Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's All Good

Part the first:

Friday night T (w/ Theo and Jeremy),

 Ruth and Shirley

Becki, me and Aimee all met up at Panera's for the GREAT CAST-ON.  Marina could not make it and Deirdre was Missing in Action.  We had such a great time some of us didn't leave until almost 9.

Ruth and T both started baby/toddler sweaters.  
Aimee a hat. (photos complements of Aimee)

Becki and I both began toe-up socks and Shirley was new, not a Ravellenics participant but was invited anyway to join us after her shift at Panera's.  The more knitters the merrier.

Becki had made little toe swatches with her hand spun 2 -ply MVOS.  Me I made the world's smallest swatch, (shown in the last blog) and incomprehensively believed those measurements so cast on with US zeroes.  After 3/4 of an inch I realized that the fabric was way tight.  We discussed this little difference from the swatch and decided I should leave the toes alone as they will never wear out, but do the main part of the socks with US1's and the heels with US0's.    Then we thought about how that swatch didn't work very well even though I used 3 needle sizes and measured carefully.

I also remembered the rule about swatches needing to be about 4" by 4".  Hmmmmm.  Think that makes much difference in gauge?  Duh - well I guess it sure does.

However, even with the fooling around, eating and fun my first evening's goal of completing 2 toes was accomplished.

Part the second:
Saturday's goal was to get the skirt ready for cast-off and do an inch on each sock.

One inch was accomplished on one sock and then I went back to the skirt.  At around 7pm, when I was about 5 rows from cast-off, Jim remarked that the skirt was awfully short.  I answered that Rick wanted it short and pulled out the email with Rick's sketch of dimensions.  That was when I saw the the 12" was not for the entire skirt but for the hip to hem measurements.  oh my!  So I measured the last tier and came up 5 inches short as it should be 17", not twelve.   What to do?  What to do?  I left it alone for a bit to let my brain cool down and ponder this puzzle.  Actually I went and watched an episode of While Collar on my netflix CD.  I do love that show.  

That bit of space let me decide to keep tiers one and two as is (phew!) and only redo tier 3. The decision could have been to start over so I was grateful.  At 10pm I began frogging.  Mind you this meant removing a stitch marker every 6 sts for over 300 stitches and not losing most of them.  I slowly removed the needle which allowed me to lift off the st markers and then frogged back to round 5.  At that point I had no real plan so thought some sleep might help before I messed it all up. Sometimes I am clever and sometimes I am not.  Looks like this was a combo event.

But before I headed up to bed I wanted to recheck the tier 3 stitch pattern.  It hadn't been turning out the way I wanted and I needed to know where I had gone wrong.  I wanted a scalloped edge effect but was only getting mesh.   Actually I had been telling myself that becuase I was using a 40" needle and the skirt had a larger circumference at that point that the needle was holding the scalloping as straight. 

Of course I couldn't find the page where the pattern was located so looked through at least 5 stitch books.  One thing I saw in common in all of them was the fact that if you want a scalloped effect the yo's need to be in the same column of stitches.  I was doing a dropped st pattern but the idea was essentially the same.  hmmmnnn   Finally I found the little idea book the skirt was dreamed up in and sure enough there was the Elongated - Wave Stitch, p81 of Barbara Walker's Treasury, Book 1.  Hmmmmnnn the picture does what I wanted so where did I go wrong? 
 Now I was wide awake.  Slowly the instructions were charted. It was then that I saw that the dropped sts did not go above each other but alternated in each row so that the elongated stitches cancelled out the regular stitches after every 2nd row.  Odd very odd.  It was now almost 11, the bunnies needed to go to bed and so did I.  The picture only alternates after every 4 +2  rows.

This morning I re-looked at the instructions and saw that this pattern was listed as 8 st + 6.  That means any multiple of 8 plus 6 stitches on the end.  However in the first 4 rows it only uses 8+2 sts.  The last 4 use 8+6 though.  hmmmmmnnnnnnn   I never expected an error in a Barbara Walker book but think we have one here.  I recharted to mimic the picture then did a swatch to check.  Sure enough it now works properly.  My copy is ancient so maybe/hopefully in the newer ones this has been corrected?

