No longer afraid

When we first got our wee Kita-dog, one of the first things that became apparent was that she both hated and feared water.  She jumped over puddles.  She refused to go out for a wee in anything heavier than light drizzle.  She tolerated baths, but only whilst wearing an expression of great sadness and betrayal.  She ran away from the garden hose.  Even when it wasn’t turned on.

We know she was bullied with water in the first three months of her life.  It’s quite possible that she was also punished with water in her second home, or at the least, ‘hosed down’ in the garden instead of being given a civilised bath!

I think that the fewer things a dog is afraid of, the happier the life that dog will lead.  So we have embarked on a series of exercises to make her less scared – kicking the ball through muddy patches, slippery muddy patches, boggy ground, actual puddles…  These next shots were taken in March this year after an intensive winter of playing in increasingly soggy ground.  I was so happy to see my dog whomping through a fen-field in full swamp I could have cried:

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Waiting for the ball…

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Chase…

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…retrieve!

And what does every self-respecting dog do after a soggy moment?

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Shake off!!

Since these photos were taken, we have become endebted to Rolo the chocolate Labrador, who was *so* much fun to play with that Kita actually went into a stream of her own free will.  Since then, she’s become quite the water-hound, and can’t *wait* to get into the lake whenever we make it to our local Fave Large Park (TM):

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(that’s not my photo – my other half with the better camera took it!  For more, please feel free to visit his Flickr pages…)

I’m so proud of this little dog for trusting us and overcoming her fears.  Seriously – if you’d showed either of us the above shot a year ago, we would have suspected serious Photoshop trickery, or otherwise denied that it was our dog at all!

We’re still working on the ‘hose’ thing, though.

The picot cuff (More details on the Pomatomus)

My first!  Unlike most of the instructions I’ve seen, this was worked on a toe-up sock.  A picot edge is created by folding over a section of knitting that has a row of eyelets running down the fold line.  The easiest way to create the eyelets is to do (YO, k2tog) for the whole row.

Most instructions for a picot cuff have you start with a provisional cast on.  Next, you knit the fold over section of the cuff (stockinette), then your eyelet row, then the rest of the cuff (stockinette).  Now you are ready to fold the cuff up!  You do this by knitting each stitch from your needles together with the corresponding stitch from the provisional cast on.  But I was knitting in the other direction.

Knitting toe-up, I put a lifeline in when I was ready to start the cuff.  I then knit the two stockinette portions and the eyelets.  Then the tricky part.  I picked up the stitches marked by the lifeline onto a spare needle, then grafted them together with the live stitches on the needles to finish.

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Ta-daaa!

It was a pain, but worth it!  The grafting took – literally – hours.  The cuff is very stretchy and looks very ‘finished’.  There is none of the tightness associated with a regular cast off at the cuff.  There are a couple of things I’d do differently next time, though:

  1. Knit the round marked with a lifeline with needles a size larger.  This will give room for two passes of yarn through the stitches, and make the grafting easier.
  2. Knit one less round on the second side of the cuff than on the first.  The second side of the cuff is the inner side, and the grafting round is a knit round in its own right.  If the inner cuff is longer than the outer, the picots tend to fall outwards.

Of course, I’ll have to do the second Pomatomus the same way as the first, but I’ll remember this for the future…

One down, one to go…

The first of my Pomatomus socks is finished!  Worked both toe-up and top-down from a provisional cast-on at the ball of the foot, it features a sandal-toe and my first picot cuff – which flares rather and was a pig to bind off.  Now I just have to knit another….

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I’ve actually lost track of how long I’ve been knitting these.  They are my travelling project, which means they get very little concentrated knitting time.  They don’t make for good occasional knitting, actually, as the pattern is rather involved and not easy to just ‘pick up and work a few rows’.  I also had to rip back most of the leg when I found I’d made it too narrow!

Slow, slower, stop

My knitting productivity seems to be at an all time low this year.  My photo albums (still only on my computer, not my blog, sadly) show only *four* folders for the whole *year* – and two of those pieces are still in progress, and another one represents ‘finish-up February’ – in which I finished last year’s projects!  Have I really only start-and-completed one item this year?

Actually, I think there are two pairs of socks that I haven’t photographed or blogged about at all, but still, they are simple socks and shouldn’t take much knitting time.  No – strike that – only one pair of socks; the other was knit last year and blogged about on my old blog (moving posts over here has also stalled).  Maybe the other pair of socks was knit last year, too.  I can’t remember.

Anyway.  Must Do Better.  Must blog more, too.

Shortly after I took this photo, she fell off…

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Yes, she’s asleep.

Ahh…  Much more comfy!

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Mystery stole 3: end of clue 4

And as promised, better pictures this time!

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(As always, click for bigger.  Including, I’m afraid, my foot…)

A closeup of the first section, my favourite part of the stole so far:

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I’m spinning the yarn for this stole myself, and the second skein was started partway through clue 4.  I knew the second skein was somewhat lighter than the first, but it’s really pretty obvious in this photo:

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I’m not worried though; it will never be so clear when worn!

Thinking about twills

My loom is of a very simple type – a rigid heddle (RH) loom.  More complicated looms are out there and available, but they are more expensive, harder to learn and (usually) bulkier to store.  A rigid heddle can do a lot of things, but there are also a lot of things it cannot do.

Most weaving on a RH loom uses a tabby structure (the classic over-under-over-under pattern), with occasional patterns using pick-up sticks to temporarily change the behaviour of some of the warp threads.  You can do other techniques, too, like leno lace, but what you don’t tend to see are twill structures, where the warp goes over and/or under more than one warp thread at once.  Probably the most common twill fabric is classic jeans denim – you can see the diagonal lines formed quite easily once you get close.  There are lots of twill structures out there – but the following little graphic should illustrate the difference for those that don’t already know what I’m talking about:

 

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The twill illustrated here has a weft that goes under two warp threads and over one.  Where it starts in the sequence changes from row to row.  Of course, on the ‘wrong side’ of the fabric, it will go over two and under one…

Anyway, with a second (or third) heddle, a rigid heddle loom can start to produce fabrics using finer yarns, and of a more complex structure than plain tabby, without the use of pick-up sticks.  I have a monograph which explains how, with three heddles, a rigid heddle loom can produce all the weave structures that I four-harness loom can produce.  I recently purchased a second heddle kit for my loom (so recently that I haven’t installed it yet) and a second 12.5 dent heddle.  I brought a large quantity of stash home from the office (ahem) when I finally left my job, and some of that includes some lovely silk and rayon yarns far too fine for everyday knitting, but with great potential for weaving.  So, it’s time to experiment!!

First off, I will try and weave a finer tabby fabric using both heddles.  Second, I think I’ve figured out how to thread a loom with two heddles for the twill illustrated above – and how to weave the twill.  And how to reverse it…

There is fun ahead…

Mystery stole 3: end of clue 3

Just a real quickie because I haven’t updated in ages: the mystery stole is progressing well!  I’m only one and a half clues behind the leader now – I’m 50 rows short of finishing clue 4, and clue 5 is the current one…  I’m unlikely to catch up this week – but maybe next.  I may even be among the first to finish!

Lookin’ good:

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This shot was taken at the end of clue 3.  As always, click for a much, much larger version – where you can even see the beads!  I’ve been very lazy and not really stretched it out much for these shots; I’ll try and get a semi-respectable stretch on it (without actually wet blocking it) at the end of clue 4.

Very exciting things happen in clue 5; without giving the surprise away (in case anyone is holding themselves on tenterhooks), I can definitely say things take a turn for the unusual.

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