Monday, August 18, 2008

Been learning to spin!

For just under a month now, I have been teaching myself to process and spin my own yarn. Yesterday I finished a skein of yarn, and it's the first one of which I am not too embarrassed to post:

This is 300m of a 2 ply laceweight yarn (100g odd), which is approx. 22-23 wpi and knits up at about 10 stitches/inch. The singles were about 35 wpi, and z-spun.

The wool is from a Drents Heideschaap fleece, which I am slowly working my way through. It is surprisingly soft, but the trick to getting nice yarn from this fleece is to remove the longer (harsher) hairs from each lock. If you leave them in, you will end up with a very scratchy wool.

This yarn is spun worsted because I want to make a pair of socks out of it. Here's a close-up of the 2-ply still on the spindle (the Aussie 5c coin is the smallest coinage I had in my wallet).


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Socks with Turkish Motifs

I have been lucky enough to snag myself a copy of Knitted Stockings from Turkish villages by Professor Kenan Özbel.
This has a terrific number of black and white charts of Turkish socks and charts of smaller motifs, as well as black and white photos for Turkish socks, but doesn't give any instructions for knitting them. There are also some droolworthy colour photos of colourwork socks in there, and you can see the vast majority of these colour photos at the Turkish Culture Portal.

I made these toe-up socks with Turkish motifs for my Mum because it's winter in Aus right now. I got lazy at the heel and used a PGR short-row heel though instead of a peasant heel like in proper Turkish socks.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Revelation and Inspiration: Crochet!

Yes, this is supposed to be a blog about knitting, but today I am going to post about crochet. Crochet is not something that I do (although my Mum did try to teach me many moons ago). And boy do I wish I had listened more then. Ah well, we live and learn.

Do you crochet? If so, then you may already get a lot of this stuff that I am about to talk about.

If you do not crochet (and I am in that boat), then I am going to urge you to get yourself a crochet needle and have a go. There are a lot of useful videos on Youtube, and a really great how-to website where you can learn to do the basic stitches by watching videos:

http://nexstitch.com/Tutorials.html

So, what has gotten me all excited about crochet? Well, it's PGR, of all people. A few weeks ago, I got myself a copy of the revised edition of Knitting in the Old Way (finally) and this is what has set me off! The last chapter in the book is about crochet-enhanced knits, and of course, because I don't crochet, it took me a bit of research to work out what the hell she was talking about. In this post, I would like to share with you some of what I have learned, and hope that it inspires you and makes you dance around the house, shouting "OMG!!! OMG!!!"and salivating madly! Just to peak your interest, let me begin with an image that is sure to have the desired effect:
To read more about the above sweater, check out the Finnish Ostrobothnian Museum's website .

This sweater utilizes not just knitting, but large swathes of crochet, and it is the reason why people who only knit (people like me), or people who only crochet, should expand their horizons. Because in the end, it is all about the fabric that you produce. And boy is this a BEAUTIFUL fabric!

Edited 14/04/2008:
Now, in this post, I am going to talk about the form of crochet that is used in that sweater, and also a simple form of crochet which PGR refers to as "bosnian crochet" / "shepherd's knitting".

"Bosnian Crochet" and "Shepherd's Knitting"
First another link to a website where you can see other examples of the types of fabrics you can produce with this Bosnian crochet. It's the website of Sylvia Cosh and James Walters:

http://www.crochet.nu/scjwc/work/bosnian/index.html

These guys make no distinction between the terms "bosnian crochet" and "shepherd's knitting", it's just all "bosnian crochet" to them. And I kind of like that.

If as a non-crocheter (like me) you googled these terms "bosnian crochet" and "shepherd's knitting", you would end up in confusion, banging your head against the wall and swearing profusely. Sure, there is a lot of information on the internet, but there is also a lot of twaddle (aka unintentional MISinformation). What you need to know is that this form of crochet has nothing to do with Tunisian crochet, as some internet websites will quite emphatically try to tell you, so get that in your head right away.

American readers may know this form of crochet as "slip stitch crochet", BUT it's not slip-stitch under the chain head as is apparently traditional in "western crochet". Instead, it is slip-stitching into the back (upper) loop of a chain head (what PGR calls "bosnian crochet"), and slip-stitching into the front (lower) loop of a chain head (what PGR calls "shepherd's knitting"). Crocheting slip stitches in this manner described by PGR, occurs the in many countries including those of Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, and Central Asia.

Also, in some countries, they use an altogether different hook than the one western crocheters (and knitters) are used to seeing for bosnian crochet and shepherd's knitting.

In Norway, this form of crochet is known as "pjoning", and in Sweden it is known as "smygmaskvirkning" or "smygmask" or påtning. Here is an image of the special type of hook that is used in this type of tradional crochet in Sweden and Norway:
I also found this interesting scan of a page which recently apeared on a discussion board on ebay in relation to these special types of hooks:


As you can see, the whole hook is flat (as opposed to cylindrical), and it has a pointed end, as opposed to a rounded end.

If there are any Dutchies out there who are passing by this blog, there was also apparently an item in a Dutch magazine from the 1800s called Pénélopé, which showed such a needle:
So perhaps there was a chance that this form of crochet (or "haakwerk" as it is called here in The Swamp) is a forgotten part of Dutchie textile history?

