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Falling down the slippery fibre slope

First Leaves of Spring, and A Discussion of I-Cord Bind-Off Techniques

First Leaves of Spring, and A Discussion of I-Cord Bind-Off Techniques

Did you know there are at least three different ways to bind-off with an i-cord edge? Why would you need more than one?!

This is Laura Aylor’s elegant “Woods in Winter” pattern:
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The pattern as written calls for a simple bind-off, shown here:

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Reflecting over the original bind-off overnight, I decided the next morning I really wanted an i-cord bind-off to match.

Bind-off C:
Cast-on 3 stitches
*(K2, K2Together, transfer the 3 stitches from R back to L needle)
Repeat *
When 3 stitches remain, K3Tog, cutting yarn and pulling through.

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After finishing a 3-stitch bind-off (the other two edges are in 3-stitch i-cord), it seemed to me that this edge looked too puffy and large compared to the other two. Also, I noticed this bind-off had an underside (which shows on the right-side of the knitting) with a “laddered” stitch pattern. It would be very pretty in some knits, but doesn’t match this pattern. And finally, the preceding rows of all purl stitches (on the right side) made it look even more chunky.

First: ravel the purl stitches and re-knit the last row so there are  2 rows of knit stitches on the right side before starting a bind-off.

Here is the result of testing three different bind-offs, using only 2 cast-on stitches this time:

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I-Cord C bind-off:
Cast-on 2 stitches
*(K1, K2Together, transfer 2 stitches from R back to L needle)
Repeat *
When 2 stitches remain, K2Tog, cutting yarn and pulling through.

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I-Cord B bind-off:
Cast-on 2 stitches
*{K1, K2Together through back loop, transfer stitches from R back to L needle}
Repeat *
When 2 stitches remain, K2Tbl, cutting yarn and pulling through.

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I-Cord A bind-off:
Cast-on 2 stitches
*[K1, Slip1, K1 and pass slipped stitch over, transfer stitches from R back to L needle]Repeat *
When 2 stitches remain, K2Tbl, cutting yarn and pulling through.

Bind-offs A and B were similar, but I felt that A had a slimmer, flatter shape, which better matched the other two edges of my shawl. With a different pattern, if it did not matter, I would choose B, as it is much faster for me to knit!

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12 April 2016 Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Yarn Left Behind

Salvaged Gold Vexillum, aka “Yarn Chicken Knit”

Go ahead, dare me. I can’t walk away from a challenge of yarn chicken. I’m not sure I know how. I so dislike “wasting” any extra yarn, that my mistakes tend toward knitting my projects until the finished pieces no longer look fitted, and are a tad too large. But this is not usually a problem with accessories like scarves.

I had 550 yards of Blue Moon Laci yarn left over from the 1750-yard skein used to knit Tropfen for my husband.

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This yarn, in the colourway “24 Karat”, is so luscious, I wanted to steal his scarf many times over, so the leftover yardage were destined to become something for me. Enter Vexillum, by Paper Moon Knits.

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The pattern calls for fingering yarn, but my yarn is laceweight. Fortunately, I had a lot of it, and all was well until approaching the finish line. I had weighed my remaining yarn many times to guesstimate how much to leave for the i-cord bind-off, although I did have a few strange readings when getting toward the end of the skein. For instance, how could I weigh the remaining yarn at 5 grams, only to knit an additional four rows and read the next weighing at 7???!!!

Nevertheless, during my Friday morning knitting group, I definitely had enough for the i-cord bind-off, but talked myself into knitting an extra two rows first. “Yarn Roulette,” a friend told me I was playing.

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I had my extra rows completed by the time I joined a second knitting group Friday evening, and proceeded to bind-off. However, nearing the end of my yarn, it was obvious that it would not be enough to finish. Fortunately, I had a trump card: a precious butterfly of yarn left over from my Tropfen project:

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I was dismayed to find that it was not long enough! My fingers shaking with anxiety, I found a last meager bit of yarn wound on little card.  This was a lease tie on the original skein. It was so small, there was no real reason why I kept it! One friend noted helpfully: “You could always hack off a little off the end of your husband’s scarf and use that!”

