Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Brioche Stitch in the round explained

I have been making the brioche gaiter in the Fall 2003 Interweave Knits. I am really happy with how it looks, now that I have the stitch figured out. This picture shows it in progress and almost done. The only fiddly part still is the end of the rows and the marker. I really have to watch or there will be an extra stitch or not enough stitches. It is because the rows start and end with a YO and sometimes the marker is between that and the next stitch, and those are the two stitches that should be purled together. So I have put one stitch 'aside' move the marker and then put the stitch on the left hand needle, to do the P2 tog.

All of that last statement will not really make sense to those of you that have not messed with the brioche stitch in the round (also called the prime rib stitch)

So I have kept alot of notes as I was learning the stitch, and have found a way to write it out, that makes more sense to me. I have enough confidence that I have things straight now, to go ahead and put these notes on this blog.

I cast on to straight needles and did the two set up rows. I then knit the first pattern row on circular turbo 12 inch needle, size 5. These are those small circular sock needles that are so popular. My angora/silk yarn is very slippery and I have to really watch when I put the project down, or the stitches slide right off. I also have to stop at the number one pattern row, or I am not sure I would pick it up and start in the right place. But I really am getting the ribbing look.

Since I wanted it to be wider, I cast on 100 stitches.

First set up row: *YO (yarn is in the back, comes to front between two needles, wraps right needle and goes to the back. The very beginning YO is more of a motion with the right needle to wrap the yarn around it, after that, make YO as stated. S1 as if to purl (purlwise) with yarn in the back. K1* repeat stitches between the starts. (This row does increase in the number of stitches)

Second set up row: *YO (exactly as the YO in set up row one) slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back, K2tog (these are the previous rows slip 1 and YO)* repeat stitches between stars. You are back to the original number of cast on stitiches.

Brioche stitch
Row 1: Yarn is in front, *P2 tog (you are purling the purl stitch and the slipped stitch from the previous row), take yarn from front to back over right needle, hold in back and slip 1 pwise (you are slipping a K stitch of previous row), bring yarn between the needles to the front (you have completed a YO)* repeat stitches between the stars, end with P2 together, S1 purlwise yarn held in the back. Slip row marker.

Row 2: *Yarn is held in the back and brought between the two needles to front, S1 purlwise (you are slipping a Purl stitch from previous row), take yarn from front to back over right hand needle, K2 tog (you are knitting the knit stitch and the slipped stitch of the previous row)* Row ends with K2 tog, slip marker, bring yarn to front and start row 1 with P2 tog.

These two rows are repeated until the gaiter is the size to fit your neck comfortably (around 7 inches). End with round 1 and bind off with a normal cast off on round 2.

I am about half way done with this, and now the stitch has a nice rhythm. If one remembers that you knit the previous knit stitch on the K2 tog row, and you purl the previous purl stitch in the P2 tog row, it is pretty easy to figure out where you are in the pattern, if you put it down.

I saw that the Winter 2003 has a lovely brioche stitch vest for men in it, and now I am sure that is what I want to do next. I am thinking an alpaca blend yarn, but do not have any made, so I guess that means drum carding to blend, and spinning before I can think about knitting it.


Sunday, February 08, 2004

Sunday Knitting

There is a new knitting group in the old part of the big city near me. It is meeting at a neighborhood coffee cafe, and usually has about a dozen knitters meeting each Sunday afternoon. I do not make it every week, but I got to go today, and really had a wonderful time.

One highlight was a reporter from the local paper, joining us and interviewing anyone that was willing. She asked things like how long we had been knitting, why we knit, was it surprising that the group was mostly 30 somethings, and many more questions. We were all willing to talk, because we were all talking about something we love.

The group really ranges in ages from preteen, to retirement age. The skill level runs from just learned to knit (my daughter being in that category, having finally taken up the needles and learning to knit last Tues) to those like me that had to admit they had been knitting for more than 40 years.

It is relaxing to knit in one of the comfy chairs the cafe provides, hot drink at hand and just to listen in to all of the conversation. Suggestions are made, stitches are taught, and yarns are fondled and admired. Several learned the beginnings of spinning several weeks ago, and the one new spinner now has enough yarn for a shawl. She is being very picky too, about this shawl she will knit with her first handspun yarn, looking over all of the patterns offered, and deciding she would make up her own pattern.

I worked on the final part of a paid knitting project. One of my coworkers wanted tiny sweaters for her tiny poodle. She brought me a sweater made for the American doll, and asked it she bought the yarns, would I make sweaters for her poodle like that sweater, only smaller! So I agreed and she purchased Lion Brand yarns in a pink boucle, a very bulky and fluffy yellow, a vivid purple, and also a Sugar and Cream cotton in lovely spring variegated colors.

I winged the pattern. I figured out how many inches around it needed to be at the bottom, cast on that many on a circular needle, and worked my way up the sweater in a plain knit stitch. It was fast knitting, and I just laid it against the sample sweater to judge my progress. I was flying along fine until I realized I was going to have to go to DPN and work back and forth for the front and the back seperately. It's been so long since I've knitted a sweater, I had forgotten it couldn't be circular needles all the way!

Another first for me, as I did these, was I jotted notes for it in my PDA instead of on a scrap of paper. So after I completed the first one, I had the pattern in that, instead of on a sheet of paper. The advantage was that it will now transfer over to my computer, and I have it saved for future use, instead of just scribbled and probably unfathomable notes.

After the first sweater, the rest went quick. I figure it took me about 3 total knitting hours to make one. The coworker added one extra thing, she brought in the tiniest hat I have ever seen and asked if I could make one out of each color to match the sweaters. I really couldn't refuse, the hats were all of four crocheted rows! Actually I had to adapt that pattern some, adding her requested crocheted ties to the hat, so she could tie it under the dogs chin.

Pity this poor dog, but I have been told by other coworkers that the dog patiently allows this attire, and actually loves wearing the sweaters in the colder weather.

So those are now done. Next is to finish the brioche gaiter, because I have seen in the Winter 2003 Interweave Knits, that there is a brioche vest, and I really like the way it looks. It is just begging to be knit for my hubby, in a lovely tweedy handspun.


Monday, February 02, 2004

Look what's in my spinning basket

Saturday at my place, the weather was truly awful. Things are chaotic at my house, and I really could not keep to my regularly planned day off. At one point, I looked at the four baskets huddled in the corner by my electric spinner, and decided if I couldn't put any order in my day, I would put order to _something_ at least. So I pulled out my spinning basket.

Here's what I found.

Three bags of fiber that are part of my breed sampler book I am creating. I set those aside and actually worked on spinning that later in the day.

Small 2 pitch combs
One dog coat comb all part of my fiber processing

2 rulers
Index cards
2 small notebooks

Wires for ties on skeins (I use thin phone wire, which is multicolored and handy to keep track of what is on that skein)
7 ink pens, three pencils that's where they've all gone
Small scissors YEA!
Homemade lilac handcream Yum

One big black button ??? (I later remembered I was trying it as a diz)
Small felted ball, IE cat toy rescued from the path of the sweeper

6 yarn ball bands from past knitting projects
6 pieces of paper with spinning notes on them
3 invoices from fiber purchases

2 small odd balls of handspun yarn

3 cardboard cards with various samples of handspun wrapped on them

Mystery piece of roving in white and brown color That went in the trash

Small baggie sample of border leiscester roving with business card

Everything got sorted and some got put back in the basket. I then proceeded to spend an enjoyable hour working on three of the breed samplers, Shetland, Coopworth and Targhee. I will be posting more on that in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, the weather is still lousy.