Friday, February 25, 2011

Although these are English type combs, the idea is the same for handheld combs:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spinning for Orenburg Snowflake Scarf - Denise

I have a goal in mind. I am going to spin my yarn for the Orenburg Snowflake Scarf as seen in the Interweave Piecework Magazine.

It calls for 2 skeins of Windy Valley Muskox Quiviut Luxury Blend yarn (45% quiviut/45% of merino/10% silk). The balls are about 218 yards/1 oz. They run about $65 each. It called for 2 balls or 436 yards.

I can spin. I don't have muskox, but I do have yak down ($35/#). I don't have extra fine merino, but I do have Cormo. I do have Tussah silk.

OK, now for the mighty math skills. For the 2 ounces, I need ratios of 45%, 45%, and 10%. I used the metric system since it was more accurate. One skein is - 12.7 g of yak, 12.7 g of Cormo, 2.8 g of silk. Multiply that by 2 and I have my amount.

Now, how fine do I spin. I searched the internet for something to help. Nada. I remembered I downloaded SpinTech on my Droid phone for $1.99 (If you have an iPhone probably use iSpin). It has a calculators and tools that allowed me to play with the numbers to get the right yardage with wpi.
  • Singles - 49.5 wpi
  • 2 Ply - 35 wpi
Wow! Now, before I panicked, I realized that this was for wool and not yak. Yak is lighter than wool. This means I'll need to do some sampling before I get spinning.

So far, I've used the hand carders to sample [I've given you the link to see how I've done it] and my Turkish drop spindle to spin. I want to get the feel of the fiber, see the twist.

The first photo [right] shows my sampling so far. The speckled skein [top] is the ratio with silk noil. I wanted to see the effect. I like it, but it won't be appropriate for a lace scarf. The bottom skein is just yak and cormo. Nice, but it lacks an extra bit of shine and softness. I'm spinning up the proper blend right now. I'm trying to get a fine and strong yarn with enough twist to hold it together but still have some bounce to it. Before I wind on I test it to see if it looks right as a 2 ply. It's pretty close [right].

When I go full scale, I'll use Twosheep's method with the drum carder. As with any spinning project, its best to measure and spin up more than you need. Murphy's Law will strike and you will run out. The probability is determined by how difficult the yarn is to get or spin.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I've Dropped an Edge Stitch - Denise

We've all done this, or maybe this is your first time. The panic sets in and you see the long loops at the edge. What to do?

First take a deep breath. The worst thing that will happen is to rip out. Before that happens, calm down and take a look. Look at the stitches and the large loop(s). See the pattern? First, if you’re not up to fixing it, get a locking marker and stop the ladder from running further. If you are up to it, follow the directions below. This can be fixed in Four Easy Steps.

"From The Knitter’s Companion: When an edge stitch drops and ravels, there is no “ladder,” just large loops extending from the edge above a small loop.

  1. Insert a crochet hook into the small loop, from front to back, then hold the large loop with some tension as you pull the lower part of the large loop through the loop on the hook to form a stitch.
  2. With the hood in the stitch just made, pull the upper part of the large loop through this loop to form another stitch. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as many times as necessary.
  3. With the hook in the last stitch made, pull the working yarn through this loop.
  4. Place the last stitch on the needle, making sure that the leading leg is in front of the needle."

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finished Columbia Blanket - Denise

As promised, here is the picture of my finished blanket. I added the satin binding. This is a light-weight and warm throw blanket. I've already had to kick the cats off to use it.

  • I had to be careful of a few things.
  • The nature of Columbia fleece is a bouncy. It is crisp and soft at the same time. This made the weft quite stretchy.
  • When I added the binding (non-stretch) I had to be careful no to distort the fabric. Before beginning, I hit the ends with a few quick shots with the steam iron. If anything was stretched, this brought it back into shape.
  • I carefully pinned and overlapped the ends with the satin. I used a simple zig-zag stitch to attach.
I used the Toothbrush nalbinding stitch using a large yarn darning needle. It makes a nice, clean, strong edge
  • After attaching and looping around my thumb twice (it will be hidden by the binding) I picked up the stitches.
  • The shot of warp thread (I had some long spaces that I needed to pick up 2 warp threads),
  • the last stitch made (2nd loop - it will appear after you make it. Just do the 1st stitch twice),
  • then under the thumb. Be careful not to pull the stitch too tight or it will pucker the entire fabric.
  • It is easier to use manageable lengths and spit-join the pieces. No one will know.

I do have mistakes in this blanket. Some I cleverly hid. Others I left so I will remember.