Archive for May, 2009

A new market bag

Summer is the time for farmer’s markets, fresh air, fresh vegetables, homemade jam, bread, mmm the list goes on!  This leads me to think I need more market bags for going to the Saturday market.  I’ve made some in the past, generally all different patterns and most of them, while easy to make, go from a normal size bag to one 4 feet deep when you put one thing in it.  It isn’t so functional, sadly.  So I tried one with gussets yesterday of my own design.  Basic, of course, but I had a plan.

I made a rectangular base in single crochet worked in the round starting with a chain of 26.  Then I started the open work part by *chaining 2, skipping 1 stitch and then single crocheting into the next single crochet* and repeating across one long side of the rectangle.  On the short ends I wanted to continue the width of the base as a solid piece up through the strap so that part wouldn’t be as stretch. Roughly, the ends were 6 single crochet across and then I went back to the openwork pattern for the other long side.  And repeat.  There was some finagling on each end to keep from increasing and to keep the strap the same width, but those are minor details.  Near the top, I worked one round of *chain 1, skip 1 stitch, single crochet into the next single crochet* (smaller space) and then I worked 3 or so rounds of solid single crochet to make it sturdy.  Then I just worked a 6 stitch single crochet strap long enough when stretched to be a cross body strap and slip stitched it to the other side.  I only used 2 balls of peaches and cream cotton, not quite 200 yards so it isn’t huge, but I’m quite fond of it and I’ll be trying it out this Saturday!

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Casting on for Ribbing

So I wanted to cast on a project that starts with ribbing and after watching The Knitting Glossary from Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen (that’s another post coming soon) I had a new cast on to try.  Actually, it’s long tail cast on but you do it backwards for the purl stitches.  Hmm, that might not make sense.  Here, I made a video!

And here’s what it looks like.  Can you see two little purl bumps and two knit stitches, sort of?

A cast on edge for ribbing

The Unblogged Cardigan

Silly me, I’ve had something to blog about all winter and I never thought about writing anything or taking any pictures.  Last Fall, mom and I decided to knit the same pattern for ourselves.  After looking through a lot of patterns, we decided on the Sitcom Chic spring cardigan.  It was simple and only had one button.  We both modified it to be more of a cold weather/Fall cardigan and made it out of wool with longer sleeves.  I think I made the Medium and she made the Large from the pattern, it just depends on how you want it to fit, but I think they both work.

In cotton, I suppose this would make more sense since it isn’t supposed to come together at the bottom.  In wool, that doesn’t make quite as much sense… and only one button to keep me warm.  It’s just going to be a layer and I certainly wear a lot of brown, tan, and blue so I think I’ll keep it busy this next winter.  I tried to knit a little tighter although the yarn I used was still a light worsted weight (slightly bigger than dk weight) and my needles were size 8.  One of these days I’ll make a project that uses smaller needles and finer yarn… and probably love it.  The tighter it is, the better it will wear and that is important to me.  I want things I make to last!

Mom and I model our handmade knit (and matching!) cardigans.

Mom and I model our handmade knit (and matching!) cardigans.

The Birthday Hat

I had to get a picture in here of this hat/cap mom made for me for my birthday!  It is so sweet and warm and seemed like a really quick knit.  What was the pattern mom?  You should post it in the comments.  =)  I helped her pick out the yarn over the phone but I didn’t really know what the project was going to be and we decided to go with a color that was different than what I usually wear.  It’s just an accessory so it supposed to stand out a bit.  And then I wore it over to the Brookside Art Fair (which was super great and FREE) and it kept my head toasty warm.

Thanks mom!  I love it.

Alex and I smile for the camer after our birthday cake.

Alex and I smile for the camera after our birthday cake.

