Monday, November 23, 2015

Spinning Fractally

I've had a fascination with fractal spinning since I first heard about it.  The idea is that you can prepare your dyed fiber in such a way as to create different lengths of color repeats that create interesting effects when plied together.  The fascination is in the mystery of the math, I suppose, in the way a mathematical idiot is drawn in by the magic of the unknowable.


Let me 'splain.

If you have a length of dyed roving, you can split it in half.
Half will be spun in one long piece, making the section of each color very, very long indeed.
The other half can be done in different ways from what I've seen.  The way I did it is to split the second half in half and then half of that in half again.  I started spinning with the smallest strips and then the wider strip and then the wider strip.  So there was a 1/2, a 1/4, a 1/8 and 2 - 1/16 size strips.  I started with the 1/16 strips and worked my way up.

My first bobbin was the many strips with longer and longer color repeats.  The second bobbin will be the first half strip with its long repeats and then I'll ply the 2 bobbins together. 

I have no idea how it will turn out but we'll find out soon.

If you want more information about fractal spinning, see the blog post from Roving Crafters here

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quick update

I did a quick measure of the circumference of my poncho and I'm going to need, roughly, 110 inches (9 ft 2 in) of edging. 

I've done 16 inches. I have 3 full skeins and still probably a third of the one I'm working on. I actually feel much better now about having enough to finish. 

Wait. Forget I said that. 

By the way, for an easy way to measure things like this, I took a ball of linen yarn (so it won't be stretchy) and traced around the outside of my poncho. At the end I cut it off and then I measured the string with my metal tape measure (again so I don't have any stretch). 

Now I have the yarn to keep with my edging to measure against. I haven't fully blocked the poncho but at least this will get me close and I'll finish the edging once it's been mostly attached so that it lays right. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Edging (dum, dum, duuuuummmm)

I've made some progress on the braided cable poncho.
With its giant 15-stitch braid.
And the Back:
With its braided motif. The cable around the neckline is knitted but not yet stitches down, in case it doesn't look right to you.  It's not right yet but it will be.

Looks pretty far along, right?

It's actually not so far as you'd think because there is still The Edging. 

Anyone who has knitted an edging around a shawl or doily or any other article will understand the physical and psychological blow The Edging inflicts. 

You've got this whole garment which has many, many stitches and has used much yarn. In my example here, I've used 8 1/2 balls of yarn. That's over 1,000 yards of yarn. If you were a newby, you'd be thinking, "I've got this.  This is easy. Almost done."

But I am not a newby and I know that, even though my edging is narrow, the 3 1/2 balls I have left to make this edging may very well not be enough to go around the entire circumference of the poncho. 
It's just a few innocent stitches of background, a narrow i-cord to make a nice, finished edge and a simple little 6-stitch braided cable. What could be easier?

So the question to be answered is, "Will 427 yards of yarn be enough."  At this stage, it's anybody's guess. Stay tuned as the adventure continues. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Figuring stuff out

I've got to the back of my braided cable poncho and started the Celtic knit motif.
I found a photo when I was searching for a pattern and this is my attempt to recreate it.
I'm about halfway through the pattern and I think it's going to work out. Sometimes these things are a little trial and error but so far so good. I don't want to but I can rip out with the best. Lots of practice, me. ��

I was going to have the back straight across but I've decided to make the point to match the front. The decision is purely practical - I don't know if I'll have enough yarn otherwise. I still need to make the border and certainly don't want to run out of yarn on that section. Being last year's purchase, I'm pretty sure I'd never find another skein in this batch. 

I'm off to finish another row or two…

Friday, November 6, 2015

Braids galore

I've started work on my first personal knitted item in quite a while. I've been tied up preparing and conducting classes and so haven't had much to share (except that in pulling material for my cotton spinning class, I found my long last tahkli spindle - yea!!). What spinning I've been doing has been for gifts that I don't want to post for fear the recipient will see it. So that's left me very little to post.

Now, however, I've got a really fun design project going on. It's a cabled poncho that is going to have a pointed front and a square or rounded back (haven't made up my mind just yet on that part. 
It will also have a wide-ish cabled edging around the outside to finish it off. 
I've used the chunky braided cable up the middle and a narrower stepped braided cable up either side of the middle braid. 
I am really pleased with the way it's laying out. 

This is actually the second version. I got about halfway to this size with my initial attempt and didn't like it at all. It didn't lay right and I just wasn't happy so out it all came and, using lessons learned, I came up with this. 

If you're wondering about the safety pin, I'm using it to keep track of which side of my braided cable I'm twisting. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Finishing off

I've been working almost non-stop trying to get some baby things done for an old friend of mine. It's more knitting than I've done for ages but I'm thrilled with how they've come out. I won't post pics until I've given them to the parents but I will show you this:
One of the items just seemed unfinished and I couldn't figure out what it needed until I remembered this little lace edging that I'd done as parting my study course and realized it was perfect for this item. It's only about 1/2 inch wide and just perfect for this item. 

While I can't show it yet, suffice to say there will be some edging and some gathering and some rosette-ing going on. Still need about another foot but it goes quite quickly so shouldn't take too long. 

Lace makes everything g better!

Monday, August 31, 2015

All about the baby

People who work with me know that every baby gets something hand-knitted. The size or elaborateness is usually commiserate with how well I know the person. I always ask if they have something in mind (for one Christmas baby it was a little elf onsie costume with a pointy hat and boots with bells on the toes - so cute and what she dressed the baby in for Christmas Eve) but otherwise I get my choice. 

There is an upcoming baby for someone I worked with at a previous job who I like very very much and whose husband works at my current place of employment. It's her first and we know it's a girl and she wants pink and frilly and girly. So fun to knit a pink frilly girly something. 

And this is the something. 
It will be a blanket using the feather and fan stitch, one of the oldest recorded knit patterns and as frilly as they come!!

I'll also be doing a pink fluffy housecoat to go with it so I hope that will be pink and frilly and girly enough for her!