Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Regia Hand-dye Effect Yarn Review

I picked up a few skeins of Regia Hand-Dye Effect yarn in Germany last year, and this week I finally sat down and cranked out a few pairs of socks.

All I can say is I wish my suitcase were larger, my wallet bigger, and my foresight better.

The yarn is lightly spun and plied with a thin, black thread I thought the CSM would not like.  Was I ever wrong.

This stuff went through the CSM like a hot knife through butter.  And the colours?
They are beyond beautiful.  This yarn is super-soft and fluffy on the skein, and when it's knit up, the fabric takes on a surprisingly coarse, almost scruffy feel.  I soaked the socks in Eucalan, dried them near the wood stove, and once dry, they soften up immensely.  The socks are very fluid and mold nicely to the foot.

Surprisingly, each skein weighed in at about 100g.  I started each sock with a 3:1 mock-rib on the 72 needle cylinder, knit 38 rows, replaced the missing needles and hung the purl bump from the neighbouring needle on each empty one to prevent the little hole that would result, and knit 2 rows before hanging my hem.  Then I knit 75 rows, turned my heel, knit 70 rows for the foot, and turned my toe.  I have about 4g of wool left from each skein, so I probably could have eked out a few more rows, but I don't live that dangerously...

Speaking of living dangerously, little Popina does:
Here she is in the kitchen, sitting serenely beneath Victoria whose innards are about to receive a bit of a tune-up.  I am going to have her cams brazed and reshaped, because she's a bit clunky.  Without needles, she's as smooth as can be, but once I have needles in and start to knit, she feels a bit...well...clunky.  I oiled her liberally, cranked out tube after tube, yet I don't feel she's at her best.  Since I took her apart, cleaned her, and put her back together again, I observed the uneven wear on her cams first-hand and think the extra work and expense will be worth the trouble.  So we'll be taking a trip to the machinist's workshop in the next few weeks, and I'll report back if my impressions are correct.

In the interim, I leave you with another view of Sockhenge:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Kitties

We're all well aware that the dreaded cat version of Cabin Fever is rampant and contagious here.  BobCat needs a major nudge to get out the door, and isn't convinced that the same meteorological outcome is behind both the front door and the sliding door in the kitchen.  If there's ever been a cat who's looking forward to spring, it's the Bobberizer.

Here Bob is on the path to the front door, looking up while watching the snow slide from our metal roof.

He had this very intent look on his face, and kept ducking down slowly as the snow fell in sheets from the roof.  I love how one of his ears is always a bit off-kilter; it's like a little radar that rotates to the source of sound before his head has to move.

Weenie Popeenie has decided she loves the bathroom sink.  She loves water, and especially dripping water.  Good thing she can't open the faucets - yet!

I don't know why it has to be the bathroom sink, maybe it's the finish or the form or the warmth of the porcelain, but she can be found having her evening nap in the sink most days.  She also fights me for the hot-water bottle I take to bed every night.  She's quite the little diva, and of course we indulge her many little whims.  How can you resist an angelic little face like that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crankin' Time

Well, all I can say is this:  Planetary Alignment has occurred.  I have been crankin' (and crankin' and crankin') out so many socks that I have made a major dent in my sock yarn stash.  I am at the point of ordering more wool...a shocking thought!

Here's my first completed pair:

These are knitted with Lana Grossa Meilenweit in an unknown colourway.  They're not perfect, but I was pleased as punch to get these done!  

And my second:

I gave these Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett (rhymes with Safe Asset, says the man himself...) in colourway 4255 to my Dad for his 81st birthday.  To say he was pleased is an understatement.  He knows just how much I have been tinkering with my CSM's over the past 2 years.

These were both knit on Marie, outfitted with the 72-needle cylinder.

In the past 2 weeks I have churned out 10 pairs of socks.  Just as I had feared, it becomes somewhat obsessive, and I can think of little more than sitting at the CSM and cranking away.

My third CSM, Victoria, is currently outfitted with the 54-needle cylinder is still attached to the kitchen counter.  I need to get this baby fine-tuned, but it's hard with the 72-needle cylinder getting so much love these days.  I still have some issues with the fact the cams are well-worn on Victoria, and keep toying with the ideas of having them brazed rather than ground smooth.  I'm still not sure which route to take.

I'm also not thrilled with the Legaré yarn topper and it's somewhat ridiculous yarn mast spring.  The Auto Knitter is superior, in my opinion, and I'd love to find a few and put them on each machine.

I also found a great tutorial on the Circular Sock Machine Forum on Ravelry on purl-side kitchenering.  I can't tell you just how much easier it is than knit-side kitchenering.  Give it a try!
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