Saturday, April 30, 2011

Progress..... I'm knitting as fast as I can....

The current project I'm focusing on is coming along and starting to take shape. I hope to get it finished for Mother's day which is in one week. I think I'll make it. Hope the weather warms up so I can wear it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Zipper installation

I'm updating this post because I just found this by "splityarn"

"esiest knitted sweater zipper install ever"

The title alone made me take a look and she may be right!

And she says "Hold on while I blow your mind at the simplicity"

She uses Blocking Wires! That I think is brilliant and will probably work best! I will have to try this method so I am updating this post for when I am ready to install a zipper to my sweater.

Here are some other methods that I thought were useful:

This method is somewhat useful because of the double sided tape use, instead of using pins to baste the zipper. I like to sew the zippers by hand, baste it first with a highly contrasting color thread and a matching thread to sew the final seam. When choosing a thread to match your knitting and if there is a choice of colors always pick the darker color.

I find a lot of people do not like to sew and if they can use the sewing machine the better. For me my knit projects do not like to be machine sewn. If a sewing machine is used I have to be extremely careful and go very slowly. Hand sewing is gentler and easier for me besides I don't have to drag out the sewing machine the plug etc.

I like the idea of the double sided tape. They are using "Wonder Tape" . I wonder what will happen when washed? Yes I know they say to only use it on hand washed items not to be thrown in the washer or dryer. But still ...... I wonder how wonderful this "Wonder Tape" is?

Does JoAnn's have it? I see you can buy it online but there is always shipping costs and the instant gratification factor. My project is still several weeks away from being finished but I think I will try this method out on a smaller project just to test this Wonder Tape and what will happen if you do throw it in the washer and dryer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring cleaning

The weather has been warming up and it's time to make the "switch". I call it the switch because I have to dig out some lighter weight clothing and switch my knitting from winter warm wooly things to summer cottonish stuff. My first instinct is to go to my LYS and buy new yarn to start a new project! I always forget that I have a "yarn cave" full of yarn. The yarn cave is our spare bedroom and yes it's full of storage boxes of yarnie stuff.

This time I was very clever and shopped at home! Wow so much I've forgotten about, I have some beautiful yarn right here waiting to be knit and enjoyed. I might add that I am very proud of myself for doing just this and resisting the temptation of buying new yarn.

Of course there was no ball band so I can only guess what I have. The content looks like some sort of mercerized cotton and maybe a rayon mix. When I give it the burn test it does smell like wood burning. There is a lovely shine to it and it's a cross between DK and Worsted weight. I chose to knit it on size 8 needles. And there was 2 of them just sitting in a box waiting to be made into a summer sweater/vest.

Lovely drape and it's just "my" colors. Why else would I have bought it?

Because I'm not sure how much yarn I have I decided to knit a top down something. I'm guessing that each yarn cake has about 350 yards and they weigh approx. 230 grms.

Short sleeve summer bolero, so far so good. I have my fingers crossed that I have enough yarn to at least make it a decent length. That is the great part about knitting from the top down, when you run out of yarn you stop.

I do have some "friendly" colorways to maybe add trimming if needed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flirting with Skirting

The spinning guild I belong to organized part of the Escondido Wool Festival a couple of weeks ago. This is a by-product of a sheep herding dog training facility. They are only interested in training the dogs but they need sheep to herd so we get the benefit of raw fleece.

The flock is a special breed of "Dorset" sheep. One of the characteristics of this down based breed is that it does not felt. This makes this fiber ideal for socks.

All these new terms I'm getting to learn. Skirting is basically picking out the poop & dreadlocks etc. out of fleece that was sheared off a sheep. The beginning of a wool sweater.

It all starts with the bah bah sheep.

First the sheep get a hair cut. Then we have this pile of dirty wool that gets rolled up and bagged. BTW I am the proud owner of one of those bags, it is waiting for me in the special yarn cave where I store all this good stuff.

The raw fleece is spread out and you start picking. Oh it smells real nice like a barn, sort of gives you that being down in the farm kind of feeling.

After all the dirty undesirable bits are picked out about 1/4 of the fleece is put in very hot water and dish washing detergent. Most people tout Down but I think Palmolive dishwashing detergent cuts grease better. Just my own opinion. There must be a reason for touting Down by most but I am the sort who likes to test it for myself.

Fill up the bucket with very hot water add a 1/4 of a cup of dishwashing detergent gently, you do not want suds, and add your fleece. You will need some sort of tool to shove all the fleece in there because the water is ouch hot.

After a half hour a lot of rinsing takes place. More hot water NO soap but rinse rinse rinse and you have white fleece. Take the screen off your window and lay all the wool to dry in the California Sun. I was very surprised how fast it was drying.

There are more new words here, comb, drum carding, roving, spinning woolen, singles or plying etc. After you do all that work you may get this 5 ply wool. Below is Pamela's harvest of one sheep's fleece spun 5 ply, enough for a sweater maybe. I'll have to ask her how much in yardage it was and in weight.

Now only the knitting is left to do. All I can say is I have a new found respect for the prices we can buy ready made yarn for. Hours and hours of back breaking work.

I still have my raw fleece and am not sure if I will do this but it's fascinating. My friend Molly told me that I could just send my bag of fleece to Morro Fleece Works and for a slight charge they will do all this cleaning and send back roving ready to spin. Hmm.... decisions, decisions....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Monogamous Knitter I'm not.

A long time ago I was faithful to one project and would start and finish it before I started another. What happened? Slowly my stash and my knitting needle collection has grown and the next thing I knew I had more than one project started. At first it was only one "main" project and another small something. Like a married man who has their "main" relationship their wife but also has a little mistress once in a while. But I think I've totally crossed over the line and have become a Polygamous Knitter.

I have projects started all over the place. I would get new yarn and just could not help myself I would bust out another pair of needles and cast on another project. Then came about and this habit got super sized. There are so many beautiful projects I just can't help myself. It has gotten to the point where I keep promising to finish or "frog" it. I actually have a storage box with "finish or frog" label printed on it.

The way I now have it rationalized is when I pick one of the projects that needs finishing I think oh wow I'm halfway there maybe I'll just finish it before I start another. This works some of the time. While lost in the land of Moebii (I'm still there) I was hoping to finish with this Moebious jag so I visited the "finish or frog" box and found this little shawl I started months ago and was 99% finished and success I managed to add the button and crochet the last edge, BTW choosing just the right button was no easy task. I think that was what hung me up on these is the perfect button hunt. I think I found it.

The original pattern is by Stephen West "Daybreak". Needless to say my version is sort of that pattern with a few modifications. I should call mine "Nightfall". When I look at other projects of this pattern on Ravelry they look totally different. So what you may say, the only reason this matters is because I've had more than usual eMails with questions about this pattern. My good friend Molly who usually follows patterns pretty closely pointed out to me that mine looks different than what the pattern calls for. Yes the first part, I knit until I got tired of knitting that part. I felt it was totally useless to count rows just knit it till it looks good to you. Then the stripes started, and I did one stripe plain and simply did not like it but I left it because it really did not matter if one stripe was different.

I decided that raising the stripes with a purl bump would look better.
Sort of goes like this: Main color k 1 row purl 1 row, Contrasting Color knit 2 rows

Then of course the bind off which is demonstrated below.

This does not show how I add beads but the basic idea is here:

Friday, April 01, 2011