An Estonian girl who has found a home in Sweden.

Wednesday, August 23

Interchangeable Needle Case

August 23, 2017 Posted by Vaire ,

Lately I have become interested in wooden interchangeable needles. My metal Addi needles are quite blunt, which is not a problem in itself, but some projects are easier on sharper needles.

I'd been looking for metal interchangeable sets, but Hiya Hiya sharps were too sharp for me. Likewise ChiaoGoo. Ages ago I had purchased KnitPro tips and cable set for a reason now lost in time.

I quite liked the sharpness of those tips, but I did not like wearing off the nickel plating in one project. Enter wooden KnitPro needles. I had a set of Symphony short straights I had purchased with an intention to use them as spindle shafts, but hadn't found the right whorls for the multicoloured shafts.

I tried them out on a project and fell in love with the tips, and how the wood felt in my hands. I had had avoided using straights for decades, until I tried these. Turns out 25 cm is my ideal length of straight needles. I love using them for scarves and shallow shawlettes.

Now the problem is that when you also love knitting big Stephen West shawls, short straights won't really cut it. Hence the acquisition of some interchangeable tips in shawl sizes, and every cable length from 60 cm to 150 cm.

Interchangeable Needle Case

Which in turn introduced the problem of storage. I did not want to buy another set of needles with a case when I only wanted two sizes of tips. Tempting as those sets may be, I am trying to exercise some restraint here.

Interchangeable Needle Case

So, storage. When I need something like this that could be hand made, I look on Etsy. Surely, someone is already making what I need and I can buy it. Usually that is true, but not always.

Interchangeable Needle Case

What I found was close, but not quite what I was looking for. Most of them were in a needle roll style, or folded, both of those very bulky. One seller had this accordion style, but all her cases were pastel, or pink. The trouble with that is that I do not like pastels, or pink.

Interchangeable Needle Case

They didn't have a closed pocket either and I wanted a place for all the end caps and cable keys that was secure. They closed with a button, which I also dislike. Of course, the obvious solution to all these dislikes was to make one exactly as I wanted it to be.

Interchangeable Needle Case

So I did. It has a place for everything — the tips, the cables of all sizes, the caps, the keys, cable connectors, even stitch markers.

Interchangeable Needle Case

I mulled over the zip insertion and accordion attachment until I was happy with the method, and went fabric shopping in my stash. And then I went fabric shopping in a store because nothing I had was appropriate for the lining, and I didn't have big enough pieces of black scraps.

Interchangeable Needle Case

Somewhere along the way my idea of getting only two sizes of tips for shawl knitting morphed into building an interchangeable set with tips from different brands that are manufactured by KnitPro and fit on the same cables. That is still at an idea stage.

It would be fun, though. Not unlike the Dreamz set, but each pair of tips from a different brand or line. Maybe in the future I will arrange a swap of needle tips. Maybe.

Interchangeable Needle Case

For the time being, I am so pleased with my interchangeable needle case that is in the colours I like, and fits all my shawl knitting needle parts in 10 x 12 x 4 cm ultra compact package. With plenty of room for more tips and cables, should my collection grow in the future.

Monday, July 24

Tour de Fleece, The Tally

July 24, 2017 Posted by Vaire , , ,

This year I only completed one project during TdF. Spinning fine, not having vacation and loads of spinning time, really took my productivity down this year. On the other hand, I did not burn myself out after one week either.

TdF 2017, 5 colour gradient

One completed bobbin of 5 colour gradient 2-ply fine worsted spun yarn. I spun the singles at 45 WPI and it plied to 22-24 WPI pre-wash. It may plump up a bit in the wash, but my experience tells me, that it won't be much.

TdF 2017

I did prep for all five of the different yarns I planned to spin. The first stage of prep was to divide the tops by weight for all the five yarns.

TdF 2017, Classic 3-ply

Then I blended one set of the 5 gram tops for the yarn 5; Classic 3-ply. Yarn 4 did not require any further prep than making those original small nests.

TdF 2017, 5 colour 2-ply

After that I divided the first large set of tops for the Yarn 1; 5 colour 2-ply. Basically I divided every colour in four pieces, and one nest of both end colours into two more. Then I arranged the nests with offset the make three colours into five.

This was the yarn I chose to start with. I was aiming for a light fingering to fingering weight, so I used the 45 WPI groove on my control card to check against. I drafted with short forward draw, with sliding fingers fingers back smoothing the forming single.

TdF, Week 2

On the first challenge day I prepped yarn 3; the 9 colour gradient, and I stuck to the plan for this one. Dividing the second set of the 30 gram tops was easier than I expected, and blending the batlings on my blending board was a breeze. I put on and took off the fibre three times per colour because I wanted an even blend. Then I divided each batling into two and rolled them up for storage.

