Sunday, January 31, 2016

How many licks…

Remember that old commercial about the owl trying to figure out how many licks on the tootsie pop before you get to the chewy center?  That's how I feel with this spinning project. 
I've had this project on my Kromski Symphony for about 3 years. 
I love all my spinning wheels but this one is the most elegant and the best at spinning the lace weight yarn. 

The fiber is a Cormo/Suri Alpaca blend that I found at Knitorious and it's kind of a denim color. So pretty and super soft and silky. 

As you can see, my bobbin is full and I only have a short strip to go to finish this half of the fiber. Just the second half to go!  The first half took 3 years, wonder how long the second half will go. 

Keep in mind that this bobbin has about 2 ounces of fiber spun super fine which is probably about 1200 yards of singles. 
Or more. 

So happy to make some progress with this thing. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Delicate wee thing

Finished!  I can't tell you how pleased I am with this delicate wee thing. I will definitely be working this design again. The previous exercise prepared me for this one and I could tell that my spidering skills have improved. Never thought I'd say that and be happy…

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Making progress

I've almost finished the latest bobbin lace project in my Torchon workbook. I've really enjoyed this little 4" (20cm) wide doily. Now I just have to finish it off without screwing it up!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

52" of Pretty

It's done. My first table runner made with 10/2 perle cotton using an overshot threading and a 2/2 twill treadling. 

Sounds like I know what I'm talking about, doesn't it?!  Ha!!  Fake it till you make it, baby!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Endings and Beginnings

I spent much of the weekend finishing (or almost finishing projects. One of the most interesting was finishing the fractal scarf. 

A few weeks ago I started an experiment with fractal spinning ( I finally finished the fractal scarf and now you can see the effects of the spinning technique on the finished project. I'm loving it. 
Can you see how the frequency and patter of the stripes changes?  This photo makes it look like the scarf is fuzzy but the mats just the way the plying blended the colors. Interesting, no?

I also finished my spider-studied bobbin lace project. As expected, there are lots of errors but that's fine. 

Now that I have a feel for things, I can make it again and go for a usable piece. I had a lot of fun with it and the magic threads I used to start worked perfectly so that was a win. 

I've got the next project started but don't have all the bobbins worked in yet. More on that when I get it a little further on. 

Since I'd finished or got projects to a point that I would have to think too hard, I turned last night to a weaving project I've had in the loom since the Robin Spady workshop in the spring. I had a really long warp on the table loom and after I'd done the workshop and a couple of other projects, I decided to do a table runner using the overshot warp with a twill weft using the same thread. I don't always get these things right with weaving but I think I nailed this one. 

I only have about 8 inches more of usable warp left which will be about an hour's worth of work so I should be able to get it off the loom tonight. I love the pattern made by mixing the warp and weft styles.   

I'm not sure how long it will be but it should be at least 40-50 inches (I'm guessing since I didn't keep track). I'll have to see if some of the early part will need to be cut off. We'll know more tonight. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015


I'm going to a pot luck later and so I made this.
It's called Watergate Salad, presumably because it was served at the Watergate Hotel. I can't think of anything political about it. 

Anyway, I digress. My Grannie used to be one of the cooks at the Brownwood Hospital and in her day, people came to the hospital to eat (especially her hamburgers) even if they didn't have anyone there to visit. She made every type of jello salad there was and this is one of the ones I remember her for. 

It's dead easy. 
1 20oz can of crushed pineapple (her recipe said a #2 can)
1 package of pistachio instant pudding
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup thawed whipped cream (like cool whip)
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix everything together and chill. 

As I was mixing the pineapple and pudding mix, I had one of those scent memories and I was back in her kitchen watching her cook and having a good old natter. It was such a joyful memory that I wasn't expecting. 

Here's to my Grannie!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a spatula or two to lick.  Emmmm…clean. Wash.   

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Design Challenges

As you begin to design your own projects, the first thing to let go of is your pride.  I'm talking about pride in the sense that you can't admit a mistake and make it right.  Perfectionism.  It can sometimes be rooted in arrogance but I think it's more often rooted in lack of confidence.  It can't exist for a designer.

To design something, you may see it very clearly in your mind's eye or you may see as through a glass darkly.  Either way, it's always likely (to the point of being probable) that you are going to go down avenues that just don't work.  It just doesn't give you what you want so you have to back up, take stock and try another route.

As a very simplistic example, take my chunky & lace cowl.

I used a US size 4 needle for both the lace weight yarn and the  heavier yarn because it was a good size for the lace and it was okay for the other.  In fact, it worked great for the beginning section where I was alternating between the two yarns but as I began to work the solid section with the heavier yarn, I realized it wasn't working.  The fabric was way too thick and rigid.  

With the yarn that I'm using, it will felt naturally as the cowl is worn.  If it felted with the fabric as thick as it was, it would stand up all on it's own!  That's great if you're building a house.  You want your creation to stand on it's own if you're building a house.  When you're making a cowl, on the other hand, it's not the most desirable quality.  You want it to be soft and drapey, with plenty of give and stretch to it.

So I was here:
You can see that I'd worked a good 6 inches or so of the heavier yarn by the time I realized it wasn't right.  In fact, I kept knitting for quite a few rows after I knew it was wrong.  I'm still not sure why but this is where I ended up.  

I ripped back until I was almost back to the last lace panel, picked up the stitches with a US size 7 needle and started back.  Soooo much better and I'm so glad that I wasn't afraid of giving up the time I'd put into the project so I can end up with something I really like and that works from a design standpoint.

So now I'm back to here:
But now I can knit content.  

Before you ask, I did adjust the number of stitches to accommodate for the larger needles.  Three needle sizes would have made it way too large so I decreased about 16 stitches around (about 10% - there were 160 stitches in all).  This should bring it back into line to what it was although I may need to decrease a few more in the next few rounds.

A word to the wise, if you have to rip out a whole lot of rows/rounds, the best thing to do is roll the project up list you see here, take the needles out and then rip out your rows/rounds.  The reason this works so much better is that it keeps the fabric in control and so makes less mess with the open stitches.  If you just start ripping out willy nilly, you'll find that some stitches will ladder into lower rows/rounds and it will make the process of getting the stitches back on the needle that much more difficult. It's much more gentle on the fabric and the open stitches.