Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lace-Up Opera Gloves

This weekend is the Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig, Germany. I went in 2005 and had an absolutely amazing time. Sadly I haven't had the money to go since (but will definitely be saving my pennies for next year). My friends try and go every year, so I have to just try and not be too jealous.

Last night I helped my friend pack (while trying not to feel too jealous ;) ), so today I thought I'd post an FO report for a garment that I'd possibly had taken with me were I going (and were it not going to be over 30oC in Leipzig this weekend):

My Lace-Up Opera Gloves:

(by the way, that is not my belly or my pants, it's my underskirt showing. Mr Bee is getting a little better at styling photos, but not much)

I started these aaaaaages ago, and had one knitted up since before Christmas, I think. But obviously it took a while to knit the second one. Then I had to wait ages to get round to buying ribbons. The ribbons I did get, by the way, are rubbish. They aren't actual ribbon, they're a bit plastic-y. Plus they were too wide so I had to fold them in half and stitch them together, so it does look a bit like I've laced the gloves up with PVC tubing.

Pattern: Lace-Up Opera Gloves by Ysolda
Yarn: from an unravelled shrug; a thick singles held with a couple of metallic threads. This is the yarn I had left over after making my Hug. It was coincidentally a similar colour to the one Ysolda had on the pattern page.
Needles: 6mm straights
Modifications: different yarn, different needles, totally different gauge. I ended up doing less repeats I think.

This is a really nice pattern, which I ballsed up a bit by not substituting properly (I basically grabbed the first needles that were to hand!). The main problem is that the fabric I ended up knitting is very firm and stiff - there's hardly any give in it, so I can't pull it in to lace. The thumb is also rather bulky, because I was using such thick yarn.

I thought the weird ribbons made the gloves look a tad dodgy, but having seen the photos I don't think they're too bad - I'm going to try and get some actual ribbon ribbons though!

If I knitted this pattern again I'd probably pay closer attention to getting the right sort of drape. Although I can alter a pattern if I don't have gauge to make sure that I have the right dimensions, I need to remember that knitted fabric has different characteristics depending on gauge!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


My main problem with blogging is that I tend to write all my posts in my head and then... they stay there. Then I'm surprised that I haven't blogged for weeks, or that I still haven't posted photos of blah, or that I haven't yet mentioned that first thing I did when the thing I want to mention now is kinda related...

So. Lots of news to come. Today was a good photo day, so I made Mr Bee take some photos for me so that I can get some FO reports up. I've made a pact that I cannot start my beautiful fibre from the Gryphon until I've:
  • Given my paper
  • Submitted my book review
  • Sorted out the ribbon for the Lace-Up Opera Gloves
  • FO report for the Lace-Up Opera Gloves
  • FO report for Tempting
  • FO report for Branching Out
  • Not been in pain for a while

(you will note that 'FO report for Sonnet' is still not on that list. One day I won't hate it, I promise.)

But anyway, in order to set up a couple of posts I have planned, I need to post this one. I should've posted this weeks ago, but haven't yet. It's about spindling.

Now, I got my drop spindle with my second batch of fibre, in the hope that it would help me draft better at the wheel. I think it did help me understand the concept of how the twist works, but my first spindlings were dire. Plus, I was slow at it and unsure as to whether it was good for my arms.

I basically did some experimenting with some grey wool (Massam Mid Grey or Jacobs, can't remember), but only picked up the spindle about twice in a year. I used the rest of that grey top for dyeing and wheel spinning with.

When my ankles were hurting the other month I got tempted by the spindle again. One night I decided to ply what I'd spindled, so that I could empty the spindle. I presumably did an Andean plying bracelet rather than a centre-pull ball:

As you can see, beginner's spinnings. It actually looked a lot better unplyed, and maybe I should've left it as singles. Oh well!

But I am being too hard on myself. A spindle is different to a wheel, and besides, most of that had been spun when I was pretty shaky on the wheel too.

Once I'd taken the plyed yarn off the spindle, I tried with some blue merino top that I discovered I still had. These second spindlings went a lot better! A lot more consistent, plus a lot thinner. I realised the spindle would also spin forever (I had assumed it was a really crappy one since it was so cheap, only a couple of £), and I didn't need to park and draft anymore. Whilst I'm not entirely sure that spindling helped me on the wheel, the wheel has *certainly* helped my spindling.

