Friday, February 16, 2007

NOT Hibernating!

I wish I could say I have been hibernating because for several years, I've thought that is really what the human body wants to do in the winter. At least sleep more, like all the time it is dark! But I have been busy even though it doesn't seem like there is much to show for it.

I've spent a lot of time figuring out how to weave a saddle blanket and designing for them. Until I made a sample last fall, I've never even thought about how they are woven or of weaving one. Some one asked me to do one for them and so I started to look around for information on various ways they are woven. There is not a lot of specific info on them but there was enough for me to get started and then work it from there on my own. The designs I have ready are for boundweave threaded in rosepath. The woven patterns themselves are determined by color and weave and so once I got started playing with them, the possibilities on this simple threading are endless. This coming week, we'll finalize the design and work on getting the yarn. It's really different for me to be collaborating with others on a project but fun too.

I also spun some yarn for a pair of socks for Howard and am trying to learn to knit socks now by hand. I have a sock knitting machine so I've knitted zillions of socks but not handknitted and I wanted to learn to do that so I could have a useful, portable project to carry with me. I love to knit mittens but it seems like there are only so many mittens people can use. We need to have more pairs of socks and I often have yarn that won't work in the knitting machine because it is very picky about just what size of yarn it will bother with.

This yarn is a three ply. The darkest brown ply is a romney cross, another ply is gray with some blue and green corriedale carded in and the other ply is some gray mystery fiber I found in the stash. Overall, I probably used wools that were slightly too coarse and spun them just a little too much. Not sure these will be the most comfortable socks ever but they will no doubt wear well.

I'm using the instructions for knitting from the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook and they are easy to follow. It's taken me about 2 weeks of scattered knitting to get this far but that is only because I've ripped out so much. I started from the top down and got most of the way down the leg and decided it didn't look very flexible and stretch so needed more ribbing than just 1 1/2" at the top. The next time I started from the toe and you can see the wacky provisional cast on I did. Thankfully I do know how to graft so I can straighten that out without a problem. I got to the heel and decided that the foot was way to wide for Howard so I ripped back to the toe increases and decreased the number of stitches for the circumference. Now, I'm over half way back to the heel again and it looks about right so maybe this time I'll make it around the bend. Good thing I made strong yarn or I would have worn it out already. I don't know, I might just stick with the machine socks after this pair is done! It is certainly a lot faster.

Tomorrow I'm teaching 2 knitting classes at our church. They are having a big Humanitarian Service day for the whole area and asked me to teach a beginning knitting class and one on reading patterns and increasing and decreasing. The difficulty is that I don't know how many people will show up and so that beginning class could be 20 or more students. If it is that large, I've decided to break them up into groups of 4-5 and then they can help each other and I can go around to each group one at a time. It's a little scary. During the week, I've been practicing and watching how I knit so I know how to explain it as I go. I've been knitting so long that I just do it and don't have words for the actions so I had to think about that. I was looking at an Elizabeth Zimmerman book and realized that I cast on weirdly. I learned from a book when I was in high school and didn't know any one who could knit. I guess that old book had a little different explanation for the long-tail cast on but it comes out exactly the same. So I had to learn what all the books show now so that if any one looked in a book, they would remember what I had taught them. The classes are only 50 minutes so I'll be really happy if they can learn to cast on and knit a little garter stitch and bind off. In the second class, I'm just going to go over how to determine gauge and making a sample swatch, a couple of increases and decreases and generally reading a pattern and the yarn label band. I don't consider myself that much of a knitter and really just fool around with it a little so it is funny to have to be teaching classes on it. It would be nice to think it might inspire someone to go on and find an enjoyable pastime.

I did do a little weaving and will have some photos of that next week. I can't get the sock and yarn photos to upload either so will have to try again with them too.

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At Fri Feb 16, 05:13:00 PM MST, Anonymous Joni said...

I’m in the process of doing some massive ring maintenance for the FiberArts Bloggers ring and I am contacting you because there’s a problem you may have noticed with your code. I will go ahead and e-mail you the basic ring code now, but if you don’t get it please let me know.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions/concerns. Once you have your code up, if you want to send me a note I’d appreciate it, so I can check it out. Thanks!

At Tue Feb 27, 05:31:00 PM MST, Blogger Brandy said...

The Twisted Sisters book is one of my favorite sock books. I do the hourglass heel on my socks as it seems to be the only one I can remember without carrying directions with me!

At Sat Apr 21, 08:01:00 AM MDT, Blogger Charleen said...

Hi Kathy, just stopped by to see how everything's going.

At Sat Sep 01, 05:29:00 AM MDT, Blogger Leigh said...

Glad to see you post again, Kathy. I am really interested in your saddle blanket project. Several times I have thought about weaving a saddle blanket, but the only information I could find was in Rachel Browns Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing Book. Hers are for a Navajo loom however, which I didn't want to try.

Also, I hope someone has warned you that handknitting socks is addictive!


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