Tuesday, 5 August 2008

silk scarf with hiccups

when the latest issue of spinoff arrived, I remembered a pattern called "seafoam" I had seen on the net somewhere a while ago... there were several scarves with a similiar pattern in it - though in wool, not in silk. I had wanted to make a scarf with this, so I started with two small balls of handspun, handdyed silk (dyed when using cochenille for the workshop in the olg). it is bombyx mori, 2ply, which I knitted with needle size 3.75 mm. I used some iron as aftertreatment and the yarn is a bluish purple, slightly "variegated". I started out with the yarnovers given in the original pattern (2/3/4/3/2), but I didn't like the very loose threads - the wool "fills out" better than the smooth silk! so I changed to just 1/2/3/2/1 yarnovers. the rest is very easy, just knit and purl rows - though the colour of my scarf is more "blueberry foam" than seafoam.
the finished scarf is 188 cm long and 23 cm wide - I had a summer scarf in mind, but somehow it feels quite warm and is maybe a bit too wide just for decorative purposes. but it feels very nice and I was happy how it turned out. that is until I started to block it! when I had laid it flat out - I suddenly realised that there was a mistake in the pattern! for some reason I must have started to knit the right-side pattern on the back after about 10 cm of knitting! now that's a new one for me! I've been known to be in such a hurry to finish (usually for deadlines or birthdays or christmas), that I ended up setting sleaves into sweaters wrong side out etc... but usually such obvious mistakes in the pattern stand out so much, that I do see them before I finish a garment! well, I put it down to the length of the scarf - the faulty end was too far away:) of course it happened on the cast-on side, so I couldn't just frog a few rows and knit them again. I debated if I should just leave it - but even though I am not too fussy with other people's work - I can't stand leaving obvious mistakes in mine. it just annoys me no end every time I look at it! I decided to take up the stitches from where the pattern is correct and take off the faulty part. easy, I just had to pull a thread, cast off again and do the the 2 rows of crochet for finishing. I think it's still long enough - though now I have to find a new idea for the bit of leftover silk:) I started a hairband with the first small ball - but now I have a second one I hadn't planned on! maybe I should rip out that hairband and do something larger with the two of them? mulberry silk is so precious that I don't like wasting it.....
I was contemplating buying a new spinning wheel for a while - and was quite glad when a member of the "Connacht Textile Crafters" allowed me to borrow her Lendrum Upright! there isn't all that much choice here to try wheels. most people use ashford - which I don't like at all. I already have the Louet S51 - and I wanted a wheel that can spin fine yarns well. after a lot of asking and reading about wheels I decided that the Lendrum is probably a good choice for me. it is not too expensive compared to other wheels and there is a wide choice of ratios - with different flyer heads too. those are very easy to change, just a twist of a knob and off it comes. the borrowed wheel has the normal set-up and an additional ply-flyer, which has very large bobbins and can also be used for designer yarns or very chunky ones. I could of course buy a fast flyer and an extra-fast flyer - though I think the latter wouldn't strictly be necessary for my favourite yarns. so the evenings during the last week were spent spinning very fine yarn from bamboo top (dyed with gaywool "musk"). I am not sure yet whether I should ply this and use it maybe as embroidery yarn - or leave it as it is and ply some softer, chunkier cotton with it. but the wheel comes with 4 bobbins, so I'll leave it for a while - and just start on another bobbin. thinking about how long it took me to fill the bobbin - I guess I'd rather set some time aside for plying - there is quite a bit of yarn on it!
I didn't do much dyeing in the last 2 weeks - the weather wasn't too good, but ok for some gardening chores, so I spent some time in the polytunnel and garden. but my dyer's knotweed has been growing well and I think I will have a go at picking leaves, chopping and kneading in the not too far future! some of my red dahlias finally started flowering as well (who can blame them - I wouldn't like to put on my best dress - if all I got in return was rain and wind!) - so I can deadhead the ones past their best soon - for dyeing of course! I don't hold out much hope for the Maximiliani sunflowers - the weather is just too cool and grey for them to flower nicely. but the autumn raspberries have been setting nicely and I am picking cucumbers and "cyclanthera" fruit nearly every day! those are funny, like tiny melons, but covered in spines! they have to be scraped off before eating and the fruit have to be picked small or they develop hard seeds and some mealy fluff around them - but they taste quite nice, very slightly bitter, but more aromatic than the normal cucumber. the plants are, well - vigorous doesn't quite describe their growth habit! they are on a rampage - even though I try to tie them up all the time, they escaped into the asparagus green, off to the cucumber poles and even into the pumpkins low on the ground! and they cling - the tendrils have to be either cut off or carefully unwrapped from the "host" (unwilling as it may be) plant!
the other new climber I tried out this year was a "hyacinth bean" (dolichos lablab) - which seems to be a more reluctant grower (at least outside, where I train it up the house wall on the south side), but has nice dark green leaves and dark purple shoots. and now purple flowers as well! the "beans" that form are edible - though they only just started flowering.
there's no end to the drizzle in sight - so I'll be doing some more housework and cleaning up maybe..... nothing interesting to tell about that! who would want to hear about ironing and dusting?


KayB said...

The pattern of the shawl (or scarf) is really nice. I agree with you regarding mistakes. It really doesn't bother me seeing them with others, but I can't look at my own - so I have to correct it.
Good luck in the search for your new spinning wheel!

Bettina said...

thanks - I just wish I could "test drive" a few others! there are some from germany, smaller suppliers such as the wheels by "walther" and "henkys", but nobody here has them and I don't think I can order them just for testing and send them back if I don't like them so much:)