Updates from May, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • knitting1105 9:07 am on May 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    If it doesn’t look right… 

    If it doesn’t look right, it isn’t.  That is what I am always telling my drafting students when they are working on a drawing.  So, I should listen to my own advice.

    This triangular looking thing is supposed to be the Japanese Feather and Fan Shawl.  I kept thinking, oh this will block out correctly.  I should have known better, as I had made this shawl previously.  Remember this?

    I had a major brain fart in the second knitting of this pattern.  Then I put it away, and worked on it during our recent car trip.  At least it kept me busy.  And, of course I did not figure out my issues until I had woven in all of the ends, washed and tried to block the shawl.  Now it is waiting to dry, and I will try to frog it back.  I am thinking this yarn would be better as socks.  I still want to make this for me one day.  Not sure with what yarn though.

  • knitting1105 2:59 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Tubular Cast-on for Socks 

    I love the tubular cast-on.  It makes a garment look really finished and professional.  Years ago, when I saw a sweater knit with the tubular cast-on, I asked the owner how to do it.  She was teaching at the LYS, and I had taken many classes from her.  Her response was that I needed to just take that class.  I taught myself instead.  Well, I don’t teach knitting, and feel that the more we share the better.  So, here is my version of a tubular cast-on for socks.  This works for a 1×1 rib.  If you wanted to convert to a 2×2 rib, that is possible, I have done it on sweaters, but that is for a different post.

    • Do a provisional cast on using a crocheted chain in a different color of yarn, and preferably something like cotton that will pull out easily, and a fairly loose chain (i.e. larger crochet hook).  Chain a few more stitches than 1/2 of the desired finished number.  For example, here I want to end up with 80 stitches, so I did a chain of 45+ sts.
    • Next pick up one stitch in end of the purl bumps on the reverse side of the chain.  I start a couple of stitches in from the end of the chain (hence the additional chain stitches).  Use a needle 2-3 sizes larger than what you will knit your socks with.  I used a size 4 needle here.  Pick up 1/2 the number of finished stitches desired + 1.  I wanted to end up with 80 sts for my socks, so I picked up 40 + 1 =41 sts.
    • Join in a circle (with the forever mentioned note:  be careful not to twist your stitches), and knit 3-4 rows.
    • Using the needle size that you will be knitting the socks with:  *Knit the first stitch.  For the second stitch, reach over the top of the knitting into the cast-on edge, and pick up the first “purl bump” of your sock yarn (not the chain stitch yarn), this is where using a clearly contrasting color such as I did really helps.  Put it onto the left hand needle and purl that stitch.**
    • Repeat from * to **, ending with a K1.  You will now have your desired number of stitches plus one extra on your finished needle size, the first and last stitches will be knit stitches.
    • Do 2-3 rows of 1×1 ribbing.  On the first row knit the first and last stitch together.  The stitch count will now match your pattern requirements.
    • Go back and unzip the crochet chain, and you will have a beautifully stretchy edge that looks like it rolls over on itself.
    I am using this technique to start the Janel Laidman Granada socks that I am making.  These are a high sock, and I wanted a good stretchy edge to help them stay up. And here is the bounty from yesterday’s canning session.
    I made Strawberry-Rhubarb jam (used to be my favorite ever), and Raspberry-Rhubarb jam (my new all-time favorite).  I did not want to use Pectin, but tried oranges and lemons instead.  It is not as firm as I would like, but oh so tasty.  Next is a multi-berry jam, and I think that I will use Pectin this time.
    • stormarela 5:12 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the tubular cast on instructions. I have been wanting to try it, and now I can. 😉 …. and.. strawberry rhubarb is my favourite jam. raspberry rhubarb? I will have to try that sometime.


      • knitting1105 6:20 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the feedback. Let me know if you have any issues with the tubular cast-on, and I will try to “talk you through it”. Definitely, Raspberry-Rhubarb jam rocks!


