Friday, February 27, 2009
70% Superwash Fine Merino 20% Alpaca 10% Nylon
30 stitches/42 rows to 10 cm/4"
Machine wash - gentle cycle, dry flat.
This is another new to me colourway from my Christmas stash shopping.
This is a VERY yarn to work with. I set my tension for this batch at about 1/8 of a turn TIGHTER than my standard 4 ply setting. Any tighter and it would have been too stiff to crank, but this setting worked out perfectly.
I'm very pleased with the patterning, both in the 54 stitch sock and in the 72 stitch sock. It's always interesting for me to see how a yarn patterns differently from one cylinder to another.
(And sometimes I'm disappointed with the pooling....but not this time!)
My big regret is that I bought only three bags of this yarn ;o(
Finishing Up the Thermal Socks
And speaking of regrets..... I also regret getting only one bag of the new Fortissima 60/40 wool/polyethylene sock yarn. I've finished knitting that bag and wish I had more!
This is a size Medium, knit on the Legare 400, 54 needle cylinder.
You were asking....
how often I clean my sock machines.
Short answer.... not very often! I gave my Legare 400 and my Verdun 47 a very thorough cleaning when I first got them. I think I've cleaned the Legare twice and the Verdun once since.
I do vacuum them (even with socks still on the machine) when I do the floor in the studio...usually once a week-ish. That takes out an amazing amount of fluff.
The one time I cleaned the Verdun, and one of the times that I cleaned the Legare...was after a multi week binge of Step yarns and the slots in the cylinders got caked with powder from the joboba and aloe vera.
I oil more often than I clean, but not nearly so much as I've seen others post on sock machine lists. I'm only on the beginning of my second small bottle of sewing machine oil ever. I put a wee drop on each cylinder slot at the retainer spring, and a wee drop on the crank spindle about every hundred or so pairs of socks. Maybe a little more often with Step yarns.
The machines usually tell me when they need oiling or cleaning...it's something you can feel while cranking.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It's hard to make out....but Georgian Bay is in the distance on the right half of the photo. It hasn't completely frozen over this year. In fact, there's not much ice at all.
The farm ponds are frozen over, but I wouldn't want to walk on them. And the creek has barely a glaze over its top.
perimeter lane at the back of the farm we discover several more trees downed on the fence. This may be a record for fence damage at the farm.
And on the sock machine
A Lump of socks? A Mound of socks? A Kershwekker of socks?
As you can see, I fell behind in my kitchener-ing.
Oh, for three comely maidens in diaphanous gowns (with darning needles)!
This will slow down the knitting a bit while I catch up with the stitching.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Previously, I've only knit a few pair of Kureyon, and it was a love hate relationship.
- a lot of thick/thin (not as much as Silk Garden)
- harsh, stiff wool (softens a fair bit after a few washes)
- enough hay in a ball to feed a sheep for a winter
But the colours are awesome, the socks are soft-enough for my feet (wouldn't do a scarf), and the one pair I knit for myself (=had mistakes in the knitting) has been indestructible.
Here's a look at the thick and thin. I'm not sure how this translates for DPN knitters, but on the sock machine it translates as KNIT WITH CAUTION.
And for me that means go fairly slowly. And at a slightly looser tension to allow the thick parts to knit without breaking.
I hit a few knots, but not too many.
The gradual colour shifting makes it difficult (for me anyway) to colour match two balls so that the socks come out as an exact pairing. And chances are, as soon as you get a match, one of the balls will have a knot and head off in a different direction.
Solution. Knit a bunch of socks. Put them in best pairs later.
So what can you get out of a bag of Kureyon?
And 2 pair of Medium +.
I can probably squeak another pair of Medium with the left overs. But I think I'll save them and mix-em-up with other Kureyon leftovers....from the other bags I haven't yet opened.
The Kureyon label says to hand wash. I have a hand wash setting on both washing machines and that works fine. I use a warm/warm setting instead of cold (which is often recommended). In my machines cold is VERY cold and warm is tepid. I find tepid to be less shocking to wool.
My own pair of Kureyon socks go in the delicate cycle with the rest of my socks.
Friday, February 20, 2009
But my server has been down for three days, and I imagine it must be the same thing!
At least the sock machines weren't down.
