Friday, March 30, 2007

Kool-Aid/Easter Egg Dyed Roving

8oz of Blue Faced Leicester roving, dyed with assorted Kool-Aid flavors and Easter egg dyeing tablets. I split the roving into yard-ish length and presoaked it in warm water with vinegar. I followed the package directions for dye tablets (1/2 water with 3 tbsp vinegar) and mixed each Kool-Aid packet in approx. 6oz water and 2oz vinegar. Some say you don't really need vinegar with Kool-Aid (it's got enough citric acid already), but I decided to try it with vinegar this time. I laid out 2 strips of roving at a time on clingfilm and poured on the mixed dyes. I wrapped up the packets and put them in the microwave (1 at a time cause that's all that would fit) for 2 minutes with a 2 minute rest before heating again. It usually took about 3 cycles before the dye seemed exhaused. I heated the packets in a glass dish, and it works a lot better if you put clingfilm over the whole dish. My untaped packets just weren't holding in enough steam by themselves. The roving was allowed to cool (almost completely, cause I had to cook dinner) and washed with Euclan, then rinsed. I didnt notice any dye coming out in the wash. It should be interesting to see how this looks spun up.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Handspun mohair


Corespun Mohair Skein
Originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.
Finally plied the first bobbin of corespun mohair locks with binder thread. I used the same black sewing thread for the core and binder. The second bobbin is plied and waiting to be skeined and washed. I have some leftover locks and fluff that I deemed too full of seeds to be worth messing with. I also accidently felted some of the locks during scouring. I was adding more water to the tub and forgot to keep the locks out from under the faucet!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Myrtle Leaf Shawl in progress


Myrtle Leaf Shawl in progress
Originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.
6 of 40 pattern repeats completed. Photo taken after spritzing and pinning out to check width.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Swatching for Myrtle Leaf Shawl

Swatches for Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today. Using Jaggerspun Zephyr color Vanilla (from sarahsyarns.com). On left, size 5 Knitpicks Options needles. On right, size 4. I'm going with size 5.

Simple Stripes Fair Isle socks


Simple Stripes Fair Isle socks
Originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.
Pattern: Simple Stripes Fair Isle Socks from Knitpicks.com
Yarn: Essentials and Simple Stripes from Knitpicks
Needle: Size 1 Knitpicks 32" circular (magic loop, 1 sock at a time)
Methods: cuff-down, unwrapped short row (Sherman) heel, round toe

This was my first foray into two-handed stranded colorwork. The patterned parts were shockingly quick and easy. I suppose my continental practice dishcloth really helped.
I find the round toe really comfortable, but I missed getting to Kitchner. If I were doing this again, I'd probably work the heel on more stitches. The pattern calls for working the heel over 30 stitches for all sizes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mini Book Review- Folk Socks

I wanted to share my thoughts on Nancy Bush's Folk Socks before I have to return it to the library. I was pleasantly surprised by how much knitting history is in this book. It is well-written and appears to be well-researched. There's also a large section of numerous variations for heels (all based on heel flaps except for an afterthought heel) and toes. (Where else could you read about the Balbriggan heel?) This could be really useful for big-time historical accuracy buffs or designers looking to make their socks a little different. Patterns lean heavily towards stranded colorwork, with several lace or cable patterns to boot.
The only pattern I'm really in love with is for "Norwegian Stockings."

The biggest issue I see with the patterns is sizing. The patterns do not indicate finished size (other than indirectly through gauge and stitch number). Others simply state "for men" or "for ladies," with only one stitch count given in the pattern. Newer sock knitters might have problems figuring out the size sock that would result from following the pattern as written, let alone figuring out how to adjust complicated colorwork for an altered stitch count.

In my beloved Norwegian Stocking pattern, the socks appear to end at mid-calf (although I can't be exactly sure because the finished height isn't given). The pattern states, "These stockings will fit a man or a woman." I have a very hard time believing this, especially when the reduced stretch of stranded colorwork is taken into account. I'm pretty sure the average man's calf and foot size are different from the average woman's. Perhaps Bush meant that these socks fit a particular man and a particular woman. The only problem is, we don't know who they are or what their measurements are!

Overall, I think this book is a great read for sock knitters, with a lot of historical information and instructions for obscure heels. The patterns may be best left to those willing to put a bit of extra effort into getting the right fit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pattern Notes- Simple Stripes Fair Isle Socks

I'm almost finished with the Simple Stripes Fair Isle socks. It's a Knitpicks pattern that doesn't appear to be on their site anymore. The Simple Stripes yarn doesn't appear to be on their site anymore either.
I like the finished product, but I have a few issues with the pattern. Mostly I found the short row heel instructions to be confusing. I'm still not sure exactly what method for closing gaps was intended, but I used the knit and purl encroachment techniques from the Sherman heel.
On the first sock, I redid the heel several times because I had trouble getting it centered. I hadn't discovered this chart yet. I finally just decided that if I had 10 gappy stitches on each side and 10 normal looking stitches in the middle, then it should work out. And that's exactly what's shown in this example!
The only thing I didn't do was the wrapping of the first stitch on either side to prevent ankle gaps. After tightening up the stitches at the ankle, I don't have gaps, but they still aren't as pretty as my heel-flap sock ankles.
In general, I'm not sure if I like short-row heels. It's quick, there's no picking up stitches, and it works well with certain kinds of patterns. On the other hand, I'll have to practice more to get the short-row execution to look as good as my heel-flap technique.
I also discovered that there's lots of ways to work short rows. Nona compared a few different techniques on her blog, but not in the context of sock heels. There's also a comparison of disembodied (disemsocked?) short row heels from Yarmando.
And a huge collection of short-row links here. It seems that a lot of people out there have issues with short-row heels!