kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2011-04-21 08:42 am
Entry tags:

Remembering The Source

Right now, I'm very busy working on an MA in creative writing. There's a huge amount of reading and writing involved, of course, not to mention a hefty dissertation due this coming autumn. Last year, I did all right with balancing everything and continuing to knit, but this year the reading load shot up and got out of my control like Moody's Goose. So I decided it was time to put the knitting aside and carry books in my handbag, instead of carrying both and ending up knitting on the Tube and not reading.

And you know what?

It didn't really work out all that well. I found myself behind. I found myself at odds with my own creativity. And yet I persevered, not taking knitting with me everywhere I went, rarely making it out to knitting events, letting my pile of UFOs sit in the basket(who am I kidding? baskets) like woolly motherless children.

I kept on doing it. You know what they say about the definition of insanity, right? Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Not only that, but people actually praised me for not knitting! My GP, when she saw me in the waiting room before an appointment, said, "Well, at least today you are reading and not knitting." (wtf?) A person in authority at my job used my story of how the iPad was freeing me to write anywhere I wanted to to say proudly, "And now she's knitting less and writing more!" in a meeting. (that wasn't what I meant at all...)

Then, someone asked me, "But don't you feel like knitting is a creativity-sparking exercise?" And I thought back to all those things I tell my knitting students about the meditative quality of knitting. Sometimes, I tell them, sometimes, when I have a problem, I just sit down and knit. And you know what? The solution to my problem just appears.

So a couple of weeks ago, I got sick and I couldn't go to work for a little bit. I dragged myself out to the RFH with a couple of socks, just to see if I could be around people. And I was working away on this simple sock when suddenly the whole plot of my novel appeared before me. I mean, I had it all outlined and stuff, but suddenly I saw the whole thing unfolding like a film. I made a couple of notes about key scenes and went back to knitting, and that evening I wrote 2,000 words.

So, yeah. Not putting the knitting aside any more.

Pictures, if you're interested, beneath the cut tag.

A couple of socks )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2011-04-21 08:42 am
Entry tags:

Remembering The Source

Right now, I'm very busy working on an MA in creative writing. There's a huge amount of reading and writing involved, of course, not to mention a hefty dissertation due this coming autumn. Last year, I did all right with balancing everything and continuing to knit, but this year the reading load shot up and got out of my control like Moody's Goose. So I decided it was time to put the knitting aside and carry books in my handbag, instead of carrying both and ending up knitting on the Tube and not reading.

And you know what?

It didn't really work out all that well. I found myself behind. I found myself at odds with my own creativity. And yet I persevered, not taking knitting with me everywhere I went, rarely making it out to knitting events, letting my pile of UFOs sit in the basket(who am I kidding? baskets) like woolly motherless children.

I kept on doing it. You know what they say about the definition of insanity, right? Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Not only that, but people actually praised me for not knitting! My GP, when she saw me in the waiting room before an appointment, said, "Well, at least today you are reading and not knitting." (wtf?) A person in authority at my job used my story of how the iPad was freeing me to write anywhere I wanted to to say proudly, "And now she's knitting less and writing more!" in a meeting. (that wasn't what I meant at all...)

Then, someone asked me, "But don't you feel like knitting is a creativity-sparking exercise?" And I thought back to all those things I tell my knitting students about the meditative quality of knitting. Sometimes, I tell them, sometimes, when I have a problem, I just sit down and knit. And you know what? The solution to my problem just appears.

So a couple of weeks ago, I got sick and I couldn't go to work for a little bit. I dragged myself out to the RFH with a couple of socks, just to see if I could be around people. And I was working away on this simple sock when suddenly the whole plot of my novel appeared before me. I mean, I had it all outlined and stuff, but suddenly I saw the whole thing unfolding like a film. I made a couple of notes about key scenes and went back to knitting, and that evening I wrote 2,000 words.

So, yeah. Not putting the knitting aside any more.

Pictures, if you're interested, beneath the cut tag.

A couple of socks )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-09-17 03:21 am
Entry tags:

Dryad!

Wow, nearly a month with no posts? I'm sorry. I know my teeming audience is completely devastated when they don't find a new knitting post from me! (just kidding; every time I make a new knitting post, I lose readers like crazy, to be honest)

But -- here's what's been going on knittingwise since the 26th of August, when I posted about my 31 WIPs.

  • I finished two!
  • I started designing a new sock, which I'll go into more detail about eventually, I'm sure.
  • Test knitting has started on another sock pattern!
  • The delightful V and I have begun knitting school plans. Again, more later.
  • I started the project you'll see a photo of below, Dryad.


I have been filling my time with lots of outings and plans with the delightful V, lovely and fun experiences at my day job, and tonight I did some volunteer teaching at Stitch London, a group I highly recommend if you're ever in London.

When I was working for KnitWitches at Knit Nation back in August, I picked up a skein of Wollmeise lace yarn in colourway Golden Pear. And some coppery beads. I picked these things up in order to knit the Dryad stole by Sivia Harding.

You all know how I love mythical and fairy type creatures, and folk tales, and stuff like that, right? So when you look at that picture, are you as annoyed as I was?

