Another FO and Some Thoughts on Spindle Capacity

Yayyy! I finished my Bird in Hand mittens! Well, mostly. I still have to weave in the ends and embroider all the pertinent bird features, but I *promise* I will do  that right after I post this. Here are pics: 

BIHmitts  << back of hand 
  BIHpalms << palms

Now some thoughts on spindle capacity. 

As you know, I am a little geeky when it comes to my knitting. I like the facts and figures. I count and keep track of how many rows I knit in the legs and the feet of my socks. So you can imagine how it has always made me ever so slightly squeamish when I ask someone, "How do you know when the spindle is full?" and the answer is, "You just know it's full when the spindle doesn't spin right anymore." 

Yah. That's like saying "add flour and keep stirring until it looks right." When I run across this in a recipe, it means that my cheese sauce can be anything from soup to wallpaper paste .... with about the same difference in taste. 

I don't do well with "until it looks/smells/feels/sounds right". I need specific measurements. Not that I necessarily FOLLOW the specific measurements, but I like to know what they are so when I screw around with something, I know what my paramaters are.

And when it comes to spinning, well.... let's just say that there are some areas of spinning that I am a little more handicapped in than others. Particularly, regarding the state of fullness of any kind of bobbin. There are some of you out there (Hi Sharon!) who have actually witnessed one of several times when I have spun a bobbin so full on my wheel that the bobbin literally burst because it was too full. 

As I was spinning my glass spindle full of Walking in the Sun merino/bamboo/nylon fiber, I was wondering how full I really could spin my lovely glass spindle. The thing is, if I knew beforehand, I could prepare ahead of time. See, if I were spinning for socks, as I usually am, I could split the roving in half and put it in  ziploc bags labeled "Sock #1" and "Sock #2" (which I have done). But then I could take the fiber for each sock and split it into one-spindle-full sections and then happily spin along til I ran out, and know it was time to ply, without having to keep stopping and looking and watching and worrying if it was to the point where it "doesn't spin right', whatever that is. 

So what I did this last spindleful was, I spun until it was really heavy, although as far as I could see it spun right. Then I plied the single back on itself and got a lovely spindle full of yarn. Then I weighed it, spindle and yarn and all: 

Fullspindle The scale says 2.5 ounces. 

Then I took the yarn off and weighed the empty spindle:

Emptyspindle The scale says 1.3 ounces. 

My scale is not that accurate, it only has one place after the decimal point. I happen to know that my spindle was labeled 1.25 ounces when I got it, so the scale rounded it off to 1.3. That means my yarn + spindle could be either 2.5 or 2.45 ounces. I'm going with 2.5 :) 

Simple subtraction shows that I have spun an amount of fiber equal to the weight of the spindle, 1.25 ounces. Therefore, I know now that with this particular fiber, the spindle is full when the amount of fiber equals the weight of the spindle. That way I can weigh out 1.25 ounces of fiber at a time, spin it without having to think about if it is still "spinning right", and be happy. 

It will be interesting, after I finish spinning this project, and start spinning the lovely BFL fiber I got from Spunky Eclectic at the SPA, if 1.25 ounces of fiber will always be what makes a full spindle, or if it will be less because of the fiber being less dense. 

Or maybe everyone out there who spindle spins just KNOWS that the amount of fiber that fills a spindle is equal to the weight of the spindle. I never learned that :) This way I get to think I am a genius. 

It Glows!

You know how I am about glowing things :):)  So when I found this page that shows how to make knitted wristbands with little Jack-O-Lanterns that glow when you press a button, it thrilled me in a special way.

Unfortunately I did not discover this page until just this afternoon, so ... too late to make one for this Halloween, but maybe you can bookmark the page and remember to make them for next year! You can I think the person who made the page also sells kits to make them. They also sell the kit for a skull wristband that has eyes that have eyes that light up red when you press the button. Or if you don't want to buy a kit and you want to figure it out yourself, you can go to this page and learn how to do that, too!

It definitely gives me ideas......

Jackolantern Glowingskull

Cast Off / Bind Off techniques

Ya gotta love the internet. How did we ever live without YouTube???

While I was out on the last knitting cruise, a wonderful knitter named Patti showed a bunch of us how she does a sewn bind off. I had heard of it but had never done it, so I was pleased as punch to see how to do it. Patti finished a wonderful pair of toe-up socks with this technique, and it makes a lovely stretchy edge that looks like a cable cast on in appearance.

So while I was flitting through YouTube looking for interesting videos (well, CAT videos), I did a search for "knitting" just for fun, found a jillion knitting videos, and narrowed it down to cast off/bind off techniques, and there was not only a video of what Patti showed us, but also a bunch of videos showing other bind off techniques I have never even heard of, much less done. So I learned a lot, and I figured you might want to learn a lot too, so to save you time, I have listed the video links below. Go grab some scrap yarn and needles, cast on some stitches, knit a few rows, and try out these different techniques:

Sewn Bind Off like I saw on the knitting cruise

Another sewn bind off

An unusual Double Wrapped Cast Off

Icelandic Bind Off demonstration

Russian Bind Off lesson (very similar style to the Icelandic Bind Off above)

A decorative bind off from Bingbing

Okay, and since it is impossible for me to go to YouTube and NOT find an interesting video related to cats, here is one you must see. It is quite slow-paced, but trust me, you should watch the whole thing. Pull out your knitting to work on while you watch

Advice from God About Finding a Lost Cat

Random Stripe Generator!

Go HERE to see what I am posting about.

