Spiraling Notions

2010

Granny Stacks Art Yarn

I have been experimenting with "art" yarn. I got a copy of Get Spun and Intertwined recently. I don’t usually read books cover to cover... In fact I think most craft books are really just glamorized picture books to be used for ideas... but I have read Intertwined cover to cover and I keep re-reading sections over and over...

I have done a couple of thick/thin yarns and this was a new technique. Granny stacks really appealed to me for whatever reason. And this is my first attempt at a grannie stack yarn. To me, it looks like a cross between granny stacks and coils... although I was going for the stacks.



I used a green Romney that I bought when I took my first spinning lesson. I thought was fairly ugly when I bought it... but it was really easy to spin and one of my first yarns ever spun. It was my first attempt at spinning thin and broke repeatedly so there are knots and slubs everywhere. I saved it because I think I have the precious spinning thing... like the precious knits problem they talk about in the Mason Dixon books. I really had no idea what the hell to do with it but could not throw it away. I thought it would make a good yarn to start practice with and I think this turned out really well.



I had a lot of fun making it and to be honest I let the yarn do what it wanted and experimented with it. I have not really ever let the yarn do what it wanted before. Even when first learning to ply yarn I did not have any mistakes that resulted in the type of forms or directions I created with this example. It was fairly liberating. I experimented with tension on the green yarn and also the “core” crochet thread - sometimes alternating them completely and making stacks with the core yarn. I even used the navajo plying method in several spots - folded it back on itself - and then built the stacks on it to make them bulk out more.

I decided on the name Spider Carcasses for a couple of reasons. While I was spinning I kept going back to the image of a spider spinning over an insect. Even the Rankin & Bass Hobbit film popped into my head where they are in Murkwood Forest attacked by spiders. You can just make out indistinct forms under the cocoons of string. Maybe it is a cliché analogy but it kept going through my mind like a record (baby). I also hate bugs. I have a habit of letting spiders live freely around the house - like roving death traps. Occasionally I find desiccated husks laying around in corners and the like. This was also a common reoccuring thought during the spinning.

Here are the yarns used: Green/Beige Romney and Cotton Crochet Thread... size 10?


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Best Yarn Tool Ever

This is the greatest yarn tool ever.



I have started using my kids Bilibo constantly. In fact I use it so much I had to buy another one. The bowl is fantastic for keeping yarns in place and there are two holes that are great for plying. You can use it upside down or right side up and then throw everything in it and move to another room...

I am constantly using this thing...
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The Obligitory Sweater

I am having a hard time picking out a sweater. I have attempted 3 sweaters and failed horribly each time. Keeping this in mind, I do not want to pay for a pattern or any more yarn until I muddle through one to the end. I have selected several patterns and read through them... or at least trying to make my way through the Sanskrit.

While I appreciate a good pattern, free or otherwise, the last thing a novice can deal with is a poorly written pattern.

I decided on the Anniversary Sweater, by Shetha Nolke. After going through the comments on all of the other projects I have decided to try some changed. I would like to work the body, and at the least, the sleeves in-the-round This reduces seems and edge problems. I will need to experiment with the pattern to make this work - but I am sure I can fudge it.

I also read a number of times knitters wished they had used something less stretchy. I went for wool instead of cotton/blends thinking this might help with that problem. The last hurdle is going to be modding the pattern to XL. The pattern is in S, M, L sizes and I am sure I can just make the adjustments by adding incremental stitches. There is a 10 stitch difference between the S & M and the M & L sizes so I just need to add on 10 to make L and XL.

I am swatching now, for real and for true, swatching! 4”x4” of the pattern stitch to make sure I have the right gauge. Who knew? Course the pattern is basically ribbing... so I am not sure if I need to pin to measure, block or just leave it alone and measure. We’ll see. Maybe it will actually be a comfy frumpy sweater.
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Lorna's Laces

So I did a little digging. I started to get really angry about the costs of yarns. I just could not understand, and still don’t, why someone would charge the amount they do for yarns - hand dyed or otherwise. Lorna’s Laces has no real details on their site about who they are and who does there work. Knit Picks has some vague reference to “good works” and “politically correct” terminology on their site... (and as far as I am concerned that should make it clear where their products come from).

