Sunday, 16 September 2007

Tea-break from loom set up - and let's talk knitting.

I've been working on my loom setup this morning. The warp is tied on to the apron rod and now the tension in the thread groups needs adjusting. I also need to adjust the treadle ties to get a good shed. I've made a start, but this job is made harder by the new cloth aprons on my loom. These aprons prevent me reaching the lams from the front of the loom once I've got a warp on. Access from the back of the loom involves something that's a bit like gymnastics and a bit like finding the last piece of the jigsaw is slightly too big to fit the gap (!) as I have to swing myself through a gap at the side of the loom frame that's 17 inches high and have a 12 inch deep space to sit between the back of the loom and the lams. I understand that the other Toika looms have more space, but my Norjaana is sold as compact for people lacking space, that suits me, as I'm (fortunately) a compact sized person myself.

Photos of my progress with this weaving project will follow, I've taken a few but have to borrow a computer at the local library to get them posted into this blog (software compatibility problems).

Now, here are photos of something quite different. I'm learning to knit as well. I'm very proud of the jumper you see in this next photo, as this is my second attempt. The first time I had this much jumper knitted, it turned out to be rather misshapen, due to poor (erratic!) tension control. I sadly undid the whole thing and started again. The first time I'd rushed along happily, re-knitting has been slow and patient.

The wool used is Twilleys Freedom Spirit, shade 505.

The pattern is my own design, with assistance from Knitting in the Old Way: Designs and Techniques from Ethnic Sweaters byPriscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson, pub. Nomad Press, 2004, ISBN 1-800-462-6420 and, because this book alone wasn't enough to get me to understand pattern design, I have also used a really excellent book I found recommended by The Knitting History Forum, Knitting Your own designs for a perfect fit by Montse Stanley, pub. David and Charles, 1982, ISBN 0-7153-8227-6. This book is out of print, but I found a copy by using abebooks. Montse is very through in explaining choice of style, construction technique and pattern drawing using specially proportioned graph paper. There's a nice chapter too on "amending and altering", as she understands we don't all get everything right everytime! I've been knitting on a Addi circular needle, 3mm size and 60cm long. This is smaller than recommended for the wool, but I needed this size for the correct tension because of holding the yarn in my left hand "continental" style which produces looser stitches.

I've paused this knit project temporarily, while working on the sleeve design. As I'm lost without a bit of knitting to keep my hands busy when I relax at the end of the day, I've started another pair of socks. I'm using an Opal sock yarn and knitting on a set of 5 needles, 2.5mm. In this picture you can see how I've started with a daimond for the sock toe, and have picked up stitches on all four sides to knit the foot section.

I've knitted about a dozen pairs of socks now, since getting started when the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers ran a sock knitting workshop last year. IThe diamond / square toe comes from Lucy Neatby in Cool Socks Warm Feet (Tradewind Knitwear Desings, ISBN 0-9733940-0-05), and I use a "short row" heel technique, described in Lucy's book but I believe this was popularised by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. My feet are UK size 4 ( 37 Eur.) and I find a good fit for me is 56 stitches round (13 on each needle). I start knitting the toe when the foot length is the same as the distance from my toe to heel bone.

Here's one last photo to show a handknitted sock in everyday wear - and one of the boots I wear most days, being a country dweller. A very comfy combination!


Leigh said...

I can't believe you are just in the learning stage of knitting! I would never have guessed as the jumper looks great. I've been knitting for quite a few years and I still do a lot of undoing and still have problems with tension, so don't fret that. Of course, I'm an all-thumbs knitter so I'll probably always have these problems. :)

Dorothy said...

Thanks for the compliment Leigh, I didn't take a photo of the first attempt, so can't show you how much better this looks. If the sleeves and collar work well I shall stop calling myself a beginner - and then I'll probably have lots of ambitious design plans for fancier knits!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Knitting? A weaver? Scandalous!!! Only kidding! Socks are one of my favorite things to knit. They are so nice and portable (unlike looms......) for places where you have to wait.
Designing is really very easy once you catch on to it. I design my own socks, but that really is easy. I design my son's Christmas sweaters. Still, I buy tons of knitting magazines............!
Have fun! Of course, I need not say that because you obviously are!