there is coffee filter yarn.
The sun is shining.
And the narcissus--
are casting shadows on the wall.
After the weaving/knitting confusion
of last week's post
I was pretty sure that today
I could stick to the point.
The trouble began
when I began to gather
for no sooner had I found a few decent pictures
--of fleece prep and spindle choice,
--of knitting and ripping out and knitting again,
--of the three-needle-side-and-sleeve-seam-bind-off,
--and of the joys of putting a mock turtleneck
on what I had previously considered
a square-necked garment
(making it a square neck that looks round,
to riff off of Roald Dahl),*
*see chapter 23, Square Candies that Look Round
than I got completely distracted
by the other three (or is it four now?)
sweaters I've knit from this same fleece
(a Targhee/Debouillet from Nancy Ortmann).
What caught me up
was thinking about how,
though I used the same Hepty Spindles
and spun virtually identical singles
I treated the final yarn making process quite differently:
--dyeing and carding the fleece, spinning all the singles, then plying and knitting
--chain plying each spindle full of singles, then dyeing and knitting then all
--chain plying each spindle full and knitting it right away.
Before long I was all bogged down
with gathering pictures,
covering my computer desk top
with images to explain my choices,
and trying to describe why each approach
suited the mood and project of the moment
(and also getting sucked into inspecting old projects
with the wisdom of hindsight)--
and soon I'd totally forgotten
that your patience for such nonsense
(at least all in one blog post)
would soon be exhausted--
especially when what I REALLY wanted to do
was talk about the third choice,
the one I used for the most recent two:
-the Somewhat Slanted I'm wearing as I type
-and a Magic Medium
that I've worn like crazy since July
but don't think I've blogged about
because I hope to revise the magic Medium pattern
and figure it'd be better to talk about it
when I've got the new, more versatile version done
(though of course anyone who has bought it on Ravelry
will get a revised version if/when I get
a round tooit).
So in the name of sticking to the point
I deleted all that historic nonsense
so that I could say
though potentially filled with imperfections
(each skein slightly different
due to my spinning mood
and the weight of the spindle
from one end of the cop to the other)
with a plying stick/wand
is my current absolute favorite.
And here's why:
A gal can even lounge on her bed
and pretend to take a nap
if she really needs a break
but can't quite bring herself
to put down the yarn.
And what's not to love about that?
ps . For more about using a plying stick,
check out this blog post:
pps And sigh.
I still feel compelled
to tuck a few photos of those other two methods
at the bottom
because there they are on my desktop
and I want to tidy it up
but will dispense with the descriptions
as I think I'm almost out of words.
Method One: spin all the singles and mix them up
Method Two: spin and ply, then dye (Henry's Shop Shirt)
And Bonus for reading this far:
The Proper recipients for both these last two garments:
Last night I cast off the last stitches
of my fourth Somewhat Slanted Sweater.
This morning I gave it a good bath.
Spinning, plying and knitting as I go?
Lots of time on the road?
Talk about a grime magnet.
And who is going to wash her hands
every time she picks up
spindles or needles?
Well, maybe you.
Alas, not me.
Anyway, it should be dry by tomorrow
so I can try it on all clean and blocked.
For some reason,
these somewhat slanted sweaters
fit quite differently before
esp the sleeves
which have a tendency
so there is not much point in taking photos
until it has finished this growth spurt.
Sleeve increase aside,
I'm amazed at how individual
each version is--
as individual, indeed,
as those that I've seen
made by other people.
For there have, by now,
been a fair few made
and I'm super excited
because the Somewhat Slanted pattern
and the Sarah-Dippity Skirt
now have their own Ravelry Pages.
so other versions can be linked.
Here, for instance, is Vicki's version.
I totally adore how she made an elegant wide neck
then added crochet cross straps
to keep the shoulders from sliding down.
Getting this Ravelry page up
is a thing I've been meaning to do for ages
and can't thank Vicki enough
for helping me make it happen--
and also the wonderful Ravelry team
for linking these two patterns
to patterns I've produced over the years
(for other publications).
