KnitNation

Aug. 1st, 2010 10:17 pm
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
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.

Skew!

Mar. 23rd, 2010 06:33 pm
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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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Stripey Toe-Up Socks!
Stripey Toe-Up Socks!
Completed today around lunchtime. :) These were a lot of fun to knit and part of my 'knit mindless stuff in MA classes' plan.
Matching Stripes and Peasant Heel
Matching Stripes and Peasant Heel
When I realised how lovely and even the striping pattern was on this great Trekking wool, I chose to put in a peasant heel (aka an afterthought heel) so as not to interrupt the stripe pattern. The socks were knitted straight up in a tube, and a marker was placed at the point where the heel would be inserted later.
Stripey Toe-Up Socks -- they're just so pretty!
Stripey Toe-Up Socks -- they're just so pretty!
I used a crochet cast-off to make these socks nice and elastic at the cuff.
Stripey Toe-Up Socks, some technical points
Stripey Toe-Up Socks, some technical points
When I said these were mindlessly easy, I meant it! They were knitted on 68 stitches, on a 2.75mm circular needle. I used a 50% cast-on for the toe and added the heel marker at 2" shy of total foot length. After that, it was just a matter of knitting up to the top and gauging where the orange piece of the toe had begun on the first sock. I misjudged by a few rows, but I think they match pretty well, anyway. I started the ribbing one stripe before the orange started again, then did two rounds of orange plus the crochet cast-off. The heels were knitted by carefully removing the marking wool and placing stitches individually onto the sock needle, then knitting a short-row cup for the heel.



Ravelry Project Page
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These are completed. I can't believe they took only 10 days to knit: that's a record for me, the slowest sockmaker ever!

I love them.

Four Photos Below Cut Tag )
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I haven't stopped knitting, promise. I've just been really busy with other things. Here are a couple of things I've been working on recently.

Three photos below cut tag )

Ravelry project page for the Purple Pomatomus">
Ravelry project page for the Silk Garden Serina
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So, you know. I got yarn. I didn't pay for all of it, and what I did pay for was cheap, cheap, cheap.

Eight photographs below the cut tag )


MCA Direct
The Knitting Goddess
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Just saw this posted on the internet sock list:

Sock Innovation Errata.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
I completed these last night and wove the ends in this morning.

Three photos beneath cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
To Knitting Software .Com, from whom I purchased the inexpensive Sock Wizard Mac application yesterday. There were two versions of their ordering website online, one with a download option and one without. The one with the download option did not work, so I ordered the software to be shipped, and this morning I sent an email asking if there were a downloadable version.

We went off to take [livejournal.com profile] pola_bear back to university early this afternoon, and I thought no more of it, figuring I'd get a response possibly on Monday. But when we stopped for lunch, I checked email via the iPhone and found that the lady from Knitting Software had already got back to me, apologising because they'd updated their website and those links weren't good, including a download link to the software and a note that she wouldn't be charging me for shipping!

And now on to the application, which looks great, if basic. It's essentially a full-service sock calculator, with a lot of options. Alas, it isn't customisable to the point where I could just plug in some parameters and change a sock architecture a la Cat Bordhi, but it offers cuff-down and toe-up options, patterns written for 4 or 5 dpn or 1 or 2 circulars, and a very nice variety of heels and toes, including a toe-up star toe which looks like fun—in three lengths, standard (crew) short (ankle) and knee. The website has photos of some of the heel designs. It makes patterns according to US shoe sizes, which may prove a bit of a problem for some, but there are plenty of online conversion charts that will tell you what your US shoe size would be. It does not allow adjustments for very wide feet/ankles/calves, but does enough of the basic maths that it will be possible to design the same sock in several sizes, aside from the charting of whatever pattern I want to use. The charting, of course, is what Stitch Visualizer is for. ;-) (subtle hint: my birthday is coming up!) :-D

I suspect I'll get seriously started on whatever I'm making with the Zauberball and try to clear some more UFOs before I settle down to knitting any socks from Sock Wizard-based patterns, but so far I'm pleased. The program is easy to use, produces simple, readable patterns that can be customised to my satisfaction and will need only basic tweaks to incorporate inventive patterning and whatnot, and it was quite inexpensive at $35 US.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about Sock Wizard in the days and weeks to come, but my first impression is very good.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I picked up this lovely wool on Wednesday at I Knit London, and now I'm thinking I may get a second ball of it if they still have it on Saturday.