Frogged back another 3 rounds and then tinked and placed the st markers back where they belonged.  Funny how things work easier in the morning.  So because I made a length mistake I was able to catch a major stitch error before I cast-off, felt done and then sadly had to frog it all out.  Funny how the Universe does guide if it is left alone to do so.  Thank you.

Alas, no more was accomplished on the sock but the skirt is back to round 5 with more rounds planned for this afternoon after July's Fondle This! kits are made ready.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ravellenics Ready

Some of us are meeting tonight at the Ithaca Panera's to enjoy our GREAT CAST-ON together.
We are exercising enormous restraint by not casting on yesterday or the day before or last week.  Well maybe not last week as some of us were still spinning the yarn for this Challenge.

I told myself that the skirt needed to be done before 4pm today.  Alas that is a big joke on myself.  I compartmentalize so well.  I thought that once Troy was over and Tour de Fleece was over I could just sit and knit.  Right.
I neglected to factor in getting ready for Troy, unpacking from Troy, not being able to bring the skirt to Troy, getting 2 knitting submissions ready and in before today's deadline, ummm and doing errands like getting the beads for Fondle This!, getting those packages ready, returning a shower shade that was too narrow and too short, getting more ink for the printer so the Fondle This! patterns can actually be read...... Visiting friends at the Annual Ithaca Artist's Market this afternoon.   Oh my - Actually listing these things gets me all sweaty.

The skirt is about 75% done though.  Need to rewrite the last section and then knit it.  Doesn't sound like much except that as of 5pm I will be madly knitting socks.  

OK so the challenge is now going to be getting that pair of socks completed AND the skirt.  Deadlines on both.  I am good with deadlines.  Don't need all that sleep anyway, well at least for a week or so.

Last night while working on a part of the skirt that felt like a black hole, I played Words With a couple of Friends to take breaks, balled up the MVOS yarn, took out the Bare Bones Pattern,
and then made the teeniest swatch ever.  Can you see it there on the right?  I tried US 1.5 first but the fabric was loose, then US1 and finally US0.  Guess that yarn is fingering weight after all.

Upon typing all this I have come to a big aha.  No wonder that black hole took so long.  I'm actually amazed it got done at all with all those breaks (however practical) thrown in.

Go Ravellenics Team Spinning Bunny.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wool Day tomorrow

I love Wool Day at the Troy Fair, Alperon Park, Troy, PA.  It's held in one huge open barn during the County Fair.  10 vendors, spinning circles, spinning games, spinning and knitting contests and prizes, Fleece to Shawl contest and loads of fun folks to play with all day.

We're always located second-in next to the alpacas.  Nice spot, some breeze yet if it should rain we are far enough under not to worry.  Although the Jersey cows do want to sample the fibers so we have to keep the stuff at least 3 feet from where they are tied.

This year we decided to try getting everything into one car.  I thought Jim's van would be bigger and easier but he wants to take my SUV because my AC works better. However I secretly believe he didn't want to clean his van to my standards before I would ride in it.  We don't need a full set up as this is a small fair and only one day but it took me hours to decide what to bring and what to leave behind.

Finally I chose 4 fibers - bfl/silk, Falkland, Woody and bbfl.  Low to high end and mostly the fibers that sell the best year round which leaves Polwarth, ams and Panda keeping each other company in the shop.  Now we can set up only one of the two walls of fiber plus take fewer back-up bins and half the shelves.  We'll have our new Dreamz fixed circs and whatever is still left of the Bryspun circular needles.  Plus yarn and patterns and Jim's stools and his spindles and his new Hilltopper Wheel.
Alas the wpi cards did not arrive today so we only have one to sell.  Oh well, so it goes.

We figured out the 3 dimensional puzzle (well Jim does most of that ) of where each item, bin, box, basket goes

and started in on the rear carrier.  Then I realized that it would be very loaded, huge to me, with 3 tables, the triangle yarn stand, 4 shelves, 2 chairs and the rugs that I would feel uncomfortable driving into town later to do an errand. I bet Jim that it would be at least 24" tall and heavy and wide. He says not.  To jerk my chain he sat on the carrier thingie while he took the triangle apart.  He says it's rated for over 500 pounds so what am I worried about?  I say it doesn't look like it'll hold that much on just a 4 by 4 tube of metal.

