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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The next mystery revealed

If you haven't heard the latest buzz, there's a new mystery knit along happening right now. It is called Mystery Stole 4 and the designer is Georgina Bow.

I have completed two clues and feel there's enough to show in some photos. I really like how this is knitting up and how it feels, and I think it is going to be a lovely stole when completed.

First the yarn:

And yes, those are beads sitting next to the yarn, because the stole is beaded in at least the first two clues. The yarn is Knit Picks Shadow in lace weight in a color called Lost Lake. The beads are size 6 seed beads in a color called Tortoise.

The stole is going to be rectangular, and it is symetrical in pattern. So it has been suggested that each clue can be knitted twice, for each end, and that eventually a clue will be knitted to connect these two ends, with a grafted seam in the middld.

So here's a photo of the two different ends, each on their own circular needles, each with it's own ball of yarn.

It's taking me twice as long to knit as the clues are being released (clue 4 of 6 was released this weekend). However knowing that I am doing both ends makes me feel like I am ahead, in the long run.

It's hard to really show off the beauty of lace, when it is still on the needles. But this final photo is a close up of the beading and lace stitches. See how the designer has the beading and lace playing off each other. I am so happy with how it looks!

This was my first knitting project that used beads. The designer recommended knitting the stitch and then placing the bead on that stitch. That makes the bead sit in that same row. If you place the bead while the stitch is still on your left and needle, and then knit the stitch, the bead sits a row lower. It really doesn't matter in the overall design, but the knitter does have to be consistent and do it all the same way. I am placing the bead after I have knit the stitch. I have a tiny crochet hook that will pass through the bead hole, and I can load four beads on the crochet hook. After I knit the stitch, I pick up that same stitch with the very tip of the crochet hook, pull it taunt, and slide a bead up off the hook and onto the loop of the stitch. The I put the stitch back on the right hand knitting needle. It sounds very fiddly, and it felt that way at first, but I really did get a nice rhythm going. Seeing the beads on the knitting is very encouraging and so I enjoyed adding more. In fact, the next two clues have no more beads, and I am a bit sad about that. I believe it probably is a good thing, design wise though, since beads running across the back could be uncomfortable.

So give me another month of so, and there will be pictures of the finished stole. I am really curious how it will be joined.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Can you knit in a hurricane?

I am not joking. I really did try to knit last Sunday when Ike roared through my state at 70 MPH. I found it was not the soothing pleasant hobby I usually enjoy, nor was it able to distract me from watching the limbs break off my trees and fly past my window.

Maybe I choose the wrong project. Maybe I should have pulled out some bulky cotton and made me some new dishclothes I need so bad. Maybe beaded lace was not exactly the knitting I needed at that moment.

I got one row knit, about three times. I'd knit about five stitches, recount, look at my chart, recount, place a bead, knit seven stitches, recount, look out the window, look at the chart, recount, jump at the extra strong gust of wind, frog back three stitches, recount, look out the window, place a bead, knit....

It took me an hour to knit 66 stitches. Even though the back row is a nice comfortable pattern of knits and purls, I put the knitting away, until the next day. Even when Ike was through, and the winds had died (and so had the electric) I didn't pull out the knitting because I was exhausted. And not feeling like knitting by candlelight.

All is well though. Lots of large limbs down, and a broken storm door at the back of the house is all that happened to this old house of ours. We are lucky. And we are still bone dry too, not a drop of rain fell. How can it still be called a hurricane and still be dry? Ah weather, just like current stole knitting patterns, remain a mystery. Pictures of the mystery stole 4 in progress will be posted after I complete clue 2. I have just started that clue, so that will be soon....weather permitting.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Podcast Episode 18 photos

The Yarnspinnerstales August Spin-in podcast is up. You can find it here or through subscription on ITunes.

There's one thing I want to write about that I did not talk about on the podcast. The whole idea of the spin-ins is that I talk about whatever is on my mind this month, podcasting as I spin. I usually use either my Haldane, or Ashford spinning wheel. I have had several comments from listeners that they enjoy the fact that they can hear my wheel in the background as I spin.

Well, I did spin on my Haldane, while recording this yarnspinner tale, and during editing I noticed I could not hear the wheel. I had not changed anything as far as how I was recording, and was puzzled why it was not showing up in the background. It was finally the next day, as I was finishing a bobbin in order to ply the yarn, that I realized the Haldane was spinning very quietly. No rattles or wobbles like I am use to seeing, feeling and hearing. It dawned on me, that I had found the ideal combination of humidity, and heat, that put the wheel into it's perfect state. It was spinning like a Rolls Royce.

I find this amazing, especially the realization that I really will not have control over the environmental conditions in which this wheel lives, and that I have to enjoy the perfection when it arrives, and be glad for the lack of it when central heat dries the wood up again, for at least my listeners will be able to hear my wheel again.

I got busy and forgot to post the photos I talk about in the podcast. So sorry to those that stopped by, and didn't get to see the photos. Hope you come back later :)

I talk about two true rare breeds of sheep in this podcast. The first, California Variegate Mutant or CVM. This was the breed of sheep that actually started me on the collection of many sheep breed samples. I was part of an exchange, where I got samples from other spinners, with other rare breed fleece samples. I was able to locate both roving and raw fleece for the CVM breed, and so used those for my contribution to the exchange.

Here's a photo of the raw lock (upper left), the roving (upper right) and three small skeins spun from carded, combed and the lock.

This is a wonderful fleece to work with, especially if you find it already processed into roving. It's extremely soft, and comes in a variety of natural colors.

The second fleece I discuss is the Maine Island fleece I used for the Olympic spinning challenge on Ravelry. This recaps several of the blog posts on this project, and talks about my ups and downs while working with the fleece. Here's a photo of the three sample skeins I spun, two from drum carded roving and one from combed fiber.

Finally a photo of the pink superwash yarn, because for many podcasts now, I have been saying I am _still_ spinning this pink roving. I did finally ply two of the bobbins and ended up with 257 yards of a two ply yarn. It's really prettier in person than the photo, sort of a soft coral color instead of true pink. I like it but am not sure what I will be making with it. I still have probably 10 ounces left of the fiber, from the original pound I purchased.

There is extra music on this podcast too, just because I found so many songs I liked that talked about summertime. I hope others find the songs as much fun to listen to, as I did.