Sunday, March 12, 2017

Knitting Needle Storage

Recently, my knitting needle storage went from this...

To this...

Each size has it's own bag. I sorted all the various straights, circulars and double points by size. The bags are contained on two giant separating rings. The two bundles do take up a little more space. BUT, I can actually see what I have now and easily search for what I need. I discovered that I had more of each size than I thought I had. Many never used. Not all of them very useful based on the type of projects I like to make. Then again now that I can find the right needles I might use them more.

I have to thank my friend Wendy for the idea.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weaving Software Workshop

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a one-day workshop with Robyn Spady on how to use weaving software. The software of choice this time was PCW Fiberworks.

Here is the cover of her workshop booklet. 

Robyn included both PC and Mac tutorials for us to follow. She had one of each platform set up and would switch back and forth on the monitor teaching the features and differences offered by both platforms.

My brain is a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities presented by using software to design weaving drafts. As much weaving as I've done I realize that I'm not sure I've done enough yet to fully understand all the weaving terms that would make using the software more efficient and fun. I am clear however that I REALLY need to take a paper drafting class. AND weave lots more!

The class was sponsored by the Studio 66 Workshop, of which I am one of the organizers. Robyn taught a 3-day weaving workshop on lace for us in February of 2016.

Closeup of my Bronson Lace.

My finished lace sampler.

Robyn is a wonderful teacher. It was great to have her back again. I highly recommend her workshops.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tony's Socks

I tried to darn my husbands old store-bought house socks. Disaster! First, repair yarn was too thick and really, the socks had just too many holes. They are after all 20+ years old.

Then I saw the Bulky Sleep Sock pattern from a class at Yarn del Sol. Loved the simplicity. So I bought yarn, Plymouth Yarn Encore Chunky, and started this week on my very first pair of socks.

Tony's socks are grey with brown toes, heels and cuffs.

My first short rows and provisional cast on. Neither was as difficult as I thought it would be. Although...

My provisional cast on using a crocheted chain gave me a little trouble. As you can see in the center of the photo below, I split the gray yarn of the crochet chain when I picked up the new stitch in brown yarn. It meant that when I finished the short row toe section I could not unchain the provisional cast-on easily to pick up the live stitches. I had to cut the yarn at each split stitch. There was more than one split.

I worked both socks concurrently on different needles. One sock with magic loop and the other with 2 circulars holding stitches and a third circular for the knitting.

I only had the right size needles in circulars of varying lengths. It is a little spidery but it's working out.

A whole toe! And if you look carefully some of the picked up stitches from the provisional cast-on chain are twisted (right side of brown toe at the color change). I guess I picked up the wrong leg of the live stitches. I didn't see it until I'd knit several more rows. I was able to place them on the bottom of the foot. None the wiser!

A heel! Identical to how the toe was made.

A whole foot!

Two feet. And I ended up buying a second set of needles with a long cable to do magic loop. The spidery multi-needle mess got to be unwieldy.

Finished. A very thick and warm pair of house socks for my best guy.
 Happy feet!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hitchhiker with Stripes & Beads!

Yarn del Sol, my local shop, hosted a knit-along for a beaded version of the Hitchhiker scarf. It's an asymmetrical triangular shawl with 42 points on one edge. A very easy knit. The knit-along included instruction on how to add beads at each point.

I purchased a skein variegated light teals (yarn on the right) from In The Deep Hue Sea at YDS.

These were my beads of choice.

Then I started and stopped for many months knitting very slowly.

I eventually got to about the 30th point and realized that I was going to run out of yarn to make all 42 points. I could have stopped anytime but for some crazy reason was determined to make all 42 points! So I dug into my stash and found the lovely variegated dark teal yarn (left in first photo at top) I had leftover from another project. It's Ranco from Arucania Yarns. It was almost the same grist and the color was a great match.

I had created this little chart to count my rows. You'd think I could remember an 8 row repeat in garter stitch with increases on only one side. But I could never figure out which side I was on whenever I stopped. The chart was my memory. I also used it to work out stripes using a very short Fibonacci (D/L=Dark/Light yarn) sequence.

And the finished result. I think it turned out just great.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Weekend Scarf

I always see these articles proclaiming that one can weave a scarf in a weekend. That has never been my experience until now.

Yarn...Bamboo Pop. 50/50 Bamboo/Cotton purchased at Yarn del Sol.

Starting Friday night - one hour to warp and dress my 10" Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom. Using direct warping method*, 8 dent reed, 64 ends, 3 yards long (2.7m). Start weaving.

Variegated warp with a solid weft. I wove about 10-12 inches per half hour.

Close up of loose weave. That's one reason why the weaving goes so fast.

4 hours total to weave 75 inches (190cm). Most on Saturday with the last 5 inches woven on Sunday morning. Cut off loom.

Twist fringe right away in just one hour. I love my fringe twister.

For easy care, throw in washer and dryer (to get full shrinkage of the bamboo/cotton yarn - about 14% shrinkage), press well with a hot iron and lots of steam. I wore it Monday morning!

You can weave a scarf in a weekend!

*Direct warping method. In 3 minutes. Or real time.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Studio 49 Retreat 2017 Challenge

I got this lovely creamy white Polwarth from the Studio 49 Retreat 2016 goodie bag. Two oz. of fiber. The challenge rules state that we can add up to 50% of other fiber if we want. I have this super soft natural grey BFL (Bluefaced Leiciester) roving that I am going to pair with the Polwarth. One ply of each, spun woolen with long draw. I haven't done a lot of long draw spinning so I thought I'd brush up my skills.

This bundle of fiber is for my sister who does not spin but does knit. And instead of fighting a deadline like I did for the 2016 retreat, I got started right away on spinning. 

The singles spun clockwise long draw.

And the finished yarn. Two ply, 334 yards, 4 oz. Still needs wet finishing.

For myself, I have 6 oz. of Polwarth to spin. The 2 oz. from the goodie bag and another 4 oz. I purchased. I may or may not add the BFL. The creamy white Polwarth is so pretty on it's own. I haven't decided yet what to do for my own bundle of fiber.

I have sampled different plies. Left to right, 4-ply cable, 3-ply (two plies of Polwarth and one of BFL), 2-ply (one ply each BFL and Polwarth), 2 ply both Polwarth.
Now I have to decide.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Weaving Demo

Ian's 4th grade teacher is teaching the class how to weave on a cardboard loom. It's part of a section on Native American studies they are learning about.

I volunteered to demo weaving on my Cricket loom. That's me showing samples. After showing the kids what I do, they got to weave on the loom themselves.

These are the finished samples. Each kid got to weave 2 picks of weft. The red sample is from Ian's Green team and the blue sample is from the Blue team.

I'm weaving off the rest of the warp and plan to felt the fabric to make coasters.