Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Fling and Beyond


It’s been a quiet year so far for teaching. I have given a few private lessons, both spinning and knitting, and I will continue to do that. Next month begins my travelling for the year.

My first trip is to Spring Fiber Fling in Pickford, Michigan, May 9-21, 2017. This weekend retreat – hosted by the Country Spinners and Bridge Shuttlers  – includes camaraderie, food, shopping, show-and-tell, and workshops. I don’t get to go every year; last year I missed it because I travelled to Colorado to shoot some Interweave videos. I do so enjoy this weekend in May, partly because of the drive. North! To the UP!

I’ll be teaching two half-day workshops: Variations on Long Draw, and I-Cord Edges and More! You can find a pdf file of the brochure here.

That same weekend, a new fiber festival takes place in Petoskey, Michigan: Tip of the Mitt Fiber Fair. I’m hoping to stop by on Sunday on my way home from Pickford.

Later in May (May 27-28), I head to Wooster, Ohio for the Great Lakes Fiber Show. This will be my first time teaching at this event. I’ll be teaching Diversity of Wool, Beginning Spindle Spinning, and Spinning With Silk Hankies. How could I not have fun?!

June contains another trip, this time to Indianapolis for the Midwest Weavers Conference. This conference is a biennial event sponsored by the Midwest Weavers Association, with workshops offered over 5 days, June 11-17. The last time I attended this conference was when it was held in Hancock, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. I had a blast. And I plan to have a blast again this year. I’m teaching Creating the Yarn You Want, and Blending Colors at the Wheel.



That’s just the beginning. I’ll share more July-November events in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stalled Sock Saga

I am no longer 60 years old. I turned 61 about a month ago. Perhaps you have noticed that I did not complete my self-imposed project of designing 12 sock patterns based on a cast-on number of 60 stitches. I have finished – and presented here in my blog – 10 of the 12. Only 2 more to go. I do plan to complete this project, albeit belatedly, but those 2 patterns will have to wait.

I am also a bit changed, and I have found it difficult to decide how to blog about it. Last November held 3 events that have been major life stressors. First, the election of POTUS45, an event which has kept my blood pressure elevated ever since. I do try to calm down. I do try to be civil. I do try to be active in expressing my concerns for the soul of this country. I do try to still find beauty in the glorious environment around me and in the heart satisfying fiber arts. It used to be that my near daily posts on Facebook were largely dedicated to fiber arts, all arts, and the special beauty of northern Michigan. I still share posts about those topics, but now I also make a healthy dose of posts about social and environmental justice. I try to stick to facts and calmly expressed opinion.

Second, I moved shortly after the election into the house that Dick and Jill built for me. It’s a beautiful house that I love. I’ve been heating with a wood stove this winter, and that has been so much more satisfying – and warm – than I expected. As wonderful as this all is, moving is a giant hassle. I am still trying to straighten out all my fiber stuff in the second bedroom.

Third, I started working part-time at a chain department store in Traverse City – on the very same day that I moved! My fiber arts schedule was unusually sparse this winter and I really needed some supplemental income, especially with a new house (and new expenses). This job has the advantage of being relatively low stress, but it has required more energy and time than I expected. At least I’ve been able to still buy groceries and pay some bills. The job has also helped me clarify my thoughts on the value of kindness, and the problems with conspicuous consumption and throw-away purchases. My last day at that job is April 5.

So, that’s why I’ve been on the silent side since fall. I am sorry for that. I will do better.

I’d like to mention two recent fiber-related events in which I participated. In February, I was one of three local fiber folks participating in a panel discussion at a potluck (I took some home made bread) sponsored by Grow Benzie, an organization whose mission is to enrich “.. our region by fostering positive action to increase access to healthful foods, jobs, life skills, and each other and by providing a community place that supports and nurtures these activities.” After the panel discussion and dinner, we got to watch the compelling movie, The True Cost about the social, economic, and environmental problems with current “fast fashion”. I was able to share my thoughts on the value of making, using natural fibers, and attending fiber festivals. It was a special evening that will stick with me and has prompted me to flesh out my thoughts on slow fashion.

Last week, I was the presenter at the March meeting of the Northland Weavers and Fiber Arts Guild in Traverse City   . The topic of my presentation: Drop Spindles. Now, I am much more skilled spinning on a wheel than with a drop spindle. But as I presented some history, showed various types of drop spindles, then demonstrated a couple of spinning techniques, I kept thinking that I really enjoy spinning with drop spindles and I really should do more of it!

