Sunday, September 28, 2014

The most exciting part of any project

is debatable, when I start a project I feel that finishing is the exciting bit, when I finish something I think starting is the most exciting. In the middle of the project starting something new and finishing both seem more exciting. Odd really, as I think of myself as a process knitter. But starting and finishing are key processes in a project, so maybe the emphasis shifts depending on where I am in the process.

The two scarves, woven from boy-sock remains are done, off the loom, hemstitched washed, and dried. The fringes are trimmed. Overall I had enough for one long scarf and a shorter piece of fabric, or two short scarves. Bear elected for two short scarves, at 132cm not including a fringe these will wrap around a neck and fold over across the chest.


Here are both scarves, one is for bear and one a gift to be put aside for when giving a scarf seems the right thing to do. I followed online advice and used a quilt makers rotary cutter to trim the fringes after washing and drying,

The next scarf is already on the loom, not the floor loom (Lesley) but the wee table loom. I am enrolled in a ten week weaving class on Monday nights. First week we prepared our warp, second week we put our warp on the loom, and threaded heddles, third week is this week we tie onto the front beam and I think begin weaving. The class is with Christine Keller, a local weaver who trained as a professional weaver in Germany. Her methods seem to contain many of the steps shown in books and online, but there are also lots of little special things that I've not seen mentioned before. Like using elastic to tie the warp threads in a bunch to the front beam to make picking them up from the cross on the lease sticks for threading the heddles easier, and putting a whip across the cross against the back beam. I'm not experienced - so these might be usual methods for many - but they were things I missed when I read books and looked online. The yarn is Handspun, I had one skein of chain ply with solid colours, and three skeins of barber pole three ply. The warp has seven one inch stripes, alternating between barberpole and chain ply. I've threaded up for a twill that changes direction with each stripe. As a newbie I think I know what that will give me - but seeing will confirm my thoughts.

Some time ago I knit both boys, bear and elder cub, a Hope they never need this hat, dark grey outside with a safety orange lining. The deal is if they ever got lost outdoors they could reverse the hat and be easier to spot by search parties. Why yes, I am a mother, how could you tell? For little cubs school camp she needed a warm hat, I vetoed taking the cashmere one, the Viking cable one, the Handspun tam, the Shetland tam ....pretty much any pretty hat, they wee either too lacy or too precious. So she borrowed one of the boy bears hats. While she was way I started to knit a girls version. All the safety orange is gone, so I chose bright pink sock yarn and paired it with an over dyed merino possum fingering. I also played with knitting the hat from the top, the previous hats were cast on and knit up, this one I wanted to knit from the top to other top in one go. This means no pesky pick up to do on a cast on edge ....seems to have worked, I will tidy up the chart and post it soon.

Little cub finished her Tardis socks in time for camp, I knit half of each up to the heel and both heels, she knit both legs and all the colour work. I am impressed - at twelve I don't think I was doing that, and especially not on socks at this gauge !

She loved the colour work, and talked about how the chart was only eight rows, and how exciting it was to see the windows and the words appear. We may have a convert to colour work.

During the past few weeks I didn't have much interest in knitting, a paper cut across the ball of one finger made holding needles and knitting weird. So I did other things, finished some long abandoned knit books, drew a little and sewed up the spare fish. The blanket now has 200 fish, and is much bigger. There are only a few fish left loose, and I need to knit another three to have enough to complete a row.


Paper cut is healed now, and I am thinking about knitting more fish. More than that I am thinking a bout the blanket, is it big enough, or shall I continue? At 90 cm square, it is a good lap blanket, not big enough to tuck around a sleeping or resting patient who lies ill on a couch, and not big enough for a cot. I don't know if in a more tepid about knitting more fish, or about weaving in all those ends and picking up and adding a garter broder, which means deciding what colour to knit it in. Being paralyzed about the decision - I declare it not finished and put it back in the work basket,

Somewhere along the line I remembered that I had been knitting a cardigan, it might have been after Shoebox Sally and I decided to knit Enchanted Mesa, by Stephen West as a KAL starting January the first 2015. We are nothing if not practicable about the timeline, that gives me time to finish Slanted Sleeven and find yarn to use and ShoeboxSally time to finish the Firth of fourth and find yarn. The Firth has us in Awe - being as it is pretty much two lace shawls back to back in that it uses lace weight yarn and is knit in lace, and needs two skeins ...the woman is mad in a way only knitters can admire.

That being organized I pulled out my slanted Sleeven, and finished a sleeve, only one more sleeve to go and the buttons to sew on. I have vintage glass buttons, almost beads, that don't quite match the red, reds are so tricky to work with, but are so pretty I have decided they will match. Anyway they are glass so the Sleeven colour will show through their translucency, I'm on leave this week so the sleeve is my travel project, we are away for a few days ....and if I only take Sleeven - then I will - have - to - knit- on - it - won't - I?