But again - Lorna’s being about double the cost. Who are they? Who does their work? Where does their yarn come from?

I asked.

They told me.

And while I am still gonna grumble at the costs I feel a whole hell of a lot better about buying from them now that I know who they are and what they are about.
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Sock Fatigue...

I have run into a problem.

The sock obsession is spilling into other socks before I finish the pair. I have 5 different socks on needles right now and two finished single socks... Oh what to do. There are not enough hours in the day for me to finish all the knitting and spinning I want to do.

BUT I have started spinning... yep... sock yarn. I have some superwash, without special goat nylon and also a regular Blue Faced skein which will probably shrink in the wash. I am not sure what pattern to use with the BFL. Since the BFL is variegated, I do not want the pattern or color to wash out because of the other. But I have about 400 yards so that should be okay for 1 pair... if I get around to the second sock that is.

Here it is:

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Great Expectations, um yeah...

So...

I started knitting socks. I am really annoyed about this for a number of reasons, actually. Although they are nice to wear around and if the pattern is simple you can bring them anywhere. But they are a pain in the ass. For the amount of time you spend on one pair of socks you probably could have knit an afghan for a king sized bed.

And don’t get me started on sock yarn... too late!

I am disenchanted with spending 20-30$ on 4 ounces of yarn when the make up is identical to every other yarn out there. That is to say: 80% wool 20% nylon... But this is special nylon that was hand spun by Peruvian temple virgins and came from the elusive nylon goat native to the slopes of Macchu Picchu and can only be harvested at 8pm on the spring solstice every four years. And each goat has its own personal masseuse following it through the mountain trails to make sure the resulting nylon is exceptional... oh wait nylon comes from wood chips and vegetable waste... made in a factory from digested sludge.

But apparently this nylon/wool combination is from exceptional sludge.

I went a bit off-the-handle and bought about 10 skeins of sock yarn so that I could satisfy my current binge. It got a package from Knit Picks - the enemy - with 5 different Stroll Tonals. And from JimmyBeansWool, I decided on Lorna’s Laces shepherd sock yarn. Upon arrival I instantly tore into the packages and closely examined my 10$ skeins and comparing them with the 24$ skeins... aside from the label there does not seem to be much of a difference in quality... and really, both labels were made of paper...

But then Lorna’s Laces is Kettle Dyed, by hand, right...? OOOOhhhh. Well so is the Knit Picks stuff, apparently by hand as well. Course that hand is probably also an unpaid peruvian child... but then again... maybe Lorna’s is too... Their website is a tad obscure about such things. Don’t get me wrong. This is not an advertisement for Knit Picks. It is an exhaustive missive about yarn snobbery. What makes this child-labor-violating-animal-cruel yarn better than this non-fair-trade-slum-originating-hand-dyed?

I only wish I had the balls to add an extra 10$ to my yarn because I sneezed near the dye pot while I was in the kitchen.





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Ōkami Fiber Series

Totally jumping on this bandwagon... because I think it is awesome. I have been trying to come up with a good way to create color-schemes for my fibers. I decided on one of my favorite things. I am a gamer. A hard core gamer. We have almost every known console or platform, yes including Apple IIc, for gaming. But this game, Ōkami, is the most unique and beautiful game I have ever seen. It is the best game you never played... you know who you are.

The entire game is rendered in a numi-e style painting and follows Amaterasu, a Japanese Sun Goddes. She appears in the form of a white wolf and seeks out the dark forces claiming the land of Nippon, or Japan. The game play follows traditional stores and folklore in Japanese culture. But the artistry of the game is really so exceptional it lends itself to the fibers I want to create. Here are several drawings from the game:




SO! At some point soon There will be an Ōkami series. I have already created a few colorways - but I want to experiment some more before putting them up for sale.

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Serenity Stitches - Tim Burton Series

I got some wicked fibers from Serenity Stitches. This is the Tim Burton series, following the recent Alice in Wonderland remake. This is, oddly enough, the ONLY Tim Burton film I have not seen. Who knew... It got bad reviews - but then again everything I love gets bad reviews.