I will soon write about my spring and summer fiber events as well as ongoing fiber projects. Soon. Really.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Used Lendrum Spinning Wheel and Accessories for Sale

In my ongoing efforts to simplify my life, I’ve decided to sell my Lendrum folding wheel and accessories. I got the “complete” package new in 2012: double treadle, regular flyer, 4 regular bobbins, tensioned lazy kate, plying flyer, 1 plying bobbin, drive band for plying flyer, and fast flyer.

Since then, I’ve purchased 3 additional regular bobbins (for a total of 7), and the very fast flyer (with one bobbin and orifice hook).

All parts are made from maple. This wheel has a Scotch tension drive mechanism, with drive ratios on the regular flyer of 6:1, 8:1, and 10:1. Drive ratios on the plying flyer are 5:1, 7:1, and 9:1. Drive ratios on the fast flyer are 12:1, 15:1, and 17:1. Drive ratios on the very fast flyer are 26:1, 30:1, 36:1, and 44:1.

I have not used the plying flyer or the very fast flyer.

I really do like this wheel, but I’ve got two other wheels that meet my wheel spinning needs.

The wheel is in excellent condition EXCEPT that I’ve written my name (A Tyler) on the bottom of the wheel, on the fast flyer, and on all the regular bobbins with a sharpie pen. I’ve also written the bobbin’s weight on each regular bobbin.





The current retail price of the double treadle “complete” is $790; the current retail price of a regular bobbin is $20, and the current retail price of the very fast flyer is $199.

I am asking $750 for all. I’d rather not ship, but if I did, buyer would also pay S&H and insurance (I’m guessing that’d come to $40-$75). I’ve got the original box, but not all the cardboard bits that go inside that box. So, I could ship the wheel in the original box and all accessories in a separate box.

I live in Interlochen, Michigan (zip 49643). If you are interested, you can contact me at atyler@centurytel.net 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

3 X 20 = 60

I know I’m behind. I did indeed finish knitting these socks in October, and I fully intended to post the pattern in November, but I just got too busy. Anyway, this is sock pattern Number Ten in the series of twelve sock patterns to celebrate My Year of Being 60 I have to say that I am especially pleased with this pattern. Its subtle texture and flow from one stitch pattern to the next resulted in a nice looking sock and a delightful knitting experience. And the pattern suits the yarn. Or, the yarn suits the pattern….


This sock has a stitch pattern with a repeat of 3 stitches. Twenty repeats of a 3-stitch pattern equals 60 stitches total. After fiddling around for 3 or 4 days, I made up the stitch patterns I used. The main stitch pattern is as follows:

Main Stitch Pattern:
Rounds 1-7: *k2,p1; rep from * around.
Round 8: *yo, ssk, p1; rep from * around.
Rounds 9-15: *k2, p1; rep from * around.
Round 16: *k2tog, yo, p1; rep from * around.

I used a delightful yarn, “Squish”, from Yarn Hollow in the color “Mushroom”, a subtly variegated grey. This yarn is 60% merino superwash wool, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon, with 434 yards and 4 ounces per skein. I used one skein. I got my gauge (7 ½ sts per inch) using US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles in the main pattern as described above.

Cuff:
Loosely CO 60 sts. I used a long tail cast on, with US size 3 (3.25 mm), then changed to US size 1 (2.25mm) for the sock. I used a set of 4 double pointed needles and distributed the stitches so that there were 21 sts on Needle 1, 21 sts on Needle 2, and 18 sts on Needle 3.

Rounds 1-3: purl.
Round 4: *k2, p1; rep from * around.
Round 5: *k1, p1, k1; rep from * around.

Repeat Rounds 4&5 until cuff measure 1 ¾ inches, end having finished a Round 5.

Repeat Rounds 1-3.

Next round (I am calling is a “wrap round”): *insert R needle between the 3rd and 4th stitches on the L needle from front to back, wrap working yarn around R needle; pull the wrapped yarn through to the front; place this loop on the L needle; k this loop tog with the first stitch on the L needle; k2; rep from * around.

Leg:
Work in the main stitch pattern:

Rounds 1-7: *k2,p1; rep from * around.
Round 8: *yo, ssk, p1; rep from * around.
Rounds 9-15: *k2, p1; rep from * around.
Round 16: *k2tog, yo, p1; rep from * around.

Work these 16 rounds twice, then Rounds 1-15 again.

Round 17: “wrap round” as described above.
Rounds 18-20: purl.
Round 21: knit.
Round 22: “wrap round” as described above.

Leg of sock should measure about 6 ½ inches in length.

