Saturday, September 13, 2008

Week in Review

This week really seemed to fly by leaving my blogging good intentions in the dust. Perhaps next week.

Earlier this week we bought a new couch. It is a very inexpensive (dare I say cheap) pull out from World Market that fits our current. After having friends over last weekend, and watching them suffer on the extremely uncomfortable couches we had, my husband decided that it was time for a new couch. The couch came in a couch sized box that has since become my kid's play house (big enough for both of them). Knowing that it would likely be in my house for a while, I decided to pretty it up a bit, and here is the result.
In knitting news, my obsession with knit food seems to be slowing a bit, however, I am still planning to make this culinary delight for a friend's baby. I was also able to finally finish the husk on my corn, which is ridiculously cute.I also have both of the fronts of my Holly Jacket Hemmed, the Vanessa skirt is almost finished (to zipper, or button, that is the question), and new living room pillows are in the works.

Craft night this week was also a success, with my husband actually crafting. Ok, it involved sodder rather than fiber, but we all have our preferred mediums.

Have a good weekend,

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Width of Ribbing

A quick and easy way to add curve hugging shape to a boxy sweater is to add ribbing. The question is, how much ribbing? Equal ribbing (ex. 1x1, 2x2, 3x3, etc.) is about half as wide as StSt in the same stitch count.

For example, if 20 sts in StSt is 4 inches wide, the same 20 sts would be 2 inches wide in equal ribbing.
x inches in StSt = x/2 inches in equal rib

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sleepytime Bear Nightgown GIVEAWAY !

Sleepytime Bear Nightgown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Violet has been getting into very girly nightgowns lately. She would love this one. I am so glad Grosgrain's oldest daughter is about the same size as Violet. If I win I get a darling outfit for her, and if I loose, I still get great inspiration.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Holly Jacket

I finally finished the back of the Holly Jacket from Interweave Knits' Spring 2008 issue. I had to modify it a bit, because I have a VERY long torso, but my waist is the same distance from my hips as a "normally" proportioned person. I ended up adding a few inches (yes, I said inches) to the length between the arm shaping and the shoulder, making it 9.5" long - the same length as a 50.5" jacket, even though I am knitting the 37.5" jacket. Based on my measurements I should actually make it longer, but I am counting on the cotton to stretch under it's own weight.

The was a few instructions in the pattern that I found rather vague. When you begin the neck shaping for the back, you cast of a middle section of sts, and then are instructed to work on both sides at once. The pattern then states, "At each neck edge, BO 2 sts once, then 1 st once - 10 sts rem each side. Shape Shoulders: BO 5 sts at each shoulder 2 times - no sts rem."

Which side of the shoulder are you supposed to BO? Your guess is as good as mine. After carefully reading the instructions for the front portions of the sweater, this is what I came up with;

on the set of sts 1st presenting (the set that has the original ball attached)
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: BO 2, P to end
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: BO 1, P to end
Shape Shoulder
Row 5: BO 5, K to end
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: BO 5 (no sts remain)

on 2nd set of sts
Row 1: BO 2, k to end
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: BO 1, k to end
Row 4: BO 5, P to end
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: BO 5 (no sts remain)

Okay. Off to Cast on the fronts.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Got A Wheel!!!!!

(My son thinks anything with wheels is his)

Yesterday I finally took the plunge and bought a spinning wheel. It is a Schacht Ladybug, Schacht's version of a beginner wheel.

I began thinking about getting a wheel shortly after I got my spindle. I liked the product I was making with the spindle, but I was, and am, extremely slow. It seemed as if it would take a life time to spin enough yarn to make a sweater. A spinning wheel seemed perfect. I could spin much faster, and as an ex-avid cyclist I already like to peddle.
(a little ladybug is hidden somewhere on every wheel)

