Friday, July 30, 2010

My Turkish Spindle

I've entered the "dark side" and jumped in to the deep end of the pool. I LOVE spinning. I was afraid of this.

Zebra wood Ed Jenkins Turkish Spindle, a work of art.

It has become my favorite!

Turkish Spindle + Pagewood Farm hand dyed Roving = Nirvana

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Round and Round and Spinning and Spinning

So many times I've been at knitting events and have been asked if I spun. And I would answer that only around my own axis because I just don't get it. I've purchased several drop spindles and roving hoping to master the art of drop spindling. ( That may not be the right word, but you know what I mean.) It looked so easy when others were doing it and I thought well surely I can do that if that person can. Well not so fast missy, it was not that easy. The yarn that I spun looked very sad and then I would give up till the next knitting event and I would buy a different spindle hoping maybe that was what made the difference. But no that did not work and I did repeat this about 4 times, I know this because I found 4 drop spindles in the "spinning" department of my storage room (aka. the spare bedroom).

My friend Andy shared that she just bought a "Meggie" and that it was so much easier to use than a drop spindle because you use your feet. Yes if I could use both my hands then spin with my foot that is it, maybe this may work for me. So I went for spindle #5 and ordered it from a seller on Etsy. This one is advertised as a spindle/wheel. You may ask why not just jump right in and get a spinning wheel? I'm not sure but I did not want that much commitment and expense. Also there is the which wheel should I get and the spinning guild and so much equipment will be needed and I have so little space.

The little Meggie arrived very fast but to my chagrin the shaft was cracked and the little hook fell out and was obviously damaged. I eMailed the the seller and got an answer that they will replace the shaft not to worry. (I'm still waiting.)

I was complaining bitterly about this because I was ready to sit down and start spinning, my husband was very sympathetic. He is really good that way, he immediately said that he may be able to help out and fix it. I showed him one of the hooks on a drop spindle which was much more substantial than the little tiny hook that fell out. "I want a hook in there like this one" I told him.

A half hour later he came back with the spindle fixed. God Bless his heart he is so handy that way. He told me that the hook is now two inches down the shaft and will not come out no matter how much I tug on it.

Link to the Meggie:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I can't count to five.

I found this cartoon somewhere and it's describing me.... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 .....

I can't count to five, I have no trouble counting to 3 but 5 is a problem.

This is my solution, you may look and see a string but no it's a row counter and a stitch marker.
My pattern is 5 row repeats in the round, and I place the first loop that will be round one and each time I come to the string I know to move the loop to the next one. I cleverly added a little bead at the end so I know which end is up.

When I reach the last loop I know I've completed 5 rows, no paper, no row counter just a little piece of string. And even if I put the knitting down and pick it up at random I still know where I left off.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's cooked

It took a bit of time to post about it but here it is my last dyeing & knitting project from start to finish. In case you can not tell what it is: a yarn cozy. It's designed to hold my ball or "cake" of yarn to protect it and to keep it from getting tangled up. Notice there is a center pull hole at the bottom should I choose to use that feature.

I find when I use a "center pull" the yarn sort of collapses towards the end and gets all tangled up. This clever holder prevents that, the wool sort of sticks to the yarn and keeps it from tangling. I try and use what is considered a rough wool and bright colors also add some stitches that maybe fun to do. I used food coloring to dye the yarn and steamed it in the vegetable steamer.

This particular project I knit the bottom by "short rowing" making a circle. If you want the pattern for the bottom scroll down.

Approximate gauge: 5 sts = 1"

(Gauge is not that important here because this is going to be "felted")

  1. k
  2. sl1, k10, turn
  3. yo, k to end
  4. sl1, k9, turn
  5. yo, k to end
  6. sl1, k8, turn
  7. yo, k to end
  8. sl1, k7, turn
  9. yo, k to end
  10. sl1, k6, turn
  11. yo, k to end
  12. sl1, k5, turn
  13. yo, k to end
  14. sl1, k4, turn
  15. yo, k to end
  16. sl1, k3, turn
  17. yo, k to end
  18. sl1, k2, turn
  19. yo, k to end

Knit all the yo's together to eliminate the holes.

(kyotog - knit yarn over together with the next stitch.)

  1. sl1, k1, kyotog, *kyotog*, to the end of the row.
  2. k

Repeat rows 1-21 six times bind off.

Sew the edges together to make a circle and weave in ends. Throw it in the washing machine with hot water and your other wash. Let the whole cycle run take it out wet.

