Monday, November 28, 2005

Small and satisfying

I finally schlepped myself down to Michael's to buy another skein of ribbon yarn to finish off this scarf for my aunt. I did not love knitting the ribbon yarn - kept getting my needle point caught in it, but I did like the overall effect. I'm sending this to her right away in hopes that she can wear it for the holiday season. I don't think it'll actually keep anyone's neck warm, but it's sort of semi-glamorous.

And, I finished off some ankle socks for my daughter, with yarn leftover from these twisted rib toe up socks . There definately wasn't enough for a full sized pair, so I did these with an afterthought heel. I don't know if I liked the afterthought heel at all. It seemed overly fussy and when I cast something off, I want it to be done, not have to go through the additional steps of re-threading stitches, picking out waste yarn, etc etc.

Opening the heel here:

and finished socks here:

I offered to rip them back and make them longer, because I did have a little bit of yarn left, but she said she liked them this way. I won't say no to suggestions tha make life easier for me.

The Road to Oslo socks are pretty much turning out to be wearable practice swatches. The one on the left is my first stab at two handed fairisle. I've got WAY too much tension on the contrast yarn, which I held in my right hand, which I don't normally knit with, so those stitches get pulled into the overall colour. The one on the right is my stab at carrying both yarns in the left hand. Tension is all over the place here, but for the most part, crazy loose and gapping and bagging strangely. However, I'm learning a lot, and geez, in the end they'll still be warm and wearable.

And finally - I was mortified to get a phone message from one of my kid's judo teachers, who found one of my DPNs at the dojo. Curse DPNs and their sneaky rolling-off-into-a-corner ways!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Clapotis #3 is off the needles

I blew off my yoga class this morning because I tweaked something in my back this week and wasn't really up for ashtanga. So, it was a perfect opportunity to listen to the almost unbearably suspenseful Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and finish off Clapotis #3.

It's arguable that Clapotis could be the most over-knit, over-exposed, over-discussed pattern on the internet. I'm normally resistant to bandwagons, but this one kept calling my name. I knit my first Clapotis on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, my second shortly after that, and then firmly resolved not to do another one for a....long time. However, I had gotten some Lion and Lamb for my birthday, and after seeing several beautiful clapotis in that yarn at the knitalong, began to covet. And, I was realizing that I wore my other two all the time - perfect for fall weather, easy to throw around your neck as a scarf and use later as a wrap. The versatility of its design made them among my most used, beloved, and cozy garments. This must add to the popularity of this pattern -it's not overly complicated, it's enjoyable to knit (it was for me, anyway), it's accesible to experienced beginners, and you end up actually using it. A lot!

So, I broke down and cast on for this clapotis last week.

It's a lot BIGGER than my previous two. My first one only omitted one increase repeat and one straight repeat, so I was really surprised at how much difference this made. Clapotis #3 is humungo in comparison. It's like a security blanket! An incredibly luxurious, cuddly, silky warm security blanket.

I also really prefer wearing it purl side out. Someone on the Clapotis knitalong pointed this out to me, and directed me to the Knitcast interview with Kate Gilbert where she says that it was designed to be worn purl side out, and unblocked, to emphasize the ripples. Unblocked is fine with me, since I have no clear space in my house to block something this size.

Big in Japan

I ran across this article about the knitting boom in Japan.
It's actually sort of interesting to me because one of my yogabuddies married into a Canadian Japanese family and lived in Japan for a number of years. She describes going to huge craft malls where attendants would direct you to the appropriate shop for what you wanted. Bags of 10 skeins would cost something like the equivalent of five dollars, and she and her MIL would fill huge bags of wool and drag them back on the commuter trains with them.

That was something like 10-12 years ago, and she says she's still knitting with that wool, transforming what remains of her stash-souvenir into hats and mittens for her family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Goodbye, Colourwork Road

Swatches of techniques gone awry tend to end up as garments for my kid's stuffies. Short row toe is now a hat, Road to Oslo cuff is now, cape? poncho?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tuesday's child has far to go

Road to Oslo has definately hit a pothole. Although last winter, I finished off mittens with a fair isle band - and three colours - three! I somehow went blank when trying to do this pattern. I couldn't remember how to hold the yarn, and the two circular needles kept getting tangled in the two strands (why this seemed easier on DPN's is beyond me).

I fiddled with holding both strands in my left hand, which is how I normally knit, then fiddled with a strand in each hand, which went slightly better.

After finishing the chart, I realized I still had two problems. One is the yarn. Not only is the Briggs and Little like baler twine, it's like uneven baler twine, with thick and thin segments. That doesn't exactly help the pattern come through. Second, I had forgotten how to weave or twist the strands together in order that you don't get gaps and holes in the pattern.
Third, I somehow misread the instructions and did a regular, rather than a provisional cast on for the picot edge, which is supposed to be stitched down later.

I think I'll cast this off and consider it a practice swatch, solve problem 1 by trying a different yarn, problem 3 by casting on properly, and problem 2 by reviewing this terrific streaming video from Philosopher's Wool and practicing some more.

