irrational dislike of rolling stocking stitch(ss) fabric so ended my mitts with 4/5 rounds of k1p1 rib instead of simply casting off. I actually like the look of soft rolling ss fabric, just not the idea of the bulk and rubbing that could result ... As I said irrational, maybe for the next mitts I will challenge myself to knit the fingers to the end in stocking stitch. Yes there will be another pair.

Knitting the first mitt was exciting until I missread the instructions. After the thumb was attached I gaily went about decreasing away the gusset - and didn't read the full instructions, I just went ahead and decreased as per the bullet pointed decrease instructions. Trouble was the decreases were introduced in stages not all at once like I had worked. So I frogged, and began again. This time I ended up with a wrist that was very very snug - and I noticed instructions to modify the decreases for a wider wrist. So I frogged again and worked the decreases one last time being very careful about recording what I did, that worked. The thumb gusset hand join still looks messy as I have not grafted the gap closed yet. The other interesting point about these mitts is unlike most other mitts the gusset stitches are not decreased away so the thumb gusset reduces to nothing - but instead the hand stitches are reduced. Same effect in terms of fit, but very different look - the thumb section shifts subtly over into the wrist instead of disappearing into a point. I like it. Makes me think of roads and lanes merging.

I've made a start on mitt 2, fingers all done and the thumb is standing by. This one should be much simpler with less frogging. On mitt 1 the cuff is finished with a turned up faced hem. On ravelry recently (or a few months ago or more - it could be that long) a comment about a Monmouth cap (wiki link for those unfamiliar ) suggested that faced hems were not traditionally worked with a purl turn round, but instead the facings were worked down from a pick up round, and the hats were finished with a standard chain bind off - you know the knit one stitch, knit another, pass first knit stitch over second, knit another, repeat till done Part of the argument went along the lines that grafting was unknown or at least not present in any other knitting from that time. For some reason I wanted to try that with this mitt - so I did. I liked it and will document the process in the next post. I think this maybe my new favorite way to hem knitting - and I'm anxious to try it on a hat - a Monmouth cap even.

I like these mitts, they fit snugly, maybe too snug for me, I knit the smaller size and maybe it should have been the larger one. My only comment is the mitts are shaped for a slender hand, and on me I feel I need more room for my thumb pad - but that is not a problem, I plan to test the larger size and that may be all that is needed. Pattern is free - and clever, available here.

Na Stella

 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Holidays are

Weird, at some level they are relaxing and fun and a complete break from the demands of work and timelines outside of ones own making. On the other hand holidays are so filled with potential they can be both paralyzingly confuing and filled with too much choice - and filled with a sense of dread that the days will slip away with nothing to show for the time off work, I'm aware of that - and I try not to plan to much, but still the sense making the most of the time persists, I've been on leave for two weeks - and there isn't much to show.

Firstly - or rather lastly in time order, as I finished these a few days ago. These are arm warmers knit, Vörå-Inspired Arm Warmers, Knit for K, aka Otagogirl on ravelry. These were a fast knit, but a slow decision, there were so many lovely things in her queue for her family - and it seemed wrong to knit something not for her. Then inspiration came in the form of her admiring this pattern knit in these colours by Zoomer also on ravelry. I am happy shamelessly copying inspired knitters.


I was also inspired by these lovely mittens, mitaines rainbow, So much so that this morning I decided to do more than just admire - I would divide a skein of blank yarn into smaller skeins and set about dying yarn for the fingers. I set my swift on top of my scales and would off 5 gram balls, the scales kept going to sleep so I ended up just waking it up and weighing the balls directly. Then I turned each small ball into a mini skies using half the ninny noddy.


Then I dyed each one, I kettle dyed, and ran two dye pots for speed, mixing the dye up first, adding a preloaded skeins and then lifting the skein from the dye bath if it colour looked right. My 'natural' tendency is towards blue greys - so I deliberately pushed myself to add in yellow and orange and apricot. There is something nice about having the ingredients to hand - not having to go buy everything.

Right now the skeins are dyed, rinsed, cooled and laid out to dry on an oil column heater, later tonight I will make little cute center pull balls and maybe even begin the fingers. In this pattern the fingers are knit from base to top, using a provisional cast on, and then the provisional cast on is picked up and used to knit down to form the hand of the mitten. The pattern appeals as it is both cute and clever. As for colours - the original is knit with a 'warm' hand and a ' cool' hand, myself I think I wil mix the colours up a little more. It all looks like lots was done - it in reality it was about 90 minutes - maybe two hours counting the skeining. Having no work meant I could devote the morning to dying without worrying that other things wouldn't be done.

This is the grey I plan to use for the body of the mittens, a little darker than the original - it's Ngaire, a club colour from Vintage Purls 2013. I have been saving it for something special - the original pattern was also for mitts - but I always wanted to knit them in something pinker or browner or greener, as the design seems botanical.

