Weaving in the sun

I dug out my Glimakra weaving loom …

and put it outside in the sun:

(you understand I have people for this. Robert did all the lifting. Thank you, darling.)

There’s commercial sockyarn going up and down and I weave into it a weft of handspun singles made from a very soft BFL, wrapped around that stick.

I’ve had that handspun for a while now and I didn’t know what to do with the singles. It’s 765 meters of fingering weight. Or sportsweight, since this is handspun (it will bloom a bit).
Soft and thin and a bit fragile, what was a girl to do?
(anno 2014 I’d say: Brioche! But last year I didn’t know)

I played around with the handspun a bit. I didn’t like the way it knitted up and also the knitted fabric was too fragile to stand up to wear (like in a blanket or hooded shawl (for which it is the wrong colour)). Also the colours were biting each other a bit: they were washing each other out.

However, combining them with saturated sock yarn and allowing the singles to display their colours in long lines instead of short intertwined dots (=knitting) brought out the colours and provided some strength.
Also: it is very pleasant to weave with happy coloured yarn.

This is how weaving works:

I’ve put the plastic grate with all the sockyarn that’s going up and down in the lowest position of the holder you see on the left. Now the sockyarn threads are divided and I can put the wooden stick through them, from left to right.

The stick comes out on the right side, leaving behind a trail of yarn. This thread is not pulled tight, it is left very loose. In an arc often:

Now I take the reed from its holder and pull it towards me:

I use it to push the thread into place, nice and neat against the previously woven threads. This is called “beating” I believe.

You don’t beat very hard. I leave a considerate amount of space between the previous horizontal thread and this new one. After all, this yarn will bloom. I aim for little squares of space between the threads. It’s a very open fabric at this stage… we’ll have to trust it will grow into a good fabric once it gets its final wash.

Now I place the reed back in its holder but this time in the up most position. The sockyarn is divided up and down but reverse of what it was previously.
I can now bring the stick with the handspun through again, this time from right to left.

After that I’ll beat again with the reed and replace it in the lowest position and start from left to right again.

It’s a very pleasant craft. And actually goes quiet fast.
Every now and then I release the rolled up, prethreaded sockyarn on the beam in the back. The beam has a gear that releases and locks.
I then roll up the beam in the front, it has the woven cloth on it. It too has a gear that locks.

This loom is well thought out and well designed.
It’s a scandinavian design: Glimakra. This type is called Susanna. It is a rigid heddle loom and it is very good for weaving with handspun. It fits on your table or on your lap. It has no foot peddles and is not typically used to weave patterns and such. (But it can be done, you then put a second reed behind the first one.)

I like the scandinavian connection. I like that it’s wood. I like that it’s a no-nonsense and sturdy design.
Today I got all “alternative” using it: I dug out my worn straw hat and my sheepy mug and my sandals

I really didn’t care how I looked and how easy it would be for people to put a label onto me. I’m Pippi Longstocking’s sister, I don’t care!

Almost all of my maillots have their feet cut off (how else am I going to wear them with handknit socks in shoes?).
Today I even cut off the lower parts of these: bare legs in the sun. And sandals. And a rolled up skirt with pockets, made from sturdy canvas and allowed to get dirty or ruined by a happy treadling cat.
Pippi rules!


Spring legwarmers and colourfull socks

Here’s how that happy skein of Spring that I spun is knitting up.

Two legwarmers at a time, so that increases are on the same row. I’m knitting flat because with few stitches (say less than 50) I get tired of working magic loop. Just when you’re into the groove you have to stop and pull through the cable “ear”.

For the photo I pinned them together (with yellow glass bead pins) bottom to bottom so they would lie flat.

A close up of how this 2ply knits up. Usually you end up with a needle size which causes each stitch to have one colour dominating. But here I had to go up up up in needle sizes and now each stitch shows two colours. It’s one of those things a spinner can take into consideration when choosing weight and twist. This spinner did not, this spinner was just spinning colours.

I’m messing about with gauge again, forgetting that I tend to knit tighter in the round. That’s why this third attempt is flat.
In between I forgot that I tend to asses my gauge swatches very optimistic…

Here’s another example of knitting with two colours and looking at which colour ands up in the stitch.
My purple hiking socks are knit with two sockyarns held together. I typically like 50 gram balls for this, one solid and one selfstriping.