Jim needed to leave by 3:30 for his errands and a meeting and it was almost 3.  So we decided to get up an extra 30 minutes early tomorrow and load the carrier at 5:30am.  Yup, you read that correctly.  We need to be at the Fair by 7:30am for our unloading slot in the barn. With a stop at Dunkin Donuts in Elmira it takes us about 1.5 hours to get there, so now I'll be rising at 4am.  Good thing Jim is driving.

Not 10 minutes after we moved all the carrier items back into the shop it rained.  Yes, actual rain.  Enough rain to get through the leaves and onto the plants below them.  Not a huge amount but enough for them to perk back up.
And good thing we moved all the stuff back into the shop, just in case.
Wet tables and chairs in the sawdust tomorrow?  NOT

Friday, July 20, 2012

Days 19 -21 Tour de Fleece winding down.

I neglected to bore you with more pics of more bobbins of MVOS.  They all begin to look alike after a while anyway.

2 more ounces of MVOS have been spun, plied, rinsed and dried, bringing the grand total of yardage to 295 which is going to be enough.  I will it so.  This will be toe up socks so the cuffs will be as long as the yardage allows. And the last 2 oz are a bit more brown than the first 4.  They will start the toes and feet but I am holding myself back from balling this up.  I know my startitis.  I know how I rationalize.  If these skeins were in balls it would be beyond hard not to just start one wee little toe.  And that is not allowed until Friday at 4pm EDT as that is the official start of the Ravellenics Games.
Meanwhile we had another wonderful sunrise resulting in a cooler day and actual rain last night.  Soft rain, fairly steady and slow enough that the parched ground could absorb it.

Today is a delightful cloudy day in the 60's.  What a relief from all that relentless sunshine and over the top heat and humidity. 

I have spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks in Panera's almost cold AC working on the skirt for Knitters as it is in DK and worsted weight wool.  Well, it's for the Winter issue and not meant for 95 degrees.  I'm not meant for 95 degrees and 95% humidity either so together with plenty of iced tea and a great respectful atmosphere the skirt is now one third done.  It's not just a matter of knitting up a sample.  They sent me a different weight yarn than I had proposed and a different amount of colors.  So part of the time I am adjusting the pattern to accommodate these changes.  Wish I could show it to you but that's a big no no.

Instead of starting another spinning project for the few remaining Tour de Fleece days I am stopping at the completion of my original challenge.  I know, you are wondering what's wrong with me?  I had an epiphany or maybe it was really an adult thought (need to think on that)---- that the skirt is due by August 24 which does seem rather far away BUT I am going to knit socks for my Ravellenic Challenge (I am in the Sock Put event) and I have yet to knit a pair of socks in 2 weeks so that will be enough of a challenge without the pressure of getting the skirt just right at the same time.
There is now a whole week before I need start those tempting socks and in that week I am going to dedicate my knitting time to the skirt.  

sigh.... There are so many neat projects calling to me (hat for DIL, sweater for DIL, new shawl design to name just 3) but I will hold firm.

T even said she would hold that skein of Sea Glass hostage so I didn't start anything with it just yet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quick Catch up Days 9 - 18

Hard to believe this challenge is almost over.  The last week just seemed to fly right by me.  Great race with a wonderful Team to spur us on.

Got the 4 oz of MVOS in Woody all plied up and measured.  Alas it is only 228 yards.  Methinks all that tight twisting shortens the yardage.  sigh..... but also strengthens the yarn. :^)

So this week will be spinning up another 2 oz so that I can start the socks (my Ravellenic project) with enough confidence that there will be enough yarn to complete them.

At guild on Saturday, Ruth brought her Sea Glass which was plied as a 3 ply as is mine but hers was done the regular way while mine was done fractally.  You can see the differences.  Mine, on the right, is pretty but more muted.  Hers has clearer colors.
I'm thinking of spinning some Tropical Sea bfl/silk and plying it with Forest Lake bbfl to go with the fractally spun Sea Glass (the bbfl will mute the Tropical Sea a bit) and then knitting up my Santa Clara Shawl with US 10's and the sportweight Sea Glass as edging.  Might not even need beads as it has some holographic thread sparkling through it.

