Thursday, 31 March 2011

Day 4: Where are they now?

Inspired by...

Day 4: Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

There are a lot of different aspects to look at when looking back at a knitting project and it can make for interesting blogging, as much of the time we blog about items recently completed, new and freshly completed. It is not so often that we look back at what has happened to these items after they have been around for a while.

How has one of your past knits lived up to wear. Maybe an item has become lost. Maybe you spent weeks knitting your giant-footed dad a pair of socks in bright pink and green stripes which the then ‘lost’. If you have knit items to donate to a good cause, you could reflect on the was in which you hope that item is still doing good for it’s owner or the cause it was made to support.
It's taken a year and a half, but I've finally found a way to wear my Wrenna lace cardigan:

(no, ok, I'm not wearing it in the picture - I'm having a bad hair day)

With a big shawl pin from Jannette's Rare Yarns this cardigan *does* just about stay on (over a jumper). Still not sold on it for me, it's just too big, but I love the pattern and the yarn colour - anyone got some broader shoulders?

With thanks to Eskimimi for hosting :)
View other posts for day 4 here.
Todays tag: 2KCBWDAY4

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Day 3: Tidy mind, tidy stitches

Inspired by...

Day 3: How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

1) Organise physical yarn stash (in buckets, by gauge).
I (not very) secretly really enjoy this, but it's sort of reached its limit until we work out where the frame for the remaining buckets will go.

2) Enter yarn on Ravelry so I can appreciate quite how unnecessary buying new yarn would be.
This is a passionless process so I've mostly just accepted that it won't happen.
3) Control the works in progress, take stock and rip/finish as required.
This moves in spurts, right now it feels like it's going well. I've ripped and reknit the back of a tank I started last year. Can you see my halo?

With thanks to Eskimimi for hosting :)
View other posts for day 3 here.
Todays tag: 2KCBWDAY3

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Day 2: Skill +1UP

Inspired by...

Day 2: Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?
Like mooncalf, I struggled with this theme somewhat - nothing jumped instantly to mind. I know I've tried some more advanced sock patterns and, like a girl in winter, I've tried my first (and second, and third) toe-up socks since this time last year. I've also knit my first lace shawls (one, two, three) and had a second crack at stranded knitting.

I think what makes each of those achievements feel not very much like skill acquisition is perhaps something to do with the nature of knitting itself. Many folks like to say that to knit any pattern one simply needs two stitches, knit and purl, and everything else is a variation upon these two. As encouraging as those sentiments may be I'm not sure they're strictly true, but it *does* seem to be the case that as one gets to grip with one knitting technique the next is not quite so unachievable.

Still, I did eventually spot a definitely new knitting skill - garment assembly! Over the Christmas break this year I knit Gwen which was my first pieced garment. I knit all the pieces super quickly (bulky yarn works wonders in that department) and then spent as long putting it all together: shoulder seaming, setting in sleeves and mattress stitch  - all new techniques.

Now I just need to apply those skills to my hibernating Hey Teach!

(Last year, Day 2 asked which patterns I aspired to, I listed six pattern types I fancied trying: a blanket, a felted bag, some crochet, a garment, toe-up socks and some more advanced lace. I've done all of the final three and none of the first three... something for this year I guess!)

With thanks to Eskimimi for hosting :)
View other posts for day 2 here.
Todays tag: 2KCBWDAY2

Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 1: A Tale of Two Yarns

Inspired by...

Day 1: Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I have many yarn-related thoughts, but today I thought I'd use this as a great opportunity to finally post some of my handspun efforts. Back in November I posted about my first ever wheel spun yarn, and then... it all went very quiet. It seems that despite a wheel, and the workshop, I was left wondering whether I actually had a clue what I was doing and how to get what I wanted from my wheel (and even what I should want, what was I supposed to do next?). I did spin up one mini-skein (~30g) of chunky 3ply yarn using some of the blue fibre originally bought for spindle spinning (not just good intentions, some of it did get spindle spun). I then started on a full 100g braid of 'British Wool' in a colour that looked great as fibre and as singles, but when I finally started to ply it (again 3ply) the colours mingled in a less-than-attractive manner (pictures omitted, potentially with good reason).

So what's changed? And where's the yarn porn photography?

First, the photos:
  • On the right, some undyed Bluefaced Leicester spun one Sunday and Navajo/chain plied the following Sunday. There's about 27g of this in total and about 92 yards. It's not totally consistent, and the chain plying emphasises the unevenness of the singles, but both mini-skeins come out at approximately 20 wpi (laceweight)
  • On the left, some Shetland spun in the week following the BFL plying Sunday and plied with a strand of red laceweight strung with a selection of colourful wooden beads. This yarn is not beautiful (or at least not particularly well colour-coordinated) but it does demonstrate the technique. There's around 19g/33 yards at approximately 9 wpi (worsted) and the rest of the singles (spun from a 20g Fibreholics sample supplied by KnitCave) are still sat on my bobbins waiting to be something.
What changed? I took three fantastic classes at Purl City Yarns in Manchester. The classes, with Vikki Harding of Wildfire Fibres, covered:
  1. Generally becoming more familiar with your wheel (I finally started to get to grips with how to fiddle with things to get the yarn I'd like)
  2. chain plying
  3. art yarns (core spinning, carding exciting-looking batts, and beaded yarns)
The classes were exactly what I needed to build confidence with my wheel and inspire me to create some great yarns from my increasing fibre stash.

PS - Just for completion, this was the output of the core spinning:

Around 32g/38 yards of (overspun) 'art yarn'. Thick 'n' thin, but around 10 wpi (light worsted).

With thanks to Eskimimi for hosting :)
View other posts for day 1 here.
Todays tag: 2KCBWDAY1

Thursday, 3 March 2011

FO: Helix II

One oversized snail taking on some University grass:

Glad it's finished, not a pattern I love. I do, however rather like the orange yarn. It's Patons Linen Touch which I've used for a couple of projects now (Helix, Infolab Baby Sweater and a hat).

Pattern: Garden Snail by Hansi Singh.

Yarn: A selection of blue mystery yarns from ebay and Patons Linen Touch in Mandarin from Lancaster Indoor Market.

Mods: Dropped the needle size a bit to reflect the DK weight yarn being used (pattern calls for worsted weight). Used even smaller needles for the body as previous knitters had noted a size discrepancy between the shell and body. Ignored the whiskers because I think they're odd looking. Some pattern interpretation required.

Project: Online at Ravelry.


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