The combination of yarn weight and needle size makes each stitch have one dominating colour. The fact that the two yarns are not twined adds to this.

For example in the yellow stripe you see either yellow or purple stitches. Barely a few have both.

I love these kind of socks. Both knitting them and wearing them. I’ve got them in a myriad of colours:

I like it when my socks have accented toes and heels.

But I could do with a few more colours, don’t you agree?
Yes, indeed.
Yellow. Green. Skyblue. Burgundy. Nightblue. Fuchsia.
I need them all.
I should go buy little balls of variegating sock yarn.
Yes I should. To celebrate Spring.

These socks only have a cast on of 36 stitches! (increase to 40 after the ribbing). On needles 3mm. Knit a sock in a (long) day!

They do require knitting in the round though…
And there’s still the delicate issue of my shoulder not wanting to knit stockinette stitch.
And none of the pairs above are worn out so I don’t really need new ones. Even though I wear them out on the porch and in my clogs and around the house. Drops Fabel really wears well. And you can toss them in the washer without a problem.
Oh, how I’d love a Spring green pair!

hmmm, Guacemole!

Fabel print colour 151 with solid 112.

or something with 111 Mustard!

Yum! Yum!

I’ve got yarn, I’ve got yarn, I’ve got yarn!

My wool room, let me show it:

There’s yarn there. Sock yarn. Solid and variegated.
More yarn then I can hope to knit for years to come!

Only they don’t match so nice, colour wise…. so I should buy yarn yeah? After all, it’s only one little ball of 50 grams. Or two if I can’t find something that matches what I have already.

Finished: POP blanket blocks

It worked really nice, the way I spun it. One solid and one variegated single, plied together. Each colour is clearly different from the others but still they are all related. And each colour block has a liveliness to it.
More so in real life than these photo’s suggest.

ravelrypage here

These blocks took about 45 grams total, on needle 4,5 mm. This is pretty much my default spinning weight.
Off to spin some more, I want a POP blanket!

Weird Wool Wednesday: Embarrassing!

Still no mail man and no iPad cable.
So I took my laptop for a spin and tried to point Photo Booth at wool things that are going on in the cabin.
Here are my best pictures… *cringe!*

The POP blanket blocks in handspun:

I don’t know why my laptop (or Photobooth) thinks the fact that I’m eating a pickle is more important than knitting.

(Ahum! That bubble wrap on the ground has been there since the last time I was felting… which was… two months ago? I’m so embarrassed!)
(In my defense: you can vacuum underneath bubble wrap, not just around it.)

Lillepoes hogging the heavy duty woolen blanket that’s on the couch:
lillepoes op deken
It has great colours. It’s a very soothing and warm blanket. It was my grandmothers’. We both enjoy it very much. Although I have to work harder for it. I’m totally bossed around by my cat… which is the most mild mannered cat you can imagine. I’m so embarrassed!

and some fool wearing ear mufflers and a Brioche hat:
(ear mufflers because the farmer across the road is playing with some heavy machinery)
ekorre kussen

This knitterly specimen may or may not be spending a whole season of Criminal Minds embroidering a cushion of a squirrel amidst toad stool.
In a paint-by-numbers-kit.
From the 80’s.
In acrylics.

Which is not embarrassing.
At all.

criminal minds

“We briefly interrupt…”

“…this blog until the cable for the iPad is sent here, from the City to the Cabin.”

In a cloud of brainfog all useful cables were put into the luggage of my Husband and The Other Cat, before they travelled back to the city this weekend. Now the iPad has run out of battery and since it’s the only device here that takes a picture of knitting that is acceptable… I have no pictures of the wool that’s going on here.

In the past I have taken pictures with the lap top but honestly, they are too… “idiosyncratic”. I was never proud of myself when I had to resort to Photo Booth.

Anyway. Let’s sit back and wait for the mailman.
Here, have some POP:

This is POP blanket!
By TinCanKnits a.k.a. Emily Wessel. She and Alexa Ludeman have a fun and inspirational site for knitters.