This will be the bottom of the bag. While it's wet I pick up stitches all around the circle bottom by poking a small crochet hook and pulling the yarn and placing it on a circular needle. (It molds better and will dry as you are knitting.) Then knit 5 rows, turn around knit 5 more rows the other way. Using the yarn over technique to prevent the hole where you turned around.

Happy Knitting

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

What's cooking in my kitchen.

I'm almost done with the project I'll share soon.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

I'm a better knitter than a crocheter but

I'm trying to improve my crochet skills.

I was at Wildfiber on Wednesday night and saw a scarf made with this pattern. (Large Wheel Stitch aka. Catherine's Wheel) I liked the way it looked, especially the one Terri was making. She offered a class to learn this crochet stitch but I missed it. One of the reasons I don't crochet more is I usually feel that the fabric crochet makes is not as attractive as knitted fabric. But of course this depends on the eye of the beholder. Because I don't have enough projects going (LOL) I thought I would start one more. I often get bored with a project or my hands need to rest and switch around with the repeated movements. Sometimes my right thumb starts hurting if I knit too much and switching to crochet helps to rest that part of my hand.

I really like to crochet it's so portable and seems easy, except when I'm trying to follow charts and directions. This is not my best forte anyway but I'm determined to learn this. Learning new skills is always good for the brain, so they say. This can be very satisfying or very frustrating depending how well things are going.

Even if I do not accomplish a whole entire scarf with this pattern, it's giving me satisfaction that I can learn a new skill. The YouTube video really helps, I can't seem to figure out charts and symbols as easily as some of my friends. I'm more of a visual person, YouTube Rocks. I'm hoping my good friend Ellen Bloom will help me out with this, she is a wonderful crocheter. I will be seeing her this Thursday night at the Original Farmer's Market in West Hollywood.

12 chains to complete each segments. Starting with 38 = 3 wheels.

Friday, July 02, 2010

What's a blog without a dog

I'm so tempted to give Lucy a few highlights. She has the perfect hair just begging for a few maybe blue tips on the end of her little curly tail. She is so little and so cute and so full of life and mischief. Adding a little color to her fur coat would look wonderful. But then sometime her owner is full of mischief too. Do not worry I will not use the Microwave, I will skip that step.

Also I would only use Kool-Aid or food coloring and would be careful not to touch her skin or hair she can reach to lick off. I promise I will not torture the dog too much. For that matter she tortures me plenty and as we all know pay back is a bitch. (Oh no I did not say that!)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

What a difference a dye makes

And after:

I am now busy "hanking" and playing with my "dye lots". So far it's just been fun "willy nilly tinting" but in order to make enough yarn to be enough for a project is another matter. For some of the sizes I knit, (ok my size) I need more than one hank of yarn. Now the challenge is to be able to make enough yarn for a sweater with the same sort of colors, in other words make the same dye lot.

I fell in love with my Winter Wonderland sweater and wore that thing till it almost fell off me and or till the weather will not permit wearing it. And I miss it so I decided to knit a summer version of the sweater in a similar colorway but a lighter weight yarn.

I still had more of the periwinkle or robins egg blue yarn left so I decided to tint it. The colors worked well, yes that is more like it. Now to have the time to tint the rest of the hanks and then to knit it all. I may not have time for anything else.

Here I am wearing my Winter Wonderland on my way to Port Ludlow, heading up to the Sock Camp organized by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Tina Newton. Tina is Blue Moon Fiber Arts-Socks That Rock- Sock Summit fame and one of her classes I took was dyeing yarn.

Let me at it I took to this like duck to water. I could have spent the whole time up there dyeing yarn. It was so much fun, not to talk about the beautiful scenery and all the knitting activities Stephanie and Tina dreamed up for us to do. I must confess I did not participate in all of the activities I wanted to relax a bit but what I participated in was a lot of fun.
I am paying very close attention to this, here we are in class with "Cokeyed" looking on Tina demonstrating the technique.

The picture below is a picture I took in Portland at the Sock Summit 2009 with Stephanie, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker & Tina. And they are doing it again in 2011 back in Portland, I have a feeling this time it will be HUGE. Who would believe that sock knitters from all over the world gather for a "Sock Summit" and I was one of them. I was told that they had 5,000 attendees and they expect to top that next year. And I will probably be one of them.

Here are some pictures from Port Ludlow earlier this year, just for fun. I needed a little mini vacation this morning so I ended up revisiting and got lost in the pictures and good memories. My good friend Leslie who was my roommate and driver in her super car that I love and some scenes of the hotel and the bay.