And I started my weeks leave by visiting the hard to find book shop ... They have things I must return for after our travel ....



Sunday, September 07, 2014

Knitting, stashing via remote acquisition, and workshops

Hello, today there is knitting, a sock, well two socks but only one photographed,and I have more stuff, acquired in a fun way. It's Sunday, after a weaving workshop Friday and Saturday, so I'm tired, and more knowledgeable at the same time as knowing I have a huge amount more to learn, before I can even begin to think I am in control of my weaving. Till then I feel like I'm careening around madly, enjoying myself, in true teen age style - I'm well past my teenage years, but there is a stage of any new hobby when one must be like a teenager, confident though lack of knowledge. And I'm reading, a newish book that makes me nod, and smile and go ahh!

Little cub and I continue to knit the pair of socks, she knits slightly slower than I and heads off to bed a few hours earlier so my progress is faster. She wanted me to point out the Tardis dress in the photo, with the right kind of blue. To even things out, she always picks up the longer sock, while I get to lengthen the shorter one. My plan was to work through the heel with her at my side, but the heel happened after her bedtime, so I knit both. She has done short rows before - it is a short row heel for speed and simplicity, so I am confident she could knit a heel if she had to. These are toe up, we are past the heels and onto the leg. We are only using the pattern for the tardish features, mostly the sock is FLK because it's easy and fits. The deadline is Friday - when school camp bags need to be dropped off at school and checked. The cubs don't leave till Monday so if we miss deadline one, we will aim at deadline two and she can wear them on the bus. It's lovely to see little cub knit a sock, I feel I've prepared her for the world.


This is the other shared project, last months knitters study group project was hyperbolic baby pants. I failed epic fail, the pattern calls for increases worked every 34 stitches or so and in such a way that markers can't be used, seems I can't reliably count to 34, having to stop and count again and again wore me out. I wanted my knitting to be more fun, so Zoomer took pity and offered to finish them for me. I totally took advantage of her offer, and last Thursday she delivered them back ready to work the waist and leg bands. These are quite fun, with a bulls eye (when worked in stripes) on the rear and horizontal stripes on the front. The pants used all of the 3x50g of yarn I'd put aside, so today I sorted a finer and coordinating grey green to work the bands in. I'm thinking a waist band with a fold over elastic channel, and leg cuffs as ribbing. If they are long they can fold up and be unfolded as the baby grows.

I wasn't able to get to KAN this year, that being Knit August Nights in Napier, small financial priority of elder cub being selected for an English and drama trip to NY and LA next year. We need to save, there is fundraising for the 'once landed costs' but we are to pay the airfare and accommodation so saving is in hand and that means no knitterly away trips for now. I realised that while I wasn't able to travel to KAN I could send my stash money with someone. M from Vintage Purls said she would happily shop for me, and home came with three skeins of merino alpaca fingering yarns, a tardish needle gauge, and this adorable owl kit. Love love love. Maybe I can find other knitters attending events I can't get to and give them spending $.

The weaving workshop went well, I apparently 'took on a lot' by warping my table loom in such fine thread, or so said many older and more experienced weavers in the class. I wanted to see detail and worried that by weaving with coarser thread the pattern would be scaled up and not in a good way. I guess I could have woven a narrower sample. I was the only one in the class who chose to warp up for monks belt - rosepath was the most popular. I had a slow start as being a complete beginner I hand misread the instructions and spent the first part of the class re threading. This was a day and a half of weaving, and five different lift plans - some which I love, others which I thought I would love - turned out meh when worked. I learned lots, about fixing broken warp yarns, weighting yarns, lashing on, and books that are now on my want list. Much of what I learned was from listening and talking, not what the class officially contained. There was a warping demonstration - which was good, as was the discussion around how others in the room did things and what was best for some types of yarn and want suited others. Underneath the drying sample is the spinning and plying from last week - also washed and drying. I'm still cold about the three ply with different shades of singles, preferring the cleaner look of the chain ply and wish I had chain plied it all - but I also know that knit (or woven) it will look very different.

Right now I'm reading this, after a review sparked my curiosity. I've always found people who are curious about their world the most interesting to be around. And further I've always been kind of bored by people who are not curious about anything at all. I really don't care what it is that people are curious about, mostly, but there is something about someone's curiosity that leads to excitement. I'm only part way through - but I love the way that curiousness and it's history, as well as how it is perceived has been explained. I teach in a design school - the students who's work is the most exciting seems to be fueled by curiosity - and I'd love to be able to foster more curiosity in my students. I also love the way he described a way of standing back and fostering curiosity as 'grandparent style', watching, keeping people safe, asking questions and saying mmm a lot, sort of acting like what is being learned is new and not already known, not demonstrating just letting learning happen in a set up environment.

Enough for now, it's Dr Who night here, so must go and join the other whovians, little cub tells me that is the official term for a Dr Who fan.