In these blocks you start with a circle and then make it into a square as you go along. (Very much like my life)
It’s great with yarn that changes in colour:

The shape shifting from round to square is done with short rows. I used German Shadow Rows.

I’ve made 5 blocks with the handspun Spinprojecte Lente, and they look fantastic! The idea of having one single in a solid colour and one with accents comes out great!

You should see the blocks that are currently blocking on my table.
(you will, as soon as the mailman comes, tomorrow)
(heehee, “blocks are blocking”)

I’d very much like to knit a whole blanket like this.

But do I need another blanket?? I’m still not very good with stockinette stitch…
But I ám using the Karma Blanket quite a lot…
Pity it’s also in the city.
Here, in the cabin, I use a heavy duty woolen horse blanket. Lillepoes and I are taking our daily nap under it, now that Spring has temporarily hid itself.

I think I just answered my own question! I need POP!

All pictures in this blogpost are by Tin Can Knits who know how to work a cable:

I spun some Spring

On this lovely Spring day I spun 100 grams of handdyed wool from a sturdy sheep. Good for a pair of happy coloured anklewarmers.
I did that trick again where I tore it into small strips, with not much drafting so the colours would remain vibrant. On the Louet S70, adding quite a bit of twist.

156 m of sunshine!

roving dyed to order by Wolop

Weird Wool Wednesday: moths with scissors

One evening, I was merrily spinning some wool:
Moths with scissors

When in the corner of my eye something wooly was not right:
Moths with scissors

not right at all…
Moths with scissors

Moths with scissors

A hole! A Big Hole!
Moths with scissors

No wait… moths don’t eat with straight edges…
Moths with scissors

I must’ve done this… I’m the moth.

When I was clipping away pilling from this sweater the other day I must have cut through the yarn. I vaguely remember a particular felted piece of pilling right about there…

Oh man, and it’s right at the bust. In plain sight.
I should darn it, I still have some yarn left. Yes, I should darn it.

Darning is not such a bad thing as the cry of frustration might suggest.

There are two three ways of darning knitted fabric.
The very wrong one:

Just sewing shut.
This will tear and wear the surrounding fabric in no time.

The wrong one. But compliments for caring for your socks anyway.

This method is called linen darning and is not quite right because you are adding a piece of woven cloth to a knitted fabric. This will be strenuous on the surrounding knitted fabric because it has to make up for the woven piece not being elastic. The edges will wear soon.

And the right way. Although I do not understand how one can shoot a five minute video and still have not started darning.
Here’s a photo tutorial for people who think five minutes is a long wait.

This is called “Swiss darning” and you duplicate knit stitches broadly around the hole, thus reinforcing the fabric around the hole.
Then you start filling in the hole with some vertical strands and then you put “knit stitches” along those strands, with a darning needle.

It’s a good way and will keep your knitting good for many, many miles. It’s also a nice activity, quite soothing.
I’ve done a short course a couple of years back and this was my first attempt once I got home:

Not bad! I still wear these socks.

Yes, I should definitely darn the sweater.
I can probably get away with just a single strand, there’s no need to darn a whole piece of knitting in there, after all it is not from wear that the hole occured.

Or I could just tie a knot and keep on spinning:
Moths with scissors

More wrestling with Brioche yarns

Still riding the “pretty leaves in Brioche” wave, I wanted to make a Frost on Leaves Brioche wimple.

They had to be:

  1. (semi-)woolen in character
  2. super soft
  3. similar in thickness
  4. lace yarn so I had hours and hours of knitting
  5. have colours that suit my face

After two days rummaging through the stash I decided on:

a magnificent blue. This is 100purewool Merino Lace, a single merino. Very VERY good for Brioche.
Wound into a ball on one of the first Spring days last week. With cat supervision.

And this one:

this is a Knit Picks Bare Lace Weight. Also Merino. It’s a 2ply but the thread is kind of “grabby” so it will partner up very well with the blue single.

It had to be wound in many little balls due to a weak spot in the skein. This is not a problem because this is not superwash yarn: just spit and felt ends together. (initially I was very frustrated with the winding but when someone suggested this solution and I knew how good this fits the yarn properties I settled down quickly)

I cast on for the cowl and knitted away, very happy with Brioche.