Zauberball translates to 'magic ball', and I think that even in the ball it live up to its name. It's just alive with possibilities, isn't it? The wool comes in an astounding array of colours, not all of them this bright, I promise!


Photos and pattern photo links below cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I've charted the lace pattern, which like so many of the patterns we love, was lifted from a Barbara Walker Treasury, with some bits added in for interest.
Technical Bits )

Razor's Edge Sock Pattern (.pdf)
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
As if I didn't already have enough to do, I thought, "Hey, I'll design a pair of lace socks that will work well with self-patterning jaquard sock wool! Yeah! Let's do that!" Well, they've at least given me a chance to experiment a bit more with the square DPNs, which I still like.

Three photographs, plus technical notes, beneath cut tag. Pattern to follow. )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
Not just a modification; a "real" design this time. These were cast on last night, and they are moving pretty quickly at this point.

Single photo below cut tag. )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
Back in November, I posted a review of Kollage's "Square" circular needles. I hated them, because the cable is sticky like Gumby, even though the advertising is accurate in that the cable is definitely flexible. In fact, it's too flexible-- but you can read my review above if you're interested in knowing more about them.

On Saturday, I taught a beginning sock class at IKL, and we put everybody on 2.75mm DPNs. I think it's confusing, especially for relatively inexperienced knitters, if teacher is using a totally different method, so I borrowed a pair of the square circulars to knit this sock.

And you know what? I like them. For somebody who magic loops just about everything, that's a pretty big admission for me. They are comfortable in the hands, slick, and fast. If anything could make me go back to DPNs, at least for some projects, it's Square Double Point Needles. Of course, they're still very expensive (£8! for a single set of 5 needles at IKL), so I'm doubtful I'll be stocking up any time soon, but I really like them. Down sides are that just like other DPNs, it's easy to lose one, and at this price, yow. Plus, as they're metal, they won't fulfil my usual reason for having any DPNs at all, which is airplane knitting.

I'm beginning to think that using Brittany DPNs for so long may have coloured my judgment about DPNs in general. Perhaps if I'd tried some metal ones earlier, I would like them a little better in general, although I do have a set of Addi DPNs that I don't like at all. [livejournal.com profile] mithranstar has some cool electric purple aluminium DPNs that I'd like to check out, if only because they are PRUPLE. :) But the Kollage ones are a lovely brass colour, and they do make with the happy metallic clicky-clicky, so perhaps I can be satisfied with a few pairs of these. Because of the hefty price tag, I've committed to keeping the plastic shop cases around and storing them in those, in the needle case. Because losing one would be annoying, but losing two would be a disaster. :-/
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (seussocks)
There are a ton of sock knitting resources out there. On the Internet, you can find hundreds of free patterns, along with sock construction guidelines and tips for just about every kind of sock knitting you can imagine. And I only say ‘just about’ because I’m sure someone will think of something new. Maybe they are thinking of it right this minute.

Some of you know that last week’s sock class required me to begin rewriting a sock pattern on the fly, in a class with six students. Other chaos occurred as well, but what I’m now anticipating with dread is the fact that not all my knitters will be able to knit a complete heel flap, plus turn their heels, plus begin their gusset decreases, in two hours’ time. I’m halfway through my heel flap on this sock and intend to stop at the heel turn so I can demonstrate it on Saturday. All but one of the students in this class are relatively new or inexperienced knitters, and we were just getting into the swing of working in the round when it was time to end the class. Most of them are at the stage where they’re just sort of trusting the patterns they knit. They may have reached the, “I don’t like this pattern stitch, so I’m going to substitute another at the exact point,” stage. But nobody here is really knitting fearlessly, at least not yet.

