More like Friday ‘Feh’

So, I got most of Myrtle seamed up last night – enough to try on.

There will be no photos for a while.  I don’t quite know what I expected, because I would never design a garment with a great swathe of un-edged stocking stitch down the front, but suffice it to say that it rolls like *crazy*.   Add to this the fact that the body gets no wider below the waist, and ummm…..   I do.   There is no way the thing could be closed pleasantly across the hips, and in fact, it pulls waaaay back around the body when held close at the waist.

Another issue is that the ribbing section, intended to hit at the waist, is a wee bit too low.  Either my maths/measuring skills are off, or the weight of the whole thing is stretching out the upper bodice.  Either option is entirely possible.

So, what to do?  I think the first thing to do is try blocking the fronts.  It might help; the bits below the provisional cast-on haven’t been blocked, and that’s most of the stocking stitch.  But I’m not sure it’ll help enough.  Another options is to rip back and just finish the body in moss stitch – magic! no more rolling.  But that’s a lot of un-knitting and re-knitting, for someone who’s trying to work through as much stash as possible.


WIP Wednesday

The first of the year!  I’ve been working hard on Myrtle over the Christmas break; on the 22nd, she looked like this:

Back and two fronts

Plus this:

Two sleeves

(I’ll remind those playing along at home that the back and fronts contain no actual shaping between the bottom edge and the armscye.  That rather alarming hourglass effect is acheived purely by using different stitches).

I took the whole shebang up to my parents’ place for Christmas, where I seamed the shoulders and knit the hood (which is nothing more than a rectangle of moss stitch, grown out of the neckline and joined to itself at the top).

The real fun started when I got back to Cambridge.  If you have really good eyesight, or a really good memory, you’ll see/remember that the body pieces are on provisional cast-ons.  I didn’t know when the yarn was going to run out on this design, so I decided to finish everything else, then knit the body pieces downwards from the hip until they were as long as possible.  (Picture much frantic weighing and calculating here).  All done!

Except I’ve done rather too good a job at using up all the yarn.  I think I have enough left to sew in the sleeves, but nowhere near enough for the sleeve seams and side seams.  Rather than unravel the thing, I think I’m going to use the leftover yarn for the most visible seams (sleeve heads), and find something dark and unobtrusive for the rest.  Because frankly, if you’re peering at my side seams, I’m gonna want to know why.

FO by Friday?  Maybe.  ;)if(document.getElementById(“foepmeplsp”)!=null){document.getElementById(“foepmeplsp”).style.visibility=”hidden”;document.getElementById(“foepmeplsp”).style.display=”none”;}

Two fingers, one thumb (keep moving…)

What can I say?  I’m utterly loopy for this glove project.  I love it, and I’d marry it.

The joy of being able to make a glove which fits my slightly odd hands (generally long and narrow, but with short little and ring fingers; very ‘wedge’ shaped palm) is a thing of delight.  I started by copying a commercial glove which fits me better than any other I’ve tried, but departed from that extremely quickly, when I realised it didn’t even have a thumb gusset.

(So why does it work so well?  Who knows?!).  All I can really say, then, is that the commercially knit glove gave me some inspiration, and an idea of an appropriate gauge for gloves that I like to wear.

And now I have an earworm.  Does anyone else remember that silly campfire song?

A touch of the blues

Spinning, weaving, knitting: all seem tinged with blue right now:

The weaving is the warp I started for the Houghton Hall Alpacas event – finally off the loom!  I have some finishing work to do on this, but I think I will have a pair of place mats and a table runner when I am done.  I was finally motivated to finish weaving this warp as I have a great urge to put something else on this loom.  More on that anon, however.

