Category Archives: pattern modifications

A Loom with a View

I actually took this picture (along with some others) a few days ago, but I still think it’s really pretty.  I haven’t taken the strap off of the loom either, so I feel it’s okay to post this picture.  Just imagine that there is more finished strap wrapped around that bottom bar and less warp left to weave, okay?

This project had a huge learning curve for me.  I misunderstood the differences between warp- and weft-faced weaving, and was under the impression that the darker green weft would be showing more than the lighter green warp.

Warp-faced weaves are stronger than balanced weaves.  It’s just true;  ask anybody.  (Actually, I’m no expert.  I read a bunch of books recently.  It seems like that’s the general consensus.)  So I was aspiring toward a warp-faced weave with a weft-faced weave in the back of my mind.  I knew that the finished object would shrink in width, so I warped it so there’d be about 3.5 inches on a 10 dent reed with a balanced weave (32 picks or so, I can’t quite recall).

I aspired toward a strap of 2 inches wide.  I’m getting about 1.7 inches, which is a bit of a problem when it comes to making a shiny new guitar strap.

I have a small instrument called a cuatro.  I got it when I lived in Venezuela in 2009, and it’s lovely, but it has no strap.  It also has no pegs for straps, but that’s beside the point at this juncture of my weaving career.  It’s a really pretty maple colour, and it was handmade by the famous guitar maker Navarro’s apprentice, Tovar.  It needs to be portable, and that is my only complaint.  I have a feeling that this strap would suit my cuatro right down to the ground.  Since the cuatro is about the same size as a half-size guitar, it doesn’t really matter that the strap isn’t at optimum warp-faced strength.

So!  Let’s review.  Because I had warp- and weft-faced weaves mixed up in my mind, I warped the loom with the wrong colour and didn’t pull the weft tightly enough, which is why the weft threads are more visible than they should be.  I have to say,  I  really like the colour effect.  I should also say that I’m glad I didn’t pull it that tightly because there’s not much I can do with a strap that’s only an inch wide.

For my next strap (and there will be a next strap) I’ll warp 60 picks.  I’ll use the darker green colour, and pull the weft tightly enough to get an appropriate finished product, and I may make it a bit longer depending on what this strap looks like when I’ve taken it off of the loom.

I think I’m going to varnish this lil’ Cricket.

Sample Swatch

Yesterday (err, Tuesday) I knit a large gauge swatch for my dream 70s cardigan.  I knit it in the orange because I was headed to Ariadne regardless and needed to wind that enormous skein into a ball.

I cast on about 40 stitches and then knit about two inches each of stitch patterns that refuse to be forgotten.  That slipped stitch pattern?  My friend Lisa told me about it in 2007.  That star stitch?  I saw that last fall on ravelry.  That fisherman’s rib?  Mollyann from Ariadne told me about months ago.   The coolest aspect of all of this is that I haven’t ever really knit any of these stitch patterns.

And interestingly enough, the gauges are really different:  from 3 stitches per inch to 6.  But my friend Mitali can attest to that!  I certainly was having enough trouble getting the star stitch to behave.  I’m a notoriously tight knitter so any pattern that requires that I knit through anything three times is a bit above and beyond my capabilities.  I think I may have to find a charming (yet identical in every way) sort of alternative.  That saying, I’m not sure if using a substitute will get this bug out of my ear.

In other news, my cat Patrick Purrswayze fell yesterday and twisted one of his hind legs a bit.  I know it’s not too serious because he’s still jumping from the floor to the windowsill with no problems (and also, because he sometimes forgets that it hurts and runs around like a totally healthy pussy cat) but his expression is the most tragic thing I think I’ve ever seen.

Doesn’t he look disgusted, yet contemplative, yet very sorry for himself?  Poor fella.

And without further ado (and from a special request from Princess Sonya via Mitali)…

It’s perfect:  a cat sleeping on drying hand knit socks that have been well loved on a beautiful spring day.

Sunset on my Insteps

There it is, folks:  my gusset decreases.  By my (rough) calculations, I have about 8 rounds until I can stop decreasing and start knitting the rest of the foot.

I am (in my most secret of hearts) an enormous and fierce complainasaurus, and I’m not loving the pattern.  It’s kind of like that part in The Fighter when those over educated folks tell Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg’s characters about the cinematography in Belle Epoque (1992); over my head and wildly fruitless.

It’s not that it’s complicated.  In fact, the pattern could fairly easily be changed into a 2 row repeat with a lil’ something extra every 8 rows.  It’s the thoughtless editing that kills me.  I get exactly what Morgan-Oakes was going for:  a nice faux cable with a bit of faggoting on ‘ere side with lots of 1×1 ribbing for stretchiness and fit.  I get it, and I do think that the finished product would look sweet if it were written out exactly the way I wanted it to be.  In all fairness, the pictures in the book do show the sock as written;  there are just some odd bits that, in a parallel universe, I would fix.

You see, I made a (futile) commitment to myself at the top of the year to start knitting other people’s patterns.  I have a square head, and I know that, and so, most of the time I make up what I’m doing.  I have many calculators for that reason.  I have a colouring book for that reason.  I even have lead pencils for that reason.  But in music, in knitting, and in life, sometimes you have to concede that there is a lot to learn from what other people are doing, so I elected to knit 11 patterns that I didn’t design.

