Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Son Learns to Knit

On Saturday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend I taught my son to knit. He's been asking for a couple of months and we finally found time when both of us were free. I really had fun teaching him, seeing how he quickly and easily he learns. Today he called for a follow-up lesson -- he's having trouble with what he's calling "transfers". I don't think it actually has a name except, perhaps, "turning the work." The last time he tried fiber arts was 23 years ago when he was five. I still have the yards and yards of chain stitch he made with his big sister's fat crochet hook and red acrylic yarn. Much to his dismay I'd kept it. At the time he didn't want to do anything but make the biggest string he could.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Reincarnation of the Interminable Socks

Click on the link above to see my first attempt

To reclaim the yarn, I wound it on a ball winder and then steamed it to relax the yarn. I boiled water in my vegetable steamer pot with a steamer basket, let it sit covered for 15 minutes, placed the two balls of yarn in the pot, covered, for 10 minutes.

Main color: 2 skeins "Online" Linie 1 Supersocke 50g/210m 5% wool/25% nylon; Variagated with royal blue the main color.
Contrast color: Schoeller-Esslinger (Schoeller-Stahl) Fortissima 50g/210m 75% wool/25% nylon; Bright red #20 (1/2 of the skein).
Bright red reinforcement nylon thread saved from Lang bright red sock yarn.
#1 needles
Gauge on stst: 9/1".
Pattern Stitch Basket Weave Rib
Over 8 stitches and 12 rounds
Rounds 1,3,5,7,9 & 11: P1 *[K3,P1]* repeat ** to end of round
Rounds 2,4,& 6: P4, K3, *P5, K3* Repeat ** to end of round
Rounds 8, 10, & 12: P1, *K3, P5* Repeat ** to end of round
Size: for a generous leg and shortish foot
Cast on 84 st in k2p2. Continue for 1"; [Alternative, p1,k3, to mirror pattern]
Start pattern and continue until leg measures 6". Begin decreasing 1 st every other round until there are 72 st. When work measures 7", begin heel. Divide work in half, placing 37 stitches on thread, stitch holders or needles -- whatever works -- for the instep. The extra stitch is needed to make sure the pattern, which continues over the instep, has a purl stitch at each end.
Keeping decrease line in center of 35 stitches for the heel and bebing the heel flap. Knit to end of 35 stitches, turn and add cc with reinforcing thread if so desired. Purl 1st row and begin whatever heel stitch you like. Continue until 18 rows or flaps on outer edge (having always slipped either the first or last st of every row) and then turn heel. Use whatever formula works for the heel you like. Pick up 18 st. at each edge of heel and begin gussets. Decrease until reach 72 stitches. Divide work evenly among 4 rows in a logical way -- there will be 19 stitches on one needle to allow for the extra purl stitch. I advise arranging the needles so that 2 hold the 18 and 19 stitches of the instep pattern and 2 hold 36 stst stitches. This will prevent, perhaps, losing track of where the pattern ends. Continue for whatever length. For the DB make foot 6.5", measuring from heel flap.
Toe Begin her favorite toe, adding cc and reinforcing thread if desired. Knit 1 rnd in stst with cc. On next round begin dec: on every needle
Rnd 1: K1, ssk *knit until last 3 sts] k2tog, k1
Rnd 2: stst
Repeat rnds 1 and 2 until 16 st total. Arrange on two needs, with bottom of foot on one needle and instep on another. Do the donkey ear trick if desired, leaving 6 sts on each needle. Kitchener st close.

Note the pooling, particularly on the sock on the right. It was a little startling. I did notice that it seemed to be caused by a lack of other colors for a space of about 5 of the color repetitions on the royal blue ground. Luckily the DB loves it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Second Afghan Completed for Charity Project

R.L., Who Puts Together the Stettenheim Stitchers' Afghan Blocks

R.L., with the second of two whole afghans she has valiantly and enthusiastically crocheted together. R. does a lovely job, patiently completing the afghans that The Stettenheim Stitchers knit. She works with H.L., who decides how to assemble the blocks.

On Sunday H.L. presented the completed afghans in the opening ceremonies of Mitzvah Day. R.L. has also been The Stitchers' liaison to the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services and the Mitzvah Day chair.

Monday, November 06, 2006

We meet Jenny Bakriges at Rhinebeck

Click on the link above to Spinning Spider Jenny's to see the photo of Caroline and me.
We were so happy to run into Elizabeth (right)and Jenny, left. I met Elizabeth at NCS's Fibre Fallout. And, you can read all about Jenny's Spinning Silken Fibers Workshop I took in August in the archives.

