Sunday, February 15, 2009

Knitting: Mmmm Just Like a Dessert, it Tastes Like More!

I visited the the Ziraldo's Alpaca farm( again today to bulk up my stash of alpaca roving.

I always enjoy the drive out to Thorndale. For most of my life we would drive through Thorndale on our way to my grandparents farm in Lakeside. We don't own the farm now so I appreciate the excuse to drive out that familiar route again. It sure brings back lots of happy memories.

I was already taking orders for more knitted garments from the family. Word was out that there was really nice alpaca roving available!

These rovings are soft and very yummy. The chocolate, caramel and vanilla swirl is a delicious mix that looks like a dessert--and who can eat only one dessert? That's why I had to get more of this roving after I spun this skein. Who needs chocolate and caramel to eat when there are these flavours available to spin?
This blend of rovings spins very well. I try to draft all three pieces as I spin, otherwise I just let the yarn create itself as it will.

I am thinking I will make a wrap or shawl with the fibre. I might experiment with knitting a few swatches to see what it looks like with different stitches.

The Alpaca Lace Scarf is nearly complete.
All I have left to do is sew in the loose ends and then block it (now that I'm a near professional knit blocker having done it once before!)
Actually I think I'm inventing my old technique again and that is, wear the garment immediately and keep wearing it until it blocks itself into place...

I totally enjoyed this project from the relaxing time spinning the roving into yarn while listening to classical music to the actual knitting of the scarf.
If you asked me what I loved about it other than it's warm, I'd have to say it's the little imperfections in my spinning - parts of the roving where the size adjusts a little. These are all records of my journey to becoming a better spinner. It reminds me of my early art works when I carved and decorated egg shells (I'll blog on that for Easter - stay tuned!). It's the little imperfections of those early works that I look back on now endearingly. It's those very things that stand out now as important and meaningful, not the perfectness which isn't that memorable!

My sister has tested the scarf and has claimed one for herself so I'll start spinning again tonight - any excuse to have to spin something will do for me.
The stitch is the razor shell stitch and I quite liked how quickly it would work up.

Most of the scarf was knit while I rode the bus to and from work.
I did struggle at first to remember the pattern first thing in the morning. I'm usually a little bleary eyed at first. After all, I'm a night hawk and I don't have my first coffee until after I get to work. After a few dozen rows I was doing the pattern by rote.
It took me a minute to practise so that I could do the Yarn Forward manoeuvre properly.
I didn't know how to do yarn forward with a left hand movement at first. Whenever I do a pattern that requires a fancier stitch I would revert from Continental to English knitting so I could do things right-handed. But this time I took just a moment to figure it out and it's quite simple once I trained my hands and brain on the stitch while knitting Continental.
I've learned to knit with the Continental style so I use my left hand more. It's amazing how much faster and less awkward knitting Continental is. I wish I had learned it much sooner! Originally I knit the English style where the right hand would be in play more than the left.
When I was a child, it was my father who taught me to knit and pearl. When he attended school during WWII, all the children were given the project to learn to knit so they could knit granny squares. All the squares were then sewn together to make a blanket and the blankets were then shipped overseas for our soldiers during the War.

The scarf is 5' 2" long. I wanted it long enough to wrap around twice so I just kept knitting and trying it on until I felt it was long enough. That way if I get caught without a hat again I'll have enough extra that I can cover my head.
I've looked up yarn weights and gauges in my Spinners Magazine. The Alpaca Lace Scarf took approximately 4 "bumps" of alpaca (8 oz) and it looks like my Wraps Per Inch (WPI) is 8. That would mean my yarn is a "Very Bulky" weighted yarn, which is what I was aiming to spin.
Here's a little chart on Wraps per inch to figure out the weight of your homespun yarn:
WPI 18+ Lace
WPI 16 Fingering
WPI 14 Sport
WPI 12 Worsted
WPI 10 Bulky
WPI 8 or fewer Very Bulky

If you've lived in Canada for any length of time you know what it's like to find yourself hatless in a bone-cold chilling wind-chill. It's not a pleasant experience. That's when you turn up your collar, wishing it was bigger and fluffier, and you lament that you opted to buy the more fashionable winter coat that didn't come with a hood.

Tonight I'll start spinning more of Miss Muffet's roving so that I can knit the same scarf for my sister--as a teacher she has to do yard duty. Talk about bone-chilling... and then there's the cold weather to deal with ;)

No comments: