Monday, September 17, 2007

Trying out Knitting

Here is the start of my knitting career. I think I tried knitting when I was a child. My mom use to knit a lot and I remember her teaching me. For some reason I didn't care for it, and decided to work on other crafts instead. I remember something about it getting twisted in my fingers and having a hard time working the yarn. At any rate, I didn't remember how to knit (though maybe some of it came back to me as I did it). So I got a book that showed some different stitches. I bought some cheap yarn (to practice with) and some knitting needles and set out to learn how to knit. My first project was a blanket for my son's teddy bear (he gets cold at night, you know). It's hard to see the knitting in the picture because the yarn is a very dark navy blue. I did mostly regular knitting/purl stitch (Stockinette Stitch) but I did a hem of Moss stitch. The Moss Stitch was difficult in that I couldn't tell which row I was on or which stitch I just did. I think in time these will come more easily. I noticed by the time I finished my second project that I could tell what each stitch was.

For my second project I decided to tackle mittens. I hope to make a lot of mittens out of alpaca yarn so I need to learn how to make them. I picked a variated acrylic yarn for my practice mittens. I choose to make the biggest size mitten because I have fairly big hands (I usually buy mens gloves/mittens because women's are tight). Well, I think these are plenty big!! In the first picture you can see that it looks like a mitten, though the thumb area is too big (not sure what happened there). In the second picture you can see how big it is compared to my hand. Maybe I'll wear this over another glove on the really cold winter days.

For my first attempt I think I did well. I will need lots more practice before I work with alpaca yarn. I will also need to learn how to work with the alpaca yarn. I've read that it is different to work with, but I didn't know enough about knitting at that time to fully understand what is different about it.

I do know that alpaca fleece made into yarn is reported to be warmer than wool, and not scratchy like wool because alpaca's have less guard hairs than sheep do.

Another good point is that it is organic, not something chemically made. And being that it will come from my own alpacas, I will know exactly where it has been. As we plant the pasture and figure out how to design the inside of the barn, one thing we do keep in mind is trying to limit the amount of dirt and sand the alpaca's are exposed to. The cleaner they are, the nicer their fleece will be to work with.

Now I'll off to make the other mitten for a matching pair, but this time I'm making a smaller size and I'm going to try to fix whatever happened to the thumb.

This past weekend we spent some time cleaning out the barn. It was full of mostly junk. What made it especially hard is that the stuff did not belong to me or J. It is his parents' barn. Needless to say sorting and figuring out where to put things that do not belong to you is quite challenging. We will need to decide what to do for flooring in the barn (right now it is a sand/dirt floor). And we will need to section off places in the barn, some for the alpacas and some for storing their food and a vet area to do their monthly medical care (trim nails, shots, deworm, etc). There is always work to keep us busy!

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