At any rate, there is a free crochet pattern on the Garnstudio website for a pair of mittens, using bosnian crochet and shepherd's knitting (aka "slip stitch crochet). Also, on the Sylvia Cosh/James Walters website, you can try out this PDF pattern for a cute little neckpurse thing.


Colourwork
As you saw on the Finnish Ostrobothnian Museum website, there is some beautiful colourwork crochet. It turns out that this colourwork crochet is done with "single crochet" (as Americans call it) or "double crochet" (as UK English-speakers call it). And in working out how this is done, my google travels led me to a most wonderful and interesting group of crocheters who do what they call "tapestry crochet", which seems to encompass all forms of crochet where the maker is using stitches to crochet motifs. The "tapestry crochet" in the Finnish sweater is done using different coloured strands of yarn in single crochet (aka double crochet if your an Aussie or English).

This lady in particular, who does tapestry crochet really flipped my switches, and she has a great tutorial there too on how to easily hold and crochet the colours:

http://crochetcodex.blogspot.com/

Wow. Just WOW!

Also, check out Carol Ventura's Tapestry crochet blog:

http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/blog/?p=23

Note that Bosnian Crochet can also be done in colour too, and not just a single colour.

Update 14/06/2010
Here are some more links about "Bosnian crochet":



Friday, February 22, 2008

Baby Socks for my Niece

My mum-in-law just finished knitting a baby jumper for one of my nieces and she had left-over yarn, so she asked me to make some socks. Over at Knitting Daily, I found: Better-Than-Booties-Baby-Socks. You have to sign up to get the free pattern, but if you don't want to give up your email address and get spammed just for the sake of downloading the free pattern, utilize the services of the folks over at Mailexpire.com.

The socks in Ann Budd's pattern use Priscilla Gibson-Roberts (PGR) short-row heel and toe, but don't let that scare you because Ann has kind of simplified it. So anyway, usually when I knit stuff in the round where you have to join the work, I just hold the tail yarn with the feeder yarn and knit 3 stitches in pattern to make the join. I always hated the jog that results. But a while back when I was browsing Techknitter's brilliant, awesome, wonderful, helpful blog, I came across her method for joining knitting in the round, which really minimises (almost eliminates) the jog. I wish I had tried it sooner because it isn't really complicated, and it makes a big difference to the look of the top of your socks. So the first part of this vlog today covers using Techknitter's circular join for Ann Budd's cute little Ruffle Rib Socks.


video


In the image below I have circled the jogs on the inside of the ruffle edge, but I think if I hadn't done it, the jogs would probably not be noticable at all! I really love this circular join.














OK, now the other part of this post today is about the heel/toe construction of the socks. Ann Budd's instructions are pretty easy to follow, but I noticed they miss a bit about stitch mount correction, so I thought I would make a video about this. Unfortuantely my camera was a bit wonky and I didn't really notice! Oops. I also keep calling PGR "Patricia", lol. Excuse my brain-deadness.

I will upload my video anyway in case it helps someone. I plan to knit another pair of socks for my niece because I still have yarn left over, so perhaps I can try to make a better video. In the meantime, here is the heel video in 2 parts:

Part 1: Short-row heel decreasing
video

Part 2(i): Short-row heel increasing
video

Part 2(ii): Short-row heel increasing
video

And finally, here's what my baby socks ended up looking like:

Cute!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mittens

Quick short post as I haven't posted or knitted in a while. Last night I was experimenting with knitting a top-down mitten with my left-over yarn, but it's a disaster. *cry* Not much else to say. I need to think about this some more.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Starting the simple top-down double-knit hat after the i-cord cast-on is complete

In yesterday's vlog post, I had set up my DPNs and was ready to start a circular piece, in this case my simple hat. Today I post the remainder of my vlog about starting the hat.

Row 1 of the hat:
video
It's kind of hard to see by essentially what is happening is that the red (outside) hat is knit in one round (round 1 a), and then the light blue (inside) hat is purled (round 1b). The purl stitch is just the back side of a knit stitch, so when you look at the blue stitches on the other side of the hat, you see a knit fabric.

As you knit the circle outwards, every odd round will be a simple knit round for the side facing you, and then a simple purl round for the side on the inside.

Row 2 of the hat: increasing # of stitches
video
Every even round of the hat will consist of increases while you knit the circular piece outwards.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I-cord Circular Cast On in Two Colours

Part One: A Two-colour cast-on
video

Erratum: At 2:11 I say something ridiculous about a "blue loop". I actually meant a red loop/stitch on the needle. :P

Part Two: Knitting a Two-colour I-cord
video

Part Three: Lifeline and I-cord increase
video

Part Four: Setting up the stitches on DPNs
video
Errors in part four: I kept blathering about "4 colours" when obviously there are only 2 colours. I probably meant to say "4 stitches on each needle".

Simple top-down double-knit hat is finished!


My simple top-down double-knit hat experiment is done.

It took me ages knitting this with my 2mm circulars. Lessons learned in the course of faffing about:

1) Use larger needles. Maybe 4mm or 5mm circulars (and an appropriate yarn for that)

would have made the project faster.
2) If I ever make a hat like this again, I will use an i-cord circular cast on for this project and not a modified Emily Ocker cast-on.
3) This hat was not allowed to be "girly" because it was for DH, but I think ribbing would have been a better move than of stockinette.

The inside of the hat turned out to be a disaster. I blame this on the cast-on, needles-size and tension that resulted. Looks like this will be a non-reversible hat, but at least it will still be warm!