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Archive for February, 2008

Spinning injuries?

As a musician, I’ve heard quite a few good stories about conductors injuring themselves and others with their batons. Just a few weeks ago a colleague managed to impale the base of her left thumb with her baton point. Knitters, too, have exciting tales full of DPNs drawing blood. Somehow, however, I’ve managed to escape hearing stories about spinning injuries… until yesterday, when I was whacking a wet sample skein at high speed against the bathroom counter, and got my knuckles a bit too close to the edge. Hey, at least nothing’s broken.

The ironic part of this little story, of course, is that since I can’t knit for a few days, I’m doing lots more spinning!

At Kid ‘N Ewe last fall, I picked up two batches of dyed roving from Lynn’s Texas Fibers.DSCN1066 I couldn’t resist. She had such lovely color blends, and a great name! I’ve sporadically been spinning up some of the merino roving I got from her. The color comes out a nice slate blue, just heathered enough to have nice depth. However, the stuff is a bit of a pain to spin, enough so that I purposefully misplaced the bag of roving and have given serious thought to selling the spindle, which is not my favorite. For some undefinable reason, it is not fun to spin on.

Enter my spinning mishap yesterday.

After I got done icing my hand and decided that I did not need to go to the doctor, I figured that I would break out some Corriedale roving I picked up down at Yarnivore a few weeks back. I started spinning it from the fold on my nice Charis spindle, and before I knew it, DSCN1069 the spindle was full. However, I couldn’t ply it because all of the dowels on my homemade Lazy Kate were full, so I had to switch gears and ply up the dreaded blue merino. I plied it, washed it, very carefully whacked it around a bit, and it turned into the nicest stuff! Now I’m looking at the big pile of heathered blue roving and hated spindle, and thinking that I’ll grit my teeth and spin up the rest of it, just so I can knit something with that soft, lucious, yummy, springy slate blue yarn. It’s not like I’ve got anything better to do for a few days.

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As promised, I have a better photo of the Venezia Pullover, this time with a person inside!DSCN1053 It is not, however, all that well exposed. I do have photos that show the sweater off a bit better, but they have other issues, as you can see here.

This was a “stretch” project for me, one that I’ve had in mind to do for about a year. I made three pairs of mittens, all using stranded colorwork, to prepare for this, and paid attention any time I ran across anything talking about Fair Isle, steeking, sweater finishing, color theory, and a few other topics. It came out OK. It is the right size, I didn’t have to rip out excessive amounts of knitting at any time, and everyone who sees it goes a little nuts. If I make it again, I’ll do a few things differently, of course. I’ll shorten up the armholes considerably and add a few more decreases at the beginning of the armholes on the front, as I seem to have a bit of extra fabric in that area. I think that it will be OK on Mom. I might also set in the sleeves differently. I mattress seamed the sleeves, and the mattress seam is perfectly smooth, a bit too much so – when I look at it, I want to see some more definition, around the sleeve cap especially. DSCN1064I am happy, however, with the change that I made to the neckline, which I converted to a rounder boatneck.

The sweater is lovely. The colors (I ordered the suggested colors from the pattern) are nice and the pattern is complex and engaging without being tear-your-hair out difficult. I was less than pleased with the amounts of yarn which the pattern called for; as I noted in a previous post, I totally ran out of one color with about 40 rows to go. While the steeking instruction and accompanying article were quite elaborate and detailed, I could have used a bit more instruction on setting in and seaming the sleeves.

I am also of two minds regarding the care that this garment is going to require. The first time I washed and blocked it, I didn’t block the shoulder section just right, so when I wore the sweater out, it tended to ride up on my shoulders and look funny. I re-blocked it, tugging the shoulders out quite a bit. Then, after it dried, I had to steam the collar to make it lay flat (it wants to stick out a bit) and also steam out part of the shoulder section which I had blocked too far. In other words, it was tricky to block right. This sweater is for my mother, who tends to be more of a take-it-to-the-dry-cleaner person, so this concerns me. The dry cleaners aren’t going to take the time and care necessary to block it out at all, and solvent cleaning solutions aren’t going to do the fabric or the steeks any good – it won’t wear well at all. I’m putting it in the mail in a day or two, but I think that I’ll draw up a diagram for blocking and some explicit washing instructions first.

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Woo-hoo!

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Better photos to come, but we’re going camping this weekend, so it might be a few days. I’m quite excited to have this finished and just had to get something out there!

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Almost there.

Before I cut the steeks last night, I snapped a photo of the Venezia pullover, just because it had such a funny shape.

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After cutting the steeks open, it immediately assumed a more sweater-like shape.

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I’m altering the neckline to a more conventional (I hope!) boatneck shape. I’ve got this idea that the shoulder line will lay flatter this way – when I look at photos of other knitters’ finished Venezias on the internet, I never like how the shoulder line and top of the sleeve look. If this doesn’t work, there’s going to be a lot of cursing and cutting out and ripping back, because I don’t anticipate blocked Shetland wool as being anything easy or fun to rip out.

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I have ordered, and am waiting ever-so-patiently, for the extra ball of yarn for that @#$! sweater. In the meantime, I am at least getting lots of other stuff done!

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The photos of the alpacas are from last Saturday, when I went with a group of friends to three yarn shops south of here. The primary purpose of our visit was to visit the Yarn Barn in San Antonio, which will be closing soon. We also visited Yarnivore, up near the SA airport, and returned to Old Oaks Ranch, home of the alpacas. Nicki and Sally have already blogged about the trip, so I’ll skip the commentary.

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I’ve gotten lots done on the Lightweight Mountain Peaks Shawl, although it isn’t very evident from the photo. Lace never looks like anything until it is blocked.

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Also in progress is “Arch-Shaped Stockings,” a pattern I discovered on Ravelry. Users of that service can look up the patter there. The first stocking is going surprisingly fast, although this photo was taken after I decided that I did not like how my decreases were going and ripped out several inches of work.

Also in progress is a new sock, the Coriolis from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways in Sock Knitting, and a felted cover for my long-overdue, shiny new cellphone.

Now, if that yarn could only magically arrive here overnight – I want to finish that sweater!

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@#$! out of yarn

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I’m out of one color. (Insert appropriate curse words here.) I bought the exact amount specified in the pattern. I’m knitting at gauge. I’ve followed the instructions to the letter. And one color is coming up short – not even a little bit short. A lot short. I’m totally out, with a whole pattern repeat to go.

I’ve emailed the shop where I bought the yarn to see if they still have any of that dye lot. I’m fairly unhappy about this, as it took ages to get the original order. Until I can get another ball of the color “mooskit” this will have to go on hold.

Well, at least I’ll get to work some more on my lace. I’ve missed the lace.

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