21 March 2017

Last Call

I just happened to pick today to drive out to Robinson Salvage. I've been visiting about every-other week since January as the pile evaporated but the savings deepened. Apparently, today was the day the remaining stash was marked to 90% off.

That's the first pile. Some yarn, a few books, some spinning add-ins. Lots of cotton.


The second pile is all Mountain Colors. When you mark $21.95 down by 90%, that's only $2.20 a pop. This pile was about $50. I must say, I was surprised these didn't go faster. Then again, there are fewer spinners. It isn't surprising that the spinning fiber didn't move as fast as the yarn.

In between January and today, I purchased a whole breed study and enough silk-wool blend to make an entire sweater. Over the course of the sale, I think I purchased around 4 or 5 grocery-cart fulls. I have more than doubled the spinning fiber stash. If you see me at a fiber festival this year and I attempt to purchase any yarn or fiber, please redirect me to the nearest ladies' restroom and splash cool water in my face until I snap out of the hypnotic trace induced by wool fumes and hand-dyed colorways. I can't even rationalize a fleece, as I have an amazing one I purchased last year at SAFF. If I were on the board of one of the guilds, I would have been tempted to scoop up the pile of Ashford scarf kits at $2 a pop, as I think they would make nice door prizes.

By the way, at least some of this will probably be gifted to friends. This is truly an embarrassment of riches.

16 March 2017

Reversible Lace Double Decrease

Several months ago, I posted a video of how to work the centered double decrease in reversible lace. I finally got around to shooting a video for how to work a regular double decrease in reversible lace.

For the double decrease, the center stitch is on the bottom of the stack. Unlike a centered double decrease, a double decrease tends to break up the vertical line. While this is a subtle distinction, it can make a difference in lace patterns where uninterrupted wales are part of the design.

knit-wise, right stitch on top (leans left) =
  • slip 1 stitch knit-wise
  • knit 2 stitches together
  • pass the slipped stitch over

purl-wise, right stitch on top (leans left) =
  • slip 2 stitches together knit-wise
  • slip 1 knit-wise
  • return all 3 stitches to the left needle
  • purl all 3 stitches together up through the back of the loop

knit-wise, left stitch on top (leans right) =
  • slip 1 knit-wise
  • slip 1 knit-wise again
  • return 2 stitches to left needle/cable needle through the back of the loop
  • knit all 3 together

purl-wise, left stitch on top (leans right) =
  • slip stitch #1 purl-wise
  • reorder next two stitches:
  •     put right needle behind stitch #2 and into stitch #3
  •     remove left needle so stitch #2 is loose
  •     replace left needle in stitch #2 but not stitch #3
  •     return stitch #3 to left needle
  • return stitch #1 to left needle
  • purl all 3 together


Reversibility and symmetry can be peculiar. Either knit decrease can be paired with either purl decrease. Depending which you choose, you may get identical reversibility or mirrored reversibility. When designing on your own or converting patterns, be sure to swatch to confirm you are getting the intended result.

01 March 2017

Repair

Now that Yarn is over, I've shifted focus to what is happening in my own home. I spent the last week or so organizing the stash. This required two trips to Ikea. I'm not completely finished, but I have corralled most of the yarn, fiber, and craft supplies (including the beads) into one room. This involved moving some stash out of the master bedroom. I don't even remember why there was stash there, other than it must have been when I first started knitting, since most of it was very old stash. In the process of doing that, I discovered moth damage.

The basket isn't even in my Ravelry projects, as it was executed B.R. (before Ravelry). It is also B.B. (before blog). The pattern is Entrelac Tote by Melanie Smith marked "Revised 10/25/2005." It was probably in the very first order I ever made from Knit Picks. I recall it being a very fun knit that I worked up almost immediately. In fact, it was so much fun that I ordered 2 more skeins of spruce, 2 more skeins of hollyberry, and 1 more skein of cloud and knit a second tote. Note to yarn sellers: If you offer a pattern where I can easily make two by buying a little more yarn, please let me know. I'd rather knit it twice than add a big pile of partial skeins to the stash. And you might sell me more yarn!

I improvised on the second tote by making the narrow stripes at top and bottom as waves. Interestingly, they pulled in more when felted giving the tote a vase-like outline rather than the rounded basket shape. I also hid a small pocket behind every other diamond in the entrelac. I twisted the large i-cord handles around each other to give a braided effect. And I made a multi-twist möbius edging at the top. What was I thinking? Maybe I was going to use this as a knitting tote? I even used up the last little bits of yarn by making some "Five-Star Flowers" from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers (New York: Sixth & Spring Books 2006), page 100. (Long time readers will remember I've used the "Buttercup" from this book to cover a hole in a woven bamboo bag.) And I added a couple tendrils because, clearly, this variant should be labeled, "More is more, dang it!"

The moths had munched on the felted totes, especially the first one. Fortunately, they are felted. I took the first bag and ran it through the wash, thinking more felting would ameliorate the problem. Instead, a piece of the bag bottom disappeared. That would make the tote less-functional, wouldn't it? Sigh.

To the stash!

I have a box of half a fleece of freebie merino wool that is too fine for spinning. If you tug on it, it sounds like Rice Krispies. Snap, crackle, pop! It has lots of nepps and noils. If I were to make batts on the drum carder, it would make a very textured yarn. However, there is no such thing a bad fiber. If all else fails, it can be used as stuffing. This wool has turned out to be very useful for felting. While it takes some time to prepare (picking out all those little short bits), most of the time when I am needle felting I only need a small amount of wool. Fifteen minutes of picking isn't all that onerous.

I needed to dye the wool. I got out my Jacquard acid dyes and my set of samples. I was hoping there would be an obvious match. No such luck. Color 631 Teal seemed like the obvious choice, but it was a little too green. In the end, I started the dye process with a bath of teal. After an hour I added some 621 Sapphire Blue. After that cooked for awhile I finished off with more teal. As you can see, the dye struck the wool with quite a bit of variegation. It looks a lot like Malabrigo. Very, very pretty.


To make the patch, I got out my felting needles. The variegation was a tremendous help. There were parts that were too green, parts that were too blue, and parts that were about right. If the wool had taken the dye evenly throughout, it would have been an all-or-nothing outcome in terms of whether the color matched. Because there was variegation, I was able to use mini-combs to blend color. In the end, I got enough fiber that was a close enough match.

I spent about an hour needle felting. Ta-da!

Not a perfect match, but not obvious.