I made some yarns.

One more silk ball spun into yarn:

74 meters out of 20 grams, fingering weight. Worsted spun.

The “bunny batts” that Gwen the Random Knitter gave me at the Knit&Knot Wool fair:
 Two skeins of 68 meters, each in a gradiënt.

I dyed 500 grams of a Merino sport in a nice cool light grey:

(Cake for white value.)

It’s for a Pumpkin Ale cardigan which will have a different cable motif on the back panel, I’m leaning towards the cables from A Floral Affair, by Hanna Maciejewska:

The dyed yarn is beautifully soft and bouncy. And round plied. Very good for cables. I dyed it in my big pot. 5 skeins of 100 grams can be swished around in it comfortably, ensuring a reasonably even dye.

The skeins for the workshop Mushroom Dyeing are properly mordanted now:

The wool bloomed beautifully. No spinoil residu. But they do feel a bit sticky because of the alum.

And I just finished plying this Merino Silk blend:

Dyed by Passe-Partout, spun into aran weight, 80 grams, 180 meters

This roving was fractal spun:

I took out some of the bright pink and also some of the bordeaux on the single with the short colour repeats. Because I wanted a yarn with a little less contrast.

The idea is to knit another Rikke hat, in a more greenish colourway:

Right, I’m off to set some twist.



Finished: Cashmere cowl, Rikke hat and handspun.

pattern Pudorosa neckwarmer by Lia Moya
I used 24 grams of the 100% cashmere. Needles 3,75mm

So stylish! This will be very welcome in the Fall in the city. The colour is excellent.

Rikke hat is finished and blocked too:

pattern Rikke Hat by Sarah Young. I used up all the handspun I had: 70 grams in the hat and 5 grams in the pompom.

It’s rather big but I’ve been assured this is hip. So I’m expecting compliments from random dudes with manicured beards and fixed gear bicycles soon. Or is that not hipster, complimenting strangers in the street? We’ll find out this Fall, stay tuned.

The handspun for the vest is also finished and the twist is set:

It’s so bouncy! 682 m of sportsweight going on DK. Handspun always needs a bigger needle than commercial yarn of the same weight.

I put in a marker at the end of the skein that’s more variegated than the other. A reminder that I want to start a top down vest from the other end of the skein and have the more heathered fabric at the hem of the vest.

The coloured single was plied with a merino/bombyx silk single which is not a cool bright white but more of a warm toned off-white. The whole skein now has a warmish tone to it. Not something I favour at this moment but come Winter I’ll probably be glad with it.

I’ve already chosen a pattern: Flinders Sweater Vest :

Top down, a round neck, seamless, with raglans to shape the neck opening. I started this pattern with the sibling handspun of this skein, the green(purple), last November. But I tried to be smarter than the pattern and it went all wrong:

I frogged it and made Hilja vest  with the green(purple) instead:

after I rewrote Hilja into a top down approach. Which I find too fiddly for this time so top down Flinders it will be! As soon as I’m done staring the handspun dry.

This was all photographed in the last minute of sunshine. After this it turned dark and rain clouds gathered. It’s expected to last the rest of the week but we’ll see.

Biasknitting: seaming blocks together.

Here’s how my Blue Texel Shetland wrap looks like at the moment:

Three strips seamed together. The two outer strips are zig zags and knitted on the bias.

A biased knitted block has much more stretch than a regular knitted block. So what stitch to chose to seam blocks together and preserve that stretchy quality?

Normal used seaming stitches for knitted blocks are mattress stitch or whip stitch. Both are not really stretchy. You can get away with them for regular knitting because you usually use the seams as some sort of strengthening of a plane such as a blanket and/or reinforcing the shape of a design such as the side seams in a garment.

After much procrastination debate I settled on a handsewn zig zag stitch, made with sewing thread. Normally you stay away from sewing thread because it can fray and cut the knitting yarn. But I wanted invisible colours because with all the bulky and multicoloured knitting sewing with a distinct coloured yarn wouldn’t look neat.

There are various stretchy zig zag stitches in the land of hand sewing:

What’s also unusual is that I used a flat seam. I placed one block on top of the other and sewed them together. Instead of putting right side to right side and folding the fabric open later. It’s called a flat seam I think? I chose the block that had the nicest looking edge to go on top.
I did this so it wouldn’t be too bulky.

