Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dyeing to Knit

Recently I became fascinated with creating my own colors for yarn and have taken the leap into dyeing yarn. Wool requires a dye that dyes protein, the same dye will also be useful for silk when I get there..In any case a very nice creative woman in my machine knitting guild has expanded on a technique she stumbled across and I just love it! Kind of like painting! Technique is done on a preknit piece of fabric from the yarn you wish to later use as a main color or background.

She is starting to teach out of her home and at some fiber “festivals”. She’s great. Her day job is an attorney for a firm specializing in workman’s comp. Gotta love it.

A bit complicated to explain but suffice it to say, it will be very useful and fun. The color gradiations possible are going to look very nice as the background on a 2 color piece. For starters.

My first experiment was taking two matching pieces of preknit (hooray for knitting machines as fabric producers!) which were laid out side by side and carefully dyed via brushing on matching bands of color. The idea was to have stripped socks in my choice of color combo and ultimately have 2 pairs of perfectly matched striped socks,without the hassel of carefully counting rows and changing yarns. In my choice of colors, the colors produced where the bands met ( to form ann additional color as well) are really interesting too.I’ll be doing the other idea mentioned already after I finish the socks.

Anyway, color work on my yarn is turning out to be quite the addiction-to-be as well. I have a close friend who just went back to Chile for a while and will be returning with a mega treasure trove of Alpaca for me to use for all this -some nice hand processed yarn to work with.

Nuf for now! Happy holidays!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Japanese Knitting Haikus

These are from a Japanese Knitting Website and are most amusing.

(One more stitch... One more row... Ah..? It's dawn.)

(How many pepole have touched with their cheeks on this soft yarn skein?)

(I hate all these 15 rows over the mistake.)

(Praising her work, I mumble to myself "I can do it, too.")

(Autumn winds always drift me into yarn shops.)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

You Knit WHAT??

  • Those of you who have entertaining knitting related reading may like to read this one. Amusing images and reader comments will leave you in stiches..ha ha ha.


    Upcoming Knitting event calendar / links

  • 5th annual Knit Out & Crochet Too
    ANCHORAGE - OCTOBER 15, 2005

  • Craft Fair
    October 20- 23, 2005; Asheville NC,

  • Fourth Annual Knit-Out & Crochet
    October 23rd, 2005; Washington, DC, Sunday

  • Greater Milwaukee Knitting Guild Market Night!
    October 11, 7 p.m Milwaukee

  • Knit-Out & Crochet 2005
    LLANO, Texas - OCTOBER 15, 2005

  • Michigan Fiber Festival
    October 18, 2005, Near Gun Lake Michigan!

  • Southeastern Animal and
    October 21st (workshops only), 22nd and 23rd, 2005; Western North Carolina Ag Center near Ashville.

  • Y2Knit Knitting Getaway Experience
    October 26-30, Heart of the Village Inn, VT

  • Ginger Luters, author of Module Magic Seminar
    November 11-14, 2005, Rochester, New York

  • Knit Out 2005
    November 5, 2005; Charleston, SC

  • Knitter's Review Weekend Retreat
    November 4-6, 2005; Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia

  • Rip Van Winkle Knitting Retreat
    November 11, 12 and 13, 2005; Round Top NY

  • Heartland Knitting Retreat
    December 2nd, 3rd and 4th 2005 at the Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan Wisconsin

  • 2006

  • Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat
    February 9-12, 2006; Tacoma, Washington

  • Stitches West 2006
    Feb-16 to Feb-19, 2006 in Santa Clara, CA;

  • We're Knitting In Funkstown, MD
    March 31-Apr 1, 2006; Funkstown, MD

  • Cape Ann Nordic Knit Retreat
    March 24, 25 and 26, 2006; Gloucester, MA

  • Fiber Retreat
    March 10, 11, 12, 2006 ; Jefferson City, Missouri

  • Mindful Knitting Retreat
    March 9-12, 2006; Greensboro, VT

  • Creativity in the Making.
    April 28-30, 2006, Missauga, Ontario

  • Dallas-Ft. Worth Fiber Festival
    April 28-30, 2006; Addison, Texas

  • Rip Van Winkle Spin Retreat
    April 28, 29 and 30, 2006; Round Top, NY

  • Rip Van Winkle Knit In A Circle Retreat
    May 19, 20 and 21, 2006; Round Top, NY

  • We're Knitting in San Francisco
    May 20-21, 2006; San Francisco

  • Alice Springs Beanie Festival
    June 30 - July 3, 2006; Alice Springs, Australia

  • Knitting Up with the Joanses-Alaskan Tour
    August 24- September 3, San Francisco to Alaska and back.

