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11  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / any cool fiber references online? on: March 30, 2008 05:56:47 AM
Some weeks ago, when I was obcessed with alpaca yarn, I started searching for info about it before I decided to really buy some. I have a friend who lives in an alpaca farm, but she doesn't knit, so, while she helps a big lot with saying how soft each yarn would be based on the micron count, and what it would be suitable for, depending on the softness, she didn't know how the yarn would behave. Then I found this: http://www.interweaveknits.com/articles/Alpaca-fall00.pdf
And there was light. With that article, I learned that alpaca is too warm for me, and if i choose to make a lacy pattern, it will still be too hot, and that I should give up alpaca forever, unless I move, or I knit something for someone else who lives in a cooler place. But if I move or knit for someone else, I learned that I'll need to make ribbing extra tight, with twisted stitches, have extra care with loose ends because they're slippery, and that I should account for some stretching when considering to use alpaca.
Now I've been looking for some other references like this for other kinds of fiber, like silk, linen, hemp, and omg, wool. I find some tidbits now and then, like someone mentioning that silk has no elasticity, but are there other concentrated references out there?
12  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / If you could choose ANY yarn... on: March 24, 2008 04:38:42 AM
I still don't really believe this, but a friend of mine, who's in USA, just told me he wants me to choose a yarn that I really, really want to knit with, and that I can't buy easily from here (Brazil), because he wants to give me a gift. He said I shouldn't care about price at all, and just choose the yarn of my dreams, and tell him where to buy and how much yarn, enough for a tank top or something like that. He said the important thing is that I should be able to knit something that I'll like and wear with the yarn he buys.
My first thought was: "Poor kid, he has no idea how expensive yarn can be!" I argued with him and told him what he was getting into, but he insists that I shouldn't care about the price.
My conscience still won't let me abuse, so I've put a limit of about 40 dollars for the pick. But I still don't know what to choose.

1) I've been a little obcessed with trying alpaca but I'm convinced now that it's just too warm for the tropics (and even so I ordered enough for a pair of socks. I'll give it to a cousin if it's too warm to me).
2) I've read cashmere was ok for warm weather too, but then I scored a crazy cheap cashmere sweater on ebay, and I'm going to recycle it. A marvelous light purple colour, too.
3) I have dreamed of silk since the first pic I saw. Laceweight for something like Butterfly (the cami version, not the dress) could include:
* Habu yarns, but I don't know which of their silk is suitable for knitting. They seem to be thinner than the average laceweight, so I'm lost here. This one is my favourite: http://www.habutextiles.com/webfile/a-141.html  I think knitting with 3 strands could work, and 3 skeins, with 935 yards each, are still under the 40 dollars mark. What about this one, undyed? http://www.habutextiles.com/webfile/ns-18k.html
* There are some laceweight 100% silk on etsy that would stay under 40 dollars/1000 yards
* Some DK silk? Any sugestions?
4) Seasilk? Makes me drool, but I suspect any ammount that's enough for a tank top/cami would be too expensive. Tell me if I'm wrong, please!
5) Bamboo or a blend like http://yarn.com/webs/0/0/0/0-1001-1294-1323/0/0/4558/? I don't really know bamboo yarns in USA, but I've tried the one we have here and I liked. I'd rather use the opportunity for something new, though.

I can't think about anything else! Please, give me advice, keeping in mind that I only know temperatures under 25 celsius (77 fahrenheit) from brief trips I've done in the past; and I see no such trips in the close future...
13  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Elann Baby Silk on: March 20, 2008 04:36:34 PM
I'm really in love with this yarn, but I can't decide to buy it before I have a pattern in mind. So I was wondering if it would be ok to use it for the Beaded Cami (http://designsbyblackdog.blogspot.com/2006/08/beaded-cami-i-designed-this-cami-to_03.html)
The pattern is written for Jo Sharp Summer DK (22.5 sts & 30 rows on US 6 needles on the yarn site, but 24 sts on the pattern.)
Baby Silk is 28 st/4 inches 3.25 mm (US 3). Too ocomplicated to adapt?
If someone has used Baby Silk for something, how big needles are still ok? I've seen it used with even US 7, but for lace...

edit: and on a second thought, how crazy am I for considering to wear alpaca living 4 degrees far from the Equator?
14  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / I started with plying... on: March 16, 2008 01:28:08 PM
I got this crazy idea about learning to spin by myself - there is absolutely no one around who does it, no guilds or spinning lessons. hell, i don't even have a LYS. anyway, i got a spindle made by a carpenter i met on the street, using just a photo and some notes about size, and i wanted to test if it worked while i waited for the fiber i ordered. i didn't want to risk having the fiber and needing to wait for a new spindle! this is what i got:

This was the yarn I bought specifically to abuse Tongue It was a light beige when I got it, to test the local Kool Aid. We only had strawberry, tangerine and pineapple. The tangerine gave me neon orange and the yellow, maybe because the yarn wasn't white, is just awful. I was going to use it to stuff amigurumi, but then I used it to test the spindle. I twisted it, then plied.
I can notice clearly that the  first half of the singles got more twist than the second, because by then I was getting the knack. I learned to pinch and hold the twist down, and then release it to the next piece of yarn, and I learned to spin the spindle on my thigh.
I checked often to see if the 2-ply was balanced, but when I skeined it the skein still twisted 2 or 3 times when hanging. And I can see that some parts of the 2-ply are more twisted than the others, even on that pic.
After soaking it, and doing something to it on the wall (I forgot the right word for that, sorry, but I've read about it), I let it dry hanging, and the last hours I let it hang behind the fridge to use the heat there. I know probably that was wrong, but I was in a hurry... And now the skein only twist once...
Not that I'll use it for anything anyway. I still hate the colours and I only got 37 meters at the end...
(omg looong post, sorry!)