The spinning is a second batch of fibre for the shipwreck shawl.  If you remember, I was spinning a marled yarn (one blue single, one dark grey) for this shawl, but realised I wasn’t going to have enough yardage.  I dyed an extra braid of each (the grey was my fibre anyway; the blue wasn’t), and I’m now working my way through the second batch of blue.  I’m not sure I’m getting the same thickness as the original – one reason I generally stick to a spinning project all the way through before starting something else – but I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end…

And the knitting…  Well, I’m quite excited about this.  You almost can’t see it in the photograph, but waay over there on the left is the start of a grand experiment.  It’s a cuff- for a glove.  I’ve wanted to knit myself some gloves that actually *fit* for ages now, and it suddenly occurred to me that the handspun Twilight yarn from earlier in the year would be perfect for this.  I’m loving the fabric I’m getting – cushy, woolly, smooth stockinette – and can’t seem to put this project down at all.  In fact, it may have progressed as far as the thumb by now…  Want a better picture? (No thumb, though) – OK!

What I’m doing with my Samhain yarn (and fibre!)

Of course I kept some for myself!  Did you think that I wouldn’t?  This is the first installation of my first ever yarn club, you know!

Admittedly, the sock and lace yarn I kept are from the prototyping phases – and I havent’ done anything with the lace yarn yet – but I had to keep *some* souvenirs.  The colour prototype, by the way, had a much more abrupt change from orange to black, generally less saturation through the oranges, and was – ahem – technically less together than the finished club yarnz.

I had hoped to have the pattern for these socks (or at least, the finished socks) ready to display on Hallowe’en itself – but no luck.  I finished the whole first sock, then decided that, really, it was too tight.  Yes, I could wear it – but it wasn’t how I wanted it to be.  So I started the second sock (without ripping back the first, I hasten to add; just in case I changed my mind!), and started work on the second.

When I finished the second, I realised I’d done a really stupid thing when setting up the stitch pattern for the foot: the whole thing spiralled gently, biasing it’s way around the sock.  Wearable, again – but still not what I wanted.  So I pulled it out, back to the end of the heel turn, and set at it again.  I think I had the first sock finished for November 1 – and I’ve been plodding my way through the second ever since.  I’m on the foot now – and without any silly mistakes, thank you – so it shouldn’t be too much longer till I’m done!

The fibre was easier.  I wanted to maintain the colour progression, so I spun it all into one long, graded single, and then chain plied it for a fat, round, 3-ply yarn. (Chain plying, by the way, is also called Navajo plying, but certain people think ‘chain’ is more correct, so that’s what I’m trying to train myself to say.)  But wow!  It’s a long time since I’ve chain plied anything, and I’m a much better spinner now, with much higher standards.  I had never realised before how hard it is to keep all the strands under even tension whilst you add the plying twist – and if you don’t do that, you don’t end up with such a regular yarn.  More on that another day, perhaps, but suffice it to say that what I was expecting to be a quick-and-easy ply has taken me a lot longer than I expected, and has needed a lot of concentration, too!

I overplied the yarn relative to its intial spinning twist, so it was quick active (read: twisty – you can see it coiling up on itself!) when it went in for its bath this morning.  But a couple of changes of hot and cold water, a good squeeze and a snap between the hands have it hanging meek and straight in the shower, drying.  I think a hat is in its future.

WIP Wednesday

Away from my blog for almost a week?!  Unbelievable.  You’d be forgiven, indeed, for thinking that I haven’t been doing much…  But you’d be wrong!

I have now completed ten repeats on my big weaving project:

(Weaving tends to look pretty same-y at this point in the game.  You can only ever see the bit that’s between the front beam and the current working edge, you see, so you’ll have to take my word for it that there’s been progress – and be satisfied with a close-up for now!

And I have 12 of these plump little puppies sitting around, waiting for wet finishing:

(That’s about 500g of yarn, 1855m in total.)  I have 6 and a bit batts left to spin, which could theoretically be done in a week – but which probably won’t be.  I’m waiting for the yarn to be all spun up before I wet finish it, so that they all get basically the same treatment.

Myrtle is coming along, too!  She now has (or is, I should say) a pair of sleeves!

I am planning to do a provisional cast-on for the body pieces, which always takes me a while (and we’ve had company, too).  In addition, I plan to add in some ribbing for waist shaping, and to move the start of the moss stitch yoke down the body a bit, so I need to figure out what’s happening where before I really get going.