See, a Dryad is a tree spirit, not a water spirit. Now, I'm pretty sure the designer would have done her research on this, so perhaps the blame goes to the photographers and designers at Twist Collective (which is a lovely knitting mag, honest!), who did this whole photoshoot of a routinely willowy model by the sea, or a river or something. Sorry, TC: that's a Naiad you're thinking of. So either somebody got the name wrong in copy or somebody's an idiot. I'm going to go with the latter. Pedantic as I am, I decided that my Dryad would by-damn look like a dryad!

Why did I cast it on tonight? Well, because tomorrow I'm representing the Knitting and Crochet guild at a stitching show, and it's always good to be knitting a stunning piece of lace at these things.

How do you think I'm doing?




The first few rounds of Dryad
The first few rounds of Dryad
This is Wollmeise lace yarn in colourway 'golden pear'. I really like the way the oversized copper kidney bean beads are showing up here. This thing is going to scream 'handwash only' in the loudest knitty voice ever!

kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-08-26 02:12 am

Thirty-One Projects On Needles? Good Lord! Cast On Something New!

Yes, really. Thirty-one projects on needles. And eleven of them are NOT socks! I am unrepentant. I'm also sure there are a few more around the house somewhere....

Thirty-one Projects: Thirty-one Annotated Photographs! )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-08-23 10:30 pm

New Pattern Link for Razor's Edge Socks

You can find them here. Several people had suggestions, and I've incorporated them into a new .pdf, with a better photograph, better charts, ad more definition. As always, I'd love some feedback.

If you want to knit these and you're a Ravelry member, please queue them and put them into your project page on Ravelry — it would help my designer stats move from '0' to 'more than 0'. :D

(I'm Kniteracy on Ravelry.)
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-08-23 02:25 pm

Checking a pattern link!

Razor's Edge Socks!

If you care to, try downloading this to make sure it works? :)
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-08-19 11:39 pm

Fagoting Rib Socks, Spiral Cable Socks, Dover Castle Shawl: A Miscellany of Process

So, according to various Knitting Luminaries out there, there are two main paths on the Knitting Road, and they are Process and Project. Let me give you some definitions, in case you're not a knitting addict and you've never heard these terms. Knitters, go get yourselves a cup of tea; this won't take long. Better be a fast kettle, actually.

Process Knitters enjoy the journey more than the destination. That is, they love the stitch, the technique, the way a colour looks next to another colour. They're more concerned with learning a new technique than finishing something in time for Auntie Schmoop's birthday. They often have tons of projects on the go, often for the purpose of teaching themselves a new technique or exploring some stitch dictionary they found in the library.

Product Knitters want to finish. While they love knitting as much as their fellow travellers, it's the end product they crave. They'll put other projects aside to finish a special cardigan in time for autumn. They often have only a few projects going at one time, and there are priorities. While they may enjoy knitting that sock on the train, Auntie Schmoop's got to have her lap throw in time, and so that silk/wool blend stays in the handbag when they've got the room to knit the project that's higher up on the priority list.

I am a process knitter. I've cast on a pair of socks just to figure out how a unique rolled cuff was created. I've designed a completely tubular vest for a teddy bear just so I can be assured I know how to cut both armhole and neck steeks. So when I learned how to attach beads to lace using the crochet hook method at Knit Nation, I decided I should make something relatively simple employing beads just to get the knowledge cemented in my head. I did a Ravelry search for socks with beads and found what I was looking for on the Yahoo Groups page for a group I've been a lurker on for years. Below, you'll see photos of the recently-finished (and given away!) Fagoting Rib Socks. "Fagoting" is an embroidery term, also applied to lace knitting. It's a decorative lace achieved by pulling threads away from one another to give a lattice effect.

































Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Front

Here are the completed Fagoting Rib Socks. Yes, that's fagoting running down the centre front. :)
Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Front
Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Sides

I really do love the subtle bead detail. I first started these in a limited edition Cherry Tree Hill colour that I fell in love with, but the CTH, even though it's classed as a 4-ply/fingering/sock weight wool, was just slightly too big for the beads. So I dug around in my stash and found 100g of Opal Solid I'd had lying around since an order from Get Knitted ages ago, and the Opal is considerably smoother and less fluffy than the CTH. Now the CTH is becoming something else, which I'll post about eventually, I'm sure.
Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Sides
Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Back

And the fagoting up the backs is nice, too. Note the modified Eye of Partridge stitch on the heel flap. Lots of you know that I flit around among several different projects at the same time, because sometimes I just don't want to knit the same old thing again. That's one reason why I almost never do the second sock right after the first: I just have several socks on the go at once, and when I finish one I work on another. Eventually I come around to the mate of an already finished sock, and then I can rejoice because I have a new pair of socks. I don't think it's a bad system. But these socks didn't bore me, not one bit, not even though they're knit from the cuff down, which I usually hate. The ruffled cuff was interesting to make, beading is a new skill for me so I cherished it, even though there aren't many beads on this sock, and the fagoting rib was fast, easy, and wonderful to watch. The modified heel stitch made even the heel flap fun, and the narrowing of the lace pattern on the sock's instep was fun to do as the foot of the sock acquired its shape. We've all got projects we'd like to throw across the room—I couldn't put this one down. It was like a great book. Designer Claudia Tietze did a great job with this.
Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Back
Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Where They Belong

On V's feet! I'm so glad she was pleased with her birthday present. :) My lovely friend V is younger than me by only a few months, and her birthday was last Friday. These socks were finished in time for me to give them to her the first time I saw her after her birthday, and that was lovely. As many of you know, I am a selfish knitter and I don't give a lot of knitted items away, except once a year to my favourite filk charity, so you might have some idea of what an important friend V is and how much I love her.
Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Where They Belong
Process Knitter? You Bet! Spiral Cable Socks!

