Saturday, August 29, 2009

Annual Pilgrimmage

Every year I try to go to the Spinrite Factory Outlet tent sale, in Listowel. It's just under an hour from Orangeville, but a very boring drive. This year, I took my niece Allie who was staying with us while we got ready to move. Heading out from Orangeville, she saw the LONG, straight road ahead and asked if we have to go all the way to the end. "Further" I replied. Everyone groaned. LOL. We've been going to Listowel every summer (almost), since Huey was a wee infant, so small he got weighed in the old-fashioned scale they use in the store for the mill ends that are sold by the ounce. There is a really nice park/playground/wading pool, and we had a great time this year. I don't know how I'm going to get there next year :(

Since I've been going for so many years (gasp), I've gotten very picky on what I buy. My stash has reached the point that I don't need to buy yarn 'just because' it's a good deal. I passed by all the bagged yarns and headed straight for the 'tangled skeins' bins at the back. They are $5 each, and buy 3, get one free. I didn't really see 3 or 4 that I wanted desperately...some were okay but I wasn't excited about the colours, or they wouldn't work on the knitting machine.

These skeins are great for the knitting machine because I can wind HUGE balls and have very few ends to weave in. Also, with having huge balls (LOL!!!!!) I don't want to carry them around with me when I take my knitting places. The three skeins going counter clockwise from the top left are worsted weight yarns, not cotton, probably Bernat Satin or other. I didn't recognize the colours of the two on the left. There were also many skeins of Handicrafter Cotton, which I can use for making dishcloths on the machine, but I didn't want 500 dishcloths of one colour, LOL. The cone in the middle is possibly a wool or wool blend. Spinrite also spins yarns for the garment industry, and these are great for the standard gauge machine.
The pink/yellow skein is poorly dyed, so it will be interesting to see how it works up. The green/blue/purplish one also had some dye issues.
I almost missed this skein. It was hanging between the bins, and was the only one like it. It's huge! There is some colouring on it, like it was set against a wet skein, or maybe it's dirt. Won't know till it's washed. Wonder if I can wash it gently like it is? What worries me about it though, is that it appears to be 'over energized single' ply yarn. The yarn curls back on itself and kinks. This usually causes the knitting to bias. I wonder if I knit it with two going in each direction...if that would cancel out any biasing?
I got to work winding the first skein. It wasn't nearly as tangled as some in the past. In fact, it was a piece of cake, although I got a little dizzy going round and round the two chairs I used to stretch/hold the skein.

But then. Disaster. "Someone" wanted one of the chairs. Without warning, I was left with this:

Yup. Uh huh.

At first, it still wasn't too bad. It wasn't knotted, I just had to keep flipping it over and over.

But gradually it got worse and worse. I started winding from the other end as the kids needed a ball of yarn for a craft and all my yarn was packed. I hoped it would take some of the tightness off, but I hadn't gotten enough wound from that end to do so. I cut that ball off, and shortly after the main ball came to a break in the yarn where it looked like the yarn had gotten caught in a greasy machine. So I had to start a new ball, which is fine, because it's easier to pull through the tangles. Eventually though, the ball got too big, and the tangles too tight to allow the ball to pass through, so I had to cut it. Then it was smooth sailing. I ended up with 5 balls, including the small one I cut off for the kids, that they ended up not using. I still need to weigh it, but no matter, for $5 (or less, taking into account the free skein), it's still a great deal!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Remember this, from two years ago? Go back and read the full story please. I really like the design of this tank, although I still question the use of a bulky yarn (wool). Bulky, textured yarn, and garter stitch all add up to unflattering addition to my girth, LOL. I don't think I ever wore it in public. I kept saying I'll get around to dyeing it again. I really wanted it to be shades of brown like I had intended. I got some brown dye, but it really didn't make a difference (think I had too little dye for the amount of fabric; I was also dyeing pants).

So I bit the bullet and tried some green dye.
The feel of the yarn is a little funny now (wasn't great to begin with). It's better, for sure, but I don't have anything to wear it with, and a heavy, knitted top doesn't seem right in the summer, even if it is part rayon and a tank top. And I don't care for it over a shirt (did that 25 years ago, don't need to do it again). So, it's still sitting in my closet, LOL. I did get some info on how to re-work the pattern with lighter yarn though!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Idle Hands...

