Monday, July 26, 2004

Fulling Day

After much delay, my French Market Bag has been fulled. (Yay!)

Let's recap, shall we?

Act I: Knitting Nest
I knit the bag somewhat along the lines of the pattern found on Knitty.com, though I used two strands of Brown Sheep Nature Spun rather than the yarn called for in the pattern. Progress reports here and here.

Intermission:
The bag was finished about a week after starting it, but sat for nearly a month waiting to be fulled. Since I have a front-loading washing machine (European standard-I do not live in the US), I opt to hand-full it.

Act II: The Internet
I spent some time looking for resources on hand-fulling on the Internet and came upon Beth Brown-Reinsel's instructions on her website. With instructions read, it's time to full. I don't have huge expectations for mega-fulling because of the already relatively tight gauge of the knit fabric.

Act III: The Utility Sink in my Laundry Room
Scene I: Since the bag was not overly large, my utility sink was quite sufficient to handle the job. The first bath was in hot water from the tap with a squirt of "Fairy" dishwashing liquid. Our solar water heater makes the water quite hot but there was little fiber intermeshing going on despite vigorous rubbing, mostly with my knuckles. Apparently "Fairy" is detergent and not soap.

Scene II: I drain the hot water out of the sink as well as squeezing the bag and immediately plunge it into cold water, again rubbing vigorously. At this point there is a bit of surface fiber coming away from the bag.

Scene III: Second hot water bath and more vigorous rubbing. More fiber coming away from the surface of the bag and this time a huge amount of black dye was released into the water. My arms are getting tired.

Scene IV: Second cold water bath and the fibers just start to bloom.

A Brief Intermission: At this point I figure I need real soap to change the pH in the water sufficiently to get those fibers to mesh. I run to our bathroom to find any bar of hotel soap I can find. I know these are the real McCoy because my skin feels drier than heck after using them. Unfortunately, hubby has used them all up at the shower at the swimming pool. Emergency! I pick up the slice of Lush handmade soap that my son brought back from London and which has been sitting in our "fancy" bowl of soaps ever since because it, too, dries my skin.

Scene V: Back at the Utility Sink filled with more hot water and armed with the bar of soap, I start soaping the water and add the bag. More vigorous rubbing and this time I can actually feel the fibers contracting. More rubbing and finally, voila! Fulling has occurred.

Scene VI: Final cold water rinse, more rubbing and the fiber continues to contract. Squeeze out the water and toss bag into folded towels. I jump on the towels to extract as much water as possible and lay it flat to dry on a sweater rack.

Epilogue: As I mentioned above, I didn't expect the bag to full much because it wasn't as loosely knit as the pattern directions gave. Nonetheless, the bottom of the bag where I used two strands of black has definitely fulled more than the area where I combined a natural color with the black.Final dimensions are 19" from the bottom of the bag to the top of the handles; 12" from the bottom of the bag to the point before the handles are added and roughly 16" from side to side. (As the bag is still damp, I don't want to try flattening it too much in order to measure.)

Pictures soon. 

Friday, July 23, 2004

My cats are fruit cakes

The argyle sock I'm knitting for level two is absolutely fascinating to the cats - I can't knit when they are around! One sits on the arm of the car and gets car sick trying to watch the yarn flip around!

Heavens, it is so hot here today I can't stand it. It is actually making my stomach hurt. And I had to take twin number two out to try her driving testing again. Hot dog, she made it! I am so proud of her. She called everyone she could think of.

Off at the steaks that I don't really want to make, but I promised.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

summer heat, divine yarn, ribbon yarn and Noro yarn

It's extremely hot here in the desert...
but it's a dry heat! Or so, they say. Even so, I'm knitting scarves,
and sweaters...

progress with the Once Again sweater

and dogs..

arf!

Well, one can dream of cold weather, can't one? :)

I like to say that I'm not a yarn snob.
Okay, so I am. (wanna make something of it?)
However, I've fallen in love with Paton Divine! Divine is a lovely, fluffy, soft yarn and I just want to buy out the stock at Jo Ann's. hmmmm.... maybe I will. ;)

And now, a couple of questions for you all...
1.) Any tips for knitting with ribbon yarn? I'm knitting a sleeveless top with Collinette giotto. I love this yarn, but it twists a bit as I knit. Is this typical of ribbon yarns?

and...

2.) I adore Noro kureyon! I have four skeins - and will purchase more, if necessary (hey! it doesn't take much to get me to buy more yarn). Any ideas of what to knit with it, besides the ever-popular booga bag?