Sometimes you look at something, and you can't help thinking, "How did she *do* that?" That's what I thought when I saw these socks. And you know what happened next! I cast these on last night and knitted up the toes before class at I Knit London. I was planning to figure out the technique in the dying embers of the knitting group after my students had left, but instead I found myself in no fit state until I got home last night, whereupon it was much simpler. By this morning when I headed to the Royal Festival Hall to have a much-looked-forward-to meeting with my beloved Uppity Ladies, I felt confident. Of course, the marking thread I'd decided to use turned out to be much too dark in the RFH's poor lighting, so I borrowed, first from J and then from Aunty M, brighter marking wool —that's Aunty M's turquoise DK teasing from behind the sock-in-progress here.

So how is it done? Come talk to me in person sometime, and I'll show you. Or run-don't-walk out and get yourself a copy of THINK OUTSIDE THE SOX.
Process Knitter? You Bet! Spiral Cable Socks!
Spiral Cable Socks, from Think Outside the Sox

Here's the photograph of the completed socks from the book. A little more about the book? It's the result of a Knitter's magazine contest, and I've been reading teasers for it for months. I was so interested in this book I actually signed up on the Knitter's web site to find out more about it. They didn't get back to me, but one night a few weeks ago at I Knit London, the delightful but rarely seen these days B comes up to me and says, "Have you seen this book? I really like it, and I think I'm going to buy it, but not tonight, because I don't have the money." I snatched it out of her hands (I recognised the cover) and said, "That's good, because I'm going to buy it!" Whereupon money was exchanged, and we figured out that only one copy of the book had been ordered into IKL. Muahaha! Victory was mine! And the book doesn't disappoint: there's a huge variety of fascinating sock patterns, from the sublime to the ridiculous, in this book. Sometimes a book comes along that really changes the way you think about something, and this one does that. It's not as earth-shattering as Cat Bordhi's New Pathays for Sock Knitters, but it's amazing for its sheer diversity. If you love knitting socks and you can find a copy, run out and get it. I think it was £18.
Spiral Cable Socks, from Think Outside the Sox
Dover Castle Shawl, Getting Dressed

This is a project I haven't blogged about, because again it's a gift for a friend. It's actually been finished for weeks now, but I only got around to blocking it tonight. Blocking takes up space, and there's not always very much space in my house; at the moment, the blocking boards are taking up about 1/3 of our huge kitchen table. Assuming no rain tomorrow (and that's a big assumption!) I'll hang it out on the line in the morning for faster drying.

No, the iPad isn't included for scale. It just happened to be sitting there while I was pinning down the shawl.
Dover Castle Shawl, Getting Dressed
Dover Castle Shawl, Lace Detail

This is Handmaiden Casbah Sock, in the prettiest blue-purple I've ever seen. I could only afford one ball of it, and I started out making something else out of it. But this came out much nicer. The lace pattern is very simple, but particularly in the soft wool/cashmere blend, it feels and looks amazing. And you can't beat Handmaiden's rich colours. I can never get knitting photos perfect: the colour here is actually a lot darker and richer than what you see in the photograph.
Dover Castle Shawl, Lace Detail




kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-08-09 10:51 am
Entry tags:

Being a Joiner (or not) and Fagoting Rib Socks

I don't know what it is with me. All my knitting friends talk about getting sucked in to Ravelry, how many friends they've made there, how great it is to have a community of knitters ... and while I've been on Ravelry since October of 2007, I only just passed my 100th post.

Once upon a time, there was a Knitlist. Maybe it's still out there; I don't know. I joined it, and I was relatively active for a little while, but I just couldn't keep it up. I don't think I'm a member of the Knitlist any longer, if it still exists. I'm still a member of the Sock Knitter email list, even though I never read it. I'm also a member of Socken-Kreative, even though I don't speak German, because good patterns are occasionally posted there in English. And I've been a member of the Six Sox Knitalong mailing list for years, but I don't think I've ever made a single post to the mailing list.

I guess I just am not a joiner. Maybe I don't have the kind of time to invest in these things, I don't know. Loads of knitters I love and admire don't think their day has begun if they haven't caught up on Sock Knitters Anonymous on Ravelry, and one lady swears by Lazy, Stupid, and Godless, also on Ravelry.

