Monday, 22 September 2008

Advancing skills?

At last all the children, including my sister's children, are in full-time school. Instead of using the extra time this frees up for housework I have, of course, been doing more spinning and knitting! It really is addictive, and I am well and truly hooked! Especially as during the last week I have been doing new things - styles and techniques I've never or rarely tried before.

First off I finished the Quidditch yarn - 300g of BFL spun to 'worsted' weight (roughly aran). I got 350 yards, and was reasonably happy with the results as I have rarely spun such thick yarn before. It turned out more consistent than I thought it would be. An unexpected element was added when I discovered that bonus points were available for metallic looking metal colours. How is Hufflepuff black a metallic colour? Well, apparently black is associated with iron in heraldry. Going with this I felt there was grounds for a hint of gold in the yarn, as 'fools gold' is really iron pyrites, so I plied the singles with some gold filament thread I have. It looked great. especially after dyeing the yarn black - the metallic thread didn't take the dye, so the gold glints really stand out. First picture is before dyeing:

Handspun 003

Handspun 007

In order to free up bobbin space for the Hufflepuff yarn I also plyed the singles I spun at Alston Hall from some dyed roving I bought from Freyalyn - her Wisteria colourway. I decided to Navajo ply because I wanted to maintain lengths of solid colour. This felt very brave because my last go at Navajo plying was very bumpy!! However, this time the yarn does not have bumps where each chain meets - those points are barely discernable. I thought I had overplyed as the skeins twisted so much when I took them off the niddynoddy, but after an intersesting discussion with Penny Leonard at Guild on Saturday I found that the yarn did indeed relax so much after washing that the skeins no longer self-twist. Perhaps my last Navajo-plyed yarn was so bumpy because it was underplyed?

Here is a section of the skeins as they hang to dry, and a full shot of them (sadly the colours don't show well - they are much more vibrant in real life):

Handspun 018

Handspun 021

And finally, my new knitting craze - I have been learning double-knitting. This is not in this case a yarn thickness, but a knitting technique that creates double-sided knits. I first came across the technique when I saw an article about double-knitted socks which solved the mystery from 'Knitting in the Nordic Tradition' about how the nurse in War and Peace knitted two socks in one. Then a friend of mine knitted a two-colour double-knitted bag, and I realised the possibilities double-knitting affords for colourwork. I wondered if this would resolve my problem with Aidan's scarf, knitted as a fairisle tube, which was turning out far too thick. So, I researched the technique and cast on. It works!! I am knitting a scarf that has a design on both sides, yet only uses two strands of yarn, and is a perfect thickness. The biggest win was getting the name (this one is for my middle son, Tom) to read properly on both sides. The scarf so far:

Double-knitted scarf 020

Double-knitted scarf 023

Clever eh?


peneller said...

I'm so glad your yarn turned out so well balanced after the water treatment! I have been wondering if you tried it. Hope to see you at the next guild meeting!

Barbara Blundell said...

Have never done double knitting !After reading your post am fired with enthusiasm. Must find out more ! Thank you !