Exciting times with a local alpaca herd

alpacaLittle did I know that my visit to Marcia’s alpaca farm (Orchard Hill Farms) yesterday evening was going to be as exciting as it turned out to be.  I just wanted to treat myself to more alpaca fiber and I loved that I had met her alpacas when I “helped” (read that as tried to not to get in the way) on shearing day a month or so ago.  I called her up and she was happy to sell me some fiber so I drove on up to her house in the country.   It is such a beautiful drive.  I just love getting out of town although it makes me rather homesick.  After greeting the little dogs in the house we weighed out some beautiful fiber and talked about our beginning spindling and spinning skills.  She had white and black roving from last year’s shearing so of course I bought both.

After chatting a bit and talking about the alpacas she asked if I wanted to watch a mating (at least she didn’t say I’d have to help) since she was thinking about doing it anyway.  What could I say, but “Sure!”  So out we went to watch alpacas make babies.  It was a surprising turn of events, but not one I was about to turn down, and indeed, it turned out to be quite educational.  So Marcia, her husband Joel, and I hung out with the alpacas and the dogs and then she decided to split up the babies from their momma’s since they needed to be weened.  So the little ones, Norman, Lisa, and (ohh, I forgot his name) had to go in a separate corral from their moms and it was a split they weren’t very happy about.  At least Joel’s shirt wasn’t new!  And I was in charge of the gate.  I can do that.  =)  Now I want to go “help” again!

I love spindling fiber

Spinning really is miraculous and wonderful.  Almost like magic.  And when I tried for the first time, I think I probably thought it was magic because it’s hard when you learn, but once you catch on, it’s so simple.  I am also really interested in simple tools that can do so much and have been used for so long through time.  They cross cultural, gender and time boundaries.  The drop spindle is just one and I am happy to have discovered it once again.  You know, they say that because our ancestors worked with these tool, sometime our fingers instinctively know how to do things or how they might prefer to do them.  Like knitting Continental style versus English style, or drafting with your right hand or your left.  There isn’t a right way, just what works for different people.  For me, I knit Continental and I really want to learn how to knit English so I can do two colors at once, but I haven’t quite got it yet.  With spindling I hold the fiber in my right hand or around my right wrist and hold the twist with my left.  I don’t know if that is more of a right-handed way to do it or left….  Anyway, I am in love with fiber.  I want to try to spindle anything I can get ahold of.  If I could get my cat Spike to sit still, I’d spin his hair too.

Spike is the darker one.  His hair is soooo long!

Spike is the darker one. His hair is soooo long!

So it’s been a while, but I have a new hobby!

And of course a new hobby and craft is definitely worth a blog post.  I have rediscovered drop spindle spinning.  I tried a couple of years ago, but between my trying to learn, making my own drop spindle, dying the fiber I wanted to spin and felting it a bit, it didn’t go well.  I think I actually got the hang of it a little, but it wasn’t fun.  At least not at that point.

But now the Topeka Farmer’s Market just started up and the Spinster’s club has a booth selling fiber, yarn, hand made drop spindles on a wood lathe, and it has real people spinning at the table.  Yay for Marilyn!!  I was completely inspired.  So I treated myself to some local alpaca fiber from their table, but when I went home I dug out the wool fiber I had dyed… 2 years ago and decided I had to learn on that since it was going to be funky as a beginner.  Then I would work on the alpaca after I’d gotten a little better.  That was some serious incentive because I have been spindling ever since!!

 Spinning is seriously addictive.  I think I’ve heard that before and now I know it is true.  I love the simplicity of the drop spindle.  I’m very interested in traditional knitting, spinning and crochet tools.  Anyway, I’ll just post more pictures of what I’ve done this week now.  =)  Yay for spindling!!!

Dyed wool spindled as my beginner project.

Dyed wool spindled as my beginner project.

 

Dyed, spindled yarn in skeins.

Dyed, spindled yarn in skeins.

Plying alpaca fiber into 2 ply.

Plying alpaca fiber into 2 ply.

Brown and white alpaca spun and plied into yarn!

Brown and white alpaca spun and plied into yarn!

Brown and black alpaca fiber, partially spun.

Brown and black alpaca fiber, partially spun.