Really, self? + More than you wanted to know about twisted stitches

One of my coworkers has been in and out of the hospital recently, and I learned that she likes crazy socks. Naturally I was possessed with the urge to knit her a pair, but I needed to do it quickly and so I lit upon the idea of knitting a (sort of) match for one of the single socks I’ve got lying around. I found the one Talking Fish sock I had and decided to knit a mate, except with a more normal construction so that the waves go perpendicular.

wavesocksThese feather-and-fan socks are fast and I will totally knit them again.

But working on this long-hibernating pair got me thinking: this sock was one of the 16 from the Sixteen Lonely Socks post, so I went to check how my progress was going on that.

The results are not encouraging.

It’s been just over two years since then. Of the 16 incomplete pairs at that time, three have been caught up to half-finished, two have been frogged, and -not counting the pair I’m working on right now- only ONE pair has been fully finished. Naturally, it’s the crazy fancy handspun UFOupdatepair, because that’s how I roll.

So what the heck have I been knitting since then? I counted all the socks I’ve logged in Ravelry since then. (Yes. I sometimes knit things that are not socks. I used to knit a lot of shawls but have apparently only done 3 of those in the last two years, which is mostly due to the fact that while I love making them I don’t know what to do with them anymore. Next to socks, the most common thing of the last two years is cowls (9) and fingerless mitts (5), and the latter frankly suffer from the same second-item-problem as the socks, so let’s just not count them right now, ok?)

In the last two years, I have begun no less than 53 pairs of socks. I have finished 26 pairs in the same amount of time, which includes the one pair in the corner of the picture above. Seven pairs have been frogged. That gives me just under 50% completion score and something like a 10 unfinished pairs per year accumulation rate.

At some point I created a “Lonely Socks” tab on my Ravelry notebook so I could try to keep track of it, but given that the tab now shows 37 pairs, I think it’s gotten away from me.

Of course, the current dedication to the socks I’m knitting on for the coworker makes me just want to cast on a million things. I should just embrace my fickle nature and not stress about all the half-finished projects littered in my wake, right?

Hey, anyone want a little lecture on knitting structure as it pertains to twisted stitches?

Back when we were doing a knitalong for my Vergeven pattern, I wrote this up in a forum, but I’d like to expand on it here. Full disclosure- I’m a little crazy with my stitches. The Vergeven pattern uses some very specific increases to get a certain look, but is written clearly enough that everyone can follow along to get the right effect. My personal mods that I do on the fly tend to veer off into weird, and this is one of them.

veeeesLook at this sock (isn’t it neat?*). See how each 2-stitch rib looks kind of unusual? How it’s symmetrical and if you look at the colors they make a tiny little M (or W) shape in each rib?

The pattern is 2×1 ribbing, but it’s not plain knits. It’s not even plain knits through the back loop (ktbls).

It’s p1, ktbl, [k1 so it twists the other way to mirror the ktbl while wrapping the yarn the opposite direction], or something I call a ktbl-mirror. So the rib is *p1, ktbl, ktbl-mirror*.

The first time you put the ktbl-mirror on top of a plain knit stitch, you have to do [slip next st as if to knit, slip it back to the left needle as if to purl, k1 while wrapping yarn around needle the opposite direction of normal].
Assuming you remember to wrap opposite, it sets up the stitch with a reversed stitch mount, so after that you knit it through the front loop (like normal, sort of, except it looks strange) but continue wrapping opposite.

Yes. It is weird and kind of annoying. But look how pretty!

I present, for your perusal, a poorly drawn paint sketch of a closeup of the stitches:

ktbl-mirrorWhen you put these two stitches next to each other in this order, you get a rib with tapered edges. You can also put plain knit stitches in between the twisted stitches (ktbl, k2, ktbl-mirror) and it will make ribs with a rounded look.

I thought it had kind of an industrial look, which is why I used it on the Steampunk-themed socks above.

I also experimented with flipping it, putting the ktbl-mirror on the leading edge of the rib. In this case, it makes a really sharp edge to the ribs that just pleases me to no end.

sharp

See, like these socks->

These have a [p1, ktbl-mirror, k1, ktbl ] rib.

What do you think? Would you ever try it or am I alone in my madness?

*Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?

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Moonrover Fangirl

That orange and turquoise fiber I had on the wheel? I totally abandoned it because Lacey of Moonrover is having a SW Spin-along and like the Moonrover fangirl I am, I ditched everything that isn’t hers. (I’ll go back to it someday, no worries. Wait, did I say that about the Grape Jelly SW BFL too? Shush, I do what I want!)

SW Moonclouds:

clouds

I’m taking each cloud bundle and un-knotting it, wrapping it carefully into a roll, then stretching it out like a mini moonbatt. I’m spinning them one after another long draw, matching ends.

flowI’m spinning for 3-ply fingering weight yarn (of course) and I’ll n-ply.

onbobbin

What else have I been working on? I’ve been kind of all over the place lately, letting my whims cast on whatever suits them.

I did finish the Peeta Socks.

wheat

And the Vicarious yarn has been re-cast as a version of my Vergeven socks.

vicarious

And I finally got to the border on this epic shawl I’ve been working on for …. um…. 3 1/2 years. Pattern is Windswept, yarn is 50/50 merino/mulberry silk.

epic

No word on when I will actually finish it.

