This is me not knitting: Draakjesvest.

I am taking it easy this week. My shoulder is happy with that. But I couldn’t sit still.

So I started a Draakjesvest, a Little Dragons Cardi.
I used to have a cardigan like that. It was green, from heathered yarn, 100% wool and it had a hood, pockets and spikes on the hood and along the arms. It was shop bought in the previous century when I didn’t know how to knit but did feel good wearing wool.

I had to leave it behind when I left Norway, back in 2005. It was totally worn out and came apart at the seams. Still it hurt throwing it away. But I needed the space in my suitcase for a felted weddingdress!

It was such a great little cardigan! I used to wear it when walking through the Art Academy and some guy would whisper friendly greetings from behind white walls: “draakje… draaaaaakje..”
Now I am recreating it.

(also, this is me not typing on the computer to give my shoulder rest…)

Terrible pictures, it really is a lovely green.
ribbing and one outer part of a pocket.

I’ve never done pockets before.
Invented the big cable myself. I will repeat it on the sleeves, bigger, and spikes will grow out of it.

There’s waste yarn running through the stitches. It will help with picking up and knitting stitches once I start knitting the ribbing part. The picked up stitches will become the inner lining of the pocket.

Also: see how neat the cables grow from the ribbing! I like that, the flowing of things.
Took a bit of tinkering and thinking to make that happen.
(Which is the not-knitting part of this. I took a full day to do the math and designing. All the while resting my shoulder.)
(then I knitted it in small installments. This is all the knitting I did this week. It’s not much.)
(Of course I had to rethink the cables once I started knitting. Originally I had designed 4×4 cables but you cannot grow those in a beautiful way from 2×2 ribbing. The 2 purl-stitches are placed inconveniently. You can grow 3×3 cables from 2×2 ribbing though, which is what these are)

Here’s the right front pocket, parked and ready to have its stitches picked up from the backside while I work the rest from the cardi from the ribbing:

In the next picture, please note how my column of k-stitches next to the p-stitches runs very wide, compared to the other k-stitch columns:

It has to do with tension and with switching between p and k.
There’s a darning needle in these pictures. Below it those stitches are wide. As are the purl-stitches beside it.
Above the darning needle I had tried out a solution. They look better, yes?

It’s a solution I got from TECHknitter. She ran a three part series on uneven knitting. Very educational!

She rightfully identifies this sort of uneven stitches as uneven tension between k and p stitches.
There are a few possible solutions. I chose to slip every purl stitch when it comes right before a knit stitch (as seen from the Right side)

You can see it here, the slipped stitch is on the needle with the working yarn running below it, it’s the p stitch on the left side of the utmost right cable. (This is the other pocket again, I applied the solution from the beginning and this column of k-stitches looks just as neat as the k-stitches beside it.)

Here, I’m pointing it out. This is the running yarn that I will knit into that p-stitch on the next row:

On the next row I’ll knit the yarn that was slipped the previous row (and I slip the stitch in this row)
It works, I think.

project page here. Not much on it though.

I knit the body on 3,25 mm with gauge of 20st/10 cm
yarn is Donegal Soft. This is Merino and a single (fulled). Heathered, in gorgeous green. I bought it in Ireland, at Springwools.com
They’ll ship a kilo of the stuff to you for just 2,95 euro flat rate!

I went over there and brought it home. This is the one I have, but it’s more darker and variegated in real life. Not so loud:

But also not nearly so dull and dark as in my own pictures!
It has a lot of spinning oil in it. As a precaution I wash my hands after I knit. With other yarns (shetlands from Eastern Europe) I’ve gotten insomnia from the oils.

