Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Everything in Cans Cans!

First of all, thanks for all of the wonderful comments on Cobblestone and the Shetland singles. (Also for that novel-length spam comment, which was so impressive that I've kept the notification email.)

Melissa asked what I'd do to tighten up the yoke. If I'd decided I'd wanted to do that, I suppose I might have tried going down a needle size and/or decreasing a bit more. I'd probably also work a few more garter ridges. I suspect it would be a trial and error process, perhaps with almost as much error as trial.

Bex was curious about the weight of my spindle, and how I'm spinning such fine singles on a spindle that looks so heavy. The spindle may look heavier in the photos than it really is. It's an Ashford spindle that weighs 1 oz, which (in my limited spinning knowledge), is about on the cusp of how heavy I'd want something to be for spinning singles that fine. Truthfully, I have been thinking about getting a lighter spindle. Each of the colors of Shetland were between about 20 grams and 1 oz (about 28 grams), and with each one I noticed that I got very frustrated at the end, with lots of spindle dropping. I thought it might be fatigue or boredom, but thinking about it, I suspect that it was just the spindle getting too heavy to reasonably spin singles that thin.

Of course, the real technological solution I aspire to one day owning is a spinning wheel. Even if I got a lighter spindle, I suspect that I still wouldn't feel comfortable spinning more than an ounce or so of singles this thin at a time. That's a frustratingly small amount, and while I enjoy the process, it can get discouraging to find that I've spent an entire weekend afternoon spinning, only to make it through a fraction of an ounce. So, ya know, if you know of 74 people who want to buy hat patterns, send them my way! That should cover what I haven't already saved for the wheel I want. Or, stepping back into reality, if anyone has recommendations for good light (.5 - .75 oz.) spindles, do share! I don't really want to pay for fancy finishes or materials. As pretty as fancy spindles are, I mostly want to acquire a well made, well balanced tool that will make those last 5 - 10 grams of each ounce more pleasant to spin.

Back to spinning soon. First, Happy Anniversary!

Anniversary Socks

Anniversary Socks

These are the Anniversary Socks, designed by Nancy Bush, found in the book Favorite Socks. I knit them with Lisa Souza Merino Sock in the color Sage. They were a delight to knit, and are a treat to wear. I did have some issues with the pattern, though. First of all, I truly don't understand why there is not a chart included in the book. The way the lace is written out is difficult to follow, and I was able to hand draw a chart in mere minutes with a pencil and graph paper. If you knit these, do yourself a favor and do the same. My other beef was with the heel turning instructions, which I'm fairly sure are wrong. When I followed them exactly, I ended up with something that was off center. I actually ended up ripping back the whole heel flap, because the eye of partridge flap was too horizontally compact. I re-knit with the more usual heel flap slip stitch pattern, did the turn without the book's instructions, and was much happier with the results.

I now have the Happy Anniversary Song stuck in my head, and thanks to Google, know that it originates with The Flintstone. (Or perhaps they just popularized it?) I've had it in my head since yesterday, and at first was convinced that it had to be something I got from The Simpsons. Sorry, Fred and Wilma. Forgive me?

Of course, that cheesy song strung along a bunch of other cheesy songs, all of which are bouncing around off the inside of my skull like pinballs. The worst offender? The Shoprite Can Can song. (Though it's too bad that version of the commercial doesn't have the dancing cans. Now that's classic.) All of the worst music of my childhood is fighting for squatter rights in my brain! Help! (Who knew socks were so powerful.)

Back to fiber, here is some new spinning:


Redwood Singles

This is BFL from Spunky Eclectic in the colorway Redwood. I'm a bit concerned that it's pinker in sections than I'd like, because the intended recipient does not like pink. (It's hard to tell from the photos because I was headed into a darker section.) I do think the singles are spinning up a bit darker than the top, so perhaps the plied yarn will be darker than the singles. Either way, it's absolutely gorgeous, and if it doesn't work for my friend, I will be delighted to use it for something for myself.

That's it for now. I think the new issue of The Anticraft is coming out soon, so the big secret project reveal may be just around the corner. Whee!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


cobblestone unmodeled

Cobblestone Modeled

Cobblestone Pullover, designed by Jared Flood, from the Fall '05 Interweave Knits.