  • Stitches Midwest 2006
    Aug-10 to Aug-13, 2006 in Rosemont, IL

  • Rip Van Winkle Angora Spin Retreat
    September 15, 16 and 17, 2006; Round Top, NY

  • Other sources of information:

    Lion Brand’s Calendar.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    What kind of blogger am I

    Your Blogging Type Is the Private Performer

    Your blog is your stage - with your visitors your adoring fans.
    At least, that's how you write with your witty one liners.
    And while you like attention, you value your privacy.
    You're likely to have an anonymous blog - or turn off comments.

    another one!
    You Are Miss Piggy

    A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.
    You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.
    You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.
    Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    How I caught the Machine Knitting Bug Summer 05

    Time for me to start a knitting blog. First posting will be a long one since I have “saved up” some notes.

    I have recently become nuts for knitting with a knitting machine (or two, actually) and have a steep learning curve going on now.

    Things I have learned:
    1) Study carefully the standard being used before you buy a piece of equipment on eBay
    2) Have fun and don‘t take yourself too seriously

    Mid summer 2005 I started to look around at eBay for a knitting machine and THOUGHT i understood what the deal was with knitting machines. OOPS. Not...

    There are oldie but goodies machines out there which have great merit but i was so eager to get a darn thing that that I really did not take the time to study it all as thoroughly as I normally would have done, and do, with most pieces of technology.....
    Alright, may be....... I am a impulse shopper in my computer life a bit too (I have a Mac or 4, wifi router or 2,(Airtunes and wifi enabled printing, iPod, various backup FW drives, printers, scanners,yada yada and consider myself fairly technologically savvy ) All those cables, power adaptors, docks, serial to USB get the picture.

    I consider(ed) myself somewhat capable of diving into this new arena- How complicated could it be to set up a knitting machine? As long as there was a manual, I thought.

    Have you ever been amused by a device (like a watch for example) that comes with a non-manual?- you know- those how to set up instructions that are close to, if not totally indecipherable? Well, I found myself with a large manual with so many funny little ways of explaining even the most basic of actions to take/ pieces to piece together, that I halfway considered taking up Japanese language classes to figure out the sentence structure.

    In any case, buyer beware- knockoffs that you see ONLY one of, may be that way for a reason. Later, when I researched a few knitting machine lists, I DID manage to find someone who used my one of a kind, but she was just as goofy as the Manual and little help developed. I have since joined a Machine Knitters Guild and an Adult Ed Knitting Workshop, so I AM finally getting better and getting it going. It became apparent that a few nuts and bolts were put together improperly- either at the factory or by the previous wonder it was in pristine condition!. Fortunately I have a built in mechanical support system close at hand- my sig-O aka DH- So that problem was short lived.

    Simultaneously, when I was bidding/ eventually purchased the knitting machine and ribber attachment, I actually posted a request in a community area (on Craigslist ), a request for a donation of a knitting machine and got a nice response. A Singer LK 100 machine, very basic, was gifted to me by a sweet woman! Of course I was severely chastised for placing an off topic, item wanted ad in an improper area-but hey- who looks in wanted?..It was removed in day or 2 but I did get the appeal out successfully... heh heh.

    It was great! Up and Running in no time- I took it camping for a week and the even the campground spoiled brat chipmunks were amused and entertained by my efforts. It is a plastic one,(needles are metal (doh), and very lightweight( the other one weighs a ton since it has a metal bed, and is built like a truck, huge).

    My first efforts included swatching lots of junk yarn to fool around with tension and gauge. I ended up binding off, turning the piece and rehanging by another edge- changing yarn as I ran out of scraps.. and.... pretty soon I had a bag which needed only a few edges to be stitched together (on machine and by hand) and ~viola~ a big bag!

    My first project on the knitting machine was born, in the campgrounds of Mendocino, on the Singer LK 100, a very basic Bulky. The piece was subsequently felted since I was pretty sure I had only used wool (not superwash) yarn.

