Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Handspun Singles from Tactile Batt

I've finished the first of two bobbins of singles from the Tactile batt I got at Stitches. It's a really nice blend, but I could do without the silk noil since I decided it wanted to be laceweight.

Fiber details: 2 oz February in Tacoma batt.
53% Alpaca, 25% Merino/Bamboo, 11% BFL, 3% Tussah silk, 3% yak down, 3% silk noil, and 2% angora.

This fiber's been really fun to spin so fine since it has so many components. It never gets boring. Since I wanted the singles thin and even, I used a short draw for more control and to more closely examine the yarn. I didn't smooth the yarn with the forward hand like I would for true worsted spinning.

WIP Round-up

Circular Cape, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

I haven't been very talkative online lately (Bryan switched keyboard to Dvorak), but I've been lurking. I've also had a bad case of startitis. I've been forcing myself to work a little on older WIPs every day. The body of the Circular Cape is done, and the border is going very quickly. This is by far the quickest lace project I've knitted. The body is just a feather and fan variation with a lot of resting rows, and it only took me a couple of repeats to memorize the border.

There's not enough progress on Catriona to take a picture, and I'm debating changing needle size a self-designed sock.

This is my new WIP, the Dream in Color Shrug (Classy in Dusky Aurora). The Dream in Color yarns are so gorgeous!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ruffled Roses Scarf

Ruffled Roses Scarf, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

Ruffled Roses by Annie Modesitt

3 colors of Misti Alpaca Worsted and a partial ball of ONline Linie 194 Solo (a ruffle/tape yarn).
Pattern (free) available at Yarndogs. Or check the designer's site for a shop near you.

Mods/Notes- For me, the purl rows of the tape were the right side. Subbed dark green for red-brown yarn. No problems with stitch count. I think other people got confused because the stitch count for the center lace pattern is given. There’s stitches on either side of that for a garter stitch edging. I used this tutorial for a similar ruffle yarn to help figure out how to use it. Think whip stitch, not running stitch. I used the 3-needle bind off after figuring out how to graft in ribbing and then realizing that it would always be offset by half a stitch because the pieces were both knit in the same direction.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Self-Striping Sock Yarn!

Self-Striping Sock yarn, originally uploaded by Buxtrosion.

My first time mixing Jacquard acid dyes. :) Primaries are Yellow Sun and Sky Blue. I love how it looks in the skein, but I'm not sure how I'll like the stripes. The green and blue-green are awfully similar. Maybe I'll do the same colors as a variegated yarn next time. I wrapped the sub-skeins for dyeing on a PVC device like this.

Here's mine. For this yarn, I only used 4 arms (4 colors). I did the actual dyeing on the stove, with each sub-skein in a large Mason jar in a waterbath in my big Ikea pot. The colors came out a little semi-solid, probably because of the cramped jars and my laziness in stirring.

Here's a little more info on building the PVC device. You'll need 14 pieces that are about 3", 6 pieces that are 18", 6 pieces that are 16", 12 pieces that are about 8" and 2 pieces that are about 6". You'll also need 4 elbow pieces and 18 T pieces.

On the knitting front, I've got just a few (very long) rows left on the Circular Cape from VLT. I still don't know if it will block out to be big enough, but I'm hopeful.

I've just started the Ruffled Roses scarf by Annie Modesitt. The tape yarn is interesting, and I LOVE Misti Alpaca Worsted. It might be my favorite yarn. At the same time I got the materials for Ruffled Roses, I stocked up on Kureyon for my Lizard Ridge. 6 more skeins! Woot! You can see them here if you're curious.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Anyone heard of Flat Feet sock yarn, the stuff sold in a machine-knitted, hand-painted rectangle? Now Knit Picks is selling undyed blanks of machine-knitted Bare yarn. Looks like fun, but it's twice as expensive as the same yarn in the skein. How many of these would I have to dye to justify buying a knitting machine? Lolz. I'm partial to immersion dyeing, anyway. :)

FO: Handspun Toe-Up Socks

The knee socks were finally finished a couple of weeks ago! Rav link. Here's the photo set of the entire process- dyeing, spinning, and knitting. This is the 8 oz of Blue-faced Leicester I got at the Kid n Ewe fiber festival in Bourne, TX in 2006. I dyed the roving with Kool-Aid and Easter egg dyes, and spun it into a 3-ply yarn. I don't have the WPI, but it's 17-18.5 sts/2", 26-28.5 rows/2" on a size 0(US) needle.

Here's the notes on the toe-up construction and shaping. This was my first time doing toe-up socks, and it was fun. No picking up stitches, and I could start small and increase until it fit, instead of having to guess the number of stitches to cast on when starting at the cuff. (No, I don't swatch for socks. That's silly. The first few inches of the sock is the swatch.)

