Thursday, April 06, 2006

More Fibrefest and More Socks

Here’s another picture I found that T-Man took of me yapping away while spinning. You can see me, right? In the middle in black with the short hair and glasses — can’t miss me. Check out the crowd watching! You’d a thunk they’d never seen a spinner before, wouldn’t ya? Though maybe it's the woman in front of me on the spinning wheel drawing some of the attention. She'd never spun before and I had her making great yarn right away. A natural!

Finally as promised, here’s a progress pic of the Lace Leaf socks. I just spent about 20 minutes fixing an error where two whole stitches went awol somewhere on the way to Fibrefest. Found 'em and picked them up with the crochet hook. I find it really pays to Know Your Knitting: what the stitches should look like and how many of them there should be. That way you know when something goes wrong and maybe can fix it without having to tink back too far or frog a bunch of rows which is hard to do in lace. Use stitch markers if you have to in order to keep track of where you are. I make pretty ones with silver wire and beads but I rarely use them! In this case the needles naturally divide the lace into sections with two repeats of the pattern on each of the four needles. I use both a stitch counter (on a lobster claw clasp) and a printed pattern with a post-it to keep my place. I’ve charted the tricky lace yo’s and double decreases but every other row is plain knit so I didn’t bother putting those on the chart. (Just don't forget to knit 'em!) This pattern is a compromise between two different lace patterns (one bigger, one smaller) from Barbara Walker.

Some weird things I discovered working lace patterns in a circle as for socks means that sometimes things don’t work out quite the way you expect. In my pattern on the first 2 rounds of the chart I have to remember to work a yo before knitting the first stitch on each needle. Then on the last 4 rounds, the centred double-decrease (arrow symbol: sl 2 tog k-wise, k1, pass 2 sl st over) happens over the last 2 stitches of one needle and the first stitch of the next. On those rounds I have to remember to knit an extra stitch before the yo only at the beginning of the round or everything gets out of whack. That extra stitch gets swallowed up on the last double-decrease and we're back where we were. The chart works out ok on the rest of the round, though sometimes I end up holding the extra needle in my mouth while I knit the last part of the double decrease off the next needle. I know — this is as clear as three-day-old coffee, isn’t it? Try it and you’ll see what I mean. This might be a good time to try Magic Loop or Two Circs sock knitting instead of dpns. But I'm stubborn.

I didn’t knit a cuff on these socks but I’m hoping they’re tight enough to stay up anyway. The lovely deep texture that you see in the photo pretty much goes away when they’re on my leg and it’ll probably go away all together when they’re washed and dried flat. Hmm… I could get some interesting effects by wearing different coloured socks underneath them, now couldn’t I? It would show through the lace holes. Notice that the socks are very differently coloured. As I’ve mentioned before, there was no place on this yarn where there was a matching section. No problem. I like them this way.

On another topic completely, I just read a good online article about recycling yarn here. The hints are really great and she covered all the bases. I can totally relate because I used to do the same thing when I was very young and we had hardly any money. You could use the same criteria for recycling yarn from your own sweaters too, as well as thrift store ones. We don’t have too many really nice wool sweaters locally since it doesn’t get cold enough for people to consider real wool, which is a bit more trouble to care for, over acrylic which washes and dries ok but “ages” quickly and feels clammy to wear. And most of the cotton sweaters I’ve seen are serged — not good for unraveling. I regularly recycle my handspun yarn when the garment goes out of style or my shape changes. Heck, it took enough work to spin and dye it, so why just give it to goodwill for somebody else to recycle? Besides, nobody has as much respect for my handspun yarn as I do! Even the 20-year-old stuff.

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