Completed 2013 challenge


I completed this year’s spinner’s challenge, which for me consisted of purple llama, spun firmly, and made into a beaded doily.

I used the Myra pattern. I need to update it because I made a minor modification. On the rounds where there is a knit 2 together that uses one stitch from one pattern unit with another pattern unit, I moved the last stitch of the preceding round from the right to the left needle and then knit it with the next stitch. I shifted the loop halfway around the doily (since I was using the magic loop), by one stitch so that it would work out correctly.

After I test ran the pattern I determined I hadn’t spun quite enough. I now have a few yards remaining. This was my first time adding beads as I knit.  I used no. 6 beads that I had on hand. I had one bead left (hence why the middle alternates between 2 and 3 beads on a petal). I used a small loop of flexible jewelry wire, folded in half to put the bead on a loop. (Knit a stitch, slip stitch off, put wire loop through stitch,  poke ends through the bead, slide bead on, remove wire loop, put stitch back on the right needle.)

Remaining yarn & bead, wire used to thread bead on yarn This is also the first time I decided where to put beads in a pattern. The 2–3 beads on the large petal did not wind up where I expected them; I had thought they would be shifted to the right, centered in the point and running closer to one side of the petal. Actually, I think the problem is I should have added them a couple of rows later (on rows 22, 26 and 30).

chart for Myra doily with beads

I blocked it to 12″.

doilyYou can see the lace pattern better in this picture.



Purple llama

For the spinner’s challenge this year, I need to make a purple, firmly spun, llama doily with beads. L helped with the first step last October by acquiring some lovely llama at a local fiber event which I was unable to attend. She brought back 6 oz of hand carded white llama roving. In early November, M and I played with her Gaywool dyes. I also threw in one random skein in a very light purple. The color looks interesting close up, but it isn’t that exciting as you move away.

Wendy yarn before overdyeingI believe we used Cyclamen, Myrtle, Azalea, Raspberry and Myrtle, in probably not even proportions. I can’t read what might be my notes.

purple dyepot

While still wet, in basement lighting.

freshly dyed, still wet llama

After dry, not in basement light. This looks much more compacted. I think I must have re-rinsed at home and spun out gently in our front loading washer.

llama roving dyed purple

The Wendy wool after overdyeing. I still have no idea what I will do with one random skein of this.

Wendy yarn after overdyeing

Around Christmas, again with M’s help, we carded the dyed roving to make the color more uniform.

llama recarded

I finally spun some in April. I needed to spin it firmly for the challenge, which meant the yarn is firmer than I would prefer. I didn’t want to spin too much. I also didn’t want to make a very big doily (since a llama doily is not terribly useful). However, after figuring out the pattern I am going to use, I didn’t spin enough. I had best spin a bit more soon.

llama spun

Myra Doily No.49

I wrote about the pattern from Myra’s knitting lessons and mentioned there seemed to be some errors in it. Since I am making a doily for the spinner’s challenge, I wanted to know how much to spin (I am supposed to spin the llama firm, so the yarn is firmer than I would want and do not want to have much extra), so I thought I would make a doily out of something else and then rip it out to see how much yarn it took. This also gave me an opportunity to see where I thought the pattern needed corrections. And also would give me a better idea of where to put the beads.

Years back I bought some yarn for a small project. Recently I have been using the yarn to tie skeins. I thought this yarn would be good to test the doily. Sometime after the original purchase and before it was relegated ties, I apparently did something where the yarn was cut. I knotted lengths together and wound it into a ball. The knots were a surprise when I started knitting.  I believe I used Patons Grace, 100% mercerized cotton, color taupe.

The pattern starts with 4 stitches, one on each needle. You then knit into the front and back of each one for two rounds. The needles kept slipping out of the yarn and I was having issues. I decided I didn’t care and just didn’t worry about the order of the needles since it wouldn’t effect what I was checking. In other words, please don’t pay attention to the center which is quite the mess.

Myra doily being blockedYou can see one of the knots just above 3 o’clock. I blocked it to about 11 or 11.5 inches, but the doily is about 10.25″ in diameter now.

Myra doily

So what changes did I make? I added a row between rows 13 and 15 in the original. The pattern jumped significantly and expected you to have more stitches than were available, Comparing to the original picture, it seemed like this missing row was pictured. However, there were the correct number of holes in the straight lines from the center for what was on the pattern. I believe the original one pictured lacks the last row; the diamond eyelet clusters seem closer to the bound off edge than mine, and the long petals do not end in a point, unlike mine.

In order to get row 13a (the row I inserted) and row 15 to look correct, I had to fiddle a fair amount. There would have been an easy way to get the right number of stitches, but that meant there were 2 stitches in a spot which I think should have only 1 to look right (I tried it and ripped it out). This also meant I needed to drop a k2tog from row 17. The chart below highlights areas that I modified.

myra doily chart, highlighting areas altered

Row 15 seemed to have an extra stitch at the end, and rows 27, 29, 31 and 33 all had an extra stitch before the last yo on each repeat, so I dropped those. Row 21 was also a bit of a mess. The k2tog followed the wrong yo, and they were not positioned consistently with the other eyelet diamonds. I also shifted the first eyelet diamond on rows 27/29/31 over one stitch to try to have the diamonds centered better.

