Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March 2014 - meeting notes

Last night's Kniterary was another huge success! There were some new faces and we hope that everyone had a great time and felt welcome enough to come back in May.

Knitting Trivia
Thanks so much to Travis for hosting another great night of Knitting Trivia. Everyone had a great time with some fun and challenging questions, and the winning teams took home some great prizes! Congratulations to Team Knit Wit's, Team Dunno and Team KnitWitz!

Email Reminders
Christina would like to remind all members (even those who haven't come out in a while) that the library sends out a reminder every month in the week before our meeting. If you are not getting these emails, or if you would like to start getting them, please email Christina Sills at the library and she will add you to the email mailing list.

Pass-It-On Project
For those of you who don't remember the Pass-It-On Project, Mary Charles began this free-form piece in January, then passed it on to Monica. Monica then worked on it during the month of February, then passed it on to John for March. Lisa, John's mom, dropped it off quickly before our meeting last night and we got to see its latest progress! As you can see from the photo, John has added a variegated piece that acts like a handle. When we offered up the piece for the next person, Aisling jumped at the opportunity. We can't wait to see what she does with this....'thing'!

School for Young Moms
We had a lovely Thank You card from the School for Young Moms, thanking us for the donation of knitting needles and yarn. The moms are learning to knit by making baby blankets for their wee ones and are truly appreciative of our donation.

Hubbert Farms
Next month we have scheduled the field trip to Hubbert Farms. Jody and the crew are excited about having us visit...the lambs should be frolicking and we'll be able to see the alpacas, the horses and the dogs!
We already have 13 signed up, which means we have room for 2 more in this time slot. If we get more, we can just book a second time for the same day. There will be some fleece and handspun for sale, so check out the website for directions, and to peruse the photo gallery of their animals. Remember that THERE WILL BE NO KNITERARY ON THE LAST MONDAY OF APRIL!

Peterborough Fibre Arts Festival
This Saturday is the 4th Annual Peterborough Fibre Arts Festival, which takes place in the lower level of the Peterborough Public Library, in the same room in which we meet for Kniterary. The Kniterary Society will have a table, which will include a running slideshow of all past posters, as well as projects of pride made by members. If you would like to have a favourite project featured on our table, please feel free to drop it off while you visit the festival and you can pick it up afterwards. Lisa Noble will be conducting a workshop at 10:30 on Fibre Related Computer Apps and Programs; register by emailing Monica. Vendors and demonstrators of a huge variety of fibre crafts will fill the auditorium and the hallway, so come and check out the amazing fibre crafts showcased at this fantastic event!

Knitting Kninjas Blog
We've mentioned this blog before, but there seems to be some action planned soon with the Knitting Kninjas. Check out the blog and keep your eyes peeled in the Peterborough area for a knit bomb event coming soon!?

Question of the Night
Each month I will post a problem, mistake, pattern dilemma, or just a general fibre-related question that a member has and I will do my best to answer the question. This month I have two issues to cover.

The first question comes from Joan and is actually a request for help from other members. Joan has just finished a hooked rug project and would like to have suggestions and help for what to do next. Joan knows that she has many options, such as pillow cover or wall hanging, but would like some assistance finishing this piece. If anyone has any suggestions, or is able to help in any way, please touch base with Joan at our next meeting, Monday May 26th (Storytime Kniterary).


The next question comes from our feedback sheets (that you can fill out at any meeting).
The question states "How do you know which wool to knit for the right gauge? How would you know who many balls you would need if you use a different wool than the pattern calls for?"

This is a doozy! 
Choosing the right materials for a project is a very important aspect of the process. Most often the pattern will either call for a specific yarn (such as Malabrigo Lace) or will call for the general weight and fibre content of yarn (such as worsted weight cotton), in addition to dictating the needle size. The weight and fibre content are usually chosen for both their gauge (stitches and rows per inch) and for aesthetic reasons, such as the drape or stiffness, the feel of the fibre, the look of the fibre, etc.

