Friday, March 27, 2015

Charms!

In the House Cup game I play on Ravelry, the OWL for the subject of Charms is one I thought I'd never do. Your choices were: A) Knit something big and lacey, B) Spin laceweight yarn or C) Spin laceweight and use it to knit lace. Impossible to spin laceweight, and too hard to knit so much lace in only 3 months.

So, in spite of the fact that I can't actually imagine wearing this anywhere, I'm pleased to have finished this!


One Elizabeth Shawl, knit in my own laceweight handspun. Phew!

I did find it difficult to get a good photo. It's massive, detailed and see-through! The kids offered to help :)







It's almost 2m across the top, there, so a good length to wrap around your neck. The gradient didn't work out too badly, either. It took a bit of effort to block it out. I ended up folding it in half along the 'spine', because it only takes half the space (and half the pins) that way, and both sides end up looking exactly the same.

The fold is the edge you can see on the top right. The fabric of the shawl is doubled in this photo, so the fact that all the holes line up so well means I didn't make too many mistakes!


I found I got the hang of lace by the end. Almost every row was a repeat of 12 stitches, so, once I memorized that pattern and how it should line up with the rows below, I didn't need to look at the chart much. That's why the knitting went faster at the end, though the rows themselves took over an hour.


Stats
890y/814m of laceweight on 3.5mm needles
140g
52,363 stitches


 Now I'm on holidays; 14 nights off! I'm going to get to work on some other small projects for this month, and then start NEWT 7 in April!








Sunday, March 22, 2015

Prism

Done! I used up nearly the whole skein. Just have a few mini skeins of rainbow bits, which I chopped out to keep the heels black.



 I do love Jaywalkers. Must remember to increase to the larger size when I get up to the heel, because it's not a stretchy pattern, and doesn't pull over the heel well. Can you see the oil-like colors faintly in the black, here?






Have also started some more spinning. This is BFL/silk in "Paris" from Southern Cross Fibres. It's mainly white, but has pearly shades of grey, green, blue, purple and brown in it.


And now, to stop procrastinating and get back to that shawl. I'm on the 3rd-last row, so I'll get it finished, if I can just make myself work on it :)




Monday, March 16, 2015

March.

I haven't done very much dyeing yet this term. I'm running low on plain white wool! But I did attempt a gradient of blues by weaving a "sock blank" (holding two strands together so as to have two matching skeins) and then dipping it slowly down into blue. I also dipped it into green half-way, and brown a little, thinking that I'd end up with a yarn that went from brown to green to blue to white. But the end of my weaving unravelled, and the yarn didn't really like being over-dyed so quickly. Still, it should make an interesting knit. Since it's mcn (merino/cashmere/nylon) I'm thinking gloves or arm-warmers. The two strands are still held together here; may as well leave them that way, and knit two at a time.

I did a little weaving project, a cowl that was "seaming the ends together" practice. Not too bad, for a first attempt, but weaving isn't as stretchy as knitting, and so it doesn't keep the cold air off your neck so well.




This hat is a top-down one, with a green/blue yarn (Malabrigo Arroyo in Vaa) that I loved, and it has a
turned up hem, for a change. The hem hides the back of the colorwork (which is, I think, a strand of pale blue Pediboo and a thin strand of very fluffy yarn), for fun :)




This hat was hand-spun. Love the simple pattern (Barley) and I think the colors match Byron's eyes. (He says he has "hazel" eyes, and I've always thought they were the same color as his blonde hair, only 3 shades darker with a hint of green.) But I'm not letting him pinch it. After I blocked it with a balloon, it became a soft and slouchy perfect size for me. Must make more of these.



And then, I finally finished the hand-spun scarf. Annoyingly, even though I used the skein that was longer for the warp, I ran out of warp long before I ran out of weft. So I have about 50 or 60g left, and didn't get right to the light blue end.



I find that you can see the gradient of the warp, but you can't easily see which end is lighter and which is darker. Like the regular pattern of Leno Lace, though. It's easy. Zac took this picture for me, to show the length (2.6m, not including the fringe.)