The fiber is silk, alpaca and merino... it is, um, slippery. I have never worked with this combination before and honestly had no idea what I was getting into because I based it on color only. I thought it was about time to branch out into other fibers and be adventurous. The fiber feels luxurious to the touch and anything I make from the yarn is definitely going to be close to the skin. The colors are also amazing. They are luminous.


Image © C. Scovel

I have decided to plan this spinning out as well. I normally grab one end or split the roving and see what happens. I love what the colors choose to do. It feels a lot like using water color to be honest. You can only try and control the paint so much because the fluid of the water color chooses its own path, you need to step back and observe. Trying to force it usually ends in disaster or a new painting. A little experiment in controlled chaos. But this time, no, this time we are slowing down and trying deliberate things. I have decided not to split the roving and I am pre-drafting everything down to a sliver. I have not decided if I want a barber pole or even a singles yarn. I did decided on the severe pre-drafting to reduce the amount of color blending and over lap.

I cannot wait to see how this is going to turn out.

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Never Judge a Yarn by its Top

I have recently started dying my own fibers for spinning. I have noticed something really interesting about fibers in general - that the colors and overall effect of the fiber or batt is not the same as the finished yarn. This might seem elementary for old hats... but it is just a wonderful fun aspect of dying the fibers and then spinning them.

The fist experience I had was with a batch of fibers from the Sheep Shed Studio. Carol Lee produces fantastic colorways on wool, superwash and mohair. I never try to specify colors when I order because I like to be suprised when the order comes - never disapointed yet. Although I did get a batch of dark green/black/yellow I had a hard time liking. I was spinning for the Tour de Fleece when I ran out of almost all my fiber... he he he... so I dug out the green one. FANTASTIC. The yarn is great and the knitted scarf looks pretty good too. I feel in love with the yarn in the end.

I have also purchased GOR-GE-OUS colored and patterned fibers and spun them into a medicore yarn. So this works both ways.

Here are the before and after photos of, what I am calling, forest floor. The shine on the superwash is also quite nice.

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Kiten Horibillis

This is Kiten Horibillis, or Babs. We adopted her a little while ago from the S.A.V.E. animal shelter out of Princeton. This little animal has eaten more of my fleece than I thought possible. I am still missing a two ounce bump of wool... I fear I will never see it again.



From the D&D Guide: Meet kiten horribilus creatureous with a 10+ against rational thought, special ability: sleep canceling purr and line of sight sphere “making adults talk like babies.” it is a -1 resistance for every 10” you get close to her. When cornered may use secret ability: cone of cute.
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Tour de Fleece

I learned about the Tour de Fleece at about 11pm the night before... I am not sure If I even have enough fibers to spin! I am going through my stash to try and spin everything I have. I have been dying fibers like a mad woman too. I missed two deadlines already. I am going to have to plan this out a little better next time.

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Another Sheep Shed order - An Obssession.

Another Sheep Shed order - An Obssession.


I cannot seem to stop spinning. I have started enjoying spinning more than all the other things combined.
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Northern Lights... the Sequel.

I love this fiber. It is fun to spin, easy to spin and makes fun color combinations. I had been eyeing this 'Toffee' color for a while and decided for my first purchase I would go with the 'Picasso' because I thought it would offer more of a contrast... then I went and bought more... more... more...



I made a Buttonhead hat out of the first batch using the Picasso and Linda from Pleasant Run Peddlers like it so much I offered to make one for the shop. So I spun a similar weight using the first batch to help gauge my results. The final result is a 2 ply fingering or sport weight yarn, I think.



This colorway makes really soft blends and contrast to the final yarn. I really like it. The best way to see the color in the yarn (and with the Picasso) is to put it in the sunlight. It is amazing the difference between inside lighting and sunlight.




UPDATE 6.18.10:
I finished the hat. I am soaking and blocking it now. I am happier with this one that the last 3... it is probably just practice at this point. I used a small gauge, size US6 needles, and went with the Beret style this time. 

I also didn't "finish" my yarn before I started knitting. I have heard people say that you can use pencil roving to knit with by itself - you just have to be careful - so I though why not try setting the twist and fulling the yarn after the project it done? It might add something interesting to the project or not make a difference at all. 