Here’s my bias block sewed onto a regular knitted block:

Now the wrap is finished and I can think about a border but it wasn’t an easy finish. I had a very false finish first:

I miscalculated how high the strip on the left should be. During knitting I measured it numerous times and held it to both the middle strip and the right strip so I really don’t understand how it happened.

Maybe I measured by putting the “spines” together, the vertical ridges. The zig zags may have thwarted me because they do not run level. At the left bottom the dark grey triangle is much higher than it’s partner next to it. All the stripes in the left piece of knitting run askew as a result of this.

This was made very clear to me when I put two stitchmarkers near the top to indicate how high the strip actually ought to be. They are pale purple circle markers. One in the spine on the right, in the dark grey stripe. The other is in the midgrey stripe, just under the white-with-the-black-streak.

These two stitchmarkers are at the same height. They are level, horizontally speaking. You’d hardly believe it, the marker on the left looks to be som much lower!

Here’s proof that the two stitch markers are at the same level, I folded the piece of knitting on one of its spines. The bottom is at the same line, the edges run perpendicular. And the stitchmarkers are at the same height:

Seeing this really hurt. Bias knitting that plays with skews really isn’t for the foggy brained.

I’d have to frog everything until I reached the first stitchmarker, whichever that would be. No! The LAST stitchmarker!
Because that one indicates where bindoff should already be happening while I knitted further on the rest until is got high enough to start binding off there too.
Am I explaining this in a way you can understand? If not I felt exactly like you do….

Here I’m pointing to the row that the left stitchmarker indicates. I will have to frog till there and then start binding off around that left stitchmarker because that’s the maximum height the strip ought to get:

Boohoo! All that knitting has to be frogged.

For a while I contemplated another solution:

But I didn’t. Mainly because securing a cut piece of knitting is frustrating. And I’m sure I’d all kind of other problems, trying to secure it in a bias stretchy appropriate way.

I frogged dutifully and when I hit the first stitchmarker I started to count how many rows I had to frog until I hit the second marker. 15 rows. That’s how askew the zig zags run. I’m sure if I measure the difference in rows between the two triangles at the bottom it will come to 15.
As soon as I pick up these last stitches I’ll start binding off around that spine. First only at the left so that part’s done. Then I’ll start knitting right from the marker to the end of the row, continueing to increase and decrease at the “spines” according to the bias pattern  but each time I reach this side I’ll bind off one stitch on every row. (Both RS and WS, this will create a horizontal edge.)

I will have to continue knitting 15 more rows until the spine where the other stitch marker used to be is at the same height. Which will also be the height of the piece this strip will be seamed on.

That’s what I did and now I have a new edge and it’s as high as the knitted strip on the left that I attached to it. The top is level, even though it looks a bit wonky now due to how I’m holding it:

Now thinking about a border. iCord is beautiful but I’m afraid to run out of yarn. I could pick up stitches (ratio for biased knitting??) and do a rolling border. Probably make it roll the other side: have reverse stockinette stitch on this side.

Because indeed: the knitting curls quite a bit at the moment… Block first, border second?

I’ll sleep on it for a bit. In the mean time I’m already using this lovely knitting. As a wrap, as a lap blanket. It’s so soft and cosy and warm!

And I really like how the zig zags play with your eyes. If the border evens things out you can clearly see that the zig zags do not run level, that there are all kind of things happening here:

Progress on Handspun Green Vest

I’ve finished the body of Hilja sweater vest. It’s such a happy knit!
I’ve got stitchmarkers, my favourite ones, that go perfectly with the yarn and now every stitch is a joy to look at:


Sometimes I think that knitting (and spinning) is all about the colours and only about the colours.

That that’s why knitting and spinning fits us, colour crazed beings; in the same wondrous way that cat companionship fits humankind.
Cats identify with their fur, they like it washed, touched, stroked. And we, humans, like to “watch” with our hands. We love to touch things, we have sensitive finger tips, we revel in tactiles/touchables.

Put these two characteristics together in a room and you’ve got two species reinforcing each others’ coincidental happiness.