Here we are, having just finished some, dare I say it, lambchops. On the left is April, in the middle is Caroline and on the right is April's friend Sharon. Refreshed, we're off to explore and ....buy fibery things.

A Human in Sheep's Clothing and her Shepherdess!

And some real sheep

My real score of the day was to get to Hatchdown before all the spindles were gone. I bought 3. Way too many but will probably sell one to a blogger I met at Beth and Jenny's booth where we bought some lovely Roving from Beth (left) and baby camel from Jenny (right).

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sweater and Hat for Little Ethan James

Hope this fits although probably not for long. I knit this for the first grandchild born to one of my college friends. Very exciting. I used a pattern from Little Badger and acrylic in three colors so that the young parents can wash it. I have a feeling that the hat will fit a lot longer than the sweater.

Charity Project at work finished

At work I've been facilitating a charity knitting project. We call ourselves the Stettenheim Stitchers, after the name of the library where I work. At least seven of us have been making blocks to sew together. Above is H.L. with the first afghan, completed today. She knitted several of the blocks.

There's a second afghan requiring only ends to be sewn in and an edge crochetd as well as about 20 (of 49) blocks for the third. We're determined to keep going.

The wonderful thing is that everyone has her specialty. J.R., pictured below, knits blocks when her busy schedule permits. R.L. has sewn all the strips together, besides knitting blocks and recruiting her daughters to do the same. H.L. (photo below) has knit many of the blocks and is our designer. And, D.M., her daugher and sister have been knitting like the wind. My job, besided knitting a few blocks, has been to sew ends in and crochet the edging. It's been a lovely collaborative project.

The completed afghan(s) will be donated to the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services' Sanctuary Project after being featured next week during our second annual Mitzvah Day. JBF&CS presents the afghans to children going into foster care so that they have something of their own to take with them from placement to placement. We find this a very worthwhile cause as we can imagine how comforting a warm blanket can be for a child who's lost her family.

Monday, October 02, 2006

NCS Fibre Fallout

The morning mist over the lake at the Johnsonburg camp NCS used.

Rita Buchanan, an extraordinary teacher and accomplished person, before beginning the one day workshop, one of the very last she gave before retiring.

NCS members Jenny (blond hair with back towards camera, Karen and May: can be seen in Spin-Off in a photo taken at the same workshop which photo includes yours truly)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Dyed Soy Silk from Jenny Bakriges Spinning Silken Fibers Workshop

Finally, here's a photograph taken 10/1/06 of the soy silk we dyed in Jenny's wonderful workshop. Unlike the rest of the class, I used one color for each section of silk. I didn't want the muddiness that might have resulted from painting on variagated colors. The soy silk takes the colors brilliantly. My favorite is the bright fuschia cochineal.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

An Homage to the Red, White and Blue

Finally, they're almost done, these socks for my DB. They are inspired by the enthusiasm for patriotic iconography following 9/11. Yes, I know, the fad became trite way before the socks were finished. What can I tell you? Even though I'm a New Yorker I didn't wish to knit an homage to our fair city in the hue of its native costume -- black. And, I'm not at all fond of orange, white and royal blue, the city's emblamtic colors. So, we decided on muted shades of our national tricolor. This project became a sort of albatross, hanging about the bottom of my current- project knitting bag for almost five years. (At least I didn't have to hang them around my neck.) They're also my first original sock design. Sewing in the loose ends took over over two hours on the one sock I've finished. Why so long? It was late, I was tired (but doggedly determined) and I was seeing double and fuzzy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

UFO's - A Partial List

This weekend we went in Pittsburgh to visit family, arriving Friday evening, leaving Sunday morning. Because I was the driver for the 350 miles each way, I had little knitting or spinning time. But, I did finish one more square for my daughter's wedding afghan. I've acted as "ghost knitter" for a number of friends who want to be a part of the project but can't knit or aren't confident enough. While I tried to encourage them, I did take on about 6 extra squares. For this square I used the dragon scales pattern which drove me absolutely crazy every now and then. I do love it, tho', and figured out how to use it for socks.
Photos later, after they're blocked and/or as a part of the coverlet/afghan.

So, I had a chance to think about my many projects. I'm almost finished with the "Homage to the Red, White and Blue" socks for the DB. On the sticks are also my first toe up socks.
Still to complete:
mermaid Australian cross stitch/needlepoint for one friend
tank top
baby blanket
my son wants beer bottle cosies -- would you believe?
and, the DB found a partially finished washcloth with a lovely lace stitch I'd adapted.
Many more in the ready-to-go category -- too many to list.