Inspirations for my Little Dragon Cardigan are #13 Central Park Hoodie (CPH) and the Spiked Dog Collar.
But I am adding pockets and waste shaping to the CPH. And knitting another cable and different gauge and different placement of cables. So really, there’s not much CPH in my cardi…

But the original picture of CPH does have that “Draakjes”feeling I’m after:
pic by Interweave Press
pattern by Heather Lodinsky

The Spiked Dog Collar is an i-cord worked over increasing (or decreasing) stitches. It’s a free design by Melissa Turner who also owns this picture and this dog:

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Weird Wool Wednesday: spinning with the cat

two weeks ago, not sure if this works but here’s a video of how I spin:

Here’s the direct link to the video over at Flickr

PS what? you want to learn Dutch? Great!
I’m saying:
“Perhaps you can zoom in a bit on the cat?” (“poes” = cat)
Robert says:
“no, I cannot zoom in I believe…
I say:
“No, I mean that you get closer. That I fall out of the frame” (“beeld” = frame, typically through a glass plate such as a screen)

Than Robert “gnuifs” at seeing how Lillepoes lies sleeping on my knees.
“Gnuiven” is a sort of giggle through the nose. The Norwegian have a purrfect word for it: å fnise

finished: handspun hat

knitted on needles 8mm, in small portions:

handspun.
we got 4 small portions at the National Anual Spinners Retreat 2013:

I traded with people and gave some away. I ended up with two batches called Spring (I think). White, yellow, purple, green, blue merino (or bfl, I don;t remember)

I spun one single from the roving, the colours mixed.
The other single I spun one colour after the other.
Plied them.


I chose to wear the purl side out, I like the little bobbles of colour. THe silk (white) shines so nice!

In April there’s the annual convention/meeting. I’ll be bringing this then, to show the organisation. I think it’s nice to see what people do with fibre you provide, they’ll be pleased.
Also, it wears really nice. Soft, warm, happy colours.

(my shoulder is doing well, I need to chance positions and activity ever hour it seems. Also stop wearing bra’s. This presents some logical and civil challenges…
Luckily I’m a hermit for the rest of the week so here’s hoping my shoulder accepts bra-straps once I venture into society again next week)
(in other news: I cut my hair. Forgot briefly about the difference between a thinning out scissor and regular scissor…. Good thing I’ve got a hat to wear.)

Yarn Over Week

I’m taking a small break from blogging. My shoulder hurts, ever since I tried out a lesson of Power Yoga. Seaming together the Karma Blanket didn’t help and now I can’t sleep from the pain and can’t make myself tea.
So I’m easing up on the fine repetitive movements i.e. typing on computers and knitting. For about a week to begin with.

I might post a picture of “wool that happened”, no words.
Wool always happens!

Straw into gold: a felted woven sewn vest

GOLD
I often make things that end up not being what I hoped for. But still too pretty to throw away. In this project I combined three of them together and it turned into something I really like! An Elfish Spring vest:

I took a piece of pre-felt that was dyed by Adrian Salomé from A3an art and felted it and sewed it to a woven cloth that I wove myself, from my own handspun. The second thing I ever wove.
I sewed them together with the mohair I showed yesterday. This is De Voart mohair, from a small Dutch husband and wife company. It has a lovely sheen.

Using some of the things I’ve learned about body shaping, both in knitting and in sewing, I knew I could really draw things in in the small of my back and that I would do this by sewing it by hand.

To shape the collar I needed to cut into the felt. Here you see the cut for two armholes and the back of the neck. The woven cloth is positioned where will go in the middle. The smaller piece of felt is just there for show, it won’t be used in the vest (but undoubtably in something else. Purse perhaps?)

Later on I had to cut more felted fabric away but I followed the same shape. On the left you see one of my toile pieces, to determine the shape and depth of the armhole.

Here’s a close(r) up of how that was combined in the end:

The woven cloth was longer than the prefelt. When combined it looked like I had a tail. Or was just really scared of cutting into woven cloth. Which I was.
Here’s what I did: I sewed two lines into the fabric (stretching it while sewing). I then cut between the lines. Basically, I steeked:

I then hemmed it with the mohair. Lovely colours!

Look how the mohair is ‘talking’ to the colours in both the woven and the felted cloth.

I have some roving and chiffon in the same colours, also dyed by Adrian, which I’ll use to make some skirts to go with this top. It will be a Spring Elfish dress up!

STRAW
The thing is: each and every component of this vest I managed to screw up when I prepared them. Most of them have been lying around my house for months or years even, because I could not think of a way to make them in something nice.

