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).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sweaters Sweaters everywhere

I have finished the Fourth Fast sweater, and found yarn for a fifth, so started that the other day, since the mindlessness of the stockinette stitch seems to be easier to get done than the fair isle when I am running with Mom and sitting with Bob. We are spending a fair amount of time at the nursing home, these days. For the Summer months we will be doing mittens but first I must finish the sweaters, before it is too hot to hold them on my lap.

But yesterday I played hooky and took off with the rest of the Odd Tuesday Group, and went a-Harloting.

The Barnes and Noble in Carmel by-the-Corn Indiana pulled out all the stops and we had a great time. There were silly signs.

And welcoming ones.

We showed off our first socks, that pair is 35 years old. (And how fat we are)

And We got our pictures taken with Stephanie. That is(right to left) Cindy, Stephanie, Me, Viki, and Andrea. The pictures are all from Viki's camera and were either taken by her or the cute Barnes and Noble Employee who shall remain nameless, but he took a lot of shots for people, with their cameras. And he showed everyone just how FAT I am! Thanks nameless B&N employee!

The Odd Tuesday Group had a great time. We should do it again, soon.

And now that shawl I am wearing in the pictures is off to Alaska with Andrea, who promises to show it a great time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

You Put Your Right Sleeve in,...

You Put your right sleeve out... but watch out when you start shaking it all about and don't drop the needles or stab anyone. Today, while supervising students watching a movie, I finished the first sleeve to the cuff, and then worked on a sock because I had nether the cuff needles or another pair of needles to pick up the other sleeve. I did, however, cut the steek, to the wide-eyed amazement of several students. They are pretty impressed that not only can I knit the pattern, but with a yarn in each hand and without looking at what I am doing. It never ceases to amaze them that I can watch what they are doing and knit at the same time. I keep telling them that if they would practice something for 50 years, they, too, will get pretty good at it.

So tonight I will get out the appropriate size needle and knit the cuff, and then tonight or tomorrow I will pick up the left sleeve, I may have it finished for Harlot. 11 days until Harlot.

I should get a fair amount of knitting done in the next week or two, because yesterday we put Bob, (the Step-father) back into the hospital, and he goes to a nursing home on Monday or Tuesday, so I will be taking Mom down for visits. And she has a doctor's appointment on Friday.

In 24 years I will be where Mom is (in age) and I really hope that I have not gotten as frail mentally as she has gotten, it is scary to watch her lose track of things, and not be able to follow a thread and it has happened pretty fast, so I hope it is just the stress of dealing with Bob.

She sounds much stronger this afternoon, even though she said that she had done 4 loads of laundry today. Which is more than she usually gets done. I hope it is the stress. Because if it is not we will have to figure out what to do about her, next. And I wonder what will happen to me in 25 years.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

4th Fast Sweater

Yes I am aware that Fast is long over, well recently over anyway, but I really want to finish the sweaters that I planned, and I want to get them finished before it becomes so warm that the knitting is really uncomfortable. The 3rd sweater is on its sleeves and since the rows are short I must pay closer attention to the charts, so I cast on the 4th which is a blue stripe sweater, for some mindless knitting.

The sweater is striped because I don't have enough of any of the blue yarns to do anything but baby sweaters and while baby sweaters are fine things, there are lots of people willing to knit the baby sweaters and few willing to knit for the bigger kids so that is what I want to do.

Last night I cast on the sleeves and knit the rib of the first one, then I will work the sleeves as I work the body, (med blue stripe on body, med blue stripe on both sleeves, etc.) until I get to the underarm and then join and work a raglan striped yoke. At least that is the currant plan.

But today I will sit and watch tapes and work on the fair isle sleeve maybe even finish the first one.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Machine Sewn steeks

This is the 2nd of the Steek posts, so go read the last entry first, Here are the armhole steeks after knitting but before anything else the first picture is the top of the steeks, and the next picture is the bottom.
In order to machine sew the steeks I need to mark the center stitch as a cutting line, there are 2 ways that I use, first, (and safest) is to run a line of basting with some contrasting waste yarn.
For some reason the waste yarn did not want to show on the right (public) side so I simply sewed the steek from the inside of the sweater, doesn't matter, both work.

The basted side happened to be the side that was start of round and the ends need to be attended to before the steek is sewn or I end up practicing the words-not-to-be-said-in-front-of-Mother, or the granddaughter for that matter. So after attending to the yarn ends. (tied in square knots and trimmed, (remember the steek will be folded back and sewed down so nobody except me(and now you, of course) will know)) I preceded to pick up a yarn needle and waste yarn and sew up the center line of stitches. (Those ends you see are from the 3-needle bindoff, and will be attended to later, since they need weaving in)

Up stairs to the machine, (everybody is up now) and the machine has red thread. that
is fine, use whatever is already on it, because, (all together now) the steeks will be folded back and sewn down and no one will know! Besides with red you can see what I did, this is all for you dear Blog reader, and yes, also because I am lazy. I used a multiple stitch zig-zag because 1. it is stretchy, and 2. I paid a lot of money for this machine and I should use a feature every now and then, and 3. it only involves pushing 3 buttons, and I am not that lazy.

