Reclaimed yarns

Last week I was in the mood to unravel and ply some of my sweater stash.  I did pretty well, finishing about half of the pile.  Now I’m left with the ones that are a bit delicate or complicated.

 

  1. 1480 yards of light fingering weight silk.
  2. 75 yards white, 665 yards blue of laceweight 50%wool, 35%nylon, 15% angora.
  3. 500 yards fingering weight merino
  4. All yarn in this pic are destined for the dye pot.  The big one was unraveled previously.  It is DK weight wool and didn’t need plying.  The yellow is silk, probably laceweight.  There’s some merino and a cashmere as well as a wool/cashmere. I have no ideas yet about what colors to dye these.

I’ve not been knitting much.  Just not in the mood.  I have started a Dwarrow inspired Christmas stocking.  I’m hoping to get the pattern released before Dec 1.  I’ve given up on finding test knitters.  Perhaps when/if I become more popular I’ll try again.  Sometime next week I’ll release the Hap Style Shawl pattern.

So why am I not in the mood to knit?  I’m not exactly sure.  It’s certainly knitting weather.  I have been working on fiber prep.  And there was Halloween decorating.  I have been in the mood to sew, although I’ve not actually sewn anything.  I’ve organized my fabric stash and ordered some patterns and printed out some free ones.  I’ve been struggling for years with the desire to change the way I dress but have been unable to really define my style.  It’s been what I like vs what is practical to wear.  I live in sweatpants, t-shirts and sweatshirts.  I like skirts and somewhat fancier things.  I’ve collected the fancier stuff but don’t wear it because it’s too much work to pick out an outfit or I’m afraid of getting it dirty or it’s just too fussy to wear for everyday.

I stumbled across something called Lagenlook and it’s pretty much exactly what I’ve been looking for. Loose, comfortable layers.  Pretty without being fussy and if I keep cotton as my top layer it’s easy to wash and with this style, if it gets stained I can just stick a decorative patch over it to hide it.  I can keep the fancier clothing for special occasions.  So I’m just waiting for some patterns to arrive and then I’ll be sewing for awhile.

I think that’s enough rambling for today.

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Random Ramblings

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  Sorry about that.

While a lot of things have happened, not enough of any one thing has been done to do a post on.  So I’m just going to ramble on about all of them in one post.

The Dwarrow Shawl has come to a screeching halt.  The motif did not turn out right.  I only barely understand what went wrong and I’m really not sure how to fix it.  I’ve got the beginnings of an idea so I’m letting that rumble around in the back of my head for awhile

I’ve knit a bit of a few things, such as: Dracula’s Bride, Sing a Song of Sixpence, and Alla Moda.  But not enough on any of them to be worth showing.  Well, actually, quite a bit of Sixpence but one can only show so much circular stockinette.

I’m not having any luck finding test knitters for my Hap-style shawl.  I’m debating posting in one of the groups with strict requirements for posting test knitting requests or just releasing the pattern and maybe offering it for free to the first 10 people to use a code, asking (begging) that those people knit it soon and make project pages.

I strained my back and was stuck on the couch for the better part of a week.  I read a lot of fiction and spent way too much time on Pinterest.  Which is why the last few days has been filled with a trip to the dollar store and then painting and altering the things I bought.  And decorating for Halloween.  Yes it’s still September but I love Halloween and why shouldn’t I start decorating (inside) whenever I want to.  Besides, the day after Halloween, it all starts coming down and I start decorating for Christmas.  I really love Christmas.

I’m also starting to get the urge to spin again.  I started working on the Cormo fleece but the cut (butt) ends matted a bit in the washing process.  This makes flicking/combing a lot of work and combing is prone to a lot of neps if not flicked first.  It suddenly occurred to me that if I cut off 1/4 inch or so on the butt end, I’d be rid of the matting and it would be so much easier.  The locks are long enough that losing 1/4 inch doesn’t really matter.  I’ve got to try this on that Corriedale that has the same matting problem.  It’s so much faster and easier on my body to comb now.  I did a full dozen nests today.

Well, I think that about covers everything.  If there’s anything else I can’t remember it right now.  Hopefully I can make some showable progress on something soon.  (I wouldn’t count on it.  I can’t seem to settle into doing anything for long.)

 

Designing a Dwarrow Shawl Part 2

This pattern is going to drive me insane.

I got the written instructions done over the weekend and yesterday I cast on.  The beginning went well.  I can show you that without giving much away.

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It’s pretty and interesting and I think I need to play with this as an all over design in the future.

After that I started the lace motif that I had designed.  I was right. Those purl side decreases just suck.  They’re overly complicated and I don’t like knitting them.  My number one rule of knitting is that it should be fun and/or interesting.  If certain stitches irritate me, I won’t knit it.

I’ve knitted enough lace to know I don’t like purl decreases beyond p2tog so I should have avoided them from the beginning.  So back to the chart to fix things.  I fiddled with adding plain purl rows but that stretched things out terribly.  I soon realized that I had to do a complete redesign, except for the beginning part I showed above.  I got the basic design re-done last night before my brain screamed no more.