TdF, Week 2

On the second challenge day I prepped the fibre for yarn 2; the 7 colour gradient. I divided the fibre according to the plan, but then deviated from the plan and made nests for two ply instead of 3-ply. To make this into 2-ply I attenuated each of the two pieces of the main colour, then attenuated the additional colour into twice that length, and divided that colour into two. I added those strips to the main colour strips for combination drafting. I made the rest of the two colour nests the same way.

TdF 2017, 5 colour gradient

I finished the 5 colour gradient in week 3. The overlap of the two colours on either side of the middle colour came out much shorter than I expected, but it is a lovely gradient yarn anyway. I probably made one single slightly finer than the other, thus making it longer and pushing the overlap out of alignment.

I want to try this technique gain, and when I do, I'll manage the colour sections of each single separately to make sure that everything aligns as it is supposed to.

TdF 2017, 5 colour gradient

I ended up with a lovely 88 grams of light fingering weight and I am itching to cast on a shawlette with it. I also got inspired to spin more, but I think I'll go for DK weight next. I want something completed faster than laceweight.

Friday, June 30

Tour de Fleece 2017, The Plan

June 30, 2017 Posted by Vaire , , ,

Tour de Fleece 2017 begins tomorrow, and here are my plans for this year.

nunoco

Divide the top into 3 x 30 g, 2 x 5 g. Spin these blended tops (Agate, Marina, Whispering Well) in 5 ways:

Yarn 1, 30 g per top. Divide each unit into 4 pieces, and spin 2-ply of AA/AA/AM/MM/MW/WW/WW into 5 colour gradient.

Yarn 2, 30 g per top. Divide each unit into 9 pieces, and spin a 3-ply 7 colour gradient. With or without blending first. AAA/AAA/AAM/AMM/MMM/MMW/MWW/WWW/WWW

Yarn 3, 30 g per top. Divide each unit into 16 pieces. Use blending board to blend a 9 colour gradient. AAAAAAAAAA/AAAM/AAMM/AMMM/MMMM/MMMW/MMWW/MWWW/WWWWWWWWWW. Divide each blended colour into two and spin 2-ply.

Yarn 4, 5 g per top. Spin each colour into a single, ply into classic 3-ply.

Yarn 5, 5 g per top. Blend each colour with hand cards. Spin each colour into a single, ply into classic 3-ply.

Monday, June 26

Pincusion & New Trousers

June 26, 2017 Posted by Vaire , ,

It was way past time to sew another pair of trousers with pocket origami. Good thing that I had enough foresight to write down the instructions for the pockets, or I would have had to figure it out all over again.

Pincushion

Since I can't make the mess on a sewing table look glamorous, here is a photo of a pincushion I made for my new sewing machine to start you off. I used a piece of black melton as a base, and crochet cotton as the thread for the Estonian archaic embroidery.

New Trousers

Here is a photo of the sewing table. I moved it into that corner and keep it at cutting height. I still haven't covered my pressing hams, but they work just as well like they are. The two black pieces hanging down are the trouser fronts with top front pockets pinned to them.

I used my old sewing machine for zig-zagging the edges, and the new one for seams and topstitching. I used normal thread for topstitching, so this time it was fine. Next time I am planning to use thicker topstitching thread and then I'll use the old machine for seams as well.

I do love the new machine for the control it gives me through the speed control adjuster. It made topstitching the corners so much easier and more precise. I also love that I can make finer adjustments to the needle placement and that there are more than two stitches it makes.

Pincushion

There is no photo of the trousers themselves because they look exactly like the previous pair. I decided not to go with red topstitching or details this time, but to stick to the black. Maybe next time?

Monday, May 8

Fibre Goodies

May 08, 2017 Posted by Vaire ,

nunoco never fails. I love that I can go to that store and Candy has it whether I am looking for a rainbow or red or any other colour. Except black. Greys, yes, but no black as of yet.

nunoco

This time I was looking for a rainbow for a specific project, and different silks to use as add-ins. She had exactly what I was looking for, and she also includes some mini samples in her packages which are great to get an idea how a colourway looks or feels to spin.

Wednesday, April 19

Spring Knitting

April 19, 2017 Posted by Vaire ,

The spring is here, and then it's not, and then it is back, and then it snows. Like it did over the Easter weekend.

What else is there to do but knit?

Kungfiskare Scarf

I spun this yarn last year from a wool dyed by a dyer local to me (who is sadly out of business) in a colourway called Kungfiskare. The fibre was dyed as fractal and I wanted to show off the stripes on bias.

Kungfiskare Scarf

It took me a few tries to get the width I was happy with, but now it is flying along. I love what the stripes are doing, and every colour section is a new adventure. It is going to be a long skinny scarf for someone.

Align Mitts

Light cotton shortie mitts for spring. The rib sections are longer than the stocking stitch, but that is the nature of the beast and the cotton yarn does not have the same elasticity as wool does. They are just fine when worn even though they look a little crumpled here, but that's just because I forgot to take the photos before shoving them into my pockets.

