Yesterday and today I began the plying of the singles- and I’ve gone slow because has been a while since I’ve plied. I think it came out ok – this is about 22 grams – so about 20 percent of the total.
It’s Day 17 of Tour de Fleece, and it’s time to update on s my progress. The fiber is Fiber Optic Yarns merino and silk blend in the Smoke on the Water gradient colorway. I’m spinning with a KCL Woods interchangeable spindle.
I’ve spent every day of the Tour de Fleece spinning a bit until yesterday. Here are some photos of the progress.
All the singles were spun by Saturday, so I decided to take a rest day yesterday, for me and the singles.
Now onto the plying – and I hope to go slow and do it well!
Given the history of letting things go to chance as evidenced by Parts 1 and 2, I decided for my current project to plan things out better. My idea was to make another top like this one, which is a summertime staple.It’s sleeveless with shirttail hems, a simple reverse stockinette ribbing, and a bit of beading on the neckline. It’s my own design:
I’m using a similar linen yarn to the original – Reed by Shibui. It’s a chainette of finer linen, and it’s one of the easiest to knit linens that I’ve tried.
I knit a gauge swatch, and even washed it!
It’s a slightly looser gauge, but it looks good and feels nice and drapes.
So, far, so good – I’ve begun the front, and hopefully my attention to swatching and washing the swatch will pay off!
Lesson: try the full swatching method, and see how it goes!
It’s been a while since I spun, so this year I decided to join Tour de Fleece to get my spinning mojo back.
Midweek I took a spin with spin with some undyed fiber (alpaca, and it was a little hilarious as my hands tried to remember how to draft the fiber, and then get the proper spin. There was a fair amount of park and draft while things got fixed. The result was (remarkably) ok:
Then I had to figure out what out of my stash to spin. I had been holding onto a lovely Fiber Options Yarn gradient in the Smoke on the Water color way in a delicious 80/20 merino/silk blend. Brandy seems to have approved!
Last night I did the swatching and oh my, this is going to be fun! I’m shooting for a 2-ply laceweight/light fingering weight yarn, the sample is a little thicker than I’m planning on.
With my coffee in my Jennie the Potter sheep mug, I’m all set!
In this example I show what can go wrong with knitting a sweater without a gauge swatch. I had a bunch of free-to-me Tahki Cotton Classic that had been marinating in the stash for at least a decade, so I decided I wanted to knit a cardigan.
I knit a CeCe sweater by Bonne Marie Burns a number of years ago and it’s an easy loose-fitting sweater with a V-neck and a simple lace pattern.
So I started – and as advertised, I skipped the gauge swatch. Even though the yarn recommended and the yarn I used are completely different.
It’s a bottom-up sweater knit in pieces until the yoke. I knit the body – and had to re-knit a few rows because I wasn’t paying attention. I knit the short sleeves and that went well. Then came the time to put the sleeves and the body together.
This next error had nothing to do with gauge and everything to do with not ready the pattern. The body required a lace pattern for the 1st front, stockinette at the side seam, more lace pattern for the back, stockinette at the other side, and then lace for the second front. Unfortunately, I had knit the sweater in a solid lace pattern, which with the size I was knitting coincidentally worked with the stitch count I had.
I ripped back the body to the ribbing and re-knit according to the directions – with a 15″ inch body length. The joining of the sweater working pretty well, and although it was a bit long before I finished the ribbing at the back.
Then I soaked the sweater in “wool wash” and blocked it without stretching out. When I put it on after drying, the sweater sagged to a long length – and I realized that not swatching had bitten me badly. When on, the body grew to about 18 inches. Yikes~
I ended up cutting off about 4 inches – and then wrangling the live stitches back onto the needle, and re-knit the ribbing from the top/down.
In the end, the sweater is “ok.” It’s a loose-fitting sweater good as a layer piece, but the armholes are pretty big, but I don’t have the heart to re-knit that half of the sweater!
Lesson: It’s always a good idea to swatch (and block the swatch) for a garment!
I’m doing a very short blog series on how swatching and finishing affect the accessories and clothing that I knit. It come out of my experience recently in getting stalled on completing a couple of projects, and how I am now working through a new one.
Long-time readers may know that I have been challenged in doing mystery knit-alongs where I am satisfied with the end result. In part, it’s because I really am largely a product knitter – knitting for an outcome, and since I don’t know what I am knitting, often I am not all that happy with what is made – which is nothing to do with the designer’s capability, just my personal taste.
Shortly after the race issues got raised in the knitting world, I realized that I had been living in a lily-white bubble as to who I was following on Instagram and my blog-reader, so I upped my game and found some great new-to-me voices, such as @lolabeanyarnco and @untangling.knots, and I’ve really enjoyed @drunkknitter, both her posts and her YouTube channel.
