Saturday, July 29, 2006

Peacock Shawl Do-over (much bigger yarn and needles)

So yesterday I started doing the Peacock Shawl over again in a yarn size that I can live with on US 3 needles. You see a partial pin-out since there is no way to do a full pin-out unless I take the shawl off the needles and put it on something longer to hold the stitches. When the yarn is this big, I can see everything and I am already on row 91 of the pattern. Knitting this now just flies along like no effort at all. It's amazing how you can knit with authority when you can actually see the darned stitches. Now I know what you may be thinking. You may be rather concerned that the yarn is so LOUD. Well, you would be right about that. It will take a special kind of presence to wear this shawl and not be daunted. Still, when you are my age, life holds little to be afraid of in terms of what other's might think of you or how you are dressed. Besides, if not now , then when?
Anyway, the concept of knitting lace is not actually hard for me, it's the size differential that gets me. I want to knit the very thin lace-weights, but I pay for that desire in frustratingly slow progress since I can hardly see the stitches to correct errors. Hence, it is best not to make any errors in smaller size needle/yarn weights to begin with. Like I said, slow . I'm on row 20 of the WRS and did not knit it at all during the blistering heat-wave that we had here where I live (high 90's). I also took a picture of how I keep some of my lace projects now. I really like these clear project caddies. You can see all your supplies and retrieve them quickly It is also less likely that your lace projects will get bumped etc in these. I'd love to see how everyone else organizes their work. Of course, I have other things just thrown into knitting bags etc, but these are things that are not very delicate and if they accidentally fell off the needles, could be put back easily. There is a gathering in Dixon CA this weekend with sheep and vendors of sheep related products. I had considered going until it became so unbearably hot out here. I can't justify it since I have plenty of yarn, fiber and there are already 3 wheels in the house. Going to that show would only tempt us to buy more stuff and we already have a gracious plenty of supplies. I have been busy practicing spinning thin on my Schacht single treadle with some beautiful merino I bought from Lisa Sousa Knitwear (see side-bar). It's such a pleasure that I can't begin to tell you! I might experiment with my singles to see how sturdy they are. I've always been afraid to try to use my yarn as a single for fear it would just fall apart on me, however, on examination of the Shetland cobweb weight I've been knitting, I have begun to re-think my stand on this. If I give it a lot of twist, then steam-block it, I think It would be something I could use to knit with. I'm going to give that a try later. For now I'm still busy with the shawls and with my crazy quilt project. Not only that. Once I finish my Peacock Shawl, I have a lot of other patterns I want to try out!


Jason said...

Wow, you look so organized over there! Looks like each project has a complete set of tools. :-)

Looking at your Peacock Shawl, I can't wait to start my Lotus Blossom. No, I haven't started anything yet. Not even a test swatch. :-( You know, the heat. I can't even imagine what it's like in the high 90's where you are. The ocean here did cool it off a little. Your shawl looks great!

You are also giving me some stuff to think about on spinning and proecessing the yarn. I won't ask questions right now. I have to think about them. LOL

Also, I looked all over on your other blog for the post on your three wheels. I wanted to see what you like and was glad to find that you really like the Lendrum. A lady at the guild loaned hers to me. But it did not come with instructions. LOL I think I'll take it to a spin-in next Sunday to get some help. :-)

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

I'm really only organized for the more delicate lace knitting! My more robust projects just get carried around in the generic knitting bags or freebie cosmetic bags. I live in fear something will happen to a "work in progress" and I will have to start over yet again! I once was visiting a family memember when one of the children pulled a Shetland Shawl off the needles and used the clicker as a castinette! As for the wheels, the Majacraft "Rose" belongs to my sister. She spins some but not as much as me. Though I have the Lendrum now for variety, I have to say I still love and more frequently use my Schacht, which was the wheel I learned on. Maybe once I buy the "Insanely Fast" flyer/bobbin for lace spinning for the Lendrum, I will feel differently, but I rather doubt it! If you go to a spinning guild or a wool event, you might be able to try alot of differet styles of wheels. As you can see, we prefer "castle" style wheels! Can't wait to see you start testing for the new shawl!

Until Later!

alice said...

I don't think it's too loud at all. Very pretty and peacock-like. :)

My method of storage is pretty much limited to the ziploc bag. And fanatical use of point protectors...

Jane said...


Ziploc bags are our little clear friends! I have used alot of those to coral my lace/beads etc. I should have bought stock in it because I use it for everything! I'm glad you like the shawl color. Subtle I'm not:)

Jason said...

The Fabulous Fiber Fest in Santa Monica will start in a couple of weeks. I plan on taking a spinning wheel class with the same teacher that taught me spindle spinning. He's quite good. I will also try some wheels at the vendor's booths. That will be a fun day! The class alone is 6 hours I believe.

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

Make sure you bring lots of cash. I have a feeling you've been bitten bad by the spinning bug! It might help to make a check list of things to compare on the wheels you see so you will remember the pros and cons. When you go to test the wheels try to pay attention to how each wheel is adjusted for tension. Some are more sensitive than others and the more "old fashioned" looking ones may be charming but adjusting the tension on those takes more effort than the Lendrum or my Schacht. Also, look at both double drive bands vs scotch tension.Some people feel the double drive bands are more difficult to learn. I have had no problem find the "sweet spot" on mine while spinning but everyone is different. The Lendrum is very forgiving for someone starting out and is a scotch tension. I bought it as a "travel" wheel as it is easier to break down than the Schacht. That's another thing. If you think you will be taking the wheel out alot, see how portable it is for your car. Check the ergonomics as well. Don't get something you will have to hunch over to spin on. Check for "chatter" ie if the wheel makes noise when you are pumping the treadle. My sister had an Ashford traveler with chatter and it drove her nuts until we got rid of it.Check the bobbin size. Lendrum has small bobbins but not so much an issue if you plan to spin mostly thin. If you plan to spin bulky, it could be a problem when you ply. Check to see if it comes with a good lazy kate. Some are better than others! Lastly, make sure you like to look at it. A wheel tends to stay out on display! Don't buy just for the sake of buying and enjoy the whole experience! Your instructor sounds great. It makes all the difference to learn from someone who is patient.

Have Fun!

Carol said...

Oooh! Organized. VERY nice! And I don't think the peacock shawl yarn is loud. I like it! Besides, it's a PEACOCK shawl, aren't peacocks supposed to be colourful??

Jane said...

Dear Carol,

Yeah, I like to be organized as my life goes spinning out of controll!