Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 16
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SPUN YARN #16

March 2007


my knitting nook
Join me next to the wood stove for some late winter knitting!

Dear Knit-Friends,

Just in case you are suffering from cabin fever and ennui, let us entertain you with the latest adventures of the Neatby clan. This winter was meant to be a comparative period of tranquillity, with me just berthed quietly alongside in my home port: I would settle my mind, finish round-to-its, play with my stitches and get on with my half-finished book.
Well, let me tell you...

Things have been hectic as ever around here! It seems only moments since we achieved completion of the DVD project, (after all, we finally received our first shipment of Sock Techniques discs on November 1st). By the way, our warmest woolliest thanks to all of you for your patience.
Unfortunately (or not), it appears that the very best time to get hold of the film crew is in January (before more exotic locations beckon). Thus it became a case of: either get down to more filming now, or skip a full year. We anguished over the decision, but not for long.

I contacted Colin (our wonderful producer):
Surprise #1, he answered my call. I fervently assured him, with total heartfelt sincerity, that we'd never attempt such a quantity of discs and topics again.
Surprise #2: he was willing to give this another whirl. Now the game was afoot, with kick-off scheduled for mid January!
More later...


The Christmas holidays first brought the annual Tradewind Open House ("Where did you see the azure merino that's marked down?", "Lead me to the mulled cider and cookies!" "Oh,yes, you must see the sweater I finished. It fits!"),

Kathleen aiding and abetting stash enhancement Open House cookie table Oriel in her knit-to-fit Ophelia sweater
Kathleen (in pink scarf)
aiding stash enhancement.
The cookie table before the first knitters struck ... A fine piece of work:
Oriel and her Ophelia sweater
always a happy time to join with other knitters in social chat and enabling serious stash enhancement.

This was followed by a sudden influx of returning and visiting bodies (after I'd just become accustomed to only washing clothes once a week and dishes every two days). Actually, it was wonderful to see my gang return and Grandma arrive from the UK.
Of course, now I had to wait in line to use my car, and we all got a little squirrelly due to the lack of seasonal weather: we seriously considered posing in the rain with our new snowshoes.

Where did the paper towels go?
Where did the paper towels go?
In addition, we had one rather unwelcome visitor: his presence became evident by the strange smell in my car, and whenever the fan was switched on, mysteriously and certainly unexpectedly, great gobs of shredded paper poured forth from the vents! After a
Portrait of the culprit as a young mouse
little intense detective work, a roll of kitchen towels, at least a third of which appeared to have been nibbled away, was discovered in the garage.
By dint of exceedingly hard work and many journeys, our little furry friend had succeeded in stuffing all of the missing paper towel roll into the inner recesses of the car's ventilation system. This led to rather interesting driving conditions: all could appear to be clear and dry, and then, suddenly, a large clod of mouse-confetti would break loose and shoot out of any one of the vents, yielding an excellent simulation of an in-car blizzard. (It has alway been reckoned that winter driving conditions in Nova Scotia are extremely changeable!)

This was, of course, coincident with the time daughter Georgina was about the take her road driving test in my car: so she was duly warned that, in the event of the examiner requiring additional ventilation, she should only use the windows!

Our Christmas kitchen ...
No report on a houseful at Christmas would be complete without a few culinary adventures. Contrary to popular rumours (Joan S., is that story still making the rounds?), I can actually cook when I put my mind to it (the sting is in the last seven words). The smoke detector still remains the final arbiter when things become a tad well done, and a fire extinguisher is, in my mind, an essential piece of kitchen equipment (just as a blow torch comes in handy for caramelizing). My experiment this year was to bake the leg of ham (they assured me it was only a half-ham: some TALL PIG, I say) wrapped in a flour dough crust which would gradually be filled with cider once the crust hardened and the meat shrank inside its tomb. That was the idea. However, when the concrete cocoon emerged from the oven for its first basting, it became evident that some assistance would be needed in order to penetrate within.
The Neatby food-drill

Of course, knitting needles sprang to mind, but I wasn't about to pit the finely crafted tips of my Addi turbos against this behemoth, so a new kitchen aid was introduced: the ever-handy power drill, with a bit suited to concrete!
The eventual full removal of the crust required several persons and an assault with a rolling pin! The net result was good, but this magnificent crust still managed to burst below the waterline at some point, becoming rather messy. I'm not entirely sure we'll be repeating this one!

