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June 29, 2009

After posting two weeks ago about my blue Johanna knee socks, I tried on the foot I’d completed, and just couldn’t deny that it was coming out too big. That is the last thing you need for knee socks. So I frogged it, and restarted with two changes. First, I switched to size 0 needles. Then, I decided to “Bordhi-fy” the foot so that it was sure to fit. I had a little spreadsheet I’d gotten from someone on Ravelry, that you can use to figure out your master numbers for any gauge once you have found a set that work for you in one gauge, so I entered whatever stitch gauge I knew would come out to a 60 stitch sock, measured my row gauge on the plain part of the toe I had just completed, and Voila, the numbers to Bordhi-fy the foot of the sock.

You can see on the sole of the sock the increase lines that show it’s being worked in the Riverbed architecture. Once I arrived at the end of the heel flap and went back into round knitting, it was just the Johanna pattern again. I have a much snugger fit in the foot now, and a narrower ankle. I can still switch to size 1 needles later as I go up the leg. I would rather start out with a sock that is a little too snug, than one that is already too baggy.

I also finished the back of Titania. This is going to be a very pretty sweater.

I like the yarn too – it is very lightweight. I used just over two balls of Longmeadow for the entire back. I am knitting the 36 inch size, and getting a piece that is about 32 inches wide at the underarms unblocked, so I think it will turn out about as I intended. The pattern has you do the front first, but after completing the midriff segment I decided to make the back first because that midriff pattern, with lace on both right and wrong side rows, took some getting used to, to be sure I slanted the purl decreases the right direction and lined up the lace correctly. I should get a slightly better looking piece on my second try!

We had an interesting spinning group meeting Friday night. Someone showed up with about 20 pounds of raw alpaca fleece, which had been sent to her by a friend who raises alpacas for fun and has no use for the fiber. We all rummaged in the bags and took home lumps of the fleece, which seemed very silky and reasonably clean. I may have ended up with a pound or two, it was hard to tell. I took some white and some grey.

Knowing absolutely nothing about preparing and spinning alpaca, I checked on the Fiber Prep group on Ravelry, and found that while some people don’t wash alpaca, it is a good idea to do so because alpacas have a habit of enjoying a good roll in the dust on a regular basis… So I popped both into the washing machine as if they were sheep fleece. Boy did I get muddy water out of that! They are drying now and looking even better, although there is still a lot of vegetable matter (in this case, sticks and twigs) to comb out. I guess I will try combing the stuff and see what happens when I try to spin it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2009 9:44 am

    I always wash my alpaca fleeces before spinning them. Even if the fleece seems clean it can still have grit in it that can ruin your wheel orifice. That’s what happened to my Rose.

  2. Karen permalink
    June 29, 2009 12:26 pm

    Wow, Titania is pretty! Nice job!

  3. Mel permalink
    June 30, 2009 12:45 pm

    You’re becoming a sock architect! It’s a pretty sock and the yarn is lovely too.
    I have some washed but unprocessed alpaca fleece that needs combing too, so I’ll be really interested in following your process.

  4. June 30, 2009 2:27 pm

    For most alpaca fleece, I usually just tease the fiber with my fingers into a cloud for spinning. I don’t bother with carding (compresses the fibers, in my opinion) or combing–combing seems to create a lot of waste since the fibers aren’t necessarily all long ones…but it’s all lovely and soft! Combing can get rid of guard hairs for llama, though, it’s great for that!
    I usually wash the alpaca because I’m allergic to dust, but it’s not a requirement. I’ve never had a problem with it damaging any of my wheels; I just sneeze too much!

  5. July 1, 2009 12:13 pm

    The alpaca looks like hard work but will be lovely to spin.

  6. July 4, 2009 5:26 pm

    I totally love those socks Ms. C ! Gorgeous! I forget the actual color name but it “sings” to me!! I haven’t dealt with Alpaca except to wash, and it was a royal pain, so, I hope you have better luck than I did!
    Titania is lovely too, is she your design?

  7. Jan permalink
    July 6, 2009 9:31 am

    I’m late to the party, but wow, what a sock! I love Titania too, and fleece looks so cushy I want to roll in it. (probably come up sneezing though–I hear they take dust baths). I look forward to hearing how it spins up for you.

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