Fortissima Socka - Funktionsfaser Polyocolon; Modern Art series, colour 1373 (blue).
60% Wool 40% Polyethylene
This was a new one for me. To be honest, when I bought the yarn I presumed Polycolon was another word for Polymide (nylon). For that matter, on the Canadian distributor's web site, they've called it nylon.
But it's not.
It's polyethylene. Think 'thermal underwear'. The fibre has many of the traits of wool.... it wicks moisture, insulates, and breathes. But it also has the strength trait of nylon.
The yarn is has a good consistency and I found it a fairly easy knit. It feels a little like a cotton blend and it's elasticity seems a wee bit less than the wool/nylon blends.
For the top two pair, I worked from two balls, starting at the same point in the pattern. (This was hard to match up except starting where the light blue hits the dark blue. I wouldn't be able to match up in the mid shades....can't see where one starts and the other ends!
The bottom pair, I knit from one ball. As it happens, that ball had an interruption in the pattern as well.
This is the only colourway I bought in this yarn. It looks like a great-with-jeans yarn.
Someone else is knitting this yarn on dpn's.
And, back on the sock machine....
A few more pair of the Online Aloe Vera yarn I started with last week.
Both these pair were also knit on the Verdun 47, 72 needle cylinder.
The top pair is Low Pressure, size Medium, and the bottom pair is size Extra Large.
Monday, February 16, 2009
You can see the pond breached the dike. It wasn't a total washout, but there will be repairs needed before the tractor can pass over.
within 24 hours of the big melt:
When the snow settled it wasn't deep enough to warrant snow shoes. And with a few sunny days upon us, Jesse and I took advantage for some hiking out back.
Here is a shot at the back pond. Interesting tracks on the ice. I can't tell if this is something that walked on the ice and fell in, or something, like Snappy, that was already in the pond, and came out.
The tracks weren't fresh enough to read.
This is the rams' summer paddock, and it's the only paddock on the farm that isn't accessible by tractor. That means these trees, in the mess of hawthorn thickets, will have to be taken out by hand in order to right the fence.
The Ford Commercial
I may have shown this photo before. It's the 'farm truck', a 1988 Ford F150. It's not full of yarn. It is, however, full of wool. There are 8 sacs in the back of the truck (2 layers of 4) and there is 1 sac in the back seat. So, 9 sacs in total, each weighing a few hundred lbs. That load was being hauled to the trucking depot for shipping to the mill. Eventually I figured out the trucking company would come and pick the wool up, and now all we have to do is tip the sacs onto the hydraulic ramp, which lifts the sacs up, and then we roll them into the back of the truck. Cool. No step needed.
(OK, I admit it.... I'd like to have a step!)
And coming the other way from the mill last week....another load of milled socks.
Coming this week....
Today, after another sunny day (and longer hike), I knit some socks with a new blend.... wool + a fibre that I've NEVER knit before.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Here is a new one I discovered.... Online Supersocke 100, Wellness-color #1070; Machine Wash&Dry.
It is 75/25 wool nylon, ~420m/100g. It has Aloe Vera, like the Austermann, but it does not have the Joboba Oil.
I've got a size XL pair still on the machine. I didn't quite squeak through on one ball....I got about half way through the second toe when I ran out. (But no problem as I had several little 10g balls left overs from the Size Larges I knit.
The colour is a little overexposed. The colours, while fairly true on my computers, are a bit less bright than they appear to me.
This is the only colourway I stashed from the new Wellness collection. I forget why I didn't get the other colours. I'm very pleased with this yarn, and I'll have to re-visit the other colours next time I'm shopping!
At the Dye Pot
The dye is Prochem's Wash Fast Acid Dye, colour Turquoise.
The yarn around the edge of the pot is my own 70/30 wool/nylon 1 ply, which is woollen spun and untreated.
The skein in the middle of the pot is Trekking XXL, undyed, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon.
I don't know what effect superwash process has on how yarn behaves in dye, but I do know that breed of sheep can make a huge difference.
And that's something I've always loved about my breed (Columbia)....it really loves the dye pot!
Have You Seen this commercial for the 2009 Ford F150???
I'm going to start a new group called, 'Ford Unfair to Crocheters and Knitters'.
Or maybe not...
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
My new bag of Austermann Step colour#26 fit the bill.
