Saturday, December 17, 2016

Moccasin Socks Part 2

Open the Knitter's Almanac to page 118, study the pictures, read the pattern,  do a diagram of the leg part.

look at the picture of the half finished sock, the wide part is around the calf, the decreasing part is the sides of the heel, the small bit is the top of the foot.

I'd do a diagram if I could figure out a way to draw and post, I can't.

Then measure your leg, or the leg of happy recipient, or some passing stranger.

Length from the back of the knee to the top of your heel, where the Achilles tendon mets the calf,  my measurement is 10 inches,  err on the side of less this length is easy to add to by adjusting the ribbing. much later

Pinned to the apron of a loom

Saturday, November 26, 2016

EZ and me, the Moccasin Sock Part One

I have a huge admiration for Elisabeth Zimmerman ( and copies of all her books) which are available from Schoolhouse Press.  She shaped the wild and woolly way I knit, and sometimes I am a blind follower, the Baby Surprise Jacket for example.

These knee socks are a variation of the Moccasin Sock from The Knitters Almanac.

Available from Schoolhouse.Knitter's AlmanacI am asked in person when wearing them and on Ravelry when I post pictures and I always say they are EZ's pattern,  Copyright, intellectual property is very important, this is a issue of justice for creative people.  So I have never written notes that amount to a pattern or my version of the full pattern.  Buy the book, it's an incredible value.

But I was asked again, and the knitter is buying the book, so these are my variations on one of the best sock patterns ever, it's the only one I knit.  Because I don't actually like knitting socks, I love wearing hand-knit socks but I don't delight in the process.  Read the Yarn Harlot she is both poetic and interesting on the subject of socks.

Buy the book, read the pattern, maybe knit it as EZ writes it,  but visualize carefully what is going on.  Oddly because EZ was passionate about knitting in the round this sock is knit flat.  It is two quite separate pieces, the leg and the top of the foot are one piece and the heel, toe and bottom are then knitted on.  This was designed so that nylon could be added to the parts that wear and so that the whole bottom could be ripped off and completely re-knitted, which works by the way.  It is a very adaptable by size pattern too, there are parts where one just knits until it long enough.

Like EZ I cannot remember the series of mental fireworks I went though but the first is that there is no good reason to knit the leg flat,  knit in the round, magic loop or double points to the point on page 121 that she says put 3 stitches on holders, put 6 stitches on a bit of string and proceed.  I've asked and no one how was close to EZ has any idea why she choose to knit flat and sew up the back.  If you do please comment on it.

The Second is the knitter can create that flat piece vertically, IE around the leg from a back seam.  I want to use Noro Silk Garden but I did not want this.  Those are nice socks but I don't like horizontal stripes.
Image result for noro silk garden sock

I want my socks to look like this, these are the first pair knitted this way many year ago.

The colour variations show the different parts .

Here is one leg. Using a tentative case on around string.

Search You Tube for Invisible Provisional Cast by Beth Brown-Reinsal, 

The calf is shaped by short rows, the 2 sides are grafted together, then knit the foot.

Pick up stitches around the top, a multiple of 4, and rib 2 X 2 until it right up to the knee.

Foot modifications to come. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I am a socialist, an NDPer from way back, what does this have to do with textile arts?   I believe that creativity, and the expression of creativity should be available to everyone, meaning that not everybody can afford a loom or has a place to put it.  I also think it's a waste of resources for individuals to own a lot of equipment though vital and enjoyable to have.  Joint ownership, that's the thing.

 This is the latest price of equipment that I am using at the Calgary guild  . It's a rag cutter, I am doing a saori weaving on a rigid heddle loom.

The guild has a lot resources for it's members.  Either free with membership or for rent.

This is a beautiful warp, hand dyed by a member on a 100 inch Leclerc loom.  Not something that most people have room for.  and it is available with membership.

I am moving to a very small space in the not to distant future so shared useful space is an important thing to me personally but it is also something we need to have more of as a culture.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Weaving and other things

 I am now a weaver, not yet on a floor loom or doing anything but plain weave.  The theory is weaving uses yarn up faster than knitting.

For those who like to know exactly what they are looking at, the loom is a Schacht flip, the widest model.  I am using my Ashford country spinner 2 to hold it comfortably, the yarn is Briggs and Little in 2 different weights.  In the bottom left is adding machine tape used to measure the length of the scarf.
I love the Country Spinner, mostly I ply on it cause I only have one bobbin,  but what a bobbin it is, there is more than 700 gr and room for more on it.This is the yarn.  The crocheted table runner was done by my Grandmother in the 1940's.  She also made at least 2 tablecloths about 6 by 9 feet.  I have some of her crochet hooks, I can't see the hook it's so small.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

20 lb challenge revisited

Thrummed mitts
 Last summer I resolved to spin 20 lb before next summer,  I am doing quite well on that.