A good pattern will also include the gauge necessary to achieve the same results (size, drape, stretch, etc) as intended by the pattern. With many patterns, it is not entirely necessary to achieve exact gauge, such as for toys, household items (dishcloths, pillows, etc) because they don't really need to 'fit' anything. Wearable items, on the other hand, are intended to fit a person, often a specific person, and need to fit the correct size precisely.

Knitting a gauge swatch before starting your pattern is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! Even if you are using the same yarn, or the same weight of yarn as called for in the pattern, it is still essential to knit a gauge swatch. All knitters knit with different tensions, and sometimes the same knitter will knit the same pattern with different tensions, depending on how they are sitting, how relaxed or tense they are, how many drinks they've had (Pints and Purls)...or any number of influencing factors.

To knit a gauge swatch, double-check the gauge instructions in your pattern, whether they state that the gauge measurement is in stocking stitch or in the pattern stitch as directed in the instructions. You will need to use the needles and fibre that you plan to use, knit up a swatch at least the size of the swatch instructed, which is usually 4"X4"; making a larger swatch (even 10"X10") is highly recommended, as you can measure a section within the piece, and making a significantly larger swatch will help to give you an idea of what kind of drape you'll get from your finished fabric.

Regardless, when you are finished knitting your piece, you should bind it off according to the pattern directions, then (and this is integral!) wash your piece exactly as you plan to wash the finished project. Hand wash, machine wash, tumble dry, hang to dry, lay flat to dry....whatever you plan on doing with your final piece on a regular basis. This will give you the final and true gauge of your finished piece.

You will then measure your gauge swatch. Use a knit gauge to measure exactly how many stitches and rows you have per 4inches. In the photo you can see that this swatch measures out 10rows X 6.5 stitches per 2inches; you would need to multiply this by two to find the gauge over four inches Make sure to calculate precisely; a half stitch may seem small but when measured over the circumference of a sweater it could mean the difference of a couple of inches!

If you have fewer stitches per inch, then your knitting is too loose and you need to use a smaller needle. If you have more stitches per inch, then your knitting is too tight and you need to use a larger needle. You will want to start the process again.

This may seem like a waste of time and yarn...BUT ITS NOT! Compare the few hours and metres that you will use to make a few swatches, to the hours/days/weeks, and hundreds or thousands of metres that you may use to make a sweater, only to find that it is not to gauge, and therefore not going to fit at all.

As far as figuring out how much yarn you need for a pattern, the pattern should tell you either how many balls of a specific yarn you need (such as 2 skeins of Madeline Tosh DK in "Grasshopper") or a general description with the yardage (such as 155metres of worsted 10ply). Either way, if you are buying a yarn not specified in the pattern, you need to figure out how much total yardage you will need, for example if there are 206m in each skein of Madeline Tosh DK, you will need 412m total for your project. If you are buying a skein of DK yarn that measures only 100m, you would need to purchase 5 balls...400 plus an extra skein for the remainder. You will always want to purchase more yarn that you think you need...its better to have too much leftover yarn, than to run out and not be able find the same dye lot!

Keep in mind that Ravelry is always a fantastic resource for helping you to find yarn for your project. When you are looking at a pattern on Rav, there is a plethora of additional information at your fingertips. Along the top of any pattern page, you can choose to look at yarn ideas (to see ALL of the yarn that others have used in this pattern), you can look at projects (to see ALL of the actual projects that others have finished of this pattern; from which you can filter your search by a variety of variables), you can look at comments (which will be comments that others have made on the actual pattern including problem comments that they've sent to the designer) and finally you can click on forum posts (which shows you all the forum posts in which members have commented on the pattern, especially long conversations, which can be helpful if you are having problems with the pattern).

Hopefully, this answers the question and feel free to comment on this post, with your input, suggestions or any questions that you may have.

Next Kniterary Night
Remember that April is our field trip to Hubbert Farms, so the next time we meet at the library will be the end of May...