Saturday, February 25, 2006


Intrigued by a list question, I tried a little experiment:

Anna Neuper

I used Anna Neuper's Modelbuch of patterns for brocaded bands in a pick up inkle band. This one is from page 54, pattern #74.

This band is 5/2 cotton, pattern threads doubled, and the loom was set up with 12 pattern threads. The little sample uses only 11 pattern threads, so there is a little extra blip along the right side, of the unused pattern thread moving along, but not part of the pattern. Ignore that, and the little design works nicely.

I see no problem with using the patterns for pick up. Other than turning the floating threads 90ยบ, the patterns come out with the same surface appearance as those used in brocade. Well yay, there are 80 patterns in this little booklet!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

We Came, We Saw, We Knit

Yes, we had two days with the amazing and very knowledgeable Joan Schrouder. While we knit, Joan regaled us with knitting information. People had to stop and pick up their pencils and write things down, and then knit on. I missed a lot of the finer details, but no matter: Joan shares enough to satisfy any level of knitter.

Joan, of whom I have only one, not very flattering photo (sorry Joan, come back! I'll take more):


has been a committed knitter for over 30 years. She attended Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Camps, when Elizabeth was still there (and since). She has designed patterns for knitting magazines, taught all over the country for guilds and conferences, does test knitting for friend's books, and generally knits up a storm.

She had a case of samples and swatches, and Could Remember Tiny Details about the knitting they represent. Joan, alas, has no website. She teaches at most Stitches conferences though, so she is easy to find.

The first day we knit miniature shetland shawl shapes, to learn the effect of different joins, pick ups and increases. Ginger Luters made good use of the time and her sampler shows some of the variations possible:

ginger sample

There are various methods to make the points on the edging, join the edging to the borders, and other niceties lost on me, your intrepid reporter. But they make a difference in the appearance and handle of the cloth: some joins leave more pronounced ridges, some seem more subtle and more supple, and some are almost invisible.

Sue's sample looks like a doll house blanket, and just might be claimed as such by one of her grandchildren:

sue sample

Dee's sample (next to Sue's) won the award for the Very Fastest Knitter Alive:

dee sue

until we found out she knit it over twenty years ago, following EZ's directions.

My sample? Well, let's just say I'm not the fastest knitter in the bunch:

my sample

The second day we did a sampler of Ethnic Textured Stitches. We started with several cast ons, including some for two and three strands. Some were decorative and some were flexible. We learned three ways to do twined knitting, three ways to strangle a bobble, then traveling stitches:

my sample2

I wish I had gotten a photo of other people's samplers, because, as we know, I'm the Not So Fast knitter, and they got further along into the traveling stitch patterns, which were very intriguing.

I did get to use my now-favorite *scoopy pointed* el-cheapo Bates plastic needles, reinvigorating my desire for more like them. Thanks to comments from Regan Patrice and Juno, I ordered a few sizes of the Bryspun circulars from my LYS, to see if these are similar.

I will look for the Inox too, thanks to those of you, including Lisa, who suggested them. I had a set of the Denise Interchangeables long ago, and did not like the joins. Have they changed them?

And for those Addi fans: I like them too, own them and use them, for plain knitting and color work, which is most of what I do. But lace seems to want those scoopy points, which are more adept at doing the ssk's and sk2t's. And, isn't it incumbent upon us all to support those manufacturers and vendors and Have Them All??

Claudia? Not to worry, I won't give up my day job for knitting. It's a phase. Just a phase. But thank you for sending on the knotted fishies, reminding me of my true purpose. They will have a good safe harbor in the yurt (Mongolian fish, perhaps?).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Getting the Blues

A quick update:

leaf lace blues

The Leaf Lace Shawl is coming along, knitting is occurring at Casa Lambster.

I'm headed out for a two day workshop with Joan Schrouder, knitting goddess, so perhaps, maybe, later, more knitting will occur.

But I wanted to clarify, update, and express my chagrin: In this post, I mentioned how much I liked the tips of el cheapo brand of knitting needles (Susan Bates) over the much vaunted Addi Turbos. The Bates tips are *scoopy* (my word) rather the blunt and bulbous Addis (horrors, sacrilege).

I hereby retract (and in the process reveal my extraordinary lack of class). What I like is apparently the no-longer-made, even cheaper, all plastic one-piece version of Bates circular needle that I must have had since the last century. I don't know when they changed them. I didn't have the size I needed so I had to buy new ones for this shawl, and they are *not* all plastic, they are not the *scoopy* tips.

