Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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.


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.


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!



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



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

Field Day For Frogging

 Now you see it:

…now you don’t!

For the past year, two socks, of different yarns, have been resurfacing like flotsam on my bins of creative fodder.  They were started at a time when I thought it would be fun to knit on needles of size 1 or less.  But I encountered two problems using small needles: it takes forever to knit anything up when your stitches are tiny, and my hands cramp easily when wielding those needles.   

I decided I would put an end to the taunting of the socks and the dreaded SSS (Second Sock Syndrome).

My son loves to frog my knitting, indeed, he feels it is his perogative.  (He feels the same about cutting any weaving off my looms, so I have not yet had that pleasure.)  So my year of work kept him very well entertained for a few minutes.


The variegated red and black yarn is Opal, of the famous Roxy stash.  The striping of the socks did not show off the cabling detail I had chosen for the sock, another good reason to start over.

I will re-knit the socks, but the next time, I plan to knit them up two-at-a time, on one (larger-sized!) long circular needle.  And because the Opal yarn is for two socks, I’ll have to muddle through knitting from both ends of the ball at once.

My son takes a fifty-minute soccer class once a week.  Because of that, I actually have some dedicated knit time, as well as a WIP that is actually being worked on consistently; I’m using Véronik Avery’s ruffled scarf pattern from “Knitting Classic Style”, an wonderful pattern for a first-time lace project, and an excellent exercise in learning the difference between left- and right-slanting decreases.  The yarn is my own hand-dyed, handspun, and hand-carded mixture of rambouillet and cashmere.  The way things are going, it looks like I may run out of yarn before the scarf is long enough to go around my neck.  There’s a glaring mistake I chose to ignore (smack dab centre), since after frogging the first two inches five times, I decided finishing was more important than fixing it.

24 October 2008 Posted by | Knitting | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Knitted Caps

I have been dragging my feet where knitting was concerned. Spinning and weaving are currently on my brain, and knitting seems so tame, and,  well,  tame in comparison.

But I really wanted to knit recently.  I have a friend who lost her hair from chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.  We have not seen each other for several years, even though she moved back to this state, within four hours of me.  When it was decided that we would meet within two weeks (it was actually this past Sunday), I had to drop everything to knit some caps for her.  Because she had joked in an e-mail about wearing different coloured wigs so that everyone would think her husband was seeing different women, I had to knit these “No-Hair Day Chemo Caps“:

This red cap was the first one I knitted.  It only took one day to knit it up — the first time.  I was finishing off the very last stitch, when I noticed I must have dropped a couple of stitches.  On closer examination, the opening laddered all the way down to the beginning.  I was ready to cry.  But, I bravely and stoicly frogged the entire cap and started over.  It only took three more tries to get it right.  And only the first required complete frogging…  I hope it survives at least one wearing.  The black one was easier.  It gave me very little trouble.

I fervently pray that I will never, ever, ever have to touch fun fur again.

Handspun is a different story altogether.

This is Purple Grapes worsted weight yarn, a hand-painted superwash merino.  This is the first time I’ve knit any handspun, and I’m glad it was my own.   What a joy it was to touch and knit!  It performed beautifully, with none of the unravelling I’ve experienced from mill-spun yarns.  It was knit up in one afternoon, at the birthday party barbeque for my nephew.

The pattern is “Shortie“, also from the Head Huggers site.  It’s a wonderful resource of chemo cap patterns, and a great place to donate time and money.

I had some left-over yarn, so I modified a pattern from “101 Designer One-Skein Wonders“:

See the tail?  That was all I had left.  When I got to the last few yards of yarn, I measured and made estimates for the number of rows it would knit.

Because it was handspun wool, I washed as well as blocked the knitting:

It’s my first time blocking!  It really makes a difference to the finishing of the cloth.  These recent projects really rekindled my enjoyment of knitting.  I’ve already started another project, a scarf, with more of my handspun.

These count as four items!  My goodness, I now have six FOs.

6 August 2008 Posted by | FOs, Knitting | , | 1 Comment