Then, there's the stash.

Time for bed. Hope I don't have nightmares about pointy sticks chasing me...

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Visit to the Beach

This is what a fiber-nerd does at the beach. I'd brought 3 pairs of Noro Silk Garden skeins for my friend's partner to choose from for her [late, of course] birthday present. A committee formed and chose /colorway #87. It's made of 45% silk, 45% kid mohair and 10% lamb's wool. 50g/100m per skein, $11 each.

The classic based on Plymouth Yarn's but modified by moi. I use #8 needles because I knit somewhat loosely. Using a provisional cast-on, cast on 72 sts. Pattern is two-fold, horizontally at each end of rows and vertically as the wide ribbing ridges are knit. It's a kind of magic knitting trick which makes a lovely, turban-like hat. Even experienced knitters wonder how it's made. Use yarn that stripes with long repeats of color to take advantage of the striping effect. Or else, adjust the ribbing to fit the colorway. The style flatters a wide variety of heads!

Pattern in Short:
On every other row slip 1, k2tog at beginning of row; continue to last 2 sts; make 1 stitch in next st then k or purl last st. At the same time, make as many wide rib ridges of 4 rows stockingette and 4 rows reverse stockingette as needed to fit head. This hat used 15 complete ridges; it also used up all the yarn -- every inch of two skeins. The cast-on row will form the last row of a complete 8-row ridge.

Wide rib pattern: [*Knit the, next row, Purl next row* 2 times; *purl 1 row, knit 1 row* 2 times]. End with 2 rows matching the cast-on row; the 3rd row will be joined by the kitchener stitch row to the cast on row. Warning: make sure there's enough yarn to knit the required number of complete ridges. To end, pick up the 72 sts from provisional cast on and kitchener st together with the last row. The trapezoidal shape is what makes the lovely diagonal stripes when the cast on edge is joined to the last row of live sts.

Top of hat: After kitchener stitching the edges, you will have a tube. Then pull yarn through stitches at whichever end best fits the intended head. I add a short length of strong fingering weight yarn at this point because the Noro just isn't strong enough to pull through tightly without breaking. This hat can be reversible but I usually do a little extra stitching on the side that has been designated the reverse side so that there isn't a hole where 60 sts (8 rows times 15 divided by 2 because I slip the first st) are pulled together. I usually pull the yarn through the end that was the "make one stitch" edge because it's curved and adds a little extra to the turban look. Turning over the edge reveals the contrasting color patterns on the reveres side which is always somewhat different because of the effects of using a ribbing pattern.

Questions: (I wish I'd photographed this phenomenon and will next time): why is the "k2tog: edge straight and the "Make one" edge curved? It works out but it's what's kept me from making a clapotis.

Noro controversy adddressed
I had one knot in 2 skeins which was very loosely tied. I was able to take out the knot and join the yarn as I normally would when beginning a new skein. No sticks or straw in this yarn -- more common in the Kureyon in my experience. Is Noro worth it? I try to get it on sale but I still think the spectacular colorways well worth it, especially for knitted presents. I also rather like that the colors are spun, not space dyed -- it appeals to my old hippie-wannabe self.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Spinning Silk with Jeannine (Jenny) Bakriges, Part III

I've been raving about this workshop for three days now! Not just a learning experience, it was also one of the most congenial classes I've ever been in. Jenny, the teacher, and Ariel, the studio assistant, were perfectly lovely. Jenny was always patient and willing to explain -- even when she'd used up her voice on us. I admire her generosity in imparting whatever she's learned in her career as a fiber artist. Jenny taught us much more than was in the printed curriculum. It was a treat, too, to see her work which I'd only seen in SpinOff. The colors are lovely and the work is beautifully constructed. This is one of the most important things I learned in this class -- the "wax on, wax off" approach to spinning makes a big difference.

Ariel, a fiber arts major, was efficient, helpful and impressively mature. The cat pillow she'd embroidered in a previous class sold for a very nice price at the weekly auction -- I wish I'd bought it. Knowing only how to spin on a spindle, she learned to use a Schacht wheel by the second evening and was spinning like a pro on the last day.

I also have to mention Karen Henderson, the head of the program (no picture, unfortunately) who heads the Fiber: Surface and Structure Program. Peters Valley serves "crafters" and "artists". I am pleased that more of us crafty types can take advantage of some of the offerings. While art vs. craft is a false dichotomy, I don't know another way to name the difference between those of us in craft guilds and those who lean towards a more "artistic" self-definition.