  • knitting1105 10:22 am on May 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    PB & J 

    I love the name of these socks.  For many years in elementary school I would only take PB&J sandwiches.  My mother said I was adamant about nothing else.  Probably had a lot to do with the amazing array of homemade jam that I had to choose from to put on those sandwiches.   I even received the book Bread and Jam for Frances as a gift one year.
    I remember it well, as we owned very few books, using the Public Library instead.  I still have a fond affection for that particular sandwich, so was tickled when this pattern came as a club selection with this name.  The color of the yarn is gorgeous also, very reminiscent of a berry jam.

    I finally finished these socks on our little trip.  They have been washed, and are being reserved for me, as nobody else would give the proper acknowledgement of how much time went into them each time that they were put on.  They did take quite awhile to finish.  I ended up making the small size, for my 9 1/2 sized foot, which is really crazy.  The test knitter must have been an extremely tight knitter.  Her gauge does not match that of any of the other socks in the CookieA books.  I had no interest in trying all of these cables on size 0 needles, and bending them in the process.

    Pattern: PB & J
    Pattern Source: CookieA sock club, April 2011 pattern
    Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Sock Yarn; new type with Outlast, custom color
    Needles: US 1 dpn’s
    Date Started: 4/3/11
    Date Finished: 5/26/11
    Finished Dimensions: Directions for the small size, ended up being a Large

    T he color is much more accurate in this photo, also shows the meandering cables along the side of the sock.

    Now, off to the Farmer’s Market to get some Rhubarb, Raspberries and Strawberries.  It is jam making weekend.

  • knitting1105 10:29 am on May 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bernard Maybeck, Great River Road, Illinois, Mississippi, Mississippi River, Pere Marquette State Park, United States Army Corps of Engineers   


    We took a mini respite this week to Southern Illinois, where the Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri rivers meet up.  I had been wanting to say at the Pere Marquette State Park for years, and the lodge, built during the CCC did not disappoint.

    And our beautiful stone cabin:

    My new travel spinning wheel got its first trip.  Very fun to have along:

    And second on my personal agenda was to go to Elsah, Illinois, home of Principia College, designed in the 1930’s by famed California Arts & Crafts Architect Bernard Maybeck.  There are I think 13 of his original buildings, and the campus has expanded a bit since the initial concept, some results better than others.  Let’s just say that 1960’s campus architecture was uniformly bad.  It is one of the most picturesque campuses that I have ever seen, situated on the bluffs above the Mississippi, and very secluded.

    Some of his buildings:

    And my favorite, the “Mistake House”, which was really just suppose to be a temporary structure where he tried out different construction techniques.  It is apparently fond with the students as well.

    Next time, I will call ahead to get a walking tour of the campus.  We were limited to a driving tour only.

    And then we went on to the Dan list which included the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site, which was very interesting.  He knows much more about their expedition than I, but I learned a lot.  We then stopped at the National Great Rivers Museum, and got an abbreviated tour of the locks and dams (some guy had a bug fly in his ear and we had to leave so he could go get it taken out—no kidding).

    Driving down the Great Rivers Road was exquisitely beautiful, especially near the bluffs of Elsah.

    The next day was Hannibal, MO.  We learned the story behind Mark Twain’s pen name.  And last was a stop in gorgeous Quincy, IL, another river town that I have heard about for years.  All I remembered was that it was supposed to have really great Architecture, and we were not disappointed.  That is definitely a return visit.  I did not get photos here, but it was street after street, after street of beautiful homes dating as far back as the mid 1800’s.

  • knitting1105 7:11 pm on May 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Finer spinning 

    I finished spinning this Targhee wool:

    Using  my new double pedal Joy, I am really able to get much finer yarns.  420 yards with 4 oz, my best yet I think.

    Now what to do with all of this handspun?..

  • knitting1105 11:02 am on May 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Spinning and Knitting 

    Still working on my second PB&J sock from the CookieA sock club.  The pattern has 2 different columns of twisted rib stitches that travel down the leg and cross over each other.  One side, the Jelly side I assume, with squiggles, looks the same on both socks.  The angled traveling stitch pattern, the peanut butter, looks very different form one sock to the other.  I started with the left sock first (got all my papers mixed up).  And am now on the right sock, which most people started with first.  I understand the desire to mirror image these socks, but it just does not work with the angled pattern.  There is a very different effect with the twisted stitch traveling to the right versus the left.

