Friday, November 27, 2015

What to do with fractal spinning

I'm in the middle of an experiment with fractal spinning.  Check out this post for what that means, in case you missed it.  I finished the spinning last night and got the skein washed so it now looks like this:
Pretty but to me it's hard to tell any difference between this and any other plied yarn spun any other way.  Maybe after it's knitted, I'll be able to tell the difference.

So I started knitting.  Again, it's kind of hard to tell the difference but I like it nevertheless.

The scarf I started with it is 43 stitches wide and worked in a basket weave pattern.  Because knit stitches are wider than they are tall, I made the stitch pattern 5 stitches wide and 6 rows long.  In case you'd like to knit yourself (or someone else) an interesting scarf, you don't need fractal spun yarn, any good sport to DK weight will do.  I'm using US size 4 needles because my yarn has thicker sections and thinner sections.  For my yarn, these create a nice fabric.

I casted on 40 stitches and worked knit 2, purl 2 ribbing for about 8 rows before I started the pattern.  On the first row of the pattern stitch, I increased 3 stitches across to end up with 43 stitches.

Pattern stitch
Row 1: K2, P2, (K5, P5) repeat bracketed stitches to last 4 stitches, P2, K2
Row 2: P2, K2, (P5, K5) repeat bracket stitches to last 4 stitches, K2, P2

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 twice more

Row 7: P2, K2, (P5, K5) repeat bracket stitches to last 4 stitches, K2, P2
Row 8: K2, P2, (K5, P5) repeat bracketed stitches to last 4 stitches, P2, K2

Repeat Rows 7 & 8 twice more

Repeat these 2 sections until your scarf is the length you desire (or your yarn is almost finished) and end with 8 rows of K2/P2 ribbing.  You'll need to decrease 3 stitches on your last pattern row.

Once its washed and blocked, you'll be able to see the basket weave pattern much more clearly but even if you don't block it, I think it's still got an interesting light texture.

I'm not sure how much yarn I ended up with so I'm not sure how long the scarf will be but I don't think it will be very long.  I think this pattern would work really at any length but I think it would be best as a short or medium length.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Trial and Error

Sometimes you just have to keep trying until something works.  That's been especially true with the edging for the poncho.  I don't think I've ever had such a time with a design.

I started the edging with an I-cord that was supposed to be the outside edging but as I worked it, I realized that it was pulling in on that side so that would need to be the side attached to the body.  Fine, no problem.  That would give a nice flow from the body to the edging.

I did a light block on the body and as I worked the edging, I would lay the edging around to see how close I was to getting it long enough.  When I got close to what I thought was the finish, I started attaching the edging to the body so I could knit to the very end and have a nice tight finish.  But when I  got to the end of the edging, it looked like it was way short.  What?!

I thought the edging I had should have fit almost all the way around but I kept knitting, adding another 8 inches or so until it went all the way around.  Great, right?  Well, great until I tried it on and found that the edging was all wavy.  Arghhhhh!!!!!

I then had to take the edging completely off (about 110 inches of edging, by the way) and re-attach with better spacing.  Once I did that, I then had to rip out about 6 inches of the edging that I'd knit before, taking into account that I needed to make the braid from the beginning flow into the braid at the end.


Good.  Now I needed to figure out what to do with the outside edge to finish it off.  It was really rough so I decided to crochet around the edge to give it a little form but it needed something else.  I only had part of one skein of yarn left so I had to be a little careful.  As an old crocheter, if all else fails, use a shell stitch.  So that's what I did and it worked perfectly.  Here's the final product that is worth all the hassle of making sure it was right in the end.

Of course, it ain't over till the blocking's done.  Sometimes it makes all the difference.

It ended up being the perfect length and the perfect circumference.  Some of that was guess work and some of that was experience and some of that was pure old trial and error.

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