Friday, October 26, 2012

Defying science?

I think I have lied to many students over the years. I always told them that once they had knit a round in circular knitting without twisting at the join, that they needn't worry about a twist. Elizabeth Zimmerman taught that if you do have a twist, you can eliminate it by adding a counter-twist after the first round. The twists in the single thread that joins the beginning and end of the round in this case are invisible later on.

Well, I have been knitting a project this week that seems to defy this. It is a simple enough pattern and one that I have made before. It is called Abstract Leaves and is a lacy cowl. I am making another one for a sample, or I should say I was making another. I am no longer making one.

I started it on a size 4 Knitpicks circular and ended up with a twist.
*sigh* I ripped it out and started it on double points and switched to the circular after the first couple of rounds. After 4 rounds, it had a twist. bigger sigh R-i-i-p...

I started it again on double points and this time switched to the circulars after 4 or 5 rounds. Note, there was no twist when it was on dpns. I am half way through the first repeat which is 12 rounds. So I have done 4 rounds in the beginning and then about 6. And there is a twist. Grrrrrrrr... note I am not sighing any more. I am just plain mad!

I haven't ripped it out. I have put it in time-out. I will work on something else and I may re-do it on dpns. I knit the first one on dpns and it behaved. I don't see why this one can't.

I don't quite understand how this could have happened. Yes. the circulars can twist up but one should be able to untwist the whole thing. How can a 360 degree twist get added after the tube has been created?

Off to knit something back and forth!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Woo Hoo! another prize

A long time ago, a colleague and friend told me that I should enter more contests and lotteries. The topic came up because I told him it was useless entering because I never win. At the time, he said that everyone's luck evens out over time so if I had not won, then there were a lot of wins stacked up in my corner. Yeah right....

Well, I now believe he was right. A few years ago, I won some yarn and a book at the Knitting Camp raffle. And since then, I've won a few other things. But I seem to have hit the jackpot this year.

I won a pattern as a prize in the 12 shawls in 2012 group. a cookbook from Serious Eats, and a pretty nice door prize at the Fiber Fallout 2012 (that one is still on my list of topics to write about). But I really made it big in the Tour de Fleece this year.

First of all, I won a great supported trindle from Momi on Etsy. Now, last week I won two more belated prizes. One isn't here yet but the other one arrived yesterday.
It is a pretty shawl pin with a lovely note from the donor (and maker of the pin). Just in time for shawl weather too!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rhinebeck 2012

I am still in a daze after a glorious weekend at Rhinebeck. I know that too much of a good thing diminishes its value, but I could live a life full of Rhinebeck weekends.

It started early for me. I took a breed study class from Beth Smith on Friday. She is a font of knowledge and extremely organized. The amount of information she managed to impart in 6 hours was phenomenal. I don't have pics of the class but I have results.

 We got samples of 12 different fibers. We flicked the fine wools, combed the long wools and carded the down breeds (or something like that). We then spun each one into samples that we put in folders. The folders were categorized by color. Beth gave us index cards for each folder with the name of the breed on it.
It all makes me look incredibly organized, doesn't it? I spun and plied most of my samples. There were a few that are still singles. Some were ply-back samples but many of them were actual 2 plies. I got very good at Andean plying!
Since we didn't have time to play with all the fiber we received, Beth provided bags and labels so we could put the rest of the sample aside and play at home. Here is my set of 12 breed samples. I spun all but two. I had to skip the two just to keep up with Beth's pace. For the first time in a long time, I felt brain dead at the end of the class.

I was one of the first 250 to enroll in class so I got a goodie bag. 
It had goodies in it.
A ball of sequined acrylic yarn from Lion Brand along with a tape measure. Another tape measure from Webs. One cannot have too many tape measures. A small sample of fiber and some coupons. I didn't use the coupons as I forgot the bag at home on Saturday and Sunday.

It matches my Rhinebeck bag from last year, which is a great size and very, very useful. I use it all the time to haul things around.

It poured on Friday. In the middle of class, we had to go and move our cars to avoid having them flood. As a result, my shoes, socks and pant hems were all wet for most of the afternoon. But it was better than having water get into the car's innards.

I went early on Saturday to help out at Jennie the Potter and Briar Rose's booths. It was hard work as both booths were mobbed as soon as the festival opened. It is a good thing that I'm an extrovert, isn't it?

I bought this lovely little bowl from Jennie. 
No, those are not cracks. Don't even think that!
It fits my supported trindle perfectly! And speaking of supported trindles, guess what I bought for mine?
Pretty disco ball jewelry! These are heavier arms that the red skulls above.