I used Harrisville Highland yarn, in the color charcoal, on size 6 and 7 (US) needles. It only took 5.75 skeins, including my swatch! The only major thing I changed was the sleeves. I knit the 2nd size (43.5"), which I think has you cast on for sleeves that are over 11" in circumference at the cuffs. I purposely knit them tighter than that, but even at 10", Alex and I both agreed that they were ridiculously loose. I cast on again, with 10 fewer stitches, for a circumference just over 8", knowing that I could block it a bit wider if necessary. I increased a bit more often than I otherwise would have for the rest of the sleeve, and all turned out well.

My biggest concern with this sweater was the garter stitch. Garter stitch likes to stretch vertically, and I didn't want the sweater to stretch out of shape -- especially since the garter is at the top, with the weight of the rest of the sweater pulling on it. As I was working the yoke, I tried to measure it while holding the sweater up, so it would be slightly stretched. It was tricky, but I think I made the right choice. Still, if I was going to change one thing about the sweater, I probably would have tightened up the yoke a bit more. Alex declares the sweater perfect, though, so I will leave it alone and be happy.

Some more photos:

Cobblestone Modeled
All those outdoor poses, and one of my favorites is a silly one I snapped while he was taking his shoes off, after the fact.

Cobblestone detail

Cobblestone short rows
short row detail

I'm again in love with this yarn. I put the sweater on to transport it to the basement for its first pre-blocking wash, and didn't want to take it off. It's got that perfect fuzzy, woolly feel to it, and is so warm and substantial. I'm pretty sure I'm going to use it for the next sweater I make for myself.

After the sweater was done, I spent a lot of time spinning. First I finished up the cream colored Shetland singles:

cream Shetland
448 yards!

I couldn't choose which photo to use, so here's another:
cream Shetland on niddy noddy

Here are all four shades together:
Shetland sampler in progress

I've since finished spinning the dark brown singles, too, and am waiting for some red BFL to arrive. So far the plan is a colorwork hat. I think that I'll use the 3 darker colors of the Shetland as the background, with the foreground design in cream. Then I'll line the hat with nice, soft BFL. This, of course, assumes that I will be able to successfully ply these singles and that they'll be about the right weight, and even enough for stranded colorwork that doesn't look like it was knit with my toes or earlobes. And if it all turns out nicely enough, I even know who's getting the hat. (I even chose red for the BFL especially for her.)

I do need to be careful with my spinning. I realized that I tend to lean towards the right when I spin, which was causing soreness in my back and right leg. The solution is to practice standing with my weight evenly distributed, feet shoulder width apart, and all those other things they taught you in middle school gym class that you thought you'd never use. Well, except I'm not doing squat-thrusts while spinning, no matter how humorous that sounds. I also won't have my last name written across my shirt, and will be in no danger of forgetting my locker combination.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007


I'm in that post-project slump, which ironically (and annoyingly) usually seems to come before the project is technically done. I "finished" Cobblestone (just need to block it), and with it came the false feeling of accomplishment that I've tied up all loose ends in my life. Clean slate! (Shh... don't burst my bubble.) Here's a photo of Cobblestone before it was done, but when it was close. Alex was doing a funny dance. Everything will look better when blocked, though I suspect the funny dance cannot be improved upon:


See how lazy I am? Couldn't be bothered to crop or tweak. Pure, unadulterated funny dance. With sweater.

I was reassured to find that the sweater was too big on me. It's the small things in life, isn't it? It should be obvious that if it fits Alex, it will be too large on me. But like a child at the zoo, who won't believe it's really a tiger until she she sticks her fingers through the bars to see what the big kitty does, I have to try things on. And be so lazy that I get my hair, the camera cord, and all possible yarn ends in the photo, and don't care:

it's a long way down

I am amused that that photo gives the impression that I'm a tall redhead. Who ever thought such an unflattering angle of one's body could yield such unintentionally flattering (in the imaginary way) results?

Well, that's enough content for a lazy blog post. At least enough knitting content. I'll be back with the whole shebang after it's blocked. To answer Rachel's question from the last post, yes, I was listening to The Good Housekeeping Marriage Book. (And how unlazy of me to dig the link up again!) I didn't listen to every second of it, as it did start to get old towards the end. But I highly recommend at least chapter 3 (Ought I To Marry?) if you feel like listening to only one chapter. It's a brilliant combination of jaw-droppingly horrific ideas, combined with a discussion of genetics and inheritance that frankly surprised me with its level of sophistication, given the source and era.

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