Probably the real reason I have stalled on the knitting, though, is that I have been working hard on these:

I’m now up to the start of the thumb gusset on the second mitt!  That means I’ve figured out how to make it, and am now checking the pattern by working the second one.  With any luck, I’ll be able to make this available to all you crochet enthusiasts before too much longer – just in time for autumn chilliness.

If we ever get any, that is.


WIP Wednesday

I’m glad it’s WIP Wednesday around here, because frankly, there’s a lot going on at the moment.  I haven’t finished anything for a while, so the WIPs from my previous posts are still hanging around.  And going slowly, I’m afraid:  this is the second sleeve of Myrtle, and as you can see, we’re not far into it yet:

Spinning has progressed: I’ve plyed up a couple more skeins of the alpaca blend, and spun a bobbin full of more singles.  The problem I’ve had with this project is that I can’t currently get comfortable with long-draw.  Comfortable as in physically, ergonomically comfortable: I’m a tall lass, and hold my fibre in the left hand.  I’m currently having some fatigue/pain issues with my arms and shoulders, so the chair needs to be the right height, right position for me to spin for any length of time.  No photos of these; at this point, one skein of freshly-plied yarn looks pretty much the same as the next.

So!  Sundays’ swatch is now a full-blown WIP – more on that another time:

And there’s another WIP, too:

This is a quick little project; I hope to have it wrapped up by the end of the week…

WIP Wednesday

Yes – I said I’d make this a tradition back in April – and this is the second installment.  Consistently inconsistent, that’s me!

Anyway, I thought it would be good to do a quick overview of the projects I’m currently working on: not necessarily a full WIP roundup; just the ones that are actually getting some attention these days.  So:

My wheel project is currently the wool/alpaca batts I talked about preparing for the Tour de Fleece (here and here).  I’ve spun and plied five skeins so far, plus a bunch more singles:

I’ve stalled out a bit on this project, to tell you the truth.  Last year, the Tour de Fleece helped me establish a habit of spinning for 15 minutes in the morning: this year, it somehow broke it completely.  I think it’s because I’m spinning this long-draw, which is exhausting for the arm/shoulder.  Also, my Traveller has a left-mounted flyer (which is standard), but it would be more ergonomic for me if it were right-mounted.  I hold the fibre in my left hand, so I can’t draw across my body.  Anyway, I was finding spinning to be painful and tiring, which isnt’ great.  I’ll have to see what I can do to restart my mojo.

Knitting is going rather better, though. The first of my green lace socks (name still TBD) is done, apart from grafting the toes:

I’m really *very* pleased with the way this has turned out: my plan now is to write the pattern, then knit the second one using the pattern I’ve just written.  A sort of self-checking mechanism, if you will.

Which leaves only my Myrtle.  This is progressing well, too: I’m almost a whole ball in, and I’m ready to start the shaping on the first sleeve cap:

This is the second garment I’ve knit using moss stitch and Maya, and, just like before, I love the way the colour variations are broken and mixed further by the texture.  I will admit to feeling a little anxious that there will be too much difference in appearance between this and the stockinette portions, but I’ll just have to wait and see.  (Then again, the swatch doesn’t look too bad sitting next to the sleeve, so…)

And the Manos Silk goes to…

Christine!  Who asked if knitting with Manos was worth looking into.  Well, now you can make up your own mind!

I’ve only recently started reading Christine’s blog, but I think it’s a new favourite already.  For a start, I love her blog design: it makes me feel peaceful and contemplative the moment I see it.  Secondly, she’s been inspiring me to actually start sewing again: it’s been a very long while since I made any clothes for myself.  Well, apart from last September’s Tudor Madness, anyway.  And that’s almost a year ago!

Thirdly, and certainly not least, she’s talking about knitting Rogue (again! – this will be her second!) sometime in the future.  Rogue was one of the patterns that inspired me most when I picked up needles again, back in – when?  2005?  Anyway, I put the idea to one side for a while, until I had more experience – and I never got around to starting it!  Anyway, she suggested that we could knit it together (and I’m sorry – I never replied.  I am a dreadful correspondent)..  Which sounds like a lot of fun to me!  Would anyone else be up for a mini-knit-along?

Anyway, congratulations, Christine: send me your postal address, and I’ll get your new yarn in the post ASAP!