Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Enough of winter! We ran away for some sun and fun.

New knitting projects are in the works in fibers and colors perfect for Waikiki. Check back next week to see which one gets done. Will it be the Seasilk brought home from Madrona?

Or, my new spindle/wheel spun yarn shown last week. Mmm, SeaWool in sandy shell colors, too.

Spindles are packed and ready to go.
Ahhh, that's the sound of stress dissolving.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You Scream, We Scream,

We all scream for ice cream. This isn't about the edible variety, though. Last year about this time I purchased some Superwash Corrie from Spunky Eclectic in what was her colorway of the month--Neapolitan.

Since it looked like it was dyed so it would stripe, I decided to try something a little different than fractal spinning for keeping the colors flowing. I split the top down the center into two separate halves. One half I further split down into pieces about a fingers width to use for spindling. The other half was to be carded together to form, as Patsy says, a perfect neutral to use with the painted roving. Since the neutral single has all the colors of the roving blended together, it should allow the striping to continue in a somewhat heathery effect. That's the plan, at least.

This fiber was perfect for spindling. It was wonderfully soft without that super slippery feel of superwash Merino.
I actually managed to fit 1.7 oz of fiber on my 1.1 oz Orchard Forrester spindle.
This may be my most perfectly balanced spindle. It was a complete and utter joy to use. Go get yourself a Forrester, you won't be disappointed!

When it came down to blending the roving, I opted to use the drum carder and added in a bit of Tussah silk for added strength since I plan to use the yarn for socks. The batts turned out a shimmery fawn with just a hint of pink in them. Lovely.
The blended batts were spun on the Joy.
And then, plied on the Joy, too.
I love how this is coming out! The stripes still show through the candy stripe effect in the pink and dk brown areas. Can't wait to get it off the wheel and start knitting it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Winter into Spring

This morning they were still ice fishing out on the bay. The ice must still be plenty thick to support all those trucks out there.

That's why when it came time to think of a name for my newly completely shawl, as Soo and Lacefreak did for theirs, the obvious winner was what engulfed me the entire time it was being knit.

So presenting, the Crown Prince of Winter. To solve the size problem, I extended the edging out.
It's the same one as in the book, just kept repeating two rows over and over in the middle until I got sick of it.

This design was constructed in the traditional Estonian way, with the edge made in two pieces (each piece for two sides of the square), sewing up two miters on the corners and around the entire perimeter. I like to try out traditional construction methods, but thinking about sewing on an entire border certainly held no appeal, especially when something like a Russian graft could easily accomplish the same purpose. So, that's what I did--made two borders but Russian grafted them to the center instead of sewing them. You need to think ahead and keep the center square edge sts loose to provide plenty of stretch, which is also why I did a provisional cast on and did not cast off the sts on the center square.

I did sew up the miters, though. Working the border in the round would eliminate the need to do it, but the thought of trying to ensure 800+ sts were not twisted when joining made that notion fly out the window.
The trick to sewing the miter is to do it very loosely so that it can be adjusted during the blocking process.

Okay, here's the arty glamour girl shot.
And, a close up. See, still winter outside the window.
But, just when you think the weather will never change. A day or two with temps above freezing can bring amazing results. Gail, this pic is especially for you because I know you remember the complete and utter glee when you see the first sign of spring.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Enough snow already! Bring on spring....Please!

When there's a blizzard going on, the best thing to do is stay home and knit and spin, so that's what I've been doing.

The Crown Prince shawl now has an edge on two of it's sides. Still looks a little ruffled because the middle has been blocked but the edging hasn't; it will lay flat once the whole piece is dressed out.
Onward to knitting the last two sides of the edging.

One of my Joy bobbins had some silk left on it from my Judith class at Madrona. Figured it might pay to practice more core spinning; with an added twist. Found these pretty pink flower shaped sequins at the craft store and threaded them onto some thread along with some beads. Held the thread along with the singleuntil I realized that the sequins wouldn't fit through the orifice of my wheel. Ooops.

So, then I threaded the beads onto the silk single and occasionally pulled one of them up where it was locked in place by the core spinning surrounding it.
The core used seems a little too thick; some size 50 or 60 Cordonnet leftover from one of my doilies might be better to use with a fine silk single.

In simple spinning news, I cracked into some of the fiber from Madrona. This is superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farms in the Riders on the Storm colorway. Mel kindly split her batch of fiber with me after I saw it and they didn't have any more of this color. Thanks, Mel! It's just the thing for blizzard stress spinning.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Power Knitting

Generally, when faced with the question of whether I'm a process or product knitter, I'll choose process. Process all the way. Occasionally, though, when a project has been hanging around a long time and it's at a monotonous point, the product mode takes over. The only way to deal with it, is power knit my way though.

That's what happened with the Crown Prince shawl this week. The only way to get through the inner square was to knit, knit, knit. Otherwise, I knew it would stall out again. So, one week later, it looks like this.
Figured it made sense to block out the completed inner square so I knew exactly where I stood in terms of dimensions. As hard as I tried, and this piece is stretched to the breaking point, the largest I could make it was 32" square. Gail suggested adding another inner border to make it larger. A very good suggestion; thanks Gail! My other thought is to redesign the edging and make it much wider. So, that will be my assignment for this week. After mulling it over, something tells me it might just go into time out again.

In other leftover news from last week, I finished core plying my wrap and roll skein.
It worked! Two days of plying and only about 20 yds of yarn. But, it's fun yarn; soft and pliable, and balanced.

Next up will be some relaxing knitting and spinning, I think, maybe even something to overcome the sweater drought I've been in lately. We'll see.