I also resolved not to buy yarn and apart from a bender at Stash Lounge, totally not my fault,  I had to spend a gift certificate,  I am doing quite well on that.

What I failed on was not buying more fibre.  I blame the thrummed mitts.

Mohair Wool blend

How can I resist locally produced fibre sold at my farmer's market by A and B Fiberworks of Linden Alberta
Super wash Merino
How can I resist just the right colours and fibre for baby knitting, local market and local dyer.
This mohair is produced and dyed in southern Alberta and will make lovely thrumms.

Merino Medley from Shuttleworks,

It was on sale, it is just what I need for a class about thrumming.

And it's all Mary J.'s fault she dragged me to the store.  Cal and Diane are having a going out of business sale,

So I have a couple of new resolutions,  I am of the age and location that is betwixt and between on the Metric and Imperial systems but I am going firmly metric.

It is now the 9.071kg. challenge, plus all the fibre I have bought since.

I like to keep my fibre stored neatly in tubs in the basement, but that leads to out of sight out of mind syndrome, so I want to browse my stash more, look at all the pictures in Ravelry so I remember that I have Stash beyond life expectancy.  And I just added 3 more kg according to weight on the bag,  but Shuttleworks is getting very generous and there was more than the stated wight in every bag I weighted.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Not Knitting, really

 This was an interesting project, photographing food is hard.  These photos were taken over a 30 hour period and the light varied a lot.

3 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of low fat soy flour (extra Protein)
1/2 gluten flour ( extra protein and extra gluten)

one tablespoon yeast

mix together with 4 cups hot water

mixing the yeast into the flour first keeps the hot water from killing the yeast

This is called a sponge, mix thoroughly until the flour is all moist

Go away, knit, read, I went to the farmers market

3 hours later it was  bubbly and bigger, it also smells yeasty.  I could have kneaded it then but I was tired.  Stired it down and left it overnight sitting on the kitchen counter.  I didn't bother this time but if there was a lot of dust or bugs I would cover it.

Fruit flies are really attracted to the gases
 See the lines, that's gluten.  Gluten when developed forms thin, long stands that hold the gas in to make bread light  and developing gluten is the whole point of kneading the dough.

Next morning put  2 tablespoons, a good dollop of oil and 1 tablespoon of salt in and mix.

I use olive oil and gray sea salt but I'm a food snob.

Put 4 cups of white floor (could use whole wheat but the bread would be heavier) on the counter. Dump the sponge on and work the floor in and knead (forgot to take a (picture) The sponge doesn't want to take in all the flour, work at it. Knead for a good 20 to 30 minutes.  You can take breaks,   I bird watch, there's a feeder right outside the window.

 This is the baby bottom stage, smooth and alive.  It is possible to over knead bread and have the gluten collapse but it's not very probable.  one of the things I should have done taking the pictures is put in a ruler for scale. the tiles are 8 inches square

 This is one of the best tips I know, I like to give credit but I can't remember where I learned this put another good dollop of oil in the bottom of the rising  bowl,  Put in the kneaded mass and swirl it around, flip it over and swirl again, this coats the mass with oil so it will rise without drying out.

Four hours later, doubled in bulk, in the top left you can see where I put my finger in it and the hole doesn't fill up.

cut in half with a bread knife  I like big loaves, knead a moment and shape into loaves, oil a big cookie sheet,  and plop the loaves on, slash the loaves that lets them rise more evenly, and it looks good.  Spray with water or cover with a damp cloth to keep the outside from drying out.
 notice the difference in how far apart the loaves are. I put chopped olives and cheese in one loaf. Let them rise again 2 hours or so. Preheat the oven, 375  and put them in, reduce oven heat to 325.  Bake about 50 minutes.


 And here they are, golden brown and bigger than when they went in the oven.
Thump with your knuckles, and enjoy that hollow sound.

I tied to take a picture of the first slices but it didn't turn out,I ate it.  the slice of bread not the picture.
Not Just Mittens
Thrumming for warmth and comfort

thrummed mitts.JPGThrumming is a method of adding little wisps of fibre or yarn to objects to add insulation, padding and decoration.  It goes back to at least the 1500’s   It can be done knitting, crocheting and weaving.

This class will create a knitted sampler/gauge square with 3 methods of making thrums, different fibre choices for thrums, wool, alpaca, and mohair and different patterns of placement.

Patterns and examples of mitt making will be available, so you will be able to start your first pair right away.  And examples of other thrummed garments.

Participants must be able to do basic knitting and being able to knit in the round is a plus.   If you can, bring a variety of needles, 3 mm to 5mm,  straights, double pointed and circulars,  I will have some loaners and some needles for sale.  Paper and pen, scissors too.

Yarn will be provided, several different kinds, and the thrumming materials, several different kinds.  And enough yarn and fibre to take home for a pair of mitts.

Materials fee 20.00
Class fee 60.00 for guild members, 70.00 for non guild
Time 9 AM to 3 PM Apr 2

Please register by email to