My fellow students were treasures. You know how some workshops and classes may have one or two students you just can't bear? Well, not here. It was fun getting to know my classmates. M. is a Peters Valley afficionada, having taken so many classes. J. raises sheep and has vast stores of both historical and fiber information to share. B. wowed us with an unplanned extra -- a discursion into the native wild moths and the silk they spin. It was a rare and wonderful treat.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Spinning Silk with Jeannine (Jenny) Bakriges, Part II

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Or, What I Learned From Jenny Bakriges.
It's hard not to rave about Jenny. I found her to be a wonderful teacher. Her patience, good humor, frankness and clarity made this among the most successful learning experiences I've ever had. She advocates certain quite defined spinning practices but never strays into orthodoxy, as some teachers do. Throughout the workshop she stressed that these were her methods, perfected for herself and used to obtain excellent results. However, Jenny said we'd find many other approaches and encouraged us to find our own methods.

Jenny teaches by explaining, showing, demonstrating and sharing so much material that one has weeks, even months of 'homework', if so desired. Every time I take a spinning class I'm overwhelmed by the teachers' generosity and enthusiasm. They all give so much of themselves and eagerly share their expertise. They also understand that the students are making what is for many a huge investment of time and money. A classmate told me that she and her friend had agreed that they'd gotten their money's worth by the end of the first day. Those signed up for her SOAR class are in for a big treat.

I'm a plodding sort of learner who likes to explore something quite thoroughly before going on. Luckily the class wasn't structured to go according to my rhythms or else we wouldn't have gotten much past Friday! Because Jenny explained everything so thoroughly, I quietly put my fiber samples in little plastic bags with relevant notes and know I can practice on my own.

The Techniques Jenny Stresses
* Always make a ply sample when beginning a new yarn spinning project. Keep it as yarn stored even a day on the cop or bobbin will relax too much to give a true ply-back.
* Card carefully and pay attention because it's important to do it well. Remember, fiber prep is the key to good spinning.
* Plying takes concentration. Give yourself the time needed and avoid distraction. Jenny showed us how to count as you pull the plies toward you and then let then in (3 or 4 up to your body, 3 or 4 into orifice). The hand separating plies oughtn't to be forward.
* Always, always pull out fibers from the end of a roving, sliver, etc. to check fiber length before carding and spinning.
* Fudging joins (of which I am guilty) while spinning silk results in wrinkled, fibrulated yarn, especially in silk
*The 'yarn package' is very important to plying. I'm not so clear about this but it somehow involves the additional step of taking the yarn off the cop of the spindle or the bobbin before plying. That I learned makes a big difference.

What The Workshop Covered (Order Is Subject To Quirky Memory Kinks)

Friday Morning
First of all, we walked into a room revealing hours of preparation Jenny had put in. She'd even hung up a poster about making silk she'd especially ordered from England. Two long tables were set up with with samples of her beautiful work we've all drooled over in SpinOff, many labeled swatches, books, looseleaf binders. I confess I didn't spend enough time looking these over.
Fibers handed out:
(I dyed all three of these on Sunday with indigo. The little skeins are all sitting in my kitchen, "curing", awaiting their rinse tomorrow evening.
*80% merino/ 20% silk. I spun this very loose and soft; it should have been more tightly spun.
*silk and cotton -- I made a fine, little skinny thread.
*tussah -- I just love the feel of this and the ease of spinning
*Bombyx mori -- lovely
*silk/angora/merino (haven't done it..)
While we were spinning away, Jenny read and spoke about forms of silk and its properties. Meanwhile Arielle, under Jenny's guidance, was "cooking up" the cocoons we were to use that afternoon.

Jenny put out 4 oz. bags of silk roving in various colorways and let us each choose a number from a (of course felted) hat. I was lucky to pick #1 so I got to select first and won a beautiful deep fuschia and blue combination. Jenny had dyed all these when she was co-owner of Copper Moth. She gave the class a challenge. We are to spin the silk, make a scarf and share the results sometime in the future. My idea of homework heaven.
Friday Afternoon
* Sari silk -- I spun it into a tight, cord-like little skein
*We each received one of the cocoons Ariel had prepared. Our task was to remove the pupa and pull the silk into a usable form. Some people spun theirs but Jenny suggested that I try to knit it up unspun. I pulled out the silk, wound it on a little wooden distaff and took it home to knit that evening.did and sill post about it later.gave us one processed cocoon. I pulled out the silk into a continious strand but didn't spin it. Instead, I wound it on a distaff and knitted it up that evening. I'll post a photo eventually.
* We pulled apart a dyed hankie into its layers and spun it. (I have one layer left)
* Jenny took out a large package of lace hankies and gave us each a few. (I haven't spun it yet)
* Jenny had us take apart a silk cap, too. - yet to be spun.
* Using the rest of the cocoons prepared that morning, we removed the pupas and other detritus and stretched the silk out on mawata frames to dry. There were about 12 layers. (See the third photo.)