Uh oh, I loaned it to T (and can't find her blog URL - arghhhh) for next month's guild program on avoiding mud.  
yooo hooo T........ can I get it back and then loan you the knitted parts for the meeting?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Days 6-8

Despite the record breaking heat and humidity us intrepid spinners continue to crank out the yards and meters in many colors, fibers and styles on spindles and wheels.

Day 6, 7 & 8 were back on the Hilltopper.

Day 8 started out with this incredible sunrise

                         but quickly moved into impressive clouds which had me wondering at how they were folding into each other.

and turned into a classic Thunderstorm of wind, rain and hail quieting down within 15 minutes to a half hour of steady rain.
The storm lowered the temps into the 80's and for some delightful reason they are still in the 80's.  No complaints from this spinner.

All the fractal parts are now completed.  Next is to decide just what to ply the Sea Glass with for strength.  I will be using thread but which thread remains a question.
Black rayon?  That was my original thought but nah...

Pale teal silk is a good idea

Sulky mixed nylon/poly/metallica is a great color but the poly may cut the fiber. 
                 hmmmnnn but I do like the sparkliness and am very easily amused by sparkles.

Darker teal silk----- too dark I think

Holographic thread looks fab too.  Jim likes that one best.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 5?

By letting myself off the hook I got it done.

Took my Baynes to Knit Knite and spun spun spun in the delightful coolness at Panera's.  We joke that they keep it so cool you want soup, but on a day when the temps are 96 that coolness feels great.
I am already losing track of which day it is.  
And - playing in Photoshop seems easier than Picasa to me.

Jim just got the bearing in the prototype Hilltopper replaced so back to the Sea Glass.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 4 or Day 5???

Already I am far behind.  sigh.....................
 Managed to get 3 days worth of spinning accomplished, then reality set in.

Also played a bit in Picasa.  I can see it will need more than a few minutes to get it up to the quality I want.  hmmmmnnnn Wonder if I can just do that in Photoshop and save myself a bunch of time?

Sat = 1  
got 1.5 oz of Sea Glass spun at ~40+wpi.

Sun = 2
Tried to do the same but Jim's prototype wheel has bearings made in the USA in it.  We thought getting US made bearings was a good thing and they are also $7 less expensive than the ones made in Taiwan but, alas, they do not last and they make noise almost right away.  There are up to 10 bearings in each wheel so saving $7 per was an excellent plan until Jim had to go buy replacements.

So on Sunday I got about 0.5 oz of MVOS spun up.
I thought spinning Woody at 40+ would be really difficult but it isn't.
Jim says it just takes longer, not harder.

Mon = 3
Spun up the other 1 oz of MVOS (smaller amt of the 3 shown).

Tues = 4
Alas no spinning was accomplished as I did other necessary things like work and feeling hot.

Wed = 5 
Spent most of today in front of a fan reknitting, reswatching and reconfiguring the garment I will be making for Knitters K105 Winter issue.
I sent them samples in sportweight yarn calling for 3 colors.
They sent me a bag of DK and worsted weight yarn in 4 colors.
The samples are now blocking.  Tomorrow I will send them pics and go from there.

OK I can redeem myself tonight at Knit Knite by bringing my wheel and getting at least one and maybe 2 days worth of spinning done.  

I can also trade a day of rest for Tuesday and then not feel so bad.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tour de Fleece Day 1, 2012

I decided to start with the Sea Glass bfl fiber.  Found a good explanation of 3 ply fractal spinning by Alison Russell and away I went.
Divided the fiber lengthwise into 3 sort of even snakes.  Yesterday I spun the first snake as is, just with some widthwise pre drafting, into a 40 wpi single.  I expected it to take me forever but really, it was only a few hours.  I think I spent more time learning to use one of Jim's prototype wheels than making the thin singles.
So 1.5 oz is done.  I have no idea how much yardage I got but whatever it is is what I will go with on a pair of socks down the road.

Love Tour de Fleece - nice fun concentrated time of spinning and talking with other spinners.