I also tend to over twist, still!!!, almost everything I spin and I thought if I left in the yarns natural tendency to untwist it might relax a little while I was knitting and I would not have a project that slants. This yarn is also a 2 ply which helps remove some of the twist too. The hank did not double over on itself after I took it from the niddy noddy this time - so I think this one has got the right amount.

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Learning the Braid

So, I love fiber...

I can admit this freely. I also love the little haute braids that the fancy stuff comes in, even if I cannot stand the price. I have finally learned how to make the braid! I experimented on my Sheep Shed order and here is the result:



It was a lot of fun to learn and it is actually fairly space saving as well. I have gone back and braided all of the other loose fiber I have and they fit neatly in a drawer now - instead of bags bunched everywhere and stuffed in spaces. I left the fibers that "drift" a lot - well enough alone - like bamboo, soysilk and hemp... but all the wools braided neatly and cleanly.

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Surprise Order from the Sheep Shed

So very cool.

I got a surprise order from the Sheep Shed Studio today. Which is fantastic because I have had a really rotten day. Here it is:


I really had fun with the superwash wool from the last order. This order will probably be just as fun. There are something called soppers in this order. I learned these are to "sop" up any remaining dye in the dye bath so it does not go to waste. I do not know what fibers are in it other than wool and mohair (I am going on texture). I have some bamboo from a prior order from the Yarn Tree, which I hate spinning... so I decided to blend it. 

Today I will be spinning my first ever rolags:



I am thinking it will be fun.

UPDATE 6.10.10:
So I spend the day yesterday making rolags and spinning this soppers mixture of fibers. As far as I can tell there is wool, superwash wool and mohair in the soppers mix an then I added the bamboo I blended on a whim. I had experimented with a flax/wool blend and thought that the wool really added to the ease of spinning the fibers because of the tooth in the staple. Since bamboo is so slippery I thought the wool would help with it as well. I layered the bamboo on both sides of the carders and then loaded up the wools/mohair on top. Wala...



Course I have no idea what the hell to do with it... or anything else I have spun... and I am so fond of my singles... that may be problematic for certain projects. I have no idea what this will look like once it is finished and fulled but I think it will be cool to work with. 

UPDATE 6.12.10:
Finished my project... Since I knew this pastel medley was definitely for my daughter I decided that she needed a Buttonhead hat of her own. I love this hat pattern and I have made 5 of them to date... Gotta stop at some point... when? Beats me.

Here is the end results using the yarn. I wound up plying it as a 4 ply yarn in the end. Although I am not sure if it worked out well or not. It felt more like I just held the 4 strands together as opposed to actually getting a 4 ply yarn with proper twist. The end result still looks pretty good, as far as I'm concerned.




Its being blocked today (6.17.10) and hopefully we can gets some interesting buttons to fit the character of the hat. 
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Digging in roots...

I have always wanted to experiment with plant fibers. Although my real wish is the work with fibers that I can actually grow or find... I am one of those "local" type girls - but if you say the word sustainable... we will have issues, you and I... That word has been deformed to include things like salary, space travel and medicaid. That is a problem.

But the long and short of it was I wanted to have a plant fiber that was not heavily manufactured like tencel or bamboo. Eventually I hope to be able to have a tree, bush or plants in my own space that I can harvest and work with. Although 2 ounces of mixed linen fibers may not really get me there... I am on the way.



I got a hold of some ramie and some hemp as well. These are strange fibers, well in the sense that they are different than anything I have used before. Slippery and "hairy" to say the least. I decided that the hemp needs to be spun outside because of the mess it made when I first tried it!



There is a spindle group I lurk in and one of the ladies mentioned something about teaching a vegan to spin... that she would not use animal fibers... she wanted plant fibers but was not sure what to start with. Bamboo? Linen? Cotton? Hemp? What would be best... For me, the least manufactured of the group - or even all of them. While Bamboo feels like heaven there are forests being clear cut for it. Then there are the chemicals that need to reduce it to goo. The sweat shops that turn it into fiber and from there to products for me - flown half way around the world so I can have a hobby.

I want to be able to remove myself from that ecological nightmare and grow myself a cotton plant or two. Have access to a nettles or milkwood. How cool would that be? I think it would be awesome.
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Here she is...

Yep.

Here she is.