Saturday Morning
Fibers distributed:
*Camel & silk -- I have three skeins as Jenny suggested I try it at varying thicknesses.
* cotton and cut silk -- not yet spun
We worked on carding and I almost learned it. I love Jenny's method but as I got tired I reverted to the one I'd learned last year in Andrea Mielke's class at MAFA. I think hers is based on Mabel Ross?? I wanted more practice but there wasn't enough time. When I'd gotten the materials list I bought, on Jenny's recommendation, the large Louet cotton cards. They are really wonderful and easy to use.
We made rolags, cigars and some have have made batts. Among the fibers we carded were:
*50%silk/50% cotton cochineal dyed by Jenny and made by the class into punis on the stick she gave us.
*Romney and Tussah, I only made one nest; the rest is waiting.

The fibers available to combine with our cards:
These are the ones I haven't gotten to and can't wait until I do: Medium (gray) coopworth; more Tussah; Yak -- will card with either tussah or bombyx mori; Alpaca - will card with camel/silk blend; "Multicolor silk blend" by Treenway, floor sweepings from silk mill which I'll Combine with some grey fibers; Hemp, very sturdy; Mohair
(Plan: combine mohair, medium coopworth and multicolor silk blend?); Tussah noil; more Bombyx mori; more 80%merino/20%silk
Blended but not spun:
*I carded fuschia corriedale with bombyx and made it into nests from the cigars - not yet spun.
*I carded a lovely 85%merino/15% silk by Gaywool in "Camellia" carded with "Sparkle. White", a glittery polyester. Nests in bag waiting to be spun.

While we drooled over the array of choices and tried to choose among them to spin, Jenny demonstrated and talked about plying. I'm trying to take in all the information as this is definitely an area where I do need to work. Jenny showed us the "Magic water test", used to find the plyback of "dead yarns". We learned that silk will sometimes not ply back properly when too relaxed.
Below: Classmate B. with her wild moth silk stretched on the mawata frames. This is very special, rare expertise so we were all thrilled.

After initial chatting and information exchanges, the class watched a video made in England about the silk industry. Short and informative. Then we traipsed back down to our "wet lab" to space dye lengths of soy silk roving with cochineal, logwood (grey), lac, osage orange. Indigo was brought out at the end. I divided mine into 6 strands and tried for a greenish shade on one by combining osage orange (?) and logwood gray. Since I had gloves on and no notebook at hand, I haven't a clue. Eventually I'll post a photo of the soy silk rovingettes.

Sunday's topic was artifically produced silken fibers. First I spun space-dyed 'Kareoke' in "Rainbow" by Southwest Trading, a soy silk and wool. Jenny gave us little felt balls to wind the yarn on to be steamed and relaxed. I do see the advantage to relaxed yarn because it was much easier to Navajo ply later. Unfortunately, because my loops were quite long, the colors barber-poled and became muddier than they'd been on the ball. I haven't yet tried the "Magic Water" trick to wake up the twist and balance the yarn.
A. Not used yet
Soy silk; Uncarded nylon "fake cashmere" by Louet; "Eco Pet", uncarded polyester from recycled bottles; "Optim" -- super processed wool; Bamboo; Silk latte; purple inego roving -- all the class but M. despised it. I didn't try it; 50%superwash/50%tencel in "Truffle"; Littlefarm's open uncarded Tencel; degummed "throwster' silk waste.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Spinning Silk with Jeannine (Jenny) Bakriges

This weekend I took a 3-day workshop with Jeannine (Jenny) Bakriges, "Spinning Silken Fibers" at Peters Valley Craft Education Center in Sussex County, NJ. The setting is perfectly gorgeous, in the Highlands area of NW NJ. It's on land originally confiscated by the Federal Government but now part of the national parks system when the project to build a dam on the Delaware River was strenously opposed.

