Shafted!

Oooh, lookey!  Another weekend!  More Quality Time with the Baby Wolf.   I managed to thread the heddles on the shafts, in the appropriate order, and get the warp threads actually attached to the front and back beams. 

top down

treadled

And — treadled! 

Don’t look now, but this warp is ready to be woven!

You Sley Me!

On the weekend, I finally had the opportunity to spend some Quality Time with the Baby Wolf.  I measured 120 warp threads (in 2 colours), and got as far as getting the reed sleyed.

sleyed

Still a ways to go — have to thread the heddles on the shafts, in the appropriate order, and get the warp threads actually attached to the front and back beams. 

sleyed wolf

I’m following the excellent, detailed instructions in Deborah Chandler’s “Learning to Weave”.  While it’s slow going, it’s making sense so far, and seems like the sort of thing that will get faster as you learn what you’re doing.

Of course, actual weaving may be an entirely different matter!

Happy 2010!

Best wishes, from Grand Manan.

And, by request — socks in the window:

socks window

Those are, in fact, new socks (old feet).  There’ve been a few end-of-year Finished Objects here at KnitBot central, and they are duly posted up on in the KnitBot Yarn Gallery.

And, for fun — here is the year in review (all objects finished in 2009 — some were certainly started earlier).

Knitbot’s 2009 FOs Blackberry Shawl Summer Diamonds Top
Blue Diamond Socks Petra of Many Colours Blue Crochet Stole
Rainbow Baby Blanket Blue Melody Socks Grey Mouse Scarf
Black Jacket Triple L Tweed Sweater Very Pink Socks

In that, you can see that there were 7 travel projects (i.e., projects that could be worked on while in transit and/or in meetings).  That’s not too surprising, given the type of year it was…  It’s a little surprising to me that I managed to finish 4 non-travel projects in the year — the sweaters/top.  Three of them were pretty easy knits — the diamond modular top, the diagonal (Petra) sweater, and the black jacket.  The Triple L Tweed sweater was the really big project for the year — in December 2008, I was swatching with the yarn to get some ideas.  The rest of the year was about working out a plan for the whole sweater, and then constructing the various bits of it.  I might go as far as to say I think it’s my most successful sweater design yet (not that there have been many…). 

And, it’s a new year.  Not that I’m formulating any formal resolutions here, but let’s just say it would be good to see as many projects, fewer of them travel projects, this time next year.

Travel Knitting

Every now and then, the question comes up on knitting message boards — “can I take my knitting project on the plane?”.  There is no uniform answer across the globe.  Generally speaking, knitting needles are allowed through airport security in Canada and the US, but not allowed in a number of European airports.  And, there are plenty of stories of sad knitters who have had to throw out their expensive Addi Turbos at the security checkpoint, leaving their knitting project in a tenuous state of unattached stitches.  I’ve even heard of some airports requiring people to cut the cable on their circular needle, for fear it would be used as a garrote:  safer for the knitting project than abandoning the needle, but end of useful life of the circular needle.

For myself, I really like the Denise plastic modular needle set:  the modularity is convenient.  The plastic pieces are innocuous, and may not even show up on security scans.  Sure, they are not Addi Turbos, but they are still pretty usable needles. 

Apart from that — I keep a small project (like, a sock project on 5″ wooden needles, such as Grafton Fibers’ Darn Pretty Needles, which are sturdy and sharp) just for travel.

When traveling to or through Europe, I don’t bring knitting projects on the plane — but I have a travel crochet project I bring just for the plane rides.  The theory is simple — it’s a crochet hook, not a needle.  And, if they ever give me grief and cause me to surrender the hook at security, at least I’ve just got the one loop to secure, and the project will not unravel until I have a new hook.   Yeah, I like knitting much more than crochet, but I like crochet considerably more than being BORED MINDLESS on a plane, watching movies I never wanted to see, on half-failed entertainment system (should I change airlines? πŸ™‚ ).   Knock on wood — it’s worked so far.

Of course, if you have travel knitting (or crochet, as here) — you should take it out and show it a good time, while traveling:

Crochet Stole, Eiffel Tower

This crochet stole is now finished — I’ll provide more details, gallerize it and declare it an FO when I’ve gotten it home and properly blocked (along with another lace project, finished up last month).  It’s no particular pattern — just a stitch pattern I thought looked pretty, that I did for four feet of stole, and threw an edge around πŸ™‚

See — the knitting (and crochet) continue, even if I don’t blog about it every five minutes!

One more shot of the stole — where you can see some of the detail in the patterning.

Crochet stole

Learning…

Perhaps — just perhaps — I
am learning.

I have previously
observed
, on more
than one occasion
, that I really should swatch for colours and
pattern realities before I embark on a project.

I’m now playing with some ideas for a multicolour, textured sweater in
Rowan Cocoon (chunky merino/kid mohair).  I bought the yarn with
an eye to colours that played nicely together, but realized I should
get some sense of what the best combinations are (for hue as well as
value) before I
get too far along in the design process.

colour and texture

colour

This was just playing around — I haven’t really thought about what
motifs I want to use (for colour or texture), but it’s quite clear that
the maroon and dark brown are pretty “subtle” together.  “Subtle”
would be a code word for “bad idea” πŸ™‚  But, the maroon would go
well with the base colour, and might even play off the teal
nicely.  We’ll see what happens…

Yarn Surprise

The other day, DH approached me with a box of yarn in hand, prompting
me to retreat and utter some sailorly language.  The attentive
will note that this is not my expected reaction to yarn; certainly, it
was not what DH might have expected.

The problem was that it was a box that had been hiding in the basement
(no difficult feat, given the number of ignored boxes down
there).  It was a box full of remnants of yarns from projects gone
by — projects from 2 decades ago, and more.   Some of the
labels on these acrylic yarns were from department stores — back when
Zellers & Eaton’s had their own house brand of yarn!

