Monday, December 23, 2013

Knitting potato chips....

A couple weeks ago I downloaded the pattern for Pretty Thing by Stephanie Pearl McPhee.  The impetus for this was a small ball of  cashmere support spindle spun yarn that wanted to become some"thing".

The pattern is 61 rows on 118 stitches and requires about 160 yds. ......It takes one long good movie, or two short evenings of tv watching to make one of these "things".
Note that there is yarn left over.  Maybe not enough for a full sized "thing", but perhaps another one with one repeat of the body omitted.

Well, one "thing" led to another.  There was some zephyr in the mulberry color hiding out  in a small bin of lace weight yarns.   Maybe it could be a "thing"?  Yes!   That one was completed and sent off in the mail to its intended recipient.

Back to the bin...there's another bit of zephyr yarn, not very much, this time in blue.  I weighed it and did some math....maybe there's enough to squeak out another "thing" (that would be the blue one in the photo below):

From left to right:  Thing 1, Thing 3, Thing 4 in progress.  Thing 2 has flown off in a gifty sort of way.

There was just enough of the blue to finish the sequel to Thing 2.....and that makes it Thing 3.  What next?

I remembered some Juniper Moon Findley yarn in the color poppy that was left over from this project.  And so we are on our way to Thing 4.

I don't usually knit repeat items unless they are a pair as in: socks, gloves, or mitts.  But clearly I am smitten with this pattern's ability to use up small bits of precious lace weight yarn.  And this gratifies me to a degree that is way beyond reason.  Yes it's fun to use up those small bits, but what about those sweater quantities of yarn that are sitting in the stash waiting to become something....something more than a "thing"?  I suppose that will become a problem for 2014.

So dear knitter, you have been warned.  These "things" are like potato thing leads to another...leads to another...and another.  Until you are up to your neck in "things".  

With that warning, I will close and wish you all happy solstice, a Merry Christmas if that is what you observe, and many happy, productive days ahead as we approach a new year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


How about some weaving that is fitting for the coming solstice?

It's a shawl/scarf thing that was unencumbered by the sampling process.  Seen here lying on today's snowfall, about 6 new inches of the stuff since this morning.  

The weave structure is a variation on honeycomb which slides dangerously close to deflected double weave IMHO.  
Here's the draft, woven with the wrong side up:

Note that there are two warps, two wefts, and some long warp floats.  This normally an 8 shaft draft, but I made it a 10 shaft draft to get a modified plain weave on the selvedges and at both hems. 

Here is the back view of the draft, which is really the right side of the cloth:


The fine warp and weft is 20/2's black wool, worsted spun.  The heavy warp and weft is Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn, colorway 84.  I set the black wool at 24 epi, and the Noro at 12 epi. then tried to beat to square.

I was banking on the fine wool fulling and holding thos floats in place.  Here's a view of those floats on the loom:
The web was 18" wide in the reed, the finished width after washing is 17".  The woven length on the loom was 72" without fringe.  After washing the length is about 60", so I lost a lot more length than width.

So, what did I learn from this project?
  1. Just because you like the colors in a yarn, doesn't mean it's good quality yarn.  Crappy yarn comes in nice colors too.
  2. I used both warp beams on my Macomber for the first time:
BTW..that film canister is for a floating selvedge, required on just one side because the pattern weft thread must go through the same shed twice. 
These show the route of the two warps at the back of the loom from the side and from the top.  All of that went more smoothly than I expected and I will definitely take advantage of that feature again.

3.  I learned that the second warp beam, which has a ratchet brake also has a live tension system on it:
And I learned that a little friction tape is needed to keep the live tension cord from slipping off the beam and onto the axle of the beam.  This photo is before the friction tape was applied.

4. I am reminded once again the value of sampling, even though there was not enough of the Noro yarn to make a scarf and a sample.  But I was not going to spend $20 on another ball of yarn for a sample.  So, I think we will call this project a useable sample and perhaps visit this weave structure another time.

Here's a photo that gives you a glimpse of what the back of the fabric looks like in the upper left hand corner of the scarf:

I really thought it would collapse more.  
Oh well, the scarf is cozy and kept me warm as I ran the snow-blower up and down the driveway today.  And I learned a thing or two from the project.  

That's as much as one can hope for when they haven't sampled.