Follow by Email

Friday, April 07, 2017

Talking of Socks.....

As my recent flight from San Diego to San Francisco was cancelled due to the awful weather I went with my lovely hostess, Nancy, to her group of women as a school who came to class to learn machine knitting. It was a hoot! What a great bunch of ladies...some of whom I had been with over the weekend.


I did some demonstration....buttonholes I think I did...anyway, I came away with a box of See's chocolates and a lovely pair of machine knit socks!
The yarn used in these is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock....or so the label I found inside said. It's 100% Merino so I'll have to wear and wash them carefully.

What a lovely memento.

On New Year's Day we entered the party to which we had been invited and found I and my socks were being talked about. Two friends (we didn't know they were going too) were there wearing their socks...I made Ron's especially as he has big feet!
More socks...are these wonderful or not?! My friend Sonja Fijn has got into knitting socks. She bought a pair of mine to give to her sister but the legs were to narrow for her...and for Sonja. Well! She pulled apart my socks and created another pair...making two pair out of my one.

Her tale is that she knit socks when she was 6 in school back in the Netherlands with nuns in charge. She finished her socks and saw that other girls were knitting cables and lace...well, not to be outdone she picked up stitches and made cables to decorate her socks. When the nun was looking at the socks she held these up and Sonja felt so proud...until the nun asked whose they were, said something awful about the decorations and took a huge pair of scissors and cut them off. Sonja vowed she'd not knit socks ever again and kept her promise...until now!

The ones pictured were knit without a pattern, from the toe up...and making then left and right!!!

Last but my no means least, I found these the other day in my studio....a pair of socks knit by my Mum. They were probably one of the last pair she knit as, ravaged by Alzheimer's, she forgot how to knit.

She used to make socks for me to sell in my booth!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Dyeing Differently - Part 2


My recent trip to San Francisco and stay with Nancy Roberts
http://www.machineknittingtodyefor.com/  netted me a lesson in painting knitted pieces and then two pieces for me to knit up into socks.

I love the idea of knitting up pieces and dyeing as opposed to dyeing skeins...more controlled and creative I think.

Here, Nancy is checking my red/gold piece, the other was lime green/blue.



Here are my two finished swatches drying after the colours are set. I didn't know what I was going to do with them until later...how to integrate the colours. It took a cup of tea and going looking at Nancy's stash of swatches to give me an idea...I thought stripes would be the best way to see the colour changes.

I decided that two row stripes would be the best way to go...so I started at the top of the blanks which were red on one and lime green on the other.

I ended on the ends that were blue and gold.

As I thought I would not have enough to finish the socks so I inserted grey sock yarn for the heels....turns out I did have enough, but I can use some of the left overs in other socks.


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Dyeing Differently and Fibre Fun

Nancy Davis & me in San Diego
I recently was invited to travel to California by two wonderful Machine Knitting Guilds (San Diego & San Francisco) and it was Nancy Roberts of the San Francisco guild and of machineknittingtodyefor.com who got this ball rolling. My last port of call was San Francisco and a few days staying with Nancy.

My first port of call was San Diego and a stay with Nancy Davis in her lovely bungalow home. I loved that I could see mountains from every window even though we were in a city...so she drove me up Mount Helix to look at the views!!!!


Nancy picking fresh lemons.

Nancy is 80 and when I mentioned I wanted to do a zip line on my upcoming vacation she said 'Oh, I've done that four times in different places...'! I think one was in Alaska! I was suffering from a rotten cold and Nancy picked a bunch of lemons from her tree and I had lots of hot lemon! The San Diego gang was a great group of women.

Nancy Roberts in something she dyed.


OK now on to Nancy Roberts in San Francisco, she's my new BFF (Best Fibre Friend), especially as we spent an afternoon painting knitting and then pouring over her giant stash of samples and swatches!

Imagine a sunny afternoon after a long walk along the Embarcadero and a ride on a cable car...sitting in Nancy's kitchen over cups of tea and pouring over these amazing machine knit swatches.







Nancy knit two pieces of sock yarn in it's 'natural' state for me to paint...here she is pinning it out on a board for me.







This is a selfie of me painting one of the pieces...we spent time looking at colours and I chose four: two for one piece and two for the other and I would go from one end to the other blending from one colour to the other. I think I chose Gold/Blue and Red/Yellow....and that's kinda how they turned out.






I found something black to wear while splashing around with dye and the brush. This tank top went with a pair of shorts...neither were worn as the weather was rain, rain, rain. The four best and sunny days was when I was indoors...but then my last day (this day) was perfect for a long walk and being outdoors.








Here Nancy is checking my two pieces which had been wrapped and put in a steam table pot to set...I'll have to figure out how I'll work that at home...in my kitchen.





I'm working on my pair of socks.....next post!





Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Snowy MK Club afternoon.

Well, mild but blustery, I  made it over to Karen’s yesterday and we spent nearly three hours together. We had planned to meet at another member's house out in the country but the snow and wind were so bad no one dared take a car out on that road...so we decided on meeting in town at Karen's house.

When I arrived Karen announced she had problems which needed solving so we got right to it. First a commercial sweater which needed remodelling…we solved that. The question was whether to pull apart the part that needed remodelling (a hood into a collar)....we decided cut and sew was best. Karen will get to that another time.


Then a pocket design. When I dropped in last Karen had sweater borrowed to look at and make a pattern. That afternoon we made a pattern using Garment Designer.  As the jacket had pockets we had to think about how that would work...I left Karen with that problem, so when I got there yesterday she'd worked through but had run into a problem...she had done a right and a left but they didn't look like mirror images of each other.

I didn't take pics of the first effort but I said we needed to sit in front of the machine and 'just do it'. I had in my head how this would work from our conversations over the last two visits...I just needed to execute it.


Here's the back swatches (no we didn't press them) with a pseudo 'pocket' worked into the back of the left one. It was a matter of planning....how many stitches away from the side seam, how long the slanted slit need to be to get a hand in and look nice and in proportion. 


Here's the 'right' side with the pocket slit shut (I had to be oh so careful typing that!) so we could see where and how we'd work a band or welt. Karen needs to work a ribbed welt...I might do a band...knowing me...a different colour!

Now I have to work up a hand out for teaching this so it's easily understood...as it was easy. The problem was working left and right, Karen's left handed and the left side worked out great...but transposing it to the right side (mirroring) got a bit confusing. I've been working with half patterns for so long I'm pretty good at working with a half pattern and making the 'other' side.

This is what we were going for and I found this at https://cckittenknits.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/slanted-pocket-on-the-passap/ using the Passap...which neither of us use.


Anyway....we'll keep you posted!