Friday, May 29, 2015

A New Knitter Is Born

When I last asked Connor if he'd like to learn to knit, he told me he was more of a knitwear aficionado than a knitter. I thought I'd ask again, and this time he was curious. I imagine it had something to do with watching me knit all the time.
So, the other day we sat down and I showed him knit and purl. He caught on faster than anyone I've ever seen before. I showed him tinking. ("Tink" is "Knit" backwards, because that is what you do when you have to go back to fix something.) He got proficient. At one point he asked if there was such thing as "double tinking" after having to go back twice.
Connor said I should name this picture "Brown" because he is wearing a brown shirt, sitting in a brown chair, and knitting brown yarn. 

On our second day of knitting, I showed him how to make ribbing. He was so interested in seeing the pattern emerge that I offered to go work on dinner. Who am I to stand in the way of a new knitter? By the time he looked up and offered to help, dinner was done. He was surprised that he hadn't even noticed.

Yesterday, he said that he should work on his knitting. Knitters, I think we've got another one!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Pairs For Me

Last week I had my final day at work, so I've had some time to pick up my knitting again. I'm making it my goal to get both my Seadragonus socks and Skew socks off of the needles before starting anything new. (I'm also watching the last few episodes of Murder, She Wrote before starting a new series. Any suggestions? I'm partial to murder mysteries and detective stories.)

These are the only projects on the needles at the moment. But after completing the spinning of the Enchanted yarn, I think getting all my WIPs completed before starting a new one will feel quite cathartic. Plus, I'll have two new pairs of socks!

I know that there are those of you out there who have many a WIP on the needles and the idea of finishing them all seems a little insane. Rest assured, I'm not a saint. I've been rifling through my stash to plan my next projects!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Enchanted Yarn And The Mysteries Of Twist Angle Revealed

It is done! The long awaited Greenwood Fiberworks sock roving in the Enchanted color way has been finished. I am pleased, but the yarn isn't as springy as I was hoping for sock yarn. I did some investigating on what it takes to spin better sock yarn and learned a thing or two.

I'm not sure why I believed this, but whenever I read about the angle of twist on yarn, I just assumed you held the yarn at a certain angle to the wheel when spinning it. (i.e., you spin the yarn off to one side) After reading an article on Spinning Great Sock Yarn and the additional article on Twist Angle by HJS Studio, it finally clicked: the angle of twist is literally what angle the twist appears to be in the yarn, not the angle you hold it to your spinning apparatus. Color me enlightened. The article also mentioned something about how more fiber can get used up with a higher angle of twist (more twist = more fiber used) This explained the great mystery to me on why my yardage kept ending so low compared to other people's sock yarn. The next time I spin, I will pay much more attention to the amount and resulting angle of twist I put into a yarn. I'm excited!

Friday, May 15, 2015

I Saved Latin, What Did You Ever Do?

In high school, I took 8 days of Latin before the district cancelled it. We did try to save Latin, but didn't succeed. Of course I knew I needed a skein of the Rushmore themed, "I Saved Latin, What Did You Ever Do?" from Canon Hand Dyes the moment I laid my eyes on it. But like anyone with a stash, I felt like I might have "enough" yarn and took too long to decide. Then horror of horrors, it wasn't available any more. I mentioned this to Amy. And just this last week, look what arrived at my door.

I might not have been able to save Latin, but Amy saved me a Latin, and that makes me quite happy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bigger Mistakes Faster or 2014 Ravellenic finisher in 2015

I've been struggling to finish projects recently. What's unusual is that I don't have any startitus. I have stuckitus. At the moment I have two socks on the needles and that one stubborn spinning project from the 2014 Ravellenics. (I feel like there is a joke related to slow Ravellenic finishers... but I can't remember the word. But that would describe me and this project.) In order to combat this mysterious stuckitus, I've dutifully spun the last of the singles every Friday knit night. And last Friday I finally finished! I even waited a whole 24 hours to let it rest before removing it from the spindle. Then I recruited some help from Connor to wind off the yarn. 
Note how he didn't even have to leave the couch in order to help

I was so excited to finally get a project done. But Connor and I have been housesitting for my parents which means that it was necessary for me to forget the doodad that attaches the mother-of-all to the rest of the wheel. After stomping and angsting for 2 minutes I came up with a solution. It's not perfect, but using two of those rubber bands you find on broccoli works quite well.

Finally. Finally I was going to have my glorious yarn. So I sat down Sunday afternoon and started plying. I hadn't touched my wheel in quite some time and I've never done a true 3 ply yarn, so I was struggling. I figured it was because of inexperience.

As it turns out, I was struggling because I am an idiot I plied the wrong way. I don't know if I've ever done that. As an aside, when beginners knitters have told me that they wished they didn't make so many mistakes, I tell them that the only difference is that the experienced crafter makes bigger mistakes faster. Case in point. I plied all 256 yards of the three-ply and tried to wind it off before I realized my mistake. What's funny is that I still didn't know what was wrong until I let go of the end of the yarn and saw it un-plying itself. (Also, the whole time I was struggling, I made angry noises about how I thought I'd spun lace weight when my swatch said I was spinning fingering weight.)
Here is what yarn plied the wrong way looks like when you try to take it off the wheel

I wasn't sure how big a mess I made. I wasn't sure I could fix it. I wasn't sure I wanted to as I didn't want a lace weight. But I gave it a go. Pro tip: it takes twice as long to ply yarn the right direction if you plied it the wrong direction first. It took forever and two runs through the wheel, but I did eventually get the yarn plied correctly. 
The strand above my finger is plied correctly while the strand below is still going the wrong way

As it turns out, I did make a fingering weight yarn. Once the yarn was able to relax a bit rather than be spun within an inch of its life, it was what I had intended. 
The yarn on the left is what it looked like plied wrong while the yarn on the bobbin is plied in the correct direction, but has only gone through the wheel once

I hope I don't ruin the yarn some more before setting the twist and knitting it.

Anyone else have a face-palm moment and make a large crafting mistake recently?
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