Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Yarn Emergency!

Help!  A ****load of yarn has fallen on me and I can't get up!

Just kidding.

The typical yarn emergency involves a dropped stitch, right?  Or maybe a misread (or miswritten) pattern, or the dreaded, "I'm down to my last ball of yarn in this dye lot and I don't think I have enough to finish this sweater!"

We administer CPR in the form of a crochet hook, picking up the stitch, or a re-read of the pattern, or a search on the web for one more ball of the yarn.

Luckily, the yarn emergency rarely requires a trip to the hospital.  Although running out of the right dye lot could give a person a heart attack.

But the other day, my friend Sonja bought a skein of handspun from me.


It's over 300 yards of worsted weight, spun from a generous helping of Granny Smith Crunch fiber, dyed by Jan of Daily Fibers.

Plied and happy
Sonja forked over a generous portion of another kind of green and went off happily with her purchase.

I went on about my business, having a little snack, perhaps, then doing a bit of unpacking, followed by some knitting, and some cleaning of shelves, and then some crocheting, and I think it was the middle of the night when I realized, I spun the yarn right before I moved.  I set it aside and thought, I will do the whole soaking-of-the-yarn thing after I move.  I just had too much to do to bother with it right away.

And here I had sold it, and I had not soaked it.  And I really didn't know why I was supposed to soak it in the first place, because I'm still a spinning newbie in so many ways, and I just do what my pal Christina tells me to do.  She says, soak it and whack it on a bannister or something, so that's what I do.  Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or dye.

Actually, I'm sure she explained why, probably several times, but it just didn't stick in my overwhelmed brain.

So as soon as it was a civilized hour the next morning, I called Sonja and told her we had a yarn emergency.  Apologetic and a little embarrassed, I explained to the best of my ability.  She was very understanding, and luckily, she had not begun knitting with the yarn yet.

We agreed we would meet in L.A. with a towel and soak the yarn.  (Rendezvous point: a Binky Patrol meeting.)

In the meantime, I emailed my Spinning Master, which is kind of like a Tai Chi Master, only you are sitting down a lot.  Christina explained, patiently, for probably the fifth time, that soaking the yarn helps to set the twist.  The slapping of the wet yarn on a railing or something also helps.  Apparently that step isn't absolutely necessary, but it is fun, and it's a great way to take out that aggression you've been sublimating due to having to make five thousand phone calls and listen to five thousand automated menus and fill out five thousand forms in triplicate in order to inform the world you have a new address.

Anyway, turns out, if it were not soaked, the yarn would skew.  You would be knitting a shape and the shape would skew off in an unplanned direction, because the twist in the fibers wouldn't stay where you put it.

Light dawns in the beginner's brain.  (I hear a heavenly chorus of angels singing.)

I ended up just borrowing the skein back and soaking it myself this morning.  It's the least I could do.

Here it is in all its glory, draped over my drying rack, letting the cool ocean breezes from the open windows wash over it, setting that twist to perfection.

The upshot of all this is, I think we need YarnAlert buttons which we can wear at all times in case of a Yarn Emergency.  These would be crocheted out of waterproof fibers.  (Their twist would be set for all time.)  There will be a 24/7 office staffed with master knitters, crocheters, spinners, and other fiber fanatics, able to respond immediately to solve your problem and keep you from having, say, an asthma attack or worse, such as, for example, not enough yarn to finish that sweater.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Free Pattern: Ribbon Rib Scarf

design by Reyna Thera Lorele

© 2012 Reyna Thera Lorele
Ravelry: captainhook

Once again, free yarn for charity--yay!--came my way in the form of Artful Yarns Cinema, a novelty ribbon yarn made of nylon and cotton. (Thank you once more, Threads of Kindness.)

I've made a lot of drop-stitch scarves out of novelty yarns and I was in the mood to do something different.  This pattern really lets the ribbon shine; it gets a chance to pooch out and show off.  This is the same Fishnet Rib pattern that I used for one of the sections of the Catch A Mermaid throw.  (Click on its title to see the throw.)

A fairly mindless pattern, perfect for knit night chit-chat, this makes a great gift or charity project. The scarf pictured is on its way to a local charity.

And here's the pattern:


k = knit
p = purl
st, sts = stitch, stitches
yo = yarn over
rep = repeat
sl1wyib = slip one st purlwise with yarn in back
sl1wyif = slip one st purlwise with yarn in front
psso = pass slipped st over

Finished size:  about 70 inches x 4.5 inches
Gauge:  yarn label says 16 sts = 4 inches/10 cm
Materials needed:  About 150 yards of ribbon yarn (exact amount unknown, as yarn was donated)
#11 needles or size to get gauge

CO 20 sts.
Row 1 (RS):  k1, *yo, sl1wyib, k1, psso*, rep from * across, end with k1
Row 2:  p1, *yo, sl1wyif, p1, psso*, rep from * across, end with p1

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you are almost out of yarn.

Bind off loosely, weave in ends and you're done!

If you like this free pattern, you might also like another inexpensive pattern:  Milan Scarf.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Doesn't "overcrochet" sound like a new crocheting technique?  I may have to come up with something worthy of the name.  In the meantime, I think I may have injured my hand trying to finish this blanket in order to donate it to Threads of Kindness before my move.

Who says crocheting is not a sport?  A dangerous one at that?

Usually I have about eight projects going at once, with various weights of yarn requiring various sizes of needles and hooks.  My friends are probably tired of hearing me say how switching sizes and techniques helps keep hardworking hands from hurting, especially Hands of a Certain Age like mine.

This time I didn't take my own advice, and I may be paying a price.  I was traveling and I wanted to focus on finishing up some smaller, travel-worthy projects, and then I became obsessed with this one, made from donated ALPACA, for heaven's sake.  (Are some people super-generous or what?!)

One of the squares I used for the blanket is my own design, the pattern for which I hope to post on here for free--as soon as I unpack the notes I scribbled.  As soon as I find which box they're in.  Or I could unpack things like dishes first, but hey, let's get our priorities straight!

{UPDATE, September: The free pattern is now available HERE.}

On the other hand, no pun intended, going back to this possible strained tendon in my right hand which aches at weird times, like when pushing a shopping cart, or zipping a zipper, or working at the computer, it could be from spending way too much time using a computer touchpad and scrolling and highlighting and clicking and such.  When I scroll especially, I've realized I tend to stick out my right pinkie like a snooty Victorian lady sipping tea out of a china cup.

Which is how all cultured people from the Victorian era surely scrolled on their computers, right?

Does anyone else spend way too much time trying to figure out why an ache or pain has appeared?  Since I can't know, and I won't stop crocheting, what difference does it make?  But I am back to working on eight different projects at once--well, five, but I haven't finished unpacking the rest of my WIPs (works in progress, for those of you who don't know).

And now, just for the colors, some views from the hotel where I stayed, by LAX:

Thanks to all who have been supportive and encouraging as I travel (and travel some more) and make this big move!