Wednesday, June 20, 2012


This post is about determination.  Not mine but my yarn's.  This is Blue-faced Leicester wool, dyed by Frabjous Fibers, spun by me several years ago that I've attempted to make various things with. The last effort was going to be a Shetland shawl.  I got the middle done and 3/4 of the border before I realized I wasn't going to have enough yarn.

One thing about getting fiber that's been hand-dyed.  It's never going to come out the same any two times, even if you have a recipe.  But I hoped against hope that it would work and ordered more of the colorway.  But there was no joy.  I got the new rope and, although deeply beautiful (as all their fiber is), it was not close enough even for government work.

But I so wanted to knit with this yarn that I ripped out the border and started again on a wrap shawl with one of my favorite lace patterns, one that, once established, is really easy to work without having to reference the pattern.  I've just finished the yarn that made up the border and have a good 25 inches (unblocked but slightly stretched).  Now I'm going to join on the yarn from the middle section, which was knitted corner to corner.  I decided not to rip it out and ball it up first.  I'm just going to knit right off the previous knitting to cause the least wear and tear to the yarn.  It's a little wider than I intended but it will be fine.  The plan is to finish the main body and then I have some merino roving that exactly matches the turquoise in this variegated yarn that I am spinning to match and I will use that to add a wide border to each end of the shawl to finish it off.  I may even go crazy and add some beads to that!

If you want to do this easy lace pattern, which creates a lovely wavy, leafy sort of pattern, here's what you do.

Cast on in multiples of 8 with at least a couple of extra stitches on either side.
The first half of the pattern goes like this:
  • Yarn over, SSK, knit 6, repeat to end and then do your extra stitches (I've got 10 garter stitches on either side)
  • Purl wrong side rows
  • Yarn over, knit 1, SSK, knit 5, repeat to end
  • etc.  Keep knitting 1 more stitch before the SSK and 1 stitch less after it until you get to
  • Yarn over, knit 6, SSK, repeat to end.
For the second half of the pattern you reverse this, so you have:
  • Knit 6, K2tog, yarn over
  • Knit 5, K2tog, knit 1, yarn over
  • Knit 4, K2tog, knit 2, yarn over
  • etc. until you get to K2tog, knit 6, yarn over
This way your traveling stitch (whether it's moving to the left with the slip, slip, knit 2 stitches together (SSK) or moving to the right with the knit 2 together (K2tog)) weaves back and forth.  Really nice and really easy.  If you lose count, just keep an eye on where the traveling stitch is and you can find your place again.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Play Time

I finally got around to playing with my Fimo clay this weekend to make different configurations of spindles.  I'm not deeply satisfied with any of the efforts but it was kind of fun.

I mixed a sheet of colors and did a few cut outs.  The little pieces in the front were cut from leftovers and I've made holes on each corner of the triangle spindle that I'm going to attach a little leaf to and see what happens when that spins.  The ball shaped one would have been prettier if the ball underneath had been a solid color and then had the colored leaves and flowers attached.  On the square blue and brown one, I added two smaller square pieces in the brown color underneath the blue to add some weight and that makes it a much better weight for spinning.

Lessons learned. 
  1. It was fun to play with clay when I was 4 and it's still fun to play with it today.
  2. I need to get a handle on how much the hardened clay weighs so I can have an idea on how to design them so they spin right.
  3. I need to find a straw or something hollow to cut the holes instead of just poking the sticks through.
  4. When you lay out ropes of clay in different colors and  flatten them together, the color distribution is different on the bottom than on the top.  Check out both sides.
  5. All the shapes seemed reasonably well balanced except the ball.  (refer to #3)
  6. More play uhm, work needed.