The Fiber Artist

Wow, that sounds pretentious doesn't it. But it is the name of my company, so I decided to use it. This is where I will keep a record of works in progress in the hope that it will result in more productivity. It will also give me a place to ramble on about my life, so that maybe later I will remember what happened in ___ (fill in day, month, year of your choice).

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why I Love Afterthought Heels

The Afterthought or Peasant or grandmother heels that I make use waste yarn where you want the heel and you make it after you have continued with the foot or leg (depending if you are working toe up or top down).

Conventional wisdom, in the sock knitting world says that one should add reinforcement at the back of the heel, the first picture shows the back of the heel in all of its pristine beauty. I don't wear out my sock at the back of the heel.

Now let us look at the bottom of the heel, ye gads a hole... horrors! And in my Socks that Rock Ruby Slippers too! What is one to do? And will someone explain why this sock has a hole and the other one is fine?

Well if one has had forethought and made an after thought heel, one can repair it easily. First for the hardest part ( at least in the past this was the hardest part, but now thanks to the "Organization of the Sock Yarn Bins" it is no longer). Find the leftover yarn that the sock was knitted with in the first place... And here it is. In the second bin that I looked in, (because there are only 2) Not quite as much of a mess as it looks, there are 3 small balls there, and right after I took the picture I wound them back into neat balls.

Now for the scary part take the scissors and cut off the end of the heel where it was kitchenered in the first place. Now don't be
afraid, there is a hole anyway, what can you hurt?

Be sure to cut down far enough that the hole is not involved or you pull out a bunch of short pieces before you can really get on with it.
Now that you have found a yarn end just pull on it, keep pulling...Keep Pulling...There, just pull that old yarn right out of there.

How do you know when to stop? Well back when the heel was first made it was put into a hole which developed when the waste yarn was removed, and a new end was knitted in, so if you pull long enough it all comes out and you are left with a big hole with stitches standing up all round the hole waiting to be picked up.

Throw the yarn that you took out away, even if you have to find a contrasting yarn to use for the repair, because this yarn has been worn and dollars to doughnuts it won't last long enough to bother.

See all of the little loops just standing up quite prettily waiting to be picked up. Now just take a needle and pick them up.

Now start knitting in the heel, I have very high insteps so I first knit 2 rounds even, before I start to decrease stitches. Then decrease 4 stitches every other round, until I get down to an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half worth of stitches.

After decreasing down to the number of stitches I calculated I needed at the end I put all of the stitches on two needles, one for the bottom of the heel stitches and one for the back of the heel stitches.

Cut the thread and put it into a blunt yarn needle and thread the yarn through the stitches on the needle in the pattern used to kitchener or graft the stitches together, I leave the stitches that I am putting in very loose since I have found over long years that it is easier to tighten a really loose stitch than it is to tighten a only slightly loose stitch, because I can see what to grab.

Once the yarn is woven through all of the remaining stitches and the needles are gotten out of the way, I place 2 or 3 fingers into the heel and stretch the final weaving so that I can see those loose stitches really well and go back to the beginning, and start with the first stitch and tighten then all up to look like all the other stitches.

Once the stitches are all neat and tidy, take the yarn end to the inside of the sock and weave it in.

Return the pair of socks to the sock drawer with a smug expression on you face!

Or put them on and wear them.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Retail Therapy Oh! and Socks

Mike's Socks are finished and will go in the mail on Monday, I finished one of Lori's socks and should finish the other one today. So that can go in the mail as well. I am going to tape the first part of Harry Potter, to get the Grandson started in it. And wrap the book, and the socks, to get them on their way.

Since I am somewhat bored with the projects that I have underway(and am resisting casting on something new), I indulged in some retail therapy this morning. I ordered lip balms from here. And new crocs from here. then I just went wild and got new sock needles: these, and these and an extra set of these in 2.25. Now to go out and sit by the mailbox. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tired and Frustrated

The last three days I have spent with people who could not do this:
You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

think this is why I am tired and frustrated? Three days of trying to keep the ones who are intent on throwing their life away, from distracting the ones who might just want to learn a little something today. I will be better tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I am boring don't bother

Mike's socks are growing, slowly. I spent yesterday teaching 14-15 year olds to use the computers effectively. What is wrong with this picture: a 60 year old teaching teenagers to use a computer. So there was not as much knitting as there would have been if they could work independently. This weekend should take care of finishing these.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First 2 finished items of 2008

First is Carl's Birthday socks, finished! Due January 25.

