Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Big as a Log

One of the advantages of knitting things with those really tiny needles is that when you get to do a project with US size 6 needles, they feel like logs and the knitting goes really, really fast.  Like this:
The variegated yarn is the Frabjous Fibers silk/merino/cashmere that I spun to (almost) worsted weight and the white is the KnitPicks Gloss (merino/silk) fiber spun to worsted weight.  Both were spun on my Kromski Symphony as 3-ply (Navajo plied) yarn with a high degree of grist.  I spun them fairly tight with the singles so that the final yarn would have that nice tight twist look.  I was disappointed because I lost of some of the softness of the fiber spinning it like this.  However, once it was knit up, dang if that softness didn't perk right back up.

I wanted to do a fair isle pattern for the hat but when I did, the colored yarn had enough really light sections that you realy lost the pattern.  I discovered that after I'd completely knit the sides of the hat - which was the second knitting of the hat because the first time was using US size 5 needles which proved to be way too small for the project.  So I basically knit 3 hats and a pair of mittens in the time it took to watch To Have and Have Not (first pairing of Bogey and Bacall - love that movie) and a couple of episodes of Psych (including the Duel Spires episode which I think is may favorite episode of the whole series - that's for another day, however).  Fast.

If you want to make the hat, I used size 6 needles, cast on 90 stitches.  I knit 3 rounds and then turned the hat inside out (to get the little brim).  I then knit 3 rounds white, 1 round color, 1 round of 2 stitches color, 2 stitches white, 1 round color. 

Then I did 3 rounds white, 2 rounds color, 2 rounds of 2 stitches color/2 stitches white, 2 rounds of color.

Next is 3 rounds of white, 1  round color, 1 round of 2 stitches color, 2 stitches white, 1 round color.  5 rounds white, 2 rounds color.

Now do 3 rounds purl (or just turn inside out and knit 3 rounds before turning it back like it was.

To decrease for the top, knit 8, k2 together then repeat all the way around.  Because of the way my yarn was variegated, I knit 1 round of color and 1 round of white.  You can use whatever color pattern you want.  Then the next decrease round is knit 7, k2 together and repeat.  I used 2 plain rounds between each decrease round and then continued to decrease as above, i.e. knit 6, k2 together; knit 5, k2 together, etc. for each decrease round.  You'll have to see how you go.  I continued until I had 8 stitches before I cut the edge and used a darning needle to draw the end of the yarn through all the stitches on the needles and work the end in.

I did a similar pattern for the mittens but cast on 40 stitches, knit 2 rounds white (k2/p2 ribbing) and about an inch of color yarn.  I used a basic mitten recipe for the thumb and hand shaping.  I did the same patterning as the hat until I got to the hands.  I decided to do the color for the top of the hands to echo the color for the top of the hat.

I wasn't sure how it would go but I'm definitely pleased with the final product.

I did run into one intsy littel tinsy problem, however, on the second mitten.  I'd spun the white from what I had left over from a batch of the Gloss fiber.  I'd been using it for demonstrations and had done some other little things with it.  And I almost made it, I really did.  I almost had enough for the whole set.  But I ended up being short 5 rounds on the second mitten and had to use a commercial wool yarn to finish it off.  How it got finished off is a story all in itself but suffice to say, white is not white is not white.  I spun some white BFL I had since it would have a similar light reflectiveness.  It was white but just not white enough.  I thought I wouldn't care, I just wanted the project done.  But it was just too different and I couldn't live with it.  Fortunately I had some commercially spun wool that was close enough to the color that really the only way you can tell the differenc eis to have a bright light to reflect off it.  The silk in the fiber has that silky shimmer to it and the commercial yarn didn't have that.  We'll have to see if anyone can pick out which is which!

Next day:  I went in to card some blended color rolags and you'll never guess what I found.  Yep, another section of the KnitPicks Gloss fiber. Don't it always happen that way.  Well, as Andy Griffin said to Otis when Otis kicked the goat who'd ate himself full of dynamite out of the jail cell and made him mad: Otis, 'bout one loaded goat at a time is all we can handle. (Doesn't really apply to anything, it just makes me laugh.)

Monday, August 1, 2011


I learned something interesting yesterday when I scored at a local antiques mall.  I found a vintage Weave-it (perfect condition with original instructions, needle, everything) and quite a few knitting books.  I had a lot of the books on the booth but I found something interesting.
It took me a minute to realize that, although this is the same baby and the same photo shoot, it's not the same photo.  You know how you look at something and know there's something odd but you just can't put your finger on it?  This book initially came out published by Bear Brand yarn.  Some really cute patterns.  But not too far on, Bear Brand must have been bought out by Bucilla because they published a revised version.  The original version was 50c and the revised was $1.25 - talk about inflation!  But it kept the same volume number and the publication date is the same on both - MCML (1950 if I remember my roman numerals).  It must have been a good seller for them to decide to re-publish it. 

I know I don't have the most extensive collection of vintage books but I have kept my eyes open through the years.  This is the first time I've seen this reworking of a publication although with all the merging, buying out and whatnot that went on with yarn companies in the 30s, 40s and 50s, it's not a complete shock.  Kind of fun to see.

I haven't looked closely enough at the patterns to see if they actually updated any of them but at first glance, it appears they only adapted the list of yarns and needles you can use for each pattern.

I did finally get my new doily ironed out, having decided I didn't really need to pin block it at this point:

Can't wait to start the next one.