Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bits and Bobs

There's nothing organized about this post, just some things that got started, some things that got finished and some things that are in progress.

First of all, one of the challenges of spinning is figuring out what you're going to do with the yarn and if you have enough for what you'd like to do.  A couple of weeks ago, I spun some yarn from batt.  I wasn't that thrilled with the yarn but decided I would do a scarf/snood/whatever it came out to be.  I cast on in the round and started working up.  I decided on the way up that I'd cast on too many stitches so I did some decreases and then started a nice little lace pattern.  My mistake in casting on turned out to be a really nice little collar that lays flat across the shoulders.  Nice.  Once I got to the lace pattern, I decided I would just knit until the yarn finished and then I would stop.  Here's what I got:
I'm still not that crazy about the yarn but I've very happy with the final result.  The only problem is that it's not quite long enough to cover the whole head.  Never mind.  It makes a nice scarf anyway.

The second project came out of a conversation I had on Saturday at a birthday party.  We were waiting for the birthday girl when I got talking to a lady.  In the course of the conversation, we talked about alpacas and how if someone is allergic to wool, they can often wear alpaca.  Later in the conversation, we were talking about the cold weather and she made the comment that she looked for a knitted hat last winter and the only one she could find made her itch because it had wool in it.  She added that she was always looking for a knit hat with a pom-pom on the top like she had growing up.

Now, as a spinner and knitter, how could I not take up that challenge?  It's our goal in life that those lacking in fiber shall have it in the form and manner that would give them most joy.  When I got home, I had a look through my handspun stash to see if I had any alpaca that would serve.  What I found was a skein of medium grey alpaca singles that I'd spun probably 5 or 6 years ago - 460 yards of it!  I decided to go ahead and ply it and then use it for a knit hat - with a pom-pom.  I just used a basic recipe for a knit hat and whipped it up.  It doesn't yet have the pom-pom because I'm waiting for it to dry but I'm happy with how it came out and I think she'll like it.
This photo is not very good color but it shows the style anyway.  You can see the true color in the photo of the snood since it's fitted underneath it on the model.  If you're interested in the hat pattern, here's what I did.

With US size 4 needles and a yarn that was probably equivalent to DK or a light worsted, I cast on 80 stitches.  I worked knit 2/purl 2 ribbing for about 3 inches.  I then changed to US size 5 needles and knit in stockinette for about 6.5 inches more (9.5 inches in all).  Once I got it long enough so that it could be turned up at the cuff, I did the decrease this way:

Round 1: Knit 2 together.  Repeat around.
Round 2: Knit around
Repeat these 2 rows 2 more times (10 stitches remain)

Cut the thread, leaving a tail of about 10 inches.  Using a tapestry needle, thread the yarn through all the stitches twice.  I left the tail because I'll use that to help tack down the pom-pom.  That's all there is to it.  I used double pointed needles but, of course, you could use any technique you prefer.

I have been back working on my bobbin lace projects, too.  One of them is an attempt to make an entire yard of a bobbin lace pattern - a challenge instituted by the LACE group I'm in in Chicago.

I've got about 20 inches so far and I feel like a big girl lacer!  I'm working on a travel pillow that I made myself using some travel bobbins.  Although the pattern is a simple one (as befits my exceedingly amature status), I've had to do things like take out sections where I'd made mistakes, move the pattern on the pillow (which isn't as simple as it sounds) and add new threads as the bobbins have run out of thread.