I like DPNs, but part way through I found I was having trouble keeping all the stitches on my needles. I was stretching out the knitting pretty often to check the pattern, which wasn’t helping. It finally dawned on me to try the magic loop for the first time ever. That made the whole process much simpler. It would certainly have been useful at my modified row 15 and I think will help me at the cast on too. I will probably still prefer DPNs for most things, but for this doily, I think magic loop is the way to go.

Myra doily, detail

I have posted the PDF of my revised pattern.

I just ripped out the doily and I need to spin a little more. I have plenty of llama and 10 yards won’t take that long to spin; better to know now rather than later.

Spinner’s Challenge, 2013 edition

This year at the Guild we have undertaken a spinner’s challenge somewhat in the form of poker. We got the idea from a neighboring guild, which adapted it from another guild, out east I believe. We had 5 sets of cards and we had to draw a card from each set. The challenge was to make something by our May meeting (we drew the cards in September). You could return one card and redraw that one. After each person picked, the cards were returned so everyone had a chance to get anything. You only needed to use 4 of the items to succeed.

The categories included color, fiber and finished item (which are pretty self explanatory). The finished item category had a couple of options for several things (scarf or shawl, socks or slippers etc.), although oddly (to me) it lumped hat with scarf/shawl. The other two categories were texture and add-in. I would alter the other two categories which seemed a bit off, and got a bit confusing where silk and angora could both in in the fiber and add-in column. I would make one something very specific about the spun yarn—soft, firm, plied, singles, cabled. I would make the other category something additional to use/do—including thing to add in (beads etc.) and techniques such a bouclé.

Interestingly, the challenge never specified that you needed to spin the yarn (which L cleverly noted). You can blend a color or fiber with other items.  You can also make a small version or something (or only one of something that is typically a pair).

My challenge:

  • Fiber: Llama
  • Color: Purple
  • Texture: Firm
  • Add In: Beads/Sequins
  • Use: Dishcloth/Doily/Rug

This is why I have been working on a doily pattern.

Other challenges in the group include:

  • Fiber: Silk
  • Color: Orange [note: this person does not like orange]
  • Texture: Soft
  • Add In: Alpaca
  • Use: Needlework/Jewelry
  • Fiber: Cotton
  • Color: Green
  • Texture: Crocheted
  • Add In: Beads/Sequins
  • Use: Socks/slippers
  • Fiber: Silk
  • Color: White
  • Texture: Woven
  • Add In: Tassel
  • Use: Socks/slippers
  • Fiber: Angora
  • Color: Grey
  • Texture: Crochet
  • Add In: Mohair
  • Use: Bag/Purse
  • Fiber: Mohair
  • Color: Purple
  • Texture: Woven
  • Add In: Tassel
  • Use: Dishcloth/Doily/Rug
  • Fiber: Wool
  • Color: Yellow
  • Texture: Woven (or maybe the word was fine)
  • Add In: Buttons
  • Use: Sweater/Vest

I will unfortunately be out of town and will miss seeing them all at the May meeting. I did see the woven, tasseled sock at the April meeting.

Myra’s No. 49. Design for a Pincushion

I need to make a doily for the spinner’s challenge. This means I needed to find a pattern for a doily. The University of Southampton has digitized many of Richard Rutt’s books (that would the Rutt of the History of Hand Knitting), which is super fun. The collection is here. The first book listed is Myra’s knitting lessons. No.1. Ccontaining the rudiments of knitting and various useful patterns for this work (the double c is in the metadata). Myra comes from Myra and Son, the company which published the book. The book has no date on it; The University of Southampton has c1800 which is clearly too early—it probably comes from a vague date of 18?? in the cataloging record. The text refers to vulcanite needles, so must date after 1839.¹ The entire book is available as a secure PDF. I have no idea why they made it secure, but it means I can’t copy the out of copyright text.

There are two doilies in the book. I decided to make “No. 49. Design for a Pincushion.”

Myra no.49 doilyThe pattern is of course not written quite like a modern pattern and it isn’t charted. I retyped the pattern, and made a non-secured PDF, along with some other relevant content from the original.  I then put it into modern abbreviations and charted it (PDF). I am glad I did that because it became quite clear there were problems with the pattern. To begin with, the pattern has you make two points on each needle. It calls for 4 needles and says “3rd row.—Knit 1, make 1, knit 2, make 1, knit 1. Repeat on the other two needles.” A quick look at the picture will show the pattern requires five needles, with the pattern being repeated on the other three needles.

Below is the chart. You can see that various rows do not have the right number of stitches on them so it needs a bit of help.

Myra No.49 doily chartI will save the alterations I made to the original for a separate post.

1. The History of Knitting Pin Gauges  By Sheila William. Melrose Press, 2006. Page 5.