Tour de Fleece

The Tour de France has started. Around the world, all kinds of spinners are spinning their wheels and worls also: Tour de Fleece .

During the tour we are spinning fibres and we are sharing what we do in pictures and posts all over the internet but mostly on Ravelry.

I have prepared a lovely mountain of purple dyed fleece. This is a Swifter Texelaar mix. Dyed by Lia from stoftotverven.nl

I have combed out the tips and the white coarsier hairs (used a dog comb) and have started spinning.

Trying out drafting from the fold:

But settling for drafting from the grow tips. For a smoother thread.

It will be a 2 ply, about the thickness of DK.

Although the locks are pretty long and the majority of it is dyed fuchsia, the thread ends up much darker. The dark tips wrap around the thread, darkening it.

the locks are all well over 10 cm/4″. Closer to 15 cm I think (6″)

This is my wheel. A Louet S70. All solid oak, including the bobbins. I very much like this wheel, it has character. It is also great for sitting outdoors. It is a good wheel.

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Finished: Socks

I’ve been finishing socks. They are easy projects. Easy to transport, easy on the mind. It’s nice to finish things, makes you feel like you accomplish something.

January Socks:

This pattern was chosen to match this multi coloured yarn. Without the floating strands the colours might look all muddled up. The floats highlight some of the colours.

One of the socks is more purple overall, the other more green. It is handdyed yarn by Dutch Wool Diva. Very soft yet very durable. This is Sock Star.

The other socks I finished this week:

Pattern Pucker by General Hogbuffer

You use two skeins of very different colour. I used a white one and a sockblanket. The technique is called “mosaic knitting”. Each round you slip half of the stitches unknit. Because you change colour every other round you get short columns of the other colour, via those slipped stitches.

It does mean you have to knit 4 rounds to get 2 rounds of knitting done. I will not use this technique again, it is way too slow. I’ll just do stranded knitting the next time.

It is funny how the unknit sock looks though. All puckered and twisted. It only gets it shape when you put it on.

I got bored with the pattern and way too brain foggy too, to do the counting, so I improvised a bit:

Weird Wool Wednesday: skirting a fleece

When you are a knitting hostess at the Dutch Farm- and Countryfair in the large ‘wool tent’ which is filled with sheep and wool vendors and you were not able to resist all the fleeces and bought the very last Clun Forest fleece on your way out of the tent after closing hours on the very last day and you get home all excited and giddy and decide to skirt the fleece then and there….

“skirting” means spreading out the fleece and inspecting it and throwing away the ‘skirts’ which are the outer layers that are solid with sheep poop. The whole fleece is filled with lanoline, dirt and pee.

please change into something comfortable first. Skirting a fleece in you fancy felted couture dress is not smart, in fact, it is very dirty.

Festive though. And very “wooly”. Got lots of compliments at the fair.

they should smell me now…

 

 

toppictures copyright of http://www.countryfair.nl. The woman in the bluegrey shirt is Betty Stikkers, aknowledged fleece judge and the driving force behind fleece quality, wool awareness and the Shetland sheep breed in the Netherlands. And friendly and professional too!

Weird Wool Wednesday: being dumber than linen

I have this cone of linen. Dark blue. From Flandres. It is a cobweb weight and I want a top out of it to wear this Summer. But I don’t want to knit with cobweb weight. Luckily I’m smart: I will ‘navajo’ ply it while I knit it. This will tripple the thickness.

I made a swatch on needles 2,75mm. Washed, it, wacked it, stomped on it. Linen is strong, it can take it. As a matter of fact, the more you wear linen, the softer it gets.

This swatch revealed a beautiful sheen and is now soft enough to wear against the skin. All I have to do is remember it is kind of see through and pick a pattern.

If only it didn’t skew…. which it does. This linen has bias. I washed it again, tugged at it, ironed it but still:

This is as straight as it gets.

It is caused by the way flax grows. Flax is the tall ‘grass’ that supplies the fibre for linen. Because it is so tall and thin it twists the fibers in its stem while growing it. Twist gives strength, ask any spinner. Traditionally flax fibres are spun to only one side, to honour this inherent twist and strength. That is also why linen is often a one ply. As is this cone of yarn. And that is why it slants.

Ok. Nothing a smart knitter cannot find a solution to. I’ll just think of a pattern that uses this bias to its advantage… Something like:

An asymmetrical top that starts at the left shoulder, works its way down, skewing all it wants, even increasing stitches at the left side seam and decreasing some at the right to make it even more asymmetrical. Then make it into a point at the bottom right. Just where all the bias wants to go anyway.

Then emphasize that it is asymmetrical by giving the right shoulder band a different texture: woven or braided linen. It looks in the sketch like I’ve got a viking woman’s hair braid but that’s the shoulder strap. (Hey, it was quite difficult to sketch with those hands. And missing breasts. And no pants. And a squirrel hat!)

Right, that’s the front part of my top figured out.

Now it needs a back.

The linnen will bias so I cannot knit the pattern of the front top down like I would with wool because it will slant the other way. So I could work in the opposite direction: from bottom to top? Or could I just make two identical pieces and put them right side to wrong side so I have reverse stockinette show at the back?

No wait. Reverse stockinette!

If I knit the whole back piece in reverse stockinette it will bias the other way! Right? Right! I can use the pattern as is: shoulder band, increase, make it into a point. Easypeasy! Let’s swatch!

*knitknitknit*

huh?

How can it not slant the other way? I knitted reverse stockinette! If I knit like this the back will still slant the wrong way… ???

No really! Why does it slant in the same direction as the stockinette swatch at the bottom?

Hey you!

Yeah you, with the squirrel hat and the funny thumbs!

Remind us, what’s the difference between stockinette stitch and reverse stockinette stitch when you’re knitting flat?