Heel Flap:
Knit 14 stitches on Needle 1. Place the next 31 sts onto 2 needles. Slip the last 15 stitches onto Needle 1. The heel flap is worked flat on the 29 sts on Needle 1. The 31 sts on the other two needles constitute the instep.

Row 1 (WS): sl1, purl across.
Row 2: sl1, k1, *sl1, k2; rep from * to end.

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until heel flap is approximately 2 inches long, end having finished a Row 1.

Heel Turn:
The turned heel is made up of “short rows” with decreases. This process shapes the heel. As a result, for each row you will work a different number of stitches, and you will end up with fewer total stitches than you started with.

Row 1 (RS): sl1, k15, ssk, k1, turn work.
Row 2: sl1, p4, p2tog, p1, turn work.
Row 3: sl1, k to 1 st before “gap”, ssk, K1, turn work.
Row 4: sl1, p to 1 st before “gap”, p2tog, P1, turn work.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until 17 sts remain, having finished a row 4.

Next row: sl1, knit across.

Gusset:
Pick up and knit 16 sts along the right edge of the heel flap. To do this, insert right needle under the first edge stitch (under both strands of the stitch), wrap the working yarn around the needle, and pull a stitch through (one stitch has now been picked up and knitted). Repeat this process until 16 stitches have been picked up.

Slip the following 33 sts onto one needle. These stitches constitute the instep of the sock. Work these 31 sts following Round 1 of the instep pattern (see below).

Instep Pattern:
Rounds 1-7: p1, *k2, p1; rep from * to end of instep needle.
Round 8: p1, *k2tog, yo, p1; rep from * to end of instep needle.
Rounds 9-15: p1, *k2, p1; rep from * to end of instep needle
Round 16: p1, *yo, ssk, p1; rep from * to end of instep needle.

Pick up and knit 16 sts along the left edge of the heel flap.

Onto this same needle, knit the next 8 stitches (from the remaining heel stitches). Slip the remaining 9 heel stitches onto Needle 1 (with the right side gusset).

You now have 25 sts on Needle 1, 31 sts on Needle 2, and 24 sts on Needle 3. The middle of the heel falls between Needle 3 and Needle 1. Consider this point to be the beginning of the round.

Round 1: On Needle 1, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. On Needle 2, work Round 2 of instep pattern. On Needle 3, k1, ssk, k to end.

Round 2: On Needle 1, knit. On Needle 2, continue working instep pattern as established. On Needle 3, knit.

Rep Rounds 1 & 2 until there are 15 sts on Needle 1 and 14 sts on Needle 3 (60 sts total).

Foot:
After completing all the gusset decreases, continue working even, and continue repeating the instep pattern for as long as you want, end having finished either a Round 1 or a Round 9. (I worked 4 repeats of the instep pattern.)

Continue instep as follows:
Round 1: k1, *k2, p1; rep to last instep stitch, k1.

Repeat this Round to the very tip of the toe.

Toe:
The toe is 30 Rounds total.

Because there is a different number of sts for instep and sole of the foot, Round 1 of the toe contains 2 decreases as follows:

Round 1: On Needle 1, knit. On Needle 2, k1, ssk, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. On Needle 3, knit.

This toe is then shaped so that it gradually narrows. To achieve this effect, you will work a “Decrease Round” more frequently as the toe progresses.

Perform a Decrease Round on Rounds 6, 10, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 30. On all other rounds (except Round 1 as described above), work even.
Decrease Round: On Needle 1, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. On Needle 2, k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. On Needle 3, k1, ssk, k to end.

After all decreases, there will be 18 sts rem: 5 sts on Needle 1, 9 sts on Needle 2, and 4 sts on Needle 3. Now, knit the next 5 sts onto Needle 3, leaving 9 sts on Needle 2 and 9 sts on Needle 3.

Graft the toe using the Kitchener stitch:
Cut the working yarn, leaving a 20 inch or longer tail. Thread this tail through a darning needle. Orient the sock so that the 2 needles are horizontal, the instep side of the sock is facing you, and the working yarn is coming off the right side of the needle in the back.

Step 1: Insert darning needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, pull the yarn through and slip this stitch off the needle. Insert darning needle into the next stitch on the front needle as if to purl, pull the yarn through and leave this stitch on the needle.

Step 2: Insert darning needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl, pull the yarn through and slip this stitch off the needle. Insert darning needle into the next stitch on the back needle as if to knit, pull the yarn through and leave this stitch on the needle.

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until all stitches have been worked and slipped off the needles.

Weave in all ends.