What else we did during the holidays ...
You may not be aware of it, but this household is overrun with engineers. That in itself, is not entirely a bad thing, as they have their uses. For example, should I ever wish to reap a hay crop from our lawn, my dear Sam would leap into action at a moment's notice, galvanizing his collection of scrap metal into lethal-looking equipment with jaws to mow, toss and bale with great gusto. More in John's domain are the household appliances: Domestic equipment here is never allowed to sink gracefully into old age and well-deserved retirement; my appliances stage more come-backs than a retired hockey star. (It was only when the dishwasher started to emit smoke that it was allowed to exit stage left - although it had long since ceased to do more than swill the dishes in their own juices). Whilst on a planetary conservation level, I fully applaud his efforts to defeat the warranty+one day life expectancy of these goods, however, there are moments. Here comes one now:

For those of you not familiar with English eating habits, the vital ingredient of a good old roast beef dinner is really Yorkshire Pudding. You might get away with a measly tiny bit of beef, flabby roasties, DOA cabbage, but there MUST be a pudding: crispy and well-risen. Yorkshire Pudding is a fickle beast: the timing has be right-on, the planets correctly aligned, and then (this is the critical factor) one must tip the batter into to smoking hot beef-dripping and pop it on the top shelf of the oven immediately, close the door and then LEAVE IT ALONE.

Yes, dear reader, but our stove has been living on borrowed time since we moved into our house 15 years ago. It has had minor failures over the years, but being such a workhorse (of which I entirely approve), there are easily obtainable replacement parts for almost every bit. We even forgave it when, on Thankgiving Day years ago, it preheated the oven and then gave up the ghost in the first half hour of cooking the turkey. (An accommodating neighbour with an empty oven and one of my enterprising engineers, who jury-rigged the broiling element to become the oven element, saved the day.)

Now picture the scene: all the slavering gang (including my mother-in-law) awaiting the pudding, all elements firing and everything cooking to a crescendo. I pour the pudding into the perfectly prepared pan, open the oven door, and -- BANG! --, a large lump of the stove breaks loose from its mountings. Does it fall harmlessly to the floor ? NO, of course not. It wedges itself in the hinges of the oven door. Now we have a pan of hot fat, a rapidly cooling pudding, and the oven wedged wide open, and I need someone to extract the offending piece of hot metal from the hinge mechansim PDQ...
Suffice to say, I now hold the record for Saskatchewan pudding, as flat at the prairies. Why does domestic equipment have such impeccable timing!?

The fun of the holidays was soon over,and, having weathered the invasion, we ran repeatedly to the airport to post our nearest and dearest back to their real lives.
Now it was time to get down to DVD business.

Camera ... Sound ... Knitting action ... Let's do it all again!

Cool Film Crew This is our fabulous film crew and the cast!
See the Film Page for more pictures.

I began a crash course on the delights of spreadsheets, determined not to overrun with footage as we did last time: we would calculate what was already shot, what was needed, and in what sequence it should be filmed. Previous experience with the filming process certainly helped here. Colin the Producer, too, was preparing with military precision: this was to be a much more organized, compact process than last time. Editing of last year's unused film clips (we had way too much stuff!) would begin on the same day as the new filming, and we'd film for four days, back to back, to save on set-up time.
The film would go straight to editing every day (to be on-lined and double-checked). Concentration and efficiency levels were beyond belief!
Thankfully, our crew was virtually unchanged from last time, which meant that they knew how to film knitting (it's smaller than a breadbox and needs precise lighting). They enjoyed seeing the finished products of last year's work (apparently: usually they go, they film and they leave, rarely seeing the results).
Aram, our gifted and very amusing Sound Guy, was thrilled with the comments made by Clara Parkes in Knitters Review: "The microphone is so close that you can hear the wool sliding along the wooden needles." To a sound guy, that is the ultimate compliment!
Filming went abundantly well. Remember my resolution "Never more than two discs at once"?
Colin has now developed a new coefficient of Lucy time; take any of the times I estimate for a technique and multiply by 1.9 and you'll be close! As Result Gems 1 and 2 have had to become Gems 1 - 4! Along with these we also filmed two groaningly full discs for maniac knitters on the subjects of Double Knitting (I don't care if no-one else is interested in DK, I just really wanted to film it. It's very photogenic and so much fun!) And also my favourite techniques for Finessing my stitches, it's stitch conjuring for knitters. Yes for those of you with higher math skills, that is a total of 6 new titles. Must be mad...

Progress has been swift and we should be in production by May. We'll keep you posted of any pre-production offers with a micro-news letter, but I'm waiting until I see the colour of the covers before we commit to any pre-orders this time! However we can now reveal the outlines of the topics below.

By way of a subversive treat for you, I'm including a little pattern to play with, with my compliments (and, if it lures you in to the delights of Double Knitting, so much the better).

Keep those stitches smiling,

Lucy


PS. On the first day of filming we received a mention on Stephanie Pearl McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot)'s blog, and we were deluged with much appreciated orders. As it was necessary to silence the phones during filming, we were working a day-shift filming, and packing orders late into the night! Pictured is one evening's work... Shipping DVD's
Cuddles:May I take your order? PPS. We couldn't resist this shot, one of our staff hard at work, poised and ready to take your order!

