Sunday, January 25, 2009

Now THAT's a Wrap

I can finally show what has occupied my knitting time this week.

A friend (hi, Marilyn) sent me some lovely wool yarns including 5 balls of (discontinued) wool boucle in an amazing mix of slate, burgundy, and gray that begged to be something warm and cushy.
I figured that there might be enough for a large scarf, or a small shoulder shawl and was pleasantly surprised to find that it went further than I expected.

The finished shawl is about 60" (5') across, not quite huge, but definitely not mini!

The ball band called for size 8 (US) needles. I used 10s for a gauge of about 3 stitches/inch.

Here's a better shot of the yarn and the color (it's accurate on my monitor). After the last end was woven, I threw it around my shoulders. Mmmm, warm!

This one is destined for Cheyenne River Elder Nutrition Center. I thought that I had a photo of the other shawl so that I could do the linky thing now that I have figured out how, but I can't find it. Poop!

The particulars: 525 yards of worsted weight boucle (Cleckheaton Nature Wool Boucle). Size 10 (US) needles. Cast on 3, increase 1 stitch every row (I used k2, yo, knit to the end) until almost all the yarn is used up. Bind off very loosely.

How to get picture to me: Readers who would like to submit photos of their Heet the Feet or Blanket Blitz stuff can email them to me: abmcmanusATverizonDOT net.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's a Wrap!

Or perhaps, a mat.

But in any event, my first woven piece (absolutely, positively, a "practice piece") is finished.

I cut it off the loom yesterday and began the process of tying the warp threads into itty bitty (4 strand) fringe.

Hand cramps, be damned!

I finished up the knotting this morning, took one last photo, and came here to talk about it.

You can get an idea of the color here (though it looks more than a little washed out in the flash photo. The warp is ecru crochet cotton (size 10, I think) from a leftover ball that was sitting in the "cotton bin" forever. Used the whole thing up, then called the warp Wide Enough. (I had no idea what I was weaving --or in fact, what I was doing--but it seemed a logical way to start a Practice Piece.)

The weft is some big box "dishcloth cotton" that I had on a cone. I dyed it with sassafras. You can see the process here and the finished product here.

My edges aren't even, but then I haven't done the final "finishing" (washing in hot water to even it out a bit--somewhat akin to blocking a finished knitted item).

The "float pattern" is interesting. The "floats" (the longer wefts) are pretty on the front, but the back has some long (too long?) warp threads that would be sure to catch on something if this were meant to be worn or used hard (like a blanket).

So I learned something that isn't in the book. Though looking at the photos in my book, it's kind of obvious (now that I've done it).

One last shot of what I consider to be a very pretty Practice Piece.

I am already thinking about what I will do next. It will be wool (or at least Not Cotton), that much I know. I'd like to get a feel for weaving with other fibers.

I have bunches of sock yarn that I plan to employ as warp, and I'm thinking that the 4 balls of Jaeger Roma that I bought at Smiley's to knit a scarf for the Daughter In Law might weave up nicely. It's a "sproingy" sort of yarn, Viscose, nylon, angora blend. I have 500 meters, which should make a substantial scarf (or scarf and hat). Or maybe I'll weave a wrap in mohair.

I just know that for now, I want to explore.

The Other Half asked about time. How long does it take to weave vs. knit. I could have knit a piee this size (roughly 8" X 19") in a day or two. I started this on January 4, so 20 days ago. The actual weaving took a couple of hours, but it's not especially portable (whereas knitting is usually very portable) and (at least for now), weaving (for me) is a pretty solitary occupation. I can talk, I don't need to concentrate too very much, but the place I have chosen to weave (in my "studio") isn't really set up for entertaining. There's no chair (besides mine) and no real space to put one.

I'm hoping to rectify that very soon.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Day Of Service

MLK Day is a paid day off for me. There are service activities all over the area. (I helped coordinate a couple of them, in fact.)

For my own Day of Service, I am working on a shawl that I will donate to the Elder Nutrition Center at Cheyenne River Reservation. It's made of Cleckheaton Wool Boucle in a tri-blend of slate blue, burgundy, gray, and a black binder thread. Sort of a dull conservative color, but warm.

As for winter in eastern PA, it has devolved from the fanciful Currier and Ives snowy landscape of December to something more ominous and Stephen King-like. Remember The Shining? Hell, I'm living in it! It needs to stop snowing. Now!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sock Sweater, He Is Finished!

The pooling doesn't look so bad in the photos.

This is the sweater front.

And here is the sweater back.

To recap: Ann Budd's raglan from her Handy Book of Sweater Patterns in a 26" chest. This sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up.

The Yarn: Lion Magic Stripes. I got a bargain. The yarn for this sweater cost $3.98 (2 balls--100 grams each--at $1.99 each). The color is called Sea Blue Pattern.

I used size 3 and 4 (US) needles.

And for those keeping score, here's what was left. Thirty-eight grams.

