Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fiber Mixology

I enjoy mixing fibers.  No, not in a Noro spins thirty thousand things (well, usually three or four) into one yarn way of mixing.  I enjoy mixing in the way that uses totally different yarns in one fabric.  Toss in playing with gauge and you either win or loose.

This mixology project is looking like a winner.  Both yarns are lace weight.  There is a color theme between them.   That is where the commonality ends.

This mix is Habu Linen and Just Our Yarn Aziza.  Pure linen next to pure Tencel®.  You might know that linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant.   Tencel® is the registered trade name for Lyocell, which is a biodegradable fabric made from wood pulp cellulose. 

A quick feel of the two yarns tells you that they should be totally different.  The linen is stiff and when it comes off the needles it looks wonky.  I always feel like a failure when the last stitch is bound off.  The Tencel® is soft and has a beautiful drape immediately.  What I'm thinking - hoping and praying - is that the linen's ability to touch water and develop drape and softness will ultimately match it quite closely to the other pulp based yarn. 

There are hours and hours of Olympics to watch in these next days and that provides hours and hours of time to make miles and miles of garter stitch.  Results, whether good or bad, to follow!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Worth Remembering

 If you put together pieces parts
 And look at all the angles
There is success.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Escargot My Cloche!

Escargot is done!  Still wet, though.  And so you will pardon the lack of  a photo of me wearing it.

Let me say right up front that I'll be casting on for another one of these really soon.  If you knit  this should be high on you list of next projects.  Make a few before the weather turns.  Churn one  out in your team colors and be the most stylish fan in the football stadium.

The final result looks quite complicated.  Only the beginning is different from other hats.  After you knit the second contrast color garter ridge, it is just a plain old hat pattern.  Ah - but that beginning.  As you saw in yesterday's post, the beginning includes a "tail" that winds up making the spiral.  It is a fun and not too complicated study in short rows and decreases so the the spiral wants to curl correctly with very little help necessary.

Due to the short rows and the requirement to stay calm whilst dealing with the initial 240 stitches, this is a pattern for intermediate level knitters.  I was amazed at how quickly the brim/spiral worked up.  So don't fear the stitch count.  Just stay on track with the rows and all works up perfectly.  Then, when all the hat is completed, all that is necessary is to wet block the the hat so that the spiral dries in position.  A few running stitches to hold it in place and Escargot is done. 

Easy Peasy and so stylish.  This, my friends, is worth a Voila!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cloche To My Heart

In a former life I spent much time traveling back to the 1920s.  The fashions from that decade held a special spot in my heart because my first foray into the past was as a volunteer in textile conservation.  Women tossed away the whale bone, bound their God Given Blessing and kicked up their heels. 

My current knit project is bringing back many memories.  Maybe that what makes this hat so much fun.
This will become a cloche hat.  At this stage it does look rather odd.  It is easy to see the "hat" part there on the circular needles.  But what is that odd growth coming from the right side?

That, dear reader, will become the reason for the name of the pattern. 

Are you curious?  Stay tuned.  It does not take very long to knit a hat.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tick Another One Off The List

Finally, after a month of Sundays, something is complete.  It turned out to be too small for an adult size television watching blanket.  So this one will likely be gifted to a very special baby who loves fine merino. 

Okay.  I admit it.  Not every new parent needs to worry about hand washing baby ooze from a wool blanket.  Here is the way I see it.  Odds are that a century or two ago there were lots of babies wrapped in plain home spun wool blankets.  Back in those days, superwash wool simply did not exist.  I'm not suggesting that this one should ever be washed down at the river by pounding with a rock.  But a nice soak in a no-rinse wool wash followed by a roll in a towel and then a nice flat overnight dry should not take too much time away from Angry Birds.

Many ends were woven in and then clipped.  I sure hope that I did a superb job of weaving.  The last thing that anyone needs is a wee one pulling on a loose thread.