For over a year I have been researching wheels and saving to buy one. After obsessively comparing features and reading reviews I picked the Ladybug. This is why;
  1. It was available locally, and at a good price. Whenever possible I try to buy locally, as it stimulates the local economy, usually supports small business, and cuts down on shipping (both in cost and fossil fuel). When I found out one of our local shops, Really Knit Stuff, had cut the price on wheels (because she would no longer be stocking them) the Ladybug moved to the top of an already short list.
  2. The Ladybug seemed to be of good craftsmanship and quality. Schacht is known for making high quality wheels, especially the Matchless, which many seem to believe is, well, matchless. The Ladybug uses a very similar design, and even some of the same materials and components.
  3. The Ladybug's accessories are relatively inexpensive and can be used on the Matchless if I later chose to upgrade.
  4. Experienced spinners seem to like the Ladybug more than most other beginner wheels, which led me to believe that I would not outgrow it right away.
  5. Cost was a concern, and I found a great deal on the Ladybug. I feel like I got the best wheel for the price.
  6. The Ladybug's wheel is a composite bike wheel. When I found this out (yesterday), I knew the Ladybug and I were meant to be.
So far my learning curve on the Ladybug has been extremely steep. I went from spinning what could only be called a big fat mess when I first brought it home, to spinning what I think could reasonably be called yarn, in just under an hour. I won't lie. It required quite a bit of pre-drafting. After struggling for about 30 minutes I realized that I wasn't ready to run the wheel and draft at the same time. So I pulled some long thin strips of roving, sat back, and watched the magic happen.

(The initial Product)

(about one hour later - only the green is mine)

I think I am really going to enjoy this.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

knitting Math - Estimating Yardage Used

Annie Modesitt is one of my favorite pattern designers because she usually gives an estimate of the yardage used when she uses only a small portion of a skein. Most patterns indicate that you need an entire skein even if you only need a few yards. In designs like Fair Isle where multiple colors are used, buying an entire ball of each color can get expensive. If you know the yardage of each color used, you can figure out if your partial skein has enough yardage left, or dye the yardage needed from only a few skeins.

Even if you are not using one of Annie's patterns it can still be useful to estimate the yardage you have used, and the yardage you have left. You may want to add up the yardage in several partial skeins, see if you have enough yarn left to make the same project again, or detail the yardage used in your own design project. You can even find out if you have enough yarn left for an additional pattern repeat.

The Process:
1) Weigh your full ball/skein on a scale accurate to at least 1/10th of a gram (A good kitchen scale should do), and take note of the humidity.
---> The weight of yarn will change based on the amount of water in the air. If there is a big moisture change during shipping, or even in your home, there can be a measurable weight change.

2) Check the yardage of your full ball/skein by checking the ball band or another reliable source, such as the manufacturer's website. We must assume that this measurement is correct, but it may not be. Most wool mills measure yarn by weight only, and again, if the humidity has changed the weight will change, and therefore the yardage as well. For example, in high humidity yarn will be heavier because it contains more water. So when the mill measures out a 100 gram skein of sock yarn, the skein might contain 430 yards. On the other hand, if the skein is measured in low humidity, where the same amount of yarn weighs less, a 100 gram skein might contain 440 yards. The yardage on the ball band is a good estimate of how many yards the skein actually contains.

3) Calculate the weight per yard (the amount each yard of yarn weighs) by dividing the weight of the skein by the stated yardage.

------- = weight per yard

For example: If a skein of Cascade Heritage weighs 100 grams, and is 437 yards long, the weight per yard would be 100 grams divided by 437 yards, or .229 grams per yard.

4) Use as much yarn as you need.

5) Calculate the yardage of the left over yarn. Weigh the partial skein. Then divide the weight of the partial skein by the weight per yard. In our example, if I had 50 grams left in my partial skein, I would divide 50 grams by .229 grams indicating that I had 218.341 yards left.

grams in partial skein
---------------------- = yards in partial skein
(grams per yard)

6) Calculate the yardage of the yarn used. Subtract the weight of the partial skein from the weight of the full skein, to find the weight of the yarn used.
weight of full skein - weight of partial skein = weight of the yarn used
Then divide the weight of the yarn used by the weight per yard.

Note 1: This is an estimate. Its accuracy relies on factors outside our control, and therefore cannot be considered an accurate measure of yardage. I recommend rounding up measures of yardage used to avoid problems of too little yarn.

Note 2: Meters can be substituted for yards.