PPPS. (Okay, this is the last one) Just a note to let you know that the ADVENTURE KNITTING CAMP 2007 has one (or possibly two) spots still open (this year's venue is beautiful Saltspring Island, off the west coast of Canada, September 30 - October 6). Please contact Judy for more info. Or phone Judy at 1-604-999-0075. Lots of great knitting, food, scenery and fiberous happenings have been planned!


New DVD titles and topics, expected by May....

Knitting Gems 1 (1h 45 ish):
Applied edges, Buttonhole Essentials, I-Cord Basics, Cords, Braids and Bobbles, Presenting the Picot Family, Twists, Kinks and Bias

Knitting Gems 2 (1h 46 ish):
Becoming Ambidextrous, Steeks, Shapings and Scissors, Little Mysteries, Short Row Techniques.

Knitting Gems 3 (1h 45 ish):
Beading Techniques, Cable Talk, Lace Basics, Yarn Handling Tricks

Knitting Gems 4 (1h 45 ish):
Cool Cast-Ons, Even More Increases, Daring Rescues, Odds and Ends, Fancy Bind-Offs.

Double Knitting Delight (2h 30 ish):
Tubes on Straight Needles, Circles Within Circles, Cast-Ons, DK and Ribbing are Cousins, Bind-Offs From Single to Double, Shapings in DK From Double to Single, Pockets and Patches; Two Yarns, Two Sides, Two Hands! Edges and Ends, Colour Patterning and Quilting.

Finesse Your Knitting (2h 20 ish)
Tubular Bind-Off Methods, The Afterthought Pocket, Grafting Stitches: Top to Top, The Magic Buttonhole, Perfect Grafting: Top to Bottom, The Secrets of Contented Stitches.





NEW YARN:
JOY 100% merino yarn


We now have a supply of this most appropriately named yarn (100% Merino wool, 50g = 78m), it felts superbly and fast, and has very attractive colours in apparently random lengths within one ball. Several of the colourways share common colours, making mixing them up in bags great fun.
Price: $10.00 per ball

This yarn is ideal for the MP3 bag pattern below, as well as our Mini/Maxi Miter Bag #871, or the Origami Bag #870

We have the following colours in stock:

#302 Blues and greens: Navy and Sky blues teamed with Olives and Muted Lime
#304 All the greens: Forest, Olive, Muted Lime, Sage....
#305 Pinky purples: Violet, Lavender, Natural, Pastel Pink, Pink.....
#307 Tropical parrot: Orange, Red, Bright Lime, Muted Lime, Rose, Sky Blue....
#308 Deep purples: Deep Purple, Deep Violet, Grey, Blues, Deep Rose
the 5 colours of Joy



3 nano bags Free Pattern:

Felted Double-Knit MP3 Bag

Designed by Lucy Neatby

Regular readers of my newsletter will know of my affection for my I-pod. This Christmas I was lucky enough to receive a Nano, and I like to hang it around my neck. I find this little bag with an adjustable length strap works very well and, incidentally, makes a great introduction to double knitting and/or felting.
Directions for larger bags are given at the end.


Yarn: 20g Needful Yarns JOY, 100% merino wool (50g =78m). This yarn felts like a dream and seems to give fairly predictable results. (Naturally with any felted article there are variables beyond our control; be prepared to experiment with your first bag.)
OR
Experiment with other feltable wool yarns (the number of stitches / needle size may easily be altered to suit your yarn).

Needles:
A set of 6mm (US #10) dpns will cover all eventualities. Straights or a circular needle will do (but a couple of spare dpns might also be useful).

Abbreviations:
K1 Knit one stitch.
Yf Yarn forward (towards the knitter)
S1 Slip one stitch purlwise (as if to purl)
RS Right side
M1 Make one stitch, (knit under the bar between the stitches).

Dimensions:
Pre-felting: 2 inches Wide x 7 inches Deep, Cords 24 inches.
Apres-felting: 2" W x 4" D, Cords 21"

Method 1: Double-knitted in Stocking stitch

Cast on 14sts by Long-tail method. (Or, if preferred, use tubular cast-on, beginning with a knit stitch.)
Row 1 (K1, yf, s1) repeat to end of row. Every alternate stitch has been worked, and the intervening ones have been slipped with the yarn in front.
Repeat Row 1.
This row will work the stitches previously slipped and complete one round of knitting.
Repeat Row 1 until the desired pre-felting length is reached.
(Approximately 58 times more; 60 rows / 30 rounds total)
Periodically puff up the bottom of the bag to check that the sides are separate. If you have accidentally purled one of the stitches meant to be slipped, the two layers will become connected. If this occurs, don't despair!