Throw in a bit of cod for dinner and you’ve got best friends for life who allow all the petting and cuddling you like, as long as there’s a snack at the end of it:

As humankind is an eye-species as much as it’s a touch-things-species I think that’s why we breed cats in such various shapes and colours, just to please our eyes while we indulge our hands. It’s not something I favour because it does not benefit the cats… but I see how it plays into our eye-addiction.

As far as the knitting goes, my colour indulgence is over, the body is finished. I went on to the ribbing at the neck and arms.
I picked up stitches at the neck and did a 1×1 ribbing (on a smaller needle, 3 mm instead of the 3,75mm):

But I didn’t like how it looked. It’s too…. crude. Too scruffy. Not refined enough to wear amongst city folk.

I thought that a commercial yarn would look better. It would show deliberate contraposition between the handspun and the commercial yarn.

I chose a colour with quite a bit of contrast. I can handle contrast because my darkish hair has quite a bit of contrast with my fair skin and when I mirror this in clothing it makes me look healthy. (Although in 2014 I’ve grown grey from the stress and the contrast in the vest will now be a bit harsher than my own but that’s ok, it may make me look a bit more stern but I’m ok with that. Besides, I don’t have any other good yarn and this is a really nice one, it has some cashmere in it.)

I knitted 2 cm of 2×2 ribbing on the first arm hole and it looks very nice:

So tidy!
And just the contrast in texture with the handspun I was looking for. It seems to say what I want it to say, that its companion, the bodice, is made with a designed yarn. Yarn of a chosen, deliberate texture. Not something a well willing amateur made who couldn’t do any better.

The bind off is Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off done from the wrong side so it gives a nice edge on the right side.

I’m a bit sorry the knitting part is over for the handspun. I really enjoyed it, both in colour and tactiles. Soft wool, silk and vintage glass beads, that’s a high for me.

Finished the tranquil handspun for a vest

170 grams, 490 m sportsweight.
A yarn with a little bit of character, both in colour and smoothness. This will give a lovely knit fabric. I’m looking forward to wearing the vest made from this.

Ravelry has a few patterns for vests in this weight and meterage.
But patterns use a range of meterage and sizes. To find out if a vest in my size with this meterage is possible I need to look at projects people made with similar yarns. How well thought out is the site Ravelry, to have a database that shows all these possibilities!

Vests actually knitted with this kind of yarn.
These are predominately children’s vests. I have not enough meterage to make one for me.

Good to know.
I’ll do what I did with Sprookjesvest: knit front and back panel in the handspun and add edges in another yarn. No worries.
Edging in a smoother, solid coloured yarn will make my vest look and wear even better.

The twist is set and it’s now drying in the golden autumn sun:

More of a DK weight now, I’d say. Things are looking up, more vests are made for adults in DK.

Preparing to wear green.

Being in a very green mood from the Travelling Stitch Legwarmers and the lovely Late Summer days I’m having at the cabin I’m “greening up” my garderobe.

I washed the shirts I dyed with reed flowers. They’ve had a few weeks to cure, now it was time to give them a proper hand wash. The rinse water was very dirty but a lot of colour remained on the cotton fabric:
reed green rinsed

Next I started spinning my green TdF prize batts because I can SO see a little handspun vest in it, just like Sprookjesvest which I’m wearing a lot these days.

Yes, I see here a lovely white greenish vest, to wear over those reed dyes shirts, on top of a skirt with my green Travelling Stitch Legwarmers under it:

The batts together are 150 grams. I added 75 grams of white Falkland top to make more meterage and to make the overall colour a touch more white.

I didn’t card the white in with the batts. The batts are perfect as they are, carding them again would ruin them: creating nepps and/or mixing all the colours into a boring lifeless blend.

To spin both fibres I just keep them together in one hand and draw from them simultaneously. The “feed”  to the wheel travels from side to side and I move my hand sideways to give it more white or more colour. I also twist my hand around to make sure the colour wraps around the white and sometimes to make the white wrap around the colour when there’s a bit coming up that’s particularly bright and could do with a toning down.

The single is a mix of the two fibres and often there’s a bit of barber pole going on as though it were a two ply. Individual specks of colour are well visible in the single.

