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Double the Yarn, Double the Trouble

19 Dec

I am confused and it’s not the first time. And this is no time to be confused – this is the time for decisive action. A couple of hours ago I suddenly realized that there is one more Christmas gift I really need to knit, and it’s a biggie. These Drops Tights. 

Let’s not even get into whether or not I have a stoat’s chance in hell to get these done. I’ve rationalized that to myself, that’s not confusing. The yarn suggested in the pattern is. The pattern lists two yarns, held double (one strand of each). One fingering, one sport. And yet the Ravelry page for the pattern lists the pattern as for a sports weight yarn.

Maybe Ravelry doesn’t let you list several weights under one pattern. But if that’s the case, why not list the combined weight of the two yarns? That would make it easier for folks like me who want to substitute the yarn for something else… and I may just have answered my own question there.

Some googling gave me three entirely different results on what the combined weight of the two suggested yarns might be, ranging from sport to worsted. Finally, in a forum comment, someone said it’s easy: generally, fingering weight translates to 4 plies. Double that, you get 8 plies. That translates back to DK weight. And so on.

This to me seems to be somewhat less arbitrary than some of the other proposed approaches to this pickle, and I was glad.

Except that sport weight is 5 plies, making the combined weight 9 plies – smack dab in the middle of DK (8 ply) and Worsted (10 ply).

Huh.

There was no other option. I had to swatch, and choose which weight to go with based on which would match the pattern gauge more accurately or easily. I was more inclined to choose a worsted weight yarn because I’m in a hurry here… so that’s what I swatched first.

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I didn’t say I did it well, or anything. I’ll do a proper swatch when I have the actual yarn. This was just to see what weight might be appropriate. Based on this shoddy swatch, I’d say worsted.

Then there’s the issue of the stated yardage. I can’t brain this bit. As an example: say you need 200 yards of X and 200 yards of Y – that’s 400 yards, stated in the pattern. But how much is that of XY? My instinct is it’s 200 yards, because when you knit X and Y together, you’re still only knitting 200 yards worth of yarn. Right?

Not to mention that these tights or long johns or what-have-you aren’t supposed to be full length like in the pattern.

 I’m basically going to have to wing this yarn purchase, aren’t I?

I’m sure it’ll be fine. Just like getting these ready in time for gift exchanging will be fine.

Amassing Giftmas Yarn

28 Nov

Three days ago I ordered some yarn online (at this store: Titityy). The season is the reason for secret yarn purchases, and I figured the postage would be cheaper than taking a bus downtown to buy the yarn, which it is. I was surprised and pleased when an hour later, the status of the purchase had changed from “received” to “mailed”. That is some seriously good customer service!

(It’s another issue entirely that it had only been an hour since I placed the order, and I was already refreshing the tracking page.)

It was only later in the day that something else finally settled into my consciousness: the postal workers are striking. I’ve been paying attention to the news, but since I hardly ever mail anything, I didn’t think the postal strike had anything to do with me. They’re trying to wrangle themselves more job security because of impending layoffs, and I wish them all the best. It still made for some interesting times, as I tried to figure out whether or not my package was likely to get stuck in a sorting facility somewhere as the rolling strikes changed place from day to day.

By figuring out the pattern the strikes were following (by reading about it online, like the Sherlock that I am) and figuring out where the package was sent from, I reached reasonable certainty that I was safe and would get my package in the 2-3 days the online store promised. And sure enough, today I got a little notice slip in the mail saying I could pick it up at the post office.

And I got myself some goodies…

Baby merino silk in colorway Straw

Rowan Baby merino silk in colorway Straw

Cascade yarns Heritage Silk Paints in colorway Forest glen

Cascade yarns Heritage Silk Paints in colorway Forest glen

Clearly merino wool and silk blends have made an impression on me since I accidentally ordered two kinds of it. The baby merino silk dk (I have no idea which bit of that is the yarn’s name) is 34% tussah silk, and is markedly rougher than the other yarn (though still very soft indeed). I hope it will have decent stitch definition for a shawl I’m planning.

I’m slightly nervous about knitting white yarn. There’s a reason I don’t own any white clothing – it doesn’t stay white for long. I’ll just have to be careful, and treat the WIP with a bit more respect than I normally do with my knitting projects.

The really sleek and soft Heritage yarn is for a pair of mostly very simple mitts. The pattern I’ve chosen should let the colors shine through.

The unfortunate thing is that I never get yarns this nice for myself. I have a tendency to give away or knit and then give away all my really nice yarns. Not being made of money I can’t justify buying them for myself. But hey, at least I get to work with them if I’m making a gift for someone else. That’s part of the fun of knitting for Christmas 🙂

I can’t wait to start these projects! (Apart from being excited, I literally cannot wait because time is running out. I will make it, though, make no mistake ;)).

Jaw, Meet Floor

27 May

My boyfriend went home over the weekend and came back with a little something for me.

His mom went on a trip to the Baltic states and brought me two 100 g skeins of 8/2 Estonian wool… I love Estonian wool. (She bought it at a market and there’s no label, but I did a burning test. Also, it feels and smells the same as all the Estonian wool I’ve ever had.) I was literally speechless when the bf opened his luggage and pulled out a package for me. I am thankful for all the wonderful enablers I’m surrounded by 🙂 This was incredibly thoughtful and completely unexpected. What could be better 😀

It’s a wonderful color that turned out to be a bit hard to capture (some colors are like that for my camera) – a light greyish green. I love it, a lot. There may be enough for a vest, even, or at the very least a gorgeous shawl.

