Monday, November 16, 2009

knitting meme

Stolen from armyofknitters who also stole it, so I don't feel so bad.

THE DEAL: You mark the things you have knit in bold, you italicize the things you intend to try, and everything else you just leave in regular font.

Afghan I've got some Lorna's Laces I bought for a sampler afghan

American/English knitting American's knit English?

Baby items

Bobble

Buttonholes

Cable stitch patterns

Cardigan

Charity knitting

Combination knitting always when doing fairisle

Continental knitting my modus operandi

Darning

Designing knitted garments I just finished my first design!

Drop stitch patterns hasn't everyone done that scarf, and a clapotis?

Dyeing spinning fiber

Dyeing with plant colors

Dyeing yarn

Entrelac Lady Eleanor w/ 100% cashmere, see below

Fair Isle

Free-form knitting

Fulling/felting a couple of hats

Garter stitch

Gloves

Graffiti knitting

Hair accessories - does a calorimetry count?

Hats: Cuff-up

Hats: Top Down

Holiday knitting

Household Items a pot holder! -- or was that crochet? washcloths!

I-cord

Intarsia

Jewelry

Kitchener stitch how else do you close up a sock?

Knitted flowers

Knitting a gift

Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine

Knitting and purling backwards

Knitting art

Knitting for a living is this really possible?

Knitting for pets

Knitting for preemies

Knitting in public and spinning in public w/ both a drop spindle and a wheel!

Knitting items for a wedding

Knitting on a loom

Knitting smocking first class in first Stitches (along with sock knitting)

Knitting socks all the time!

Knitting to make money so does yarn count as money?

Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously

Knitting with alpaca

Knitting with bamboo yarn

Knitting with banana fiber yarn

Knitting with beads Undulating Waves

Knitting with camel yarn have some on order with Purlescence

Knitting with cashmere oh, yes, yes, YES! (did that sound orgasmic?)

Knitting with circular needles

Knitting with cotton

Knitting with dog/cat hair

Knitting with dpns normal sock knitting m.o.

Knitting with linen

Knitting with metal wire

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn

Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn

Knitting with silk

Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn

Knitting with soy yarn

Knitting with synthetic yarn ack-rylic!

Knitting with wool

Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn if I can bear it

Lace patterns

Long Tail CO

Machine knitting

Mittens: Cuff-up

Mittens: Tip Down.

Moebius band knitting

Norwegian knitting upcoming class at Stitches West 2010

Participate in an exchange

Participating in a KAL

Pillows

Publishing a knitting book someday

Purses/bags

Rug

Scarf

Shawl

Short rows

Shrug/bolero/poncho

Slip stitch patterns

Slippers

Socks:toe-up

Socks: top-down

Steeks

Stockinette stitch

Stuffed toys

Swatching

Sweater

Tassels

Teaching a child to knit

Teaching a male how to knit

Textured knitting

Thrummed knitting

Toy/doll clothing

Tubular CO

Twisted stitch patterns

Two end knitting

Writing a pattern text all done, formatting

Double Knitting

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I've been busy...

It has been awhile. It's been so long I'm not sure what I was up to. But it didn't involve finishing up any projects. Until now. Ta-dah!

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This is a neckwarmer. I received a kit as a gift when I spent this last weekend with friends at the beach. We all got one and each in our favorite colors -- see how mine goes oh so well with my wardrobe? We even picked up the buttons on our way home at Yarndogs. The yarn was hand dyed by Laura Schickli of Handwerks and if you got here from there then you already know I'll be designing patterns for her Sock Yarn Club next year. Exciting, huh? Anyways -- the neat thing about the neckwarmer is the way you secure it -- check this out:

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You get 2 buttons and build a shank with yarn leftover from the project. Make sure one of the buttons can go through your knitting and when you're done pull that button through. You can secure it this way or crossed over with either button on the front. That's it!

I hope it's cold tomorrow!

2009-11-07 16.34.47

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My first heel!

Pictured here is my first heel, attached to my first cast-on bonnet using ravel-cord.
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It's also my first toe! You can see the ravel-cord a little better here.

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Why the ravel-cord? Because w/o it I'd need to snip the sock from the cast-on bonnet being careful not to snip the cast-on bonnet. Well...I'm not that careful. But look how easy it is to take off the ravel cord. First find and pick out the knot:

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Then, pull one end of the ravel-cord:

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And voila, no snipping!