I don’t feel I can throw it out — it is, after all Perfectly Good
Yarn.  It’s just not something I want to knit with
anymore.   And there isn’t really enough of any given
colour/weight to just give it away.  (I also have troubles with
the concept: “I’m done with this crap — I thought you might like 
it.”)

Really, the issue is that my current stash is already seriously
bursting out of its generous storage space (some 14 stacking plastic
filer drawers).  I don’t want more space to store yarn:  I
want to knit down the beautiful yarns I’ve already got in hand! 
So, in some sense, the reaction to the box was that it was like having
a box of “time you don’t have” waved under my nose.  Sigh. 
Knew that already.

I did go through the box and mostly filed away the bits and ends —
including the letter that accompanied the return of the project in
progress as the Sweater
Curse
kicked in.  Now, that
was a while ago…

Tweaked

Okay, so here is the revised pattern, instantiated in the new sock:

tweaked

The 2-knit-stitch welt is progressing properly; the stockinette panels
are oddly parallelogrammed, and the moss stitch is setting up in modest
diamond shapes… I think it mostly works.  I think the next time
I’ll keep the stockinette panels diamond-shaped, and let the moss
stitch run amok between the diamonds, to provide the textured
background.  Or, maybe there won’t be a next time.

Now that I’ve resolved this design difficulty, I’ve set these socks
aside until my next meeting/travel opportunity.  So, now I’m back
to my regular knitting projects, and I can’t say I’m feeling hugely
motivated.  I have 3 sweaters in progress, each of which will be
wonderful when finished, but it will take some slogging:

  • a black, mostly stockinette, cardigan.  Black. 
    Stockinette.  How else do you spell DULL?! (but it will be lovely
    when done)
  • the design colour-challenged sweater, that I mostly refuse to rip
    out
  • a crochet cardigan-of-many-colours

This last is the most engaging — my most engaging knit project is
crochet.  Sigh.  I’d like
to set up something more engaging as a project, but don’t feel I can
leave 3 dangling.  I guess I have to press on and finish a couple
of them before I start something more compelling.

Remind me not to do anything less than “compelling” in future.

Just a Little Tweak…

After I’d done these
“diamond moss stitch” socks, I chided myself for not having adjusted
Lesley Stanfield’s stitch pattern (for the diamonds) to work in the
round.  You can see the “disconnect” between the segments of welt
here:

diamond moss disconnect

I decided to make that adjustment and use the same motif in the current
sock project (which uses Tess
SuperSock yarn
— nice tight twist and excellent for stitch
definition).  As I was at the point of beginning to knit the ankle
patterning, I bravely threw down a revised diagram to work for, and set
to work as soon as the ferry pulled away from the wharf.  And
before the ferry docked, I knew I was in trouble.   
It’s just not so simple as all that…

If you look at the original stitch pattern sample in the book, the
stockinette diamonds are in isolation in a sea of moss stitch. 
I.e., there is no horizontal hookup.    As I spent the
next while trying to get the start of one (moss stitch) diamond to line
up with the end of the last, I began to understand why.  The 2
stitches of travelling welt throw a monkey wrench into the whole
pattern evolution.  Compared to the result in the picture above,
there need to be 4 rows to to accommodate the progression of the welt
smoothly from one vertical repeat to the next.  I fumbled around
and eventually made that work, WITH the moss stitch diamonds aligning
in successive vertical repeats.  But, the stockinette segments are
no longer diamonds — they’ve been pulled into generic
parallelograms.   

I think favouring the moss
stitch as the most visually apparent item is the right choice.  If
not, perhaps I’ll make another sock and let the moss stitch go wherever
and keep the stockinette diamonds intact.  Or, maybe I’ll just go
find another pattern to beat on πŸ™‚

I’m trying hard not to think about the fact that this is another case
where some judicious swatching at the outset would have saved some
heartache and ripping back.  It would have.  Swatching is
important.  It’s just that socks are supposed to be the easy “just
do it” projects, and there is rarely time for swatching as I’m headed
out the door and grabbing yarn to make sure I don’t run out of stuff to
knit while on the road.

Oh, you want to see the
current efforts?  Well, presently…

Camel Sighting — Blacks Harbour, NB!

No, not a dromedary — camel & silk blend (YUMMM!) from Hand Maiden Yarns (“Camelspin”, 70%
Silk, 30% Camel), purchased at Cricket
Cove
in Blacks Harbour, NB.

camel

I don’t know how many times we’ve driven by that store and not been
able to stop in — either we’re rushing to catch the ferry to Grand
Manan, or just off the early ferry from
Grand Manan and the store isn’t open, or… Finally, yesterday, the
stars aligned and we had the chance to stop in. 

It’s a delightful store — lots of great yarn in a variety of brands
and types;  nice handknits. 

As usual — my eye lead me to many things, but my fingers got me in
trouble:  one touch of this yarn and I was done for.  It’s
very soft. 

I did make progress on my current knitting projects on the trip. 
I’ve got a new sock project going, and if I could ever figure out how
to make the diamond pattern (used once here)
work properly in the round, I’d be on my way to having a first sock
completed.  Promises, promises.

Sock FO!

Well, after about 4 weeks of meetings and travel, I have a new pair of
socks.  I guess I must not knit very quickly — to take so many
weeks to produce a pair.  But, I’m on to the next pair already.

These are done in White
Birch Fiber Arts
sock yarn, knit toe-up  with Cat Bordhi’s
Riverbed sole increases and “Gothic Lattice” pattern from Barbara
Walker’s “3rd Treasury” for the ankle patterning.

Sock table

sock foot

More detail, and closer to true colours:

ankle foot

riverbed