Second is the Mystery Shawl 2. I was shamed into weaving in the ends at the knit-in and book reading for Friday Night Knit Club on the odd Tuesday. Which we had at a different Barnes and Nobles because of the book signing. So it is officially finished. And is not slated for anyone so is either mine or can be a "Oh darn I forgot so-and-so's birthday" gift"

the 2nd gift of the year is Mark's Birthday on Feb 3rd and Mikes on the 10th. Mark will be getting a book, and Mike's socks are underway. Black with just touches of color.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Socks again

I made some progress on Lori's socks last week, but I have 3 birthdays coming up fast, so I have put them aside at this point to concentrate on the birthday socks. These first ones are for Carl's Birthday on the 25th of January. Then I have a pair started for Mike, for February. Mark has a birthday in February too but he is getting a book. and possibly a tape of the start of the first Harry Potter, because I agree it has a slow start, and Jim Dale makes it easier to get through.
And I finished the Mystery Shawl 2 (Flowing River) and it is blocking. I have decided that my camera has a problem, it is eating batteries, so for the time being I must remember to take the batteries out once I finish whatever I am doing, a pain but better than spending a small fortune on batteries.

Now I am going to go hang out another load of clothes and then sit down and knit.

This is a long weekend since there is no school on Monday, so there may be some spinning as well.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Blocking Wires

I finished the shawl! Yea! Plopped it into a dishpan full of water, which promptly turned brown, ewww dusty. Ok it is washed, and still soaking. Why? Because when I looked where I thought that the blocking wires were, they were not.

I do not know why it occurred to me, but for some reason I ask Carl if he knew where my blocking wires were.

In the words of an ancient computer game, the Mammoth stared at me blankly.

Me: "You are doing your mammoth imitation again."

Carl: Stares blankly...

Me: "Round plastic container a yard long containing a bunch of stainless steel welding tig. With a red cap on one end."

Carl: "In the trunk of my car!"

Me: "What are they doing there?"

Carl: "I don't know." resumes staring blankly.

So I must wait with whatever patience I can muster until Christopher gets home with Carl's car so that I can retrieve my blocking wires.
(I am really, really glad I ask before tearing the entire house apart, looking for them)

So if I do not get too tired teaching English tomorrow I will block the shawl tomorrow night. Or this weekend.

Since I could not block the shawl, I got out some yarn, and actually cast on a sock toe for Mike's birthday socks. I have the yarn picked our for Carl's as well, and will get those cast on tonight.


With approximately 280 rows of edging left, the Never-ending cone of yarn...ended!

OK, regroup. Since there is not enough yarn to finish the Mystery shawl 2, (aka Flowing River from Goddess Knits) And it looks to be maybe big enough, And certainly not enough to finish MS 2 and add to MS 1, And MS1 is not big enough, and I need more yarn to finish MS 2. Mystery Shawl 1 (aka Mystery Diamonds also Goddess Knits) is no more. but MS 2 continues on apace. Pictures later today...oooooo exciting. (This picture is the one that is no more)

Kauni - came.

I have sorted Viki's from mine, stuffed hers into a garbage bag and loaded it into the car so that it cannot possibly be forgotten. Taken pictures of mine, (as you can see) and found room in one of the storage bins for it.

I like the colors in person they are brighter than on line. The put-ups were very different than we expected and since it was ordered from overseas, they sent basically what they wanted to.

I had heard before that it wasn't very soft and since it is fingering weight (fair isle type) yarn it is pretty much what I expected. I have 2 small balls (sent to make up the weight) so I may swatch soon and wash it, but I need a couple of birthday presents first, and I am set on finishing the Mystery Shawl 2, Today!


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Progressing Slowly

I have finished 3+ repeats of the border, (22 stitches taking 44 rows[more for the first 5, middle 11, and last 5 stitches] for each), the edging is easy, just a bit tedious.
But I have audio books, and a comfortable chair, so back to it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mystery Shawl 2

First I have started knitting Lori's socks the Monkey Socks pattern from Knitty. I really like that way they are coming out, one is up to the heel and the other foot is underway.

Next I have pulled out the Mystery Shawl 2 and have started the edging, as usual when lace is gathered up on a circular needle, it looks very much like an old dishrag, but it is progressing.

The never ending cone of yarn is still going strong and once I finish the edging, I will go back and pick up around the Mystery Shawl 1 and knit a border and an edging onto that to make it bigger because it is just too small.

And the yellow Shetland Dye Experiment is dry and skeined and measured, and comes out to 844 yards in 4 skeins. Now on to the next color.