Nobody knows who I am on Ravelry, except for a few local friends. I changed my Ravelry name yesterday, and I don't think anybody except my little local circle will even have noticed. I use Ravelry mostly to keep track of projects; I actually have a more extensive project notebook than many people who are much more "active" on Ravelry than I am. I pitch Ravelry to my students as a place to learn about patterns and see them knitted up in ways you might not have imagined. But the sense of community other people have found there continues to elude me.

Ravelry and other knitting oriented groups/sites aren't the only places this happens. I love fountain pens, but I only go on the fountain pen network forum to ask questions. While I was once an active member of the internet harp list, I never read the messages any more. I don't even keep up with the wire harp list. I barely read the filk mailing lists most of my UK friends live on. I can just about keep up with LiveJournal, if I filter my reading, and FaceBook is skimmable. I don't actually read my friends list on Dreamwidth: DW is just a home for the Kniteracy blog until I have a better place to put it.

And yet I'm sure I'm a social person. I'm considered talkative, even magnanimous, by most people who know me.

So, OK. If you're a joiner, if you're a member in good standing, if you're invested, tell me how you got that way, and tell me what the difference is between your experience of places like Ravelry and fringey me.

And what was the point of that personal ramble on your knitting blog, Gwen? Well, it's because of what I'm knitting now. It comes from the Six Sox Knitalong, and I feel a little guilty for not, well, knitting along. It's one of the few patterns posted there that's ever completely caught my interest and come around at the right time for me to knit it and enjoy it and do something a bit new (beads) to me at the same time.

Want some pictures? Or-- here's a link to the Ravelry Project Page for these socks. I can now share links from Ravelry, so you should be able to see the page even if you're not a Ravelry member.


Fagoting Rib Sock, Cuff Detail
Fagoting Rib Sock, Cuff Detail
Fagoting Rib Socks, Progress Down Foot
Fagoting Rib Socks, Progress Down Foot

kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-08-01 10:17 pm

KnitNation

I've spent the last two days helping out KnitWitches at KnitNation. It was a lot of fun, but very tiring, especially since I started the weekend with some kind of horrible stomach bug that didn't completely go away until sometime last evening.

If you've ever seen KnitWitches yarn at a show or perhaps at I Knit London, you know that it lives up to its name: "Seriously Gorgeous". Eirwen, the talented dyer and creates amazing colourways in luxury yarn that so many UK knitters, myself included, just lust after. It was loads of fun to watch her enjoying the pleasure people got from looking at and touching her work. She's not only an amazing dyer, she's a delightful person, and I enjoyed every minute I spent with her. Her husband, Richard, is also lovely. I'm not sure, but I may have earned the name "snood-chucker", which is probably right up there with "chicken-chaser" in the world of great titles. ;-)

There were loads of knitting luminaries to be seen, but as I was working (and couldn't have afforded any of the classes anyway), I didn't meet any of them. I did catch a glimpse of Beth Brown-Reinsel at the after party, as well as Cookie A, but I didn't meet anybody else. I did score a copy of Janel Laidman's first book The Enchanted Sole, which she apparently was on hand to sign, but ih. Honestly, the classes were so expensive that nobody I know could have afforded any of them, but there were a whole lot of knitters there spending a whole lot of money, so somebody must have been able to. It's too bad: I've been wanting to take BBR's Gansey Workshop for years. That's the only class that really appealed to me: most everything else was stuff I've done before. It didn't really matter; I got to see a lot of friends, and I really enjoyed working with KnitWitches. Besides, I already got to meet my Knitting Idol, and it was just as fabulous as I hoped it'd be.

Both days were busy, in waves. Wollmeise was definitely the rock star of the show; Eirwen said that on Thursday night's pre-show sale, the doors opened and the thundering footsteps down to the Woolmeise booth just made everybody laugh. Wollmeise is hard to get outside of Munich: while they have an online store, they post new wool every week, one a week, and they sell out in less than 24 hours. So, yeah. If you go to the store near Munich, you can get it, but otherwise you have to hope you know someone who's going to Munich (well, Pfaffenhofen) and doesn't mind stopping by Wollmeise for you.

Juno had some lovely things, as did Artisan, Old Maiden Aunt, Skein Queen, EasyKnits, and of course KnitWitches (but you know I'm biased!). Because the KnitWitches booth was just across from Loop, I got to talk to the Loop Ladies, and since the Knitting and Crochet Guild stand was just a little further on, I got to talk to and hang out with the lovely Vanessa, Jan, Yvonne, Penny, Roz, and Various Other People I Can't Remember Right Now.

Good things about the show: Cosy atmosphere, friendly people, mostly good organisation and communication, extremely helpful and ever-present crew. Good mixture of ages, though the event definitely skewed younger and hipper with loads of Ravellers and their youthful enthusiasm everywhere.

Room for improvement: Marketplace seemed cramped from the vendor point of view: even six more inches would have made folk much more comfortable. Shops seemed stacked, and the very smallest stall size was barely big enough for two people and a table. Location in general was not fabulous: hard to find, expensive neighbourhood that probably made accommodation difficult for out-of-towners, we were sharing the space with ICL students and staff, not to mention other events going on throughout the weekend, such poor acoustics in the after party that you had to shout to hear yourself and hearing others was impossible. Classes were £10 more expensive for 3 hours than the I Knit Weekender classes (I admit I may be feeling sour grapes here because I was interested in several and would never have been able to afford them-- I couldn't have afforded to go if I hadn't been working for KnitWitches, so that gives you an idea of exactly how poor I am).