I also wandered over to the Fiber Optic booth and bought some gradients.
 This is Ebony-Gold-Crimson.
And this one is really hard to see but it is called Midnight and has some gorgeous blackish shades.

That was pretty much all I did on Saturday. I wandered around some with a visiting friend, but was tuckered out by 3 pm and left to go home and rest.

On Sunday, I had volunteered to help out with the workshops. I got there early to check people in and show them their class rooms. This is fun because I know some of the other volunteers but I always get to meet a few new ones. I also saw some familiar faces in the students.

Another friend was visiting Rhinebeck for the first time on Sunday so I spent the day with her. And in the process, a bunch of stuff came home with me.
 I  bought these carbon fiber double pointed needles from Sheila and Michael Ernst.
 Handspun by Stefania is one of my favorite vendors. I got two 8 oz bumps of roving from her. The one above is dyed with Indigo and Iron. The one below is Lac and Cochineal. Her fiber spins like a dream!
 Another favorite is Lisa Souza. This was my first time seeing her fiber in person. I got two 4 oz bumps from her. The one on the left is baby alpaca/silk. The one on the right is just marked wool but I think it is BFL. I fell in love with the colors.
 Lastly, Chris of Briar Rose Fibers gave me these two bumps of Cormo top as a reward for keeping her Sea Pearl yarn presentable all day Saturday. More color!
I also visited the Hansencrafts booth and came away with two cool pins.
I also bought some hand cream from Maggie's Farm, lotion bars from Heal my Hands, and soap from Bittersweet Ridge. I love hand-crafted soap and cream and they do wonders for my skin. So I stock up at Rhinebeck. I also talked (I hope) Maggie into making lip balm in tubes. My favorite lip balm vendor was missing this year and there was no one else making balm in tubes.

And now all I have are fabulous memories and gorgeous fiber. As I spin and knit these, I will remember the place and time that I bought them and the friends who were there with me. After all, it is all about the memories and the good times, isn't it?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lace plaid stole is bound off

I haven't blocked it yet as I am a little short of time this weekend. I will do it in a couple of weeks and post more pictures.
It is looking nice though. The waviness will disappear with blocking.

On to the next project!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A pretty

I saw a purpleheart lazy kate for sale on Ravelry and I just had to have it. It arrived last week and I couldn't be happier.
 Here it is on a black suitcase. Doesn't look very purple does it?
Now look what happens when I put it on a wooden window sill...
 It is PURPLE!
I've been knitting away on the lace plaid shawl. It is almost done. A couple of rows more and then I bind off.

Over and out!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spindle spinning a gradient

Recently there have been a couple of threads on Ravelry about how to spin a gradient. I thought I would document how I plan to spin a gradient.

The gradient in question is Corgi Hill Farm's merino/silk in a color called Mangosteen.

I first split the entire braid into two long strips of equal weight.
I have already started spinning this so you can see my spindle on the top and the half that I am spinning next to it. The lower portion is the other half, and you can see that there is about 8" or so of the violet that isn't in the top half. That is what I've already spun.

As my spindle fills, I am going to wind off the single onto plying balls.
My plying balls are styrofoam balls that I use as a core. I wrap the single around them and I will continue to add to the ball as I work through the half of the roving. The ball will have the violet on the inside and the gold on the outside as I am starting to spin with the violet.

After I finish one half, I will spin the second half in the same way. This one will get wound onto a second plying ball. Again, the violet will be on the inside and the gold on the outside.

Once the two singles are spun and wound off onto balls. I will rewind them onto bobbins using my bobbin winding set up or by hand. Each plying ball will go under a flower pot with the single feeding through the hole in the bottom.
 If I rewind the bobbins on my Hansen, I will use this bobbin winding setup. If not, I will rewind them by hand onto the same bobbins or onto another pair of plying balls.
I am sure you are wondering why I will bother to rewind. If you stop and think about it, I started spinning with the violet. I am not consistent enough to get exactly the same length out of both halves. So, if I start with the gold, the two colors are less likely to match because all the accumulated inconsistency in length is there. If I start at the beginning, with the violet, I am starting at exactly the same point in both colors and they are more likely to match through the color changes. Any inconsistencies will result in barber poling which will soften the color transitions.

After I rewind both singles. I will ply them together. If they are on bobbins, they will go on a lazy kate, as in the picture below.

If I use the plying balls, I will just ply by putting them under the pots as I did before. I am a little uncertain as to which approach I will take because it depends on where I am when I get that far. If I am home, it will get rewound onto bobbins. If I am traveling, I will do it via the plying balls.

Lastly, if there is extra length in one single, it will all be in the gold and I can use the handy plying bracelet to complete the 2 ply.

My hope is that I will have a nice 2 ply gradient with smooth color transitions when I am done.