But looking at it…. I do not like the result very much.
It is very…. stripey. (I know. I could have seen that coming, it is Brioche in two strongly contrasting colours.)

And it is quite tight. This is the right needle size for these yarns however, it’s 2,75 mm.
I started out with bigger needles, 3,25mm, but I didn’t like the way the knitted fabric looked. So loose. So I frogged it, without taking a picture.

This gauge sits on my neck fine. And when I work upwards towards the part that will cover my head I would enter the phase with the leaves, which gets a tighter gauge anyway and requires the bigger needles (3,25mm).
But I’m not sure that’s enough. Not sure at all.

In fact, I knitted on for two evenings pondering this question. Knowing the answer all along.
No. This will not sit comfortable around my head.

I’ve knitted too many tight sleeves by now to forget that I should wear my tubes more loose than the first 10 cm suggest.

So it’s with despair that I’ll let this knit go into the frogpond.

pic by Alfred Borchard

(I could cast on more stitches. But then it’d still be too stripey.)

So what have I learned from this?

  1. knit Brioche in ton sur ton
  2. I do not have any yarn in the stash that will match either of these lace weights. So no Frost On Leaves wimple for me at this moment
  3. knit something else. In Brioche. What’s there on my to-do-list?

That’s when two things came together beautifully.

1. This yarn that I like to knit Brioche with and like the end result of:

2. this sweater inspiration:

I want to use it as a frame for the stranded Woodland Sweater I’m going to design and knit.
But I still can’t draw or knit very much due to shoulder injury so it’s been put on the shelf.

I could, however, use this design in an Art Deco Brioche With Leaves sweater.

Working from the bottom up. Vertical stripes, freely scattered leaves (from Frost on Leaves).
Ton sur ton.
In that Estonian yarn that’s so good for colourwork. (Wool&Yarn)
I often worry that sweaters in Brioche turn out too bulky. Being a little woman myself I don’t think bulky flatters me. But seeing my Frost on Leaves Hat I think this yarn will turn out fine.
The hat even gives a good gauge swatch.

One thing:

I like the inside of Brioche!
Better than the outside. There’s a haring bone thing going on there I really like.

I think I’m going to knit my new Art Deco Sweater inside out. Or rather, outside in. It’s really neat!

Now all I need to do is chose my colours. I’d love to knit it in the greens of my hat but I have only one skein of the light green.

This is my stash in this yarn:

I think I need two skeins for one sweater. Ton sur ton points towards the teal and the blue.
Do I feel like knitting with blue? I’d much rather knit with green…

I’m not getting another skein of light green.

Make the stash work, lady!

When I ordered the yarn I thought I’d combine the dark green with the white.
How stripey would that get, you think?
I’ve just put my hat next to the white blue brioche to try and answer that question. Green on white will be too stripey.
So blue on blue it is then. Outside in.

(now I worry a bit that I will be left with two skeins of blue, one in each colour, and nothing to knit from that except for another sweater, blue on blue!) (Two skeins as shown here are 1600 m of yarn, enough for an adult sweater. By breaking up both the teal and the dark blue pair I won’t have enough for a solid sweater in either colour.) (As if I’d ever knit a solid dark blue sweater in this yarn.) (Or a teal one.)

what to do? what to do!
pic by Mike Smith

Spinning with knitting in mind

5 pieces of roving, dyed in colours that go together:

stripped in half. Having a look at the colour combination (and also a good way to store the fibre not in use):

Spun the first half of the roving in a sequence:

I’ll make a second single that follows the same sequence. But this single will have a bit more colour variation in each colour.
Plied together it will give colour blocks of knitting in the five main colours but each block will have a little bit of added colour life to it. Not too much though, the stitch (definition) will get the main role in the knitting.

Preparing the other half of the 2ply. Each piece will have one dominant colour and 4 accents:

to be combined in this order (need to switch the two blues around, I see)

One of the blues: tore the main colour in small strips so it’s all nice and fluffy and will combine well while spinning:

How I keep it in my hand. I play with the strips, favouring this one and then that one. But always keeping the blue dominant. Still spinning this, have not plied yet. Spinning in the sun though 🙂