The list of disappointing components:

  1. a handspun in which I combined glorious silk top (which I cut -with scissors! a mortal sin to handspinners-)  into too short pieces to spin with a scratchy green (so dumb! Don’t mix these two, it made the yarn scratchy)
  2. a woven cloth I eventually made with the scratchy handspun. But I made it too narrow. All it could ever hope to be was a table runner, a scratchy table runner. For a very small table.
  3. a piece of prefelt I felted but then it became too small to become anything useful. Small pieces of prefelt are mostly used to make 3D shapes. A ready felted piece that’s rectangular… what you gonna do with that?
  4. the mohair yarn in lovely colours…. a little too scratchy to wear next to the skin. But the main problem is that this yarn changes colours quite rapidly. It knits up heathered. It looks awful in big pieces of knitting! And I bought three skeins! (one of which doesn’t match the other two.) What to do with yarn like that? There’s the linen stitch of course…but otherwise I’ve got nothing. I hate knitting linen stitch.  (this yarn is even too variegated to weave with)

 

The mohair yarn. I bought it when I had just learned to knit, back in 2008, on the very first Handwerkbeurs I visited in Zwolle. I just fell for the colours. I knew nothing of fibre content, yarn weight or drape.
It is the very first yarn in my stash page on Ravelry. I hadn’t even been on Ravelry for a month!

A3an’s prefelt, such lovely colour and so big. I honestly thought I could get a whole top out of this:

But prefelt shrinks. The endresult had shrunk to these dimensions, too small to spark my inventiveness, I was so set on a top of this felt:

The handspun I used for the weaving. It’s called Silk Spring and I spun it back in January 2010 , when I was so cheap I didn’t dare to buy or use good stuff. I had splurged on a silk brick from Mandacrafts, 6 months earlier, but had no idea how to spin it.

The silk hurt my hands so I decided to cut it into shorter pieces. As you do. When you have no clue. I also thought this a good idea because the colour repeats where longer than the silk fibres. I didn’t want to mix the colours while drafting, I wanted to preserve them. And I didn’t like the copper colour…

So I cut them. I cut out the various colours, left the copper to the side. I cut the silk with scissors. Which is stupid. Scissors leave sharp ends on the fibres and this will always show in the resulting yarn. You will get a halo. And when you’ve cut pieces as short as I did (2,5 cm/ 1 inch)(hey, I really had no idea back then) you can hardly card it with something and expect it to blend in nicely.

But I tried anyway. On my drumcarder I mixed the pieces of silk with green roving I had. Scratchy green roving.
Because I was cheap. I didn’t want to waste anything. I told myself this was an experiment. For which you use scraps. Forgetting that my experiments and prototypes tend to give the best results.

You can practically hear the yarn scratch your screen:

I did spin it into a colour gradient. And got to play with my drumcarder for the first time. Oh, such lovely colours…

I have knit with it a couple of times over the years. But it came to nothing. Too scratchy and the colour gradient hindered options in knitwear.

Earlier this year I wove it into a cloth. That worked for the gradient and I got to experiment with the weaving loom.

Lovely colour and texture! And you can see the bits of scissor cut silk trying to escape:

Someone liked it though:

But as a cloth is was quite scratchy and loosely woven.

When a couple of weeks months I thought about combining it with the felt I decided I better felt the woven cloth too. Otherwise it would not be sturdy enough to co-operate with the felt.

So I tried to felt the woven cloth.
before:

after:

It hardly shrunk. It’s still loosely woven. Not very sturdy at all. I must have done something wrong.

I just can’t get things to turn out how I want them to.
Which the cat predicted from the very beginning:

 

Sewing with yarn

I’m sewing together a piece of felt and a piece of weaving, with mohair yarn. The yarn changes colour and I like it so much!
I’m deliberately making small stitches, just to enjoy the colour fest a little longer.

It brings out all the colours of the shiny silk in the weaving. (It is handspun, the bit with the silk)

Weird Wool Wednesday: loose ends

about a million of them…
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Untitled

You know me, I know me. This will never get done.

My alternative solution is: give this a backing of fleece, hiding all those loose ends. Good plan!

But I need to convince my inner critic first. She says it’s ludicrous to have a knitted fabric, with all its characteristics of being stretchy, only to back it with non-stretchy cloth. That’s not right.