Look, It’s Actual Handspun!

20 May

I finished spinning my first 60 g of Finnish sheep wool, and wound it all up in a hank.

It looks so much nicer as a hank 🙂

I took all the bits of yarn I spun and wound them in a hank from the oldest to the newest, loosely tying the ends together when I got to them. I want to wind this up to a ball and then knit from the oldest to the newest, so I get a good idea of how the things I did differently along the way will affect the knitted fabric. Also, I’m looking forward to knitting better and better yarn as I get further in the ball 🙂

I estimated the yardage I got by measuring round my swift and counting the number of loops around it: it’s 60 g = 95 m (103 yards). I’m not even going to try counting wraps per inch because there’s so much variation through the yarn, but I guesstimate this is mostly somewhere around DK or worsted.

I still have my heart set on knitting a Baktus with it, but that’ll have to wait until I get this pesky seminar thesis thing done… Also, at that point it’ll be June and a 100 % wool scarf might not be #1 on my list of things to knit rite nao.

My New Super Hero Skill

15 May

Not only can I take yarn and turn it into fabric and real, useful and beautiful clothes, I can now with more and more proficiency take wool and turn it into  yarn! (Although someone else still has to take the sheep or similar and shear them and turn their fleece into prepared wool for me, but whatever. I’m sure I could figure out how to do it if civilization fell. Provided I could find friendly sheep or someone’s abandoned pet angora rabbit or maybe a long-haired dog.)

Here’s my first attempt in a year or two that I spun on Saturday. As you can see, I’m doing thick and thin and there’s not enough twist (?). I also tried to fashion a Lazy Kate out of a shoebox, and while it has worked for me before I just couldn’t figure any of it out now. Although my guess now is that I tried to turn the spindle in the same direction both while spinning and plying, and that’s… not how it works. Now I spin counterclockwise and ply clockwise, because it feels natural.

Then I found out about the importance of the weight of the spindle. Mine (made of a pencil with a hook on top stuck through a cardboard circle following the advice in this video) was 11 grams and apparently, for a beginner 50-70 grams is ok. Apparently the lightest commercially made ones are more like 30 g… Oops. Well that certainly explains a lot. I stuck on an eraser for added weight, and things got a lot easier. I also finally gave Andean plying a chance and oh, the joy! By the way, there are some really confusing explanations of Andean plying out there, and the one in Knitty I linked to is the best I could find… Suddenly, after 30 minutes of going “barooo?” it was very easy to do.

These changes resulted in this much better yarn that I spun on Sunday.

I looked online for real spindles in the weight category someone recommended for beginners and I found one, a Schacht Hi-Lo spindle (62,4 g). It works as both a top and bottom whorl. I also found out that Bluefaced Leicester wool is one of the easier fibers to learn on… So the boyfriend ordered the spindle and some BFL wool for me as my birthday present.

I don’t feel like spinning for long periods of time, but I still want to go back to it all the time. It’s a strange feeling.

I’m not sure why I have so much trouble finding basic information on spinning online, but I’m coming to the conclusion that my vocabulary is too small/I don’t use the words I know right, and I’ve confused the Great Google.

I finally found these useful tidbits of information by turning to my first language – surprise! Actually I think my vocabulary is even smaller in Finnish when it comes to spinning, but at least it’s slightly easier to learn the new words.

Now I’m just waiting for Mister or Miss postperson to bring me mah spindle and mah wool! I want  them right now *stomps foot*.

Fun with the Ball Winder

12 May

Like I’m prone to complaining, I have a lot of yarn I don’t feel like knitting. It’s in large part because I’ve started knitting something with it but had to frog whatever it was, and just wrapped the used yarn around the ball.

Resulting in ugliness that I want out of my sight.

I may have solved the problem.

I’m a genius, right? Yeah, right. 😉

I Should Be Cleaning

4 May

I’m not a very organized cleaner and often get distracted by the things I’m trying to tidy or arrange. If I start cleaning the kitchen cupboards, it’s pretty likely I just end up baking something. Rearranging the bookshelves deteriorates into sitting on the floor and leafing through books or getting sucked into reading a comic… And now, dusting turned into arranging my Knitting Notions Box.

I found some tools and things in there that aren’t really needed on a daily basis (a stack of yarn ball bands, a magnetic pincushion I thought would be awesome that I have never used etc.), and decided to move them into my Knitting Notions Drawer.

My stash has layers and this I have always known. But today, looking at the stash set-of-drawers that’s spilled over a long while ago, I understood that the layers are the reason why it keeps invading new areas in the apartment. In fact I would say I have several separate stashes that I’ve used up and spat out, leaving only the unsavory bits.

Different stashes don’t mix in my world, so when a new chapter somehow begins in my knitting life, I find a new place to stash. Somehow the presence of old yarn would take away some of the shiny of the new yarn.

If you were to remove all the parts of my stash that are just the bones of old stashes, what would be left would be a tiny amount of yarn. Not even a stash, really – a stashlette at most. That’s why I have a lot of yarn but nothing to knit.

Clearly.

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