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I parsimoniously spit-felt-joined this last fragment of yarn, regretting my earlier squandering of possibly five inches of my yarn butterfly with my preferred Russian join. More stroke-inducing binding-off later, I was devastated to acknowledge that I still did not have enough to finish the i-cord bind-off. I finished the last 1.5 inches with a basic bind-off. It was a relief be able to finish the scarf, but where was the gratification or triumph?

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Two hours later, back at home, my son was pushing around something on the floor with his toes. “Mama, is this garbage?” “Nooooooooooooooooooo!” I snatched this precious salvage from him the moment I recognised it for the gold it was: a scant 9″ of my yarn! Hero of the hour! I’m still a contender to challenge the yarn again!

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Half an hour of undoing two inches of bind-off later, I spit-joined a scant inch of my wisp of treasure to that tail, and joined the other end to the leftover tail still attached to my cast-on edge. I bound-off warily, praying over every stitch, and… success!

My nerves were so frazzled that I broke apart the joined cast-on and bind-off tails at midpoint before thinking to photo that epic moment. Less than four inches left at each end to weave in!

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I don’t think I’m much wiser or repentant, but… I AM still undefeated at yarn chicken! Victory!

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12 April 2016 Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Homemade Magnetic Knitting Chart Keeper

Here’s my inexpensive, lightweight, and portable magnetic chart keeper that won’t break the bank if it’s lost, or you need more than one!

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I purchased the washi tapes (Japanese patterned masking tapes) at Daiso, but I’ve seen them at many different craft stores as well.

The magnetic backing is galvanised flashing, which I purchased at my local hardware store. The smaller sheet, which fits a quart-sized ziplock plastic bag, was only 55 cents. The larger flashing (fits a gallon ziplock) was less than a dollar. The large one also fits into a standard plastic page protector.

I taped all of the very sharp edges for safety!

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The magnetic strips (also found at craft stores) came in a roll, have adhesive on one side, and are easily to cut to size. Cover them with more washi tape (or ribbon) for prettiness to enjoy!

5 February 2016 Posted by | Knitting | , , , | 2 Comments

Timely Mitts

Have I mentioned that I once started a pair of socks (two-at-a-time) on circulars, put them away and lost them for a while — then after searching found two exact same sets of these socks worked in the exact same pattern, and also the exact same yarn? Until I found the second pair, I had no recollection of having begun them! They are still unfinished, and both pairs lost again. I’m a bit worried that if I look for them again, I may find a third set! Or, perhaps unfinished projects that hibernate long enough begin to procreate!

After the double set of sock incident, I’ve taken to knitting only one project at a time. And so, I have been knitting Tropfen (Ravelry link) since February, but have only made it almost halfway through the main part of the pattern.

I’m still pretty faithful to my Tropfen scarf, but knitting lace weight on size 3 needles (I made a false start, knitting about a foot in size 0s before switching), but I really needed the encouragement and gratification of finishing something fast. Enter the Rock Strata Mitts (Ravelry link).

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Using some of my recently-finished handspun yarn, and even at my very slow speed of knitting, it has taken me only four days for me to complete these!

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It feels fantastic to finish something, and I’m psyched up to continue on with Tropfen.

20 October 2015 Posted by | Knitting | , , , | Leave a comment

Noro Taiyo Poncho And A Lesson Learned

Here is another gift of designer yarn that, left to my own devices, I might never have found my way to experiencing. I have recently been consumed with knitting, and find I spend an inordinate amount of time knitting, frogging, and re-knitting. I’ve come to the opinion that spending so much valuable time to knit something from an idea into existence deserves yarns that are “perfect”, rather than “make do”, even if it means having to splurge extravagantly. For now, as my stash still brims with gorgeous gifts, I am diligently divining their perfect destinies; but I do look forward to Some Day, (when said stash is under control), when I may finally choose the project first, and only then shop for the ideal fibre to suit.