So it will probably look like this for a good while to come.
But the front is pretty!
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Giving away what you don’t wear

(I’m still finishing the blanket, I’m at the border…)

Yesterday there was a Dutch Karma Knitters Group meeting at someones house because one of our dear members, who usually lives in Finland, was in Holland. All knitters flocked together to say hello to her and to knit together and to eat cake.

A lot of us couldn’t go, for various reasons, and usually we then flock together on the internet and talk in the Ravelry-group. Egging on the ones who áre at the party to post pictures.

Lately, the virtual meetings have grown more and more into virtual events. We organize a lottery or simultan knitting challengesb. Yesterday one of our member initiated a swap. A swap for one day. Offering things you made but do not use.

For a whole day we offered the shawls we laboured over but never take out of the closet. The gloves we loved knitting but don’t wear with our coat.
Felted clogs that were put on display instead of on feet.
All kind of handmades swapped ownership. It was really freeing.

We had a lovely day, in our virtual meeting room. Interspersed with news and pictures of the people who were at the actual meeting.

I offered this shawl up for swapping:

It’s my Victory in Orange, an Echo Flower Shawlette. The Echo Flower Shawl is a free pattern by Jenny Johnson Johnen

It’s made of handspun, on my first real wheel, bought 4 years ago:

That’s a Louet Victoria, I júst got it through the mail on the day I took this photo. It folds so small you can take it as cabin luggage in a plane. (You might have to explain the steel rod that shows up on the x-rays, it holds the bobbin)

I had just gotten the wheel and this orange was the very first thing I spun on it.
Back then there were the Winter Olympics 2010. Ravelry ran an event simultaneously, back then it was still called the “Ravelympics”. In later years we got a nasty cease-and-desist-lettre from the Olympic Committee that nothing even resembling “Olympic” was allowed to be used by anybody else than someone paying them money.
They were condesending towards knitters. Which taught them quickly that knitters nowadays are no harmless “little old ladies”. These little old ladies are technical savvy and know how to wield the harpoons of social media very well.
But that’s another story.

Back then: Olympic games, knitting event. I decided to take this handspun and make it into a shawl. Just a few days before the closing ceremony.
I knit all day and finished this shawl before the Olympics closed. It was very nice.

The pattern is amended, the original pattern is more triangle shaped. I prefer semi-circles or these shapes (“faraose”?)

This is the handspun:

made from these singles:

(that’s our fireplace in the city, one of our fireplaces… it holds a vintage wood stove, on a red brick floor. See how high the ceiling is? With solid oak beams. Yes, my city house is old and quirky, it’s the result from 1642 when somehow a castle and an old wooden ship made love and had a child)(1642, that’s Rembrandt age!)(anyway: warm yellow because we’re funny, not snooty)

It was a lovely project. The new wheel, the handspun, the colour, the technical challenge of amending the pattern, the nubbs that where new for me, as was making 1 stitch into 9, the team effort of knitting shawls during Olympic times. Lovely lovely project.
But I never wore it.

Now it will go to a friend and she will make someone else happy with it.
The wheel is gone too, making someone else happy.
And we had a lovely day yesterday, even if we could not attend the actual meeting to greet our Finnish friend and all our Karma friends.

Blanket progress and two new blocks

I put together two of the strips:

(sorry for the evening photo’s)

There’re also two last blocks I haven’t shown you in close up yet:

THis one used up the last of the red handspun and Noro, right at a spot where I needed a dash of red in the blanket. On it is a flower in handspun silk in a technique I got from an old book by Mary Thomas from 1899. Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns.

It’s called Picot Point Knitting.
Basically it’s crocheting with your knitting needles.

This other block used up the last of my orange handspun and I’m really glad I got to use it on this blanket. Handspun, either by oneself or a friend, adds a special value to anything that you’re going to wrap yourself in:

I stitched on my name and the year. This truly is the blanket for 2013, each week one block.

The block, or the blanket, needs one last addition. A little squirrel in handspun from a batt called Happy Squirrel.

I used this pattern by Frankie Brown, she is a gem in the knitting designer world. Very sympathetic.

I didn’t have enough yarn, I still need something for the tail. But I keep losing this little friend. And refinding him in unexpected places.