Friday, I was on the stall most of the day, with a half hour break for lunch and little walks around the marketplace to stretch. It was a little annoying not to have a badge, as I kept getting stopped at the door and having to explain who I was again, but nothing's perfect. Marketplace was open 'til 8, but Eirwen let me go around 6. Of course, I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with the ladies at K&C Guild, and then [profile] filceolaire brought me doughnuts! He and I had dinner out, then he went off to do night inspections, and I went home to fall into bed.

Saturday, I was on the stall most of the day, with a half hour break for lunch and little walks around the marketplace to stretch. [personal profile] mokatiki came by, and we had a wander. She bought yarn. She helped Eirwen buy yarn. She didn't buy that much yarn. Honest. After the marketplace closed at 6, we had an hour's worth of teardown, and then Vanessa, Penny, Mary, and I went to Paper Tiger for Chinese buffet (£4.99, yay! long walk, boo!), then back to ICL for the Ravelry Party (which, unlike the Ravelry Talk, we didn't have to pay £10 to get into). We met Meg, whose Ravelry name has the word Smurf in it, and I finally actually got a Ravelry badge. I'm not all that active on Ravelry, but hey. There were lovely raffle prizes, which we didn't win, and some knitting luminaries, who didn't know us well enough to realise that we were much more entertaining than all the people we did know. We left a little after 10, having drunk our fill (a Diet Coke each!), and then we had to work to find the exit to the venue and walk back to South Kensington to catch buses home. I made a poor decision and caught a very slow, tiny bus that said it went to Elephant and Castle. I got off the bus at St. Giles Circus and caught a 188 to Canada Water, so I could get a closer bus home.

Here is a photograph of all the yarn I got, and an explanation of how I paid for very little of it. :D



Here's the yarn I scored at KnitNation. Top Left: Wollmeise Laceweight, in colourway Kornblume. 300g, 1,722 yards. 100% merino superwash. Payment for a lace class to be taught to S. Top Middle: KnitWitches Seriously Gorgeous Cash-anova Supersock, in colourway Woodland. 300g, appx 1,200 metres. Merino/Cashmere/Nylon. Payment from KnitWitches. Top Right: Wollmeise Twin, in colourway Förster's Glück, 100g, 311m. Superwash merino. For a sock for J. Top Righter Right: Wollmeise Twin, in colourway Feldmauschen, 100g, 310m. Superwash merino. For a sock for J. Smack-Dab in the Middle: Tilli Thomas Rock Star, in colourway Stony Mist, 100g, 150 yards. Silk with glass beads. Yarn-seller's gift to a friend who didn't care for the colourway. Below the smack-dab in the Middle: Wollmeise Lace, in colourway Golden Pear. 300g, 1,717 yards. 100% superwash wool. For my Dryad, payment for another lace class, as it turns out. Bottom: KnitWitches Seriously Gorgeous Laceweight Silk, in colourway Lapis Night. 300g, 1,800m. 100% silk. Payment from KnitWitches.

kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-07-19 11:19 pm
Entry tags:

Since we talked last....

I've started several simple pairs of socks in preparation for the next MA term, started the patterning on the Celtic Leaves shawl, worked hard, written a lot, and mostly knitted very simple things on the train.

Now though, with the hottest part of the summer hopefully behind us, I'm gearing up for KnitNation, where I'll be helping out at the KnitWitches stall and hopefully getting to attend a few events along the way. It should be fun.

Call me a compulsive project-starter (really, it's OK; I call myself that all the time!), but I want something lacy and silky to be knitting during KnitNation. Which one do you like best?




From left to right:
Two skeins of Handmaiden Sea Silk, 800m total
One skein of Seriously Gorgeous Laceweight Swiss Cashmere and Silk, 1,000m
One skein of Artisan Yarns Ravelry Red silk, 600m, and
One skein of Handmaiden Lace Silk, 600m

Now, since I'm working for KnitWitches, it might be politic for me to work with the Seriously Gorgeous. But it's a dark colour and I'm not feeling it right now, plus the cashmere content will make it less than ideal to knit in a hot exhibit hall. I'm leaning more toward the silk and silk/seacell blends, but tell me what you like best!
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
2010-05-02 11:43 pm

Celtic Leaves: Box Pleats!

This evening, I finally started making the box pleats for the Celtic Leaves shawl. They are beautiful and quite easy to make, even though they're a little bit ticky, since I have to juggle three parallel needles (and knit three together from all of them at the same time). I'm using Square dpns for the cable needles now, but I might actually switch to wood if I decide to take this project on the bus in the morning.

Amazingly, my 546 stitches will turn into only 186 stitches when I'm done, according to the pattern.

