Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Experiments in knitting

Here at Gail's Good Yarn, we wish to report the results of important scientific study pertaining to uses of yarn and needles to produce excellent products. We bring you periodic results from our laboratories.

Experiment #1

Materials: Fortissima Socka, Cotton Color, Southwest type terracotta and browns
Two Circular Needles: Sizes 2mm and 2.25 mm
Pattern: Sensational Knitted Socks, Chevron Patterns, Chevron

Goal: Short summer/spring socks for Sockapalooza pal who lives in New Mexico

Method: Begin heel after one pattern repeat


Use of smaller needle for the sole to make fabric denser to increase lifetime of wear: Excellent
Effect of self striping yarn with chevron pattern: good
Effect of colorway: poor
Snugness of fit around ankle: Below poor.
Comments for further study: Rip this baby out!!! Start over. Next time with this pattern, use wool, not cotton, sock yarn.

Experiment #2.
Materials: Fortissima Socka, Cotton Color, Blues
Needles: Two circular needles, sizes 2.oo and 2.25
Pattern: Feather and Fan from Socks, Socks, Socks

Goal: Short summer/spring socks for Sockapalooza pal who lives in New Mexico

Method: Begin heel after three pattern repeats

Use of smaller needle for the sole to make fabric denser to increase lifetime of wear: Excellent
Effect of self striping yarn with feather and fan pattern: Excellent
Effect of colorway: Excellent

Snugness around ankle: Excellent
Comments for further study: Continue with this method. Make 2 socks. However, question whether these socks are appropriate for sockapalooza exchange. Feedback from question posted on Sockapalooza blog suggested discontinue idea of short socks for New Mexico summer. Further study recommended for Sockapalooza exchange socks.

Experiment #3.

Materials: Old sweaters, washed in hot water

Needles: Sewing Machine

Goal: Make mittens faster than knitting

Results: excellent

Problems noted: Unevenness of thickness of wool once "felted". Holes developed in thumb gore where hands grip steering wheel of car. Note different types of construction of fabrics before felting.

Remedy: duplicate stitch with sock yarn!!
Results: Destruction of pattern design of original fabric. Gauge is larger. Longevity of wear increased.
Comments for further study: wear mittens for additional year and report back to laboratory.

Experiment #4.

Materials: Laceweight cotton yarn, unmercerized, unidentified source. Yarn on top in photo is sock yarn. Yarn on bottom is yarn used in experiment.

Needles: Size 4 Addi Turbo Lace Needles
Pattern: Landscape Shawl

Goal: Make non-lacy shawl for step-daughter's wedding on July 2 in Seattle. Make shawl to recipient's specifications; i.e. use cotton, lightweight, non-lacy

Method: Knit as directed pattern.

Use of laceweight cotton: effect of draping--excellent
Ease of use of laceweight cotton: Poor. Hard on fingers. Hard on knitting technique. Need to develop new technique for holding yarn.
Use of AddiTurbo lace needles: Poor to average. Cotton lace weight yarn gets stuck on the join of the cable with the needle. Ability to push stitches onto the working end of the needles is difficult.
Ability to maintain consistent tension with laceweight cotton: poor

Comments for future: Pray that blocking will remove unevenness of tension. Pray that step-daughter will like result.

Thank you for reading this installment of reports from the experimental knitting laboratory. At the present, these are the only experiments in progress in our laboratory. Our scientist is working at breakneck speed to complete Experiment #4 in time to mail to Seattle before end of the month.


Judith said...

Gail, your experiments are exceedingly interesting and well documented. The feather-and-fan socks are very appealing.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Only one other person ever sees it, though, so I'll need to make it more interesting in the future. :~)

Let me talk to the quilting/beading/knitting group Saturday. We're meeting at Lakeside Fibers at 10. I think there's always room for more knitters. You know Linda Joy from FUS, too, so would feel right at home.


Kate said...

Hi Gail,

I like your documentation of the experiments. Loved the blue feather and fan sock, too bad it might not work out.
The shawl looks lovely to me. Cotton is very tricky for tension, that's for sure!

Maud said...

How interesting experiments, and thank you for documenting everything for us others too! I like the shawl a lot, please show a modelled picture when it's blocked!

Carrie said...

I love those feather and fan socks--why aren't they suitable for your sock pal? Does she prefer longer socks?

The shawl looks great! Way to perservere with the cotton laceweight, it sounds like it's a pain to knit with.

christina said...

I adore the feather and fan socks, are you sure they woudn't be right for your buddy? I always love blues in that pattern best, must be the association with waves.

I'm sure the shawl will block out beautifully. :)

Frenchy said...

Hey Gail! I really enjoy reading your blog. Just wanted to let you know that you won my sock yarn contest (at frenchyknits.blogspot.com)...if you could email me at stargazer115@hvc.rr.com, we can talk addresses so I can ship it out to you. I'd have emailed you instead of commenting but I don't know your email address! Thanks!

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