I had so much fun with my pick-up samples on the rigid heddle loom I wove off a scarf. I designed this simple pattern to pick-up the ribbon yarns in the warp and let them show more prominently on the surface of the scarf. I also picked up some contrasting yarns to complement the ribbon. I’m on a roll.. as I’m sure I’ll do more of this kind of structure. I especially like playing with color and texture. (Class schedule is on my website if you are local and interested.)
Archive for the ‘pattern’ Category
I’m playing with pick-up patterns on the rigid heddle (RH) loom in preparation for a class I’m teaching at Uncommon Threads. Its giving me a break from threading the big 24H dobby loom. This is a fun and easy way to get patterns on a simple loom. I’m struck by the comparison of simple loom complex patterns vs. complex loom simple patterns…..It took about the same amount of time to warp up the RH loom, weave 3 samples of different pick up patterns, and wash the samples as wind a 20 yard warp on the back beam of the dobby loom, and organize the heddles. OK, I know that the end product is really different as I’m going to weave a bunch of towels on the dobby and just a few samples on the RH but its kind of interesting to compare. Sampling on the RH is very quick and interesting if you want to try out something new. With pick-up, the patterns approximate what would take you much longer to achieve on a dobby loom.
I’m getting down to my last few pounds (!) of Angora yarn. Years ago I raised Angora rabbits. (Before Handwerks was officially a business.) I was going to insert a picture here but it was before I had a digital camera, yes back in the dark ages… so you will have to imagine what they look like. I had 4 white Giant/German hybrids (Fluffernutter, Harvey, Marshmallow and Snowball), one dark grey French (Midnight) and one English (Einstein) Angora rabbit. They are great animals but require a lot of care and attention as they are prone to some breed specific health problems. The Giant/Germans are big commercial sized rabbits and I would shear them periodically and save their silky long white hair. The French and English rabbits shed seasonally so I harvested their hair by a combination of plucking and combing. Within a short period of time I had more pounds of fur than rabbits! (and I also discovered that I had more rabbits on the way too…such as it is with rabbits) I soon found that my time was being taken up by tending the herd and I didn’t have enough time to spin up the fiber as well as take care of everything else. In 2002, I packaged up and sent off several large boxes of Angora fiber and merino fleeces to a wonderful business, http://www.fantasyfibers.com/ to have them process the fiber into yarn for me. I’ve been using the yarns since then.
I just pulled out the last skeins from Midnight blended with natural black merino in a 1:3 ratio.
It’s a nice charcoal color and you can see the French Angora guard hairs poking out. Its soft and will full nicely when it’s washed. The yarn is 2 ply and about sport weight, 1220 yards/pound. I’m going to use it for weft. I could have used it for warp but I thought it might fuzz too much and I didn’t want to fiddle with sticky sheds.
I warped the Gilmore, 46″ wide, 12 epi, with a commercial wool/alpaca DK weight yarn in a double two-tie threading.
and here it is close up:
and my progress so far, just beginning:
The warp is 3 1/4 yards long and I’ve left 8″ at the beginning to tie on and make into fringe at the end. I’ll just weave it off and leave enough warp for fringe at the other end.
The rabbits are long gone but it will be nice to remember and enjoy the memory of them when I have this blanket finished and want to curl up on the couch next Fall and WInter with a good book ar a fun knitting project. I’m enjoying weaving this and it’s exciting to have the bottom of the “Angora Yarn Box” in sight!