How the box pleats are made:
For the whole of the pleat section, I've been knitting 30 knit stitches and then 30 purl stitches with a border of 15 purl stitches plus three knit stitches with an eyelet at each edge.

So to begin the box pleat row, I first knit three stitches. Then I'm onto the 15 border purl stitches. Ten of these get slipped onto one cable needle, then the next 10 stitches (5p, 5k) get slipped onto another cable needle. These needles are then placed parallel to the LH needle so that the pleat folds properly, and three stitches are knitted together (one from each needle). The next half of the pleat is made exactly the same way except the fold is reversed. It really is like magic! Right now I'm using a 150cm needle for this project. I may actually end up going with a shorter cable for the remainder of the piece, since I won't need all that extra space. Or maybe I won't: having such a long cable will give me a good way to show it off while I'm knitting!

Once I'm done with the box pleat row, there are some setup rows with a garter stitch base, and then I'm into the shawl itself, which is comprised of two edge panels, two cable panels, and a large centre panel. The panels are separated by simple fagoting, but the effect is very nice and open. I suspect the edges of the box pleats will need to be ironed during blocking/dressing to flatten out the cast-on.

The only thing I'm not looking forward to? Knitting another tedious box pleat section, right at the end of this project! That's another 547-stitch Channel Island cast-on, followed by 22 rows of alternating 30 knit and 30 purl stitches. It's not a killer, and it's good train knitting, but it does go on for a bit!

When I'm done with the box pleats, I'll post more photographs.


Box Pleats
Box Pleats
Three box pleats completed, six to go!
Box Pleat Detail
Box Pleat Detail
Aren't they pretty?

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2010-04-26 10:49 pm

Interesting Knitting Stories -- and Celtic Leaves!

Sunday evening, I was on the Central Line, heading home from work. I took out my knitting and started working on the will-they-ever-end box pleats for Celtic Leaves.

Three seats away, a blonde woman leaned toward me. "Excuse me," she said.

I looked up and smiled at her.

"What are you knitting?"

"It'll be a shawl," I replied.

Across from her, two women who'd been talking to one another listened in. One of them said, "That's going to be a big shawl!"

I chuckled. "These will be box pleats, so the piece will only end up being about half this wide."

"You knit differently than I do," said the other lady.

The blonde lady two seats away nodded. "Me, too," she said. "I've never seen anybody knit like that."

The first lady across the way said, "Oh, that's the Continental style. I was taught to knit that way, believe it or not."

"How's it different?" wondered the blonde lady.

"I handle the yarn in my left hand," I explained. "It's just the way I learned to knit."

"Is it faster?" she asked.

The second lady across the way said, "That's what I've heard."

I didn't notice the lady to my right nodding. "I knit in the old fashioned English way," she said, "and everybody I know who knits like you do knits much faster than I do!"

"There we go!" said the blonde lady. "If only we'd all brought our knitting, we could have a Central Line knitting party right now!"

Everybody had a giggle, and I got back to my knitting. I paused to answer a question from the lady to my right about how the box pleats were going to be made. I explained to her that the purl-side stitches would fold back to create the pleat texture. She made 'impressed' noises.

At my stop, I folded up the knitting and headed down to the Jubilee Line. All the ladies gave me a pleasant goodbye on my way out of the carriage. :-)

And they say Londoners don't talk on the Tube.

Today at work, I was finishing up about three transactions at once and helping a lady find the right person to check her in for an appointment. I paused to ask a gentleman who was standing at the counter if he was doing all right; he'd been standing there a while. He allowed that he was fine, no problem, just waiting for someone to bring him a product. I reassured him that I just like to check on people and was getting ready to head back and take care of something else, when the woman with him said, "Hey! I know you!"

She didn't look familiar to me, but I turned to her and smiled anyway.

"You go to knit nights at I Knit London!"

"Yes, I do," I replied.

"You made that amazing shawl, didn't you?"

"I did," I said. It's hard not to sound prideful when I admit I made this gorgeous thing keeping my shoulders warm in the dry air conditioning. "And I'm almost always at I Knit London on Wednesdays; I teach beginning classes there."

"Do you ever teach lace?" she wondered. She reached out to touch the shawl and I handed her an end to examine.

"I do; it's just a question of when things get onto the shop calendar. If I don't our other teacher, A, has taught lace there before and may very well again."

"I would love to take a lace class from you," she said. She turned to her husband. "See? I told you I knew her!"

I told her I hoped I'd see her at IKL soon, and went back to doing my job.

We are everywhere. :) I've had students and former students come into my workplace before, and others who've recognised me from festivals and knit nights. I also recognise and compliment handknits when I see them on my customers. I say, "Did you knit that?" and get a knowing smile in return. "I thought you might notice," some of them say. I admit I've been wearing the Screaming Green Alien Shawl at work a lot, because it doesn't cover up essential bits of my work identification, and it keeps my shoulders and arms warm. It also makes me feel good about myself, in the same way that wearing handknit socks makes me feel good about myself. I feel more confident when I'm wearing signs of my own competence, if that makes any sense.

