Wednesday, 25 August 2010

18th Century Stockings

Now I love wearing wool skirts in the winter but find my legs get cold. This is the answer - a pair of knitted stockings. I made them from a pattern on Ravelry, or rather directions as to how to calculate the number of stitches and exact shaping to fit my legs. The instructions were great, but I did have a couple of problems.

First, a long-standing difficulty I have when knitting in the round - tight, tense fingers resulting in a tight knit. This long project has really helped me to get out of this habit, though the resulting difference in gauge is quite apparent. I hope my second pair will be more even.

I also had problems with ladders. This is unusual for me, and I think that the yarn (a synthetic/natural mix) has something to do with it, but the biggest problem is that knitting with 4 needles creates tight angles and hence ladders. So I really need to knit with 5 - unfortunately my 2mm needles only come in sets of 4. So the next pair will be knitted with a set of 5 x 1.75mm needles which will be a better fit for the yarn now I have relaxed my knitting and I hope this will also resolve the ladders problem.

The heel and toe are done with a three needle bind off, which I've never done before and that was fun. I think my next pair will have a modern heel and toe though. All in all, an interesting project which I will build on for my next project.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

First alpaca blend

I started on my new fleeces this week; here is the first skein. I did one ply of the Texel/Gritstone and one of alpaca (which shows as the darker colour in the strand). I've never mixed fibres before so this was interesting; I washed this first skein so I could see the results, warts and all. Learning points? I need to be more consistent in the thickness of both plies, but the biggest issue was overtwisting the alpaca. This has left the yarn a little unbalanced in places as the alpaca is overtwisted while the Texel is a bit more relaxed. I'm really not sure if this blend is going to work at all, so I think for now I'll concentrate on doing a two-ply texel instead. I suspect the alpaca might work better with the blue faced leicester, which is more similar in texture.

NB Texel is a common sheep breed round here, it's a sheep bred for meat rather than fleece, so Texel based sheep fill a lot of the fields around me.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

It's been a while since my last post, but I have been busy. Here are a pair of boot socks for my Other Half, made in my own handspun - Balwen/local sheep. The pattern is modelled on a Sanquhar pattern - midge and fly.
I've also started this top - Halcyon. Took me a little while to get the hang of the pattern, but it's growing nicely now.
And it's the fleece time of year - here is a Texel cross fleece which I got locally, a massive quantity of surprisingly clean fleece.
And here is my star buy - half a white alpaca. Gorgeous stuff.