    The sock on the right was my first sock (the left foot according to the pattern), and I am working on the opposite foot (left in the photo below).  The curvy pattern looks fine from both, but the angled pattern is very different.  I showed it to my knitting group last night, and the comment was that they do not even look like the same stitch.  I prefer the left hand photo, others liked the right.  Hard to tell from the photos in the pattern if the test knitter had the same issues.  Clearly much more stitch definition in the sock on the left.

    On the spinning front, I finished plying and washing my 3ply Louet yarn.  I am not real pleased with the pastel colors, they got very washed out and muted.  I got 400 yards of a 3 ply out of 8 oz. of pencil roving.

    • Mrs. Peterson 2:58 pm on May 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Maybe if you did the left sock with a Z-twist and the right sock with a S-twist, you could get matching socks? Of course I am kidding, but I wouldn’t put it past one of us nutjobs. (says the nutjob who thought of it). It’s a beautiful sock.


  • knitting1105 6:47 pm on May 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Well Balanced Yarn 

    Spinning is much more complex than just spinning the wool so that it is even in thickness.  I have really been focusing on spinning a very fine single, as I prefer to knit with finer yarns. Then comes the plying, taking 2 or more bobbins of singles together and spinning them on the wheel in the opposite direction (usually counter-clockwise) to make a plied yarn to knit with.  The goal is plying with just enough twist to counter balance the twist in the singles.  I found this article to be very helpful.  I like her approach much better than some of the others which require a test sample washed and dried, or lots of complicated formulas.  My guess would be that the spinners of old had an intuitive sense of when the yarn was correct.  If you have too little twist in the plied yarn, it will twist back on itself and not be a very well structured yarn.  Too much twist will also twist on itself.  Both result in a yarn that knits with an angle and you do not achieve a straight knitted fabric.  The above linked article does a very good job of demonstrating this.

    So, I had these 2 rovings that I then spun into singles.  I had used bits of both of them at my Insubordiknit spinning weekend, so did not have a lot to make a skein of just one or the other.  This is fiber that I purchased from the Dizzy Sheep spinning weekend sale few weeks ago.  These are 4 oz hand painted Merino tops from Spinner’s Hill.  Colors are Blue Glass and Olives.

    So, after spinning the singles, I chose to ply these together.  I am quite happy with the results, and I really did achieve a nicely balanced yarn!  There are still some inconsistencies in the spinning of my singles, but I am quite happy with the outcome both in terms of color and how the yarn feels.  This is being gifted to a dear friend who is a great spinning supporter for me.

  • knitting1105 1:28 pm on May 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    What Next? 

    I finished the “Cotton Candy” wool and am plying it up as a 3-ply.  So, I still need something to spin, the great thing about 2 wheels, is that I can spin on my Joy, while plying on the Traveler (with the jumbo bobbin).  I have several fibers that I received in my grab bag from Kathryn, a new friend from my spinning weekend retreat.  I am saving my Fiber Optics rovings until I feel my spinning is a bit better.  Here were my choices.

    Purchased from Kathryn that she dyed, known as ccsmile2006 on etsy.  4 oz. Polwarth combed top, color:  Teal’s 25th Anniversary:

    and from Woolgatherings a 4 oz Polwarth Wool top.  No colorway listed:

    Knitty and Color Haindpaint, 4 oz. Superwash Merino, color:  Bloodlust

    Some fiber that was gifted with the purchase of my Joy.  I do not know what it is, but the white is definitely Angora:

    Another unknown gifted fiber.  Very soft!

    and my choice to start with was 4oz. Targhee, I think that the color is “Harvest”.  It also says on the tag A Man Called Pan.  I don’t really know what that means, or who dyed this.  I have split the braid in half for 2 bobbins, then each half into 4ths to have shorter color repeats:

  • knitting1105 5:02 pm on May 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    No Deadbud any more 

