Sunday, May 27, 2012

Challenge Navajo/chain plying

In order to maintain the beautiful colour separations which come with spinning a handpainted fleece or roving, I always wanted to know how to Navajo/chain ply. Still, as rather a newbie, this is not exactly the first thing you're giving a try at ...

Well, now I felt ready to deal with this challenge - and thanks to YouTube ;-), it wasn't even that difficult!

What you need is a slightly overtwisted single, three times the length you wish your yarn to be, and if you don't want the final yarn to bee too bulky, try spinning the single quite thin.

Set your whorl on big and slow, select a strong uptake, put your single on a lazy kate, make a loop with the single and the leader on your bobbin. Then it's basically just 'finger-crocheting' your single through the loop with your left hand - making real big loops -, while your right hand is pinching the three strands to form the twist.

Sounds more complicated than it actually is - just take a look at that video and I guess it will come perfectly clear!

Another funny little thing which I found at YouTube was an i-cord earphone wrapping tutorial, showing how to knit a colourful i-cord around the cables of your earphones, to prevent them from tangling. Of course I couldn't resist, these are mine:

(German summary: Jetzt habe ich mich ans Navajo/chain-Verzwirnen gewagt - und mit Hilfe des YouTube tutorials, war es gar nicht einmal so schwer. Der große Vorteil ist natürlich, daß die Farbsequenzen vom handgefärbten Vlies oder Kammzug viel besser erhalten bleiben.

Bei YouTube habe ich auch das lustige Einstricken der Kabeln gefunden - jetzt ist kein Kabel mehr vor diesem privaten 'guerilla-knitting' sicher!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Challenge knitting complicated patterns

Another challenge for me was to dig into new, rounded patchwork knitting à la Horst Schulz - I had tried to understand one of his more intriguing patterns - 'An African Adventure' (here's the free pattern pdF - in English) - a couple of years before, but had failed - and now I gave it a new try - and suddenly it came all clear!

I also found this new book by of on his 'scholars', showing further variations on this adventurous knitting technique: ('Patchworkstricken' by Liane Schommertz - in German).

A funny thing about these patterns is that you only have to deal with one or at the most two colours at the same time, and that you (except for the borders) only hold very few stitches on your needles for every patch, which are even decreased constantly while working.

It's also a splendid opportunity to use up lots of yarns from your stash, awakening the pattern to life without the feeling of producing a 'patchy' look.

So I started two new projects, the first one maybe turning out to become an afghan in the end, with 5 mm needles -

- the second project with 4 mm needles and double 4-ply sockyarn, aimed to result in a sleeveless vest some day (although at the moment, it looks more like a frog to me :-) -

At Ravelry, there is even a 'Horst Schulz Fan Group' where you can find more information on the patterns.

(German summary: Meine neue Herausforderung sind die gerundeten Patchworkformen à la Horst Schulz - so langsam begreife ich endlich das Prinzip und erfreue mich an dieser witzigen Stricktechnik!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Challenge core-spinning

I love spinning - for so many reasons - and even if I still very much enjoy the very plain spinning of a simple roving into a normal single, then plying it into a basic balanced two-ply yarn, I can now feel tempted trying out new challenges, like core-spinning, f.e.

A short while ago I suddenly held a beautifully hand-dyed fleece in my hands with the hint, that it is quite possible to spin directly from the fleece, without carding or preparing it much further, and at about the same time, I had also seen a sequence regarding core-spinning in Jacey Boggs' book and DVD 'Spin Art'.

So I tried it out with this Polwarth fleece and BFL locks -

- and with this Romney fleece -

- and it was great fun!

Normal spinning from the fleece (below showing milksheep fleece, still a bit greasy) - was fun too, somehow it made me feel much 'closer to the sheep' than with the carded roving.

But back to core-spinning: it's such a pleasure spinning and creating this fluffy, delicate yarn, it's just a feast to the eye and a wonderful feeling for your hands ... but what do you do with it? How can you work with it and use it, without destroying the lightness of its texture? And the small amount of yarn I had - just a bobbin full - limited the range of projects furthermore ...

I guess you can either first choose a project and then design your handspun yarn to fit in - or you can choose to have your fun while spinning and must then use your imagination finding a project suitable for your fancy yarn ...

Anyway, I realized this yarn needed an uncomplicated pattern and really big needles or hook to perform well - and was very happy to pick out my crochet hook 19 mm (!) for it, my absolutely biggest one -

and after some experimenting, I decided to crochet a moebius scarf, just single crochets in a twisted loop ...

- I used the yarn up to the very last inch, and had great pleasure in crocheting with it too!

What would you use your core-spun or bulky art yarn for? Any ideas or experiences to share?

(German summary: Ich spinne so gern - auch ein ganz normales Garn - aber diesmal wollte ich etwas neues probieren, core-spinning, direkt aus dem gefärbten Vlies heraus.

Eine reine Wonne, sowohl das Spinnen an sich als auch das Ergebnis! Aber was macht man daraus, so daß auch das Flauschige, Leichte erhalten bleibt?

Ich habe einen einfachen Möbius-Schal gehäkelt, mit Häkelnadel Nr 19 und normale feste Maschen - aber ich würde gerne mehr Vorschläge und Ideen sammeln! Was macht ihr mit eurem Artyarn?)