Workshops are taught in abandoned, somewhat funky but always charming farmhouses. Our house, designated 'The Weaving Studio', is marked by a huge ball of yarn on the tree stump in the front yard. Because the classes are always small the intimate space works well. What must have been the little house's living room just accommodated seven spinning wheels and Jenny B.'s stash of goodies for us. The cool, breezy weather and clear light helped make it a idyllic setting. The "wet lab" is the former garage, brightly lit, well ventilated with running water and electricity.

I'll describe the full extent of the curriculum in my next post.

Monday, August 07, 2006

De-stashing, the Family Way...plus a spindle report

My latest spindling treasure from The Wheel Thing.
Top: Russian Lace Spindle; Bottom: Wrist distaff and two spindles by Forrester. Click on the link to my Flickr page if you want to know more about the spindles.
By the way, ask me if I know how to spin cashmere. Or, if I even have any. At least I'm prepared. You never know.

The Advantages of Crafty Offspring
Do you know the best way to de-stash, deaccession, simplify your life, make room, etc.? Have a knitting daughter. DD was kind enough to take my complete set of 40" Addi-turbos, 2/per size from 0 to 5. I had acquired them in the early (and mistaken) throes of magic loop enthusiasm. Now that I am happily reconciled to my 5 little sticks, the needles needed a new home...didn't they? She was also kind enough to relieve me of 3 sock yarns I no longer wished to knit. Now that I have discovered the joys of Hill Country, Helen's Laces and Blue Moon. Anyway, it always makes it feel like less of a waste if I can give it to my kids. I have to confess that my son was heard telling his friend as they were leaving after a holiday, "see if you can get out of here without her trying to give you something!" I'm only sorry he doesn't knit.

Spindling Dunce Moment
I was having a real beginner flashback this morning as I tried to spin soy silk on the heavy Satine Natalie. It had to fall about 867 times and bend its little hook several dozen times before it clicked: this was a typical 'spindle too heavy for the fiber being spun' problem. Duh. By this time I was hating the soy silk (which is soooo flyaway!) and thinking evil thoughts about this previously very favorite spindle. So, I switched to the lightweight Phil Powell 15 to find, to my horror, that the very thin wire hook had been totally bent out of shape, as I had predicted and feared. But I got out my trusty needle nose pliers and fixed it. I hope.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Birthday Present for My Sister

A simple Feather Fan Scarf. Dimensions: 88" x 9" (12" when stretched out) Materials: 3 balls (almost all) of Malva by Filatura/S.Charles; 50g/1.75oz to 100m/110yds in color #1, a lovely 85% cotton / 15 nylon ribbon yarn. To see the subtle gradations of mostly lavender with light green accents, click on image to enlarge it. Knit on #11 Lantern Moon wooden needles. This is one of my favorite spring/fall scarf yarns and this is the third scarf I've made with it. Malva in red is waiting me to make a scarf for myself unless, like this one, it calls to become a present.

Above, the scarf all folded up. I didn't block it but if I had it'd be shorter and wider, more of a shawl than the accent scarf I intended.

Below, WS (wrong side) on the left, the diagonal section displays the RS (right side).

The photos below highlight the difference between the cast on (top view) and cast off (bottom view) edges.

There's something funky going with the last stitch that I fixed after I took the picture

Pattern Using knitted cast on, cast on 38 stitches. Feather and Fan uses multiples of 18 st plus 2 st and is a 4-row repeat. For the edge I use my favorite chain edge stitch. The whole thing is very easy to memorize. On next row start pattern
Row 1. On RS chain edge first stitch. K2tog 3 times; yo,k1 6 times; k2tog 6 times; yo,k1 6 times; K2tog 3 times; do chain edge slip stitch.
Rows 2 and 3: K the whole row (Remember the chaine edges)
Row 4: (WS) Purl
Begin with Row 1 again and repeat until all your yarn is used up, you're bored or the scarf is long enough. Cast off, ideally, after a row 2 in order to have the garter ridge at the end.

To widen the scarf or make a shawl, simply add 18-st repetitions, being careful that the rows (not including edge sts) begin and end with K2tog 3 times.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Mystery Solved and Some Spindling

Thank you, Janet Lynn, for identifying the Phil Powell spindle I bought from you! I'm bound to try it, as fragile as it seems.

These are three little skeins I spindled spun and plied this weekend. The green skein on top comes from a batt used as packing material by Linda Diak in a package I received from Grafton Fibers this winter. Lovely, lovely stuff -- I'm assuming dyed by Linda. I'm thinking it may be BFL. It spins up so beautifully with a great crimp which allows for a tight, fine yarn. Both the gold and the bottom variagated are spun from Brown Sheep wool roving.
I dyed the gold fiber at North Country Spinners' "Dye Pot Day" last August with cutch. Although somewhat nondescript, it's a neutral tone that could be useful when combined with other natural dyes. I used a bit of the roving to work out the kinks on a Natalie spindle with a bent hook, trying for a lace weight yarn. It may be lace weight but it's not at all balanced.