Because Ravelry is a knitting site, however,
my two weaving PDFs can't go there
(at least as far as I know),
and it may be because of this
that instead of process photos
of the new sweater,
this blog post has been taken over
by a wool and paper conspiracy:
an indigo swirl
making its sinuous way
up walnut dyed wool warp
with the full support and consent
of a bunch of used coffee filter yarn.
It is a bit high-handed--
though as you may have noticed
my materials have no compunctions
about bossing me around,
and a four selvedge warp
can reduce me to a state
of worshipful acquiescence
who could resist being seduced
by such yarnish loveliness?
assuming the tapestry loom doesn't get bossy again,
I'll hopefully have a few photos
of the finished Somewhat Slanted Sweater
by next tuesday.
And if, in the meantime,
you too want to feel
the four selvedge magic,
(and are willing to take the risk of life take-overs)
Rebecca Mezoff and I
are having an unprecedented one day sale
on our online four selvedge warping class FRINGELESS.
The class will be 25% off on Monday, December 2nd, 2019.
The code is: AllFourSides
(fyi- Rebecca's other amazing classes are 15% off that day only
with the codeword: FyberMonday).
ps -- AND LOOK!
It's now Tuesday,
the sweater got dry,
and amidst all the things that I thought would keep me from blogging today
(why I wrote most of this yesterday),
I had time for a quick snap!
Mock Turtle Somewhat Slanted
+ a sliver of (one of my many) Sarah-Dippity skirts
= a warm and comfy outfit
for a busy day.
I didn't intend to start a
Somewhat Slanted Sweater.
And I definitely didn't intend
to knit a cardigan.
Pullovers are more my style.
And I already had a knitting project
for my June travels.
Except I'd just released the pattern,
and my lovely mother
had begun to knit one,
suddenly this delicious yarn
was asking to be a rectangle
instead of a square,
and I was adding buttonholes...
and what could I do but enjoy?
So I did --
And perhaps because I didn't really plan it,
the whole thing
was a seriously good time.
Except, that is,
until the time came
to choose the buttons.
Nothing was right --
not a single button in the house--
not even those with lives of their own
on other garments.
I was about to start
sawing rounds from a dead lilac branch
when my disgruntled brain
saw the wisdom of sewing up the front
with a pice of string,
throwing the sweater in a tub of water
and going to have lunch.
Maybe the problem was blood sugar.
the handiest bit of string--
happened to be a piece of ribbon--
and, well --
who needed buttons?
The ribbon, alas, was not quite long enough,
but a few snips of some silk long underwear
(indigo dyed, long since worn to shreds
and saved for some purpose I can no longer recall),
produced a flexible and stretchy cord
that somehow felt perfect.
had become a pullover.
Here's the view from the top.
And from below.
(I do so love the swooping side seams).
My brain exploding with possibility,
I headed back to the drawing board.
Actually, most of the PDF is the same,
just 16 pages instead of 12.
The extra four pages include
info on knitting bias rectangles
(for cardigans and rectangular sweaters)
and two approaches to stripes
(for felting and non-felting yarn).
note--the first version of this sweater was striped, but I didn't talk about about the oddities of stripes on the bias in original pattern
so I've added a little info, mostly on spit splicing
If you have already have the pattern
you can re-download the new version
using the link in your original receipt.
I'll also send everyone who already owns it
those four pages via email.
Just in case you deleted your receipt
or it doesn't work for some reason.
Everyone else -- the Somewhat Slanted PDF the store
is the new and updated version.
Oh yes -- and one more thing!
Last Saturday's Live Webinar
with Rebecca Mezoff was a blast --
an hour of tapestry immersion,
including post card discussion,
a ton of great questions,
and a bit of ridiculousness
(including me pointing at the screen
that you can't see
and a too-close view
of the chest of my new shirt)
There was even the wonderful surprise
of Michael Rohde popping in
to talk about making
his SUPER tiny tapestry pipe looms.
You can watch the reply on Youtube
So i’m in new Hampshire,
knitting with coffee filters.
You know how it goes.
A gal is visiting family
and the conversations turns
to making yarn out of trash--
as it does--
and your enthusiastic mother
jumps up to fish a couple of
used filters from the compost bin,
rinses them off and sets them to dry
so that when you return from visiting a beloved cousin,
you can do a little spinning
and she--your lovely mum--
can take photos of the process.
These large round Chemex (sp?) filters
were new to me,
so of course
it was extra interesting.
(I’ve written blog posts about spinning coffee filters but for some reason I can’t specifically link them while writing this on the road and in the weebly app so alas, you’ll have search a little to find them if interseted).
Then it turned out that a few
of the many wonderful people
who have started Somewhat Slanted
weren’t familiar with beginning a row
with a YO (Yarn Over),
so yesterday I plied the yarn
and took some photos on the back steps
to (hopefully), make it more clear.
(Please forgive all out of focus moments
as I was using my big toe to click the button
while my hands were occupied).
So here goes:
Yarn Over Increase starting from a single stitch:
1. make a slip knot and put it on the left needle.
2. Bring the Yarn Over the right needle
(or, as my mother says, bring the Needle Under the yarn)
3. Insert needle into the slip knot/ loop as usual
4. Wrap yarn
5. Complete Stitch
— you now have two stitches
6. Switch hands and repeat steps 2 - 5:
Continue as per the
Somewhat Slanted Guide
until it is time to decrease,
by which time the YO thing
should be easy as pie.
The other issue that has come up with Somewhat Slanted
has to do with making color changes with the stripes.
This is not, alas, a thing I can do with coffee filter yarn
(surprisingly pleasant though it is to knit with),
as I only have one color just now.
Also, coffee filter yarn doesn’t felt,
and I used a Spit Splice (aka Felted Join)
which requires wool or a wool blend (not superwash).
I may eventually do some drawings about the splice
but hopefully the Interweave link above will work for you.
Or just Google Spit Splice
and you’ll find all kinds of info.
Though I haven’t yet done stripes with cotton,
I imagine it would work
to tie the two colors together at the edge leaving long tails,
knit along as though they were spliced
then later untie the knots and weave in the ends to
form the YO loops.
But that is just theory right now.
Anyone tried it? Be great to know.
Also — has anyone knit more than a little square
with the coffee filter yarn?
It’s weirdly nice.
I might mess around with this little square
and see how it holds up.
Who EVER knows?
A few months ago
my aunt had her hip replaced.
Happily, all went well
and she is once again
meandering in the woods with her dog.
Also happily, I was able to help with a few things
like hospital transport
and by being a second pair of ears
with nurses, doctors etc.
Mostly, though, I was just on call.
Because she is both relation and dear friend,
the whole thing was fascinating
and pretty easy for me
(lots of spinning and knitting time in waiting rooms).
It was not, however, so easy for her,
at least at the time,
and afterward she thanked me
with a gift certificate to our local LYS,
The Yarn Underground.
Though totally surprised
(I'm kind of weird about gifts),
I was nonetheless thrilled
and knew exactly
what I was going to do.
The wall devoted to
Harrisville Hydro Turbine
had caught my eye last winter
when I bought the yarn
for the Long Sarah-Dippity,
and for all my hand spinning ways,
I know yummy yarn when I see it.
No matter that bulky yarn season
should have been ending right around then --
these round and airy skeins
seemed destined to become a heftier version
of the Summer Six Pack Sweater--
a comfortable and versatile favorite for the last three years.
How fluffy Turbine yarn
would behave within the bias structure
remained to be seen--
certainly it would be quite different
than the collection of hand spun odds and ends
that made up the earlier striped garment.
And the not knowing made it extra compelling.
Luckily this sweater does not need
a gauge swatch before starting,
so I could cast on for the actual sweater
the moment I got home from the yarn store,
and start finding out.