OMG someone has created a wonderful thing on the internet... it is a random stripe generator. You can click what colors you want to use (look at your yarn stash, odds and ends you need to use up); then choose the numbers of rows you want to use per color; then choose how many rows to generate (up to a thousand).

If you don't like the stripe pattern that is generated, just keep clicking Refresh to see other choices, until you get the one that looks like it could use the colors you have in the amounts necessary, or in the order you like, or in what looks most appealing to you! It generates the pattern in both a chart form and in text.

I love love love this internet gadget!

A few years ago I spent almost a year spinning some quite bright colors ... about 6 to 8 ounces each of hot pink, bright turquoise, blindingly bright yellow, burnt orange, and a vibrant olivey green. I have never really figured out what I want to do with these skeins of yarn... they are SO bright together. And yet I do want to use them together, in one garment. Here are a couple stripe patterns I generated using the Random Stripe Generator; the first one uses prime numbers, I think, and the second one was just random clicking on my part:



This last one uses 1 to 6 rows of each of 5 colors, all randomly chosen, which might resemble the kind of grouping you would get by using dice. Remember that thing I did a long time ago by using dice?

More Old Clothes

Continuing on in the vein of ancient textiles.... I found this fabulous link to an article about ancient textiles and some of the archaeological evidence of them discovered in the past few years. Click here to link.

I don't know what it is about textile history that's been really grabbing my attention lately, but I have always found it fascinating. One of my favorite reads from the last couple of years is Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years : Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. If you haven't already read it, put it on your Christmas list! Here's a link to it via Amazon.

I guess it just astounds me when I think of the trillions and trillions of yards of thread and yarn that have been produced by women over the years -- industrialization only hit in the last 250 years or so, and for that matter, the spinning wheel has only been around for what? 500 years? I mean think of it, every square inch of cloth that every person wore before that was created by hand using some form of hand spindle, for heaven's sake, and a loom, or some form of netting or knitting or crochet. Think of the yards and yards and yards of cloth... all that work.... all that time! Almost all done by women, of course. The hugeness of it boggles my mind... like when a person sees the ocean for the first time and tries to fully grasp the size of it. Maps can't make you feel the size and power of the ocean ... only seeing it and being on it can do that. I think archaeology is like that for history. You can't fully grasp the amount of work and time and effort that women have put in for ages until you start seeing their tools, like those ancient Egyptian tools I posted about earlier, or the cloth found in tombs, as in the Siberian tomb discovery written about in the above article. It makes me start thinking in terms of what I do, making sweaters to sell, using only hand-operated knitting looms, as part of a thousands-year-long tradition.... except I didn't have to spin the dang yarn myself first! Honestly, I can't imagine.

Which is not to decry the efforts of men over the years, by the way. It's not like women were working their butts off while the men lazed around.... although, don't let them know we know that. It's much more fun making them feel guilty. :D

Ancient Egyptian Spinning and Weaving

I had to share this site I discovered that showcases ancient Egyptian fiber stuff... spinning, weaving and clothing production. I am going to spend hours and hours reading through it one of these days, when I have time (soon, I hope). It has some fascinating stuff!!

(Click here to see Egyptian spindles, loom artifacts and needles.)

The whole site is interesting and worth exploring. I also found this page about Egyptian cloth and clothing to be one I want to read more carefully, too.



Felted Fortune Cookies

My dear friend Tracy the TB (Tragically Blogless) sent me this link to Felted Fortune Cookies!!! It is so cool! And from the standpoint of a person who teaches knitting, this would be the perfect little project to teach short rows and short row shaping.. or if you want to learn how to do short rows, this little project is just the ticket! Not only do you use short rows in this project, but you also can use up all those little bits of scrap yarn (as long as it will felt, so that excludes acrylic blends, superwash wool, or anything machine washable.) I love this idea! Felted fortune cookies would also make a great gift any time of year... fill them with little gift certificates for babysitting (so your friends can go to knitting circle), for house cleaning (so the recipient can knit longer), for whatever little thing your heart desires ;) ... Geez, I bet you could even turn them into catnip cat toys..... how cool would that be, to give felted fortune cookies catnip toys to a person who has a Siamese cat, heh heh. That would be cool. Hmmm. Now I want some lo mein .....



Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting

The Museum of Arts & Design in Manhattan is having an exhibit called "Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting", shown July 2007 - September 2008. (Search for "lace" on the museum's webpage -- it won't let me link directly to the exhibit page.) I love the name of that exhibit! I apologize if this is old news and everyone knows about it except me... I took the summer off & missed a lot!!

From the museum-speak blurb about the exhibit:
"A provocative and timely exhibition of international artists using fiber in unexpected and unorthodox ways, this exhibition shines a spotlight on a territory in which distinctions between art, craft, and design are seen to be arbitrary and artificial. It also illuminates a field of creative practice that today is fresh, surprising, and engaging to all audiences.....Featuring 27 artists, Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting will include objects ranging from microknit garments (1/144 scale) up to full-room, site specific installations. "

I would love to go see this exhibit!!! I do loves da lace. :D I would go if only to see this example of a microknit (i.e. so teensy it makes your eyes bleed to imagine knitting them) pair of gloves with Fair Isle cuffs:


Think about knitting that. And then think about knitting *two* of those little suckers... like one wouldn't be enough to make you go blind! My jaw still drops when I look at that picture.

So if you're near Manhattan, or gonna be between now and September 2008, go! See the teeny gloves! Have your picture taken next to them, send it to me and I'll give ya sumpin' nice, you betcha!