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Comprised of cotton, silk, wool, and nylon, Noro Taiyo has some very natural colourways; and I can see myself in this rustic, bohemian yarn, curiously named “Colour 1”. This yarn is a good representation of me, as all my eye, hair, blush, and skin tones may be found in each skein.

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I decided to use Taiyo to knit my latest adventure,  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s poncho.

The pattern calls for increases made to both sides of a centre knit stitch. I wanted to eliminate the holes created by yarn-over (YO) increases, so made the change of using make ones (M1) rather than YOs. The M1 increases are made by picking up the bar between stitches, and knitting into the stitch. This project gave me lots of practise in knitting M1R (make one right, right leaning ) and M1L (make one left, left leaning) increases. To remember which way to knit them, I found the notes from the Jimmy Beans Wool site very helpful:

M1L – pick up front to back, knit in the back – front, back, back
M1R – pick up back to front, knit in the front – back, front, front

For such a very simple knit, it seemed as if I would never have it right, and finish; I knit and frogged the neckline three times before settling in to knit the body. Because the yarn is predominately cotton, I imagined it would stretch, and so knit the fabric a little tighter to compensate.

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When I had knit up two skeins, I had to admit to myself that the resulting stiff and thick fabric was far from what I hoped for: which was a stretchy, drapey, summery cover-up to throw over beach attire when convening with friends around an evening campfire. Just thinking of it, I can hear the laughter and gentle banter, against the background of snapping flames, the scent of burning wood resins, and the feel of the sand’s grit through my fingers. Clearly, this uncooperative cloth was not sharing my reverie! Well, perhaps the yarn did envision the sandy beach in one respect: for intermittently trapped in the yarn were rough bits of straw, bark, and the occasional flake of mineral that had to be tweaked out. Every skein seemed to have at least a dozen such detritus to contend with. This is rustic yarn, indeed! At this point, my project had enough length to be finished as a short poncho, and both DH and DS were loath to (and horrified by!) my resolve to raze two weeks of work. Fortunately, I wield the needles, and had the last word.

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I made the neckline even larger the last time, as all of the previous attempts had collars that were too close and warm against my skin. I also switched to larger (US size 10.5) needles for the body of the poncho. It is slightly larger after washing and blocking, and I hope it won’t continue to stretch. There is a little wool in the mix, so I might attempt to full the garment slightly at some point.

I did not want the fringe of the original pattern, so used six rows of moss stitch in the neckline and hem to keep the stocking stitch from rolling up.  The entire poncho used three-and-a-half skeins of Taiyo. Worn normally, the sides fall slightly below my elbow.

0918PonchoFinished

For a different prospect, I could keep both arms out of the cold (sporting a horizontal striping), by wearing the poncho sideways.

0924PonchoSideways

Turning the poncho so that it falls rakishly asymmetrical is my favourite way to wear it. The collar falls a little like a cowl, one arm stays warmer, and I feel oh-so-boho-chic sporting it thus!

0921PonchoAsymmetrical

To my chagrin, I did not think to check the order of the M1 increases until after I had blocked and dried the poncho. It seemed obvious to me that all stitches to the right of the centre knit stitch lean right, and all the increases to the left… lean left. None of the sources I checked to learn the M1 stitches made any comment, although a couple did generally list the order as M1L, K, M1R. In my convoluted wisdom, I, who have more fingers than finished knitted projects, thought it seemed more logical to knit the increases as M1R, K, M1L. It did not occur to me until a week after finishing the poncho to knit up two swatches for a visual examination of the differences (I’ve exaggerated them a tad by bunching up the sample on the left):

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As you can see, the middle column of knit stitches in the swatch to the left has a more pronounced definition, while the one on the right lies flatter. Also on the right, I think the columns of stitches branch to the sides in a more crisp and angular rather than curved fashion. Here are the samples again, (left one not bunched this time), this time with my poncho:

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I wish I had thought to check these increases before starting the poncho, but the difference is not so striking that I feel the need to re-knit it!

