Friday, March 25, 2016

Progress and stuff

Hello, I am still here, working on the winter camp sweater, it has one sleeve, and half another sleeve to the mid point. Usually I knit the body till it is done and then return to knit the sleeves - but given this is being knit from a limited amount of yarn - I want to finish the sleeves and then knit the body until it is long enough or until the yarn runs out.

This is where I am so far, the size is classic Elizabeth Zimmerman eps (Elizabeth's percentage system). Usually that means the sleeves are always quite generous at the bicep - so I began the narrowing mid bicep, every sixth round until it was the right length for the arm and then added the cuff.

Other preparations for camp continue, today younger cub hauled out the 'family backpack', which dates from when her dad was in his twenties and toured UK. It is old (both parents are old Bear cross the six decade line a few years back) but useful (so is Bear) and saves us spending loads of $ on a smancy new one. Not being able to find her thermals meant younger cub had to clean her room a little, and in doing that she found another sweater that fits (just).


This is the sweater she found, it was a Gansey styled one I knit back in 2009 for her elder brother. It has his initials knit in, and has lasted well. turns out it was pushed to the back of the wardrobe as one cuff was raveling. A quick fossick around the garage yarn storage spaces turned out the cone of left over yarn. That means that sometime this week I will hook up the laddered stitches, frog back the cuff edge and reknit it, nice think about Ravelry and workbooks is that I can easily see what size needle I used.

All this camp knitting is me being very good and controlled, the year long project this year for study group is a colour work scarf, some are using multiple colours and working with colour choices, others are knitting with long dpns and a knitting belt. I am in that second category - and in preparation I ordered medium length dpns online as the ones I had were either too short or too fine for a scarf.

I ordered a set of 11 sizes from 1.5mm to 5mm in hollow stainless steel from Suppliescraft on EBay. Free delivery, stainless and all those11 sizes in a 13" length.

They come in a plastic case, which is slightly disappointing as I know the plastic will eventually go brittle. I thought from the sellers image it was a cardboard box or folder - which is what I intend to replace the case with soon. I may have to see how I can replicate the golden panda and text on the case - as it is pretty impressive. Part of me knows it probably just describes the contents - but as an outsider or other it seems strangely exotic. And while the case is a slight disappointed the needles seem excellent.

The case also came with a cute fan needle sizer and a yarn sized needle. I plumped for thisset after reading several reviews and recommendations on the knitting belt and Gansey forums on Ravelry. General theme of the comments seemed to be the needles are very good quality, the thinner ones bend after a while when used with a knitting belt, but that was to be expected with thin and or hollow needles when used with a belt. People also mentioned it was great to have a set of sizes to hand in the set.

I also ordered 14" stainless dpns from BobNWeave on Etsy, slightly longer and hopefully in the sizes I use most with fingering yarn that isn't being knit into socks. These come in interestingly labeled sizes - but only as the seller actually uses a micrometer to determine the real thickness and describes them actually. Not sure if these are hollow or solid - but th seller knits with a belt so that indicates they are sturdy enough.

The yarn for the colour work project is sitting tempting me, my dark green/blue slanted Sleeven that is mid project is also tempting me, but I am resolute - for now I am knitting the Winter Camp Cardigan and once it is done I will knit-all-the-things all the time.



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Call to action

Sometimes knitters get a call to action. Last week I was happily knitting on my dark green blue sock yarn slanted Sleeven and bam! Younger Cubs camp provision list came home -- listing two woolen sweaters or polar fleece tops were required.

Well! Turns out she has loads of hats, loads of woolen socks, and loads of mitts and gloves - but no long sleeved sweaters that fit her. Emergency stations as I dug through the stash (knew it was an essential to keep the stash stocks high) and found some good warm thick (for me) Aran weight merino mossum yarn. The colour choices were blue or brown, with some contrast of red, green and orange. Younger cub was not particularly enthusiastic about having a sweater knit - so the blue was kept for me and the brown, with green and orange highlights donated to the cause.

Sweaters knit in a hurry are simple, this one is a raglan, knit in the round, with stripes of the available yarns alternating until just brown remains to knit the lower edges. We both agree it might not be 'pretty' but it will be warm and it is knitted with lots of love. They will spend one night camping out in small pup tents - and it should have turned colder by then, warm and snug is the goal, together with finished.

The deadline is April, already the yoke is pretty much done.

I am using Techknitters jiggles stripes, the ones for three rounds or more, so far so good, my stripes started with three rounds and have increased to 6. I think they will stay at 6 - as carrying yarn further will require attention to twisting or securing the yarn floats.

On the outside the jog where the colour changes are pretty much joggless.


Excuse me whilst I head off to knit some more.

