Tuesday, April 22

Doldrums

I'm somewhat in the knitting doldrums at the moment. I finished an MK project and it didn't turn out great (and I'm out of yarn to fix it, not to mention it's unpickable now it's been washed). The simple jumper has got the back but not the front (it's knitted in the round). I need to try it on because I suspect it'll be too short on me, so I'm debating putting the body aside and starting the sleeves and making them short ones, so I know how much yarn is left. The spiral sock is tedious although I have made it to the heel - it keeps falling off the needle. Oh, and the lace shawl is finished and is awaiting blocking. I was on a 4 day training course last week and then had a short break in Bath where no knitting was done because I forgot to pack any! Shock horror! 

The weaving continues slowly. I've discovered it looks a bit "loosey goosey" until it's moved down about an inch - then it seems to settle down and look better - I don't think this happened on the weaving course, but the shed on this loom is almost 2". I set it up for twill (10 epi) not tabby (8 epi) which means I can't weave any tabby because it's too tight and looks dreadful. Lesson learnt. I put my 24" Ashford Rigid Heddle up for sale on Ravelry, no takers so far. I'd really rather not put it on Ebay because that'd require my packing it for postage and it's really quite big. 

I started to teach myself Design-A-Knit 7 yesterday, it's ok although the manual isn't great. I figured out how to design a jumper and then turn the whole thing sideways. Joining parts is a bit temperamental though - if you do it wrong, the pattern pieces turn into a straight line which is most annoying. Looks like a very versatile program though. I also had a play with stitch design, I found the manual a bit baffling here so will have to read a bit more closely. 

Bath was lovely, of course - I went there a few times but only for drinking purposes so did not see it in daylight. Full of tourists, of course, and on the saturday we got turned away from 3 restaurants (yes, I was getting quite stroppy as well as hungry) but that did mean we ended up eating at a little French place that did tapas-type stuff which was lovely. We visited the Thermae spa and had a massage (expensive but nice!) and also visited the roman baths which were very interesting. We don't tend to be organised enough to book weekend breaks on holiday weekends so it made a nice change, and as we travelled down the Fosse way (old Roman road) we missed the misery of the M5 too. Sunday night we walked into town (as the buses stop most annoyingly after half five), some 45 minutes, for a meal at our favourite indian and a few glasses of Belgian beer at the Merchants Inn. Happy days! 

Monday, April 21

Free pattern: Mid-gauge hat for premature baby

This is a conversion to midgauge of a free hat pattern I found here. I was given a load of oddments of DK and wanted a simple hat pattern to use it up, because the local knitting group (Ball of Yarn) are running a hat drive at the moment.

Charity hats

Machine: 6.5mm gauge with ribber (I used SK860)
Main Tension (MT): 6/6
Yarn: DK oddments

Cast on 62 sts in 2x2 rib.
Knit 34 rows in MT.
*Reduce tension by 1 dot, knit 2 rows.
Repeat from * until R46
Transfer every other needle to its neighbour, K1 row. Take off on waste yarn, leaving a tail of main yarn 3x the width of the knitting on the bed for sewing up.
Thread the yarn tail through the last row of main yarn, remove waste yarn, draw up the crown and sew. Mattress stitch the side seam until the last 2-3", then mattress stitch on the INSIDE so that the sewing up doesn't show when the brim is turned up. Weave in ends.

Sunday, April 13

A bit more weaving

Well, I've had the loom for 5 years, and after last month's very enjoyable two weekends at the Handweaver's Studio in London, I figured it was high time I got to grips with it. I wasn't expecting to have any time free today, but went to teach a student and couldn't make anyone hear (and of course, my mobile 'phone was at home) so had to come home again, after losing a quid in a payphone calling home to ask the Cog to call them for me (he'd gone to the supermarket, alas). The minimum payphone call is now 60p, so that was the end of my quid. Drat! 

I don't have a proper warping frame, but I did buy some warping pegs a while back so clamped them onto a spare knitting machine table and it worked ok once I figured out the best configuration. My first warp didn't go so well - I've left some two thirds of it hanging off the back of the loom because I somehow messed up the cross at the important end, and couldn't figure out how to untangle it. Also a warp thread snapped in that bunch - I'd put elastic bands on the raddle to secure everything and forgot to remove them when I started winding on. The second warp went a lot better and made it onto the loom. Then I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting any kind of shed - until I realised I'd completely left out the front beam when tying on at the front. Whoops. Cue some tricky reversing of the whole beater whilst leaving the reed in place (it didn't help) and a small hissy fit until I calmed down and realised what I'd done. Doh!

There are some loose warp threads, and owing to my awful first warp it's going to be narrower than I had planned, but it's not bad for a first attempt. I deliberately did the cream as an advancing twill (1-2-3-4 and 4-3-2-1) and the burgundy as a 1-2-3-4-3-2 repeat, to see what effects I would get.