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Credits: K for taking the picture when both my hands were busy.
Laura Schickli who's booklet contains the recipes I followed for both the cast-on bonnet as well as heels/toes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Plans to Spin

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I just got home from an Estate Sale. Hosted by Glenna Harris Weavers, they would share part of the income with 2 other guilds, Fiber Artisans and Serendipity Spinners. The spinner/weaver was a guild member. She stocked up fibers, and stored them well to spin up when she retired. But she became ill and died. Among the treasures there was an Ashford Spinning Wheel that had never been put together. One of the guild members finished assembling it at the sale. There were some books. But mostly there was fiber. Wool, wool/silk blends, merino, hand painted colonial (70s) wool, pencil roving, alpaca, pin drafted blends, several fleeces and other fibers weighing approximately 55 140* lbs in all. All had been carefully packed away for later. I came with hopes of getting a good deal as everything was priced to move. I left with one of several sample pillows, a guild project. The brown stuff -- some of the most gorgeous alpaca I'd ever seen. Some merino, dyed and undyed, some handpaint, a couple of bags of silk/wool blend. I also picked up a book on twills (weaving). As spinners, knitters and weavers we always laughed at achieving SABLE, Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. It's not all that funny now.

*added later, the first number was an estimate after about 1/3 of the fiber was weighed. Note: It takes about 2 lbs of wool to make a sweater. Sale ends Sunday. Location: Peninsula Crane, San Jose, CA.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What I Know about Sock Machines

First a little about me -- I've been handknitting (y'know with 2 sticks and string?) for (um, lessee, K's 13 minus 1) 12 years now. I've made baby things, sweaters and vests for myself , lots of scarves, hats, shawls and socks. All by hand. Here's a sock in progress when it's being knit by hand: IMG_2339
Over the years I've amassed a bit of a stash. Those who've actually seen it, shut-up. Quite a lot of it is sock yarn.

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See? That's just the sock yarn. What's a appealing about it? The colors, the self-striping patterns (really you just knit and it make stripes)

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Plus sock yarn is easy to accumulate. I mean it's relatively cheap, and you only need 100g. So if I feel like buying yarn -- sock yarn fills the bill w/o breaking the bank.

I usually knit about 3-4 pairs a year. That's just socks. I knit other things, and I work full-time, take care of my family and read (throw in the occaisional sewing project, some spinning -- not exercise, spinning fiber into yarn on a spinning wheel? -- and you've got a very busy working-mom).

Ok, enough about me -- what's up with the sock machines? Well, you saw the sock yarn stash. At 3-4 pairs a year, it would take me...you can do the math. With a sock machine I could have a pair of socks in about 2 hours. Yes, I know I can buy socks at Walmart -- let's not go there -- those of you who know what it feels like to have custom made socks for your own feet know better. And besides, I like making stuff. Although not handknit, hand-cranked socks are still custom made to fit your foot. Custom knit socks in 2 hours. Needless to say I had to have one.

So where did these guys come from? The first one, the Legare was manufactured in Canada. It's a #400, but according to this site it's got a Creelman crank. Which isn't all that strange because, from my understanding the company Creelman Bros were the actual manufacturers of machines sold by PT Legare. My machine is probably one of the later models putting its manufacture around the 1920's. Yes, it's an antique, although this one has been restored -- possibly another reason for the mismatched crank. (I also have my suspicions that the ribber didn't go with this machine -- the pin could have been misaligned somehow but in the state I received it, there's no way anyone could have ribbed with it). The Legare is all cast iron, solidly built and heavy.

The second machine I got on Ravelry, an on-line social networking site for knitters. It was billed as a 1924 Gearhart. Gearharts were made in Pennsylvania. It's very different from the Legare. But I didn't know that. What I did know was that it came with an 80 needle cylinder and a 100 needle cylinder and ribber dials to match (40 and 50 needle, respectively). What this means is I can knit a sock with finer yarn than my Legare, which came with a 54 and 72 needle cylinders and a 36 needle ribber dial (this was the typical setup that you got when you mail-ordered them). In fact, the 100 needle cylinder and 50 needle dial have smaller gauge needles to go in them (18g and 24g, respectively). The 80/40 and the cylinders/dial on the Legare take 12g needles. I can used regular sock weight yarn with these (don't worry, I have a stash of laceweight too).

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The manuals are reproductions that I got seperately on eBay. The Gearhart base, and crank are cast iron but the rest seem to be aluminium, making it lighter than the Legare. Notice that this machine also came with a bobbin winder and skeiner. The seller I got it from also knit some socks on this machine and sent me samples of yarn I could use.

