Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A quick note

This blog has been merged with my other textile blog: A Study in Textiles.  Most of the posts from this blog have been copied to that one. I won't delete this one, but there won't be more posts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fingerless Mitts

I've come to really enjoy fingerless mitts.  I've made several pairs.  They're quick to knit and small enough to carry in my purse.  The rounds are short also so they're perfect for picking up while waiting in line or in a doctor's office.

Not long ago I finished these little fingerless mitts. They were from a kit I purchased last year at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber festival.  They're short, and the thumb is just an opening.  The top barely covers the knuckles.  They're just perfect for those days when I'm typing a lot which always seems to make my wrists get cold.  I was concerned that the beads would bother my wrists when typing, but they have not.  The pattern is Melody Fingerless Mittens by Kathryn Ashley-Wright and can be found on Ravelry. This pair is from brown Jojoland Melody Superwash.

Another pair recently finished is these purple and blue ones. They really should be blocked to show the lovely slightly lacy pointed design at the cuff, but I haven't done it yet. The pattern is "Short n Sweet Fingerless Mitts" by Anne Sahakian (also available through Ravelry). The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks FX in "Cameo."  It is the same yarn I used for my "Afternoon Tea" shawl -- the top part of it anyway.  When I made the shawl I had only one skein of the yarn so I finished the shawl with a coordinating solid.  Later I found more of the multi yarn so I was able to make these mitts -- and I have enough to make socks to go with the ensemble as well.  This pair comes up higher on my fingers, and more thumb to it.  I enjoyed making this pair, although if I do the pattern again I will alter the ribbing at the top of the fingers and the thumb, it was much too "fiddly."

Here's a picture of the shawl while it was still on the blocking wires.
The pictures don't make it clear, they really do work well together.
I expect I'll make more fingerless mitts.  They're quick and easy and very useful at work. I find I like having them even on the hottest days of the summer as my hands and wrists often get cold during long sessions at the keyboard. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blocking done

I finally blocked the baby blanket that I recently finished.  

For a blocking surface, I have these wonderful foam pads (just have to keep them locked away from our one cat, who is strangely attacted to them.  Knitpicks sells some purple ones, but I got mine at Harbor Freight -- they were being sold as floor mats for making a workshop floor more comfortable.  I'm pretty sure these are larger than the ones sold by KP, and the price was reasonable. The ones I have are nice and large, so I can make a good area for blocking. 

The mats have a textured side and a smooth side, I assemble them with the smooth side up. I also have (not pictured) a set of brightly colored smaller ones that I got in the toy department of Wal-Mart, though I haven't seen them there since.  They are usually sold as play mat puzzle pieces.  Guess it would have been too much to ask for them to have the same cut outs as the ones from Harbor Freight. bit but they'll do in a pinch if I ever need a *really big* blocking area.

I lay something over the assembled mats to guard against any color bleed (a practice I started when I only had the brightly colored mats).  I use either a clean towel or, as I did here, some white fleece I had left from an old project. It doesn't cover the mats, but it is big enough for the piece being blocked.

Once I have the mats laid out and covered, I started by inserting my blocking wires in the  edges.  Generally sold for lace blocking, I found these to be an excellent aid for blocking this little blanket -- it made it easier to get the edges nice and straight. First, just the wires
Then, I started pinning. I started at the corners working diagonally. Standing from the camera angle, first the close left corner, then the far right corner, then the far left then the close right.  Next, I placed pins in the middles of the sides, pulling gently to pull the piece out to the  size and shape intended.  You can see the difference already.  I didn't start with a wet blanket for this one, once it was stretched and pinned, I sprayed it with water until it was quite damp.  Then, left it alone for two days.
 One of the corners, showing how the blocking wires make it easy to square them up.

The blocking really made the leaf design show up well.

Released from the wires

No wires, no pins.

Ready to have the ends woven in and to be packed up for presentation.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The best laid plans -- and beginnings

Last week I posted photos of the completed baby blanket, and expected to have photos of it blocked today, but weather and life interfered and I have not yet blocked the blanket. Meanwhile, I'll talk about where I began.

It all started with an article in a Woman's Day back when I was in Middle School.  From that article I learned to crochet.  Well, I had some help -- I figured out the stitches, but when I moved to my first project, a poncho, I had trouble with the whole "join in a circle without twisting" portion of the pattern. My mother took me to the local yarn shop (long gone of course) where, despite the fact that nothing I was using had been purchased there, they lovely ladies showed me how to take my very long chain and pin it to a pillow to keep it from twisting while I stitched the first few rounds.  They also gave me the very important pointer of using a safety pin to mark the rounds.  I rarely looked back (though I did quickly move to thread crochet -- even back then I gravitated to the thinner, finer, smaller work whenever possible.

I believe that was not my first fiber art -- I'm sure there was some embroidery before that.  It was, however, my first experience of someone (not related to me) sitting down with me to help me learn -- that was the beginning of sharing what I learn.

What can I show you or help you with?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow delay

This week's post has been delayed by the brain-eating snow. That snow has, however, also meant plenty of knitting time. My most recent project, a baby blanket for a friend from my old job, has come off the needles.  Here it is, pre-blocking.  I love the little leaves.  I chose a nice neutral color super soft baby yarn.  Coming soon, blocking.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Welcome back.....

While I've started a blog about my research and creation of historic and historically based textiles, I also want to follow my more modern string work.  This blog will now be that journey. 

Recently I had a fantastic experience with my knitting.  While working on a lace shawl, I suddenly hit the point that I was no longer simply following the instructions, I understood what the different stitches and yarn overs were doing.  This increased my understanding of the structure of the piece.  On a later piece, I found that understanding the structure of the piece also helped to "read" the piece to find an error -- before it reached the "give it up as lost" stage.

Certainly a milestone to celebrate!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Joining "in the round" Knitting

Most of my knitting has been in the round – primarily on double pointed needles. I do have one unintended Möbius scarf from the stitches twisting as I joined, but I’ve otherwise been lucky.  While exploring "in the round" stitching, I have found two different ways of joining when using double point needles.

The standard is to cast on the stitches, divide them among the needles (three or four) then, being careful not to twist the stitches, take the first stitch in the first cast on stitch.

Another method is to cast all stitches on one needle, then, instead of dividing the cast on stitches, turn and start knitting the first row, in the given pattern, bringing in a new needle at the designated divisions. At teh end of that first round, do the join by beginning the next round in the first stitch.  Yes, you still have to be careful that the stitches have not twisted, but that one row makes it just a little easier to see that they’re all facing the same way.

The drawback of this method is that the foundation is “backwards” from what it would be. Assuming long tail cast on, in the standard method, the first round is stitched into knit-oriented base stitches. In the first round flat method, the first round is stitched into purl-oriented base stitches.

The traditional method creates a smoother, slightly roped edge. The "first round flat" method has an edge that follows the stitches more specifically so that if you are starting in a rib, the edge will ripple with the ridge.

Here are two photos, using the same yarn, same needles and same K2, P2 rib:

The first photo is using traditional joining, the second uses, "first round flat." The difference is less pronounced in these photographs, but my husband was able to see the difference (he liked the one on the right better!)