Archive for May, 2006

The Learning Exchange samples are going in the mail, The Boyfriend is off for the long weekend, and work is being relatively tame. I even already took care of my mother’s birthday present. I can hang out and do all the fiber stuff I want.

I’ve started spinning for some legwarmers, but not the kind you think. You see, I like the idea of handknit socks, but I don’t actually like knitting that fine so they fit in my shoes. But it’s Summer once again in San Francisco, so my legs are freezing all the time. I’m going to make just the leg part of some knee socks, out of one of the black lamb fleeces I got last summer. It will probably take a little elastic in the top cuff to make it work, but that’s really no different from the sock variety.

In the I-Have-A-Loom-Now department, I ordered some cotton weaving yarn. One is a big cone of singles blended natural green organic cotton, which I will probably ply with itself the same way I did with the stuff I found on pirns at the surplus craft store. It’s all really fine, presumably intended for weaving sheeting. I now have white, brown and green and I think somehow dishtowels will happen. I just need to get the studio cleaned up.

Addendum to previous entry: I found their website. The authors of Big Girl Knits have a website at (Duh.) There’s a blog and everything. And the book launch party is this weekend. But not like I’m going to be in Lansing. (Strangely, my association with The Boyfriend now means I am, on occasion.)

I decided to buy some yarn to give one of these a try while I contemplate handspun. The Boyfriend approves of curve-hugging sweaters on big girls, too. 🙂

I picked up a new book today, one that leaped out at me at the store and chased me down. I wasn’t planning to buy anything other than the Spanish phrase book I went in to get. A knitting book, of all things. It’s Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer. It’s a collection of mostly sweaters designed for fat chicks, from a bunch of different designers. There’s even one from online SpinningFiber friend Emma Crew.

I’ve been thinking about making a sweater for a while. I haven’t really done knits with any kind of shaping, although I well understand the theory from sewing. And what I saw I really wasn’t liking: big rectangles. If I wanted to wear a garbage bag, I’d go get one from the kitchen. Boxy is not at all a good thing for a short fat chick with a big ass. Oh, and narrow shoulders. Anything dropped shoulder is just a bad idea, I don’t need the shoulder seams hanging around my elbows. I know it’s possible to knit in shape, I just wasn’t looking forward to the twenty-seven attempts it would take to figure it all out myself and develop a pattern. Remember I said I’m not all that much a knitter?

Here is a whole book without a single drop shoulder oversized box. They all have shaping and, more importantly, lots of directions on how to make things actually fit. No “Sweater in a Weekend” super chunky yarn, either. A lot of that stuff doesn’t even look good on skinny women. The authors are sassy and in-your-face and make no excuses about being fat, they just get on with it. My absolute favorite line in the whole book: “Black is not magic. Black does not make you look thin; black does not give you a shape. black makes you look like a fat girl wearing black.”

I’ve known about short rows, Lily Chin did an article for Threads a long time ago and I still have it someplace. And increases and decreases are a beginner basic. But getting it all together the right way takes trial and error. I expect it will take a couple tries to get something that is perfect, particularly when I start changing yarns and such, but this is a huge head start.

I’m working on my second learning exchange yarn, three plys of different colors. My first sample was about my usual small-ish size and the space-dyed pink vanished in the final yarn. Now I’m making the singles about twice as large so you can actually tell there is supposed to be something going on there. I like subtle, but my idea of subtle is usually not even noticed by anybody else. So it looks like I’m doing two bulky knitting yarns. How… un-weaver of me. Oh well.

The yarn is one ply burgundy, one ply red and one ply the dyed pink. I’ll have pictures up when I get somewhere, but for now I’ve only just started on the first single. I pulled off about 30 g of each fiber (yes, I measured.) I need about 70 m of yarn for all the samples, I hope that will be enough.

If I were ambitious, I’d knit a swatch of the other yarn and take a picture for the website. Err, maybe later. After the sofa gets assembled.

It hit me today, as I was cleaning out the sock collection. I know what to do with those old socks! I’d been trying to come up with some practical re-use of the wool blend socks I wear year-round here in San Francisco. The feet are all worn out, but the tops still look great. But I don’t sew sweatshirts or anything in need of a cuff.

But yesterday I was at an outside spinning demo where it was cold and windy, an unusual thing for the East Bay this time of year. I was fighting the wind to keep my fiber under control, so I tucked it into the sleeve of my sweatshirt. Now I have a nice wool-blend wrist distaff for spindle spinning. And I don’t have to feel guilty about throwing away those old socks. You can read about it here.

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