Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Knitting Advice, circa 1970

Holly, a fellow knitter in St. Paul, found the following
long-forgotten letter in a knitting book over the weekend:
Here's a close-up of her Father's advice:
(Click Image to Embiggen)
My favorite line is:
"I could have made this more clear but your mother said not to make it too easy. Love, Dad"

Then again, this is a gem: "If you can figure it out, I'll give you more explicit directions later-".


This letter was written well over 30 years ago.
Holly's parents are in their 80's. Currently, both are active knitters.

Friday, January 18, 2008

First Handspun

I'm completely in awe.

Can you believe this yarn?

I thought my first handspun would be just horrible. Now, it's not perfect in any sense of the word other than it is what it is-- a rustic and wonderful mass of spiraling color that ranges in thickness from dk to hvy worsted. Expectations were a lumpy, bumpy nasty mess of unuseable yarn.

Honestly, I would actually buy this yarn from someone else! The skein moves from warm to cool tones. Plying was a great deal of fun. Watching the colors come together was absolutely magical.

Spinning your own yarn is great. I highly recommend giving it a try. It's relaxing & meditative (for the most part). I loved just about every moment of it.

A few minor problems: 1. One bobbin came undone (the end cap literally popped off) 2. I had a heck of a time maintaining appropriate tension with both the scotch break and driveband. Yesterday I tried out a lovely double drive wheel. It was lovely! 3. I didn't understand what my mentor said when she told me to "turn the wheel counterclockwise to ply". I thought she meant to physically move the wheel. Insead, you have the wheel spin in the opposite direction. The singles are spun clockwise, and the yarn is plyed together counter-clockwise. Approximately 1/2 of the twist on each of the singles goes away.

Nearly all of the pigtail twists are now gone. This is what I meant by 'enthusiastic' singles in the previous post.

Many thanks, Marge.

Now, onto that Potato Cannon...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

'cause a girl needs another hobby

Thanks to Miss Marge, a foreign object has found it's way into my house. She's a stubborn wee thing at times, but she does the trick. Ahem. Perhaps I'm the stubborn one as I try to force the wheel to spin as I think it should! Each time I start to spin a new kind of fiber I have to play with the knobs to get enough/or lesson the 'suck' from the intake.

See? I'm really new at this. I have no idea what to call anything.
I kinda feel like a kindergartener--
and I like it.

During the past two nights I've spun these many bits of roving into very energetic singles on two bobbins. (Approx. 7.5 oz. total) With a successful plying lesson tomorrow (hopefully)-- I plan to show you my first finished handspun on Friday!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Socks: 2 WIPs & 2 FOs

The official switch from DPNs to 2 circular needles hasn't occured, but it's just so darn easy to throw these into my bag when in transport!

The pink/blue socks are basic stockinette and knit with Jitterbug yarn from Colinette. As bright as they are I thought I'd forgo any possible pattern~

The Socks In the Cities Knit-a-long has monthly contests, and I won a skein of Fleece Artist Somoko. It's a lovely Merino/Nylon/Silk/Kid Mohair blend, and is a dream to knit with! Love the shimmer and the soft feel of this two-ply.
The pattern is really simple-- it's just traveling stitches on Stockinette-- a modified "Swirl Sock".
Looking back through the blog archives, these socks were started in February of 2007. Less than a year later, complete.

Purple Trekking XXL-- lovely colorway (66?) Undulating Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Water Whorl Knitting

On New Year's Day I visited a great spot for indoor knitting in Minnesota's metro area.

1. Lots of Warmth
2. Space for knitting friends & lively conversation
3. Coffee shop
4. People watching
5. Greenery!

The Como Conservatory (officially the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory) is one of those nearly forgotten spaces. Most weekends I drive right by and never think about stopping in. It has plenty of nooks & crannies with benches and comfortable spots to sit, talk, and knit away the afternoon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007: My Year in Knits

2007 was a first year of blogging, and a first year of recording exactly
what you can knit in 365 days.

Most recent projects are on the top left, and earliest projects of the year start at bottom right. The first nine images are unfinished, and will be following me into the new year.
* The largest project: Lizard Ridge.
* The most exciting? Wild Apples Bohus! (a Work In Progress)
* Number of gifts: 12
* Realization: I'm primarily a sock knitter.

In 2007 I laid out rather strict "yarn freeze" goals. Honestly, I failed miserably. (Lizard Ridge pushed me off the wagon!) Only goals 2, 3, and 4 were met.

During 2008, I'm going to try to reach the following goals:

1. End the year with less stash.
2. Start a healthier lifestyle.
* Eat breakfast * Go to bed earlier * Greatly limit Splenda & Equal in diet
* Begin weight training & yoga regimen
* Use bike as much as I did 3 years ago.
3. Buy knitting tools, magazines, patterns, and books as desired.
4. Finish at least three sweaters including the Wild Apple Bohus & Erik's cabled pullover.
5. Continue to knit through or frog UFOs & thin out the sock drawer of shame!

Happy knitting to all in the new year!