This morning I came back to finish it.  All was going well until I removed 3 rows that somehow accidentally got added to the beginning.  That screwed up things so that all my pattern rows were suddenly on purl rows.   NOOOOOOOO!!!  That’s what I was trying to afford in the first place.  So I decided to add a row to shift things back to the knit rows.  But that messes up my shaping increases.  I stared at it awhile before deciding that one row without increases wouldn’t really mess anything up.

Now I have to do the written pattern from this redesign.  Doing it the first time was a headache in places and I don’t anticipate this being any easier.  Maybe I should pay Stitch Fiddle for the month so I can do it automatically.  I’ll think about it for awhile.  I need a break before my head explodes.

Designing a Dwarrow shawl

Before I get into this post I want to let you know that I’ve started a Ravelry group. Kyla Lade Designs 

I’ve finished knitting the Hap Style shawl and it’s blocking.  It’ll be ready for test knitters some time in the next week.

I’ve started work on my next design, the first in hopefully a series of shawls based on Tolkien’s dwarrow (dwarves).  I’ve had the beginnings of a lace design charted out for while.  I’m currently transcribing it into written instructions.  While I can read charts, I’m very slow at it and I knit better from written instructions.

I use Stitch Fiddle for my charts and while I could (and someday, probably will) pay for the premium service that would automatically generate written instructions, it’s turning out to be a good thing that I’m doing this by hand.  What looks good in a chart is turning out to be very weird and possibly difficult in reality.  It’s lace on every row, which makes for some weird stitches as written.  I’ll probably have to go back and figure out alternative purl decreases.  I’m not sure if slip 2, p1, pass slipped stitches over will look the same as it does in knit or even be that easy to do.  Same for ssp instead of ssk.  I might even go back and eliminate the purl row lace.  This is why I have to swatch (even if my swatch will essentially be knitting the shawl.)

I’ve only got part of the shawl charted.  I’m hoping that I’ll get to the point where it’s basically knitting the same set of rows until you get the length and then I’ll have to figure out the ending.  I know what I want.  It’s just a matter of how to knit it.

I have another 20 or so rows to write out and then I have to decide on yarn and needle size.

Oh and I’m crossing my fingers that this lace looks good once knit.  Again, looking good in a chart is one thing, reality can be a whole different thing.

Designing a Hap Shawl Part Three

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So the swatch didn’t lie as much as I thought.  The square is only a half inch wider than I estimated.  That’s not a big deal.

I’ve gone on to knit the border and now I’m almost 3/4 of the way through the edging.  It’s looking pretty good and should square up nicely when blocked.  I’m quite looking forward to getting to that point.

I’ve been working on writing the pattern when I need breaks from knitting and it’s coming along nicely.  Describing how to start and attach the edging gave me fits.  I lost count of how many times I tried describing it – editing, deleting, starting over – but I think I finally got it.

I do plan to find test knitters for this.  I estimate I’ll be done knitting in another week and I’ll probably get the pattern finished at the same time.  It really just needs pics and some final polishing and formatting.  Once that’s all done I’ll go looking for the test knitters. If you’re interested, contact me – dystini on Ravelry.  I’m looking at a 2 month or less time frame.  It’s taking me about a month to knit. I’m only providing the pattern and asking that you make a project page on Ravelry.  And maybe asking to feature your picture of the finished shawl on the pattern page.  I really should go look at some of the design groups on Rav for advice on test knitting.

Designing a Hap Shawl Part Two

I got the yarn dyed and dried over the weekend.  I cast on this morning.

Provisional cast on of 78 stitches.  Everything went smoothly and now I’ve knit 10 rows out of 156.  I decided to measure things.  10 rows still equals 1 inch.  That’s good.  But 78 stitches measures 21.5 inches, not the 18.5 that I estimated.

Now what do I do?  All of my calculations are based upon 78 stitches.  But it now appears that my center “square” will measure 21.5 X 15.6 inches – far from square.  Could blocking really help that out?  Does it have to be square?  Perhaps the border/edging will help things look more square.

The border will be 78 stitches per side.  So the inside of it has to be square.  It’s wavy so as it pulls on the center, the edges of the center would never look straight.  In theory, then the border would make the center look/be more square.  It’s a 6 inch difference between sides so I’m not sure how that theory would hold up in practice.

I guess that the only thing to do it to try it.  As long as I don’t cut any yarn, I can unravel and try again without any yarn loss.

Swatches lie.

Designing a Hap Style Shawl

I mentioned in my TdF Final post that I wanted to make a Hap style shawl out of some of my handspun but couldn’t find a pattern that I liked so I decided to design my own.

I’m going to try to document my process.  This is the first time I’m designing a shawl.

I want a garter stitch center square.  Here was the first problem in finding a pattern.  Nearly all of them knit the center square on the diagonal – in essence,  a diamond,  not a square.  I don’t like knitting on the diagonal.  I just want a simple no increase/decrease square.

Next, I want to use The Old Shale pattern for the border.  That’s easy enough.  I want to use the basic 18 stitch variation.  After a bit of searching, I discovered that to go around a corner you simply add a few more stitches, 24 or 30 stitches total.  I’ll go with 24.

