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.

Friday, August 19, 2005

My lace bookmark and pattern

I lurk on the lace knitting yahoogroup, with the intentions of knitting a lacy shawl someday. In that group they occasionally have a bookmark exchange. You are assigned a exchange partner and each one makes a bookmark for the other. I finally finished this one for my swap partner yesterday. I used some machine knitting yarn on a cone that must have several thousand yards on it, so it seemed funny to knit such a small item. I used size 00 lace knitting double pointed needles, and the project took very little time, about four hours. I took the lace pattern from a pattern book and adapted it to fit the bookmark size. I've written out the pattern below, feel free to make one too!

Lace Bookmark Posted by Picasa

Little Lace Diamonds Bookmark

Lace pattern from the book _Big Book of Knitting Lace Patterns_

Yarn is coned lace weight wool, usually used for knitting machines, any very fine yarn can be used.
Gauge is not critical.
Needles: Two 00 lace knitting double points

CO 2 stitches
Make 1 stitch in next row
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: K1, M1, K1 5 stitches
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: K1, M1, K1, M1, K1 7 stitches
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: Knit
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: K1, M1, K3, M1, K1 9 stitches
Row 12: Purl
Row 13: K1, M1, K5, M1, K1 11 stitches
Row 14: Purl
Row 15: Knit
Row 16: Purl

Start lace pattern and repeat for desired length of bookmark.

Lace bookmark pattern:

Row 1and 5: P1, K2, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, PSSO, K2, P1
Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Purl
Row 3: P1, K1, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, PSSO, K1, P1
Row 7 and 11: P1, K1, YO, PSSO, K3, K2tog, YO, K1, P1
Row 9: P1, K2, YO, PSSO, K1, K2tog, YO, K2 P1

Decrease rows:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K1, K2tog, K5, K2tog, K1 9 stitches
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: K1, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K1 7 stitches
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: K1 K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1 5 stitches
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: K1, K2tog, K2 tog 3 stitches
Row 12 Purl
Row 13: Knit
Row 14: Purl
Row 15: Knit three stitches together into one stitch

Tie off this one stitch or use a crochet hook to start a single chain. Make chain longer than needed to
show at bottom of the book, bring end of chain up and connect with single chain to make a loop. Single several stitches to tack and then tie off.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

New skills and letting go

No pictures for this post, just a bit of philosophical blather.

First things first, I am doing the happy dance here because I have finally successfully navajo plied some singles. I've put off trying to learn this skill because in spite of reading about it and watching a spinning buddy do it, I could never make sense of what was actually happening between fingers and yarn. I guess the synapes finally connected and reached my fingers this week though, because I sat down with a small sample of single ply and made a loop and was plying loop after loop with ease. I was surprised to find that the 'bump' everyone claimed would be in the yarn when plied this way, was really not noticable. That was something else that had always made me hesitate about trying the technique.

This experience has made me believe in the existence of the knowledge of the common mind though. All those spinners all over the world that can navajo ply have put the knowledge in the common mind, and that knowledge just finally reached my humble farm and fingers! I believe because I didn't attempt this technique with book in hand, I just sat down and did it. It sort of felt like reinventing spinning itself .

Knowing how to do this is a very good thing, because now I can make the big skein of Jacob yarn the way I envisioned it. I have spun long stretches of different colors in a single and really did not want to ply those and risk the colors not matching. I can navajo ply that single and keep the colors together. I will also now be able to spin the lovely roving I won last year at SOAR, donated by Rovings, that is a polworth roving dyed in long splashes of fall colors. I will spin the whole pound as a single and then navajo ply the yarn. In fact, now I can hardly wait to get my fingers on it!

As I have been working up this Jacob fleece, I took a big section of the light gray color and carded the washed fleece into big batts. I was starting to spin these batts, when I realized that the way I spin was defeating the whole purpose of that fluffy carded fleece. I tend to split pieces off the batt long ways, and spin that in an inch worm fashion, and for the most part, straightening out those fibers before letting the twist enter them. I decided to try a true woolen yarn with those batts by trying the long draw method.

I have never mastered the long draw. I have seen spinners spin one handed, just the hand holding the fiber moving back and forth to the wheel. I must have too many control issues, I had to learn, over and over again, to just let go! I finally compromised, since I really could not do the one handed drafting, by holding a large chunk of the batt in my left hand, and placing my right hand, palm facing me and open. That way the fiber ran past my right hand but I was not actually pinching or smoothing the yarn before it ran onto the bobbin.

This was unbelieveable hard for me to do. I am a smoother by nature LOL. I can not stand fiber that has little bits of noils in it, I have to pull them out and smooth the yarn. So time after time, as I was practicing this, I had to repeat, let it go, let it go. It became the mantra of the hour, and sometimes I would find a nice relaxed zone as the fiber whizzed by, and sometimes I caught myself fiddling with the right fingers again and would have to tell myself, let it go.

I think I may have a life lesson here too. Little bits of mess in life don't really hurt and lovely stuff happens, when one just lets go.