fake sheep

a website about vegan knitting

Archive for September, 2005

hat post!

remember the soy hot chocolate hat i knitted a while ago? it served me well this winter, until i lost it, somewhere between buying a bus pass and getting to work one drizzly auckland morning. i felt really grumpy with myself for losing my hat, and it took me a couple of months to forgive myself and knit another one:

my new hat

my new hat, from the top

i haven’t actually worn this one much, as the weather’s been pretty warm lately.

also, i made leftover yarn into another hat for james, which he’s been wearing all the time (including right now)

ribbed hat

i updated my completed projects page with some details of these hats – i have a couple more projects to photograph and write about, but that page is nearly up to date now.

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ballerina pictures

here are some pictures of my finished ballerina top (click for more):

bamboo ballerina top

a ballerina and a spinning wheel

i mentioned in an earlier entry that there’s a maths problem with the bamboo ballerina pattern. when you’re working the back piece, you do a few hem rows, then a straight bit for 4 inches, then some decreases and increases for shaping, when you finish the increases, you’re meant to keep going straight until your piece is 14″ long from the turning row of the hem. but, if your gauge matched perfectly with the pattern, your piece would already be 14.5″ from the hem by the time you finished the increases, without doing any straight rows! this is exactly what happened for me: i got to the end of the increases and kept knitting, then realised that technically my piece was too long. i decided to just keep knitting, anyway, and just did a couple more rows before starting the neckline.

i didn’t have this problem with the front, as the piece was meant to measure 16″ from the hem. no, everything that went wrong with the front of the top was my own fault.

i took the top along to stitch & bitch last night to finish the seams and weave in the ends. i was comparing notes with melissa, who started knitting the same top a few weeks ago in “butter” coloured bamboo, a really pretty variegated yellow colour. she’d adjusted the pattern to half-way between two sizes, since there’s quite a big difference between each size. as we were talking about sizes, i had a horrible feeling that i’d done something wrong, and a quick check of the finished top confirmed it: i had knitted the back and front pieces in different sizes! i don’t know how i managed to knit the whole front of the top without realising that is was significantly skinnier than the back, but the two pieces were totally different widths.

everything else lined up, though, so i thought i’d try seaming it anyway and see how it looked. so i finished the seams, and sewed in all the ends, and undid/ redid the shoulder joins (which i managed to twist up somehow) and tried it on, and i think it’s going to be okay! despite being technically wonky, it’s comfortable and pretty cute!

the only issues i have with it are that the shoulders have a tendency to fall off, and because the neckline is really wide, i don’t know how you could wear a bra without it being visible. other than that though, it feels really nice to wear.

i tried to take photos last night when i got back from s&b, but the lighting was really bad and i ended up looking like a ghost ballerina in most of the pictures:

spooky ballerina

this is probably the clearest:

in profile

i’ll take some more photos some time soon.

in other news, check out what i borrowed off my parents this weekend:

spinning wheel!

dad bought this spinning wheel really cheaply second-hand a few years ago, and it hasn’t been used since we’ve had it. it was missing a belt connecting the wheel and bobbin, which james replaced with hemp twine for the time being. mum told me what she could remember about spinning, but she hasn’t really done it before.

so, i’ve been checking out websites and message boards and piecing things together, and i think i understand how to get started.

i have some fibre coming my way, too! i ordered some soy silk and ingeo (corn) from yarn traders, and some tencel from someone selling lots of spinning supplies on trademe. i’m really excited about the prospect of making yarn!

blue ballerina

my newest knitting project has been something of a novelty: not only am i following a pattern, but i’m using the yarn that it calls for! i’m even knitting with the same colour of bamboo that’s shown in the pattern picture – “electric blue”.

i finished knitting my ballerina top last night (and learnt the three-needle bindoff in the process, what a fun trick!) and i’ll probably do the seams tonight! here are some pictures i took this weekend, before i’d finished knitting.

closeup of bamboo ballerina top

the back of my bamboo ballerina top, hanging up

this yarn has been really nice to knit with, and i really like how this top has turned out (it remains to be seen how it fits, but i think it’s about right). i just added the little bamboo dress to my “might knit one day” list (but, it’ll have to be one day when i have lots of money. 6 balls!)

on vegan spinning

the new issue of knitty is up, and besides the excitement of cute new things to think about knitting (revolution!) and the always-interesting articles, this issue introduces a new regular column: knittyspin. yep, it’s all about spinning, but the best part is that it’s written by knitty’s editor amy, a beginning spinner who is allergic to wool, and is learning to spin plant fibres! (and silk)

most beginners’ spinning information i’ve read online has suggested that you start spinning with wool because it’s the easiest, but as amy writes in her article, i’ve been wondering if that means other fibres are really hard to learn with, or that they’re just different.

for a while, i’ve been fascinated with the handspun yarns i’ve seen online (see fiber friday for lots of examples, and pluckyfluff for a book i’m considering buying that shares some of the techniques she uses). i haven’t bought any because of the animal-fibreness, but i have admired the photos, and wondered what kinds of things could be done with plant fibres (the occasional boutique handspun yarn website has the occasional ball of plant yarn, i’m currently coveting pink soy silk by midnight sky fibers, organic cotton/ hemp by miss hawklet and bamboo silk by lampe’s lumps)

a few weeks ago, i bought spin-spin zine by heidi, who spins yarn and makes things for her website my paper crane. it’s great! there are instructions on making a drop spindle with cheap or free materials, some discussion about where to find plant or animal fibres for cheap or free, how to prepare and dye fibre (including a list of natural dyes) and some simple instructions for spinning, plying and making a niddy noddy, with hand-drawn diagrams that look really clear.

so i’m thinking about making a drop spindle, but also: my parents have a spinning wheel they don’t use! i think i could get my mum to show me some basics, possibly (her parents used to spin a lot).

besides all this, yarn traders has started selling soy silk and ingeo (corn) fibre for spinning.

& if that wasn’t enough to convince me that i should start spinning plants, miss insubordiknit commented on my last blog entry, which led to me reading her blog, in which she writes about her recent experiments with spinning plant fibres! some of her gorgeous handspun yarn is for sale on her website, and there’s a whole plant fiber section (but you can’t have the crepple, i already bagsed that one.

i’m still knitting…

did you miss me?

sorry for my lengthly knit-blogging absence. things got really busy with organising small print, so i wasn’t knitting much for a while, and lately i’ve had quite a few things to update about, but not enough time to write about them all. so, this is a little update, and hopefully i’ll have time to write more soon.

i bought new yarn a couple of weeks ago, from yarn traders:

bamboo, soy and cotton scraps

this is:

  • 3 balls of bamboo yarn made by south west trading company, in “electric blue”. i have wanted to try knitting this for ages, and especially wanted to knit the ballerina top. so, i got three balls and the pattern. i’ve knitted the back, and the beginning of the front. there’s a maths problem with this pattern, and i’m not totally sure it’s going to work out properly and fit, but i’ll post more about that later (also, progress pictures!) the bamboo is really nice to work with, all smooth and soft, a bit like cotton ribbon yarn.
  • a ball of oasis soy silk (also south west trading company) in “canyon”. tofu byproduct yarn! what could be more awesome? it’s really soft and the colours are pretty. i haven’t tried knitting it yet.
  • a hank of casablanca yarn, which is very similar to the recycled sari silk all the kids have been talking about, except made with rayon/ cotton scraps instead of silk. it’s colourful and scrappy and beautiful. i am looking forward to knitting with it

more soon, including bamboo adventures, freestyled fingerless gloves, and more hats!