I’ve cheated remorselessly on this commitment.  For instance, I’ve added 1×1 ribbing to this sock, and I’ve ignored gauge because I’m a maverick and sometimes mavericks can’t help but maverick.  But the cast on number of stitches needs to be right!  And by right, I mean that the stitch pattern shouldn’t require that there be a strip of two knit stitches on ‘ere side of the sock legs.  That’s right:  on both sides of each sock there is a strip of two knit stitches where there should be a 1×1 rib.  See that seam-like thing in the picture below?

The fastest way I can amend this problem is to cast on two fewer stitches per sock;  that way, the k1,p1 rib which is then followed by the p1,k1 rib will stay constant by ending with a purl stitch and everything would remain beautiful and perfect in the entire word.  The slightly slower way would be to add another stitch to the faux cable.  I can slip four stitches!  I can!  I swear I can!  I have lots of faults, but dishonesty isn’t one of them.  And again, the picture in the book does show the same seam.  I had just assumed that it was due to a tension issue.

I guess my biggest regret isn’t cheating on my commitment one more time.  This is causing me so much disatisfaction that I’m near to ripping the whole thing out and starting over.

One think that’s keeping me content is this yarn.  Why oh why was it discontinued?

100% wool… ah.

Business as Usual

I really like knitting socks.  Just in general;  I like knitting socks.  I am not (by nature) a flashy dresser, and socks allow me to wear beautifully intricate hand knit things without feeling like a dog wearing santa claus hat.

The pattern is Belle Epoque (by Melissa Morgan-Oakes) and I elected to knit 1×1 rib for the cuff (instead of the picot edging) because I don’t trust it; 1×1 ribbing is perfectly stretchy.  How can picot edging match it?

I feel like a bit of a muppet admitting this, but I’ve only just realized that there’s a macro setting on my camera.  Isn’t that a gorgeous picture?  I also chose the pattern because it reminded me of the movie The Fighter.

If you disagree, then at least you can content yourself with Bazzy in my guitar bag.  Awwwwwwww…

Blocked

The glorious Mollyann at Ariadne blocked this neckerchief for me, and I think she’s a super star.  Not necessarily because she helped me;  I’m fairly certain she can fly.

Isn’t it pretty?  Golly.  Now I can rob all the banks I want, just like Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead.

That Crystal Palace Panda Silk in Forest tones is so crisp and lovely, this shawl reminds me of a really gorgeous and non-perishable leaf.

In other news, the microRevolt blog has posted images of the action they had commemorating people who died in factory fires: one this December past in Bangladesh and the Triangle Waist factory fire in 1911.

If you haven’t heard of the Triangle Waist factory fire, then I recommend watching this video from Democracy Now. It’s an excellent documentary that highlights how these tragedies are still relevant.

And also, I’m sorry that there are no pictures of socks. I’ve been having major issues with gauge. It turns out that I usually knit socks on 2.75 mm needles, but that my extra super long sock sized needles are actually 2.5 mm needles. Can you imagine? When I knit those show off stranded socks, I was wondering why they fit me so nicely.  I usually cast on 56 stitches for socks and (from what I can recall;  I’m far too lazy to look up the pattern again) I cast on 64 stitches for those socks.  Curses!  Well, not really.  Socks will be a lot easier to size from now on.  This is certainly a fascinating conundrum, though.  What socks to knit?  What will fit?  What happens next?!

Edgy

Isn’t it beautiful?  I’ve been knitting on the lace edge so I don’t have to deal with sewing.  It’s been a learning process, but it’s coming along.

You know what else is coming along?

My tea cozy!

A Thorough Update

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger lately, and I haven’t been thorough whatsoever in detailing my knitting projects.

Project the First:

The buttons weren’t sewn on when those pictures were taken, but they sure are now.  I’ll take another picture tomorrow, so you can see how awesome these are in person.

I knit the armbands with the handspun and hand dyed yarn that I got from a friend of a friend of an old woman who used to live in my borough.  Look at the tag;  that yellow yarn was dyed with turmeric and alum.

The yarn was over spun and dyed in an odd way.  I love how you can see her learning process.  As she learned, her yarn became more delicate and more consistent.  The dyes took better and you really got to see what she was going for.  That yellow yarn was all in pieces when I got to it.

I really like the symbolism of using her work as well.  The idea of a person becoming fascinated with creation (as opposed to participating in consumerism) at a late age at least twenty years ago simply points to how separated most of us have become from the creation of tangible and useful textile art.  I love that both she and I have had the same yearning to make cloth.

Project the Second

I’ve knit quite a lot of the ribbing, but I won’t know if I’m ready to bind off the ribbing until I try it on.  I’ve been crazy busy as of late, so I haven’t plunked myself down to slip all those stitches onto waste yarn to try it on yet again.  I think I’ll aspire to do that tomorrow.

Project the Third

The neckerchief is 7 inches long, and I think I’m going to knit for at least another inch.  I went to a bluegrass night at the Barfly in Montreal, and I dropped a bunch of stitches.  I ended up having to rip back about 3 rows to figure out exactly where I was supposed to be.  It’s looking lovely, though.

Project the Fourth

I don’t have any pictures of this project (my awesome flaming tea cozy) because I haven’t made any progress on it.  Alas!  I am dreaming of needle felting all over that thing.  Yeehaw!

Project the Fifth

I’ve recorded the first song I’ve ever written on my music project blog, ClairelyNow.  Please listen and let me know what you think!