Sixteen Lonely Socks

I have been scattered this last week. I went cat shopping and now I want TWO cats but I haven’t gotten any yet.

The wheel is still working on Moonrover Darkside singles. I’m spinning them long-draw, which is usually pretty quick for me, but Lacey really loaded these up with fun add-ins and it slows me down a bit.

moonsingles

The Namaste Mitts had to be ripped back to the cuff because they were too small, but I’ve knit past the failure already.

mitts

I did manage to cast off the Leftie scarf.

leaftower

I haven’t blocked it. I don’t know if it needs it. I will admit that some of my resistance to blocking is due to the fact that I haven’t gotten out the blocking mats and found the pins ever since I moved last September.

leftie

Also the Phat Fiber group on Ravlery is doing a KAL for unfinished socks. I’m not generally inclined to join UFO KALs, but I thought I’d just check and see how many lonely socks I had laying around. Turns out, a lot.

lonelysocks

Plus another I remembered later. Sixteen not-yet-pairs! Some of these are more than 4 years old. Some of them never even got logged as projects on Ravelry. I’ve joined the KAL out of sheer necessity. I do think that many of these socks were abandoned for legitimate reasons, and a few will be ‘finished’ by being frogged. For others, I have plans to knit a mate in a different pattern. (Woo, rebel!) Part of me is amused by the fact that if I focus on these socks, the DebbieB Handspun socks and the Bluebell & Clover socks from the last few weeks will become UFOs themselves.

That’s 36 socks in all.

WIP Wednesday 2/6/13

I spent most of my crafting time this week finishing up the Mystery Spin. It’s done and washed and just waiting for the rest of the swap items to be ready so I can get it in the mail.

mystTime for a new spin! The February SAL/KAL in Sosae’s Ravelry forum is for The Age of Brass and Steam. I gravitated toward this because I am totally a fan of the Steampunk aesthetic. Last year I got a set of BFL fibers from Sosae dyed in semi-solid colors that I thought were kind of Steampunk-y, so I carded them together with some silk and sparkle into a Steampunk smorgasbord. This is what I will spin for the SAL.

batts

The two batts have the same color progression, so I drafted them down the length to, um, “roving-ize” them and then I’ll make a two ply. (Colors better above, the sun has gone down now.)

rovized

I was going for a more rustic look to this yarn, so I started spinning it in a fast and sloppy long-draw manner. It turned out to be a good thing I was going so quickly, because my spinning habits have become very trained for high twist Merino over the last year of spinning sock yarn. BFL doesn’t need quite as much twist in it as Merino, and this yarn further needs less than my usual because I’m trying to spin more for softness than hardiness. It’s been a bit of an adjustment so far. I started at the light gray end and I am loving the heathering of the gray and brown. I think it looks almost rosy.

singles

On the needles, the Leftie has a few more leaves, but it’s slow going on the long rows now. This is, at least, way better light than last week.

leaf

The DebbieB handspun socks are approaching the first cuff. I’ve been knitting on this during lunch at work and my friends keep commenting on how *happy* the colors are. It’s certainly a nice bit of bright after sitting in a cubicle all morning!

prism

How’s your Wednesday?

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

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.

12 in 2012 Goal

When I got back from spending time with family for the holiday, I immediately sat down at the wheel with the goal of cranking out one last skein of sock yarn to finish my 12 in 2012 goal.

I did some pretty serious stash diving in search of a relaxing, easy spin, and found this set called “Olympic Size Pool”. The green ball is superwash wool and the blue ball is superwash wool blended with silk nepps.

fiber

The fiber was from Feistywoman Designs and had been in the stash for almost 3 years now. It was high time it became yarn.

I spun them exactly as presented – even after being squashed in the stash for so long, it was still light and fluffy and I didn’t need to predraft.

singles

I spun these with pretty high twist so that it would wear well as sock yarn. A basic 2-ply really blended the colors into a nice overall green. There was a little more left over of the blue, so I’ll throw that in as a few stripes when I make socks.

swirl

It was overall a very relaxing but quick spin, which is just what I needed for the holidays.

close

This last one completes my 12 in 2012 goal! Yay! Here’s all together:

all12

Happy New Year, everyone!

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my new blog!

Any Way You Spin It is intended to be mostly about how I hand spin yarn and what I knit, weave or otherwise make with handspun. It could include jaunts into fiber dyeing, reviews of spindles, forays into working with others’ handspun… we’ll see where it takes me!

A bit about me: I’m Renee, and I am an engineer by day. I’d like to think my engineer brain has a lot to do with how my handspun turns out, but I actually spin by the seat of my pants as often as I plan out every step of the process. It’s kind of a toss-up.

I’m going to try to never declare that any way I’m spinning something is the “right” way – I’ve never had a formal spinning lesson and am largely self-taught via books and the internet. I think if something works, it can’t be wrong.

I currently enjoy spinning fine, smooth yarns. My favorite spin is a 3-ply sock yarn. I occasionally dabble in art yarns, but for now most of my spinning techniques that I’ll write about are centered around getting colors to do what I want.

You’re always welcome to ask questions if you think I’ve left out an essential technique explanation.

I hope you enjoy reading!