8 September 2013 Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Captivating And Suspenseful Knit

A friend gave me three exquisite skeins of Alchemy 100% bamboo yarn in the 62c Resolution colourway, and I’ve visited and petted this yarn many times in the three years since I’ve had it, waiting for the right project to present itself.

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This project had to meet three criteria: first, the pattern must showcase the elegant beauty of the gorgeous hand-dyeing (with very short colour repeats); second, not be too small; and third, us as much as possible of the stunning yarn.

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Clearly, something lacy and elegant, without being too busy, was in order. Enter Clapo-ktus, a hybrid of Clapotis and Baktus, The lacy effect comes from purposely dropping stitches between ladders of stocking stitch. The scarf is triangular, so the trick to using up all the yarn is to weigh the yarn before you start knitting, then several times along the way towards the midpoint of the triangle, until half the yarn is used up. At that point, you stop increasing and begin the decreases back down to the other small corner of the triangle.

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In theory, it seems easy enough, but I suspect my gauge changed during the knitting, muddling things considerably. I nearly had heart failure, knitting to the finish, awash in anxiety that I would run out of yarn. (It has been discontinued, and more was not to be had! And even when it had been available, it had cost a fortune! Even if I had a fortune to ransom another nonexistent skein, the dye lots would not match, and I would have too much left over!) When I was nearing my mid-point, I made the decision to allow an extra four grams of yarn over the requirement for the second half of the knitting. It had been an agonising decision to make, because I certainly did not want even one extra gram of this precious yarn to go to waste, let alone four. I’m glad I did that, for even with the generous allowance, all that remained at the end was a scant 11″ wisp of yarn. Who knew that 150 grams/450 yards of yarn could provide more heart-stopping action that left me gasping for breath at the end more than reading or watching any thriller might have!

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This project taught me how to twist my stitches, from both the knit and purl stitches, and how to identify such stitches by sight.

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The bamboo yarn bled so much when I washed it (with a spoonful of Synthrapol in the wash), I worried the deep berry colours would wash out.

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Blocking the scarf was necessary to complete the lacy look. While knitting, I purposefully made the selvedge stitches looser, but even so, this bamboo yarn does not stretch like wool, so the edges limited how aggressively I could block open the scarf.

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You’ll notice the colourful foam tiles on my floor. They were installed when my son was a baby, and even though he has long outgrown the need for them, I’ve kept them for him to jump around on when playing video games, and (more importantly) because they are the perfect area for blocking my knits!

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This bamboo yarn knit up like silk; slinky, shiny, but not stretchy. The resulting fabric drapes beautifully, and the shawl is perfect for summer.

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29 August 2013 Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Winter Knits

Each time I post, I vow to keep up the momentum to publish more often. Well, it’s been a year since the last post, so I suppose I need to revise my goals.  The only weaving I’ve managed since last year has been on small Weave-Its/Weavettes, but because I felt the cold in my bones most keenly this past winter, most of my free time turned towards knitting as a means of keeping warm. I started this post with the best of intentions after finishing the bulk of my winter knits, but as winter meandered through spring, and time trudged through the burning heat of summer into these crisp cool precursors to fall, I’m finally finding time to present the labours of last winter.

This is A Better Bucket hat by Amy Swenson:

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I think the yarn was Manos del Uruguay, but for the life of me, I can’t remember or find the tag — or my notes!

I often take my son to park days with friends, but my cold fingers needed some help if I wanted to knit. Chilly Podster Mitts were the answer!

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Executed in variegated Patons Classic Wool, I knit these tightly to be more hard-wearing and warmer. I love the convertible thumb. I had to finesse the pattern so the mittens would fit my hands better, and found I enjoyed the process of playing with numbers and gauge to arrive at the perfect alteration. I learned enough knitting the first mitten to alter my second mitten more easily.