    Usually I knit by hand and felt hats and bags (and socks to become booties) with 2 big strands of wool so was not sure how this would turn out, using only a single strand. I was a bit nervous since I hated the thought of the bag becoming a big , twisted- out-of-recognition-or usability piece, in case one of the yarns had not been woolen yarn.

    Low and behold, the bag turned out to be a really really nice one!. WoW. I am/ so far/ too lazy and busy to line it but now it holds a small project (currently self striping socks); I ALWAYS have a small project to carry around close at hand wherever I go. Knitting in Public is a favorite pastime to fill spare moments. .....More of this later...

    Back to first throes of Machine Knitting. Being the yarn junkie that I am, I did manage to use this success as as a reasonable excuse to peruse the local(on vacation) Yarn Store and boy was I in luck! (maybe) They had just moved into a larger building and had bags and bags of yarn in huge plastic bags, on sale. One nice Italian yarn caught my eye and several skeins became mine. Vest for DH coming up...Of course they had tons of books too and the most expensive Knitting book I had ever seen, soon became mine. It is really nice- using using natural forms as inspiration for texture/ patterning. Wow- inspiration galore.

    Getting interesting stitching patterns on to my knitting proved the next challenge...Of course my machines are, for the most part manual patterning (until I decipher the push buttons and levers on the metal bed one , which will add a few basics and make some patterning possible. Read: stockinette and plenty of handwork (and plenty of playing with needles by hand)...
    If you have a Super Speed 350 (Synchroknitter) I would love to hear from you..

    Early machines had little or no such capability, and the knitter had to pattern the design manually. Subsequent knitting machines use one of three different methods to automatically pattern: punch-card, mylar, and electronic.
    Punch-card machines read a special piece of graph paper that has holes punched in it to represent the design to be knit. Mylar machines read a similar graph that is drawn on a clear piece of mylar. Electronic machines have a computer on board that can be programmed with the graph. The most critical difference, besides ease of use, is that the latest electronic machines are capable of reading a design the full width of the needle bed (200 stitches on the standard gauge). Punchcard machines are only capable of reading a graph up to 24 stitches wide per row, which limits the design choices. Electronic machines may also have garment shaping capabilities that tell the knitter when to increase or decrease.
    When the knitting machine reads each line of the graphed design, it places the selected needles into the correct working positions to make the pattern. Regardless of type, any knitting machine will repeat the design, whatever size, over and over across the selected needles, unless it's programmed by the knitter to do otherwise. In addition, when all the rows have been knitted, the machine will start over with the first row again unless the design is cancelled.
    My advice to anyone buying a new machine knitting is to buy the best that you can, even if it's more than you need right now, because trade-in values are very low. If you should decide later that you want more features, you'll end up spending a lot more than if you just got them in the first place.
    The last paragraphs are plagiarized from the below website, which offers a Great Overview of the knitting machine:

    Of course hindsight is always best. Being a computer technology freak ( I have Mac, know some Unix ) I KNOW I will drool over an electronic knitting machine, eventually, but will ignore the above advice and get a punch card patterning machine as I progress. Non electronic, this step wise approach will be fine for me, to be moving slowly.

    So far I am resisting more of eBay‘s lure - amazing how many machines belong to aunts who just could not figure it out and is in like mint/ excellent/new condition after being in the closet for 20 years......hmmmm. However, I have a slew of favorite sellers now and my MK book and accessories collection has grown considerably via eBay.

    There are great websites and listserves/ email groups out there to educate oneself about Knitting Machines, techniques,patterns, yarn, deals. I should know- I have spent more time educating myself there, than on my machine, so far. ;-)

    Knitting Machine Links
    Here are a few of my favorites: I have web archived many to be able to view offline. <--I LOVE this site as very complete overview of machine knitting. Made a good book for myself to refer to, offline,from this many-chaptered site. Gotta love computers... The forums here are really fun too.
    Favs for knitting in general: has fun patterns for hand knitting, which I would never give up even if i become a total machine knitting nut, which is quickly bercoming the case.

    About Me

    Marin County, California, United States
    I work for 2 non-profits in Marin County CA (near SF) that serve the Developmentally Delayed. I was introduced to weaving and knitting at a very young age. Over the years I have always had knitting on hand. There was a time where I was severely chastised for being so old fashioned, so it is great to see the upsurge in the home arts now going on! I have expanded into machine knitting; fortunately there is a great Guild nearby that has really been great. Spinning Fibers is a new thrust as well, and felting has creeped in too. If only I had more time...