If you have any questions – or if you find any mistakes – you can either leave a comment on this blog page or email me: atyler@centurytel.net or amy@stonesockfibers.com

This pattern is free, but it is still copyrighted. So, feel free share a copy of this pattern or knit these socks, but please do not sell the pattern. Thank you.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great Wheel for Sale

I’ve been quiet recently, blog-wise. That’s because I moved in early November. On the same day that I moved most of my stuff, I also started working part-time at a local chain department store. Just for the holiday season. But still. I’ve been busy.

I’ve moved into a sweet, cozy, new house in Inland township, Benzie county, Michigan. While I was a renter in Lake Ann for the past five years, some of my furniture and fiber equipment was stored by various friends. In re-gathering all my stuff in this new house, it has become quite clear to me that I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF.

I have a small basement (that’s where the wood stove is located) that I want to use as a studio for sewing, weaving, and fiber preparation (my knitting and spinning will be largely upstairs). I thought I would want to begin using my great wheel, but it simply takes up too much valuable space. So I have decided to sell it.



I got this wheel from Gladys Strong, a friend and fiber artist who passed away a few years ago. Shortly after I got this wheel, I moved and put the wheel in storage. So, I have not actually used it. All the parts are there. I think it could really use a new drive band, but otherwise it’s good to go.

The drive wheel is 48 inches in diameter. The drive band attaches to an accelerator, and another band attaches the accelerator to the quill. The drive wheel has a groove in it for the drive band. Many of the wheel’s parts, but not all, appear to be made of oak wood. There is a plaque on the table that reads “SPINNING WHEEL HANDCRAFTED BY Joseph Danhoffer 1986”. Gladys lived for a long time in Virginia and I think the maker of this wheel may have lived there.





I am asking $150 for the wheel. PICK UP ONLY. If you are interested, please contact me: atyler@centurytel.net or amy@stonesockfibers.com

In the new year, I will be “divesting” of other fiber stuff, including commercial yarns (I’d like to reduce my stash by 25%), and knitting and spinning magazines, and possibly another wheel. Stay tuned. Also, I still have three more sock patterns to post before my 61st birthday in February.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

6 x 10 = 60


Number Nine. Number Nine. Number Nine…
The series of 60 stitch socks continues. Today’s offering is the ninth sock pattern in My Year of Being 60. This sock has a stitch pattern with a repeat of 6 stitches. Ten repeats of a 6-stitch pattern equals 60 stitches total. I’ve used a pattern from Barbara G. Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, “Dewdrop Pattern”. I made one minor modification; I used a different double decrease than the one in her pattern. This sweet little eyelet pattern creates holes that seem to be a perfect match for the “dotted” yarn that I used.

I kept the cuff and heel quite simple. The cuff on this sock is long, so that it can be folded over to wear the socks as anklets.



The yarn was one that I’d wanted to knit with for quite some time. I love the colors and it was delightfully smooth and soft slipping through my fingers and onto the needles: “TY-DY Socks Dots” by Knit One Crochet Too. This yarn is 80% superwash wool and 20% nylon, with approximately 436 yards per skein. The color was #6555, “celery.” The label suggests “machine wash, cold water, dry flat." I only needed 1 skein for a pair of socks. I got my gauge (7 ½ sts per inch) using US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles in the dewdrop pattern, slightly stretched.

Cuff:
Loosely CO 60 sts. I used a long tail cast on, with US size 3 (3.25 mm), then changed to US size 1 (2.25mm) for the sock. I used a set of 4 double pointed needles and distributed the stitches so that there were 18 sts on Needle 1, 18 sts on Needle 2, and 24 sts on Needle 3.

Round 1: *k1, p1; rep from * around.

Repeat Round 1 until cuff measures 3 ¼ inches.

Leg:

Here is the modified dewdrop pattern in written instructions:

Rounds 1, 2, 3: *k3, p3; rep from * around.
Round 4: *yo, cdd, yo, k3; rep from * around.
Rounds 5, 6, 7: *p3, k3; rep from * around.
Round 8: *k3, yo, cdd, yo; rep from * around.

cdd = center double decrease; sl2 sts tog knitwise, k1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over the k1.

Here is the pattern charted:

Repeat these 8 rounds until sock measures ~6 ¼ inches, end having finished a Round 8.

Heel Flap:
Knit 18 stitches on Needle 1. Place the next 30 sts onto 2 needles. Slip the last 12 stitches onto Needle 1. The heel flap is worked flat on the 30 sts on Needle 1. The 30 sts on the other two needles constitute the instep.

Row 1 (WS): sl1, purl across.
Row 2: *sl1, k1; rep from * to end.

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until heel flap is approximately 2 inches long, end having finished a Row 1.