    Over 10 years ago, we planted a Redbud in our front yard.  I love the beautiful pink flowers that run the length of each branch in the spring.  I was so excited the next year, waiting to see all of those gorgeous blossoms.  Only leaves the first year, a couple of buds the second (and by that I literally mean 2 or 3 clusters).  By the 4th year I was very frustrated, called arborists and tree clinics. My husband joked that they thought we said “deadbud” not Redbud when we bought the tree, and we not-so-affectionately called it the Deadbud tree.  I was told that the tree probably had some fungus known to the Redbud, break off a branch and you will see dark circles inside. Nope.  Finally, I think that I got the correct answer.  The tree was planted in an area where the stump of a huge cottonwood tree had been.  We had removed the stump (the tree’s demise predated our arrival), and waited a couple of years before planting a tree. Mushrooms would pop up in the area every spring.  I do believe the correct call was that the acidity of the soil was preventing the tree from blooming.  Mushrooms have faded away, and each year there were a few more blossoms.  This year, it was finally the whole tree in bloom.  I was elated.

    And I finally finished the first of my PB&J socks.  The pattern was tedious, but I finally got in the groove, and I think that the second sock will go much better. I ended up making the size Small, which is crazy since I wear a 9 1/2 shoe.  The test knitter had to be one of the tightest knitters around.  I could have gone down to size 0 needles, but I did not really want to do that, and I still would have made only the size Medium.  I think that this pattern would be difficult to execute for a tiny foot.  I love the way it turned out, except for the K2tog every 6th row.  It has a lumpy jog that I am not happy with.  The mirror SSK decrease is quite smooth.   The yarn has Outlast in it, a phase change material which is supposed to help both cooling and warming your foot.  But it is 90 degrees today, so I don’t think even that would help me to want a pair of socks on my feet. On to the mate:

    • Manning 3:04 pm on May 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Those socks are beautiful, and compliment the tree (which I’ve been admiring!) perfectly.


    • Diane Hamilton 10:26 pm on May 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, the tree is absolutely gorgeous–how did the magnolia tree do this year? I am jealous of all the beautiful flowers, I have the hardest time getting things to grow here in Colorado. Now, the socks are another work of art–they are beautiful!


      • Michael 8:02 pm on March 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        These socks are beautiful. I know somebody would love to have a pair. How much would you charge to make a pair of these?


        • knitting1105 10:12 am on March 30, 2012 Permalink

          Thanks for the complements, I love wearing these. As for making for someone else, the cost would be more than I would ever get. I knit for love only, and only as a surprise.


  • knitting1105 1:10 pm on May 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    “Wool” snob 

    It is amazing how quickly one can become a snob.  I am a self-professed food snob, architecture snob, knitting snob, wine snob and now a fiber snob.  Prior to learning how to spin, if something said that it was 100% wool and felt good to me, that was sufficient.  And I did appreciate the occasional Merino yarn.  Now, I am learning and spinning with all different kinds of fibers and breeds of sheep.  Just saying “wool” is not good enough any more.  What is the sheep breed, how is the fiber prepared, how is it dyed, and on and on.

    I recently purchased a grab bag of wool from a Ravelry friend (and someone from my recent spinning retreat).  I got 4 amazing packages of roving and top to spin, and this was in the group:

    It is pencil roving (says top from Louet Northern lights, 100% wool, and aptly called “Cotton Candy”.  There were 8 oz of this, so I started spinning, and it is going very well on my new Joy.  I have enough fiber that I am going to do a 3-ply yarn for the first time.  I really love how the variegated yarns show in a 3-ply, and people have told me that it is a nicer yarn to knit with, as it is a round yarn, something you apparently don’t get with a 2-ply.  Kind of makes sense to me.  This got me to thinking, what IS the “wool” in this fiber, what sheep, what combinations, etc.  It is not extremely soft, so not Merino, the staple length is about 4″, maybe Shetland.   I do not know enough about the properties of different wool yet to figure it out.

    Here is my first bobbin of spun singles:

    And working on the second:

    Not bad for a couple of days work.  I am getting quicker and better.

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