Opening DK and Fixing Snags


**Take two empty needles and hold them together and parallel in the right hand, with tips pointing left. Hold the work in your left hand with its needle tip pointed at the two empty ones.
Now start slipping the stitches from the work alternately to the two empty needles: Slip the first stitch onto the empty needle nearest you and the second stitch onto empty needle behind.
Repeat with each pair of stitches. This will divide the two sides of the bag onto separate needles.**

Now you can ladder back the column of stitches you suspect to have been inadvertently purled; take a look inside for clues. From the RS you might also be able to see a column of stitches with an extra row in the snagged area, this is the column to release.
It can be tricky to determine which side needs to laddered back: if you try one side and it doesn't work, re-create the stitches and try again on the other side. The extra yarn released from the purled stitch can be allowed to hang around and then later shared with its adjacent stitches.

To remount the stitches on your single working needle, reverse the process and hold the two needles with the stitches in the right hand: take a stitch first from the back needle, then from the front needle alternately until they are all back where they belong.
Alternatively, be very careful and treat purl as a four-letter word whilst knitting this fabric!

When your bag is of sufficient length (it's going to look crazily long) complete the bag as follows:
Divide the bag onto two needles as described above, ** to **.
Now treat these stitches as regular circular knitting (add additional needles as desired).
Knit the first stitch of the round, and bind off the next 5 sts, knit one additional stitch (making a total of two stitches remaining after the bound-off section).
Place a pin or piece of yarn through these two stitches, then bind off the next 5 sts until 2sts remain (the first and last of the round).
Nano bag diagram Nano bag strap

Strap:
Slip the last two sts back to your LHN and begin I-cord strap.

I-cord Row 1 With RS facing: K1, m1, k1. (3 sts)

I-cord Row 2 With RS facing: Slip these 3 sts back to the LHN, bring the yarn across the back of the work, k3.

Repeat I-cord Row 2 until your strap is the required length (approx 24"). The strap will shorten when felted, but not a great deal. End the cords by threading the tail through all the stitches and tightening the slack.

Repeat a second strap on the remaining 2 sts.
Neaten any tails; those from the top of the straps may be tucked down inside the I-cord tubes. The one from the base of the second strap may be used to connect the bound -off edge securely to the base of the cord before tucking the tail up inside the cord. You may wish to neaten the other cord base similarly, using an additional piece of yarn.

Method 2: Double-knitted in Reverse Stocking Stitch (This is a more efficient way of achieving a very similar result.)

Cast on 14 sts using long-tail method.
Row 1 (S1, p1), repeat to end of row. Every alternate stitch has now been worked and the intervening ones have been slipped with the yarn in front. Two rows equal one round. In this situation there is no need to move the working yarn out of the way of the far bag stitches, thus speeding things up considerably and almost eliminating the possibility of an accidental snag.

Repeat Row 1. This row will work the stitches previously slipped and complete one round of knitting.

With a little practice, the slipping and purling can be done as one manoeuver:
The RHN can be put into both the stitch to be slipped and the stitch to be purled simultaneously, throw the yarn for the purl stitch, and then gradually withdraw the LHN until the stitch to be slipped drops onto the RHN, then complete purling of the next stitch. This reduces the number of wasted needle movements, but it takes a little practice to become proficient!


Repeat Row 1 until the desired pre-felting length is reached. (Approximately 58 times more, 60 rows / 30 rounds total)
Periodically puff up the bottom of the bag to check that the sides are separate.

Complete the bag as for Method 1, or, you may invert the bag before working the straps if you prefer to have Stocking Stitch outermost.

Modifications for Larger Bags:
This bag may be varied considerably to suit your containment requirements: for larger bags more stitches may require to be reserved for an appropriate handle size.

For a video pod try 24 sts with 4 stitch I-cords, bind off all but the first and last two stitches of each side of the bag, and use these stitches as the basis for your cords.

Felting and Finishing the Bags
Complete bags as given above. Now immerse the bag in a little hot water (you don't need gallons), lubricate with a little soap and proceed to abuse the wool.
Rub, squeeze, knead, turn the bag outside-in and vice versa, refresh the hot water as it cools..... Don't forget to work the cords too, and pay special attention to upper edge.
Keep an eye on the size of the bag. It will suddenly begin to feel more solid; keep working on it until you reach the desired size. It is better to stop too soon; you can always felt it further later but you can't reverse the process.
Rinse out any remaining soap, squeeze out excess moisture, and stuff the bag with plastic wrapped cardboard to simulate the shape of your player. Allow to air dry.
If your yarn has felted very enthusiastically, it is possible to cut openings in the bag to allow access to the controls of your particular player. Cut small openings initially: they can always be enlarged. To stabilize the edges, you may wish to sew around the opening, using blanket stitch.
The cords may be turned into an adjustable length strap by tying the end of each cord around the opposite strap with a simple overhand knot (See the photo above).


This pattern may be printed for your personal use from your Spunyarn newsletter.


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