The spinning wheel I was not going to buy. Seemed like a good option since it was used and less than a brand new one. I can play with it and if I hate it maybe I can sell it to someone else. I have to get it working and then give it a test spin.

I am so annoyed.

Grrr.

Never touch a spinning wheel or spindle if you have a budget...

Don't...

Put it down and walk away.




I am thinking of a custom pain job though. I have not decided the color scheme. My art was always influenced by gothic and native styles - strange combination - but look at sugar skulls and Tim Burton... so hey it works. I was thinking of a Day of the Dead style since I love it so much, add some Oingo Boingo and it sounds like a hot weekend to me...

I will probably post updates if I actually get to painting it.
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Start to Finish

I have become fascinated by spinning. I spin all the time, everywhere I go, all day long. I have blocks of 10 minutes? perfect for a half of an arms length of fiber. Waiting for the kids at the doctor? Thats two arm lengths. Waiting for the rice to cook... not sure... lets find out.

There is something that is a little primordial about spinning. Since ancient fiber arts were made of, well, fiber they biodegraded and there are no accurate hypothesis on when spinning and weaving fibers actually began. The last estimate on spun fibers that I read about was in SpinOff, I think, found in a paleolithic cave. So for some reason spinning yarn makes me feel a connection to this human history and our development throughout ages. Before humans developed written language they were spinning and weaving. And, no, I am not normally a history buff. There is something about this that grabs me though. This simple act of taking fluff from a plant or taking hair from an animal and twisting it to make string - to then make any of hundreds of possibilities. This is something that is still the foundation of our daily lives even if we do not recognize it. For example... take that t-shirt and stretch it a bit... it is knit. For real and for true, knit... and those commercial socks... knit. Your dishtowels... knit... blankets sheets - knit or woven... the scale of these mass produced items has changed over time and the personal element has been removed, replaced with massive machines and electrical engines but the process, the underlying process is the same. That simply fascinates me.

I have become very fond of something I have heard referred to as "barber pole" yarns. I wanted to experiment with this style and went out and bought some Louet Northern Lights fibers in sharp contrasting colors to try and achieve this effect. I got the Picasso colorway.




I spun this thicker than I have been, mainly to prove to myself that I can still do it. I have read that many people who begin to spin finer yarns have a problem spinning thicker yarns. I wanted to retrain myself for thick before my muscle memories decided I could only work with thin... It was a pretty good experiment all things considered - and it was a lot harder to spin thick. However - since it was very thin top, not quite a pencil roving, but it was easier to spin because i did not need to pre-draft. i kept the diameter of the drafting about half the size of the actual roving. I think it made a big difference, having the roving so close to the size of the yarn I wanted to produce.



Once I finished two spindles full I joined them and set the twist. I have read that you are supposed to set the twist after you ply - but last time I ply'd the yarn got tangled and I had to throw away half of the skein. So, experimenting... I "baked" in the twist. I then plied the yarn, I think it may have been slightly damp when I worked with it. I am not sure if this did or will cause problems. I made a center pull ball on my ball winder and worked from both ends to ply.



After I plied the yarn I set the twist a second time and hung it to dry. Then I finished spinning more of the fiber and repeated the process for setting, plying, and setting the remaining fibers as well. I just knotted the two lengths together and wound it on my niddy noddy to make the skein. I also beat it against the wall a few times from both ends of the skein. I have read in several places that this helps distribute the twist evenly through the fibers. Well see...



I am really proud of this one. It actually looks the way I wanted and seems to be fairly consistent. I achieved what I set out to do with a little planning and it looks pretty good. I just have to figure out what to make with it!

UPDATE 05.18.2010:
I have decided on the Buttonhead hat by Lee Meredith. This is a really cool hat and can be done in a number of ways. She designed it using her own handspun yarns so I think it also lends itself well to a homespun look and feel.

Working with the yarn I realize that it has a bit too much twist. This seems to be pretty standard for me at this stage. I am not sure it will effect the finished project though - because there is a swirling pattern that starts in the center of the hat and moves outward. The push of the twist may be offset buy this spiral in the hat. Or at least that is what I am hoping. Next time I have been told I need to whack the yarn - a lot - to help distribute the twist.