Once it’s plied and knit up I expect the prominent specks of colour to have melted into the background. Here’s an impression how my vest will look, colour wise:

A calm colour with subtle variations. A very good colour as a backdrop for my face or jewellery or a shawl.

The lovely spinner’s delight will be that up close the specks of colour will still be visible. The purple, the bright green, a white nubb, it will all be there for the observant eye.
Yes, it will be an ongoing interesting fabric to have right under my nose. Which is where I wear my vests. How cleverly planned!

Finished: handspun vest redo.

It took an additional 22 grams of the darker handspun to get wider sidepanels. I used 80 grams in total and about the same amount of the colourful handspun dyed by Passe-Partout.
The difference in loft and thickness accounts for the difference in meterage.

The join at one side looks great:

The other one not so much, the ridge where the panels are joined has quite a contrast in colour and it shows:

It shows when I wear it. But it wears like a dream!
Comfortable, enough ease to move about, to breathe and lovely colours to look at and enjoy, while wearing it. I’m going to wear this a lot.

project page here

Weird Wool Wednesday: forming new habits.

I frogged the sidepanels of Passe-Partout Sprookjesvest and measured the width of the frontpanel:

Measured deliberately over the widest part since that’s the part I use most for breathing. My, look at those gorgeous bustdarts!

I measured the back, it was smaller than the front. Bustdarts + extra stitches? What a clever knitter I was back in 2011. Pity I did not believe in wearing ease in those days.

I then put a centimeter around my chest and huffed and puffed and read the measurement. Then I reasoned thusly:

The front panel is 38 cm wide at the apex
back panel is 33 cm wide
together 71 cm.
My bust sans wearing ease = 94 cm.
Need at least 23 extra cm (94-71).

Adding some ease I think I want a total of 28 to 30 centimeters added to the width of the panels. That’s 14 to 15 centimeter per side seam.

The original panels were knitted bottom up, picking up stitches on either side with every row:

I really liked that look. But honestly, it was too much of a bother this time. I opted for the easy way which is still visually acceptable: knit the panels sideways.

Leave well enough alone” is an expression I believe? In Dutch the phrase I’m trying to live by nowadays is “ongeveer goed is ook goed.” (“About right is also right.”)
A major change from all the phrases I used to live by when I was still the perfectionist warrior woman!
But in my 30’s my adrenals gave out and I acquired the mysterious illness ME. Two invitations to grow wiser and more content. Luckily I believe humans can change their habits and their cerebral pathways at any age. I’ve been growing more yoda-like ever since. Ear fluff galore!

Anyway. Sideways knitted panels are very easy and well enough/about right. I picked up 1 stitch for every 2 rows. Normally in sideways knitting you do 3 stitches for every 4 rows but the darker yarn is a tad thicker than the Passe-Partout handspun. I did use smaller needles though because my gauge has changed over the years (thanks to shoulder impingement and new live-by-phrases).

I then knitted until I had a panel of about 15 cm wide. And then added 2 more rows because I changed my mind about how to attach it to the existing knitting. Changed my mind twice, hence two extra rows. That’s fine because I shall not be skimpy with wearing ease ever again, the goal is to make things that can be worn comfortably. While breathing without thinking about it.

I fudged the live stitches of the side panel together with the knitted fabric of the front panel. Don’t ask me how I did, it’s like I crocheted with my needle? Bind off through an existing plane? You had to be there. One of those things. Monkey sees monkey does. It looks acceptable. Kitchener stitch would have been perfect but this is about right.

I didn’t break yarn but parked it to knit the lower hem with after I knitted the second panel with the second ball of yarn (which I parked to use for the ribbing around the arm hole border later).
The hem is in plain 1×1 ribbing (which I don’t like to knit very much) because the bit around the neck is like that too and was never frogged:

I tried it on and it sits very comfortable! I’m looking forward to wearing this!

Here’s where I am now, picking up stitches around the armhole for 1×1 ribbing. I take 3 stitches for every 4 rows this time because it’s not proper sideways knitting but on a diagonal and because I’m growing a bit nervous because I cannot remember or deduce whether I should decrease as I go in the round or not.
When I grow nervous my tension tenses.

But the side panels are great! Job well done!

Well goshdanrabbittyrufus!

I missed a stitch. Like I always do.