Winter Tales

I love winter.  The gardens, plants and earth all take a break to refuel for next season, and the glory of spring!  Ok, I did plant some lettuce a few days ago, but the temperature was 60 degrees!   I slow down too, with more time to sit in front of the fire, play with the dogs, watch the chickens and discover new knitting patterns on Ravelry.   Usually this time of year, I start making wire wrapped jewelry for the Urbana Market at the Square.  But, I strained my thumb a couple of months ago, and still can’t do wire weaving. Tendons take forever to heal!

So, this winter I have been playing with fiber more than usual.dsc06386

I dyed some roving with Beth Englelbrecht-Wiggans to make hand spun yarn, knit some shawlettes, dyed some warp for hand woven napkins, and played with a circular knitting machine.

The first shawl I did was from the book “Curls“.  The knitting makes a curvy triangle which can be worn around the neck, thrown over one shoulder, or however you want to wear it.  I did mine in Cascade 220 which is a lovely sport weight wool.dsc06328

I found several similarly shaped patterns on Ravelry, and tried a few before changing it up and designing my own pattern!

dsc06384Here is one of mine made from, my hand spun, hand dyed wool.  I call it “Catenary” for the geometric curve that a chain makes under it’s own weight.dsc06382

I finally got my warp on the loom!  This is a much longer process than most people realize.  You have to keep each thread in order and wind it on the back of the loom.  Then, after deciding the pattern, you thread each one into a heddle so that the right threads will be lifted for the pattern.  Then, through the reed, which makes it possible to beat the threads into place.  I’ve got 8 yards of warp, so that should make alot of napkins!

Then, the circular sock knitting machine. dsc06327

Well, I thought it would be easy to learn.  I have handknit for 50 years, have knit on a flat bed knitting machine, and just thought that I understood the whole idea.  Boy, was I wrong!  I kept dropping stitches, and when that happens, they run all the way down as far and fast as they can.  So, I watched hours and hours of YouTube videos on circular sock knitting machines, and just kept trying.  After about 50 hours of trying to make a ribbed sock, I was ready to give up.  But, I kept reading information in a sock knitting group, and decided to give it another try.  After about another 10 hours, it clicked!  I still drop a few stitches, the size is all wrong, and still need to try different yarns, but I actually might get this.

Before I forget, if you like knitting, dying, spinning, check out my friend Melissa’s blog and YouTube videos.