Red Radial

A Radial by Woolly Wormhead knit in my handspun. I love knitting with handspun, the yarn feels different from millspun. And I love how I can match the yarn with the pattern to best show off its properties. This one is a 3-ply merino sport weight, so I little heavier weight than the pattern suggested, and a little heavy for spring.

Except when it snows and/or is around 0 degrees Celsius. Then it is an absolutely perfect shot of red cosiness on my head in the mornings.

Monday, March 27

Tiny Fibre Studio Sample-Along March 2017

March 27, 2017 Posted by Vaire , ,

Becks of Tiny Fibre Studio has only recently started video podcasts, but hers is one of my favourites to watch. She is one of the rare few who concentrate on spinning, and knitting with handspun.

She is running a Sample-Along in her podcast and Ravelry group. The theme for March was "Worsted Two Ply" which suited me just fine because those are my favourite methods of draft and ply.

I jumped at the chance to participate in this -along because I'd been planning on spinning up my multitude of breed samples, but I didn't want to use them up before I'd figured out exactly how to divide each fibre sample, how to prep it, how to spin it, and what to record.

This Sample-Along was the perfect opportunity to practise sampling and figure out all of the above questions. I also wanted the results of the techniques to be comparable, so I bought 300 g of washed Swedish Finull fleece.

Sample-Along March 2017

First sample I combed on my Forsyth mini combs, and spun with short forward draw. The lanolin still present in the fleece made consistency a bit of a struggle, but also a learning experience. Becks asked the participants to make up their own swatch patterns, and the above is what I charted and shared in the Ravelry group.

The lanolin washed out of the swatch and the result is soft and cushy. Definitely nice enough for next to skin items for me (I am not particularly sensitive to wool so take it with a grain of salt).

Sample-Along March 2017

I stretched the swatch a lot sideways to open up the lace and I think I went too far. The gauge is really weird on it. I think that I should probably re-soak it and pat to shape, not use blocking wires.

Sample-Along March 2017

I had a sample of Swedish Gotland wool in my stash, and I could not resist spinning up another worsted 2-ply. It was commercial top, so no proper lock to save, and no prep beyond splitting the top into nests for each single.

Sample-Along March 2017

The photo is taken in artificial light, so the colour is much more accurate on the previous photo. I spun this a bit thicker, and the swatch came out a little too large for the card. I think I'll aim for 28 WPI singles next time.

I love the hand of this yarn after knitting and washing, it would make a glorious lace shawl when spun thinner, like liquid silver. There is so much depth and colour variation in the fleece itself that it does not need added colour. But dying would also create an amazing result on Gotland fleece.

I do not need another hobby... I do not need another hobby... I do not need another hobby...

Friday, March 10

Human

March 10, 2017 Posted by Vaire

Monday, February 27

Estonian Round Toe for Socks

February 27, 2017 Posted by Vaire ,

A recent post on Ravelry asked for links to Estonian Round Toe instructions and I could not find any in English. So I decided to write them up and post as a response. Then I started thinking that even though Ravelry has almost 7 million registered users, the forum posts are still not readable by Internet at large.

And then I decided to make this post so that the instructions would be accessible, and linkable in the future.

Relax Sox

The Estonian Round Toe

To make Estonian Round Toe you need your number of stitches to be evenly divisible by 8.

The principle is that on the decrease round you decrease 8 times evenly, and then knit as many rounds plain as you had between the decreases. Work like that until you get to 8 stitches, break the yarn, weave the tail through the stitches, draw shut and you are done.

For my socks, this is what i do:

*K5, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 5 rounds.

*K4, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 4 rounds.

*K3, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 3 rounds.

*K2, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 2 rounds.

*K1, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 1 round.

*K2tog* 8 times.
8 sts left.

Finish off.

It is very easy to adjust. If you had 64 stitch sock, you’d have 6 sts between decreases, and knit 6 rounds first, then 5, and 4, and so on.

I knit 60 sts socks for myself because I like the fit and the heel math of 60. But 60 is not evenly divisible by 8, so I decrease 4 sts on the round before I start the toe to get to 56, which is divisible by 8. This makes a nice oval toe for my narrow feet.

There is also a variant for a more rounded shorter toe where you knit one fewer round plain as you had between the decreases.

The Rounder Estonian Round Toe

*K5, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 4 rounds.

*K4, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 3 rounds.

*K3, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 2 rounds.

*K2, k2tog* 8 times.
Knit 1 round.

*K1, k2tog* 8 times.

*K2tog* 8 times.
8 sts left.

Finish off.

This is equally as easy to adjust for different stitch counts, as long as they are divisible by 8.

I prefer the first variant for my socks, but people with wider feet will find that the rounder toe will fit them better.

And the best thing about this toe is that there is no grafting, no dog ears, no fiddly bind offs. It is so easy to memorise, and it's so beautiful in its simplicity.