Ok so I need to make a square that’s a multiple of 18 st plus 24 (half of 2 corners).  I also need to be mindful of the fact that I have 642 yards of yarn to do the who shawl with.  I now need to know two things – how long is 18 stitches in garter and how much yarn does that use.  Time to swatch.

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I chose a size 6 needle, both because it was handy and because my yarn varies a bit in thickness.  My swatch is 36 stitches and 15 rows. All measurements are unblocked.

  • 18 st in garter = 4.25 inches and 14 inches of yarn used
  • 15 rows in garter = 1.5 inches
  • 24 st in garter = 5.7 inches and 19 inches of yarn used.

Now to decide what size I want the square to be.  I checked out a pattern in the same weight but with one of those diagonal squares and it said the whole shawl measured 40 X 40 inches.  That seems like a good size.  Estimating from the picture, it seems like the border/edging is about half the size of the center.  Two borders (one on either side) means that the center must be about 20 inches.  The pattern didn’t say but I’d guess the measurements were after blocking so I can go a bit smaller than 20 inches.

24 stitches for the corners plus three 18 stitch repeats is about 18.5 inches

  • 5.7+4.25+4.25+4.25=18.45 inches.

That’s 78 stitches.

This is the tricky part.  I’ll have to pick up stitches on the sides and I’ll want to pick up 78 stitches to make all 4 sides the same. 78 rows, picking up a stitch for every row is only 7.8 inches.  That’s no good.  How about picking up a stitch for every 2 rows? 156 rows would be about 15.6 inches.  Hmm, that’s 3 inches short of a square (this is probably why people do the diagonal diamond.)  An actual square would be 185 rows but then you have to kind of fudge things and skip rows to pick up only 78 stitches.  I’m kinda planning to release this as a paid pattern and that sort of thing is hard to explain.

Then I also have to take into account yarn usage.  156 rows would use about 263 yards while 185 rows would use 311 yards.  311 yards is nearly half my yarn and I don’t know yet how much yarn the Old Shale pattern will use. Time to swatch more.

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In the end I will be doing the Old Shale pattern in the round and I know there are differences in yarn usage between flat knitting and in the round knitting.  I’m pretty sure that I use more yarn in the purl rows than knit rows in flat knitting so swatching flat will increase my measurements a bit, which is a good thing.  Better to have extra yarn than not enough.

  • 4 row 18 st repeat of Old Shale = 54 inches of yarn used
  • 4 row 24 st repeat of Old Shale = 72 inches of yarn used

There are 4 corners of 24 stitches plus 12 total of 18 st repeats. One full round of 4 rows would use 936 inches or about 26 yards.  I want 7 repeats so that’s 182 yards.

Also 12 rows or 3 repeats of Old Shale = about 1.5 inches.  Give or take a bit.  It’s hard to measure with the undulations. 7 repeats should measure around 3.5 inches.  2 sides of this border would then be 7 inches.  I was planning on 20 inches so that’s quite a bit different.  But I’m not taking into account an edging.  So now to figure out what I want for an edging.  This will be knit on sideways so I need a row count that matches up with my stitch count – 312 stitches.  But it’s only every other row of the edging that gets knit together with a border stitch so it’s actually 624 rows.  Plus 12 rows for easing around the corners.  636 rows.  More swatching.

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I found an edging that I like. It’s 12 rows which divides evenly into my row count.  I knit it once on it’s own, just to get the feel of it and then I figured out how to knit it onto my swatch.  Then I measured how much yarn it uses which is about 3.33 yards.

  • 53 repeats of the edging multiplied by 3.33 yards for each repeat = 177 yards

Sizewise, the edging is about 4 inches, adding 8 inches to either side.  Adding that to the 7 inches of Old Shale gives me 15 inches, close enough to my 20 inch goal (which is after blocking anyway.)

Now let’s add up all these estimations of yarn usage.

  • 236 yards for 156 row center
  • 182 yards for Old Shale border
  • 177 yards for edging
  • 595 yards total

Well that’s well within my total amount of yarn of 642 yards.  Still kind of close since that yarn measurement is also an estimation.  Just for curiosity, I’ll figure out that bigger square total.

  • 311 yards for 185 row center
  • 182 yards for Old Shale border
  • 177 yards for edging
  • 670 yards total.

Well that really gives me my answer.  I don’t have enough yarn for a truly square center so the almost square (and easier to pick up stitches on square) will have to do.

One last thing to figure out.  I want to stripe the Old Shale border.  5 of the 7 repeats will be in a different color than the main body.  So how much yarn will that use?

  • 26 yards per repeat multiplied by 5 = 130 yards

So I need to dye 130 yards brown and the rest teal.  I’ll do the edging in teal as it will contrast against the brown.

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This is obviously not to scale nor are the colors right.  It just gives an idea of what I have in mind.

It actually took me most of a day (probably a good 12 hours) to figure all of this out.  This is just the calculations.  Now I have to knit it (and cross my fingers that my math and estimations are good) and then write up the pattern.  I’m thinking I might want to find test knitters for this one.

And before all that I have to dye the yarn.