Slowly but Surely

24 February, 2009 at 5:57 pm (knitting)

Wow, would you look at all the amazing progress I’ve made?

secondstripedsockleg

Or not.

I swear I will finish these socks someday. Maybe even before summer. Of course, part of the problem is that the less I work on them, the slower they go, and the slower they go the less I want to work on them. It’s a vicious sock cycle, I tell you. Maybe putting in a few hours tonight will help me get back on track.

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Saturday is for Spinning

21 February, 2009 at 1:17 pm (caturday, spinning)

I haven’t really done much of any spinning in the past two months, and my fiber stash is beginning to overflow. To change that, I’m instituting a new rule—weekends are for spinning. Not that I can’t knit, but I should devote as much possible time to getting something spun up and ready to transfer to the yarn stash. So, first up on today’s spinning agenda is the yarn that I’ve been “working on” (read: not working on at all) for the past couple of months: teal superwash merino, .8oz spindle. I’m aiming for a three-ply fingering or light fingering by the end, but I have a looong way to go.

tealmerinoonspindle

I think that, rather than separating the roving by weight or length, and then hoping that each section comes out to the same amount of singles, I’m going to spin up a bunch (maybe a dozen or so) of smaller lengths of singles, and then just add them in as needed when I go to ply. I keep referring to this in my head as the ‘cut and paste’ method, although I’m sure it has a real name out there somewhere.

The other fiber that I’ve started to work up today is some pink heathered corriedale, which matches the spindle it’s on quite well. I’m aiming for fingering weight singles here, which will hopefully get me a good, squooshy DK two-ply.

pinkcorriedaleonspindle

This color is a bit of a departure from my usual greens and blues and greys, but I’m liking it anyway. It’s very spring-y, unlike our current weather.

And Oolong is, of course, thrilled that I am spinning again, because it means more things for her to play with!

(Although I’m fairly certain that even people in California can hear me yelling things like, “No! Don’t chew on the spindle! Stop clawing my roving! Back away from the spinning!”)

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Second Striped Sock Syndrome

19 February, 2009 at 6:26 pm (knitting)

I haz it.

stripedsecondfoot

(How awesome are those stripes, though?)

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Now for Something Completely Different

15 February, 2009 at 1:17 pm (spindles, spinning)

I was hoping to have a finished second sock to show you, but I’m not even past the foot, which is pathetic, so how about some Sunday spinning? First up: woolly goodness! I scored 5oz of washed Shetland fleece (among other things) from extremespinning in trade for a spindle, and pictures truly cannot express how gorgeous it is.

shetlandfleece

The luster, the softness, the gorgeous grey color. Of course I know nothing about processing wool except that I wanted to try it and that I really, really don’t want to mess this fiber up. So I’ve started by using my handcarders, not for their intended purpose, but rather to flick open the locks and arrange them neatly.

shetlandlocks

Not entirely sure where I’ll go once I finish with this part—I could spin directly from the lock but I’d like to blend the colors a bit. I’d love to be able to comb them but I don’t really have the tools for that. I may end up improvising. In the meantime, I’ve been taking the waste and leftovers from the flicking and carding them into tiny little heathery, nep-filled batts, which will make for some fun tweedy, art yarn type spinning.

shetlandbatts

I’ve also been putting a good amount of work in on some spindles.


This is everything I have in stock, as well as a few things I haven’t put up yet, and one or two that are reserved. I’m also getting in a whole bunch of new whorls this week, so I’m hoping to actually be able to maintain this level (or higher!) of stock from here on in. Some of the new stuff is awesome, too—like these handthrown pottery whorls, with inlaid glass:

blueglassinlay
The whole thing just sparkles whenever the light hits it.

(No caturday this week. All the cats have run off and joined the circus.)

(Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.)

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Color Change

12 February, 2009 at 12:32 am (knitting)

This little trick is something I really, truly, stumbled onto when I started my last sock—I started doing it because I am a tight knitter and I like my stitches to be small and neat, and it took me quite a while before I realized its potential to actually hide color changes.

There are a lot of different places on the net that will explain to you why and how jogs occur, but basically it comes down to: when we knit in the round, we’re not actually knitting in closed circles stacked on top of one another, but rather in a continous spiral. And when you stop working with one color in that spiral and switch to a new one, it causes a clear jump. Meg Swansen’s jogless jog is probably the most commonly used trick to avoid this jump; TECHknitter’s slip stitch trick is also quite useful. Both of these are more effective on thicker stripes, however. My trick is far less elegant than these two—like I said in my last entry, it’s stupid easy—but it is perfect for three or four row stripes.

After knitting the final round in your stripe, be sure to lay the old (green, in this case) yarn over the new (cream) yarn so that they will twist together.
stripes001

Knit the first round with the new (cream) yarn, then—here’s the stupid easy part—take the old (green) yarn and tug the last stitch of the last round tight. Really tight. You don’t want the stitch to disappear all the way, but you do want it to come pretty close, because that is what will bridge the gap between the first and last stitch of the round.
stripes002

After tugging it tight I usually twist it with the new yarn again at the beginning of each round, which helps to lock it in place and prevent it from loosening up again. The last stitch in the first round of the new stripe will automatically stretch out a bit to fill the gap, and you’ve got seamless stripes.

stripes003

Ta-da!

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One is the loneliest

7 February, 2009 at 8:13 pm (caturday, knitting)

Let’s add to my already rather large single sock pile, shall we?

stripedsockone

I haven’t cast on for its mate yet, although I hope to do so shortly to avoid the dreaded second sock syndrome that I seem to succumb to so often. At least when I knit the other half of this pair, I won’t have to redo the foot (twice) and the heel turn (three times) and the leg (only once, but do you see how big that leg is?)

Two things that will be more fully explained in the coming week, though: one, yes, my color changes are invisible. The trick to make this happen in such small stripes is not the usual jogless join, and in fact is much simpler almost to the point of being stupid easy. Two, please admire my nice ribbing in which there are no weird color blips in the purl stitches. It’s another stupid easy trick, although I know I’ve seen this one explained elsewhere—but, I will re-explain it here, hopefully complete with pictures and diagrams and all that other stuff that I never seem to get around to doing, but I will this time, really, I promise. It’s written on my to-do list and everything.

Oolong will make sure I get it done.

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