WIP Wednesdays Commence

Over on Sosae’s blog, she started a thing where she’s posting her Works In Progress (WIPs) on Wednesdays, and she invited everyone to join in. I sounds like just the right kick in the pants I need to actually shift to real-time blogging here instead of just summaries.

Since this is a spinning blog, I’ll lead off with what’s on the wheel:

wheelB&W

Oh, hm, not very useful, is that? The wheel is currently tied up with a somewhat secret spinning project: custom yarn for my Knitter’s Holiday Swap recipient. I’ve been photographing process steps as I go, so I’ll share it all once the swap is done.

Hm… what can we look at? I caught a wicked case of startitis a few weeks ago and it birthed a few projects that stuck around.

A skein of Sosae’s Merino/Nylon fingering weight yarn in “Lichen” plus a little skein of self-striping handspun that I made from a Hobbledehoy roving called “Fallen Leaves” combined to form a Leftie.

leaf

I understand why this pattern is so popular on Ravelry now! The tiny leaves are just so charming.

I snagged a skein of handspun sock yarn from DebbieB’s etsy shop not too long ago and immediately had to cast on for socks. Pattern is Opus 1100. It has a toe-up heel flap and gusset that I’m excited to try out.

socks

Almost not a WIP any more, my second Honey Cowl just needs to be bound off. Yarn is another of Sosae’s creations, a squishy Merino fingering weight yarn in “Wild Fig”

honey

See what everyone else is working on too!

WIP Wednesday Walkabout: Sosae Caetano, Knit Happens, Spin Shoppe

Splitting a Loop Bump

I got it into my head that I needed to try a Loop Bump 2-ply using only one bump. I’ve heard of people tearing the bump in half before, but no one seems to have pictures and I wanted to test it out.

I started with my “Oasis” bump from last year’s Loop Club (this was one of my “dream” colorways).

whole

I like it when my 2-plies are a little uneven, so that the colors fade into each other for softer transitions; it also means I don’t have to be very precise when I split things in two. I picked an approximate middle and started digging in with my fingers to separate the roving strands. At this point I wasn’t actually tearing anything, just moving it around.

dig

I got it split to the point where it looked like this.

split

Next I started actually ripping the strands apart. Since I don’t possess inhuman strength, this had to be done a few strands at a time.

tear

Once everything was ripped, I had two messy halves.

messyhalves

They look neat from the other side, and I was able to fish around in the middle to find an end for both. I’ll spin them from the middle out.

middles

The downside to this method is that it makes several small strands that have to be joined frequently. The blue here is the very beginning strand and the tan is the very outside one. (The blue is half as long as the following ones will be, since it started with one end sticking out.)

pieces

I weighed them after, and one bump is 67g and the other is 77g. I’ll spin the heavy one first and occasionally take out one strand as I work through each color. Then I’ll add that back to the lighter one when I spin it and hopefully I’ll end up with a better match for yardage when I ply. If not, I can always do the Andean Ply when I get to the end.

Thick Honey Cowl and Long-Tail Bind Off

Over in the Sosae Caetano group on Ravelry, we’re having a knit-along for the Honey Cowl pattern. It struck me that the gorgeous skein of corespun I had been hoarding from Moonrover would be great in this slipped-stitch pattern. I’m not normally one for art yarns, but there is a perfect smoothness to Moonrover’s beehives that I just couldn’t resist and so I picked up Rosewood from a destash.

I paired it with a plain dark brown commercial bulky yarn to make the corespun go as far as possible and then disregarded the edge instructions and launched right into the slipped- stitch pattern. To make the beehives lie flat, I slipped extra stitches whenever they came along.

slant

It’s 145 stitches on a size 10.5 needle, and a very comfy size for looping twice.

wrapped

(Please forgive the blurry mirror photo. Oh, and did I not mention I am a classic Nerd? Yes, that’s a D20 on my sweatshirt. It’s part of a design from Wil Wheaton.)

So, I get really fussy about finishing details. For this particular cowl, the cast on and bind off edges are not very far apart from each other, so I wanted them to match as precisely as possible.

The first time I tried Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind Off, I thought it was a great trick, but I realized that with some modifications I could get it to look just like a long-tail cast on. I figured out the mod that very first time and have been doing it my own way ever since. I’ve never seen anyone else do it quite this way, so I thought I’d share.

Long-Tail Bind Off

Just like EZ’s Sewn BO, you’ll need a strand about 3 times the length of the knitting to be bound off. Thread it on a big needle.

If you scrutinize your long-tail cast on, you’ll notice that one side has a neat row of longer straight stitches (straight side), and the other side has what looks like a purl ridge (purl side). My cowl had the straight side on the right side, and I was also binding off from the right side, so I needed my bind off to make the straight side facing me.

Straight Side Facing

Step 1: Skipping over the first stitch, run the needle from front to back through the second stitch, knit-wise.

knit

Step 2: Now that you’re on the back of the work, run the needle from back to front through the first stitch, purl-wise. Make sure it’s only through the stitch on the knitting needle, and not catching under the bind off strand in front.

purl

Step 3: Pull the yarn all the way through, removing the first stitch from the knitting needle (mine is still on the needle in this picture, but you should take yours off.) Ideally, pull the yarn until the bind off stitch is the same tension as the cast on.

loop

Repeat from step 1 to make a straight-side-facing bind off that matches your long-tail cast on. (I admit, dark brown is not the best for a tutorial, sorry.)

edge

I don’t have pictures for Purl Side Facing, but the steps are:

Step 1: Ignoring the first stitch and starting with yarn in back of work, run the needle from back to front through the second stitch, purl-wise.

Step 2: From the front of the work, run the needle through the first stitch from front to back, knit-wise. Make sure it’s only through the stitch on the knitting needle, and not catching under the bind off strand in the back.

Step 3: Pull the yarn all the way through, removing the first stitch from the knitting needle. Ideally, pull the yarn until the bind off stitch is the same tension as the cast on. Repeat from step 1.

Happy knitting!