Last but not least, the dreaded Charms OWL, which is over 400 stitches a row, now. I stopped in the middle of this row to show how you actually knit along two sides of the triangle. At the bottom of the "spine" is where you start. You can see the 90 degree angle at the point of the needles here, and also in the color changes and pattern changes along the spine. The sides of my knitting are actually the hypotenuse of the triangle.




Also, this is the end of Chart 6, and 75%. I have a fair way to go in just 2 weeks, but the longer rows go faster than the short ones, and I'm getting the hang of lace, now, with all this practice. I'm going to knuckle down on these next few days off, and see if I can get it done before my next lot of night shift.

As for socks... I still haven't finished last month's black rainbow socks, though I started some more stripey ones. I might have to pull out the dye pots, too, and I'm itching to do some spinning, but don't seem to have time.

Also, NEWT 7 is in Planning Mode. Hehehe. I'm going to do 7 projects, I think, representing the 7 Weasley kids, since it's my 7th NEWT. It's going to include two "Weasley sweaters" (ie. Byron's and Jasmine's birthday jumpers).


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week off, week on

I got lots of knitting done in my 9 nights off, although it went quickly! Now I'm in the middle of 3 on, 2 off, 4 on. I finished a few spinning projects: the Valentine's Day one (Red Roses). It's soft, fat and shiny :)




  Also finished the spinning the Corriedale/tencel. It took quite a while to finish that second skein, but it ended up being 1150m of singles. Each one was spun from the light end to the dark end, and Navajo-plied to keep the gradual color change. I'm going to weave a scarf with them, and see how that turns out.


I got a bit further on with the Jaywalkers. I'm up to the start of the 5th rainbow, now, but I still have a fair way to go to finish them before the end of the month.




As for Elizabeth, I got all the way up to 56%. Here's the 50% picture I took.


It's difficult to take a picture, now, because it's much wider than my needle. It ends up being a right triangle, but you start in the center of the hypotenuse and knit outwards. So the sides of my knitting become the hypotenuse of the triangle, and the other two sides are squished onto my needles. Anyway, chart 1, 2 and 3 are in the light green, and the medium green "diamonds" are chart 4. I'm in chart 5 now, row 21, which means row 168/225 and 56%. Next row, I'll have done over 30,000 stitches.

Wonder how big it will end up being?

Anyway, it's 10:30pm, and I've wasted half the night playing on the computer :) so I'd better get back to the socks. I do have school hours to knit through tomorrow and Friday, so I should be able to finish them, and the hat, too. I'm knitting a hat, as well; forgot about that. It's dark green 5ply, very nice color, with some fluffy silvery hearts. Nearly finished. I think.


Friday, February 13, 2015

V- day

Happy Valentine's Day!

We don't worry about V day in our house, not at all, but this year I am spinning the Summer Club fibre from Kathy's Fibres, which is called "Red Roses". It's actually a mix of merino and "rose", though I understand that "rose" doesn't actually mean crushed and stretched protein fibres from rose petals, but some kind of plant-based fibre. It's soft, anyway, like silk, and is adding white flecks to the red, like bamboo does. Surprisingly, it doesn't make it pink at all (regardless of what my camera might say).

I have nine nights off work; this is the first. I'm putting a few WIPs here to see how much progress I can make in nine nights and 5 school (kid-free) days. This is the project I've been taking to work.


More Jaywalkers, because zigzags are fun! This is the yarn I dyed back in September, which was completely rainbow-stripes, and then I made a big skein and dipped 2/3 into the black. The color actually shows through the black a bit, which is hard to see here, but gives it a kind of oily-look. I like it.

 I didn't take another noodle shot, but the Elizabeth is a 2-color lump of noodles, now. I finished chart 3 (of 8), which is row 117 (of 225) and 27%. I have used 209 yards of my light green. My finished shawl (for the Charms OWL) needs to be 800y, so I might have to add a few rows at the end, but that's fine. Now I'm knitting with the middle-green, which is one ply each of the light and dark. I'm going to listen to an audiobook (Middlemarch) and see if I can get up to 30% before I fall asleep :)



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Noodles!

