Saturday, May 13, 2017

Spinning All the Day Long

If you've been following on IG, you know I've was bit by the spinning bug. Or maybe more like an obsession.

And not the type of obsession where you do it for 30 minutes to an hour each night. No, more like once I pick it up, I can't put it down. I think last Sunday, I started after lunch and essentially didn't stop until well past bedtime. (Once I was close, I just had to finish the ball.) So maybe more like an addiction.

What I am working on is some fiber I started a year or two ago-Malabrigo Nube (colour Azules).
I had two singles already spun from some.
I had some plan for spinning a three-ply yarn, but it just wasn't coming together. (I had never found the third colour to use.) Anyway, I decided to just carry on and make two-ply yarn from the singles.

So that's what I did with my redneck "bobbins" and "lazy kate".
In not too long (you know it was finished the same day it was started!), I had this two-ply yarn:
Spinning singles is fun and all, but plying is super fun. It's fast, requires a lot less work, and you get to see the final yarn! (It's also really fun to watch the interplay of the colours on the two singles coming together.)

I didn't measure but something in the process made me note that I think it's about 250 yds. It's a little too loosely plied and there is a chance I may hit it again and fix that.

Once that was done, I turned my attention to the sister yarn in colour Lavanda.
I had half of it already spun.
I ended up splitting the second half of the fiber into two hanks because it was too much for my spindle to do all at once, and at the end I had three hanks of singles:
They measured 252m (275yd), 184m (201yd) and 124m (135yd).

I think you can see the colour difference between the middle (larger) hank and the ones on the outside. I believe I split the original roving in half lengthwise, which normally would make the two halves match, but apparently one side had more colour than the other! (Or something about how I spun them - two years apart - changed how the colour played out.)

I set about plying them together (combining the two different colour tones) and ended up with these two squishy hanks:
They looked like a matched pair (which is good) and I think I got a much better twist on the two-ply this time. (This is what encourages me to take a second run at the Azules.)
The yardage of these two hanks is 162m and 116m, 278m (304yd) total.

Maybe because I was still stuck on the three-ply yarn, but I kept thinking that I needed a third partner for these two yarns. Maybe if I were in stores more often, I would have purchased more (roving was hard to resist even when I wasn't spinning) but then I remembered this yarn:
It's the same fiber as above in the colour Archangel.
I spun it back in 2014. It was definitely a beginner project. I still really like the colours and I like the yarn, but I just don't knit with bulky yarns that much. And certainly not inconsistent almost thick and thin bulky yarns. I like them, (they're really pretty), but I've realized I don't really like to work with them.

This would have made an interesting cowl (I think there was enough yardage) but I didn't need another short bulky cowl. So it sat in a box until this week, when I pulled it out, untwisted the plies and then respun the singles to match the other two yarns:
Or I'm working on it anyway. I have the first half done and a good start on the second half. Then I'll ply them together and then I'll be ready to find a project for these yarns.

I saw this shawl pattern recently:
Briochealicious by Andrea Mowry
It uses three colours with a constant colour running through. (the striped sections are brioche stitch). It looks lovely to me but I'm not sure it's the exact thing I want. (And I'm not sure I have enough yardage.) But I'm thinking something along these lines. (Because I don't need another short bulky cowl, but I don't have enough big-ass shawls, right?!)

I went through my stash recently (looking for that Archangel yarn, now that I think about it) and I found a good amount of a light "natural"-coloured wool/silk mix that may do. Once I get this last yarn finished, I see some swatching in my future. I'm looking forward to finding out how these yarns will knit up.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Facing It

Let's face it.

That's what I told myself when I thought about how to finish the edges of my Vogue striped dress. The pattern called for a crochet edging but I knew that wouldn't tame the edges which became messy when all the yarn ends were worked in.

After the dress was done and put together (several times as you may recall), I knit a swatch with one strand of the blue yarn. One strand would be less bulky and there was no need for the facing to be as thick as the dress fabric. I used a smaller needle so it would still be a sturdy fabric.