At home tonight, I'm wearing a shawl made for me by dear friend SN, whom I haven't seen since I left Atlanta six years ago. It's made out of Aran-weight Wensleydale, in two contrasting shades of grey, a comfortable and homey wrap-for-warmth that makes me feel happy and loved. I'm also wearing a pair of socks [personal profile] otherdeb sent me. They feel good, too. They're all green and lacy. And y'all know how I love green and lacy.

Although there's not much to see yet, there are three photographs of Celtic Leaves, currently barely in progress, below the cut tag.

Celtic Leaves, Box Pleat Photos )
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2010-04-16 08:33 pm

Placeholder

There's been no time to write recently, as I've got back to my day job and have an approaching deadline for my MA term assessment. I have been knitting of course, and I've also been thinking about different ways to write about knitting. So here's a list of knitterly things I want to tell you about over the coming days/weeks/months/whatever/did I mention I'm busy? ;)

  • How it feels to cast on 547 stitches in Channel Island cast on, and just what is Channel Island cast on, anyway?
  • Using stuff from my weird techniques class in real life: why knowing how to knit (well, purl!) backwards is making me very happy as I work on this 10-stitch triangle.
  • Sometimes the chart's just too damn big -- Cairdeas on hold for now.
  • Itching to get back to sock design work over the spring and summer when I'm on break from the MA. Stay tuned.
  • How would you guys feel if I said I was seriously thinking about offering a class that's nothing but cast ons? And another that's nothing but cast offs? Would you laugh? Or would you be like, "Wow, I wanna take THAT!" (Assuming you take knitting classes at all, that is.)


and back to work.
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2010-04-06 06:39 pm
Entry tags:

Another Fine Yarn Dilemma


Celtic Leaves Shawl
Celtic Leaves Shawl
This is a pattern from the new issue 17 of The Knitter. There's no picture on the Ravelry link, so I've uploaded this one for your pleasure. :)
Current State of the Laceweight
Current State of the Laceweight
Well, clearly I need some more. But these are the laceweight wools I have where there is actually enough yardage to create the Celtic Leaves thingamahoppy, above. Actually, I only *technically* have enough of one of them: that's the Cherry Tree Hill, the one on the bottom, which measures out to 2,400 yards (that's a mile o' yarn!) The pattern as written calls for 1592m or 1741yds of laceweight wool. Now the fact is, it's pretty easy to shorten a project like this; the base length according to the pattern is 165cm/, or nearly 5.5 ft/1.65 metres long! Now, this length is not too long for the shape of the shawl, since it's rectangular. Ordinary I'm not a huge rectangular shawl fan, but the design here combines a couple of things I really like.



Your mission, dear readers, should you choose to accept it, is to tell me which of the three laceweights above I should use for this pattern.

Bear in mind that the Seriously Gorgeous (the mulberry colour) has only 1,000m/1093yd, and the Wild Fire (earthy rock tones, on top) has only 1097m/1200yd. Only the Cherry Tree Hill has enough yardage to make the whole thing free and clear (with quite a bit left over, actually!), but I'm concerned about the colour variegations -- it's a bright variegate that goes from dark brown/green to bright purple via light blue and some teal-y bits. I'm not sure it would complement the pattern at all.

Because this is a newly released pattern, there are no Ravelry project pages to peruse. In fact, I think it must just have been added, because there's no picture on its Ravelry page, and I'm the only person who has it queued.
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2010-03-29 10:30 am
Entry tags:

A few pictures of the first skew sock.


First skew sock, complete First skew sock, complete
I am such a slow knitter-- this was just finished a couple of days ago.




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2010-03-23 06:33 pm
Entry tags:

Skew!

Yeah, so I'm following the crowd of knitters who saw the Skew sock in the winter issue of Knitty and decided they must knit it, mostly to answer the burning question, "HTF did she do that?" And by following, I do mean 'following'; this was in the Winter Knitty, and Spring just came out. Hundreds of more dedicated sock knitters than I am have already completed these socks, and there are some great photographs on Ravelry (sorry, link only good if you're a Ravelry member). I was originally planning to do these with the Cortina Sock I bought from Lidl for practically no money last year, but when I looked at photographs of how this yarn knits up I realised it didn't actually stripe; it more like pools.

The designer suggested self-striping or hand-dyed yarn for the project, so I went back and looked at what other folks had knitted theirs out of. By far, the ones that looked most amazing to me were made not of self-striping yarn, but of self-patterning yarn (which sometimes employs stripes but also has jacquard-y bits). And do you know, I went through a heck of a self-patterning yarn phase when I was knitting mostly very simple socks; I love the stuff! But eventually plain socks got boring to knit and I couldn't bring myself to use a lot of it. I've since gone on a search for sock patterns that employ self-patterning wool in an interesting and new way. When I didn't find exactly what I wanted, I enjoyed designing it myself after a while.

Now, lots of y'all know that I ought to be embarrassed to say how many books I have that contain nothing but sock patterns and sock design techniques. I ought to be, yes. But the truth is, I'm fascinated enough by sock construction that I have been known to buy a book or pattern just to spend some time with it, reverse-engineer the patterns I like, and figure out how the designer did that.