This term, in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, I decided to take a break from NEWT studies, and do an OWL instead. (For the Muggles, OWLs are the 5th year exams and NEWTs are the 7th year exams at Hogwarts, and, in the HPKCHC group on Ravelry, OWLs are a 3-month project and NEWTs are a 4-month project).


As soon as the "Winter" term started (January to March) I began working on Charms. The Charms OWL is about lace, something I was sure I'd never bother with. You could either spin laceweight yarn (and I would never be able to spin that thinly!) or knit lace (crazily fiddly!), or both. But I managed to spin some laceweight yarn last year, so I determined to prove to myself that I could manage the challenge of knitting with it.

The stuff is like two twisted strands of thread, and the metal needles are slippery. I can hardly do it at all, if the kids are awake, and if I make a mistake it mucks up the whole pattern! And the worst part of all???


Lace looks like NOODLES the whole time you're knitting, cooked 2-minute noodles, until right at the end, when you wet it and pin it out to dry. This is where I'm up to today, which is only 20% of the project, and represents about 20 hours of focus.

This is a photo from the pattern page:

So I have to carry on with a goal in mind, but I don't really get to see it until it's finished.

This shawl is called "Elizabeth", and it got my attention because I had just gotten a new niece called Elizabeth at the time. It's been in my queue for a few years, now! I'm only up to 20% because I needed most of January to knit a birthday jumper for Zac. Now that I have about 8 weeks to go until the deadline, I have to pull off 10% each week. So far so good. I'm getting the hang of the patterns now, too, making sure what I'm knitting lines up with the pattern below, and the rows are getting longer, so I can memorize a bit of pattern and then knit for 20 minutes without finding my place on the chart 50 times. Oh, and a chart keeper! It's just a frame with a magnetic board; it holds a magnetic strip on the line of chart you're up to, so you don't go cross-eyed trying to find your spot, and knit 2 hours before you realize you skipped a line :)


So that's my project for the quiet times, when the kids are asleep or at school, and I'm not too tired.

Other things!

I haven't written here for about a month, and that's because I felt like I hadn't gotten much done. But now that January is finished, I realize that I did, in fact, hand in several things for the game.

First! Zachary 5!

His birthday is on the 22nd, so I had 3 weeks to finish it. Only just made it, by knitting on it fairly exclusively, and badly neglecting my OWL. He knew all about it, and tried it on a few days before his birthday; the Cybermen were a surprise, however, that I duplicate-stitched on before wrapping it up.






Then, for Jasmine (as she bought me this neon-colored acrylic "yarn" for Christmas)








 A couple of hats for the chemo box (up to 13, now)


Handspun yarn (Kathy's Fibres) which she dyed in a gradient blue (light to dark) for the 'club' fibre this last Spring. I spun it end to end, and then N-plied it to keep the gradient.


 And then this spin, which is a bit of a failed experiment. I N4plied it, using a thread of silver as the 4th, just to give it shiny bits. But when I washed it the wool shrank a tiny bit... and the thread did not. When one ply is longer that the others, this happens.

LOL. Still, it might work for something...

Some dyeing. This one was done on a skein that was 28m around (so a bit fiddly) and should knit up into stripes, 16 stripes per repeat. Every second stripe is dark blue, and every other is one of 8 different colors. It's not sock yarn, but it's sport-weight cable-plied wool, so it should be tough enough.






Last knitting project is one for Byron; a TARDIS hot water bottle cover.





That's it for now. You know, I'm thinking I could have gotten a bit more lace done if I wasn't so easily distracted. Hehe. Next time: more spinning and more socks, both started, and some weaving still to come...









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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Jasmine's pink stuff

I told Jas I'd use the rest of her rainbow yarn to make her something, so here it is in pompom form.










Cool Logic hat and gloves I made up (basically just a 40-stitch tube). Just finished in time for one of the hottest days of Summer so far. LOL.
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