Monday, June 26, 2017

Everyday Things

Recently I had reason to travel by plane.  This is not going to be a rant about the airlines,  planes, or the TSA.  Instead this is a positive post about what can be done  with everyday objects in your knitting and crocheting.   I knew before going that there would be limitations.   Yes knitting needles and crochet hooks are allowed on the plane.  They are allowed through security for the most part, unless the security person who is checking you is having a bad day or determines that such implements are maybe weapons. Space to work is also at a premium.

Due to a misunderstanding of the rules about what I could bring on the plane,  I knew I had to pack lightly and the things I did take needed to do double duty.   I had a very large tote bag for clothes and my knitting and crocheting as well as the normal purse stuff and stuff for designing.  So what did I take?

I was working on something for loom knitting.  But I couldn't take a loom and the yarn for the project.  I did take a very large wide toothed comb and used that as a loom.  A knitting loom uses super bulky weight yarn and is bulky to use in and of itself, especially for on a plane.  So everyday object number 1 that can do double duty is a wide toothed comb.    

I took a bunch of different colored pens along with sheets of graph paper.  Those work for designing charts.  The pens did another duty to help me with the loom knitting on the comb by pulling the loops up and over using one of the new pens that still had the plastic tip on. This prevented the ink from staining the yarn. 

I had a small make up bag with office supplies.  Paper clips held together theknitting for your  sheets of graph paper.  But they do more by being stitch markers and by marking rows on both the pattern and the project. The clips also hold on to the end of the yarn in the ball.

So with a comb and some paper clips and pens, I can knit.......

Friday, June 9, 2017

Desserted Island

A very odd title for a post on a blog about knitting and crocheting. I freely admit that.  But I recently read an article about what motivates people.  Specifically the motivation behind Gilligan's Island,  what caused it to be, Sherwood Schwartz in college was intrigued by the politics of how people get along with each other and wondered what might happen in a confined space  or on a desserted island.  This sparked a thought of naked and afraid and what I could bring to the table in a situation something along those lines.  Then the thoughts turned to.....if I was on a dessered island what would I want with me?

I suppose it would be futile to want a boat to get off said island. So if I could have only a foot locker full of yarns and tools, what might it be?  I know right now that list would change over time.

I think if the island is tropical, I would appreciate linen, cotton, hemp in dk weight and finer. 

I would want a couple of Barbara G. Walker's stitch dictionaries. I think Ann Budd's book of patterns for any size yarn would be great.  I would want a complete set of circular needles and a complete set of crochet hooks.  I would have to have 2 crochet stitch dictionaries of comparable quality.  I would also want a comparable book of crochet patterns like Ann Budd's for knitting.  I don't know if these exist. But these are what I want.   With basic pattern templates and stitch dictionaries,  you can usually create anything.

In another time I might do this with a different climate.  I know I can come up with a boatload of ideas

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sock Yarn v. Fingering weight yarn:: What are the differences? What are the similarities?

Recently when I was in a yarn shop with students, I was corrected by the owner.  We had been discussing yarns to make a lace cowl.  I had been suggesting a sock yarn could be paired with a lace weight to make the finished look desired as well as give the lace weight some heft since some were not used to working with something so fine.  What I was corrected on was the fact that the yarn she saw me pointing to was in fact fingering weight and not sock yarn.  I carried on with the lesson on yarns and the shop owner gave input where needed.  She after all should know her stock.

But besides the fact that we were both right (angle of perception has a great deal to do with what you see and think you see), it gave me pause to consider.  Am I shortchanging students in knowledge?  Better still, does anyone care?  I figure yes we do care.  Possibly this discussion is suitable for intermediate students though,

Sock yarn is yarn that is used to knit or crochet socks.  That is the base answer and while true is also untrue.  Sock yarn should be slightly stretchy.  It has very definite crimp in the fiber allowing for a lot of twist in the spin, thus allowing a lot of twist in the plying.  Sock yarn, if they are to be worn in shoes, is almost always fingering weight or a light fingering weight.  Much more and shoes won't fit over the foot and sock.  But is the goal for boot socks?  Then heavier weight yarn can be used.  Is the goal for bed socks or house socks?  Still heavier yarn can be used.

Fingering weight yarn on the other hand is any yarn that has 19 - 22 wraps per inch (how many times the yarn wraps around a ruler or pencil or any even object in an inch)  and knits up at a gauge of 7 - 8 stitches per inch.  It is fairly fine but not thread like.  The fiber may or may not have a lot of crimp.  The yarn may or may not be highly twisted.  The plying will match the twist.

On the surface, they seem to be one in the same.  But consider this.  All the sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, you name it don't have near the friction  that a sock does inside a shoe, or even just being worn.  We don't walk on sweaters or shawls or hats.  This means that all that extra twist is more surface area for the yarn to wear evenly.   You won't get a wear hole in the sock nearly as fast as a yarn that doesn't have all that twist.  This is an important thing to consider. 

The shawl that is done in fingering weight yarn will usually have a lot of drape.  Fiber and gauge have a lot to do with this, but so does the amount of twist in the fiber as well as the amount of twist in the plying.  The shawl done in sock yarn but the same gauge and fiber won't drape as much.

So what is your preference?  Did you know there was a difference??