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Brewer Burns

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yarn, Flutter Sleeve Cardigan

I really think that spindling lends itself to the photo essay. I finished plying up my first real substantial hank of yarn last Sunday, and finished plying my second today. These pictures are from my first attempt. I took one fresh single and one really rested single, wound them both into outer pull balls, placed those into coffee cups and then plied them together.

This is approximately 155 yards of two ply handspun wool, 18 wpi. I finished the yarn by 1. soaking it in hot water with baby shampoo, 2. soaking it in hot water with a capful of vinegar, and 3. soaking it in hot water. I then let it hang dry on a door knob, unweighted. This method worked okay for me. Since one of the singles was fresh, it kept twisting on itself and creating knots that needed to be untwisted. Also, when I got to the end of the ball it kept popping out of the coffee cup and tangling with the working yarns. Because of that I tried something different for the next hank, but I will blog that another day.

I also received my knitpicks shine sport in the mail this week and have cast on for my flutter sleeve cardigan from the spring 08 IK. Looking at the pics I've seen on Ravelry of this cardigan, it's going to look fabulous. I decided to modify the pattern to make it longer because I have a long torso. I added 14 rows (2") of stockinette at the bottom, after the seed stitch, but before the decrease rows. So far I am enjoying knitting with the shine sport. It's softer and less heavy than any other cotton yarn I've worked with. It does, however, stain my fingertips slightly. That's not a big deal though, since it wipes off really easy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spindling, A Photo Essay and Dumpling Bag.

I took this:

And plied it so that it looked like this:

Then knit it into this:

This is my very first attempt at plying. I took some very old singles and plied them on my spindle. I hung them dry under tension and then knit them up into Perdita. I used the bluebell chart. I think it's lovely. This yarn, now that it's being spun and plied looks almost exactly like the first ball of trekking xxl that I ever purchased. It's a little funny. I still have lots of this roving to spin but at the moment I'm plying up some larger balls that I have spun.

Okay, so I have a little confession to make. I have decided that I don't care about trying to ply a "balanced" yarn. The little ball that I plied up was wildly over-plied (and overspun for that matter) and when I washed and dried it and wound it into a ball? None of it mattered. It knit up just fine, it didn't behave too strangely in the ball and it didn't bias. Additionally, there were still places after it had been washed the sat in the ball for a week that were really under-plied. Places where I was basically knitting with the singles parallel to each other rather than plied together. So, I've decided to ply my yarns together until they look right. Not a very scientific method, I know. But I think it's going to work.

I also finished this last week:

Pattern: Dumpling Bag from Winter IK
Yarn: Lamb's Pride in cream, and handspun grey wool for the embroidery
Mods: See below

I used size 10 and 10.5 needles because I didn't have any size 13 and I didn't double the yarn. So, I had to cast on more stitches and added rows to meet the size requirements. I also didn't buy rings for the handles and instead just interlocked them before felting. I ran this through the washing machine twice, on hot, heavy duty load, with a pair of old jeans to get it felted. It's still a little under-felted but I like it. Using the handspun for the embroidery worked out very well. I like the bag and hope to use it quite a bit. It's cute. And a very fast knit. I think it took all of two days, maybe.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Alpine Shawl, Finished

I finished my Alpine Shawl.

Project Stats:

Pattern: Alpine Knit Scarf from Victorian Lace Today
Yarn: Fiddlesticks Knitting Zephyr Wool Silk in Coral, 1.5 balls
Needles: Size 4 straights
Mods: Omitted two center pattern repeats at the end because of sheer boredom
Finished Size: 72" long and 19" wide.

I have been knitting this shawl for a long time. I started it because I thought it would be beautiful in the yarn. I started and stopped several times because it just wasn't grabbing my attention. I turned my attention to other things, like spinning and other knitting projects. I knit until I ran out of yarn. I waited a couple of months. I ordered more yarn. Eventually it arrived. I was in the middle of other projects. Finally I picked it back up again. And. I finished it. It was a long knit for me. I continue to be enamored of the yarn (I have 1.5 balls left now.) I really love the way that the zephyr is both warm but also very soft and delicate, and I love the way it catches the light.

I have already worn this a few times. I wear it like a scarf, but it is also a beautiful wrap. I just love it. In my next post I will talk about my other projects.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Life, the Universe, Everything

I've been reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy anthology. Very funny. Anyway, I'm currently working on two different projects: my Alpine Scarf from Victorian Lace Today and a little pattern of my own. I've decided to finish up the Alpine Scarf first though. I've been working on this project for at least a year, I think. I bought a skein of Jaggerspun Zephyr from my LYS quite a while ago in a soft pink called "Coral." I saw lots of pinky colored alpine shawls all over the internets and decided that's what I would use it for, so I cast on. I worked and worked and worked at it until I wanted to cut my hands off. Then I ran out of yarn. That solved the problem momentarily. I actually didn't knit for a while after that. Months. Had to take a little hiatus.

Then in October I picked my knitting up again. I knit a Backyard Leaves Scarf for myself. I finished another scarf I had been working on from VLT, it's the Double Border Scarf with Diamond Borders. It's worked in Rowan Kid Silk Haze that I bought myself for my birthday last year. This was my first experience with Kid Silk Haze and I really love this yarn. I wasn't sure that I was going to enjoy working lace in the fuzzy mohair and I thought it might make my neck itch. I found the yarn fairly easy to work with and now that it's done the mohair provides this very warm halo around my neck when I wear it. It's beautiful. I also made myself a pair of Endpaper Mitts and just generally got my knitting mojo back.

Unfortunately, I wasn't ready to pick up the Alpine Scarf again yet. I ordered more yarn to finish it and when it arrived I stashed it in my basket, waiting patiently. Finally this last week I picked up the scarf again. I knit a few rows. Got a little discouraged when I realized that I wasn't as far along as I had thought I was. Put it down. Picked it up again a couple of days later. Now I'm back on the horse. The pattern is very pretty. I have six more center repeats to knit before starting on the end border. Once this is done and blocked it's going to be spectacular.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Lady Eleanor

Pattern: Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style
Needles: Size 9 straights
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, Colorway 292, 7.5 skeins used
Mods: substituted yarn and needles
Measurements: 17" wide, 68" long, not counting fringe

I finished my Lady Eleanor and she is beautiful. This was my first entralac project. I realized really early on that learning to knit (or, rather purl) backwards was going to be very helpful. It was easy and I employed it for the entire project. After knitting 35 tiers I was completely done with the entrelac for a while but I'm really glad that I have this technique now. Once I figured out the entralac, this project flew by. The Silk Garden is absolutely beautiful and I am still enchanted by the colors. As I was knitting I just kept watching for the next color and the next color and the next color. I still have 2.5 skeins left and I hope to use them for something beautiful. Maybe the window pane scarf from the Winter IK?

I'm very excited about getting to wear this wrap out somewhere, preferably somewhere fancy. I'm thinking that this would look smashing with just about anything, but especially a strappy purple dress. The other thing I love about this project is that I really think that the entrelac shows off the variegated yarn to it's best advantage. Noro blends the colors together in such a beautiful way that the yarn really should be allowed to shine and this pattern lets that happen.

On the fringe: it takes more yarn than you think it will and it takes more time than you think it will. I used about a skein of yarn and probably 2 to 3 hours to apply the fringe and then knot it. I absolutely love the result though. In fact, the knotted fringe is one of the reasons that I was drawn to this pattern in the first place. Personally, I would not love my Lady Eleanor the way I do if it weren't knotted. But to each his own.

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