Then I was inspired to tackle a larger project, a cardigan. Only once before had I knit a sweater, a raglan pattern, for my son. (That was four years ago; it didn’t fit correctly, and was worn twice only, as a costume!) Of course, I couldn’t do something simple like find a pattern in English. The only pattern I wanted to try was Huldan Takki, written in Finnish. (At the time, there was not an English translation available.) I don’t know a single word in Finnish, but Google Translate helped me to make a start on guessing the pattern in English. To complicate things further, I changed nearly every pattern specification:  using dk instead of fingering weight yarn, drastically changing the cast-on and increase numbers, knitting top-down instead of bottom-up, and eliminating striping patterns. Two different colours of yarn had to be used, as I worried I would not have enough yardage. The yarn was six skeins of Cascade Yarns 220 in Australian Nights and one skein of Cascade Yarns 220 Quattro in Plum Crazy. I made several false starts before settling into the knitting, but still had to re-knit the first sleeve five times! The second sleeve did not match the first, and I had to acknowledge that all my copious note-taking was to no avail, as I had difficulty in deciphering my code even in the instances when I did not fail to lose the precious pages. But, I learned so much about knitting to fit myself!

After finishing, I wore it twice, but found the boatneck top to be too loose for my taste. I asked for help on Ravelry, and there seems to be no escape from ripping out the neck to re-knit again. Fortunately, I do have an extra skein of Australian Nights, so this will help, but the revision will not be a straightforward task, as I had knit it top down, and it will take some work to re-knit it going up. I’m not experienced enough to know exactly the changes that are needed to fit it more closely to my neck, and I frankly cannot make sense of my notes. It’s too daunting a task for me to face just yet, so I’ve put the project aside to await an infusion of courage.

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I found I’m happiest when I don’t have too many projects going at once, and I truly enjoy finishing one before starting another. There is a kind of joy in the discipline of following through, and in that period of sweet anticipation of the next, when the end of a project is nigh.

After Huldan Takki, I wanted an easy, mindless knit, which I found in Red Heart’s Endless Circle Vest. I used twelve skeins of some clearance Tesoro yarn I bought long ago from Jo-Ann Fabrics; it’s mysteriously labelled simply 100% wool. It’s actually luxuriously soft, dense, and springy, for being unknown wool. The pattern is both elegant and simple, and would make a wonderful project for a beginner. To alleviate the uniformity of the green, I knit the circular part carrying a strand of colourful novelty yarn (Lion Brand Trellis, in Stained Glass).

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I used up all but a few yards of the mint yarn, although I have almost a full skein of the novelty yarn left. I succumbed to the temptation of using as much of the yarn as possible, since I didn’t want to have any extra left over. However, I should have stopped sooner, as the sweater is a little too large and bulky on me. When I eventually wash the sweater, I plan to full it to shrink it a tad. The neat thing about this sweater is that my hands are completely free, and I can complete messy chores like dishwashing in stylish warmth, without the worry of dirtying the sweater.

I’m finished with warm woolen knits for the time being. I look forward to being fashionably warm next winter!

27 August 2013 Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mystery Of The Lost Socks

Losing one sock is a common lament at our household, but I have no idea how I’ve come to misplace a hand-knit pair I’ve never worn!

My first pair of socks was finished more than two years ago, using the pattern was from Silver’s Sock Class tutorial.  Still unused, they were socked away (har har) somewhere safe, waiting to be photographed and shown off here.  I want to wear my new socks, and I hope posting this will help me find them!

It has been many months since losing my first socks, so I finally started knitting a second pair (I’m not counting the two singles I frogged).  The two-at-a-time pair of socks I’m working on (using a single, long circular needle) use the basic pattern from the book, “Sensational Knitted Socks”:

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Both skeins of yarn are from the same dye lot, but isn’t it interesting that there’s a difference between the colour progression on the socks?  The skein on the left has much sharper colour changes, while the one on the right shows a lot more blending between colours.  I’m guessing that even if they may have been dyed at the same time, there were variables, such as acidity and temperature, that affected how the dyes struck (adhere to) the wool.