Anyway, because I have to rewrite this pattern for my class, I thought I’d talk a little bit about sock construction, what there is out there, and how to do it without really thinking about it. No reason not to share that here. ;-)

Lots of my knitting friends know these tricks, but the truth is I can explain the basics of cuff-down sock construction in a series of simple bullet points.

Basic Sock Formula )

Using this formula, you can make socks for anybody, using any kind of wool, on circulars or double points; it's your choice.

Please don't be intimidated by the maths. They are really very basic, and after knitting socks for donkey's years, I pretty much just know them off the top of my head.

Great books about sock knitting:

  • The aforementioned Folk Socks. It's a great resource, although it's somewhat densely written. Like most books that try to do absolutely everything, some bits of it may not appeal to everybody.
  • Sensational Knitted Socks provides a number of zipper patterns with lots of variations.
  • Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy is a great resource for short-row heel socks, toe up and top down.
  • Ethnic Socks provides a great introduction to socks and techniques from Eastern Europe and Turkey. If you like stranded knitting, this is a great one to play with.
  • Cool Socks, Warm Feet presents itself as a pattern book for socks made from printed and self-patterning yarns, but there are some great technique notes in it as well.
  • Sock Innovation, my newest acquisition, has already proven to be a great resource, full of fascinating design notes about how to make your socks spectacular and unique.
  • New Pathways for Sock Knitters, which amazon lists as unavailable in the UK, is actually available. If you're ready to branch out, Cat Bordhi's book explains a number of different ways to handle sock shaping so that you can create some fascinating and fantastic socks.


Great Internet resources for sock knitting:

  • The Internet Sock Knitters List Homepage. Here you'll find a lot of resources. If you decide to join the list, be aware that it is very, very chatty and high-traffic. I skim the digests when I have time, but I haven't been a regular poster to mailing lists in years.
  • Knitting Socks provides tutorials and some tips and patterns. Google Ads on front page.
  • A quick search on Ravelry reveals 557 matches for groups with keyword 'sock'.
  • Ravelry also has a huge pattern database. The most popular sock pattern on Ravelry is currently Cookie A's 'Monkey', from Knitty. More than 8,000 Ravelry members are knitting or have knitted this sock. Ravelry lists 6,900 sock patterns, nearly 2,500 of them free.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
Well, let's see.

I'm just not a monogamous knitter; it's obvious. And I neglect projects for months, sometimes years, at a time. Sometimes I come across a neglected project when I'm going through my stash, usually looking to start something new, and although I know in my heart I might never finish it, particularly that replacement pair of Camelot socks that I've lost the pattern for (and I had two copies of the pattern at one point; can you believe that? I should really just scan everything and turn it into .pdfs for my iPhone). Still, I can't bear to give them up. I think I can remember most of them.

  1. It wouldn't be fair not to list those gorgeous Camelot Socks,* after having whinged about them up there;
  2. There's the Ragna,* which I put aside because I was knitting Christmas gifts. The bottom mitres are all joined for the front, and I'm about to start knitting up;
  3. There's [livejournal.com profile] filceolaire's spiral tank top,* which is temporarily put aside because I have to make a couple of design decisions and I'm not ready yet;
  4. There's [livejournal.com profile] resourceress's Twisted Flower Socks,* one of which is complete. I just need to knit the second sock;
  5. There's Harmarnii's (winolj) Malabrigo lace socks* from DROPS design, one of which is complete. I think I even cast on for the second one at one point. I was on the bus;
  6. There's the gorgeous Rhiannon* knee socks from Cookie A that I have found to be incredibly frustrating and will come back to when I'm feeling like a challenge (yes, they are more challenging than the Ragna!);
  7. There's [livejournal.com profile] bardling's Harika Socks,* one of which is complete and the other of which is at least started;
  8. There's the lace cocoon,* which I've been concentrating on for the last couple of weeks;
  9. There's the Pfeiffer Falls Hooded Scarf,* which I started in the dead of winter and which is going to be very warm and cosy. But I used stash wool, and I'm just not all that thrilled with powder blue. Probably this will go to an auction or a friend when completed;
  10. There's the purple and green entrelac knee socks,* which I'm designing and knitting on the fly. They've been put aside because they're kind of boring to knit, and as I'm doing most of my knitting at home these days, I don't really need train knitting projects at the moment;
  11. And as of last night, there's the Strangling Vines Scarf,* made of sockweight (4ply) Colinette Jitterbug, in the "Popsicle" colourway.