Heel Turn:
The turned heel is made up of “short rows” with decreases. This process shapes the heel. As a result, for each row you will work a different number of stitches, and you will end up with fewer total stitches than you started with.

Row 1 (RS): sl1, k16, ssk, k1, turn work.
Row 2: sl1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn work.
Row 3: sl1, k to 1 st before “gap”, ssk, K1, turn work.
Row 4: sl1, p to 1 st before “gap”, p2tog, P1, turn work.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until 18 sts remain, having finished a row 4.

Next row: sl1, knit across.

Gusset:
Pick up and knit 18 sts along the right side of the heel flap. To do this, insert right needle under the first edge stitch (under both strands of the stitch), wrap the working yarn around the needle, and pull a stitch through (one stitch has now been picked up and knitted). Repeat this process until 18 stitches have been picked up.

Slip the following 30 sts onto one needle. These stitches constitute the instep of the sock. Work these 30 sts following Round 1 of the dewdrop pattern (see above).

Pick up and knit 18 sts along the left side of the heel flap.

Onto this same needle, knit the next 9 stitches (from the remaining heel stitches). Slip the remaining 9 heel stitches onto Needle 1 (with the right side gusset).

You now have 27 sts on Needle 1, 30 sts on Needle 2, and 27 sts on Needle 3. The middle of the heel falls between Needle 3 and Needle 1. Consider this point to be the beginning of the round.

Round 1: On Needle 1, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. On Needle 2, work Round 2 of dewdrop pattern. On Needle 3, k1, ssk, k to end.

Round 2: On Needle 1, knit. On Needle 2, continue working instep pattern as established. On Needle 3, knit.

Rep Rounds 1 & 2 until there are 15 sts on Needle 1 and 15 sts on Needle 3 (60 sts total).

Foot:
After completing all the gusset decreases, continue working even, and continue repeating the instep pattern for as long as you want, end having finished either a Round 4 or a Round 8. I worked 8 1/2 repeats of the pattern. Then I continued in st st. Begin the toe when foot of sock measures 2 ½ inches short of foot length.

Toe:
The toe is 30 Rounds total.

This toe is shaped so that it gradually narrows. To achieve this effect, you will work a “Decrease Round” more frequently as the toe progresses.

Perform a Decrease Round on Rounds 1, 6, 10, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 30. On all other rounds, work even.

Decrease Round: On Needle 1, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. On Needle 2, k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. On Needle 3, k1, ssk, k to end.

After all decreases, there will be 16 sts rem: 4 sts on Needle 1, 8 sts on Needle 2, and 4 sts on Needle 3. Now, knit the next 4 sts onto Needle 3, leaving 8 sts on Needle 2 and 8 sts on Needle 3.

Graft the toe using the Kitchener stitch:
Cut the working yarn, leaving a 20 inch or longer tail. Thread this tail through a darning needle. Orient the sock so that the 2 needles are horizontal, the instep side of the sock is facing you, and the working yarn is coming off the right side of the needle in the back.

Step 1: Insert darning needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, pull the yarn through and slip this stitch off the needle. Insert darning needle into the next stitch on the front needle as if to purl, pull the yarn through and leave this stitch on the needle.

Step 2: Insert darning needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl, pull the yarn through and slip this stitch off the needle. Insert darning needle into the next stitch on the back needle as if to knit, pull the yarn through and leave this stitch on the needle.

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until all stitches have been worked and slipped off the needles.

Weave in all ends.

If you have any questions – or if you find any mistakes – you can either leave a comment on this blog page or email me: atyler@centurytel.net or amy@stonesockfibers.com

This pattern is free, but it is still copyrighted. So, feel free share a copy of this pattern or knit these socks, but please do not sell the pattern. Thank you.

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Cowl Pattern is Published!

Earlier this year I designed a knitted cowl that uses “energized” singles to create a three-dimensional topography effect. The knitting is simple, but because of the twist in the yarn the cowl has a gentle texture to it. I used a gradient dyed combed top that I got from Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic Yarns in a colorway she calls “Steam Punk Gradient”.

I am excited to report that this cowl is now published in the special issue from Interweave of SpinOff: Spin and Knit.

Here are some photos courtesy of Spin Off: Spin and Knit 2017 © 2017 F&W. All rights reserved.
The magazine will be available on newsstands October 25, 2016. But it is now available online through the Interweave store.

To purchase the print edition:
http://www.interweavestore.com/spin-off-spin-and-knit-2017

To purchase the digital edition:
http://www.interweavestore.com/spin-off-spin-and-knit-2017-digital-download

Don’t you think this cowl would make a charming present? So small and easy to spin and knit!