On the left, the scoopy old ones, on the right, bleah:

needle tips
You can see the difference, right?

I have been struggling along with these blunt tips on slippery yarn (silk/merino), and wishing I could find the old El Cheapo plastic version. I will be searching: thrift shops, here I come. And, I will be closely examining needle tips, to see if there are some on the market now that have the *scoopiness* I seek.

On the weather front: yes, there has been snow:

snow3 2006
This is very early morning, after about 6 inches.

The yurt is a good snow-shedder though, and just after dawn:

yurt snow

snow began to retreat. Being inside the yurt when the snow slides off is quite the experience: it sounds like the whole thing is falling in on your head. Startling, to say the least.

It has remained cold and crisp. The rain chain was ice most of the day, even after the snow was off the branches:

rain chain2

It made pretty splash patterns, frozen mid-drop.

And last, Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be snowboarders:

Jesse off Cliff (2)

They'll just send you pictures like this, making you wish you could reach through your monitor and shake them sensible.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Major Pile Up in San Diego

That title ought to get us some Google action, eh? Actually, I did have a very nice drive down and back. Spring was evident the whole length of the state; orchards beginning to bloom, vineyards, orange groves, that very lovely green of alfalfa, and yes, rolling green hills.

There has been weaving:

SD Anna

I like this photo a lot, because it shows the looms in action, both upright and as a lap loom. It also shows Anna, truffle maker extraordinaire, Deanna, erstwhile hostess and program chair, and Judy is hidden! Judy? She who blogs last, laughs best :-).

We set up the looms:

SD Kristine

Then started tying knots:

SD Nancy

Which needed to be trimmed:

SD Nancy2

We worked (and ate) our way through two days. And the winner is?

SD Phil's loom

Phil. We really did not have a contest on who could weave the most. But Phil wins. His partner Kristine?

SD Kristine's loom

Not so much. Can this marriage be saved?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Beginning to Change

You can probably see where this is going:

silk and ivory3

I'm knitting Leaf Lace Shawl again, I like this pattern. It's rhythmic to knit, and I can see the pattern develop, and *read* the stitches. Thanks to Sylvia for giving me that tip, it has helped me learn to knit lace.

I have knit this before, and Kiri, both of which I liked quite well. Then I knit Flower Basket Shawl, which I found less fun. There were rows in the pattern I just had to trust and follow blindly. Until I was quite a bit into the scarf, I couldn't *see* the pattern, like I could Kiri and Leaf Lace.

So here is the yarn as dyed:

silk and ivory
Silk and Ivory (silk/merino blend from Henry's Attic).

I wound this into a ball, rather than knitting straight from the fabric, because it looks so cool (and a ball is easier to haul around than a length of fabric, I expect this to be travel knitting):

silk and ivory2

You can see the color progression, even in the ball, and it's fun to watch as the colors come up in the knitting.

This is one skein, size 6 needles. I don't know how big a scarf/shawl I will get, but I can say it's luscious!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


We had another inkle weaving day, wherein we sorted through patterns, and discussed how to organize the guild display / hands-on weaving demonstration for CNCH.

We set up for various patterns, including the Celtic knot:

igor inkle2

A braid:
beryl inkle

And some simple geometric shapes:

Dee inkle

Here's the process of picking up a simple diagonal design:
First pull up the thread from below:

Sue inkle2

Then pass the shuttle in the space created (see the weft thread on the other side?):

Sue inkle
In this picture, you can see two diagonals, the lower one (right to left) of solid blue is pickup only, and other (left to right)of blue outlined in beige, is pickup and pushdown.

We decided the simple, no-pattern, make-it-up-as-you-go geometrics would be easiest to teach absolute beginners, and that we'd have another loom set up for a braid of some kind, for people who want to try the more challenging pattern:

igor inkle3

We are hoping that this inkle weaving will be the gateway drug for a few new weavers. With that in mind, we will have several looms, some from established loom makers, some home made, also backstrap, and the venerable pipe loom:

pipe band loom
(here set up for the geometric, make-it-up-as-you-go)

We want people to go away with a handout, a woven bookmark, and a sense that they can do this again, on their own. We will be set up and ready to weave on Sunday May 7th, from 2 to 4 pm, at the annual Conference of Northern California Handweavers, at the Modesto Convention Center.

Proselytizing weaving. Pushers, that's what we are. And thanks to previous comments, I know that Brandy, and now Caroline have taken the bait, hooray! (and thanks for letting me know!).