Okay, so I still have not knit any socks, however I have started crocheting another 2 pairs. I use the term pair loosely, the top sock is certainly going to wind up as a pair. I love how it is turning out and I have plenty of yarn for the second sock. The pattern is from the Interweave Crochet Issue Winter 2011 on page 56. The top sock is out of a fingering weight yarn using a size E crochet hook following the pattern almost exactly. I added a few decreases where the sock hits my ankle to avoid the pouch of fabric the other sock is showing. The bottom sock, which will not have a matching mate but I believe will wind up having a crazy mate out of a different yarn altogether, is made using the same hook as well as the same pattern. The top sock has a looser fabric, I will probably try and play with that if I have any yarn left after the pair is finished, but the bottom sock has a much tighter fabric.
According to sock experts this means that the bottom sock will wear better and the top will wear out sooner. I have to confess, if I can figure out a good pattern that will work with fingering weight yarn, yet be fun to crochet, I don’t think I will ever bother learning to knit socks. Only time will tell however. There is a new form of knitting needles called Addi FlexiFlips and they might be what I need to help socks become easy enough for me to consider knitting, but at over $20 a set I almost think I would have to be in love with sock knitting before I invest. Fortunately I might be able to visit a yarn store and take these for a test knit sometime and see if it is worth the investment. Until then, I’m going to keep crocheting socks!
Sheepspot by Sasha Torres is a great podcast and an overall great spinning resource. If you are looking for a podcast that will help you become a better spinner then this is the first one I would recommend. She is very strict about sharing information and making it clear that each podcast is going to have a lesson to teach, but that there will be print resources available. Even if you do not listen to the podcasts, subscribe to her newsletter. You will certainly get more out of it if you do both, but even with just her newsletter you will gain access to all of the great resources she publishes. At a wild guess I would say that Sasha is a librarian or otherwise involved in higher education, she gives detailed resource information for all of her podcasts and makes sure that the information is concise, clear, and readily available. As of the writing of this review she is just working on six ways to get out of a spinning rut, her online course. It does run a bit expensive, but I imagine it will be handy. Since I have not taken it, nor will I have the means to do so in the immediate future, I cannot say it will be worth it or not.
Check out this great podcast/resource. It is well worth the time.
I am working on the Beekeeper’s Quilt, the pattern is by Tiny Owl Knits and can be found on Ravelry. Each little Hexipuff is knit as an individual project, stuffed, and put in a basket until you have a sufficient amount to piece together for a completed quilt. I can knit about one hexipuff a day, due to time constraints and my very slow knitting. It will take about 580 Hexipuffs to make a quilt 5.5 Feet X 6 Feet. Since I like my quilts to be able to actually cover me this is the size I am aiming for. A 3 foot by 4 foot quilt would be 384 hexipuffs but I would consider that a very small quilt.
If I were able to knit a hexie every single day it would take me about 2 years to create the hexie’s and probably another year to piece it together. This would certainly qualify as a big project. Well, I cannot make a three year project easy on myself now can I? No! I decided that I was going to create two different hexipuff quilts. One will be made up of hexie’s that I knit from my own handspun yarn.
The second quilt that I plan on working on will consist of scraps of yarn, usually some fancy yarns that I will not purchase an entire skein of. For example JimmyBeansWool.com allows 20 yard samples of some of their yarns to be purchased. While I find myself reluctant to purchase a skein of Madeline Tosh (MadTosh) yarn for $25-$35 a skein, I can justify spending about $1.25 for enough yarn to create a hexipuff and a half. It really is still quite expensive, but it allows me to fool myself into thinking that I am being thrifty. I have also discovered that the MadTosh yarn is really exquisite to work with and creates a very pretty, silky puff. If I were really into clothing knitting I would certainly consider some of this. The yarn to the left is a thin sock yarn, that I might need to use a smaller needle if I want to knit the rest of my sample skein into hexie’s, and the right is the MadTosh yarn in Swimming Pool colorway.
I really enjoy knitting up these tiny hexies on my size 8 Dpns out of wood. I love how the needles work with the yarn, and I really enjoy working with my handspun so I get an idea of what works and what does not with my yarn.
Very Pink Knits:
The tagline of this podcast is: “Where we turn knitting questions into knitting answers” and that really covers this podcast well. There are bits of their personal lives involved, just enough to make them seem human, but there are also a lot of questions answered. Very good, and I have heard great things about the teaching videos also available from verypinkknits.com. The hosts are likeable and friendly but they also tend to dive right into the questions. There are ususally 2-5 questions answered in a podcast but the hosts are very aware of the time, so the shows are usually about 20 minutes long, which I find to be a decent amount of time.
The first of my Fall Crafting Classes is complete. I cannot believe that the summer is gone and fall is beginning, c’est la vie.
A couple of my students finished their tapestries form the end of the Wooly Wednesdays, and several students made considerable progress working on their plastic canvas patterns. I am so excited to see how far my patrons get next week, we are supposed to start on the counted cross stitch then, it will be fascinating to see their progress.
I received my set of Dodec Wheels from Porter Threads today. I purchased these spindle wheels for my Wooly Wednesday Workshop Series at the Public Library I work at. These are a very inexpensive version of a spinning wheel since they lack the bobbin and flyer component. There are also free plans for building your own wheel, which I lack the carpentry skills to create. I was able to buy two wheels, with four spindles and assorted parts, for less than $200. They arrived in two separate boxes taped together. Each box contained the wheel, two spindles, two drive bands, two pieces of paraffin, two crescent wrenches, and the wooden components that are easily assembled.
Since it is raining today waxing or otherwise staining these wheels will have to wait. Assembling the wheels is as easy as taking the part with the pedal putting it on the ground, take the part with the wheel and slide it into the appropriate slot in the base.
Each wheel also came with 2 spindles and two drive bands. Installing the spindles is a matter of unscrewing the rectangle of wood sticking out of the front, I am going to call it the front maiden, and installing the spindle. Finally screwing the front maiden back on.
Then before you know it, you have the spindle installed and since the bulky portion acts as your flyer to turn the spindle you have that installed as well!
Once you have the drive band stretched over the flyer piece and the wheel, hook the treadle to the drive wheel and you are ready to go.
All of this took about fifteen minutes! I cannot wait to get started spinning on the spindle wheel to see how different it is from my Ladybug!
I look forward to reporting how simple this is for my beginning students to learn this after their drop spindles.
My First Dyeing class was a runaway success. The techniques and materials were simple enough that the students had no problems following along. Everyone’s wool turned out bright and beautiful, the results were phenomenal. I hope that every class is as enthusiastic, cheerful, and helpful. The questions being asked proved that the patrons were there to learn. I am so excited for the rest of the Classes. Dyeing Wool Handout contains the methods that I taught to dye fibers easily using materials found in a kitchen. There are a million other ways to dye fiber, so do not take this as gospel.