When I first blogged about The Six Pack Sweater
several people asked for a pattern
(or at least some kind of guide
beyond the vague thing I wrote on the post),
but somehow it didn't happen--
at least back then.
This spring, however,
the versatility of the idea,
gave me the extra impetus to start drawing.
Alas, it is one thing knit
and design as you go,
and quite another to write a helpful guide
that other people can use
to knit a garment they love,
in the size of their choice,
with yarn they have, or want to try,
at whatever gauge makes both yarn and knitter happy.
So it has taken me longer than I thought.
Plus ... ah...
I have been spinning
the odd yard of flax.
I am now thrilled to announce that
A Sweater -- Somewhat Slanted
is now available in the store
as a PDF download.
Like my other zines and PDFs
this is a guide booklet
for creating your own adventure
(not a pre-calculated set of instructions).
This means that
some straightforward math
is part of the thrill.
Aren't you excited?
Somehow, I kind of think you actually are.
There is just so much pleasure
in making decisions--
even hard ones--
when it mean we will end up
with a personal and magical garment
we will actually wear and use.
(And somehow, I don't think armhole depth
will be the biggest decision you'll ever make).
If you give it a try,
will you let me know how it goes?
When last we left our heroine,
she was planning to devote herself to shoveling
and finishing her skirt,
in the last week
she managed to do both
if not much else.
then rough basting with cotton yarn
The basting made it easy to try on
so I could measure and calculate
for the button band.
Truth be told,
the buttons were the most traumatic part of this,
including the sett drama at the very beginning.
Clearly I survived,
but it was not hard to notice my relative reactions
to the overwhelming abundance
of what is supposed to be a fabric store
and the joy of having one piece
of very plain cloth
waiting at home.
Brief aside about value --
When I first chose the values of yarn
I assumed I'd use the darker of the two
for the knitted panels.
But you can see that the button band above
(which I did knit in the darker value)
looks significantly darker than the woven cloth,
while the triangular knit panels,
though somewhat lighter,
blend in with the woven cloth
with more subtlety.
I can only conclude that the knitted cloth
has so many shadows
that it reads darker than it is
thus making it blend in with the whole.
A good thing to note for future skirts --
sometimes those knitted panels
might want to take center stage!
Sewing the buttons on
before replacing the basting with actual yarn/thread
allowed me to adjust position
of hte woven and knitted panels
and thus the size of specific areas,
so that the skirt would drape just as I wanted.
And yippeee! It does!
Despite the 10 F temps yesterday,
(definitely a two sweater day),
it was also wonderfully cozy to wear outside--
it drapes and stretches,
so I can take big steps but also not get tangled in cloth.
It is wonderfully cozy to wear inside too--
and after taking this pics so you could see
a little more clearly how it fits.
I sat down on the floor
and spun cotton on my book charkha,
the skirt stretching where I did --
no binding or funky leg positions necessary.
So yes --
sartorial satisfaction is a thing--
and the flamingo and I are pretty pleased it ourselves.
Except I should also have worn some shades.
It was bright out there!
And so as not to leave you
with my smug expression ,
here's the view from the top
(golly gee I DO love these textures)
and a few specs:
The Skirt itself is 32" long.
It weighs 405g --approx 14 oz
Owing to the sett miscalculation mentioned above
I have another 75 ish inches of fabric left --
enough for a knee length three panel Sarah-Dippity
or a mid thigh length four panel one.
But it is snowing again.
and since I now have something cozy to wear,
it's time to get back to whatever I was doing
a couple of weeks ago.
What was it again?
We're having a thoroughly wintery week here in North Idaho--
cold and white and silent (except for the snowplows).
It is perfect weather
for the long tweedy Sarah-Dippity
I've been working on.
That I've been doing so much of this (see above)
that the skirt still looks like this (see below).
So, thought it's probably not how the internet works,
I'm going to declare today a Snow Day,
make another cup of Oolong,
and go stitch these yummy swaths
of knit and woven cloth
into something I can wear.
