Still Singles

I could show you a picture but it would look almost exactly the same, so let’s skip it. Imagine that just under this text is a brilliant picture of beautiful singles with just a little more done than yesterday.


There were lots of wonderful questions yesterday, so let’s do a little Q&A.. yes?

Karin asks two questions:

Where’s the skirt? How’s the foot??

Very direct and efficient. Skirt is upstairs, waiting for me to buy and sew a slip in it… also it needs to be reblocked because I have moments of stupidity that are virtually unparalleled in the fibre world. The foot’s ok. It feels great, but I still have another few days of brace/cane to do before I can get it re-imaged (that means another x-ray, although every time I hear “re-imaged” it goes to the same place as the word “re-imagined” which I like better.) I am hoping to resume walking next week when I am re-imagined. I think it would be best for everyone involved.

Laura is somewhat perturbed.

Only 750 yards of yarn? That makes you an XXS. I knew you were petite, but that is just downright *annoyingly* petite for a tall, no-longer-svelte knitter like me! No wonder you make so many sweaters; it only takes you half the yarn I need.

You betcha. Tiny knitters have it made in the shade – since not only does it take less time to knit small sweaters, it takes less yarn to buy for them too. I’m perpetually grateful (and working to stay a size small) so that I can continue to live on the knitters equivalent of easy street. For the record though, I’m not really as small as all that. I’m 155cm tall (that’s about 5’1″) and my chest measures 37 inches with my bra on. I’m choosing a smaller size than I usually would for the February Lady sweater because I hear it runs large and that’s what I should do.

Cathy wonders:

When you have skeins of yarn with no label and forget what size you bought the yarn for, how do you measure the yarn? do you lay it out on the floor and all over the house, or is there a better way? I’m not crazy, I just got carried away at the Sewing Festival a year ago and my memory is not what it used to be. It’s not the same yarn as in the pattern, so weighing it won’t help.

Weighing always helps. If you don’t know what yarn it is and are wondering the yardage, get a tape measure and a wee scale that handles tiny amounts. (If you don’t have one, you can go to the post office. They are usually really helpful.) Using the tape measure, count out 10m (or yards). Cut the yarn. Weigh it. Let’s say (using made up numbers) that 10m weighed 5g. We want to know what one metre weighs so we divide that 5g by 10. 5 (total for 10m) divided by 10 (the number of metres) = .5g. Now weigh the whole ball. Let’s say it’s 100g. We know that .5 is one metre, so 100 grams (100 divided by .5g) is 200 metres. Get it?

(Thank you grade 10 math. I am sorry I mocked you.)

Patti wonders:

I know you are really busy, but is the cowl pattern coming out soon???

Ask the test knitters. Actually, ask this one, because I happen to know her kid’s on his third snow day and she’s a woman on the edge. It might be fun to see what happens if she snaps.

Nancy ponders my mad toilet roll skills,

When you have time, could you share how you do that with the squished toilet paper tubes? Do you put them on my ball-winder as is, and squish them later? Do they stay put or do you have to tape them on? Or do you need to squish them first?

Any tricks to get them to feed smoothly from a lazy kate when plying?

I wind the singles (after they have rested and the twist has gone to sleep) onto the ball winder, then crunch the toilet paper roll so that it fits into the hollow on the top of the shaft of the winder, and slide the singles up onto them. Works great. When it’s time to ply, I don’t bother putting them on a Kate (ask me why I don’t call it a “lazy” kate sometime. I dare you. It’s rant #56B.) If you wait a while (a few days) before plying, the twist is no longer active and a loosely wound ball of singles won’t collapse on itself and complicate plying. (Mostly.)

Alicia queries:

What’s a green bin?

The details on the green bins are here, but mostly, it’s a compost service provided by the city of Toronto. Organic waste of all types (diapers, meat, veggies, cooked leftovers, paper plates and towels etc) are picked up by the city once a week to reduce garbage. A small pail with a lid stores it in the kitchen, and that’s empties into a larger bin on wheels outside. That bin goes curbside. The green bin, together with our cities extensive recycling program mean that this family only makes a tiny bit of garbage, which is picked up once every two weeks.

Lauren says:

I’m sure your FLS will turn out better than mine … it’s hitting the frogpond this weekend hopefully, and then the two of us have a date with a coffee dyebath. Sounds romantic, yes?

Yes, it does. Isn’t that normal?

Alicia wonders about fibre becoming yarn.

How much fiber did you start with? I just started spinning and have no idea what kind of yardage to expect from 4, 8, 12oz of fiber… so far, my couch is covered in 100-200m skeins, ready to make… hats? Trim for other projects? One skein wonders, if I’m lucky. How much fiber does it roughly take to spin enough for a sweater?

Generally speaking, it takes what it takes if you’re buying yarn, only measured by weight rather than yardage. If I would usually buy 5 skeins of 100 grams of yarn to knit a sweater (I’m making that up) then I would know that I would need at least 500g of processed fibre (like roving) to spin for a sweater. I usually add half as much again, because handspun tends to be denser than commercial yarn. (Especially for a new spinner.) If I’m starting with raw fleece, then I get double (at least) because I know that I’m going to lose fibre (and dirt, and grease) in the washing and carding.

Kristy is having a flashback. She says:

Am I the only one that was reminded of the end of an episode of SOAP with that last paragraph? Am I the only one that remembers the show SOAP?

No, you’re not, and what a great show that was. Remember the final line? “These questions – and many others – will be answered in the next episode of Soap.” I so want to end this blog entry that way…but now it seems derivative. So let’s just stop.