The yarn is divine.  Actually it is Zenith.  Love this stuff.  It has lots of bounce and fantastic stitch definition. 

I only made a few adjustments to the Lion Brand pattern.  The pattern call for working with two strands of yarn.  Clearly there was not enough of Zenith in the stash for that, so I simply used one strand and kept to the  large needle.  The resulting fabric is very soft, airy and squishy. 

The texture of the simple block pattern looks woven.  Even in this pre-blocked photo that weave is very prominent.  The miracle that happened during the completion of this blanket is - wait for it - I never messed up!  Now I might have tinked a few stitches here and there.  But no frogging occurred in the making of this blanket!

It feels good to check something off the list.  Really good. 

PS - should you be curious, the rug is back on track and grew several inches past the mishap.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

And Shorter

Yesterday was filled with joy about the custom size rug for the balcony door.  There was even time to work and add to the length.  Funny thing about that whole length thing.  While the rug was indeed growing in length, something happened to the custom width.  And, given that my eyes were tired and the yarn is three shades plied together then interwoven by the Tunisian work, it took a good five minutes to find the mishap.  'Twas not a mistake.  No way Jose.  It was a mishap only. 

A mishap is not as severe as a mistake.  A mistake requires sincere regret and words of mea culpa.  But a mishap requires none of that.  The way I figure it, a mishap just requires a shrug of the shoulder and words like pftttttt

Note to self:  the faster the hook, the narrower the rug.

I switched back to knitting for a while.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Narrow It Is

The recent move necessitates many changes.     A few years ago, I read the book, and the term rightsize  has stuck with me in all matters except yarn, chocolate and coffee.  We have made a conscious decision to start the process of rightsizing life.   Notice that I said start the process.  This is by no means done.  When I die, hoards will come from far and near hoping to score in the big stash sale.  Historians will covet the man's library of books that are not available in the digital world. 

Sometimes this rightsizing works really well.  Like when you recycle all of those weird vases from the valentine/anniversary roses or decide that the hall closet can hold something other than headless Barbie dolls.

Sometimes this rightsizing does not work so well.  Take the case of the narrow balcony off of my new  kitchen.  There is a deck drain (for all of those torrential rain storms that plague southern California, she noted with a whole heap of sarcasm) about 15 inches away from the door.  Right there where any purchased wipe-your-feet mat will cover the drain.  I try to be a good person.  I read the CC&Rs.  I know not to cover the grated hole.  But the space is too narrow for anything normal.

Thankfully, I have not downsized the stash!  And thanks to my recent reacquaintance with TSS and the purchase of the complete Denise hook set,  I can crochet a rug and make it the perfect width for the narrow spot.

Here is the beginning.  Double strand of basic Bernat Handicrafter cotton and TSS results in a nice thick sturdy fabric.  It will be the best thing since Mama's crocheted oval  rug made from strips of old clothes. 

If only I had that huge wooden hook that she used. . . .

Thursday, July 5, 2012

(re)Discovery of Truth

Years ago, in a non yarn phase of life, I focused on embroidery.  My mother was somewhat skilled at needlepoint.  Unfortunately I did not inherit that skill.  But I was skilled at french knots, satin stitch, chain stitches and the like.   I first learned to  cross-stitch as a very little child.  Left over bits of gingham, caught tight in a hoop was my first canvas.  I loved learning to fill the squares with little X marks.  Beginning with those first humble childish efforts, thread, fabric, yarn and embellishments have always been a part of my sanity. 

Some years have been more sane than others.  Just ask my family if you need confirmation.  The last two weeks have been borderline.  These weeks have given me an opportunity to unearth forgotten bits of past efforts.   Luckily, this gem was unearthed and tipped the emotional scale back toward healthy happy sanity.

It is important for you to understand that this is not a twenty year old UFO. 

This  is an artistic statement of truth. 

This is the embodiment of my sense of humor.

This is sometimes an excuse.

This is often reality.

 PS - This week, I could use a Friday.