Wow. That's eleven projects, not counting stuff I do for knitting classes and whatever I've forgotten. If any sense, I wouldn't start another one for awhile. But, you know. I have lace yarn.

One photo of Strangling Vine Lace below the cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I took some photographs when I was home for lunch, so you could see how this is going.

Three photos below cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
...I feel a lace phase coming on.

"Can you keep secrets? Can you hear a thing and never say it again? And puzzles and codes, I imagine they lay down to you like lovers."

Tangled Up In Lace? )

Lace knitters, tell me your secrets! I'll never repeat them. ;)
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
I did get in a little time for knitting today.

Two photos below cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
Well, not terribly much progress I'm afraid. Despite the fact that last week was half-term for some people, I had to work a 60-hour week and prepare for four hours' worth of teaching on Saturday. There wasn't much time to work on this project, but what time I spent (a wee bit on Wednesday night at I Knit London and a couple of hours Sunday night at home) got me firmly into the second iteration of the spiral pattern. The Kauni colour change occurred so subtly that I didn't even notice it until I held the knitting up and saw that hey, it did change colour round about there! I am about six rounds into the 28-round offset, so you can just see the edges of the new spirals peeking through above the completed spiral (which looks fabulous, if I do say so myself!) This is a really exciting project, and I wish I had more time to work on it. Maybe this week.

One photograph below cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
Over lunch today, I realised I was nearing the end of the first spiral pattern repeat on [livejournal.com profile] filceolaire's vest. Now, I'd spoken to [livejournal.com profile] clothsprogs over the weekend, and he shored up my opinion that I don't want to repeat the braid band at the bottom of that pattern on every repeat: it'll look too much like stripes.

What I'm wondering now is, do I want to offset the repeat by 50% every other row? If you haven't seen the garment or you need a refresher, here's the post I wrote when I began it. It includes the spiral motif and my sketchy pattern. And here's the latest progress report, which will give you an idea of what the spirals look like in this wool.

I'm leaning heavily toward offsetting the spirals. The chart is an even number across, so it will be very simple to do, and I think it will somehow look more natural than just rows and rows of spirals. What do you think?

(no poll; just tell me in comments!)
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I'm not going to cut-tag this. It's just so cute! Seriously, this has been a blast to design and knit, and I've learned a lot. My first ever v-neck steek!


Cody's Finished Fair Isle Vest! Cody's Finished Fair Isle Vest!
Designed and knitted almost completely on the fly, this was quite an adventure. I’d never done a v-neck steek before, and it was a lot of fun and not very scary at all. I’m unhappy with the way the patterning turned out on the front, but I’m sure I can correct this miscalculation in future garments. For a human wearer, I’ll add more shaping to the back neck. I probably will knit one of these for a ball-jointed doll, just to get the more human-sized shaping down, although it’ll be fewer stitches to work with.



Ravelry Project Page for this garment.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
You know, since I started designing jumpers for the teddy bear jumper classes, it now seems the most natural thing in the world to design [livejournal.com profile] filceolaire's fair isle vest by first knitting a sample for Cody, my very patient bear (who is, incidentally, spending the week in Peterborough with friends).

I'm going to knit the Cody version in the green Kauni that G from I Knit London gave me last week. I'll still have plenty left over for a pair of socks. J's vest will be in a series of dusty blues and greys; these are some of his favourite colours, they bring out his eyes, and they're good for the office, unlike some of the other things I knit. ;-)

The ever-fascinating design process )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
It arrived today! Believe it or not, there is enough here to make a cardigan. I will probably use it to make this vest for [livejournal.com profile] filceolaire. Just imagine it all in shades of blue and grey. I may swap out the 3d box pattern on the bottom, because I don't like it. But we shall see.

Photos below cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I got a call today from G at I Knit London, who wanted to schedule just about all my proposed classes!

So, here is the docket.

