I spun three-ply BFL fiber from Chameleon Color Works in a color graded sequence to see if I can make toe-up socks that have the color moving from greenish to blueish and back again.
As my first three-ply sock yarn, I think it turned out fine. I started knitting earlier this week, using size 2 Addi needles. I noticed that the fabric seemed a bit tight. No problem, socks are meant to be a tighter knit than other clothing. After I finished the toe increase they still seemed very firm. I checked the needle package. Size 2. OK. I kept going. Then I decided something was wrong. I stopped knitting and took a break for a couple of days to go to a Padres evening game with co-workers, and to my son's birthday celebration. OK. Back at it tonight. I knit a round in certifiably size 3 Signature needles. Different. Finally fished out my needle gauge. Yup, these are size 1 needles I have been using. Should be at least 2, maybe 3. How they got into a size 1 package is a mystery to me. Now that I have discovered the problem, I can figure out which size I should be using. It won't be a problem to have the toe knit a bit firmer than usual. But I might have to reduce the overall number of stitches by a few. This is the good thing about toe-up, I can just try it on to find out. And if it is a bit wide, I will just make it a bit shorter.
I had to add this post showing the shy cat, Ramona. She is very difficult to photograph because she gets nervous about almost everything. She particularly dislikes the drop spindle (but not the spinning wheel). Whenever I even pull a drop spindle out, she runs to hide. I don't know anything about her early life, since she came to me as a stray looking for a more peaceful home. Perhaps she was startled as a kitten.
The project on the table is my color gamp table runner and placements, a kit from Halcyon. It was fun to weave, but I ran out of steam and took a long break before I finished it. I wanted to get some handspun singles on the loom, so I was motivated to get it done. I wove it on a 45" Herald 4 harness floor loom.
I finished the first mitt this morning, and am very pleased with it. I had to set it aside for a couple of weeks while I decided whether to tackle 4 colors in a row, or whether I should edit the pattern down to 3 colors. I decided to go with 3, since the floats were getting out of hand, and the thickness of the mitt would have increased. The mitt pattern appeared in this year's Knitting Traditions as "A Kaleidoscope of Color: Latvian Fingerless Mitts", by Beth Brown-Reinsel. I would have hesitated to attempt this project before taking Beth's workshop at Stitches West. She taught us the half-braid and herringbone braid techniques in a class on Swedish two-end knitting. Thanks, Beth, you proved that it is possible to teach an old dawg new tricks.
The mitts actually knit up very quickly, using sport weight yarn. I have to remember to copy my mistakes (design choices?) and modifications on the right hand mitt. I jotted them down on a color copy of the pattern. Warning, there are many ends to weave in, particularly at the cuff. It is worthwhile to spend adequate time doing this. I steam blocked the mitt to finish it.
I am now seriously thinking about starting the pelerine. I found the pattern from Schoolhouse Press (Spun Out #40) which was misplaced in Knitter's Almanac for a couple of weeks. I have sketched out how I would make it: opening in the front with 2-3 buttons. Now to the fiber. I have three choices, two of which are shown in one photo, the third in another photo. The third is yarn I purchased at Yolo Wool Mill; the other two are handspun by me. Choice 1 is the orangey-white yarn, which I spun from roving dyed and carded at Morro Fleece. There is a bit of Firestar in there. Choice 2 is the red/purple yarn I dyed and spun from roving purchased from the Ryan family's Homestead Wool & Gift Farm. Their roving spins like a dream, by the way. Choice 3 is the yarn I bought at Yolo Wool Mill, ranging from white, to oatmeal, to gray/blue, to dark gray. I think all would be lovely.
This event was held on April 9 in Old Town. This photos shows two children who had a particular interest in my spinning. The boy on the right was fascinated with the yarn, and how it was made. The girl on the left in the pink jacket must have watched me for ten minutes, listening to me and figuring out how the wheel worked.
San Diego Fiber Artist and members of the Fiber Arts Guild in Casa de Estudillo
Here is a photo of the Fiber Arts Guild drawing a huge crowd on a warm Saturday afternoon in San Diego. Here you see three Volunteer ladies, including the San Diego Fiber Artist, informing the public about traditional fiber production activities. Thanks to Susan W., Rachel, Donna, and Beth, this was another great day of informing the public. So many different international visitors and so much interest by folks about what life was like in California in the 1850s.
San Diego Fiber Artist is revisiting a couple of reference books that are of particular value. The first is Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Ethnic Socks and Stockings, which San Diego Fiber Artist received as a Christmas gift in 1995. There is much to be studied in this book, which includes many important techniques of interest. An avid toe-up sock knitter will be able to use the variations mentioned in the book, since they will suit any practitioner. The second book I am working through is Knitting Around, Elizabeth Zimmermann. Her Knitting Without Tears inspired San Diego Fiber Artist to try a sweater, leading to many others. The personal history sections in Knitting Around are also of interest to a historian or person of antiquarian inclinations. And so on to Yahtzee, if we can get the cat out of the box.
Photo at Yolo Wool Mill with Happy Wool Loving Cat
The Fiber Artist and Company recently visited Yolo Wool Mill and Morro Fleece Works. Jane at Yolo and Shari at Morro were welcoming and we enjoyed our visits and of course made a few purchases. Shari, always a pleasure and thanks for your expert advice. Jane, best wishes for your health and happiness, and thanks for saving me the roving - my summer of dyeing is set. I have finished spinning the January 2011 fiber I purchased at Morro and am thinking of knitting a pelerine or perhaps a Bertha collar. My mother remembers her Aunt Berlie wearing a Bertha collar. Google if curious.