So of course when I first saw this pattern, like lots of folks, I was intrigued. Now that I'm an inch or so away from heel point, I understand completely how she did it, at least to this point.

I am sure, having barely skimmed her blog, that like me, Lana Holden is a huge Cat Bordhi fan. Well, few people who like to design socks aren't; that's a fair bet. In fact, I can imagine the 'a-ha' moment for this design. See, you're knitting along, making your first pair of Coriolis Socks, and it comes to you that you could, in fact, do that crazy pattern band anywhere, for any reason, with anything inside it. And you get some ideas. Lana Holden got a really good idea. I can't decide if the shape came first or the "what if I just increase on one side; what would that do?". And it doesn't really matter. The shape itself is ingenious, fits well, and is interesting to knit without being impossible (though I do admit to losing my place in the increase/decrease chain a couple of times). Above that, certainly on the foot, which is all I've got to so far, it's simple. I'm envisioning skewed lace, little skewed cables, you name it, it can be skewed.

So anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks Lana! And here's a picture of my first Skew sock in progress. It's made from Opal sock wool, in the Dumbledore colourway from that Harry Potter theme limited edition they put out a bit ago. Yes, really. Because I couldn't resist, the Ravelry name for this project is "Skew Me Dumbledore" (Sorry, leads to link only accessible if you're on Ravelry). It's OK. You don't have to admit you know me. ;)


First Skew Sock
First Skew Sock
Just a few inches below heel point now, hoping to turn the first heel tonight.

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2010-03-21 12:38 am

Catnip Lace Socks!

Somebody in one of my knitting classes asked, "How is it you don't get bored, knitting so many socks?" She was referring to the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome, that malady that affects many sock knitters, where when you've finished the first sock, you can't bear to go on to the next one. It's, er, like knitting the same thing twice! I explained that my answer to this age-old problem is that I have about forty gazillion socks on needles at one time. I don't ever have to knit the same sock twice. And sometimes, when I'm done with a sock, I start another sock from a completely different pattern, just to get the previous sock out of my head. I take enough notes and am geeky enough about my Ravelry project pages that I can usually remember changes I've made in this or that bit of the sock.

In fact, these socks were only 1/4 of the way done when I picked them up this week or maybe last week sometime, probably right after I finished the Laminaria. But they proved to be so easy and quick to knit that I just went right on to the second one. I do that sometimes, too.

Anyway, here are some pictures.


Catnip Lace Socks, Finished!
Catnip Lace Socks, Finished!
In all their glory, or camo, whichever you prefer. ;-) This is a design by Wendy Johnson, who wrote the great socks from the toe up book. Her heel construction is actually quite innovative.
Catnip Lace Socks -- Detail of lace on foot
Catnip Lace Socks -- Detail of lace on foot
Although this pattern was quite repetitive, I never did memorise it.
Catnip Lace Sock, Another Look
Catnip Lace Sock, Another Look
It's so nice to have socks that fit and look great, all the time. ;)

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2010-03-16 12:15 pm
Entry tags:

Bare Outline: Mini-Sock Class

Hey, Kniterati!

I'm just writing up Thursday night's mini-sock class, and I want to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. Prereqs for the class say students should be able to knit in the round, but that doesn't mean they'll understand dpns, so that'll be the only not totally sock related thing we'll cover.

I guess my question here is: on a very small sock (say a 24-st cast-on just to make the maths really easy), do you think I can cover all this in two hours?

Here's the outline, for the interested )
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2010-03-14 06:46 pm

Laminaria, Done and Blocked!

We left the shawl out for about three hours. Took it in just as the light was starting to go. I will be able to wear it to class tomorrow evening, which was my initial goal. :-)


Laminaria, Blocked, point detail
Laminaria, Blocked, point detail
All done. Here, you can see the points, being all pointy and stuff.
Laminaria, Blocked Lace Detail
Laminaria, Blocked Lace Detail
All done. Detail of the blocked lace.

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2010-03-14 04:39 pm

Laminaria, Getting Blocked!

I block lace projects on playmats-- lots of people do. But when [personal profile] pola_bear was over yesterday, we discovered that my blocking mats weren't large enough to block the Laminaria! Like not even close. I asked around, and actually posted a message on a Ravelry forum for lace knitting. Several people suggested that I block it by folding it in half -- then my mats would be enough, plus the shawl points would match exactly on either side!

So this morning, [profile] filceolaire helped me (I'm having a really bad pain day) move stuff around and place the mats, and I used the yardstick from the blocking wire kit as the foldover piece. Probably I will end up pressing the shawl when it's done, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Even though I'd managed to misplace my big tomato of blocking pins, there were 20 in the lace wire kit. Today was, therefore, a great day to learn how to use the kit efficiently. So with only 20 pins and 4 wires, Laminaria is blocking. It should be ready by dusk, which means I'll be able to wear it to class tomorrow night!


Laminaria Shawl, Blockin' In The Wind!
Laminaria Shawl, Blockin' In The Wind!
Here's the shawl, pinned out on the blocking boards, drying in the (semi)sun today. Should be done by dusk, which means I can wear it to class tomorrow night!