Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spinning Silk with Celia Quinn

Imagine sitting in a lovely room with a bunch of people peppered with spinning wheels and an unimaginable amount of silk fiber. Doesn't that sound like a great way to spend a weekend? Now imagine having Celia Quinn there too, sharing her insights and guiding you along as you learn new ways to work with the silk. What a wild weekend it was.
Some of the things we covered:
* History of silk
* Sericulture (the raising of silk worms)
* Good references on silk
* Making a sesame seed milk that is scentless and great for skin softening
* Dyeing silk caps and hankies (including all kinds of dyeing suggestions)
* Spinning techniques for at 8 different bags of silk fibers, each bag containing 3 or 4 similar fibers including
- bombyx & tussah
- various fibers blended with silk including yak, cashmere, camel (the camel was my favorite), pima cotton, bamboo, alpaca
- more troublesome carded silks including noil, thrown waste, etc
- spinning from dyed cocoons--strange but fun.
* Spinning caps, including a cool technique where you drape the cape over an umbrella swift
* Spinning hankies using a cotton carder to create a lovely drafting triangle
* Spinning thick yarn from hankies--my favorite technique from the workshop
* Creating hankies from cocoons
* Reeling silk directly from cocoons
Celia had displays set up all over the room with samples of her own work as well as picture boxes with a wealth of information. I have yet to acquire the skill of taking good photos that document an event. Nonetheless, here's some pictures of the caps we dyed and the resultant yarns and one of the display tables Celia set up.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

STR Sock Joy

More sock joy! I've always wanted to knit these socks from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and finally just jumped in and did it. (Yes, I actually have two of these socks, but this was the best picture.)
I was inspired by the pattern from their book, but ended up doing my basic toe up sock, Widdershin heel, and just used the yarn and striping from the pattern. Added a picot cast off for fun.
I've knit socks with the lightweight before, but I think I like this medium weight better.

Caspian Sea Sock

Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Caspian Sea Sock from Knitting Daily still on the blocking square.
I used Dale of Norway Tuir as recommended in the pattern, but changed the background color from pink to red--because I think it looks more elegant.
I have tiny, tiny feet. The pattern suggested using US1 needles for a slightly smaller size. I actually ended up using size 3 and they fit nicely.
Interesting pattern. My fair isle needs some practice, but it was great fun. I'm going to finish the second sock before doing the afterthought heels.
I also used a very loose cast off and think I may go back and do a traditional cast off--this one looks a bit ruffly.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bohus Inspired Sweater

Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic

Pattern: Zimmermann Circular Yoke: Bohus Inspired Yoke by Meg Swansen (Spun Out Issue ??)

I love this sweater. Fun to knit, lovely to wear. I wish you could touch it and see the lovely texture in the yoke.


I have pattern lust. Here's stuff I really, really, really want to make.

First, have you SEEN THESE!!! Oh my, oh my, oh my. Be still my credit card Caspian Sea Socks. And the pattern is free. http://www.knittingdaily.com/projects/socks-ty.asp

I also really want to knit this vest: http://www.ilgaleja.com/collection_summertime_antiquelace.html

I would order the yarn and get started, but I'm taking a silk spinning workshop later this month and I know I'll want to try my hand at making this with a handspun.

Oh...and these http://www.redbirdknits.com/patterns/detail.php?Category=Patterns&name=Fair%20Isle## Actually, any of them will do, but Istanbul is calling my name.

Sock Joy

What can I say? This is pure sock joy. They aren't fancy. But they are FAST and cushy and warm and fit wonderfully. Absolute joy.

And finally, I wrote very explicit instructions down so I can share the pattern for my basic sock. It is a variation of Queen Kahuna and the Widdershin sock

Yarn: Malabrigo worsted weight. I don't remember the color, sorry. Doesn't photograph that well, but it is a gorgeous kettle-dyed eggplant.

Needles: Knitpicks options, Size 6.

Pattern: K2Karen's Basic Magic Loop, Toe-Up Sock using 36 stitches.

Started: Yesterday at 4pm. Finished: Today at 1pm. And I also did real work. This sock is fast.