Monday, July 30, 2007

New Take-along Project

Since the Wimple is finally off my back, I have started a new take-along project. It is one of the most challenging (not really difficult, just keeps your attention) pattern. It's the Bayerische sock by Eunny Jang. The yarn is KnitPicks Bare Superwash Merino/Nylon Fingering Weight that I dyed purple last year. I'm using 2 KnitPicks size 0 circular needles instead of five DPN's. I've never tried this, but when I got the call to take care of my step dad, I just grabbed the yarn, pattern, and my folder of KnitPicks circular needles. I think I like the technique, especially for travelling. Anyway, here's a picture of the ribbing plus 3 repeats of the pattern.

I've made several mistakes, but the pattern seems to be able to hide a multitude of sins, so that works good for me. I think one more repeat and I will be starting the heel.

Wimple is Completed

The wimple is totally done. The pattern is from Knitting in America. There is a reprint called America Knits. I finished knitting it about a month ago but didn't have time to block it until now. All the while I was knitting this, it smelled like vinegar. It's 3 skeins of hand-dyed, superwash wool sock yarn called Wildfoote from Brown Sheep Co in the Ragtime colorway. So, before blocking it, I decided to wash it good with synthropal. It looked like had been cooking beets. Here's what I got.

I was still getting quite a bit of red. I was beginning to wonder if I would end up with a light pink wimple. So, I threw a glug of vinegar into the water, soaked it for an hour, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and nuked it in the microwave for 6 minutes. I figured if the dye wasn't set before, it was now. Well, here's the wash afterwards.

Hmmm. I finally threw it into the machine through 2 full cycles and the water finally ran clear. There must have been a lot of excess dye, because the color didn't change. I'm really surprised that my hands didn't turn red while I was knitting it. Anyway, I blocked it outside on some construction materials (rigid poly insulation)

Here's the finished product

(Note the lovely model in her nightgown at 3 am. who HATES getting her picture taken) I had to do a little steaming to flatten out the sides where it was folded in half. It worked pretty slick.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Back from the Ether

Hi All. Whoever thinks that Minnesota is to cold a place to live, they should visit in the summer. It has been in the 90's every day for over a week and it looks like it will stay that way for a least another. When I was younger, nobody had air conditioners. Didn't need them. Well, we sure need them now.

It's amazing how much I missed my computer. I've been without computer access for a little over 2 weeks and I felt a little out of touch. I found that I could easily live without it, but I didn't WANT to. Kind of like electricity. When the power goes out, it's kind of fun for the first day or so. After that, you really begin to miss it. Anyway, I'm back for a while.

The reason I was gone is that I was taking care of my step dad. I'm all he has since my mother died last year. He's had dementia for a few years and it's getting worse. My mother had many physical ailments but her mind was still sharp. Both of them together made a working couple. Now that his "brain" is gone, it's pretty tough on the old guy. Anyway, he pulled a stunt and I decided I had to see what was going on. For the first week or so, I organized his house. They have lived there for 17 years and, although the place is neat and tidy with all their crap stored away, every cupboard, shelf, and closet was filled. So, without moving things around too much, I reorganized stuff so he could easily find and get at things. While I was grabbing rags to clean out the freezer after I defrosted it, I found this in the rag bag.

It's the first ever embroidery that I did. I used to visit an elderly lady went I was young. She lived by herself in a trailer a few blocks away. She was a rabid craft person: embroidery, crocheting, etc. I showed an interest and she taught me how to embroider on a printed dish/tea towel. It did this in 1969. I was amazed how good it looks after being a cleaning cloth for who knows how long. I brought it home with me.

After that first week, I managed to get my wheel to his house and was able to spin on the down time. I managed to finish spinning the singles for my shawl.

I think it turned out pretty good. It was a tough blend to spin, though. The color did turn out the way I wanted it. Hope it looks as good when plied.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Spinning for Shawl

Hi, All. It has been a madhouse around here lately. I have finally gotten started on the spinning. It has been a real experience trying to get these fibers to work together. I have spun all of these types separately before, but never such a wildly blended mess. So here's the saga and what I've learned:
Here's the layered batts, more slippery than you can imagine.
I rolled the layered batts around a dowel for (supposedly) easier handling.
Here's an attempt at dizing using a very large hole (CD)
Here's some very poor top created by the above dizing.
Here's the whole mess (10.5 ounces) mixed up in a giant tub.
Here's the final mix.
I separated the whole mess into 2 plastic zip-locks.
I grab a handful, pull it into a foot or so long piece of roving. High-tech tweaking of my brake band for lace weight spinning.

About 1/3 ounce spun up. It goes real quick.


What I have learned:

A batch of fibers consisting of 33% wool, 33% alpaca, 17% mohair, and 17% silk is SLIPPERY!!!!!! It will not "behave". It will fly in your eyes, up your nose, and in your mouth. It will attach itself to your clothes permanently unless it sees a food dish and then it will then happily release from your clothes into said dish. Basically, it will get into and onto everything in the room you are preparing it in. No matter how much water I used to "mist" it into submission, it still remains wild.

The "grab, draft, and spin" methods works very well. It forces you to take breaks which lets helps defeat any repetitive stress problems. That's good because when I spin big hunks of good roving, I tend to spin until I can't feel my hands.

Anyway, this stuff is turning out very "organic" and wild, just like the moth. I think I am pleased. I hope it blooms some when I finish it. I'm not spinning it very tightly, so maybe I'll get lucky.