Friday, February 25, 2005

Simplex Loom

I got a nifty thing for Christmas, and I've just gotten around to playing with it. The Simplex loom is a hand-held loom, similar to a Weavette. Mine is an actual antique, or at least a collectible, made by F. B. Gustafson at 810 Ashland Ave. in Rockford, IL. I know this because I have the original instructions that came with the loom. I haven't yet been able to find out anything about the company that made it.

The needle that was included with the loom was not quite long enough to weave all the way through the warp at one time, and I thought it was too hard to try to weave with it that way. So I went Googling for a weaving needle, and found one at Camilla Valley Farm that looked like it might work. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago and it arrived this week. Well, that made a huge difference in the use of the loom.

I want to try out several different weights of yarn in different fibers to see what I like best before committing to a big project. The blue square was made with Lion Brand Wool-ease, and the white one with ?. I think it was a Bernat yarn. The white is about a sport weight and Wool-ease is supposed to be worsted weight. It was easier to weave with the thinner yarn, but of course that gives a much looser fabric. Maybe I'll get a chance to try some other yarns this weekend.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Finished Socks

Finished my first pair of socks on Tuesday morning. I think they turned out well, and they fit great. While re-reading the directions making the second one, I discovered I had made a mistake on the first one. When decreasing stitches for the heel gusset, I decreased every round when I was supposed to decrease every 3rd round. So I compromised on the second sock. I wanted to see how it was really supposed to be if I followed the directions, but I didn't want it to be too different from the first one. My fix was to decrease every 3rd round for a couple of decreases and then every 2nd round until finished. And the second sock fits fine that way. I notice now that the first one is a bit tight across the ankle, but on the other had there is no bagginess there at all. I think I need to make the next pair a bit smaller; they do stretch quite a lot. And I think I need a tighter gauge, say 8 stitches to the inch instead of 7. But overall, I'm happy with what I did. We'll see if I still think that after I've washed them.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

One Week, One Sock

Yesterday I finished knitting my first sock. It took a week and a day, and I had no idea it would take that long. I thought socks were simple little things. Well, I learned they're really not all that hard to knit, but fingering weight yarn and tiny needles require a lot of stitches to make anything much out of them (that is, anything bigger than pulse warmers). But I enjoyed it, which is good since I bought enough yarn for 3 more pairs. This yarn happens to be Simple Stripes from the new "store brand" yarn collection at KnitPicks. The color is "Storm", and I was not at all sure I was going to like it - the blue seemed too much on the purple side of blue to go with blue jeans, but after it was knit up and tried on with blue jeans I found it coordinates harmoniously. I'm working on the mate to this one now and, so far, the stripes are matching up almost perfectly.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Beaded Pulse Warmers, part 2

I uploaded a picture of the beaded pulse warmers mentioned in my last post. After wearing these a while they stretched out a bit, making them just a tad too loose. If I were making them again, I would use a smaller size needle. And maybe try a smaller bead, although I don't know if anything smaller would fit on the yarn. Size 8 Delicas?

I forgot to mention that when I made these, I misread the directions and didn't string enough beads to follow the pattern as written. And it's a good thing I didn't do it "right" because they would have been waaaaay too big. I read "repeat five times" and thought it meant to work 5 pattern repeats, total. But no, I think she meant to have us knit 6 pattern repeats. The first one, explained, and then "repeat five times". As I said, just as well I did it wrong.