I’ve read that in general, green dyes strike at the lowest temperatures, followed closely by blues.  Yellows, then reds require the hottest temperatures. Perhaps one of the skeins was slightly cooler than the other when the dyes were applied.

My snail’s pace of finishing any knitting doesn’t keep me from dreaming of future socks.   The next ones I want to try are two-at-a-time, toe-up socks.  The best reason for knitting up from the toes is so you can use up all available yarn for more length up the leg.  (That really appeals to my frugal sensibilities.)  Following that, perhaps extreme, two-in-one socks.  At my current rate, that fourth pair should be ready to show off around the year 2014.  Stay tuned.

10 June 2009 Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yarn Winders And The Humble Toilet Paper Tube

Up until a week ago, I have been winding all yarn by hand with a nØstepinde.

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Notice the rubber bands around each of them?  I use them to hold down the starting yarn end.  They are capable of making very large, centre-pull balls.

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For three years, I’ve been holding out for a for a wooden ball winder, but since there is the tiny detail of not bringing in any income, I broke down and purchased a Royal ball winder.

It works, but I’m not overly impressed.  I’m still faster on a nØstepinde, since I only need to wind a ball once, and because I don’t make mistakes that I have to spend time fixing.  (I wind very loosely on a nØstepinde.)  When using the ball winder, it’s best to re-wind a second ball out of the first, to make a looser ball that releases some of the stretching tension on the yarn.  In addition, I can wind a larger ball on the nØstepinde, whereas the Royal — well, it can be a royal pain (although not impossible) for some skeins of yarn larger than four ounces.  Where it really shines is when using sport or heavier weights; the nØstepinde is a gem for fingering and lace weights.  (I was able to wind lighter weights on the Royal, but only by winding slowly and carefully.)

I’m used to the speed with which I can wind bobbins on my bobbin winders; with the Royal, I have to wind carefully and cannot crank the handle too fast (my normal speed), or else the gears start to slip.  I think that winding too fast may cause the gears to eventually strip themselves.  And, I have to pay attention to tensioning the yarn whilst winding, else it tends to run off course and wrap itself around the spinning mechanism.  On the other hand, this ball winder creates a nicer looking cake of yarn than I usually do with a nØstepinde, and it puts less strain on my hands if I have a lot of yarn to wind.

Recently, someone on Ravelry reviewed the Royal cone winder, the first I had heard of the device.  It was intriguing enough for me to purchase one second-hand.

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Until I received it and experimented with it, I had no idea that yarn cones unwound differently than balls do!  Don’t laugh, but it was not until I wound and re-wound a cone of yarn that I learned that a cone of yarn remains stationary whilst unwinding from the top!  (This, even after the kind Raveler tried to describe it to me.)  I had been slinging the yarn cones on either a vertical or horizontal dowel, and was constantly dealing with unwinding yarn that wrapped and choked around the dowel.  Here are some pictures showing how a cone of yarn unwinds:

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A Royal cone winder comes with two plastic cone sleeves.  Extra sleeves may be purchased; but after including tax and shipping charges, I decided I could use the money elsewhere, and I set out to find a cheaper alternative.

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Yes, it’s the paper tube that bath tissue is wound on.  If you slip the paper tube directly onto the cone winder, it is too loose.  But, if you carefully open up the tube along its diagonals, you can re-wrap the tube, pulling the paper tight about the winder (and making the required cone shape).

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Wind the paper around the cone of the winder (or around a plastic sleeve if you want to use them at the same time), until all the paper is wound on, then tape the paper down to itself.  I put the paper to the cone, with extra below the bottom of the cone (for flanges), and wrap the paper tightly around the cone until the cone is covered.

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When winding on, it helps to add a piece of tape to the inside, sticky side facing out, so the paper will stick to itself as it is being wound around the cone (it’s the bit of tape to the left in the picture below).

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Cut the bottom flaps into flanges, rounding edges and corners.  It’s not pretty, but it works!

