Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Knitting away the weekend

Before I get into all the knitterly goodness, I'll talk about last night's run. Pam and I had to slightly revise our regular short short route since part of the trail we return on is closed. That added a couple of tenths and more street running, but it's mostly the same route. We were both tired from the half on Sunday, a little sore. For some strange reason my shoulder was hurting all day so I think I must have been tensed up while I ran that dirt road.

I wore new shoes last night, another pair has finally bit the dust. Literally. I decided to try my second pair of orthotics since the main pair is showing lots of wear and I'm too lazy to go see a doctor and get a new pair. The second pair were cut down and don't have as much support as the regular pair; I haven't really worn them since they were modified because when I first tried them my legs hurt. So I'm not sure if my legs hurt last night because of the race, the shoes or the orthotics. I guess it was dumb to try the new things at once. Live and learn!

Saturday morning I felted the Temescal Bag and it turned out very well. I had to wash it twice to get rid of stitch definition and then tried to stretch it out a bit to get more size. I hung it up to dry so that the straps would stay straight and that worked very well. The finished pictures don't show the colors as well as I'd like; they're much more distinct than they look here. It's still not completely dry on the bottom, probably because of the way I had it hung. I'm looking forward to making another one, probably in reds/black/gray so that I'll use it more. This one may end up being a gift for someone. Taking requests now!

I also had my first adventure in blocking. It was finally time to block the enormous neverending superlong wrap. I may now refer to it as the superlong wrap since it's done done done! I had no idea what I was doing with blocking so I played around a bit. I had the lace blocking wires from Knit Picks and was ready to go. Well, first I had to decide what to block upon and decided on a couple of beach sized blue towels. Then, I soaked the wrap with water. I didn't wash it, just got it wet, and there were little alpaca hairs all over the place. I laid it out on the towels, stretched it out, put in a couple of pins and wires and then became concerned in case the towel colors bled onto my light carpet. So I undid everything and found an old white checked sheet and put that on the floor. Much better.

I started with the bottom top edge. Oh, that doesn't make much sense, does it? I started from the first end knit, the long edge first. I put the wire through every other hole and pinned it about every 4 holes. I did two wires then switched to the top long edge and put in a couple of wires. For no particular reason I decided to wire through every hole, still pinning about every four holes. I stretched and pulled and made sure that all the holes were open and sort of lined up. I went back and forth between the sides, then got to the finished end and realized I had a problem. I had apparently bound off way too tightly and the finished end was much shorter than the start end. Damn. I wet and I stretched and it didn't really fix it, it was just too short. Lesson learned, bind off looser on -- well, on everything!

I found an old hand steamer that I was about to give away (since I'd never used it) and decided to see if steaming would loosen the yarn enough to stretch. I spent time steaming and it loosened a bit, not enough though. By the time I finished I realized I'd been crawling around on the floor for several hours, trying to get it perfect(ish). Then I started to measure, just for my amusement.

Superlong indeed; the top edge is 101", the bottom edge is 95". Hey, I told you I bound off too tight! The starting edge on the slant it 19.5", the finishing is 16", and that's with stretching the bejeebers out of it. The width isn't too different away from the slanted ends; it's 16.25" at the start and 15" at the end.

I was afraid to unpin it, afraid that it would spring right back into the original shape. Finally last night I couldn't wait any longer, the suspense was too much. I removed the wires, removed the pins (and damn, those things are sharp, I have holes in my hand from holding them wrong!). I carefully picked it up and put it around my shoulders and wow! I'm really happy with it, it turned out so well. Yippee and hurray, I'm done done done.

Just for the record, I used Village Spinning & Weaving's Prime Alpaca, 3 ply Natural Colored Alpaca. I bought it at a show, I think the yarn show in Oakland last year. Or maybe it was Stitches Mid-West last year. I've had it a while. I used a double strand, 48 stitches across. My needles were #10 Options and I just love those needles. If I did this pattern again I'd use a much heavier weight yarn and make it shorter. Nine feet is a little excessive, although I'm happy with the length here. I wasn't able to get a great picture of me wearing it, but this will give you an idea of how it looks:


  1. I saw Petra Johnson's temescal bag at Article Pract and can't stop thinking about it. Did you take the class w/her or do your bag on your own? How difficult was it? I'm an advanced beginner, but not very advanced and have some trepidation about the project.

  2. Yes, I took her class. Petra's a great teacher and she'll walk you through the whole thing. I highly recommend it!