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.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Knitting Updates

I suppose it is only fair that if I get to post something that I am very proud of, I need to post the ones that I am not so proud about.

Recently I needed a very easy mindless type knitting project and when I was going through the stash yarn I found four skeins of this soft and pretty acrylic yarn. I found an afghan pattern in Quick Knitted Afghans called Cross Stitch Squares that I really liked. I knew that four skeins of yarn was not enough for a full afghan, I was going more for a wheel chair lap throw, or baby blanket.
The pattern is fun and easy to memorize and I was enjoying the knitting. The recently I had my knitting with me at my mother in-law's house and she just raved over it. But when she took it out of my hands, what she did was through it around her shoulders, like a shawl. And insisted it was just the right length and would be just perfect for something to throw on in cool air conditioned resturants. Well. I first tried to talk her out of it, saying that it was too square in shape to really work, and she kept saying, oh it goes around my shoulders just fine. See, she's not a knitter, and had no idea that the reason it went around her shoulders just fine was because the knitting was bunched up on a circular needle, giving it that nice round shaping. I knew if I just cast off it would be a rectangle and not fit at all.

But I relented and said that I would have to do a few more rows on it, only increasing the length some. I knew during those rows I was going to have to figure out how to create a shoulder shaping 'after the fact'.

So I discussed it with my daughter, who is more of the knitting designer than I, and also consulted a sweater pattern with a circular yoke style. I was trying to get an idea of how many stitches I could go down over about 10 rows.

The final outcome of that was I took the shawl down from 140 stitches to 64 stitches over the ten rows. I followed the garter stitch pattern that was used at the beginning of the afghan, so it would match that. except that I purled on the wrong side on the three stitches used in the decreases. This made the decreases show up more, following the obvious block look of the body. Finally I cast off, made a loop and found a button and now have a shawllette to give my mother in-law.

A close up of the decreases:

I say I am not proud of it, not because the knitting is bad. It just really bothers me to be stopped mid way during a project. I can't even say I enjoyed the challenge of the design, because I didn't. It did turn out nice and soft, but I have a thing about acrylic garments. You can't really block them and it looks very unfinished to me for that reason. I don't mind that in a blanket, I do mind it in a garment. And I did not achieve the stash busting goal, I now have two skeins of the yarn which I know is not enough for even a baby blanket. I am still thinking about what to do with the yarn.
Other knitting news, I am working on a very fuzzy project, so it may lanquish awhile until the heat dies down. This is in Knit Picks Suri Dream in the color Woodlands. The pattern is Lacey from Knitty.
I am going to look like a big fluffy teddybear in this, but I probably will not wear it outside of the house. This is my solution for the extreme chilliness of my house in the winter and the fact I can not be under a blanket all the time. So I am making a wearable blanket.
What you see in the photo is a sleeve. The pattern is done with the magic loop method and starts at the cuff of one sleeve and continues to end at the other cuff. It's been a bit of a challenge for me since I had never done the magic loop knitting. It was very slow going until I got about six rows done and then everything sort of fell into place and the knitting has not been hard at all. I am interested to see how the how thing knits up. I know it's been really nice to be able to slip the sleeve on and check the fit as I knit. The cuff is intentionally tall in the pattern and I followed that part of the pattern, I think it will help the sweater stay on better to have a cuff halfway up to the elbow.

But as long as the heat lasts (and it's been very hot here for weeks now) I will stick to knitting socks and cotton washclothes.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Non wool fibers part 2

I just discovered tonight that this post was still saved as a draft and not really posted. My apologies to those that came to see the photos connected with the podcast episode 32 Silk soy and milk.

These are fibers for spinning of course, not food. It's part 2 of our non wool fiber podcasts. We talk a little bit about silk, since it was also covered in a previous episode. We focused on the soy fiber, talking about how to spin and dye it. And also a bit on the milk fiber. All of these fibers belong with protein fibers group, and dye like wool, with the exception that they should not be held at heat above 200 degrees.

Both my daughter and a vendor Natural Obsessions have a knack for dyeing these fibers. Here's a few pictures to prove it:

100% milk fiber, dyed by Natural Obsessions:

100% silk, dyed by my daughter:

100% soy silk, dyed by my daughter:
And my daughter spins it well too! 100% soysilk

Natural Obsessions http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Shop&seller_id=28031