Wednesday, September 20, 2006

No new knitting today...

Which is not to say I haven't been knitting. I just forgot to take photos of it. I'm about to start on the edging of the lace shawl for my brother's soon-to-arrive bairn. I've done zero rows on the Ripple Weave socks, which does nothing to take me closer to some of those seductive new designs in Knitty. Not to mention Eunny Jang's scrumptious Bayerische socks. Photos next time. If I remember.

Last November I went to Texere Yarns, and spent my 'wool tokens' (birthday cash) on a selection of dyed rovings. I didn't have a spindle or a wheel at this point, but I knew I would have a spindle soon, and intended to have some lovely fibres to practice on. I didn't really get on with the drop spindle, but as soon as I acquired a wheel I set to. I haven't had any lessons as such, and it shows.

The wheel was a gift from a friend at work, who got a new wheel herself earlier this year. The one she's passed on to me is a Haldane Lewis. Other than that, I know nothing. She gave me a quick lesson on its setup and workings, but I've learned mostly by doing, watching short tutorials on t'Internet, reading and watching a very serene lady spinning away at Woolfest.

Before the revelations of Woolfest, my experience with the wheel was frenetic, panicked and full of frustration. I managed to spin yarn, but not yarn I would ever want to knit with. Here are my first attempts at wheel-spun yarn. I think the orange shade was first, then the pink.

I was so pleased with it when I first made it, until I started looking around on t'Internet and saw other beginners' first attempts. I knew I had a lot to learn.

After several more attempts, producing similar results, I trotted along to Woolfest where I happened upon a lady who sat there, calmly spinning as though the bustle and noise that surrounded her didn't exist. I commented to my friend that my spinning attempts were much more frenzied than that. The spinner overheard me, continued in her spinning, and advised me that I should try to relax into it rather than battle with the wheel.

In the few days after Woolfest, I hauled out the wheel from its corner. I pulled out more of the Texere roving, and set to. After a few false starts, I finally managed to ease the tension from my shoulders and back, and relaxed into it. It worked! My yarn is still bumpy, lumpy, and Not Suitable For Socks, but it looks like it's gettting there. It's an odd colour mixture. Here it looks mostly blue, but it's actually a bright turquoised plied with grey. Not an awful lot of thought went into the colour selection - I just used what I had in my stash.

My next skein was even better. Still not perfect, but much more even throughout. I'm pretty pleased with it. It's a much nicer shade of green than it appears in this photo.

Now I've got almost a full bobbin of my friend's undyed romney roving spun into singles, and I look forward to turning it into usable yarn. The singles are much thinner than anything I've managed so far, but there are inconsistencies in the thickness of the singles. I'm hoping it will even out in the plying...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's all Stash-Junkie's fault

I wanted to post a comment about the lovely Clapotis being knitted by Stash-Junkie, but BlogSpot won't let me play unless I join the gang. Well, OK, but if this blogging thing spirals, I want everyone to know whose fault it is.

Talking of things spiraling out of control, I've just been having a squiz at the new edition of Knitty. More socks! Woo hoo! (Like I'm ever going to knit up all the patterns I've already earmarked for attention.) I l-u-r-v-e the Red Herring socks, and I'm already wondering whether to ditch the Ripple Weave socks from the latest issue of Vogue Knits in favour of the glorious Cable Net design. But no. I am all about the finishing of projects. Absolutely nothing new until I finish the Ripple Weaves. I will remember how I wanted to rip my Jaywalkers off my needles as soon as I saw the seductive twisted-rib goodness of Ripple Weave. I will remember how I finished my Jaywalkers, how I love them very much, and how very glad I am that I didn't consign them to the Cupboard of Doom.

Here thay are in all their green loveliness.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: 4-ply silk bourette, hand dyed by Knitting Goddess Yarns.

I used 2.5mm needles, instead of 2.25, and cast on 84 stitches. I missed off the rib at the top of the sock - I've already knit a pair of these for a friend, and wasn't too keen on the way the fabric behaved. These haven't been blocked yet, so the pixie points are still a little curly, but I'll sort that out on their first wash'n'block.

The socks look very wide in the leg and foot, but I needed to allow for the inelasticity of the silk.

Next time: Pictures of the Ripple Weave socks in progress, and a peek at the lace shawl I'm knitting for my brother's new baby. Will the excitement never cease?