I am almost finished with Buttonhead. So far the over twist does not seem to be an issue. With my Orange Marmalade the entire cowl has a noticeable shift. I love it anyway... but I was hoping to minimize that in this one. It does not seem to be a problem so far.



UPDATE: 05.22.10:
FINISHED... It is finished and the twist seems fine! Maybe I got away with it this time. Next time, thwacking will ensue. I wore it all day today. It feels good. Not itchy or anything. I even got a few compliments.

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To PVC or not to PVC...

I have gotten really into spinning. As with everything I seem to do I want to do and buy everything that has to do with it too. I want a swift, niddy noddy, a nostipinne and I already bought a set of hand carders... I would really like a wooden niddy noddy but the ones I have found are a bit expensive for what they do. I took a great spinning class, just an introduction to the basics, but worth every minute... and the teacher had one made from PVC. It was the coolest little thing and worked really well for her. I promptly went home with my second spindle, two more packs of fiber and a book... and stopped off to get some PVC pipe.

I found a good article online on how to make one easily. Most of the quotes I got for prices were 2.00-5.00 for it... but I must not have their hardware stores near me. I needed to buy the whole 15' pipe and then the bits. The first one cost about 15.00$ cause I also needed a junior hacksaw... but I had waaaayyyy too much pipe so I bought extra caps and made spools. They are great because they are heavy and keep tension on the yarns when I am plying with my spindles.

I realized that one niddy noddy is also not enough. I keep switching up or wanting to try a new fiber - but something is already on the niddy noddy... so I got some new materials today. Another 15' pipe... but this time I got two niddy noddy's out of it and some spools too. I also used 1/2" pipe this time. The last one was thicker - although I am not sure how much... maybe 3/4" - and it also is nice and heavy - but I made the side bits too short >Sad

In my internal debate about the beautiful 45.00 niddy noddy... vs. the pvc one I have realized something important that makes the PVC pipe indispensable regardless of how friggin ugly it is. That is, that I can set the twist in my fibers while it is still on the niddy noddy and also stretch it a bit by turning one of the ends so that the top and bottom are parallel. This is equal to putting a weight on it while it hangs. It is perfect. And when water fills the tubes - it stays submerged in the water better than hollow pipes and also just a hank floating in the tub. So I stretch the yarn over the niddy noddy - cook in the twist - weight it - and dry it on the same tool.

I think I have decided to stay with the PVC. Althought I am wondering if I can paint it or decorate it in some way to make it more enjoyable to look at.



thin niddy noddy 1/2 inch PVC alongside thicker "spool" PVC

UPDATE: 05.16.10
I have realized after using the 1/2 pipe that the arms seem to bend. Initally I thought I made a bad choice using the thicker pipe - but now - maybe it is a better option. Although the 1/2 is more slender and lighter the parts do not twist easily, although grease could work for that, and the bending bothers me. I have a concern that it may compromise the strength of the entire piece. We will see...

References:
Spinning Class, Woolbearer's
PVC Niddy Noddy Instruction
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They're Here...

This is the first pair of socks I have knitted... They are going to suck, I know this, and then I will want to knit them again. You need to screw what I said before about knitting... I have become addicted to knitting, crochet and spinning... yes spinning. I have decided these socks are the coolest thing since sliced bread - and that is really popular.

I hope they fit. I bought a pair of sock stretchers and an addi turbo circular needle @ 36" so I could do the magic circle knitting. The problem was that there were gaps all over where the "seems" were. It was also a bit unwieldy with the cable all over the place - but I cannot imagine double points would make it any better. I decided, in the end, on a 9" bamboo circular - I figured if it sucks I am out 10$ if not... I have found a really useful tool. And it works like a charm. The knit is smoother - no gapping and it is easier to manage the two yarns. I am really pleased with it. These needles are so small I did not even think I would be able to hold them properly. Once the hand learns it seems to just become automatic.

Anyway... Like anyone is reading or cares...

I postponed the invader socks a bit... I decided that It might be a good idea to know HOW to knit a sock before trying a fun pattern. I got the book Toe up Socks... and didnt understand any of it. Then I got the Joy of Sox and that was a bit better. I figured out short rows with youtube and made myself some bright orange/mango worsted weight socks from Caron Simply Soft... he he he... They are horrible, and I love them. Now back to the invasion.
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Facts of Yarn...

