Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Bit of Everything Thrown Together

Last week, I finished my pair of socks (dubbed Blueberry River socks) because I used a "waffle/woven" knit stitch for the cuff but used a specific guidelines* for the "Riverbed Architecture" sock. And the color is variegated with varies blues and purples.

Blueberry River socks

And since those socks were my "train knitting", I started a brand new pair of socks using the same Riverbed Architecture guidelines, because
a) I have the same exact yarn but a different color
b) I only have one skein of that color and I know that I need only one skein for a pair of socks using the Riverbed Architecture.

I'm not sure what to call it since the colorway are purples and yellows.

As a costumer, I find it fascinating that as part of the knitting process, you're building the fabric (from the ground up) to wrap succinctly around a 3D object, instead of taking a flat piece of fabric and manipulating it to fit around a 3-D object.

Drop Spindle:
I'm getting better at the drop spindle. I've been keeping a notebook of progress for each set of rovings/top spun. I've more than tripled my first attempt of the measly 12 yards. I'm only using the drop spindle about 10 minutes a day, but it's helped. My hands are getting a better 'feel' for what they're supposed to be doing.

So my experiment is thusly: 1/2 lb (8 oz) of a wool top. I've separated them into 4 piles of 2oz.
I've been getting about 10-15 yards more each subsequent set spun, which isn't too bad,
My last attempt (#5) netted about ~80 yards of yarn at about a sport/DK weight.
My current attempt is probably going to double that as it's more of a sock weight yarn.

The experiments are mostly for me to get better because I picked up some beautiful tussah (wild) silk rovings, and it's like petting a soft downy kitten, and I want to make it into something.

I dyed the 3rd/4th set of yarn I spun up using Kool-Aid of all things. I had some Jacquard acid dyes on order for overdying some fabric, so I'll make use of it for the yarn as well. I think I stretched out the yarn a bit much during the drying process, but I'll rewash them to put the crimp back into it.

*Guidelines because the "pattern" involves *you* figuring out the actual size of the foot, your gauge, and looking up numbers to see what you *should* be knitting for the toe, heel, gusset, and cuff.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kool Aid Dye

Today was a bit of dye-ing. I had some very white yarn from the drop spindle that needed more coloration. I read that kool-aid is a very appropriate dye for wool, requiring nothing more than packages of regular kool-aid and water (and much much cheaper!)

So, out popped an old pot, added very hot water, kool-aid, & yarn, then let that boil (10 minutes) and cool (hours). Colors aren't so bad, although it didn't compeletely dye everything (I have some small white spots), but I didn't want to stir it too much, lest all of it FELTS.

The colors aren't too bad (Black Cherry & Grape), although I did end up with Kool-aid stains over my hands at one point. Sticky, but washes quickly away with warm water & a bit of soap. The yarn vaguely smelled like Kool-aid for a bit, until I rinsed it out and hung it. Kool-aid smell is now gone.

Although, if I do that again, I'll have to do it right with some actual acid dyes. Plus, I've been meaning to actually dye some fabric anyways, so that's two birds with one stone. I took a dye classese while back, and really enjoyed it. The silk scarf that I dyed with a red ombre was *lovely*, and I have a wish to do that again. Plus, as our teacher told us, almost *anything* can be overdyed, provided you like the fabric.

OOOH, and Dharma Trading company has BLANK SILK fans! I could make a new fan to match every costume....Hmmm.....

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I'm close to actually finishing the Clapotis -- that IS if I don't run out of yarn. I'm on the last skein of yarn, and I'm HOPING that I have enough.

The pattern comes in five parts:
1) set up rows 2) increase rows 3) straight rows 4) decrease rows 5) finishing rows

I'm 50% done through the 4th part - decrease rows - and I just started the last skein. Hopefully, I did the math totally right in finding the correct area with the right amount of rows per area. *HOPE* Because the LYS is NO longer carrying this particular yarn -- it was all on clearance. *crosses fingers*

Otherwise, I'm going to have to rip back and see about decreasing faster without ruining the look of the thing. Oofda.