Na stella


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Small things

This year there has been knitting, last weekend was Unwind 2016, for the first time in years I didn't teach so had time to enjoy the event as a student instead of being on high alert about my classes being organized. I attended bookbinding with Jan who had completed a proper bookbinding apprenticeship - she was good and I learned little interesting details. I took a blending fibre class - with Suzie (deepcreek on Ravelry) who shared some rather wonderful insights into how to make small amounts of lovely fibre go further, and what to do with ugly colour of fibre too good to discard.


This was my all time favorite revelation, mixing a small amount of georgous-ness with a background colour to create a yarn with subtle variation and hints of the colour in different amounts. It looks like the stirations that occur in cliffs and other geographical landscapes. Just a note - that as all Suzies work not mine.

We also looked at gradients - of course. These I have done before but not from light to dark - my previous ones have been from shade to shade.

I have to say the samples are all Suzies, my own play was with a dark green that I had dyed but didn't speak to me in a lovely way. The rolags aure perhaps prettier in real life than the photo shows ... Mixed with a natural pale grey and a hint of sparkle there might be some promise in the green.

I also went shopping, and on Friday spotted some lovely buttons. On Saturday I brought with me all the yarn that was destined to become cardigans - and sorted buttons for each future cardigan. I cheated a little, as when I had matched all the potential cardigan yarn in stash to buttons - I bought another supply of cardigan yarn. From Dark Habour, the gradient pink called Mary Tudor, and went back for mor buttons. The soft blue green is also a cheat - I had one skein but ordered several more skeins from Holland Road Yarn to make a linen cardigan - I love the idea of a soft floppy linen cardigan that will be perfect for summer days. The buttons are from Buttons by Benji - Nicola Duffy, I also bought some in the Chinese style willow pattern becasue I have a soft spot for blue and white and beautiful, no cardigan planned for them but I suspect that won't be a problem for long.

In the goodie bag were tiaras - rather lovely ones, all metal and sparkle gifted by the lovelies at Outlaw yarns and which were worn most of the weekend by most of the delegates - I have never seen so many lovely Divas in one place before, and almost none acted like divas. Day one I lunched with Angela and her mum on the local organic health food shop cafe, all whole meal and healthy, think shades of natural dyes, - and overheard a wistful 'I have never seen so many tiaras in the shop before' from one of the staff. Also stashed was 220 grams of 50/50 blend of organic dark merino and alpaca lace weight (another featherweight cardigan), filla di cross linen cotton blend (swap shop goodness), the Mary Rose gradient (with two more skeins ordered to make a cardigan amount), a braid of sock blend fibre to spin from Vintage Purls, more 3mm needles (almost go to size for knitting with fingering weight if not making socks).

And then this last weekend there was knitting study group - where we were steeking using the crochet method. The sample was a mini cardigan/sweater - which I finished as a vest for Kit from American Girl Doll. The steek method was ok - but won't replace my hand sewn steek which I prefer. The pattern was for long sleeves - but I didn't know if I had enough yarn left (probably did) and thought it would be cute as a vest - besides I wanted it off the needles - it was a one day project. The yarn was from Skeinz, a lovely heritage merino 8ply, that was in my goodie bag. It was so nice I might have to aquir more to knit myself something.

Also on scored by Kit is a hat, this year the ongoing knitters study group project is a tubular fair isle or colourwork scarf. Lorna leads the group and after visiting Shetland earlier in the year she is working hers on long dpns with a knitting belt - I decided to join her. My colourwork with a left hand yarn carry is good - and I don't need to improve it but it is always good to practice new or different techniques. So I dug out my kniting belt, bought in Shetland in 2011, and my long stainless steel dpns and knit Kit a hat. I didn't know it was for Kit, but she fits it so she gets it.

The hat is a little large, hasn't been blocked and is probably a little firm as too gauge. I only had 2mm and 2.5mm 40 cm long dpns to hand but have ordered a set from eBay (free shipping and stainless steel) so can soon play with th yarn I bought for the scarfs. I knit the hat with what is called 2+1, so had the stitches on two dpns and used a third, beginning and ending each row were a tad tricky but not impossible. This differs to most dpn configurations where stitches are on three or four dpns and another is sued to knit. The old school was was apparently with three - but off course people are different so that is not to say some didn't knit with three+one, or four+one. I tried three. It found that two made for a less sticky out and pointy sharp dangerous arrangement - so for now I will work with two+one,


And the scarf, the idea is we meet up every month to work on a technique and also to share progress on our scarves and maybe inspiration or charts, and at the end of the year at the Christmas lunch/last class for the year we show off our projects. I bought a lovely pair of schoppelwool yarns, Admiral in plain dusky blue and zauberball 100 in Villa Rose.

As soon as the new needles arrive I can begin to play...

Take care. Na stella