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Archive for December 17th, 2005

Slowing Down

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

Roving by FiberSpatesLast night (Friday) I was with Fay and Stef until past 1am, then I had almost an hour to drive home. We had good food, good talk, much show and tell, and a bit of knitting.

I tried two new techniques during our too-short gathering. I got a lovely surprise Christmas present from Marie Irshad (of KnitCast in Wales, UK) which was some wonderful handpainted merino top from Fiberspates (a dyer in Wales, who Marie has interviewed on KnitCast). The fibers are all shades of pink and some wine. Gorgeous. I’m struggling today with getting the color right in the images, the color has much more depth than you see here.

Of course I wanted to dive into the roving instantly, but I picked up my mail on the way to Stef’s. So… I split the roving into fat bits and knit from roving. It was surprisingly strong to knit with, very little trouble with it wanting to come apart. I joined ends by just overlapping thin ends/beginnings, and it turned out beautifully. I just made a slightly-too-big mug rug (I drink so much tea, these are always a good project that will not waste effort) using a sort of stepped K1P1 rib. I will hand-felt it just a little bit, I think. But I’m telling you, a hat made this way would be the warmest, softest hat a person could wear! Yum. Thanks, Marie!

Roving by FiberSpatesI also tried “freeform knitting” last night. Actually I did not get very far at all, it’s a lot harder to be random with knitting than it might seem. I made one small piece with three different yarns. Actually, I knit with two yarns and I crocheted the third.

I was delighted, though… I used two worsted weight yarns, one (Cascade 220) in garter stitch and one (unknown soft wool boucle) in part stockinette and part garter. Then I used a sock yarn (Opal handpaint leftovers) in single crochet, on a size G hook if I remember right. I often think that crochet fabric can be stiff and lumpy. Well, this expermiental piece is a little lumpy and a little see-through, but it’s very flexible and I like the softer hand I got. And since I’m using a thinner yarn with the crochet, it feels about the same thickness as the knitted worsted yarn in garter.

So far, freeform seems a lot of mental work, to try and make knitting not be little rectangles. I haven’t tried it enough to make a real judgement, but this requires much more ability to be random than a ColorJoy Stole, which is merely knitting five pre-chosen yarns (garter stitch stripes, one row each yarn) in a somewhat random order. Freeform is much harder, because you are dealing with deciding on shape rather than just which yarn to use next. I think it would be easier to do the random-direction thing with crochet. If I can only find some crochet I like, this could work. We’ll see…

Today/Saturday I was going to meet Jillian/KnittingFrau at Threadbear, but she came up sick with the flu her kids had earlier this week. Poor dear. She’s too far away for me to take her some soup so I’m sending good karma thoughts through the air toward Ann Arbor where she is. I think I’ll still do my best to get over to Threadbear (maybe tomorrow instead).

I also had promised Altu I’d pop by her restaurant this afternoon. I slept in, desperately needed after three short nights of sleep, but now where has the day gone? Looks like Threadbear is now a Sunday event (maybe better, since I have nothing else on the calendar tomorrow and can hang out for a while).

However, I have no more knitting classes until January 8 when I’m teaching a one-day First-Time Toe-Up sock (no gauge required) class at Threadbear. This three-hour class is best if you knit a baby sock or a bulky yarn footie for yourself, as too many stitches will prevent finishing in the time allotted. But in one day you will have learned how to make socks without a gauge, particularly nice when you don’t know how far your yarn will go or you have handspun where the big sock might vary a bit from a small gauge swatch.

So for now, I have one appointment tonight to help a knitting friend with her new computer. Then the only public/teaching work I have for several weeks is CityKidz Knit! program. Which, by the way is absolutely magical this term. I have many pictures which I’ll get out to you in the next few days if all goes well.

Images: Lump of gorgeous FiberSpates Fiber from Marie. Mug Rug knit from the roving. (Sorry, I can’t seem to find my tiny three-piece freeform fragment in all the show and tell stuff I took to Stef’s house last night.)