Monday, May 5, 2008

The Dizzy Frogger's Grand Debut

Blessed Master Blackhead, unlike (almost) all other husbands, has never once balked at the size of my Stash. In fact, he encourages me to take full advantage of sales and discounts. (Yes, I know he is a saint. And no, I shall not share.) Recently, he has attained a whole new level of Wonderful. He has made me a wall-mounted gadget to roll yarn into hanks. Why? I have decided that if I ever want to knit a 100% cashmere sweater for an adult more creative means must be employed. After witnessing Cid's highly successful execution of 2 reclaimed cashmere sweaters, I decided to take the plunge myself.

During a dismally gray and miserable day, I betook myself to Goodwill and scored 4 cashmere sweaters for about $25. That weekend, after hearing my evil little plan, Master Blackhead helped me comb through the racks at Value Village. We came home with 6 more sweaters; 2 of which I like just as they are. So exactly how do I plan to reclaim yarn from 8 second hand cashmere sweaters?
  1. Pull out seams.
  2. Roll yarn into hanks.
  3. Wash hanks to clean and unkink yarn.
  4. Dye selected hanks.
  5. Ply yarn.
Sounds easy right? Not even close. When I started, I was hand-winding the yarn into baseball sized center pull balls. The first sweater took me a week to wind. Witnessing this plundering struggle, Master Blackhead just knew there had to be an easier way. I told him about niddy noddies, but he decided that it wasn't cool enough due to a dearth of moving parts. He plotted and designed for a few days and the Dizzy Frogger was born. This baby frogs (unravels) and winds sweaters in a matter of minutes. It looks humble, but it works beautifully. Behold the Dizzy Frogger! (with some dark red yarn wound on it)

See that block on the lower left? There's a hook on the end that feeds the yarn to the rotating crossbars. A Delrin pin at the center makes for a smooth turn. At the end of each bar is a 3" wooden peg, one of which is attached with a screw and wingnut. The detachable peg releases the yarn when removed. This gadget has been indispensible. Just how much progress has been made since the Dizzy Frogger spun its way into my knitting world? See for yourself.

That's 5 1/2 cashmere sweaters frogged and wound. It is a beautifully fluffy armload. The purple will most likely be dyed with yellow Kool Aid to yield (hopefully) a brown or taupe color. I'm still planning the color combinations I want to use for the plying. I'm thinking pink, brown, and yellow will make a nice cardigan for me. The dark red, yellow, and dark green (not frogged yet) would be nice for Master Blackhead. Finally, the two blues and what's left of the brown would make a nice lap blanket for all the Blackheads to share. I'm really excited about this and hope it will work. If not, Cid is going to hear a lot of whining.

Before I am accused of doing nothing but ripping out sweaters and all-in-all being destructive, I have a FO to share. Look at my summery socks! They started as anklets, but it was such a waste of yarn that I decided that a full sock would be better.

Name: Wildberry Orange
Yarn: Adriafil Fruttamix, 1 skein per sock
Yarn Source: Amazing Threads
Needles: US 1 dpns, US 3 9"and 32" circulars
Pattern: my own
Comments: Using the dpns, I used a tubular cast on technique taught to me by Thor. Knit in St st in the round on the 9" circulars. The heel is an afterthought heel. This is a fabulous 100% Egyptian cotton yarn. It is so soft and not too hard on the hands to knit. AT was having a sale on it last week (20% off). It comes with a free pattern for anklets, but that just made me mad. After finishing one, I had almost half a skein left! What a waste. I ripped out the sock and started anew. Now onto its mate. No Second Sock Syndrome for me! (yeah right)

Finally, as promised last entry, here is a photo of the most darling knitted bear, Sprinkle. I've often contemplated knitting Sprinkle a sweater, but feel that it would be small potatoes compared with what Cid has knit for him, namely, all his fur! Once again, thank you Cid! You can see that he is happy and loved here.

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