I then relieved my fair isle angst by working more on Clapotis, who has now consumed two full hanks of Lion and Lamb. The colour variations are coming out really cool - I know some people don't like the pooling, but I think it's kind of neat.

I do still have twisted stitch angst, but it's getting better as I adjust tension on that particular stitch.

Monday, November 21, 2005

On the Needles, end of November

being a summary of current projects, November 21st:

Just cast on:
Road to Oslo socks, from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. Not crazy about the yarn so far. Maybe because I've been knitting with very soft merinos and silk lately, but this Briggs & Little Durasport is feeling like baler twine.

Starting again:
Samus, from Knitty - cabled waistband. Finally getting gauge on size 7 needles, without using cabled needle. Paton's Classic Merino in Rich Red. This would make a great hat, too!

Good progress on Clapotis from Knitty, size 8 needles, Lion and Lamb in Watercolour, knit mostly while listening to Mr. Norrel and Jonathan Strange from :

As of last night, I'm on the 6th repeat of the straight section, and starting to drop stitches. Oddly, every other row is a bit tight. There's some unevenness in the twisted stitch on the right side of the dropped stitch, which is causing my some angst. Am snugging it up a bit on the purl side and loosening on the knit side - that seems to be helping.

No pictures, but still knitting:

toe-up ankle socks for Stasha, size 1 needles in Online SuperSock
Harry Potter scarves (mostly stalled out - Canadiana is not fun to knit with)

Casting on soon: Noro Silk Garden Beanie in colourway #203 (blue and green)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Making a sorochka

This particular version of a Ukrainian blouse is a simple raglan sleeve blouse with a very wide neckline. I found it easier to attach the top of the sleeve to the front and back of the garment before sewing the side seams of both the sleeve and the body, but it can be attached after the side seams are sewn as well.
The flat lace that forms the casing is actually attached so that it extends beyond the edge of the shirt fabric. You end up with a fairly narrow casing, just wide enough for the braided cord. The ends of the lace casing meet at the centre of the mitred trim, right at the neckline. You do have to deal with a funny jog in the neckline of the front - I had a look at my daughter's shirt and it does look like I just let the lace follow the edge, jog included:

This really isn't noticeable on the finished garment, though, as the neckline is gathered up with the cord.

Here's how it should look all put together:

Good luck! Give me a shout if this still doesn't make any sense. Oh - and the fringe on the poyas is only about an inch - that's all you should have to fray.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

raison d'etre

although I'm sure most bloggers in the sphere feel no need to justify the existence of their random musings, I feel the need to reply to my husband, who is shaking his head over this one. "Another blog? Why? why knitting?"

It's true that I already have a blog elsewhere for family members, which details the minutiae of my children's lives. And, for my yoga interests, I contribute to the multiauthor blog yogalila.
I already post most of my photos on Flickr, so it's arguable that yet another blog is redundant. Still, my inner archivist likes to record stuff, and I've been an inveterate journaller for years. I like being able to look back at what I've been doing, and the relative impermanence of electronic format is offset by the ability to add graphics.

I knit as a child and as a college student, but then abandoned it for many years. Literally, for decades, I had one Rubbermaid box with leftover yarn, a half-knit sweater, and a single mitten and I moved that thing from house to apartment to house to house without ever really feeling the need to delve into it. A few years ago my then-4 year old daughter asked for a rainbow coloured baby blanket. I wasn't even sure I remembered HOW to knit, but it turned out to be like riding a bicycle. And then once in the yarn store, I realized that holy cow - yarn had CHANGED. I didn't realize at the time that knitting was rising again in popularity, and that both the knitters and the manufacturers seemed to be driving each other on to new yarns and designs, as well as bringing old classics back to the fore.

And when I got back into it - first with easy things like scarves and blankets - I began to remember how relaxing it was.

There's still lots of other crafty stuff I like to do - but nothing is quite as portable as knitting, for taking along with me to the kid's activities. Plus, at the end of the day (or many days), you have something comfy to drape over yourself or your loved ones, the result of the both the tactile pleasure of passing string through your fingers, and the unwinding of the cares of the day.

two more hats!

I finished my third hat this season. I love hats - spent last Christmas holiday knitting simple ribbed hats for the entire family (OK, there's only 4 of us, but I still think that's pretty good). And you really can never have enough hats, I figure.

I just finished a Noro Silk Garden Beanie, and Coronet from Knitty.

Here they are, perfect for fall and winter.

Friday, November 18, 2005

inaugral post

it had to happen some time. This summer, as I toted my first sock around to family gatherings and pressed my siblings into admiring its growth, my sister Cris commented "I totally don't get how knitting is so freakin' popular all of a sudden. And all of a sudden the web is full of those knitting blogs".

"Blogs on knitting?" I replied. "what's up with that? who the hell would bother?"

Now, after several months of lurking on knitting blogs, and seeing who the hell bothers, I've become one of them. Among other reasons, I am crap at keeping a knitting journal, which rapidly degenerated into a notebook merely stuffed with yarn labels and very little else.