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Second warp in progress
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All tied up and ready to go
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In progress (the green was just some chunky yarn to get it started)
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Close-up


The only down-side of this loom apart from its not folding is that I have to stand to weave, so after a few hours it gets quite tiring. We don't have any bar stools here and even if we did, they'd not be tall enough. Another reason to trade it in for another model I think. The warping part is still pretty tedious but I suspect it'll get better with time and practice.  Oh, and I managed to get a splinter from one of my shuttles, so I need to dig out some sandpaper I think.

Friday, April 11

The rules

I had someone complain recently that I applied rules on an appropriate place to post her request - "I don't like rules!" was the whine, as she deleted the rest of her posts. My first thought was, well, the question couldn't have been that important then. I couldn't make head nor tail of her post myself but two folks had tried to answer already as it concerned a specific machine and I felt that the wider forum (not the sales forum) would get a better response. My second thought was, try running a few traffic lights on red and see how much you like rules then (assuming you don't kill yourself in the process). Even a hippy commune has a rota for whose turn it is to clean the toilets or milk the cow. Hey, I was an eighties rock chick myself, I'm not keen on rules - but without them there'd be chaos. My third thought was, ooh, a flounce!

This happened a few days back, but I was reminded of it today when I sat down and actually read the written instructions for the Crow Prints shawl. I just followed the chart, I get lost with written instructions, but my shawl is coming out upside down, or rather, it starts with a point where it should have a straight edge. Turns out the central pair of yarnovers aren't indicated on the chart - in fact, if you follow the written instructions, every pattern repeat seems to start and end with a yarn over, also not indicated. I didn't follow the rules, and got a different design entirely; and no I'm not going to frog it - I'll just finish the repeat I'm on and cast it off I think. I'm so DONE with this shawl!

But at least I've figured out why it's not coming out the same shape as everyone else's....

Monday, April 7

Nottingham MK Show

Well, I managed to make it to the Nottingham show this year - I made a family commitment I couldn't cancel last year which resulted in my being on the wrong side of the UK. The venue's not as big as the Harvey Haddon sports centre, but there were lots of lovely stalls nevertheless selling buttons, yarn, mk spares and showing some lovely samples.



This is a picture taken from Andeeknit's stall in the corner, so you can get an idea of size - it'd look bigger if it wasn't painted such a terrible colour I think! I got three sets of Brother mylars here, will be interesting to see if my naughty KH950i will read them or not. I managed to buy a second-hand copy of DAK 7 from Knits n' Bits, which had one "life" left - won't be able to use it for interactive knitting any time soon because (a) I have no cable (b) the PC it's installed on is in the wrong room and (c) I haven't read the instructions yet. I also picked up some sock yarn and some rainbow yarn (see below) just because. Oh, and a bracelet kit from Erica Thomson which looks like a DNA spiral but is actually a kumihimo braid in wire.

More photos from the show here.

Well, I just had to, didn't I? You know me and loud colours:



Also picked these up at the Handweaver's Studio the other week, again, because they're so pretty. No idea when/what I will use them with!



Managed to knit the back and one front of the mitred cardigan, and made a start on the second front. Finding time in front of the machine is very hard at the moment!

Tuesday, April 1

More weaving

Just a quick post to say I had a lovely two weekends weaving at the workshop in London - everyone was really nice and we got lots of samples done. I'll post a few of the highlights, the whole set of pictures is here (not bad shots for a mobile 'phone!). I have, of course, forgotten most people's names already...

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Hard at work

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Finished samples

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A simple backstrap loom with rigid heddle

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My samples

Since I got back sunday night I've managed to full and wash the samples and I've started getting the loom up to scratch. Last night I cut the string heddles apart and untwisted some that were twisted. My loom has nothing keeping the two halves of the shaft apart, apart from the heddles, so if you slide them all to one end (there's not an equal number on each shaft) then each shaft goes skew. Something to bear in mind. I need some more cord to tie up the rods at the end and there's one screw missing on the back beam. Then hopefully I can get warping up. Ordered a raddle from the Handweaver's Studio so hopefully that'll arrive soon. Excellent class and highly recommended. Dawn managed to show us various weaves (Huck, Attwater, Bronson) plus double weave although I think personally I love twill patterns - firm, balanced, reversible.



Tuesday, March 25

Woven

Finally posting this, even though it's awful:



Yes, it really is that big and no, I'm not that shape. Hey ho. Just shows you that despite having already made a perfectly good sweater for himself out of this yarn, it just didn't want to behave a second time.

This weekend I have mostly been doing this, on a course at the Handweaver's Studio in London:




A bit further along - the green bit is actually double weave, ie it is a pocket and on the other side it's blue.





Had some help from the tutor to figure out how to make the blue stand out like that. It was brain-bending on a sunday. Foolishly I didn't take pictures of all the samples I made, hopefully I will have something to show soon. I'm down there again this weekend without himself so there's more room in the suitcase. I bet some yarn and books jump in.