Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

So I’ve been on Ravelry for a couple weeks now. It’s in beta and by invitation only. I found out about them a few months ago when people started linking to stuff on this site and it showed up in my logs. Eventually I got off my ass and signed up for an invitation.

Being an experienced software professional I know what beta means: if we let too many people in, our product will fall over. It’s pretty much an all-purpose excuse for when something doesn’t work. I could get into a long thing about that (why the hell is gmail still “beta”?) but that’s for another blog. They are doing a pretty good job, and certainly have the hot ticket in town as far as yarn people go.

The site, for anybody living under a rock, is social networking for fiber. The interface is very much targeted to knitting and crochet, those being the only two choices of project types in your online project notebook right now. But there are lots of spinners and a good number of people interested in other things.

And anybody who has any sort of online presence seems to be there. People I haven’t talked to in years have found me already, as have new folks looking for fiber friends. I’ve had a lot more site visitors lately coming from links to my stuff and people looking at my profile.

The UI is clearly a work in progress (there is a skeleton iPhone version!) but it’s good enough to be functional. Some of my complaints have been odd toolbar behavior in MobileSafari (not to mention crashing it regularly) and the fascination with Flickr (can’t use self-hosted images in project notes.)

Really, the last thing I needed was another social networking site to suck up time, but Ravelry has interesting forums on pretty much any fiber topic you can think of (nalbinding!) and some you hadn’t (I’m doing Mac online tech support?) I’ve been meaning to ask Abby how she feels about having a fan club. She’s already got a popular blog and online yarn and fiber store. I occasionally post on various online forums, both for my own entertainment and to get interest in the site, and this is the biggest fiber thing I’ve seen come along yet.

The project notebook section is promising, allowing people to share work in progress and things you are contemplating as well as finished items. The Stash section does allow for handspun yarn although I’m still trying to figure out how to link yarns and patterns together into projects. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve got my own special yarn (and not one of the thousands of commercial ones listed) but the UI still seems kinda clunky.

I’ve experimented with the project notebook some, but I still have my own site to post things on so I’m less inclined to put everything I do on theirs. That it will pick up my RSS feed and link to my blog posts in my profile is very cool. I’ve been thinking it may be useful as an RSS reader alone.

Overall, I’ve been spending way too much time trolling the forums and looking at pictures of what people have posted. It looks like a good online community, for people with and without personal blogs and sites. That is one thing about posting online, there isn’t much integration with my own site to get people interested in coming over here to visit other than the occasional link. But with my blog displayed in my Ravelry profile people can easily see what I’m up to without having to pick it out of twelve different messages on as many sites.

Yesterday I finally wrote up something I’ve been toying with for a while, a hand sanitizer cozy. I did the first few in crochet with handspun, but now I’ve made up a pattern to knit in a standard size yarn. The basic bag is ready to design with colors or patterns of your choice. I even did a sample with two colors, something I normally avoid.

I’m now down to the “feeling better but still ought not push it” part of being sick. I have a new friend, a humidifier shaped like a frog, to spend my days with (because if I don’t, I can’t breathe.) This means a lot of knitting time, and I’m almost done with the baby hat. I’m really slow when I’m knitting from a chart, so I don’t normally do much in the way of patterning. But baby stuff is small so it doesn’t feel like I’ll never get anything finished.

I’ve been sick all week, so I’ve spent a good bit of time sitting around like a lump staring at the walls. Sometimes that’s all you can do. If you feel bad enough, you don’t even care.

I did start some more knitting, a baby hat of some yarn I’ve had stashed away for a few years waiting for a project. It’s one of four skeins of ostensibly matching 3-ply, but this one I got distracted on and one of the singles is much larger than the others. So it doesn’t match the rest, but it’s fine for something on it’s own. There is enough for a lace cap and maybe some booties or something. The pattern is an insanely simple four stitch yarn over lace, but at times it’s been too complicated for my fuzzy brain to deal with. So I started winding shuttles, something so stupid that it’s impossible to screw up.

The next piece on the loom is narrow, I actually prefer stick shuttles for that. They hold tons of yarn and are easy to handle. The boat shuttle would be faster for wider fabric, but for this I think it comes out about the same. What you lose in handling the shuttle is gained by not having to chase it down when you drop it for the 87th time or change the bobbin every ten minutes. If I’m going to throw something through the shed, I want it to be at least wider than my shuttle is long. Otherwise, I might as well pass it hand to hand. A while back I managed to acquire a Harrisville shuttlette, a short boat shuttle they suggest for narrow warps. I seem to recall the previous owner of my old floor loom gave it to me. I’m not terribly fond of boat shuttles in the first place, but oh how I hate this thing. All the bobbin-snagging madness of a standard boat shuttle with the added aerodynamic qualities of a brick. Just thinking of it reminds me I have to order that end-feed shuttle before I start the next project.

I finished the socks, you can go look at them in the Gallery. They are a tad large and didn’t shrink at all after a machine wash and dry. The ball band doesn’t say superwash, so I actually wanted them to shrink just a bit. Somebody pointed out the washing instructions that I hadn’t noticed. Apparently “sock yarn” means “superwash” these days. I didn’t get the memo.

I’m still not thrilled with my short row heel, but at least the second one was better than the first. They pool nicely around my ankles, which is what I was after. I knew these wouldn’t be perfect, but they are fine for wearing around the house and give me someplace to start with the next pair. I have two more balls of this yarn in a different colorway, I intend to make properly shaped above the knee stockings out of them. Since one ball nearly makes a pair of basic knee socks by itself, two will be plenty even with a smaller needle. Before I do that, however, I’m going to wear these for a bit and see what I think of the yarn. It’s not Merino, I’m concerned it may be a bit itchy above the ankles.

While we are on the subject of pictures, there were some other things on the camera once I got everything off. Here is the yarn I sent off to the San Mateo County Fair:

I didn’t even measure it, it’s somewhere around 100 g I’d guess. I think it’s a nice medium-ish sock yarn size and it’s good and solid. One thing I don’t like about the yarn I bought is I keep splitting it with the needle. Here’s the swatch:

Yes, that’s a roll of coins there. I say it was a teeny tiny hat, remember? I did it on 2.25 mm (US 1) needles. I like how that worked, so I expect I’ll do the actual projects on that size also. I even got a second matching circular needle for the occasion.

With all the excitement going on with the loom, I haven’t done any spinning the past few days. I have to prep more fiber first, which I’m not so excited about at the moment. I’m also doing some computer stuff, which is why these past few entries didn’t get posted right away.

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