The other method I use is for those stupid foolhardy brave souls who like to live dangerously: just pin a line down the center row of stitches and sew alongside, you must remove the pins before you run over the heads, so the next row is sewn exactly two stitches away, so that you leave a center line of stitches to cut along.
And here it is after sewing, and there is a closeup because I did it right and want everyone to see it. (and if I had messed up there probably would not have been, maybe)

And the last picture is what the basted one looked like from the right side. These are now ready to be cut with my tiny sharp embroidery scissors when I am ready to put in the sleeves, which will be after I do the neckband.

Crocheted Steeks

I was asked a while ago, to comment on steeks by the Indianaknits list. This is the answer to that request, which I am doing here so that I can use pictures, since the hand waving doesn't come through. This is the 3rd Fast Sweater, with its body now finished, it would work if the person wearing it did not mind having their arms held tight against their sides...No? Well, OK.

The back of the neck is pooched out in this picture because the neck steek is smaller than the back of the neck and then there are decreases as well. If you can see the pins they are marking decreases. (Put the number of pins that there are decreases all hanging from one of their number, place this in the first decrease,(works for increases too) then every time you decrease, take a pin for the bottom and pin it into the decrease, when you run out of pins, stop decreasing.)

When I knit the body I cast on the front and back and knit to the start of the armholes on circular needles. Once at the armholes I bound off 4 stitches at the side markers. On the next round I did an alternating, backward loop cast on of 11 stitches, with the 2 colors being used in that row. These stitches were set off with markers, and the start of round, (which had been on a side seam, already) continued to go up one of the armhole steeks. When I got to the point of casting off the neck stitches I cast off 22 stitches at the center of the front. (up until now the back and front are identical so I just picked one and said, "I hereby declare you the front", bound off the center 22 stitches and that is now the front.) On the next row I did the same thing I did at the armhole, 11 alternating, backward loop, stitches cast on. Then I decreased up the front until the number of stitches required had been reduced, and knit merrily along up to the top of the shoulders, which I 3-needle bound off, starting at the shoulder, on both sides, so I bound off until there were no more front stitches and left the rest on the needle for the back of the neck.

So we have this very deformed piece of knitting, with what looks like large buttonholes, (where I bound off the armhole and neck and then cast on the steek stitches) and the pattern is weird above the buttonholes, and she is giving this thing away?
Anyway on the neck I am going to do the crocheted steek, for a couple of reasons: 1. (and most important) I want to start doing this and there are people sleeping upstairs where the sewing machine is, and 2. it will give me a chance to show both methods without having to make a swatch.
The method I am using is explained very well by Eunny, so I am just linking to her explanation.
So I crocheted up one side of the center row of stitches and down the other I used a rust mohair that will grab immediately, and felt in quickly. (and besides it was sitting next to the chair I was sitting in and I am nothing if not lazy.)

Then I cut between the lines of crochet. (I have no idea why the crochet, looks brown on the cut picture, but I could not get it to straighten out without messing up all the other colors)

The last picture is the neck with the steeks folded back so that you can see what the line of the neck will be at the start of the pickup, for the neckband.

The next post will be the armhole steeks which will be sewn on the machine.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Journey

In which our heroine's mother attempts to kill her.

Flew to Florida, every plane was packed, and over booked and the gate attendants were begging people to take a later flight in exchange for a free ticket, round trip to anywhere in the US.

I did not take the bait this time, I have in the past on the trip home because then I could call and tell Carl to pick me up later and he doesn't mind driving after dark but my mother does, so no free ticket.

On the flight to Charlotte, NC, during the 2 hour layover, and the flight to Tampa, FL , I worked on the Fair Isle sweater and got a fair amount done. Got it almost to the armhole bind off before I got to Florida. Once I got there I worked on the Socks That Rock monkey socks in the Rock Star colorway, and got them finished before we left Florida, in spite of trying to cough my lungs out. The dry airplane air cough, that I arrived with, just kept getting worse and worse, it improved when we went anywhere, (not usual by any means) but kept getting worse in the rented mobile home, to the point that I started waking up in the middle of the night wheezing. The day before we left I mentioned to Mom that I did not know why I was having so much trouble, and she said, " It's the mold. Those two white chairs in the living room," (where I was sleeping by the way, (the room not the chairs)) "The backs of the cushions are covered with mold." Thanks Mom, really!

Before we left I cast on a sock in Lucy Neatby's Celestial Merino Dreams Sock Yarn in the Fiesta colorway. The socks look like they are two different yarns but there seems to be long runs of one and then the other, we will see as I go on. I hope to get the Fast sweater up to the shoulders in the next day or so, and cut the steeks, to start the sleeves. I am really enjoying the color work and see more of this soon.