The sad fact of the mater is, as a crochet(er), I am interested in all manner of crochet pattern and stitch books... however, the books entitled knit and crochet patterns or *blank* for crochet and knitting are really all just knitting with 1-2 patterns of crochet. How irritating...
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Kvetch About Instruction Books

I am just starting out... I began crochet in October of 2009 and knitting about a week ago. I have not even finished, well I just finished one knit item. But In my quest for knowledge about my new found obsessions I have come across a huge number of books which make no sense at all...

Explain to me why a book with advanced patterns would list beginner instructions on how to make a slip knot? And this new book I bought, with a DVD and everything has instructions again... on how to cast on, knit and bind off on standard needles but not how to continue around properly on circular needles. Seriously? If I needed step-by-step instructions on how to read a yarn label and which side of the needle is used for knitting don't you think you could have included some useful information like:

Hey... knitting on circular needles is just like knitting on standard needles, you just keep going around... or knitting with circular needles is a little different than regular needles... here is how you do it. I mean it is an instruction book after all, right?

No matter how many times I read the instructions they never actually seem to reflect the images and charts shown on the page. Many of them do not even address real problems with the patterns, like gaps and seems.

You are either an expert or a novice and there seems to be no middle ground here. As an advanced beginner it is really frustrating to move past this stage. Obviously I am going to make mistakes and will need to figure out my own rhythm but some common issues or even realistic direction would be nice. Why do I need to reinvent the wheel?

Maybe these people should have novices actually read the book after is it written to make sure that it is actually something someone can do without prior knowledge. I bought one book on amigurumi and emailed the author about something, I got a response saying I should find an instructional book instead... however the first pages were dedicated, again, to the slip knot, single crochet and other basics that if you did not know already you would never be able to do anything in the book... so make up your mind people: you are teaching people from the ground up or you are going to stop wasting 1-2 chapters of my $30.00-$40.00 (fully illustrated, in color) book to basics which people already know or should put down your book if they do not.
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Counting Stitches...

I horrible when it comes to counting stitches and I have trouble using stitch markers sometimes. I did catch a savvy tip from Art of Crochet, by Teressa to use the tail to mark your rows by just pulling it through the first stitch. This is helpful and cheap! but sometimes the project gets to long.

To help solve this problem I have been using Lion Brand stitch markers and counting in another language. So when the hat pattern calls for row 4 to have 2 dc in same then 1 dc next 2 stitches I count the increase in Japanese or Spanish. Helps...

Japanese:
ichi = one
ni = two

Spanish:
uno = one
dos = two
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Knitting...

I decided to try my hand at knitting... I am not sure how I feel about it... It seems so much more complicated than crochet and you need so many more tools. But the best patterns and designs seem to be for knit. I am going to learn both and play around as much as I can.

The thing that really got me interested was a comment in one of the crochet books I have (Crochet in Plain English). The author explains that yarn crafters make jokes about wanting to crochet in the beginning of a project because it goes so much faster but once it is done they wish it was knit because it was lighter... apparently you use 1/3 more yarn per project with crochet. So for an economic reason really.

I made a trip to the Wooly Lamb and I got 2 skeins of Plymouth Yarn, Encore Colorspun (Green Mix) and a set of #9 Brittany needles and the Knit Book. I am starting just the same as crochet with just the basics, away I go...

Update:
I wish someone, in all the material I have watched and read so far, talked about making the first two rows of a knit project. These two rows seem to be the hardest and all examples I have seen are with 10-15 rows already on the needles. That is very hard for a beginner... because the first 5 rows are the hardest.

Update 1.20.10:
I think I just do not like knitting. It is not enjoyable for me. Holding the needles is difficult and my natural inclination to work left handed is rendered impossible since no one else does. Instructions are infuriating and the end result looks nothing like the pattern. When I began to crochet a few rows into a project and I was on my way to making a decent product... One dropped stitch and you are pulling out rows... and all the instructions act like you already know what you are doing... like i would need them if i did! Ugh.

Update 5.10.10:
Everything above this is a lie... well not all of it... but I have knitted everything I can in the past few months. My hands are tired. Hats, Scarves, Sweater, Socks, Random dishcloths are everywhere in the house...
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