Thought so.

You áre dumber than linen.

.

How tight ís that hat of yours, anyway?

Cat Blanket: cat nr. 2

Now that I’ve got my eyesight sorted again I crocheted a second cat for the Free From Crochet Cat Blanket:

It took two days of Swedish murdermysteries to make this. While I got used to the idea of frogging that blue Yuuret cardigan. Because that’s how my knitting works.

This cat has its tongue sticking out. You know how they get when they get interrupted while washing.

Here’s the post showing the first cat and the pattern this blanket is based upon. It’s made with various sockyarns using hook 3mm

Cardi in progress: Yuuret by Kessa Tay Anlin

this is the pattern: Yuuret or Roots by Kessa Tay Anlin (link to her blog here)

It’s a paid pattern (6 dollars) and this is a well thought out pattern, very worthy to spend money on. Don’t share your copy, support the designer.

 

It’s an intelligent pattern. But it is written a bit difficult and with indiosyncratious use of known symbols. “\o/” for instance is not used as “k2tog, YO, ssk”. But, as other reviewers said: “Don’t try to think, just follow the instructions.” Which is just what I need these days and which is very true: all you need to know is there, in the pattern.

Once you read and follow the pattern it knits very well. I’m working it in the Frankengarn 100% wool (click on “Strickwolle”) that I dyed blue myself. (link to its ravelry yarn page here) Lovely yarn! Product of nature, from German Merino’s. No expensive or filthy shipping from overseas. Not suuuupersoft but soft enough for next to skin wear. It is Merino.

Lofty!

Blue. Not so turkoise as in this picture, it is a proper blue. Dyed with Landscape Dyes Apollo Bay.

I had to knit a bit on different needle sizes to find the right gauge/fabric for me:

I decided on 3,5 mm. This is a DK yarn going on worsted.

I have knitted quite a bit on the pattern already so here are preliminary results:

As I was increasing the ragline for the shoulders and sleeves I noticed my usual problem with raglans: not enough space in the back, too much stitches for the sleeves. I redid it a bit, changing stitches around. In the end I just did what the pattern stated but when the time came to park the stitches for the sleeves I tried the piece on and decided then and there where the sleeves were going to be. Regardless of where the raglines where at that time.

Still the sleeves are huge. I’ll have to decrease them intelligently when I start knitting the sleeves otherwise I’ll end up with poofy shouldercaps. Which might suit this pattern, come to think of it. But they won’t suit me: I’ve got broad shoulders to begin with.

Now I had noticed my gauge was off. (When is it not?)
Pattern states 16 st/10 cm or 16 st/4 inch and I was doing 13. (While the swatch was at 16. Liar.)
So I knew I had to fudge the pattern a bit. Luckily I could step down from a size M to a size XS which worked on the number of stitches I now had on the needles.

Unfortunately the proportions where off, it was too roomy at the back and I had already forgotten to make the first two double centered decreases there. There’s a lot going on simultaneously in this pattern and I’m also having a few bad weeks concentration-wise so I’m not surprised I forgot. (I resort to basics in times like these: check the locks,check the stove. The rest is life garnish.) I just take these things in my stride and adjust future rows.

Unfortunate-the-second was that I wanted the peplum to be at the correct place: at my lower back which was approaching in a mere 20 cm. This meant I had to speed up the slaint with which the cables are flowing to the back. Extra decreases to the rescue.

So I put in the centre back decreases, added some at the side and sped up the cable slaint.
Yesterday evening, right for bed, I connected the two cables in the back. And this is how it looks this morning, fresh out of bed:


(yes bed hair.)(I forgot to brush.)(It’s called Coupe Garnish.)
It is too tight. It is too high.

I learned an important thing about this pattern: when the sped up cable slaint begins it makes the cable nearly go horizontal. And cables tighten knitting.

It still looks good, I know, I’ve got a real Heidi-the-girl-from-the-mountains going on here.
But I would like this cardigan to close a bit at the front. I like a bit of warmth when making something out of wool. And I would love to use some lovely clasps like these beauties:


OOOH! AAAH! made and sold by Joan Menter of American Pewter Works

It’s SUCH a pity he only ships within the USA…and that I need 3 of these clasps which at 14 euro’s a piece runs a bit expensive. But oh how I love them…they fit in so beautifully with the woodland elfen blood that seems to run through my veins. Which reminds me: the squirrel is back!! Saw him yesterday and the day before!

Anyway. Now that I understand the pattern better I’ll be ripping back right to where I started to decrease the roomy back. Yes, that will be barely two rows after the sleeves separated. Again I will not start the slainting cable before it has reached the apex because I like it to flow backwards under my breasts.

Somehow I don’t mind ripping and redoing this. It is lovely yarn. It is a lovely pattern. When I knit it right it will be a lovely garment that I will wear often. The only regret I have is that I do not need this pattern in every colour, just as I understand this pattern and would love to knit it again and again. It is so distinctive that one in this style is enough. Do you agree?

Weird Wool Wednesday: a weird hat

I knitted a weird hat.

I didn’t mean to.

I meant to knit a nice, stylish hat.

In luxury wool.

With leaves. Leafs. Lovely leafs! They sprout:

In a colour that flatters me. Cool, saturated pink. Lovely colour!

But this hat looks weird.

On a kitchen appliance.

On me.

On all the other people who’ve knit this.

I could have known if I had just looked better at the other project pages.

I was blinded by the leaves. They sprout!

I love knitting leaves…. leafs….

Anyway.

Here’s a weird hat: My Sprouted Cloche

 

yarn: Dutch Knitting Design Boterbloem: 50% silk 50% merino, DK

needles: 3,75 mm because I’m a loose knitter and I wanted a dense fabric with popping texture in this (fulled) single yarn