Why were these machines sold? So women could earn cash while working at home. Check out this ad from Good Housekeeping. In the book Knitting America, by Susan M. Strawn, on page 114 is another ad by The Auto Knitter Hosiery Co. It had testimonials from women and men across the country about how much they made during their spare time. It didn't really catch on, but during WWI the American Red Cross gave machines to people who would knit socks for our troups, and that worked out really well.


So where are the socks? I haven't made any yet. Give me a break. There's a learning curve. And, I've been pre-occupied by the machines themselves. They're really cool! I've been pouring over various manuals, the first machine came with 3 (remember? 2 were in French?), and there are other resources -- there's a sock machine list on yahoogroups and a csm (that's circular sock machine) group on Ravelry, there's even a history e-book that I've got to get my hands on. Country Rain has a basic "101" book you can get here. And Angora Valley has various manuals on-line and forsale here. Plus I've had personal instruction from here. Finally, I joined a guild here. Not to mention on-line tutorials they provide here.


Whew, that's all I know about Sock Machines. Well, not really. This link here, they make new sock machines...with brass toppers (first thing you thread the yarn through)...powder coated...with compound cylinders...and yes, I do know what that's for.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Mate for my LeGare

No socks yet -- just lots of tubes, long stockinette tubes, short ribbed tubes. I had issues with my ribber. It was stuck and sitting too high to actually rib.
It fit fine this way: IMG_2730

And it fit fine this way: IMG_2729

But together: IMG_2731
See the center screw? That's suppose to touch the base to adjust it up or down.

So, I dug out my handy-dandy caliper and took some measurements:
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What, doesn't everyone have one of these?
I found that it flared out a bit. So after some filing of both the small pin and the hole that it went into:
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I finally got it to sit right. And now it ribs!

Just in time for the arrival of this:
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A 1924 Gearhart

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Toy

I've been knitting. Really! I knit a little on my Swirled Pearl and finished another stripey noro scarf, this one for L. And, I cast on another for K.

However, a major distraction was waiting at the post office for me this morning. This box:
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came filled with all of this:
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Daunting isn't it. It's a circular sock machine. It came with 3 manuals, 2 of which were in French. Actually one manual was for the Legare 47, another for the Money Maker, and the last one, in English, for the Auto Knitter. My machine? The Legare 400. I also downloaded a general Legare manual, in English, from here. Upon further scrutiny mine matches the parts for the Money Maker, -- but that was one of the manuals in French.

Okay, deep breath -- I can do this. I'm an engineer. The English manual did not have directions on how to put it all together -- actually none of them did. Don't get me wrong -- I'm glad to have all 4 manuals but it's like the saying, "Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink." Fine, I bought this on eBay and the seller had a ton of pictures which I downloaded and printed.

First there are 3 beasts here. A winder, a skein holder and a circular sock machine. To get parts out of the way I decided to put the winder together first:
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So far so good. Next the skein holder:
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I think that's as big as it gets -- see the wing-nut in the middle? It's adjustable. Cool huh? See these machines came with everything you needed to get started. I'm not sure how old mine is, but these babies were marketed in the early 1900's as a home based business -- you know, for making and selling socks. Anyways, after putting those together here's what was left:
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At this point I stopped and reviewed all the pictures. I mounted the base that contained one of the cylinders, added and secured the needles, attached the yarn guide, ribber assembly, the yarn mast,...
Et Voila!
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Elle est belle! N'est pas?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Retail Therapy

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This is some Lucious Silk by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The occaision? My youngest left for 5th grade science camp today. She'll be gone a week. You'd think this time it would be easier, having gone through it before here. But she's my baby and well, it's too quiet around here w/o her. I think the dog even misses her, she was especially whiny when she greeted me this evening. When I got to work I thought about how I was going to get through the week. Daytime should be easy -- I'm pretty busy at work and everyone's back from vacation so my productivity will be handicapped. Wednesday will be the hardest, 2 days in but still 2 days to go. I decided at lunch to drop by Purlescence for a pick-me-up.

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No, I don't need the yarn. Especially after the retreat yarn crawl and Commuknity closing. I hadn't been shopping for yarn all that much since the Shop Hop and I've been busy with the holidays and such to get much knitting done. But now that we're settling into the new year I'm knitting more frequently and buying again. But it's not just the yarn that does it for me. Above, enough Blue Moon Fiber Arts WooBu to make Chic Knits Ariann. It was going through the yarn store surrounded by inspiration. I got a book. And it was talking to Nathania about our kids and how we cope with separation anxiety. It was her youngest's first day in daycare. Several yarn shops closed in the last year but I'm glad Purlescence wasn't one of them. Yarn + Inspiration + Friendship. Total damage $150. Hug from Nathania, priceless.

And failing that, there's always