Anyway, the important bit now: when my fiber arrives, and I need to hide it from my mom, how big is 1 lb of corriedale??  Grin
15  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / is it possible to ply commercial yarns? on: March 10, 2008 09:30:50 AM
I'm considering learning to spin, and there's absolutely no one near here that could teach me, or anywhere to buy materials. I can get a carpenter to make me a spindle easily, but roving, only from foreign online stores. So I was thinking about starting with plying laceweight or fingering yarns into something thicker, to see if I can get the knack, and if i find it fun enough to go on, before commiting to spending too much and risking to waste it all.
But as I read through the FAQ and some articles, I saw that 1) spinning and plying are two different things, and 2) singles for plying need extra twist than singles for knitting. So, am I just delusional?
(and on a second thought, if I cave in and buy 1lb of roving, and learn enough to spin it thin, and ply it, keeping it still light weight, how much yardage is it possible to get?)
16  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / tapestry wool? on: March 05, 2008 11:06:29 AM
I discovered a shop in my city that sells 100 % wool yarn, in a worsted/heavy worsted weight. However, it's tapestry wool. it doesn't feel all that soft, and the surface has some fluff that I don't love. But maybe I'm just not used to it, as I always use only cotton or acrylic (and I hate the acrylic fluff too). This is it:

I knit a swatch on #7 needles and got 18 st/20 rows, and it doesn't look too thick or too tight, even though all sites I've found say the right needles for this is #15 (but they were all for felting projects).
So, considering the fluff and the possible scratchiness (I'm waiting for the swatch to dry after a good wash to try it against my skin, but it doesn't feel good on the hands while knitting), would it be possible to use it for garments? I have cardigans or pullovers in mind, mostly because they make it in 120 colours, while almost all other yarns I like have about 10...
17  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / some firsts: fibonacci coachella and fishy socks on: March 04, 2008 07:13:45 AM
These are my first 2 knit pojects on the round:
My fibonacci Coachella, that started as a de-stashing project (because what else could I do with sparkly boucle lime green yarn?) but ended with me buying just as much of sparkly boucle blue to finish it.

Knitting this was a challenge too, because I had to adjust just about every increasing and decreasing step. I think the total number of stitches floated from the medium to extra large sizes, but that was good in many levels. it made me read no end of articles about shaping, designing and adjusting, and because I was never as aware of my curves as when I had to go over them inch by inch! Needing to decrease 4 times more than the pattern said to was definitely an ego buster, and gave me something to tell the people who like to remind me that I'm fat.
A closer look to show the moss stitch border:

Then the Pomatomus socks that I started for me, but will now go on european holidays with my uncle's girlfriend:

Maybe the toes are just a bit too pointy? Makes me think of wizard hats...

18  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / my loved viscose & acrylic blends (img heavy) on: March 02, 2008 08:23:40 AM
I bought 5 balls of white yarn for some project and gave up knitting it in the middle of the task. it wasn't really looking good, so i decided to invest my time in something else. now, i wasn't much happy with white, so i decided to dye it, even thought it was 50% acrylic and 50% viscose. so these are the 3 balls i had still untouched, ready for their hot bath, just to show the shiny goodness:

these became:

i used cotton dyes for that. i dissolved the light blue, imersed the skeins, and threw some darker blues and pink in the pot, without mixing to dissolve. this next pic doesn't really show the variegated effects well (i swear there is some purple in there, from where the pink was), but it shows how shiny the yarn still looks:

after seeing how well that worked, i frogged the sweater i had started and used a small part to give a try on self-striping. i separated the sections randomly, i didn't swatch to see how long and how wide i wanted the stripes. so, yellow, orange, red. all was well, but i wasn't loving the orange and the red. to deal with that, i dissolved some gray, put the whole mini-skein in a little pot and put the solution over it, without stirring. then i put this little pot to boil. THEN, the cable guy arrived to fix my tv, and i got distracted, and i got hungry and went out to buy food, leaving the yarn still boiling. when i went back the yellow, the orange and the red had gotten loose from the fiber, mixed with the gray, and everything looked brownish. 2 days soaking on clear water later:

i love it. i used part of it to make me a cell phone sonky, using the monkey socks pattern, but really i just wanted to see what kind of fabric it would give me:

and i couldn't get the pic right, but when it's under direct sunlight it looks almost metallic.
19  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / finishing armholes on: March 02, 2008 04:46:11 AM
i did this top on 4,5mm needles, 23 inches long. i want to pick up stitches around the armholes and knit one row, then cast off, just to give a better look, because the edges are a little irregular. but my only shorter circulars (16 inches) are 3mm. what pair should i use for that?
20  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / changing colour on the round on: March 01, 2008 08:52:46 AM
i've done it with socks and the stripes were smooth (even if i never finished the socks). i was using 2 circulars. now, doing a tank with one circular, i got this on the area where the rounds start/end:

the ends of the rounds aren't meeting. and that's right on the middle of the back... is it always like that, or i'm doing something wrong?
(i'm not cutting the yarn, too, i'm just carrying it up till the next stripe.)
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