  • Saturday, 7 March: Tunesian Crochet, 12pm-2pm
  • Saturday, 14 March: Knit Fix, 3:30-6pm
  • Saturday, 21 March: Weird Knitting Techniques, 12pm-3pm
  • Saturdays, 4, 11, 18 April: Entrelac Scarf, 12pm-2pm
  • Saturdays, 4, 11, 18 April: Sock Knitting for Beginners, 2:30pm-4:30pm.


Also: I bought yarn. Just look for 'Kauni'. I didn't buy as much as I planned to buy, but it is amazing stuff, and it's further amazing how little you need to make a cardigan! :D
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
(Sorry, [livejournal.com profile] bardling; I just can't resist making fun with that name.)
One photo beneath cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
Before I head off to bed, I just want to show you how the sock looks with the next tier of diamonds knitted. The 2mm needles are a bit small for the Cherry Tree Hill wool, but because entrelac makes a very stretchy fabric, I wanted it as dense as I could get it. The knitting itself is slow going, because even though 10 stitches per diamond doesn't sound like many, consider that I'm knitting nine 10x10 diamonds across every tier. That's 900 stitches per tier, not counting stitch pickups, which are time-consuming using very small needles and a yarn just slightly too heavy for the needles. This is one of the many times I wish Addi made lace needles in the 2mm size: the pointy tips would make the stitch pickups much easier!

Three photos below cut tag, and yes, one is inside out. )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
You can see the first post on this topic here.

I'm into the second tier now, so it's starting to look like entrelac.

Two photos below the cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
It didn't even occur to me when I suggested to [livejournal.com profile] bardling that I knit these socks for her that the name of the pattern sort of goes with her own name. So, [livejournal.com profile] bardling, please forgive all the plays on words, and concentrate on the progress of your socks! ;)

Three photos and notes below the cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
Manos Silk Blend is truly an amazing yarn. Not only is it a dream to knit with, it goes a long way. So far, I've made half-finger gloves, two hairkeepers, and now this teddy bear jumper, from about a skein and a half of the stuff. It lent itself beautifully to this top-down yoke jumper, which is constructed very much like the top-down raglan from a couple of days ago. Fewer photographs than usual, because it knit up very quickly and I was busy hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] pola_bear, who stayed the night with us last night.

Three photos beneath cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I've finished the Icelandic Yoke jumper for my little teddy bear. Next up: top down raglan, which will be the simplest of all to knit but not totally easy to do bear-size. This one is in Swan DK from my stash (a very old sale at Leewards), on 3.5mm needles.

Other posts pertaining to teddy bear jumpers:
Plain shirt, in Wensleydale Aran
Teddy Bear Gansey, in Swan DK

There's more information and complete (if sketchy) patterns at my Ravelry project page.

Photos below cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
In this entry, I presented photos of the first teddy bear jumper, just a plain shirt to get me used to designing and constructing in miniature. While I will teach that plain shape in the teddy bear jumper class, I wanted to add some more traditional jumpers, plus a simple top-down raglan, to illustrate different shapes and help students learn all the skills required to construct them. Below the cut tag are photos and construction notes on a traditional gansey, sized for a bear with an 11" chest. You can find a written pattern for this exact jumper (you'll have to come to class to learn how to design one for your bear and get the chart for the front and back design!) at its Ravelry project page. For comparison, you can check out the plain shirt jumper at its Ravelry project page. You'll have to be a member of Ravelry to see the complete patterns, or if you're really keen but not interested in Ravelry (and if you're a knitter, why wouldn't you be interested in Ravelry?!), I could be persuaded to email you the pattern and notes.

Photos and construction notes beneath the cut tag. )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (spirit)
Welcome, Yule-- Harper's Traditional Winter Solstice Post

The Shortest Day

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

Susan Cooper

Welcome, Yule.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
Most of what I'm knitting right now is Christmas presents, so I'll probably post a bunch of pictures and project notes both here and to Ravelry after the holidays. But a few nights ago, I wanted something to knit that wasn't earmarked as a present for anybody, something easy, something that, to be honest, was not a sock! I have three pairs of socks in progress right now and just don't feel like working on socks at the moment. So I found the neon green and black naturespun I'd originally begun knitting the Stitch 'n Bitch Alien Illusion Scarf in. (Link is to the knitting blog of someone I don't know, through a Google images search.) I hated the pattern and it was driving me crazy, even though it would have looked cool in the end, so on Wednesday I ripped it out and started a simple garter stitch entrelac scarf. I don't know who it's for, but it's fun and satisfying to knit.