The variagated skein was an overlooked part of my Easter Egg dyeing project. These colors seemed muddy in the roving but spun up pleasantly muted. I Navajo plied them to keep the colors together and avoid the barber pole effect.

Monday, July 31, 2006

An embarrassment of spindles... And, a mystery

Innocently enough I was preparing for the Spinning Silk Fibers workshop I'm taking at Peters Valley in two weeks. Looking through my spindles -- just the ones in NYC, mind you, I realized I had quite a few.... To see just how few, you can go to my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizasfibers/.

What does a librarian do in her spare time? Of course, catalogue her spindles. My Flickr Page has the photos of those spindles I've managed to photograph thus far. You see, I'm a victim of the double stash syndrom: some of the spindles are in NJ. The collection is even more egregious. Hanging my head in greedy shame....

There's no photo because Blogstop refused (about half a dozen times) to upload the image of my "mystery spindle" this morning. It is on Flickr Page where it's labeled "Who 474 - Mystery Spindle".

Should you know who made this spindle, would you be so kind as to let me know? You can comment right on Flickr. I bought it from Janet Lynn at The Wheel Thing in Connecticut. The label which came with it states: "bleached bubinga [whorl], cherr[sic] shaft; 15g; $36." It spins like crazy but the hook is the most fragile I've every encountered.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Healing Shawl for Our Good Friend

Finished on July 4, 2006.

Finished dimensions (washed, not blocked) 84" x 27". Made with 1200 yds of Tess Designer Yarn's Brushed Mohair (78% Mohair, 13% Wool, 9% Nylon) 450 yds/8oz. I found c. 18 oz of this gorgeous yarn in String's (a most favority LYS) oddball bucket in various hanks and wound up balls. I recognized it immediately and happily grabbed it at a fraction of the original price.

My pattern is inspired by the simple yarn over details in "The Rebozo" in Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls: 25 Knitting Patters; Interweave, 2000. I began it in early March but life has interfered with my knitting time.

Because the yarn has subtle but very definite variagations from periwinkle to black, there was no need to alternate or add colors. Knit lengthwise, I cast on 275 sts on 10.5 bamboo circulars. Each short edge has a 4-stitch garter stitch border; in other words, I didn't take the yo's in the lace row to the very edge. Except for the lace row, everything is garter stitch. I began with 4 garter ridges (including cast on stitches) then knit the first lace row. The lace pattern is *k2tog, yo* (except for the aforementioned 4 stitches at each edge. The lace row is repeated 16 times in between 4 garter ridges, not including the garter ridge in the lace stitches. I ended with 4 garter ridges, including cast off stitches.

I'm happy to report that our friend. loves it. Even though her surgery was in March and her treatment finished a couple of months ago, she said this was a very good time to receive the love and comfort the shawl represented from The D.G.F. (a.k.a. D.B.) and me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

My daughter is joining my blog

Caroline is a fine needlewoman, keeping up a tradition of many generations. Here are some booties she recently completed.

Of course, the compulsion to make things didn't affect everyone, the most notable exception being my mother after whom Caroline is named. But, my father did excellent needlepoint and made all sorts of things for our 33' boat on his very old Singer. To be fair, my mother did do her share during World War II, knitting my father crimson socks and a scarf, which items were noted in Time Magazine in its accounts of D-Day! The little clipping my father had about a Harvard man being seen coming ashore with crimson socks, scarf and English hunting horn is now lost. I remember seeing it all my childhood. Can't find it at all now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mitred Squares Are Not My Friends

These are two mitred square blocks I finished this weekend. I can't remember which directions I used for the larger square on the right; for the smaller square on the left side I followed the directions in "Basic Mitred Square" by Linda http://www.planetshoup.com/easy/knit/mitre_bas.shtml

Both squares knit with a sale yarn I found last year: 100% cotton "Bahamas" by Jakobdals 50g/100m.

We're calling the square below The Intelligence Test, or, Which One Is Not Like the Other?
This was the more successful of the two but with the same problems I ran into while working on the larger. As you can see, I'm not clear about where to start a square to make it fit. Actually, I was trying to achieve a large square with all the khaki bands creating squares of their own. No clue. Still.