See you next week!
One of the great things about comics
is that they free me from the need to find words
for things I can't quite express.
I only wish I could draw a picture
that could describe the weight and texture
of these two swaths of cloth
(each 104" x 8.25" after washing/light fulling)
The sett issue of last week
really did end up working in my favor
as, not only did I get another two days of blissed-out weaving,
(this kind of cloth-making is super fast compared with knitting),
but I also have nearly 70 inches of fabric left--
enough to make a second
(if decidedly shorter) skirt.
The extra yardage also meant
another expedition downtown
(all of five blocks away),
to buy some more yarn
for the knitting parts of this project.
Fresh from weaving yummy yardage
I just happened to notice
that there are quite a few possibilities
for future Sarah-Dippity skirts
in that store.
While there, deep in a discussion
of how mill spun yarn is finished
and why I find the knitting experience
so much more pleasurable
if I wash such yarn before knitting
(if not for weaving),
we conjured an experiment,
the results of which you can see above and below.
The yarn is not only fluffier and shorter,
it is also distinctly softer.
Why wait till after the knitting is done?
At any rate, after several swatches
I'm now deep in the knitting portion of this skirt show,
where, given the length of the woven panels I just cut,
I am likely to remain for a while.
But that is no hardship.
I do love to knit.
And it'll provide balance to the other enticing
(but less pictorially sharable), thing I'm working on:
an article for the autumn 2019 issue of Ply magazine!
Indeed, I seem to be having an extra delicious magazine moment,
as I drew a cartoon for the new issue of Spin Off
which should be showing up at any moment.
I haven't seen it 'in paper' yet,
but am most excited.
Has anyone received their copy?
I sure do love to be part of this yarnish world
and treasure absolutely everyone in it.
In October 2017,
I had an idea for a skirt.
My thought was to combine
shaped, hand knit panels
with my myriad backstrap experiments
to build a flexible and fitted garment.
It was just an experiment.
Definitely a one-off.
Well, I do wear a lot of skirts.
Though not usually short ones--
or at least I haven't since the early 1970s
when my mother and grandmother tsk tsked
over my desire to share more adolescent leg
than they thought fitting or attractive.
But attractive is as attractive does
(whatever that really means),
and anyway, the skirts are fun at any age--
to make and to wear.
The simple structure makes fitting a breeze--
the unbeatable texture of specially selected (or spun) yarn,
the underlying energy of hand woven cloth,
the built-in stretchiness of hand knit panels
all work together to to make each skirt
as comfy as plain leggings--
and as long or short as I want
(or fabric length will allow).
note: my skirts are mostly short because I made them
using existing color and weave experiments
designed, warped and woven
with no thought to future leg coverage.
I've long wanted to share the idea
and fully intended to have these instructions done
shortly after the concept showed up.
(the instructional story zine that led to
the cloth that led to Sarah-Dippity),
was freshly out in the world
and somehow I imagined
that after a 56 page comic,
a straightforward skirt guide
would take a mere few weeks!
But finally, after writing and re-writing,
drawing and re-drawing,
and overriding a firm decision
to shelve it permanently,
(shows what I know),
I am beyond pleased
that Phineas reminded me
about the underlying joy
of the garments themselves--
(well, he bullied me just a bit,
as only a squirrel can do,
insisting that other weavers and knitters
might well want
to cover their butts
with their own magnificent cloth).
So HERE IT IS,
freshly loaded into my web store:
a 16 page downloadable PDF guide
to using your cloth (hand woven or otherwise),
and your yarn (knit at a gauge that suits your hands and taste),
to make a garment that fits your body,
your life and your style.
And to help celebrate the joy of hand woven cloth,
hard copies of Backstrap Dialogues
are now on sale for $13
(I love prime numbers)
with free shipping.
Endless thanks to Phineas, for spurring me on,
and my ever patient reader/testers,
for all their support.
Sarah C Swett