Monday, December 29, 2008

Groundhog Day, Early

I hope everyone had a good holiday! We hosted here at the Pumpkin abode, for the first time, and it was wonderful, apart from missing a couple of newly-far-flung family members. A trip to Maine to my in-laws for the weekend following completed the celebrations, and we're trying to wade out from under the tidal wave of toys and books that Christmas with 2 small kids brings.

I've slowly been knitting away at my latest sweater project, Neiumarkt. I posted about it a while back and gave you this photo:

About 2 inches further in, I ended up having to rip the whole thing out due to my sudden and acute inability to read. I dutifully started again, and on our drive to Maine made it to the armhole shaping of that front piece. I took a deep breath and spread it out on my lap in the car and stared. It looked a little small. I gave into that sudden sinking feeling and pulled out my tape measure - what was supposed to be 15 inches deep was a mere 12. No problem, I can just add rows, but its looking a little narrow too. I'm knitting the 36" size, going for a little negative ease, as the Brioche stitch is pretty stretchy. My width was 12". I'm all for a clingy sweater, but 24" on my 38" bust might be stretching the limits of decency, if you'll pardon the pun.

Ripping session #2, cast on attempt #3 on larger needles now leaves me with a 40" top - off in the other direction. I'm thinking it is time to put this aside and start something that doesn't feel like I've done it a thousand times already. Something quicker and (hopefully) a little less like work and more like good satisfying knitting. Time to hit my Ravelry queue and find some inspiration!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Socks, Mailman Mitts and Coil Update

In a move that hasn't been accomplished in this house since 2006, I actually knit a pair of socks in less than a years time. I'm hoping this trend continues, as my handknit sock collection is being worn out faster than they can be replaced. These are Koigu, simple 4x2 rib, short row heel.


My only holiday knitting this year are some mitts for my mailman. Paul is awesome. We have an old-school, out on the curb on a post mail box, and an unprotected from the elements front door. This guy routinely backs down our long, narrow gravelly driveway to deposit packages in the dry and safe garage in bad weather, and in good weather, he does the same drive and brings packages up the steps onto the deck to deposit them right at the back door. This guy actually deserves an entire sweater, now that I think about it.

My last post on the Coils had Laurie reminding me of the recent SpinOff article that teaches this technique using a spindle to counteract the supertwist that gets in the core yarn. Sadly, I have no spindle, but at the next spin night Julia was kind enought to loan me one of hers. (I have an inkling she may have more than one). I was thrilled to discover that it is SO.MUCH.EASIER. to do it this way! I finished off my singles in the time it took me to make my measly sample last time, and my end product is much more balanced than the hopelessly twisty mass from the first time. End result is 16yards/2oz of some pretty cool yarn. I think I might mix this up with the thread-plied from the same fiber and make a chunky funky scarf.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Playing With Plying

I've been wanting to take the time to try some new to me spinning techniques, and finally managed to do just that. The first was pretty simple - plying a bulkk/slubby single with thread. This is half of a "vintage" HelloYarn Fiber Club offering, a merino top called "Maldives", about 2.5oz/135 yards. Very easy to do - I just used plain old cotton sewing thread in a pale blue.

Next on my list was super-coils. I used this Knitty article for guidance. I spun the rest of the Maldives into an over-twisted bulky single, wound it into a ball, and started coiling with some white crochet cotton thread as the base. It took me 2 hours to make just 6 yards of yarn, but I love what I made. I have plenty of singles left so will try again, hoping practice might make things go a little quicker. My main slowdowns were the over-twisting of my base thread (needed to spend lots of time letting the trailing end untwist) and the fact that I had to hand wind the yarn onto the bobbin - I was using the Louet and her hooks, while very generously sized, still hung up the lumps and bumps.

I can totally see why people get addicted to making this kind of yarn - it is really, really fun.