An honest Red, a not-quite-Barbie-and-therefore-bearable pink - well suited to the occasion - and, to boot patterned with a mulberry and a deep purple that are in this year.
The top pair is Size Large, and the middle pair is Size Medium +, and both these pair were knit on the Verdun 47, 72 needle cylinder.
The last pair is Size Medium, knit on the Legare 400, 54 needle cylinder.
The yardage is listed at 420m/100g.
But I found the yarn a little short in the yardage department. Normally, I can squeak 3 size Medium socks from 100g (@ 33g per sock with just a wee tiny bit left over).
But in this batch, I was 10 rows short from the end of the foot when I ran out of yarn.
And I usually can get a pair of size Large (~96g)from one 100g ball, with lots to spare. But I ran out of yarn knitting that pair too.
What the ?
I thought, ok, the red is pretty intense and that can make a yarn stiffer and not go as far. And I checked my gauge, and it was 'normal'.
By the time I stopped scratching my head, I had knit 6 balls. But I weighed the remaining 4 from the bag... 95g each.
Now I know that weight can vary according to relative humidity, the phase of the moon, and who knows what else. And I admit I don't often weigh full balls of yarn unless something is suspect.
But, Ay karumba, that leaves me several bricks short on the load.
This is a lovely yarn. The red is, indeed, a bit stiffer on the knit, but softens to what you would expect from a Step yarn after washing.
But if you are looking to knit a pair of Large socks....I'd check the weight before buying!
Monday, February 9, 2009
So, back at it...
The batch on the right is my own 1 ply wool/nylon blend, ~ 400 yd/100g, dyed Brilliant Violet (Prochem WF#817).
This is the same dye, different intensity, I used to make my Tudor Royal Purple with the Lorna's Laces undyed Shepherd Sock.
If you are old enough to remember your teachers using a ditto machine....this colour reminds me of the 'ditto purple'.
(Reminds me of how excited we got if the teacher handed out papers fresh from the ditto machine....so we could 'sniff' the papers!)
And on the sock machine
I did, however, finish the other half of the bag of Noro Silk Garden I began last week. Notice, that the toes are waiting to be closed.
Out of the ten balls in the bag, there were three that had quite a few sections that were too thin to knit and had to be cut out. The other balls had lots of thick and thin, but the thin sections were still acceptable for sock yarn. (I still cut those out if they happened along during a heel or toe.)
To watch for those thin spots meant knitting fairly slowly, but with the thick and thin character of the yarn I was knitting pretty slow anyways.
With that high-maintance lot of knitting done, I'll now move on to something a little more sock machine friendly for my next effort.
Friday, February 6, 2009
40% Lamb's Wool 25% Silk 25% Nylon 10% Kid Mohair
Handwash in cold water. (I didn't). Dry Flat. (I did)
The +/- is quite significant. In a bag of 10 balls I had a range of 92g to 118g. That's quite a spread!
Like other Noro sock yarns, in my very humble experience, you need to hang on for a wild ride!
gauge fingering sock yarns I use.
The lower two lengths are both from the Noro Silk Garden Sock.
The thick and thin occurs frequently (very !@#@%^#**^%$# frequently) throughout the yarn. And as fate would have it, I keep hitting the nano-thin parts right at a heel or toe.
A tricky yarn to knit on the sock machine!
Here's what I did:
1. Knit slow (real slow) at a tension 5/8 turn looser than my normal 4 ply setting.
2. Watch (one reason for going slow) for the very thin parts; stop and cut them out, especially anywhere near a heel or toe.
3. Turn off the radio.
4. Knit slow (real slow).
5. If you're a drinker....drink. If you're a prayer....pray. If you're a cusser....get ready for a real workout.
Crap....it's a beautiful sock yarn!
The top pair is Size Small, the bottom pair is an accidental Size Large, and everything in between is Size Medium. All knit on the Legare 400, 54 needle cylinder (with large hook needles).
The reason the last pair is an accidental Large...it was my first pair of the morning and I forgot that I had already loosened the tension, so I loosened it yet another 5/8 turn.
That will be MY PAIR.
With the heavier gauge yarn ....almost a DK weight on average... it might be that a 54 stitch sock is in order for the large size. I haven't tried this yarn on the 72 stitch cylinder yet.
That will be an even wilder ride!