The Hemlock blanket is going slowly, mostly because there's so many stitches and I'm not even halfway through the chart repeats. Ugh. Luckily, the Eco wool is such a bulky yarn (3-4 stitches per inch) that it goes by "relatively" fast. However, this is my next-to-the-computer knitting/

The Clapotis is my train knitting, so it's going by a lot faster. Unfortunately, I can't take the Hemlock blanket on the train, because the yarn cake is too big, and the blanket's going to be sizeable past a certain point to efficiently carry on the train.

Consequently, a small draw-string bag & socks are on the next to-do list after the Clapotis.

Drop Spindling...

I acquired some additional roving from ImagiKnit, and spun that up relatively quickly. It's pretty bulky, like the last one. I think I shall knit that one into a small drawstring bag, then FELT the crap out of it -- it's got thin and thick bits all over the places.

After reading up a bit more on the various forums, and picking up a book over at the Library, I have (more or less) figured out how to do it better. And the practice rovings look better. The first two skeins ended up being a bulky worseted weight, and now, it's more Aran weight.

This is one of those skills are really taught better in-person, because it's so "kinetic" in nature.

There are lot of things I've learned on my own, from reading, watching videos, or whatnought, then just figuring things out, and I'm pretty good at this type of learning....but sometimes, there are things that are done by "feel", and is much better conveyed in person by a good teacher that can help you understand how something should "feel" when doing X.

Drop spindling is definitely a very kinetic practice....

Sewing + Knitting = Math

So, given a 3-day weekend, what do costumers do?
They sew. What do knitters do? They knit.

Being as I do both, guess what I did? LOL. And I re-discovered that I have a love - hate relationship with costuming. I love the final product, I love the actual 'making' of stuff, but boy, when it goes wrong, it make me want to tear my hair out.....

In the case of sewing, and armscye needed to be completely reworked (actually it was reworked 2x over) and I had to readjust several seams. And this is on a SIMPLE pattern that I already made (sans sleeves). Because apparently, when you add sleeves, it changes the WHOLE fricking geometry of the armscye and the back panels. Ugh. (I hate seam ripping, even basted stitches!)

And apparently, I have the same relationship with knitting. Apparently, I am incapable of looking at simple mathematical formulas and charts to discover the appropriate numbers I need to knit up a sock. You don't really need a pattern to knit up a pair of vanilla socks -- just the appropriate numbers for your foot, the stitch gauge for the yarn, and viola....finished sock! Geometry in all of its finest.

I frogged several inches of my sock project TWICE over because I was incapable of looking at a simple matrix to find out how many stitches I needed to actually knit.

When I actually did a small try-on, the toe of the sock was too big. Luckily, I didn't actually get any farther than 4" on the sock, so I ripped back two inches, which might not seem like a lot, but that's about 18 rows of stitches AND I'm knitting two at the same time, so ....well, let's just say it was doubly painful.

Why am I knitting up a pair of socks? Because I finally finished the "Viral Clap" shawl/scarf/stole, based off of Clapotis on Named, because it's a viral pattern (i.e. almost all knitters seems to be doing it) and it's smaller than than the prescribed pattern, hence "clap" from "clapotis"

Yeah, I know why mathematicians knit. Because it involes a lot of fricking math & geometry. The socks are only one example.

For this project, because I didn't have the required yardage for the original pattern, I had to figure out patterns finished area & yardage per inch, then make adjustments based on my given yardage and make adjustments to the finished area. I actuallly got paranoid at one point, because I wasn't sure if my calculations were even correct to begin with! Luckily, they were and I had plenty of yardage to spare.

Yes, I've been doing a lot of math for knitting. Kinda like sewing, except even MORE SO, because with sewing, you have to take account funky body types, including mine that don't conform to standard "pattern measurements" off a "standard" body type. Hmph.

Anyways, here's the finished shawl/stole/scarf...whatever. It can be worn several ways.

Viral Clap 2

Dude, and I'm not even FOND of math says the girl who double-majored in math & CompSci in college....(Yeah, I'm all over theoretical calculus and mathematics to a certain extent. Geometry, not so much, except when it comes to pool & knitting. I really should have paid more attention in class.....Oh, and don't even ask me to figure out the tip amount for a waiter/waitress!