Happy Summer knitting!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

grumblings from the heat...

Well, I have made some more flip flops and have sold enough that maybe I won't have to worry about buying yarn for what I want to knit next for myself!

I also knitted up a little bag out of rainbow ribbon (the pattern was in Ribbon Knits) and tried waving it under the noses of the 17 year old twins.  Neither bit.  So now it hold my cell phone.  Sigh.

Other edging my lawn with a manual cutter (boy, do my legs hurt!) I have nothing, but nothing to add of a productive nature.  It's too hot!

Afton

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Summer!

Low to mid-nineties with eighty-five percent humidity and no A/C. I'm not knitting, not even cotton. The See-Saw socks look at me accusingly from their bag.

Summer is normally my planning season, when I flip through magazines and books and start thinking about what I want to knit once the weather gets cooler. Since I can't just pop down to the LYS and browse and no longer have any magazine subscriptions, this pretty much forces me to revisit my extensive knitting library and look for patterns over the net. (I'm still thinking if I really want to renew IK. It's the only subscription IMNSHO that is worth it, but the overseas' postage still makes it tres expensive.) I have also found this plan keeps me focused on what I have in my extensive stash. (Of course staying away from the online knitting lists and Elann has also helped!)

Of course, in spite of having at least two acknowledged UFO's (make that three really, but if I ever finish that one, it will be a time for much rejoicing), I do have the urge to start something new.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Introduction or who was that masked knitter?

Well, here I am. Just another anon. knitter in the vast internet of life. And yeah, I didn't make up my name. That's really it. (Named after my dad's favorite sister, she was the 10th one, I'm convinced that they had run out of names by that time and were scrambling.)

Knitting wise - I am sick and tired of flip flops! But I must admit, it has made me gas money this summer. And that always helps.

And my one daughter's "never ending sweater" is sitting in time out in the far back of my car. The other twin's poncho is also in time out until the weather breaks. I really think that I need to get off the stick and start working on my Level 2 Master HandKnitter's of the TKGA. I finished level one, how hard can level two be? Just have to find a toddler to make a vest for, don't want to knit something too big this summer.

Onward and outward,
Afton

Look Ma! No toes!

Here are the pictures of the completed socks-no toes.

look ma, no toes!

look ma, no toes


Those are my toesies - Melissa doesn't have them just yet. I'm going to take them to her when we visit this weekend. I told her on the phone this morning that I'd completed them and I would bring them to her, and she told me, "Well, Mom, I won't be able to wear them. If I do, they get sent back to you C.O.D." OUCH! That hurts!

The pattern? I used my favorite sock pattern and just didn't complete the toes. I knitted the decreases for three rows, knit one extra row, then bound off in purl. The pattern I used is from the Winter 2002-2003 issue of cast on magazine, but I"m sure that any sock pattern will do.

And...
while I have your attention, here is my current WIP (along with David's sweater and oh... about 10 other projects).

Ahem! Presenting CatKnit.

no, not catnip! c a t k n i t

And...
The finished product. (You can see in this photo that I'm NOT a crafty person!). I made this for Molly and she likes it because it's so funky and crazy. Yes, we both know that it has the "bear" face, but we're still calling it a cat.

M E O W !!!


Happy Knitting!

Secret Revealed


OK-the recipient has gone on vacation, hopefully without her laptop, so here is a quick picture of what I'm sending her.

This is the second time I've knit Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer's Oak Leaf and again it was a pleasure to knit. This time I knit it on a single strand of Bernat Cassino using size US1 needles.

A lot of Jackie's little projects are a wonderful introduction to a certain knitting technique without the major investment in time and money in a full-sized project. Gee, does this sound like an advertisement? Well, she is one of my favorite designers, so why not?! :)

Friday, July 02, 2004

Secretive Knitting

I've discovered that I really need the morning hours for the additional light it brings to my knitting spot. This is especially true if I'm knitting either something dark or something really fine. (The second instance happens to be the case right now, but I can't share with you quite yet what that project is. Let's just say it's being knit on US size 1 and is probably one the cleverest pieces of knitting I've ever done-now twice.)

Still haven't had a free moment to full my market bag, which I had planned to do this week, but then DH tossed all the extra ice we made for our day-long, planned power out on Monday. Meanwhile I did come across another hand fulling resource at Esther Bozak's site (voted "The 8th most boring website in the U.K." which is pretty funny, since Esther is in the US.).

Has anyone read either of the felting books on the market right now? There's this one by Bev Galaskas and this one by Kathleen Taylor. Any opinions?