So, 3-50 gram balls would not be enough. Two 100 gram balls would be, though I don't think there's enough left for matching socks.

It was fun, relatively mindless.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In Which It Becomes Clearer

Amy, in a comment, sort of questioned my wisdom sanity when she said, "I never thought you would be doing the sleeves this way; I assumed you were going to pick up stitches around the armhole. I would be scared to death of getting it sewn in right," but take a look.

Ann Budd has the knitter (that would be me) make three tubes, one short and fat, two long and skinny and then join them all on a single circular needle for what EZ used to call "the Grand Finish.

Here they are all joined and I am rapidly decreasing (8 stitches EOR) to the neck.

I've got a bit of interesting (or nasty, depending on your POV) pooling going on. I will have to let it dictate which side will be the front and which the back before I get to the neck shaping.

And in answer to Amy's other question (about amount of yarn), I have broken into 2 100 gram balls (600 meters) and it looks like there will be leftovers. This is a 26" chest.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not a Sock

Sock yarn. It's wool. It's washable. It's not just for socks.

It the recent past, I have used sock yarn (Kroy and others) to make all sorts of Not Socks. Mittens, hats, baby sweaters. Anything that needs the softness of a fine wool yarn and the sturdiness (and washability) of the sock yarn wool/nylon blend.

You can search the archives for some of them. There's a Zimmerman February Sweater in geranium pink that shows off the lovely lace. There is a hat and mitten set that I entered in the fair in a multicolor striped Regia (I think). And of course, there's a Baby Bear Poncho (and matching booties, but they are sort of socks, aren't they?) in a gray-green Kroy 4-ply that a friend sent me a couple few years back.

So it should come as no surprise that I have a pretty significant stash of sock yarn on the shelf.

Regular readers will recognize the sweater in the works. It's a 26" chest raglan. Currently planned as a 2009 fair entry. Destined to become a Tiny Prince Skin TM. When he gets a bigger chest.

I have finished the body to the armpit (top photo) and have some nice (about 50%) progress on the first sleeve.

It's snowing here, and I feel the beginning of a cold coming on, so I think I will retreat to the "studio" and work on the socksweater and maybe mess around with the loom a little.

Care to join me?


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Princely Paws

The Tiny Prince got a pair of mittens in the mail. A couple days later, his mama emailed to say that
Oh, no!
One of the mittens was MIA! Missing.In.Action. somewhere. And nowhere to be found.

So, Mammo (that would be me) whipped up another pair, just like the first pair. And
Guess what!

The first mitten reappeared. Wet, and dirty, but back from wherever little boys' mittens go in the winter. Found. On a bush. Probably put there by some kind stranger.

Good thing they are washable!

And now, instead of one, or even three, the Tiny Prince has four mittens and warm hands.

The end.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More Good Stuff

Did I mention that my loom came with totally beautiful, totally unuseful silk thread. Very fine. Very pink?

With the Other Half's okay (he likes me happy and hates wasting money), I returned the silk and got 2 cones of blue chenille, two cones of pale gold chenille, a pound of white 8/2 cotton, a pound of yellow ditto, and some linen warp.

And a book. With lots of cool projects and tips and such. I think I'll skip the chapter on "choosing a loom." That's already been done.

And some change. Not a lot, but some.

Had to work later than usual today, then had a longer drive home than usual, so I didn't do anything with my new stuff.

Tomorrow is another day!

Some answers to comments:

Dragon Knitter asked, "i'm in. i've got a pair of socks on the needles (well one, lol) that i was gonna send to A4A, but i think i'll give it to y'all instead. is superwash wool ok? "

++Superwash is great. Warm and washable. What more can we ask of socks?


Nanna said, "Our knitting resolution is very similar. It's been pointed out to me that I haven't knitted for me in a long time & this needs to change. So- this yr will see me doing more me knitting from the stash. How exciting - this means we will have to go out & celebrate together wearing our knits.

++When I first read this, I thought you said "kilts." Dang! Yes, knits! We sure will! knits


Beth in MN asked, "What pattern did you use for the colorful slippers, woman? :-) "

++Pattern is called T-Minus Slipper Sock and can be found here.


dragon knitter commented, "i tend to go for bright primary colors when the sex is undetermined. Rainbows are us around here (ofcourse, ilikee the tie dye, lol) "

++Me, too, but not for this project this time. I need a light weight cotton blend and this yellow was the right weight and cotton/ack. Washable, cooler than other "baby" yarns. It only came in limited colors and this was the least evil. I could do red for a baby, but not orange. At least not for this baby.


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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Warp Speed-Update

is actually quite slow. . .

Remember how I said I was going to spend Sundays all year by first Doing Something For Me?

I may rethink that one.

Seriously. I spent the better part of the day warping about 1/3 of the width of the Flip. I'm sure that it will get easier with practice. (And the fact that I won't try doing on the floor again is sure to help.)

