Tag Archives: designing

I’m back on the internet horse

So the cup is over and I’m back to show you what I was up to during the time I’m calling my Internet vacation.
First, I’ll state the obvious and say it’s amazing how much more time I had when I wasn’t glued to a computer screen.
I had planned on spinning the whole time the cup was on, but there were some boring games and my fingers got sore, so I also did some knitting and sewing (something I haven’t done in maybe a decade).
Here is the evidence:
Yet another pair of Harald socks (from the book Viking Patterns for knitting).  I hope these will be my last.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely design, but I’m tired of doing them.  I used two different handspuns of my own, since one strand only wouldn’t work for Joel’s feet.  One is a green superwash I’ve spun a long time ago and the other is a punta/mohair mix.  They are both n-ply.

With any luck, he won’t felt these (after he felted his silk/merino socks he begins asking about fiber content before anything I do for him is finished).

I had a little accident during the knitting and am glad I have more than one pair of needles in this size.
The broken needle you see below is entirely my fault.  Tight cable knitting shouldn’t be done with acrylic needles.  They (the needles) are great and I’ll continue to buy them.  Of course, I’ll be more careful about what kind of knitting I decide to do with them.

Around the same time I spun the yarn I got from Gnomespun (the one I wrote about on my last post).  At first I thought about doing a two ply, but my division of the roving wasn’t very accurate and in the end, I decided to chain ply it:
A few days before doing this one I found some brown roving I had for more than a year and decided to spin it too.  It’s also navajo ply.  Both yarns are somewhere between heavy laceweight and light fingering:

By the time I finished the second yarn my fingers were too sore to keep on spinning so I turned back to knitting.  There are (as always) a few ideas brewing up in my head and for the Nth time, I started again a stole design – maybe this time I’ll get it done:
When I got to the end of the central element I made a mistake I had done before and got upset with it, so I put it aside and went in a hunt for some other project.  Sometimes, when I’m doing mistakes over and over again, I stop and begin to organize things around me – it helps me to focus again.  This time, I decided to organize my stash and found two attempts that got me going again.
The first one was a star alignment kind of thing.  I had just bought the Module Magic book and one day was watching a quilting show and saw an amazing quilt that I thought I could translate into knitting.  I was knitting the Curve of Pursuit at the time and began putting techniques together to see what I could come up with.  I knit a few modules, put it aside for some reason (like another shinier thing) and never thought about it again – until I found it while “organizing” my yarns.  I picked it up, frogged what I had, started over again and have a fair sized swatch right now:
I’m knitting (in my head) a different triangle – if it does work in real life, I’ll release the pattern.
The second treasure I found tossed in one of my bins was a swatch of a stitch I’m pretty sure is in one of the Barbara Walker books.  It’s a pretty cool looking net and when I first saw it I wanted to knit it, just because.  I knit a good size swatch, realized I’d made a mistake and put it away.
When I found it, I knew I wanted to use that stitch again, but for the life of me, couldn’t find the pattern for it anywhere, so I carefully tinked my swatch and managed to figure the stitch out (me thinks).  Now, the question was what to do with it.  I had an initial idea for a stole (that might eventually be created), but didn’t want to commit to something like that at the time, so I settled for a purse:

Let’s see…what else?  Oh yeah!  Sewing.  I learnt to sew when I was ten or eleven – just after I learnt to crochet.  I eventually graduated to a sewing machine and during my adolescence I sew a lot of my own clothes.  I hadn’t sewn in probably 10 years and when I convinced Joel to throw away his old (very heavy and very ugly) pillow, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make him a new one.
I had forgot how fast (and pleasant) sewing can be.  I managed to do the pillow in one afternoon.  It’s quite simple and no, I didn’t do the quilting:

The other day I got another custom order for the yarn I used for Dianna.  As I was dyeing the roving for it, I decided to dye another one in a different color to see how one of my dyes would break down:

The first one is already being spun and will become an Arco Iris yarn.  As for the second one (merino), I’m not sure what to do with it…

I’ve also dyed and am (was) spinning some silk in different shades of green.  I need to find a better technique for dyeing silk, though.  The way I’m doing it now leaves some undyed spaces which dilute the color on the finished yarn.  When I started spinning this roving I was going with “let’s see how thin I can make it” approach. After a few hours and cramps on my fingers, it hit me: what will I do with this sewing thread…so I began spinning a thicker singles.

Finally, 4 days ago I decided to try my hands at Skew.  The construction for these socks is simply amazing.  I did the first sock in two days, just because I wanted to see it done.  Since I was using different needles and yarn from the ones recommended in the pattern, I wasn’t sure it was going to fit, but it turned out OK.  I’m almost done with the second sock and might re-do the first one – because I went down one needle size for the second.
Give them a try, trust the pattern and just knit.  They are a very fast and pleasant knit.

Things you do when you don’t want to do what you have to do

I’m a PhD in procrastination.  I’ve been meaning to write down the pattern for Linda for the last few weeks, but there was always “something” else to do (right…).  This last Monday, I decided to use some psychology on myself to make me do it – I decided to clean up the studio 😉

When Monday morning came, I had the choice to either clean up and re-organize the studio (aka spare bedroom) or sit down and write the pattern.  I had most of the charts done already and the idea of dragging the vacuum cleaner upstairs wasn’t a pleasant one, so I did it.

Well, kinda did it.  I have a first draft ready and sent it out to the test knitters.  It’s amazing how much weight it lifted out of my back.  Before writing it, I didn’t feel like knitting, or spinning, or dyeing or anything else for that matter.  I feel like I can finally move on and the knitting mojo is back :)

I’m guessing it will be at least a week or so until the test knitters find any problem and I’m hoping I can dye some rovings, practise a little more carding and maybe, just maybe, re-organize the studio.  I won’t post before pics, though – I’m ashamed of the huge mess.

Right now, I’m…you guessed it, procrastinating some more.  I have to go to the UPS store to return a pair of shoes I bought online, instead, I’m here writing this entry.  Truth be told, I avoid using the car as much as I can.  We’ve been having problems with it for a long time now and I never know when it’s going to work.  I’m always afraid it will just die on me when I’m driving.

I also want to write two posts here – one about my designing process and another about a few things I’ve figured out while spinning – later.

News

I’ll spend a little less time online on the following weeks to work on my new pattern Linda. If things go as planned, I’ll have the pattern available in a month or so. That is, if my wonderful, talented husband stops gifting me new toys.

Yesterday he surprised me with one of those “just because” gifts. He got me a drum carder! A DRUM CARDER! How awesome is that?
My head is spinning with ideas on what fibers to mix, new colors, rovings…I have to wait, though, as I need to write Linda down.

A few days ago, we also got another fun toy – an electronic cutter, that I’ve been avoiding like the plague because I know if I sit down to play with it, I’ll get six months sucked out of my life. I also have “great plans” for that and maybe will start another blog (and another shop and another…).

My Etsy shop is almost empty and I’m thinking I could re-stock it by dyeing some rovings when the writing gets to me.
To find out if I did it or not, check the widget on the left side of the blog (