6. After you have knitted a series of heels and toes end with knitting a toe. Knit a few rows of waste yarn and remove it from the sock machine. You will have something that looks like this:
7. I turn the whole thing inside out so that I can weave in ends as well as close the foot by grafting on the wrong side. Here:
For handknitting I close the foot from the right side of the fabric with the knitting still on the needles. With most traditional sock patterns you close the toe at the tip of the toe. Since I’m doing short row toes I close the toe at the ball of the foot instead. You graft it the same way but you have more stitches and the grafting is under your foot when you are done. It looks like this on the needles:
8. I usually steam block my scarves to straighten them out and make all the heels and toes lie flat.
That’s it! Its fun to dress up your sock scarves with beads on the picot hem or change colors randomly or at the heels and toes. You can make them wider by using a larger csm cylinder, and longer or shorter by changing your row count. Its fun to experiment with the way the heels and toes create curves in the scarf. Instructions will be on my website under Patterns. Here’s a few from my collection:
What do you get when … you get carried away with heels and toes? Whimsy, a sock scarf. I used to demonstrate antique circular sock machines at fiber and knitting events. I found that like at most public demonstrations you get many of the same questions over and over from each group of people passing by. On a sock machine most people really want to see how you knit a heel or a toe. After many hours of knitting heels and toes you end up with a wonderful Dr Suess-ish scarf. I can’t tell you how many of these I have made over the years but I can share with you how I knit them. After repeated requests for a pattern, I’ve finally written it out so you can hand knit along with me. Whimsy If you happen to have an antique circular sock machine, here’s my method: (written csm instructions in a pdf format will be available soon too!)
1. Make a cup of tea, choose carefully.
2. Set up your sock machine and cast on in the usual way. I’ve got my Money Maker A right here:
4. Start knitting again. Knit as you would for the leg of a sock. Then you are going to turn a heel.
5. Now after your heel, knit some more rounds for the foot of the sock. Make toe but don’t csat off.
That’s the basic idea. Heels and toes, toes and heels, on and on. Stay tuned for part 2 for details and the finished results.
With 2012 right around the corner and plans for the One Skein Club in the works I thought it would be fun to get to know the designer behind the patterns. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jocelyn Blair, a prolific knitter and designer, over the past couple of years. Here in her own words:
Did you like crafts as a kid? What was your favorite toy?
Yes! I loved the gadgets. I learned to tat with shuttles. I adored my little plastic sewing machine. I made tons of potholders using those loops and I had a Barbie knitting machine (maybe that’s why I like sock machines so much).
How did you get started as a designer?
Well it was mostly an accident, but I suppose it really was a natural transition from knitting other designs. I was always intrigued at how things came together. I have quite a collection of stitch pattern books and always want to try some stitch patterns out on socks. Socks are the most satisfying things to try out stitch patterns. I love knitting socks!
Do you do other crafts/arts besides knitting?
I can sew, my Mom was a seamstress so I learned that first. I’ve made some quilts and I’ve done embroidery, I still have a sampler to complete from when I first got married! I learned to spin and weave after I learned to knit. And then there’s the sock and flatbed machines.
Are you ever surprised at what you are doing now?
I’m always surprise at what I’m doing! Especially when I actually finish a project!
Do you have a favorite pattern/design? Why is it your favorite? What is your favorite item to design?
The last one, which was Mesquite Flat, but it’s always the most recent. My most favorite item to design would probably be socks, but a close second is triangle shawlettes – I want to do more of those!!!
What is your approach to design? What comes first: pattern stitch, idea of an item,…?
A theme. I find you have to limit your stimulus. Kinda like having a big box of crayons, if you have too many options it’s harder to settle on something. For the club I usually wait until I know the yarn, the color and the destination. For the 2012 club I’ll have to decide the item first and that’s going to depend a lot on the yarn itself.
What is your biggest challenge?
Once I have the item then I try to find a pattern stitch – that’s the hardest part I think. For socks it’s a matter of working the stitch into the sock. The same is true for non-sock patterns as well. But some things will be more important than others . Repeatability is very important for socks both in row count and stitch count. For cowls, scarves and shawls you have to figure in the shape and which way the pattern will repeat.
What is next for you and your work?
Handwerks 2012 One Skein Yarn Travel Club!
Do you have any advice for new designers?
Go for it. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with. It really helps you become a better knitter and observer of all things.
Where can we find more of your designs and hear about what you do?
Ravelry is the best place to find all my designs. My RavID is “fiberdev” you can also get to my blog from my profile.