Dryad!

Sep. 17th, 2010 03:21 am
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
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)
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)
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

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