I feel like I've had a good run of matching patterns to the yarn lately. Even when I worked on something that DIDN'T work out, I could accept it, rip it, and move on. So, once I finished Gail, I wanted to start another shawl. There are a few patterns that I've wanted to make for awhile, and always new patterns showing up. Trying to match up patterns with a suitable yarn (and my lace yarn stash is not very abundant) has been a challenge. What a yarn looks like when you knit it, is sometimes nothing like what you imagine from the ball!

To start the process, I laid out all the lace yarns and took a picture.

Clockwise rom top left--Wellington Fibers, SweetSheep BFL, Merino Lace, GrandRiverYarns, Elann Baby Merino Lace (?), SeaSilk (that I used for Gail), Headwaters Wool, KnitPicks Shadow (?).
For some reason, the SweetSheep BFL won. I bought this at the K-W Knitter's Fair last September, for $20, because it had some dark purple dye spots that shouldn't have been there. As I wound it up, I also found some flubs, some tiny knots, and then the yarn broke. There might have been a loose knot that came apart as the swift spun and I pulled. After winding the second half, I decided that the two balls were small enough for my electric ball winder.

Well, the first one was a little too big :(

Without flash, above, and with flash, below. There was still a lot of the yarn to handwind onto the ball, spoiling the pretty ballwinder look.

This yarn looks SO different wound up then in the skein!! Much more subtle! I have started a swatch, and even blocked it, sort of, LOL. I'm looking forward to the shawl, although I'm still not sure what I'll do when I get to the purple bits. I'm not sure they'll even show up!
For more pictures of this yarn, go back to last September when I posted about it. I don't seem to have those pictures anymore.

Friday, August 07, 2009

You Knew I Would!

When I mentioned a little while ago that I wanted to cast on for a shawl, I had a couple in mind. One of them, I even had the suggested yarn and had been YEARNING for the perfect pattern to do it justice. It was just what I was looking for in my next shawl--a large motif that is repeated, instead of a main panel and edging, or a repeating small motif.

But let's back up a little and take a look at that beautiful yarn!

Purchased at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair, September 2007, when I went with Cindy. I really wanted to try HandMaiden SeaSilk and thought, at that time, that I could make a delightful nightie to wear on our cruise. For which we were leaving in under a month. LOL. I had some bikini top patterns and tried repeatedly to crochet a bikini top, while at the same time, search for a matching fabric to provide some body coverage. Nothing was working, there was too much else to do...

Then along came the Montego Bay scarf. Once I realized that I had the suggested yarn for that, I decided to go ahead with it, even though I was not enamored with the pattern, knew it would drive me crazy, and that I probably wouldn't wear a 'scarf'.

That's how far I got. I put in the life line and tried to morph it into another scarf pattern that goes the other direction and has 'medallions'. Didn't work. It sat for awhile...that picture was taken July 28 2008. So, about a year. I ripped it out awhile ago.

And here is the new shawl in its early stages. Shortly after this, I made an error by forgetting to start another repeat in the center. I didn't notice it till much later and had to rip out quite a bit!

This is the shawl, all done, getting ready to have a soak. There is seven repeats of the motif, and for the edging, I think I did one repeat plus one row or so. There is a mistake in the edging chart, and it is NOT the lack of a double YO at the center. On row 3 (I think) there are YOs missing; it's pretty obvious how every right side row has yarn overs at the edges where the edge pattern meets the tip of the last leaf, but this row was missing the YOs. The next row won't work without the stitch created by the YO. You can see the small ball of yarn I had left. I could have done a few more edging rows, but I didn't want too much edging.

This picture should have been rotated! It's the center column, showing how the leaves branch off from a double YO.

There she is, being blocked on my floor. Of course, I'd like her a little bigger, it's more scarf than shawl (although at these times, being short helps). But man, what a stunner for under 500 yards and, get this....July 18 to August 1!!!!! That's like, two weeks?! Once I got those charts drawn up, and understood how it all worked, it actually became quite intuitive, despite being a large motif. Of course, it helped that we've had a lot of driving time lately, LOL. When I made the Heartland Shawl last year, I thought I might make it again, and I haven't, but this one, I think I will, only even bigger!!