The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

I win! October 27, 2009

As much as I appreciate Kif’s guest post the other day while I was… indisposed, it was very hard wrestling the laptop back from him.

 

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Now that I have it back (I think I will pay for this ousting with a midnight hair-ball) I would like to share this with you:

 

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That’s right, an entire completed Central Park Hoodie back!  With short-row shoulder shaping, every cable turned the right way, the right size and everything. I win! (…but I really shouldn’t say that in print until I’ve finished it, lest I anger the knitting gods again.)  I’m on to the left front now, just finished the ribbing for it.

 

In other news, I haven’t told you about my fun trip to Weaving Works.  I went there with my mom while she was visiting.  I hadn’t been there before, even though I’ve lived in the Seattle area for 6 years!  I don’t have any pictures of the inside, sadly, but I can describe it for you!

 

When you come inside, there’s a massive wall and shelves full of yarn like Noro, Lana Grossa, and Sirdar.  There’s a great selection.  And then there’s the back third of the store.  Fiber and thread, in bulk.  Undyed cotton, nylon, wool, bamboo, rayon and more in all different weights and then there’s the dyed selection of those threads!  And the fiber!  Silk, wool of different breeds, yak, mohair, hemp, even milk and Firestar; it’s enough to drive a spinner mad.  There’s pre-dyed wool for felting and spinning and tons of undyed/natural fiber for dying yourself.  Silk in hankies and in cocoons if you want to do the reeling.  And some blends of fibers that are just great.  Sadly, not even the prices helped me decide- all the fiber is really well priced!  After a lot of indecision and burying my hands in bins of fiber, I decided on a few things.

102_4753 About an ounce of 80% merino, 20% bamboo blend, undyed.  This one’s just for experimenting.  I love knitting with wool/bamboo blends so I’d like to see how it spins.
102_4752 2.5 ounces of pure, undyed Blue-Faced Leicester top.  It’s soooo soft.  I thought I’d dye it myself, something fun.  Of course now I can’t think of a good color combination; blue or purple or brown?  And I can’t decide if I want there to be subtle gradations, stripes, or just a gentle switching of shades as I spin.  Any ideas?
102_4751 About 2 ounces of a pre-dyed 70% merino/30% silk blend.  I can’t stop petting it, it’s so luscious!  I even braided the hank so that it looks all pretty in the photo (notice I didn’t do that for the others!)  They had a small sample spun up at the store and it was beautiful.  This is what I’m going to spin as soon as I finish the CPH.  And what am I going to spin it on, you ask?
102_4756102_4755 My brand new, top-whorl spindle from Cascade Spindle Co.  I love their spindles and they’re all inspired by mountains in the Cascades!  This one is Mt. Baker, which is north of me, and we went skiing there a few years back.   

 

The spindles are in the last part of the shop, with the spinning wheels, extra bobbins, niddy-noddys, and knitting needles.  Oh, and the books!!  So many shelves of books about anything to do with fiber.  This is my new favorite store.  It’s a good thing it’s not too close, otherwise I’d be overrun with fiber in no time!

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Meow October 22, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 1:51 pm
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I am Kif, The Cat.  I will be writing this post, since my human has broken her brain.  At the moment she is sitting in the corner gibbering something about a ruler conspiracy.

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Apparently this madness started with her desire to make a jacket.  If she had warm fur like me, she wouldn’t need a jacket, but that is neither here nor there.  She wanted to make a jacket and she wanted to make it fast.  She spent time making toys for us cats, which she called “swatches.”  She dunked them in the sink and then put them in the Secret Room that we aren’t allowed in (even though I saw her let Arwen in the other day!)  The next day, she would come out of the secret room muttering that the stupid knitter who designed this jacket must be the loosest knitter in the world.  Then she’d make another “swatch” with larger tasty needles (I really love the purple tails on those things, they taste like chicken.)

 

She finally decided on some needles, even though she said the “swatch” didn’t get “row.”  Then she ordered string and some needles that don’t have tails.  (They came in a box that smelled really interesting.)  She made another “swatch” with the tailless needles, got it wet, and hid it in the Secret Room.  Then she yelled something very, very bad.  Then she started making more “swatches” with the tasty needles.  This time, she had to use smaller and smaller needles.

 

I tried to tell her that if she had given up on the idea of using the tailless needles originally and gotten the string sooner and only had to make one “swatch,” she’d be halfway done by now.  But she thought I was just squeaking at her to be noisy.

 

This morning, she exited the Secret Room.  She threw a “swatch” to the floor and huddled in the corner.  I have deduced that this “swatch” was knit with the needle size suggested by the pattern and got “stitch and row” on the first try.  She keeps saying that the ruler must have gotten longer, since this couldn’t be possible and how could she have had to knit seven swatches only to end up with the suggested needle size?