The small square benefitted from having been knit on smaller needles as directed by Linda. I used very old #2 metal needles (at least 33 years old). Metal needles worked much better with this yarn and pattern.
1. upper right edge is all wavy as result of the chained cast on
2. bottom right edge is a complete mess as I cut the yarn instead of running it up
3. bottom left edge is stretchy. It the side of the square where colors aren't begun and ended. As usual the first stitch is slipped.
4. Isn't that little point on the left bottom corner quaint? I followed the directions and knitted an additional stitch before pulling the yarn through to end. I solved it later by pulling the yarn through two loops to make the pointed end stitch. Much tidier.

And, now on to the larger square which I'd started some months ago on wooden needles. The panel on the right was knit on #4 wooden needles, the one on the left with #4 faithful Susan Bates needles.

D.B. (Dearly Beloved) has kindly offered to give the little sampler orphans a home -- and hope for life -- as washcloths.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Working on UFO's

"'Girly Girl' Socks" adapted from Robin Fouquette's pattern in Interweave Press' Socks.

To fit my foot I added one repeat of the lace pattern. They're my own very first socks -- I've made the D.B. at least 20 pairs. I used Brown Sheep's Wildfoote in Crystal Pink on #1 5" dpn's. I just love these socks. Too bad they're too hot to wear.

Friday, June 16, 2006


These are the first socks, of about 2 dozen I've made in the last couple of years, that I will have to rip out altogether. Oh well. As I finished the heel flap on the second sock I finally had to admint that The INTERMINABLE Socks were much too narrow for my Best Beloved's feet.

This evening she tried them on and we couldn't even get them past the ankle. The circumference is 5.25" with the tape measure wrapped around the outside of the sock. This works out to a gauge of 16 sts/1". A little too tight. In fact, they're tighter than the surgical stockings my ex (and late) father-in-law wore. Oy.

I'll unwind the yarn onto my Louet S10's yarn winder, soak it, let it dry, perhaps weighted a smidge if the yarn's still kinking and then wind it into balls. The B.B. just loves the yarn so I'll try again with larger needles and a better gauge.

What about that torque? One sock seems to have more of it than the other. I wonder if there's anyway to avoid that slant of the ribbing. I do like the way the blue pools diagonally down the sock.

The heel flap begins at 7" of leg. For details of their construction see the February posting "The INTERMINABLE SOCKS".

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dulan hat and present for my aunt

This little hat was created as a sampler for practicing color work while holding yarn in two hands. Although I made my first fair isle sweater over 30 years ago, I'd never used two hands for color work. Then I watched a video of a workshop taught by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts -- borrowed from Maury, NCS's inestimable librarian. Gibson-Roberts also demonstrated how to make the band of raised purl stitches at the cast on edge. I used some anonymous but yummy wool odd balls a colleague at work had given me for charity knitting. So, when Brenda Dayne touted the Dulan project I knew just where this little hat would go. The doubled yarn should make it warm enough, I hope.

This is my aunt's very late Christmas present. It's made with kitchen cotton so she can throw it in the wash. My aunt is a devoted "greenie" who couldn't find a string bag to use instead of all the plastic and paper. I hope it works for her.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Finally back to fibers

I've been really, really busy since I last posted. We were involved with a wonderful family event as we celebrated my daughter's wedding on June 4 in Duck, NC. I hardly noticed I wasn't knitting or spinning!

I did have a weekend with some fiber time in May.

I was able to attend my guild meeting on May 12. And, the next day I spun up some fairly junky roving I'd won at the November (??) guild meeting. Perhaps someone can tell me what it is, should a guild member be reading this. It spins up as a fairly rough yarn and isn't suitable for wearing anywhere hear the skin.

But, it was a lovely day and I was able to take good photographs.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Traveling Stash

What's the first thing I pack for a trip? You guessed it -- my fiber projects.
From the right: lace socks (UFO); a Bosworth Midi with New Zealand Perendale/mohair; 2 Bosworth Featherweights with merino/silk; the INFAMOUS magic loop Interminable Socks; new yarn should I actually finish the infamous socks and necessary equipment, including a Stretton mini niddy-noddy, a sheep measuring tape and yarn cutter. The Bossies were a total self-indulgence. But they fit very nicely into skinny little tubes and will be perfect.

Too much. You betcha. I live in dread of running out of projects and having what my sisters and I used to call "itchy fingers." The Perendale/mohair is packed in the unlikely event that I actually finish spinning and plying all the merino silk.

When I return I'll let you know. We're not leaving immediately.