I decided to join Saffiyah’s (aka Drunkknitter) mystery knit-along which was designed in the throes of the final episodes of Game of Thrones, which I haven’t watched since season 1. The plus was that I could knit from stash, so this was all about supporting a designer. I did knit a swatch (lost to history but didn’t wash and block it,) and then knit-along:
There were some pattern reading adventures along the way (a couple of errata, but mostly me not paying attention), and it looked like this as I got almost to the end:
The thing was, it seemed really small – and I’m not a large person. I finished the knitting, but was feeling discouraged by other knitting too (see the upcoming Part 2), so I just stuffed it away, somehow hoping all would be get fixed by ignoring it.
Finally, I realized how many kinds of stupid that was, so I put it in a bowl with wool wash, blocked it pretty aggressively, and voila!
All the worries about size are gone. And it looks enough for me to wear or give as a gift!
Yesterday I went to the local yarn store, because I’m heading onto some vacation and in need of knitting. There in the store was Alison of SpinDyeKnit – and we hadn’t seen each other live in years and we almost couldn’t even say anything at first, and then, of course, there was catching up to do. She has a daughter living in Alaska and was knitting a lovely cable throw that will be warm for her daughter and the baby that is coming.
There’s a lovely group of knitters that she gathers with each Friday, and I got to hang with them while my yarn was being wound by the store – they were lovely and did all the skeins even though the policy of the store is to do one, because no one else was waiting.
I’ve missed hanging with knitters and so this is a lovely discovery for at least a couple of Fridays in July!
Saturday was my birthday – not a big “milestone” birthday (that was last year). I went up to my cousin’s on Friday midday to beat (mostly) the weekend traffic thought the Bay Area, and we hung out a bit before heading out to a cute movie called The Biggest Little Farm. It’s an independent movie with that will help you feel good about the world and has beautiful photography as well:
The plan was to have pedicures with Marie and her daughters the next morning, but one of them got sick and needed to stay home to rest. So it was three of us getting pedicures, and we each chose a fun color!
Then Marie and I went to the grocery store and we got a few more things – it was a small casual lunch that we had, given schedules and sickness. Marie had left up the decorations from Lu’s birthday party a few weeks ago, so I too had a pirate-themed birthday!
The decorations worked with a little editing:
If I have a Power Rangers party when I turn 70, you’ll know why!
As the afternoon wore on, I realized that there is a special perfection to a quiet celebration. We explored the back yarn with Lu
and we blew out the candles on the chocolate cupcakes:
One could say that nothing happened, but that would be wrong. We spent unrushed time with each other and enjoyed a beautiful day.
It was the perfection of letting things unfold and not forcing a particular kind of celebration.
And while all of that was happening – my Facebook friends sent a lot of greetings too – from growing up days, college, Washington D.C. seminary, online friends, clergy and knitting friends. I am not thrilled about Facebook for a whole bunch of reasons, but this is one of the good things it provides!
No matter how long I knit, I make the most basic fundamental mistakes. The major difference from when I was a beginner is that I know when things are off, and either figure it out myself, or ask for help.
This past week was a reminder that the best thing about knitting is that you can rip it out and start over.
Project: Drunk Knitter’s MKAL
This is a shawl project of a certain unknown shape that is from something that someone in Game of Thrones might wear. Since I don’t watch the show, it’ doesn’t matter to me. The project is knit in brioche stitches, and uses the terminology from Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchand and since I’ve knit this scarf from the book,
I figured it wouldn’t be too bad.
The first two clues went well. Here’s what the first clue looked like:
I knit the third one and my first problem was that I ended up with 43 stitches instead of 45 at the end, which meant I had started with 43 stitches. I mean, really, I didn’t even pick up the right number of stitches. Okay. Rip it out.
I knit the indicated section the second time, and have 45 stitches at this point:
Which means starting the fourth clue should have been quite easy. As I started to knit it, though, I realized that nobody else’s projects had this quirky cross in it:
I read the fourth clue’s directions, and I was following them to perfection, so I posted on the thread on Ravelry and asked for help. Within the hour, another knitter responded by telling me that I had knit the third clue incorrectly – I had used the wrong stitch. And she was totally right! Which meant I had to rip things out again for the third clue and start over.
Today things are looking good, I’ve reknit the third clue
and my foray into the fourth clue looks correct and I’ve ploughing through clue 5:
I hope I can finish this with the rest of the MKAL knitters. But who knows what other error I may introduce into this project? Stay tuned.