Once that was done, I measured the armhole openings and the sections around the neck. Working from the gauge of my swatch (stitches/inch) and the measurements, I could figure out how many stitches I needed for the facings.

A little different than my usual method of just going for it and ripping it out if it doesn't work! (Planning - it's not just for civil engineers anymore.)

As usual, when picking up stitches, I picked up one stitch in each selvage stitch and then increase or decrease as needed on the next row to get the necessary number of stitches. It's easier on the pick up row and it's much neater.

One thing I would do different next time is not to work in any of the yarn ends in the half of the selvage stitch that I picked up the stitches in. It was hard to find the stitches and they were bulkier. Since the facing would cover all then ends, I didn't need to stitch them in as much and could have left a longer end. But I made it work.

Once I got the right number of stitches, I knit eight  more rows so I had a little more than an inch and then cast off. I pinned the facing back and sewed it with a herringbone stitch. This backward stitching with forward stitches allows for the seam to stretch.

I used a sharp needle so I could skim just part of the stitches on the back of the dress fabric. I didn't want it to show through to the front at all.

And look how it turned out!
Isn't that a beautiful finish!!

Here is how the neckline turned out:
And the armhole again, but this time while I'm wearing it.
The facings lie really, really well. I did make increases to allow for the "corners" at the shoulders of the neck edge, the V point, and the curve of the armhole shaping. I did wing that as I went along and it worked out. (Placed a marker at the sharpest part of the curve and increased one stitch on both sides on rows 4, 7 and 9.)

Ok and now I have made you wait long enough. Here is an excessive number of shots of the finished dress:
I calculated all of the shaping.
For the most part, I think it worked well. The bottom is a little too loose but I did err on too loose because I sure didn't want it too tight. (Apparently I erred a little too much.) So it looks a little sloppy.
I'll certainly be able to use these results to shape future garments to fit better.
Considering how OCD I am, it's a little surprising that I wanted to mismatch the stripes, but I like that break you get at the side seam. I kept the colour patterns similar but not the same while changing all of the stripe widths. The only place I really wanted anything to match was the green stripe at the waist. That took some re-stitching. (Thank goodness for crocheted seams!) That was another case where the ends from the stripes being worked into the selvage stitches didn't help. It was hard to match the front and back row for row (which should have been pretty easy).

The only thing I'm really not happy with is the hem.
The foldover hem is a good option and I'm still glad I went with one strand instead of two, but I sewed it down by Kitchenering through the live stitches of the cast on and a row of knitting. You can see how it has pulled on the fabric of the dress. It'll be a pain to take out, but since the sewing on the facings worked so well, I know I can get a much better result if I redo it. I think I can also fix the bit of crazy at the side seam hem.

I wore it for the first time last Sunday. It was a cool day so I styled it with a jacket:
(Don't worry, I did not wear those boots. But I wasn't going to wear my nice shoes in that terrain.) Now that I see the pictures, I might skip the striped tights next time. (But again--chilly day!)

Being cotton (and a lot of it), the dress is pretty heavy. It took two trips through the dryer when I washed it and it still wasn't quite dry. One danger with cotton is that it has no memory. (This means that cotton dresses or skirts keep the rounded shape of your sitting-down-bum even after you stand up.) I didn't find that happened with this dress--I assume that because of the shaping, the dress didn't have to stretch out of shape. It's also knit at a fairly sturdy gauge so that would help too.
Project Stats
: 10 Mar '17
Finished: 29 Apr '17
Pattern: #02 Sleeveless V-neck Dress by Greta Corens
Materials: 653 grams of cotton from six different raveled sweaters.
The dress was knit as part of a knit-along in the Ravelry Vogue Knitting group to celebrate VK's 35th anniversary. This is project 1 of at least 2. Patterns must be knit from 1987, 1997 or 2007 and 2017. This project has me covered for 1997.

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...