I still had this blue on the spindle when my fibre arrived, and as I was fondling it a small piece of green came off... So I added it to my spinning, just a little bit, right at the end:

Mmmmm... dark blue 'n' dark green. I realise that apparently received wisdom states that they "ought ne'er be seen", but I like 'em.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sock musings

Due to my injuries, I could never face the idea of knitting socks. If I'm going to knit that many stitches, I might as well make something a bit more prominent than socks, or use bigger sticks'n'string and make something bigger!

But if I ever were to make socks, I'd probably make Pomatomus socks, or Chuck's Cabled Socks. But - arm transplants not withstanding - it's unlikely to happen.

And then today I came across this: Pomatomus socks as gloves!

Oh yes.

(Knitting update: I've been off the knit since Monday 23rd April, after feeling a couple of twinges in my elbows and deciding to be cautious. Saturday evening I'd overdone things by ripping out what I'd done on my novelty wrap thing and reknitting (the Eve pattern wasn't working for me so I made up my own pattern). Then Sunday I was quite upset due to something else, dropped a stitch, spent about an hour trying to pick it up, ripped it all out again in frustration, and reknit. So there may have been some excess going on there)


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Worth waking up for

This morning Mr Bee leapt out of bed, and I do mean leapt. He threw the covers onto the floor and raced downstairs. I was rather groggily confused, but certain that if there were a fire then he'd at least have mentioned it.

He came back up and said, "didn't you hear the knock?" "The knock?" "Yes, the knock - it was the postman." The postman? For me?

It's my package of goodies that I bought from The Sanguine Gryphon (it arrived so quickly I wasn't expecting it!) and contains the most wondrous fibre...

This is a 2oz batt in the Histology colourway: "90% merino, 5% silk tussah, 5% rayon. The merino is berry pink and periwinkle, and the silk/rayon appears as silver streaks running through it, rather like a histology slide stained with eosin and hematoxylin, for you biologists out there."

I've never really been one for the red-white-'n'-blue combo, but blue is my favourite colour and this colourway just looked like so much fun! The blue in is beautiful, it's almost exactly the same shade as my handbag as well.

And yes, silk. I haven't tried silk yet, because my ethical vegetarian side can't use new fibres made from boiled bugs (the only silk I have so far is in the form of a chairty-shop jumper I'm going to unravel). Then I discovered that Bombyx silk is made from boiled cocoons, whereas Tussah silk is 'wild' silk - the cocoons are collected after the moths have hatched. Ethical quandary over! (Please, PLEASE, no one disavow me of this!)

But there's more, there's more!

Mmmmmmmmmmm - Forest Sun: "90% merino, 5% silk tussah, 5% rayon. The merino is forest green and chocolate brown, and the silk/rayon and golden streaks running through it like rays of sun between the trees." A full 6oz, and this is what I plan to spin up to make the Swallowtail Shawl with.

I deliberately went with this colourway partly because it is so beautiful, and partly because it's out of my usual colour range (blue/black) yet still the sort of thing that I'd wear. The green especially is glorious. I can't get it to photograph properly, so check out the Etsy page linked to above.

I can't decide how to spin it yet. Do I try to separate out the colours, do I heather it... 2-ply? Chain-plyed? Luckily I should have enough to experiment with. My Mermaid's Hair Yarn was my test yarn for how much I could get out of 2oz - so I then estimated I'd need 4oz for the Swallowtail (although this was before I managed to make a shawlette out of 2oz!) and got a further 2oz for playing.

But anyway - no spinning until at least next Wednesday. The other week I decided to start up a student forum (where we all get to practise giving papers) in my department, and the first session is next week. We've basically gone from talking about it to doing it in 3 weeks, and unsurprisingly this meant it was very short notice for getting papers for the first session! So I'm doing it. So I now have a week in which to write a paper.

I am also still getting the odd twinge in my ankles, so another week off will be good. I am desperately hoping that everything feet-wise is OK, because I really want to spin!

Well, I'd better go and put these batts away - if I keep petting them they're going to felt!

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