Looking Back

In January 2007 Windy started her Yarn Diet, and Posted her rules exempting sock yarn and yarn needed to finish gifts. I decided to go along, even though I did not need anymore sock yarn but I buy sock yarn when traveling and visiting distant yarn shops. A ball (or 2 if they are 50 grams) will make a pair of socks. I make socks, I do not make many scarves, or hats, so one ball of assorted yarn would just stay in the stash forever. I don't have the where-with-all, (although I would like to) to buy a sweaters worth of yarn for me or any of the guys, at every shop I stop in. So sock yarn is my travel souvenir. So how did I do...

Pretty good!

Yarn In:

4 skeins of Encore for Marks sweater finished and given to him.
If I remember correctly 6 skeins of sock yarn. May be less but not more. That is it 10 balls of yarn have come into the stash and I have also added 800+ red Shetland and 800+ Teal Shetland Handspun plus another 800+ yellow Shetland handspun that has not been photographed yet. But these were not additions, just conversions from fiber stash to yarn stash.

Yarn Out:

One skein red and some leftover black for Chase's London Beanie
3 Balls Med Blue Encore for Baby Sweater for Neighbor's Baby
5 Balls Multi color Sunsette for Baby sweater for indianaknits list member
5 Balls blue Sunsette for Baby sweater ditto (she had twins)
2 Balls Regia Sport plus 1 Opal for socks for Mike's Birthday
2 skeins Lorna's Laces Sheepherd Socks in Childsplay for Jaywalker socks for Rayne
1 ball red Treking XXL socks for me
2 balls of Regia Bamboo Sock yarn for socks for me
1 ball of Tofutsies for socks for me
1 ball of something from OnLine with red beads for Megan
2 skeins Knitpicks Landscape socks for me
6 balls Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere for sweater for Rayne
1 ball Opal solid green for socks for me
2 skeins Lorna's Laces Black Watch sock for Christopher's Birthday Socks
2 balls Regia shades of green socks for Aunt Helen
2 balls Regia greens and purple for Aunt Minnie
2 Regia Sport plus 1 Milenweit fingering for socks for Bob's Birthday
3 Balls Sockotta socks for me (3 pair)
1 ball mystery yarn socks for me
1 ball Colinette Jitterbug Fuchsia for socks for me
2 Regia sport plus 1 Opal for Chase birthday socks
1 ball Opal green for Mom
2 balls On Line Cotton socks for me (2 pair)
1 Ball Sockotta pink and red stripe socks for me
1 ball Sockotta dark blues and purples socks for me
1 ball Socks that Rock Mesa socks for me
2 balls Panda Cotton socks for me
15 balls Knitpicks Merino DK tide pool Beadwork Cardigan for me
1 ball Opal Fuchsia I love Ganseys socks for me
6 balls Regia sport and 3 balls Opal fingering 3 pair boot socks for Carl
1 ball
Steinbach Wolle Aktiv Effekt for Sierra's Birthday socks
1 ball Apple Laine Apple Butter Sock Yarn Padded Footlets NOT! for me
5 skeins of Encore for Mark's Lizard Sweater
2 skeins Jawoll and 2 skeins Regia Color boot socks for Dwayne Jr.
2 skeins Socka and 1 skein Opal boot socks for Mike
3 skeins Cotton-ease plus some leftover Encore for the pocket Caleb's Dog face Sweater
3 skeins Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Socks for Bob
2 Skeins Peruvian Highland Wool in Fuchsia Slippers for Mom
2 Skeins Peruvian Highland Wool in Fuchsia Slippers for me
8 skeins Aunt Aggie's Worsted Slippers for Carl, Chase and Christopher
1 skein Aunt Aggie's Worsted Hat for Carl

Total 109 out for a 99 ball reduction if I counted correctly, so not bad at all.

Every person in the family got hand made gifts for at least one of the Christmas or Birthday presents if not both.

I have purchased some Kauni yarn but it hasn't arrived yet.

And what did I finish?

2 Hats one each for Carl and Chase.
3 Zip down the back baby sweaters for gifts
17 pair of gift socks
18 pair of socks for me
3 gift Sweaters
1 sweater for me
4 pair slipper for gifts
1 pair slippers for me

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year (At least according to some)

This is the state of the bobbins at the end of 2007. The horizontal Kate has the Schacht bobbins. The vertical Kate has the Lendrum bobbins, The Reeves bobbins are in the basket, and the Roberta stores her own.

All of the yellow Shetland was spun, plied, skeined and washed.

Today I will clean, Wood Beam, and oil the spinning wheels, re-skein and measure the yellow, and perhaps start on the purple.

And there has been Knitting.