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Hopefully this will pass and she will remember to feed me tonight.  I’m sure if she can dish out cat food, then she will be able to write her own blog posts.  This job is so beneath me.

 

Swatches October 14, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 9:28 am
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I’ve decided to go full-steam ahead on the Central Park Hoodie.  I definitely want to try to knit as much of it as possible in the lever style of knitting (which I think I’ve got figured out, so when I can make a video that doesn’t have me sneeze in the middle, tutorials will be up.)  Of course, lever knitting requires straight needles; there’s no way to work a big piece lever-style with circs because of the way you hold the needle.  DPNs are acceptable, but I’m pretty awful at lever knitting on DPNs at the moment.  My collection of straight needles right now consists of exactly three pairs, two of which I despise.  The pair that I like is the first pair of knitting needles that I ever owned, that weren’t passed down by my mother.  They’re probably about twenty years old now and I haven’t really used them much, although I’ve never put them in storage or anything.  They’re very special to me, even though they’re just white plastic.  Size 9s.

 

Anyway, they’re too short to use effectively for lever knitting.  The other needles I have are the right length, but there’s something about the Lion Brand plastic that I don’t like knitting with. One of them has a core inside, to strengthen the needle, but it rattles around.  Very annoying.

 

Wait, was I going somewhere with this story…?  OH right.

 

So I need to buy some nice, long, straight needles in order to knit the CPH lever-style.  Given that I like Knit Picks wooden needles (I’m still unsure about the color, but I love the tips) and that I was ordering the yarn from them, I figured that I would order the straight needles from them too.  I set about swatching to figure out which size needles I needed to order.

 

Four swatches later (yes, four!) I finally decided that I need size 10 needles.  The row gauge with this size is just a hair short, but I’m hoping (really, really hoping) that the doing another swatch on the long needles instead of DPNs will fix that problem.  If not, at least row gauge is easier to compensate for than stitch gauge.

 

Oh, and I ordered the yarn in the Arctic Blue colorway.  I think that will make a nice neutral-ish blue jacket.  And I’ve decided to add pockets.  We’ll see how that goes.

 

Once upon a time October 8, 2009

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 3:58 pm
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Once upon a time there was a knitter.  She lived in a pleasant land with a slight nip in the air.  This got the knitter to thinking.  She really needed a light jacket to keep out the chill but not be too warm.  Her husband had just gotten a very nice leather jacket to fit that niche for himself.  The knitter wanted something nice too.  She searched high and low for a suitable jacket but none of the shops had what she wanted.  The knitter was very sad, thinking that her old ratty fleece jacket that she didn’t like was going to have to last one more year.

 

Then a good fairy appeared and bonked the knitter on the head with a very sharp wand (the part of the fairy in tonight’s performance will be played by a cabinet door.)  The fairy reminded the knitter that she had yarn, needles, and more than a little intelligence to make her own jacket.

 

The knitter thought that the fairy was very smart.  The knitter carefully ignored the unworn vest in her closet.  She didn’t like vests and never had.  No amount of “science” could convince her that vests can keep your arms warm by keeping your core warm.  Nope, she vehemently denied ever having thought that she would wear such a thing.  She had no idea why she would have knit that in the first place.

 

Having conveniently forgotten about the vest, she had also forgotten about the things she learned while knitting it.  Like the fact that she dislikes knitting things flat.  That she hates seaming.  And that the witchcraft of attaching sleeves was vaguely terrifying.  She also worked very hard not to remember the seamless cardigan that she had started earlier in the year.  She was pretty sure that the cardigan had been lost at sea, even though it had never been to sea.  It was tragic, really, she’d never quite gotten over the loss.

 

Maybe it was the bonk on the head, but the knitter thought that she could probably finish the knitted jacket before the weather turned too cold to wear it.  It wouldn’t take her that long to knit a worsted-weight jacket, especially if she shoved aside all the other things she was working on, including her spinning, and ignored the fact that Christmas (and a December 1st deadline for publications) was in two and a half months.

 

The knitter happily repressed any and all logical objections from her aforementioned intelligence and went and bought the pattern for the Central Park Hoodie.  Then she bought some Wool of the Andes, because she thinks that it’s generally nicer against the skin than Cascade 220.  She decided against superwash since a jacket needs less washing than a sweater or socks.  She is even thinking about knitting this using lever knitting, hoping that this will make things faster, even though her lever knitting still isn’t faster than her regular knitting.  This, of course, will require new needles.

 

And they all lived happily ever after.