Monday, November 28, 2005
For knitting on the bus I'm working this moebius scarf out of some hand spun yarn I bought at the local weaver's guild show a few years ago. I'll probably have enough of this for another scarf. Maybe I'll add in something fuzzy for the second one.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
The scarf is in the washer right now felting. I checked it after 10 minutes to cut out the eye & nose strings and it's looking really great. I guess that sometimes it does pay to use the yarn called for in the pattern. Classis Elite Lush really felts great. I think it's going to be soft and warm, which is great as we are getting our obligatory week of cold winter weather. I know that people living in really cold places would be thrilled with just one week of cold weather but what can I say we're spoiled in Western Washington.
Friday, November 25, 2005
It is kind of a strange pattern because you leave strands and dropped stitches in the eye and nose holes that don't get cut out until after the felting. I promised myself that I'm not going to work on this until after I've written my two labs reports which are due on Monday. So I'd better GET TO WORK!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I guess I did make something else this week. But I'm cheating on the pictures since I made and photographed the same hat in June. The light is never this bright in November. That's the dead giveaway.
Anyway the hat is made from the pattern in Cat Bordhi's A Treasury of Magical Knitting in Classic Elite Lush (which I don't know if they make anymore, but it's an angora/wool blend). I got several skeins of this on clearance in purple at the Fiber Factory in Mesa,AZ while I was there last November for the Manuso Manos workshop.
The pattern knits up really quickly with medium weight yarn on size 9 needles, but be aware that there is an error in the pattern in the book. The p3tog parts of round 6 and 8 are transposed. But if you are paying attention to how the pattern progresses you will spot the error (and the fix for it) right away. This is good because you have to repeat those round three times in the crown of the hat.
For me it's pretty much a one day hat. I did the moebius cast-on in the morning and finished the moebius hat band on the bus on the way to school. Then I started in on the crown pattern before my afternoon class and worked on it on the bus on the way home. Here is my chance to plug my favorite needle set, the Denise Interchangeables. With the Denise set, the switch from moebius knitting on the band to circular knitting on the crown is so much easier. And you don't have to carry around an extra needle. You can also do the smaller part of the top on two circular needles with one Denise set if you use two cords and make sure that the larger (size 9 needles) are on the right-hand needle side of the circ and you can use any of the smaller needles for the left-hand side of each circ. It works to knit with two different size needles because the right-hand needle determines the size of the stitches (if you don't believe me, try it yourself.) Not that I don't have two sets of Denise needles; my old reliable ones from the 80s and the new set that I bought when the new ones came out. With two sets, there's nothing I can't knit on size 5 or above.
I went to sit & knit Tuesday evening at my LYS for the first time in about 6 weeks and finished the hat there, despite much chatting and looking at other people's projects. It only takes one skein of Lush and I have one more left, so I'll probably make another one soon.
Anyway, this sweater is made from Reynold's Lopi from the Lopi Toggle Cardigan pattern. I started it this spring and then somehow between the bottom color chart on the sleeves and finishing the unpatterned body, I lost the pattern. I even lost the copies I made of it to enlarge the tiny little writing and the tiny little chart. I spent many hours looking for the pattern. I even looked in all of my knitting books because I have a habit of tucking single sheets inside of books. No luck.
So I finally decided to just buy another copy of the pattern so I could finish the darn thing. It was worth it, because the sweater is fabulous.
I did change my mind about the closure and will sew in a zipper instead of the toggle buttons called for in the pattern. I haven't been to my local sit & knit for a while, but I'm glad I went this week because I got some great zipper sewing in tips from Frank, a fisherman & knitter, who knits the traditional Salish Coast/Cowichan sweaters. I might even put in some side seam pockets. Which leads me to a question. Is a sweater ever really done?
I started as a kid with a bunch of library books. I don't know where I got the idea that I wanted to knit. My mother's hobby of choice has always been sewing. But I knew only one person who did knit, a school friend's mom. I was way too shy to ask her to teach me to knit. So I turned to my reliable old friend the library. I checked out every book I could find on knitting. It took me a while to figure out a method. I thought that everything started with ribbing, so I learned ribbing first. Talk about doing things the hard way. No one was there to tell me otherwise. I found out years later, and many books later, that the method I taught myself now has a name, "combination knitting". It is described in the self-published Confessions of a Knitting Heretic by Annie Modesitt. I never ran into the "knitting nazis" that Annie describes in her book who would tell me I was knitting "wrong", because, being an introvert, I never exposed myself to such public display.
Throughout junior high, high school and college, I never had much money to spend on yarn. But there were always well meaning adults who would give me their leftovers. And there was always the library for more books about knitting. I probably spent more time reading about knitting than actually knitting, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
After college and all the way on the other side of the continent I discovered three things that changed my knitting life; 1) REAL yarn stores; 2) Maggie Righetti's and Elizabeth Zimmerman's books (you guessed it, at the public library); and 3) Patternworks mail order catalog, at the time called Hard-To-Find Things for Knitters. Maggie took me down the path of continental knitting and really looking at my own work. Elizabeth Zimmerman opened my eyes to many things, not the least of which was the beauty of circular knitting. My Knitter's Rule Jr from Patternworks got me thinking about the correct gauge and actually making things that fit. I still was not to have any contact with other knitters until I moved to Washington state 8 years down the road.