And now, I can truthfully say that I am completely warped. . .or at least the loom is.

Real weavers will probably snicker when they read it, but I used crochet cotton for the warp. If my Webs order comes tomorrow (not likely), I will use the cotton chenille (yes, that stuff I swore I would never, ever buy more of) for the weft. If it's not here, I have decisions to make involving wool, acrylic, and other stuff.


Selfish Sunday Number 1

So, how's it going?

I did not cast on the pink dusty rose tweed aran this morning.

Instead, I got up a little late (7, that's late for me) and assembled my loom. Not that it was difficult (once I figured out what the directions meant and discovered that a crochet hook helped the process along), but it was time consuming.

I'm counting that as "fiber stuff for me" and have cast on a baby gift sweater in Red Heart TLC Cotton Plus (from Smiley's). Yellow, because the parents don't wish to know if they are getting blue or pink until it's actually here, and so, they will be getting lots of yellow.

Warping will commence after breakfast. Stay tuned.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Third Day of the Year

I started a sweater for the Tiny Prince in LB Magic Stripes. It's stuff I bought from a serious sale bin at Ollie's, a few months back. I bought 4 which is twice what I need, but I didn't have the pattern handy and wasn't taking any chances--total outlay: $7.96--see where I was?

My plan was to make Johnny from the Berroco site but 1) I hate seaming and 2) I don't like the drop shoulders. Plus, I was a bit concerned about how this self-patterning stuff would work knitting back and forth. I may still swatch that.

So I grabbed my Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and started the Child's Raglan in the smallest (26" chest) size which is very big for the Tiny Prince right now, but since this is 6 st/in, so I expect to be at it for a while.

The striping wasn't obvious in the ribbing, but it's showing up nicely now that I'ves switched to stockinette. On my monitor, I can see the two shades of blue, sort of a slate and a teal between the rounds of tweed.

I have Nothing Else on the needles right now. Nothing. Feel my forehead. Am I running a fever?

I have a(n) FO to report though.

I knat up this dish/facecloth in Sugar 'n Cream last night while watching a rather strange (even for Tim Robbins) movie, The Secret Life of Words.

There's not a lot of action. Heck, there's no action. There's a little bit of kissing (both kinds), and one full-frontal nude flash that really is necessary to the story.

Not a kid movie. Not a chick flick. I'm not sure where I would place it. Not sure how I will rate it when we return it on Monday.

Thought provoking. Sort of "green," sort of anti-war.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cast On a New Year (Some Resolutions)

"Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Oscar Wilde

Ah, let the wild(e) casting on begin!

This (2009) will be the year of the Selfish Sunday. No knitting will be done for anyone other than me until/unless, I have first knit at least a little for the First Person, Singular. That means, that the first thing I knit every Sunday will be something I alone will wear or use.

It does not necessarily mean that all of my Sunday knitting will be for me (though it certainly might be), only that I will knit (or weave) for myself first. On Sunday. And any other day I care to.

Regular readers may recognize a breakthrough!

The picture above is from Debbie Bliss Celtic Knits. The yarn is London Tweed by Needful Yarns. Pink, but not "pinque" (that baby girl, bubble gum, mental hospital walls color that makes me gag). This might just be the "go to" sweater of 2009.

There are other possibilities. I need to sort through them. I figure, I have until Sunday.

My Resolutions of the fibery kind are really short and simple: 1) to use up some stash (it's become an embarrassment) 2) to learn a new skill (I'm banking on weaving for that one). There are other resolutions, or rather improvements, in the plot, but they are private, and so I will not spill them here.

Here's what I said on January 1, 2007:

"I, personally, will be bit more conservative in my yarn buying. I will continue to be ultra-liberal in my politics, however. [edit to add: That conservative part didn't happen.]

I'd like to get my stash confined to the cubes I have (and maybe the 3 more that I still have to assemble). [ETA: Through the judicious use of squashing, and the addition of the cubes, that actually did happen despite the huge increase in the stash.]

I'd like to knit up (enjoy, IOW) the wonderful yarns I already have stashed. [ETA: I worked on it, I did it some, but not nearly enough.]

I'd like to share (i.e. give away, donate, sell) the yarns that I no longer consider wonderful. [ETA: I actually did that with some bags and balls of novelty stuff. I don't know why I bought it, or so much of it, in the first place.]

And I'd like to lose 25 pounds. [ETA: Well, we know where that went!]

None of these resolutions will come easy.I absolutely will attempt entrelac this year. [ETA: I did!] I possibly might try spinning.[ETA: I didn't.]

In the meantime, and on another knitting front,

It's time for 2009 Heet the Feet for Cheyenne River Reservation.

Every January, our Yahoo group has a sock/slipper/bootie drive for Cheyenne River Reservation. The object is to provide foot warmth for those in need.

The specifics: All sizes, all color, all kinds. Hand made or purchased. Mail by February 15 to create a "blitz" of warm foot covers.

If you want in, leave me a comment.

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