Monday, September 04, 2006

3 Day Weekends (where did the time go?)

I didn't really knit that much this weekend in spite of the 3 day holiday. I spent part of it with the family and I just can't knit well when I'm around others. It's too distracting. I've been making an effort to work on the "Mountain Pines" shawl however. I really want to finish it so I can work on "The Spider Queen". I know, I know. The deals knitter/spinners make with themselves are often baroque and without real meaning to anyone but ourselves. I really must finish a shawl so I can start another shawl? What kind of whacked logic is that? Still that's the deal. I can swatch "Spider Queen" but not really knit it until I finish something. The yarn I spun for MP does not show to advantage in these flash shots. When It's done, I'll try to get an outdoors shot that shows the subtle nature of the colors. While I look at this shawl with a critical eye, I can see some parts of the yarn that are thinner than they should be, fatter than they should be in some locations. When I was younger this would have driven me crazy but now that I've exceeded the "half century" mark, I think I can live with the irregularity. I'm up to row 47 of the border (it's 99 rows total, then you knit on an edge) and I'm about to start the "Pine Trees" that are in the border of this pattern. It's silly to get off on that aspect of the knitting I know, but I get a kick out of seeing the motifs take shape.

I'm working on the second repeat of the WRS center panel and it's still something I can knit for only 1-4 rows before having to stop and do something else. It may be the fact that the row of stitches is quite long and each row of pattern itself is also quite long. This pattern differentiates between decreases that are left and right leaning decreases (darned dyslexia) so it takes me more time to read/knit each decrease stitch. In contrast I was swatching "Spider Queen" and it does a standard K2 tog for all decreases. Knitting this is very easy as a result. If anyone is considering making a Shetland Shawl, I'd suggest doing Hazel Carter's patterns first before trying Sharon Millers as a starting point because of this aspect of the knitting. Just my opinion of course! I check in on the Yahoo Group for knitters making Sharon Miller patterns and some of the others on that group suggested I just do K2 tog for all the decreases if it's that big a deal for me. Since the yarn I'm using is so fine, it might not be very noticeable that I'm doing left or right slanting decreases but it's hard to change what I'm doing now that I've started out one way.

Just a mention here about perspective. Once you start knitting with Gossamer weight yarn, all the other laceweight looks and feels like you are knitting with rope. I Swatched Spider Queen with some Zepher I had around the house using a US 3 needle. I just couldn't get into it at that weight. "Spider Queen" implies use of a pretty darned fine yarn. I will go through the stash and examine what I have for candidates.


alice said...

Don't the size 3 needles feel like clubs, too? :)

What about that lovely cashmere? Would that work for the Spider Queen?

Jane said...

Dear alice,

Yes, those size 3 needles do feel abnormally large and cumbersome. I thought about that nice silk/cashmere blend too but I also have another nice yarn in mind that did not work out for the Peacock Shawl because it was too thin.Graceful is varigated so I will try to swatch that along with the cashmere/silk. I will go down to a US 2 needle though. US 3 is way too big. So the shawl will be smaller. Heck, I don't actually plan to wear it myself anyway!

You must keep knitting because it is my special "eye candy" to look at your site as part of the unwashed masses who gather at your blog:)

Jason said...

OK, I've been eyeing the Spider Queen shawl for a while now. Something you said in this post made me feel like I could do it. LOL Do you think I can handle this after Lotus Blossom? I wonder if I am good enough to be called adventurous intermediate.

How did you ply the yarn for MP? I just finished a skein of yarn that's about fingering weight. I took a comparison picture of the yarn and other commercial yarn. I looked at them and noticed the differences in looks of yarn that are plied differently. I got intriqued. I started cutting strands of yarn and untwisting them to see how they were plied. So much fun! LOL

alice said...

aw, you're very kind. :) No danger of me stopping the knitting!

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

Interesting that you should ask about plying. I only took the initial 5 classes to learn to spin. Nothing after that. The way I was taught was, if you ply singles, you want to twist them together enough that once you remove the yarn from the bobbin, it really will not require soaking/blocking with a weight to keep it from twisting back on itself. It should lie flat and not require the extra blocking. This implies that you already know how you want your yarn to end up. I like a plied yarn that is not super twisty so I spin towards that end.

If I am spinning a single, and I want to get an idea of what it would look like as a two ply yarn, I stop spinning with about 2-3 feet of yarn beyond the orafice opening to the wheel, pinch off the single at the orifice so it won't twist back, and let the length I have in my hands fold back onto itself to make a two ply. This generally gives me an idea if I am putting enough twist into the yarn to give me what I want once I go to ply it.

Example. If you make very thin singles that barely hold together, then ply them, you are untwisting. If you have not put enough twist in the original singles, they may fall apart on you. If the singles are very twisty, and you don't ply them enough or too much, you will have over-twist and need to soak/block with weights so it won't twist back onto itself.

Lets say you want a very bouncy yarn. I assume you would make super twisty singles and ply them up also super twisty. You might end up with a very Koigu type of a yarn, depending on how many singles you were plying. Still, you would hope not to have to do alot of blocking to make the yarn keep its intended shape.

You can also take singles, make a two ply yarn, and then ply the two ply yarns together to make a type of a 4 ply yarn, only not (There is a term for this but I forget what it is),

Of course, you have already done "Navajo" plying.

Hope this helps you out with the spinning part.

As for your skill in knitting Spider Queen, I think if you knit it on the original US#3 with something like Zepher, that you could most definately do it!

You would have to know how to do a yarn over, be able to do a yarn over twice, know how to do a double decrease ie. slip one, knit 2 together and pass slipped stitch over. There are only two unusual things in the pattern. Something called a "polka pick-up" which Hazel Carter discribes in the pattern and a technique for reading/following the boarder pattern which is written as a "half chart". I have no doubt that the "Lotus Blossom" uses a version of half charts as well, so you will already have had practice. I don't think any of this is beyond you. Besides you would have "tech support" from everyone on line. I don't think you have anything to worry about:)

If you knit The Spider Queen it may be that we will be doing it at the same time!

Jason said...

Wow Jane! That's a lot of info! Thanks! There is so much to learn in spinning. Lots of experiments. Lots of fluff everywhere. LOL My main concern now is to find out how to know how much twist is been spun into the singles. By sight? By feel? Or just by experience? I should read the books I bought. :-)

Not sure when I can do Spider Queen now. Though I might get the pattern anyway. There's a new project that I am researching for. If I do it, I will be very busy for the next 10 months. It's also suppose to be kept a secret. So, I am going to be so relieved when I can finally talk about it. LOL

Jane said...

Dear jason,

I spin by feel most of the time. I spin a little and ply to see what I get and If I like it. If not enough twist, I put more in. Some people try to count the number of times they treadle but I've never been able to do that. Maybe with plying that would work.

Having a secret project is good! After all, if I had one, you would not know about it either:) You might want to buy "Spider Queen' as a pattern so you can read and grow familier with it. Also, some patterns do become hard to get as time goes by.