Sunday, November 29, 2009

Balancing act

There is no need to go to great lengths to measure the yards per pound in any given bit of spinning. Spinners don’t need to count as they wind onto the skein—or run their yarn through a counter. There is a simple gizmo that will do this for you with only a snippet from you skein. This is the McMorran Balance, an item readily available from any number of suppliers. (I happened to get mine from the Yarn Barn of Kansas.)

Upon joining the 5K Stash Down on Ravelry, I discovered some newer spinners weren’t yet familiar with the gadget. I thought it would be helpful to some to know about this device. It also comes in handy for knitters who have been given mystery yarn, such as the bright blue shown tipping the scales of the McMorran balance shown above. You merely hang a long enough thread to tip the scales as shown.
Next, you start snipping away. I try to go even on each side—but I do it kind of by eye. The important thing is to take a little bit at a time because slowly, the scale will begin to balance.

The goal is to reach that moment when the scale is balanced, as shown above.
Then you take that bit of yarn and measure it. In this case it was 5.75 inches long. This is multiplied by 100, and so I have 575 yards per pound. The one shown above is the “standard model” there is also a metric model available for the rest of the world. Of course, instructions will come with the balance.

I hope this is helpful. Thank you for visiting my blog. Stop by again.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy dance!

Time to do the happy dance: A sweater I’ve been knitting for what seems like forever is done! And since I’m one of those people who knits only one sweater at a time, it means I can get started on a new project.
(Please note, I said one sweater at a time, so I’m knitting other things, just not sweaters.)

This Finished Object represents 1600 yards of knitting in the “old way.” This is a gansey inspired by two books: Patterns for Guernseys, Jersey’s and Arans by Gladys Thompson (Dover Press) and Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson Roberts and Deborah Robson (Nomad Press). I modified my own design to make a light sweater that would fit. You can read all the details on my Ravelry project page.

I’m glad to be done and I’m thinking about my next project—which will be that Fair Isle yoke sweater I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. It will be predominantly knit from a three ply yarn I spun from Pat’s Rambouillet sheep. She has lovely fiber!

As for my small projects, I’m getting a little bit tired of knitting socks, so I’m going to take a break and knit some hats. This time, I won’t be using handspun, but chose from a big pile of yarn that was given to me with the loom I purchased this summer. What do you think of those colors? It’s good thick yarn so I should be making lots of fun hats. Hope my family is ready for this heady largess.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Court-ordered knitting

A summons to jury duty turned out to be an excellent opportunity to get the jump on my holiday knitting. I was ordered to appear for two days, which basically consisted of sitting around the jury room waiting.

I didn’t even get as far as a court room as cases before judges were either settled or still in pre-trial when it was time to go home.

As a knitter, any time spent sitting around is never wasted and I was able to finish a pair of winter survival socks. These are natural brown Romney wool mixed with multicolored Firestar and are shown to the right.

On my first day, I finished one entire sock starting from about where the picture below shows. On the second day, I started a new pair with a different pattern. After knitting a few inches, I decided I didn’t like the pattern, so I frogged it and started over. I decided to do my next pair in the same basic rib pattern, shown below.

Another good thing about jury duty are the two hour lunch breaks. I was able to visit a friend over lunch, drink tea and talk about our favorite fiber subjects. What a great way to spend a day.
So, by order of the court, I’m on my way to having my Christmas knitting done by Thankgsiving. How cool is that?

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please stop by again!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Crafting holiday

Every so often a weekend comes along that is not so crammed with commitments that it is like a having a real day off. It is the kind of day where you wake up and not only realize it is Saturday and you don’t have to go to work, but there is nothing you “have” to do. This is even better when the sun just happens to be shining and it is warm enough to open some windows and let the fresh air in.
I just happened to have one of those Saturdays, and with all the beautiful light flowing in from outside, and all the stretches of commitment free time, it was the perfect time to tackle a bit of crafting. You may remember that I moved a warp onto my smaller floor loom after a slight disaster winding it onto my table loom. I won’t go into details here, but let’s just say I had been kind of ignoring that loom. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
As the sun poured in, I sat on a little stool and enjoyed the luxury of an uninterrupted stretch to count threads and figured out that I had enough to make something 17 inches wide. This should make an okay kitchen towel, especially since these will be my first kitchen towels. After adjusting the threads along the raddle, I was able begin threading in rosepath.
Having a stretch of free time is so nice. I also got a dye pot going, figured something out on a sweater I’m knitting for my husband, and made a dent in carding the purple Shetland (shown below) for a sweater for me. Shown above is a sock I finished from one of my Tour De Fleece yarns. It is a blend of gray Corriedale and purple/red mohair.
Thank you for visiting my blog. May you find time for a crafting holiday!