Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rest, Relaxation, and Spindles

Ahhh, that was the sound of stress evaporating. Getting away and hearing the constant whoosh-ing of the waves on Waikiki Beach--a good thing. It was a most glorious trip to paradise which I knit into a shawl.

My Hawaii Charlotte's Web.I took a bunch of Koigu (and various clones from other hand-dyers) along with me and this was the result. The first three colors of various turquoise/aqua reflect the colors of the water. I especially like how the alternating sections between the colors expresses the breaking waves. The pink represents the Royal Hawaiian (which looks like a big pink sand castle) where we stayed. And, the green mix for all the various shades of green in Hawaii.

The first four colors were knit on Waikiki beach. Had alot of comments from people (not all favorable) about knitting on the beach. But, the best was one morning when a Japanese lady made a trek up from the water's edge and the rest of her family to see what I was making. As she knew no English and my Japanese consists of counting from 1-5, it was an interesting display of how knitting crosses all boundaries.

I also learned a new fiber craft--Hawaiian Quilting.
A sweet lady named Daisy came to the hotel and was willing to help anyone learn. It is deceptively difficult. And, I'm not a stranger to needle and thread work as the very first craft I learned was embroidery at the age of six. But, getting the edge to turn over on the appliqued pineapple with just the tip of a needle and even sts (Daisy was a perfectionist after my own heart) was easier said than done. Wish we could have stayed longer but I plan to keep practicing my hand quilting and maybe make a pillow top this summer.

Ah yes, I promised spindle pics. As it was my Aloha birthday, a couple of boxes were brought along. Kerry alerted me to this spindle maker, and I couldn't NOT get this spindle for this particular trip. A pink mother of shell spindle from ButterflyGirl on Etsy.
It's difficult to tell, but the whorl is only 2" and it weighs about 1 oz. Most of the ButterflyGirl spindles have quite long shafts, especially for the size of the whorl, so I had her shorten this one to 8". I'm very glad I did as it's a nice size to use while sitting now. About the same size as my Golding Tsunami. It's a very fast spinner since it's more center weighted and I was spinning 50/50 merino/tencel which was slippery and could take alot of twist. You don't even want to know the looks I got from spindling on the beach in the early morning.

The other spindle was a complete surprise to me. Sort of. I'd picked out a number of them that I liked on a couple of different websites and this is the one that I was given. A Forrester Tree spindle!! It has a Rock Maple whorl and Maple shaft--31 gms. Spins like lightening! Might be the perfect spindle.
Here they are together--it's a bit easier to see how really tiny the shell spindle is this way.
Also from Butterfly Girl--3 oz of merino/silk batts in a color she calls Plumaria. Because I changed my mind, these didn't arrive until after I was home. They're nicely prepared and I'm looking forward to spinning them up.
Oh, and the first installment of my Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club arrived this week, too. It's called Perfect Storm and is Wensleydale! Can't wait to dive in.
More Wensleydale is on the way, too. From my favorite hand-dyer, too--Lisa S. Photos of that next time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Room with a View

Greetings from Paradise. (this post is pre-recorded)

We've asked for the same room we had last year, so hopefully, this is our view of the sunrise over Diamond Head. Next week, knitting/spinning updates and new spindle pics.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The End of the Road

Err, guess that should be the End of the Path--Forest Path, that is. It's finished and it's huge! Still haven't found a satisfactory way to wear it yet.
Close up shot of the lace entrelac. Angela and Denise wanted details on how I changed the edge. It was mostly done in the manner of Orenburg shawls.
Here are my pithy directions.

A long strip of edging (I used one from Galina's book) is knit to the desired width of one of the short sides. Be sure to knit the straight edge of the strip with a slipped stitch to make the pick up easy. Then in the Orenburg way, turn the corner on the edging, pick up the sts and knit across. Place the sts from the cast on (I used a provisional cast on but it isn't strictly necessary to do that) on the needle and turn that corner (lower left). Then, knit back across all the sts (forming one garter ridge), decreasing so you have the starting 100 sts in the middle (20 sts each for 5 bottom triangles). Work the edging along with the side triangles. Because the edging is garter based, short rows are needed to make it lie flat. I did 2 sets of short rows (wrap and turn ones) for each 16 row repeat. It was fairly easy to remember to do them as you switched from the expanding to the contracting section of the points. I forgot in a couple of places but mainly tried to keep both sides even. Knitting karma worked in my favor as I ended up at the top at the exact row I needed to be to work the corners. You work the top edge as for the bottom. Work the top right corner, pick up and knit across the sts on the top triangles, then work the top left corner and knit back. This left live sts on the needle that were used up as the top edge was worked (in the same manner as lace edgings are generally attached).
Made from Suri Elegance (color 001 White House) from the America's Alpaca (still available but now the company is called something different). Used size 3 (3mm) Ebony straight needles. The yarn was soft and luscious to knit with and makes a wonderful drapey fabric. Would definitely like another shawl from it. Maybe one not so unwearably huge this time.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Sometimes one stumbles upon something really useful or long forgotten. Thought I'd share a few of my favorite finds from the last couple of weeks.

Last week I happened by the book sale at the local library. Always hope to find some elusive and valuable Alice Starmore book, but no such luck again this time. Though, I did find a copy of the book that taught me how to design sweaters! It's A Knitter's Guide to Sweater Design by Carmen Michelson and MaryAnn Davis. I used to check this book out of the library for months at a time--devoured every part of it. It has lots of mathematical formulas for figuring out sleeves and armholes, and advice for every kind of collar or garment shape. Being a little math-phobic, the equations weren't so valuable, but just sort of inhaling the overall big picture helped me to understand and translate it into my own thought processes. This book helped me immensely. There's lots that I wasn't ready for at the time, or have forgotten, but it's been OOP and sells for $95 to $150 so never even considered trying to track a copy down and buying it. What find it for $1. Certainly not in pristine condition, but that doesn't matter.

The second item, the green Aqua Ball is something Dale Long was praising at Knitting Camp last summer. I admit not paying too much attention at the time, but became very interested as this winter my skin became even more sensitive than normal. There are quite a few varieties of these balls at widely varying prices. After finally tracking down the one he liked, I decided to go with it, even though it was at a mid-price point. These Aqua Balls are used instead of laundry detergent and will last for 60 washes. I've been using mine all winter and it's still going strong. Everything gets very clean and the colors even look brighter. Love it!

Finally, we have a superwash Corriedale braid from Spunky Eclectic in Neapolitan. June posted several times about the Fiber Club and it looked so interesting I took the plunge, too. The Corrie braid was my test purchase to see if I liked the way she dyed fiber. Figured the fiber club would be a good way to get outside my colorway comfort zone. BTW, June has a lovely new post with lots of pretty spinning and another great fiber source, so go check it out.

The next Find isn't something I found, but rather that Hollywood has found my hometown. Starting tomorrow, and for the next couple of weeks, they're using our downtown to shoot portions of Public Enemy starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Shooting is centered around the old First National Bank building built in 1928. Johnny Depp plays John Dillenger and at one point is going to rob it. All last week the movie set people have been here painting, changing signs, and even building additional buildings. This morning there were 30's era fashions in the windows along Main Street. This might not seem like a big deal to those of you who live in big cities where this happens all the time, but it's huge around here! They're also going to shoot scenes out at the EAA and the Pioneer Airport. Oh, and friends of my folks that own antique collectible cars are going to be included, too.

Still working on the Forest Path, up to Tier 23--the last tier! After that, it's just the top triangles to even out the rectangle and then the edging across the top.
Should be finished pics next weekend.