Friday, May 12, 2006

Picker & swift

Overall dimensions are 27 x 27 x 11. Cradle is 15 1/2 x 11.

Cradle height is adjustable for different fibers.

Here are the teeth in the lower section (upper section held out of the way).

And here is the upper section. (Light colored blocks are just propping this upper section up high for the photo.) When you use it, you use one hand to push the fiber under the front bar (keeps your hand away from the teeth) while swinging the top cradle with the other (the handle is at the top of this photo).

This handmade swift holds skeins from 39 1/2" to 56". Overall height is 33".

Here are the two separate pieces. The center axle is a little slanted but it does not affect performance. I don't think I'd use this with silk, but it is smooth enough for very fine wool.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Neither wool nor yarn.

I have been making a top for Charlotte. It's from a pattern for a nightgown or corset cover yoke from 1916, although I made it in size 30 thread instead of size 50. I just need to finish the round of picot edging around the bottom and then attach it to whatever sort of fabric I'm going to put it on. I'm a little foggy about that at this point.

But here's what I'm trying to decide. The pictures above show the yoke in two different orientations. If you look closely you'll see there are five flowers across the front on the top picture, and only four on the bottom. And on the top there are only two flowers going up and over her shoulders, while on the bottom there are three.

So the one on the top has a wider neck opening, shorter armholes, and more of a suggestion of sleeves. The one on thebottom has a deeper but narrower neck opening, deeper armholes, and less "sleeve." Dean likes the one on the top. I think I do, too, but I'm afraid it will fall off her shoulders. Ideas? Comments? Am I just obsessing too much?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Something of a disappointment

I wasn't very happy with the way my last hat turned out, but I didn't want to post until I had really thought about what went wrong.

The hat is an entrelac design by Kathryn Alexander. You can see it on her at Rhinebeck last year here . I was thrilled by it & bought the pattern from her.

I want to make it in handspun, but couldn't really visualize the hat by reading the pattern. I didn't know how the bits went together and where the colors would end up. So I made a "test hat" out of commercial yarn.

The pattern calls for a very small needle -- 5 st/inch with worsted weight yarn on size 3 needles. Size 3 needles? That seemed nuts to me, so I used size 6 and got gauge just fine. I haven't knitted much entrelac, and I had forgotten that entrelac stretches. A lot.

As I was knitting I realized that the hat was turning out big. I couldn't really tell how big, because of the bumps, but pretty big.

I was right.

Here it is after fulling. It's still big, but it's wearable. The fabric is nice and dense and furry (the yarn is a wool/mohair blend).

Here's a back view, before fulling:

Turns out it was a mistake to change colors on the last two points of the center -- but I ran out of yellow. When I make another I'll do a whole round in one color.

So was this a success? A failure? Not exactly either, I guess. I'll need to think more about what I want to do differently next time. A smaller needle and thinner yarn, to start with.