Judy's magic cast-on about 12 stitches. Increased 4 stitches every other row in the usual manner until I reached 64. When that got too snug, I increased 2 stitches every few rows until I reached 72.

For the gusset (when the foot starts to get even bigger, in this case 6 3/4 inches from heel) I increased 2 stitches every other row until there were 100 stitches (36 for instep, and now 64 for the heel).

I used this tutorial from Becca on her blog, Forward Motion, for the math on the short row heel turn. Basically you work 4 pairs of short rows, increasing at the beginning of every row, on 8 sts fewer than half the number of stitches before you started gusset increases (28 in this case).
There were 36 stitches in this section after the short rows were finished (28 + 8 = 36).

I worked the heel flap in eye of partridge stitch. On every row of the heel flap, you work the last stitch together with one of the stitches from the gusset increases that had been waiting patiently while you did the short rows. This is sort of analogous to the part where you pick up stitches in a top-down pattern, except there's no picking up stitches! Yay! For the sake of anyone who's trying to check the math, there were 18 stitches waiting on either side of the short row heel turn, so 36 heel flap rows were needed. This is the same as the general math for top-down socks. Heel flap rows = heel flap stitches = 1/2 total stitches.

After the heel flap there were again 72 stitches. I worked even for about 4 1/2 inches (until the point where the bottom of the calf really starts to necessitate increasing). I worked increases on either side of the 2 center back stitches every 4th row until I reached 124 stitches. (about 14 inches from the floor).

I worked even until just below the knee (3.25 inches from end of increases), decreased 4 stitches, and worked 4x4 ribbing for 1 inch. I bound off somewhat loosely in the normal manner for ribbing. Some people may need to use a stretchier bind-off method. I think the rate of calf increases (2 stitches every 4th row) should probably work for most people. We all use the same rate of gusset increases, right? You can always calculate your own rate of increases by finding the difference between your calf and high ankle measurements, calculating how many stitches need to be increased, and measuring the vertical distance to see how many rows you've got to increase over. Sort of like this, but upside down and without so much shaping between the calf and knee.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Online Color Palette Tools

I was inspired by this Bella Knitting blog post to spend some time with my color wheel and a box of colored pencils. I also started poking around online and found a few more color picking and palette generating tools.

On Color Schemer (the one mentioned on the Bella Knitting blog), you can browse color schemes that other people have uploaded. The real product they're trying to sell is their $50 Color Schemer software, but there is a quick-and-dirty online palette generator on their site. The generated palettes tend to be pretty garish, though. They also offer a nifty little free doo-dad that tells you the value of any pixel on your screen.

Then there's this site for generating palettes. It tends towards monochromatic or 2-hued schemes.

This flickr toy from Big Huge Labs will create a scheme based on a photo you upload or give it a link to. It's pretty nice.

Colourlovers.com has a very similar function (for online photos only) that offers a little more control. They also have an "advanced color palette tool," COPASO, but it only works with uploaded photos, and you'll have to create an account to save your work.

Weekend Spinning Wrap-Up!

I think I've finally recovered from the weekend. I had a migraine most of Thursday night and Friday. By the time it was over, I missed dinner with one of Bryan's college roommates who was in town, and ended up needing to get the car detailed. (AJ in San Jose does a good job, BTW.) Who ever thought it was a good idea to put nasty mint flavoring in migraine meds? Blech. It's time to switch since the Maxalt quits working after a few hours anyway.

Saturday was spinning at Mary's. I worked on spinning up my Crosspatch Creations batt (yay, more long-draw!) Lisa made and plied her first yarn on Mary's wheel! I really love seeing people learn to spin. I taught a drop spindle class a couple of weeks ago and it was so much fun! I love beginner yarn! I never make it anymore, probably because I'm obsessed with predrafting!

Here's the finished yarn. I had fun spinning this, but it had a little bit of a tacky/sticky feel. There was a fair amount of vegetable matter, but it fell out easily during spinning. 3-ply, 4 oz, about 250 yds. Around a worsted weight. I'll probably use it as accent yarn in a garment someday.

Sunday was my 3rd wedding anniversary. Bryan got me Deborah Newton's book Designing Knitwear and a Manfrotto 484RC2 ball head (the one with the quick-release). I'm so glad I got the quick-release!. I used the ball head with my Gorillapod SLR-Zoom to take those yarn shots. Here's a setup pic. You can see the most recent incarnation of my "$10 macro photo studio" from the Strobist tutorial. In this case, it was free. I already had all the supplies on hand. Except poster board. I need to remember to buy poster board!

I got Bryan the new Mario Kart for the Wii. It's really fun cause when you tilt the controller in the turns, something actually happens. I had a really ingrained habit of doing that while playing the SNES version, which just made my in-laws laugh at me.