I'm seriously thinking of turning this scarf into a project class at iKnit London. Do you think intermediate-level knitting students would want to learn entrelac by knitting this very simple scarf? Although the stitch pickups are visible, it's reversible since it's in garter stitch. I suppose I could offer one in garter stitch and one in stocking stitch, for people who really want that classic look.

I'm trying to decide who needs this scarf....

Anyway, photo below cut tag.
Green and black entrelac scarf )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (iReaper)
[livejournal.com profile] fourzoas posted this video last night, and as a long-time RT fan, I figured it would be a good idea to share it with y'all. So, you know. For all the brainy girls out there, and the people who love them, here's "Hots for the Smarts" by Richard Thompson.

kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (what?)
OK. Now I've talked before about what's different when you compare living in the UK to living in the US, and sometimes I've learned things (like where to get decent hot dogs) and sometimes life just bes that way and you have to lump it (note my semiannual importing of American feminine products, for example).

Would you believe that they don't regularly sell apple cider vinegar in the grocery store in the UK? The only product listing on the Tesco website is for a pricey salad vinegar. Everything else is malt vinegar or white wine vinegar.

Here's where I can get apple cider vinegar in the UK.

I can get it from Higher Nature, which looks to be a pricey health food website. For £6.95. For 300ML. Dude. I'm used to paying like $1 for a gallon of the stuff....

I can get it from Ostler's Cider Mill, and I can get it in 5- or 10-litre boxes (like wine in a box. Remember wine in a box? We're playing all the hits here on WIAB....). It's £24.95 for 5 litres and £36.91 for 10 litres (tempting, but where would I put it?).

Or....

I can get it from Wells Poultry Housing and Accessories (at chicken-house.co.uk, no less!) where it's £3.99 a litre and £12.95 for five.

Right. Here I go, shopping at chickenhouse.co.uk, unless anybody else has a better suggestion.

And, as an aside -- [livejournal.com profile] stevieannnie, what the *ahem* do you use apple cider vinegar for wrt chickens? From the chickenhouse.co.uk web site: Apple Cider Vinegar 5 Litres
A total Natural Organic, anti-bacterial, anti-coccidial anthelmintic and tonic beneficial effects for all livestock and poultry. Increases egg supply,improves feathering and improves flavour and tenderness of meat birds.
Seriously? you feed chickens vinegar to make them more tender?

ETA: OK, OK, I have been shown the error of my ways once again! It is possible to buy cider vinegar in the UK at a grocery store for a decent price -- just not the way I was looking for it, on the Tesco website apparently tailored to my postcode. But. I am leaving this post up. For the chickens.

*grin*
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
A few weeks ago, I posted this entry, with poll about my next complex aran project. As you can see, I've chosen to knit the less popular Ragna, and I'll tell you why. It's because I found the wool I needed, on Craigslist, the discontinued Rowan Magpie Tweed, exactly as many skeins as I needed, for $55US. That's less than half what I'd pay for comparable new wool here. It came in the post on Friday, and only three hanks had even been wound into balls; one looks like it's been knitted and something ripped out, but everything is the same dye lot, the colour is a lovely flecked blue (as you'll see below), and I've been wanting to knit the Ragna, so that's next. We'll save the Donegal for when I have lots of ready cash to spend on Alice Starmore's own wool, because I'm seeing it in some of her colours.

The swatch stage went well, so I moved on to making the matching hat for the jumper. It didn't take the whole skein it called for, so I still have some breathing room with the jumper, and most patterns overestimate the amount of wool you need, anyway.

I cast on for the jumper last night and have about 1/3 of one panel knitted up now.

Photos below cut tag! )

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