 

 

My holiday began with a warp, I made a warp for more tea towels, and began to install it on the loom. Then snow and ice hit and the back end of the house became too cold to work in. I enjoy my interests but not enough to freeze in the pursuit of them.

 

 

 

 

So I abandoned the loom at this stage - and I think I will replace the heddles with texsolv ones before I complete the threading. The thread is a soft spun cottolin - a bit slubby - but ok for practice in warping and weaving, I hope that using texsolv will even up the shed somewhat, and make for a neater shed. For now I think I will cover the warp so it doesn't fade - winter sun is wimpy but can still fade textiles. I find because we don't have a dishwasher we go through tea towels daily, and they get grubby, white tea towels end up stained with the evidence of food and cooking. My hope is red and blue won't show that quite so much and will look cleaner longer.

The dish clothes were made from stashed yarn, four in total - photo shows three as one is in use. My own pattern, blocks of stocking stitch and reverse sticking stitch, five stitches wide by seven stitches tall. This yarn is thicker than I usually use, almost dk - so makes a thick cloth if any more textured pattern is used. The last. Lots I knit in double moss stitch - but I prefer my standard checker board pattern - simple and not too thick, that way they dry faster. Nothing worse than an old wet dish cloth when you want to wipe the table down.

 

So that was my holiday in review, there was a bit of drawing, and some waiting for repair people to service the stove and fix some electrical wall sockets ... And some to-ing and fro-ing Cubs to their grandad and airports and dental appointments. While there is not much to show - what is there is all good stuff, and I'm all relaxed, which is the important bit.

Na Stella

 

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Shaped

Colourwork is one of my favorite kinds of knitting, well stranded colour work, the kind with a rhythm. Typically that kind of colourwork is pixelated, each stitch worked in one of the colours of the project. Typically that means that knitted colourwork patterns are a little jagged, somewhat pixelated. Yesterday I finished a project, a hot water bottle that make use of a slightly different kind of colourwork - one inspired by lace. In lace curved shapes are created using pairs of increases and decreases - I've sometimes wondered why the same shaping isn't used in colourwork.

 

Here is the project in process, well nearly finished. In this case the colourwork is fairly simple 2x2 vertical banding forming a suggestion of grass or growing stems, with one single bud standing above. This bud was worked in a kind of intarsia (shock horror - but it was only ten or so rows so I handled it). I used the cut thread trick, instead of working the instrasia from the ball - I cut the yarn about 2m long, and at the end or beginning of each round simply pulled the cut yarn free of any tangles.

This was also worked as intarsia in the round - simply as there was only one bud, it could have been worked as stranded if the buds had repeated. The small size of the bud, only eight stitches across, meant I could strand across the back. Shaping the bud with pairs of increases and decreases, so the total stitch count stayed the same makes the edges smooth. There was some fudging to pull the edge stitches firm - and adjust the yarns so the work stayed flat. Although if the background yarns are pulled to tight behind the work - th bud becomes slightly raised - in this case not a problem.

And finished, with an Icord, and bulb ends, these were worked again with increases and decreases.

Pattern in the works. As soon as important school holiday activities like marbling nail polish has been done, younger cub is now in a school uniform so such things can only happen in the holidays. Update soon.

Na stella

 

Monday, June 29, 2015

There might be some spinning going on

 

I seemed to be at a loose end, the cardigan is done, it's winter here so dark and cold on the way to and from work. I'm not feeling the need for a new project -nothing calls me or my needles right now.

So I dug around in my fibre stash, found a 100g braid of Vintage purls NZ Perendale in a colourway called Utah. It's warming, it's cheery, it's soft - so I used my trusty chop stitcks and made small fauxlogs like shown here. Mine seemed neater . . . There are lots of blogs and videos and online demonstrations showing how, some use dowel, some chopsticks. Then I spun, long draw, 50g in two evenings, fauxlog spinning is woolen spinning and fast.

Spinning is good, fills the spot where knitting isn't. There is an empty spot here right now, Yo-yo our little furry family member reached the end of her life last Friday, it was sad, there is a quiet cat shaped hole in our lives, and all of us are coming to terms with her not meeting us at the door, joining us in whatever room we are in, and just generally being part of our lives. Here she is - sleeping on the heated pet mat we bought once we realized she was elderly. She loved that mat, she was so relaxed she didn't even curl up firmly into a cat spiral, and I think she wondered why we didn't buy one earlier. I think that because Yo-yo was so much part of finishing knitting, always there for the photo shoot or the blocking I'm not ready to knit anything yet, I'm just not quite ready to finish something and block without her.

This is how we remember her, with us in the living room at night, that time Bear made the mistake of putting down a arch file folder -it only took her a moment to claim the spot as her own. After that no folder was safe.

Our other memories are of her running up the path as we arrived home everyday, bounding between us to race to the door and get in, with us. And of course the classic cat pose, she slept in on the top of the sofa in the sun, even when there wasn't sun.

We miss her, na Stella,