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To make a slightly taller cone, use the paper tube from a roll of paper towels instead.  The paper tube technique works for the Royal ball winder as well:

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I found that I was able to wind an eight-ounce skein of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool into a cone without any problem.  The Royal ball winder would not handle the same amount of yarn as gracefully.  Here’s a tip I learned from Syne Mitchell: sandwich the starting end of yarn between the paper sleeve and the cone; this holds the yarn end out of the way, fits the sleeve onto the cone more snugly, and is faster than threading the yarn onto a slit in a tube or cone.

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The cone sleeve is left inside the yarn, and the resulting cone of yarn is sturdy and very stable.

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Another mammoth cone of yarn wound onto a plastic cone sleeve:

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Time to experiment with the different yarn winders!

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Here is the difference between a skein of yarn wound once (left) or twice (the second time so the yarn isn’t stretched) on a ball-winder:

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A cake of yarn wound on a ball-winder is not meant to be stored around an insert; removing it allows the yarn to loosen and relax:

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I enjoy using a nØstepinde, and I feel less guilty about wasting time in front of the television if I do my winding then.  It’s also a wonderful way to prolong my admiration of a beautiful hand-spun, and let me say that it’s not (rather, it doesn’t have to be) a slow way of winding yarn!  Here’s a skein wound on a nØsty:

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Below, a comparison: Top, cone-wound; Left, nØsty-wound; Right, ball-winder-wound:

6130windingcomparison

Notice how much smaller and tightly-wound the cone-wound yarn is!

Why get both the cone and ball winders?  Yarn cones work very well for unwinding yarn when warping, or in situations (like machine knitting) where yarn feed needs to be smooth and even.  Yarn unwound from balls, even pulling from the centre, rolls all over the floor, unwinding too unevenly for warping.  Knitters will find centre-pull balls more convenient, and a properly-wound cake removes tension and stress from yarn for long-term storage.  (Weavers store yarn wound on cones indefinitely; is there a good reason to relax that yarn before weaving with it?)

Syne Mitchell told me that she wasn’t satisfied with the perfomance of a certain expensive wooden ball-winder, and returned it to the dealer.  I wonder if its performance had anything to do with the fact that these winders were made with knitters in mind, and so tend to perform better with thicker yarns?  I would also wonder what weavers use for finer threads, but I’ll save that for another day when I can afford to.

19 January 2009 Posted by | General, Knitting, Weaving | , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Ruffled Scarf

The rambouillet/cashmere ruffle scarf is finished!

img_5112ruffledscarffull

The neatness of using up the last little bit of things is inordinately pleasing to me; in this case, not even a single inch of yarn is left over.  The pattern had called for a mohair yarn that was 235 yards in 24 grammes, but my yarn came out to something like 350 yards in two ounces.  (I can’t find my notes on the exact numbers.)  The scarf is a tad short, but it is just enough to wrap and overlap once around my neck.

img_5108ruffledscarffolded

The pattern was “Mohair Portrait Scarf”, from Véronik Avery’s book, “Knitting Classic Style”.  It’s a wonderful way to learn the difference between right- and left-slanting decreases, as well as an easy introduction to lace knitting.  In fact, I’m going to try the pattern again.  I’ve already spun a two-ply rambouillet/alpaca mix for it that promises to be a more successful yarn for this project:

img_5053spinningrambouilletalpaca

Winding off the singles onto bobbins:

img_5090windingrambouilletalpacasingles1

The singles are so delicate that I couldn’t measure the yardage with my yarn measure.  But, this old skein-winder (two-yards per revolution) performed admirably:

img_5092alpacasingleskeinwinder1

Two-ply (pre-wash) closeup:

img_5085rambouilletalpaca2ply

350-yards of two-ply yarn in one ounce:

img_5123rambouilletalpacaballed

I also spent a couple hours hand-carding up another two ounces of rolags:

img_5224rambouilletalpacarolags

I’m envisioning the second scarf as a fluffy, light-as-air, cloud; and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

img_5229ruffledscarfnew

22 November 2008 Posted by | Knitting, Spinning | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments