Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
- Finish Green Silk Happiness (StitchDiva Simple Knitted Bodice), which has to be started from scratch for the third time because I just can’t get the sizing right. I seem to be permanently under the impression that I am 4 sizes larger than I really am. I am not going to let this garment beat me though, and I have the idea that when I finally get it right I’m going to know all I’ll ever need to know about how to make a top-down, raglan sweater that fits me.
- Prioritise and think more carefully about what’s in my queue before starting a new project. I have dozens of patterns that I want to knit, and the yarn to knit them with. As we all know, it takes only a minute to impulsively choose and cast on for a new project, and about half a lifetime to finish it. Which means that often I spend ages knitting things which I like but are not actually top of my wish list, while other queued projects, which I really want to knit, get left sitting in the queue for months on end. So, in 2008, before starting something new, I’m going to think harder about what I most want to make next.
- Cut right back on the yarn stashing, do as many stash-busting projects as possible and only buy new yarn if I really need it for some designated project. Do not buy carrier bags full of yarn just because it is on sale. In fact, do not go to yarn sales. The one exception I will make is the annual Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. That was the one, solitary occasion this year when I felt like I had not bought enough yarn – I will certainly correct that error next year!
- Actually use some of the new information that has come my way this year. Eg, thanks to knittinghelp.com and Lucy Neatby’s utterly wonderful series of DVDs, I am now surrounded by visual resources that will teach me to knit Continental style, cast off more efficiently and do three-needle bind-offs – if only I paid attention. So this coming year, I hereby resolve to look up and use the resources around me, rather than just sticking with the familiar old techniques that I already know.
- Do something about the Beelzebub Knits knitwear collection, which right now has barely progressed past the illustration stage. I have very nice drawings of 9 sweaters and they just need me to dedicate some proper time to them so that I write up functioning patterns and knit a sample garment for each.
- Find a suitable use for the 2 kilos of pink and orange acrylic that my darling son thoughtfully bought for me last birthday. I don’t want him to get discouraged and stop buying me yarn! Make said project before my next birthday rolls around in August, to encourage him & keep him from wondering if I don’t really like yarn after all. Also, ahead of next birthday, give the poor boy some tips about what knitters like to knit with (as opposed to what LYSs like to sell).
Sunday, December 16, 2007
First, the majestic Perugino II, draped artfully on cushions & such.
Now, I must confess that I have started a new pair of socks. Yes, another pair. I've been feeling very virtuous as a result of the discipline of NOvember, which helped me complete the above FOs, but kept me from knitting any new socks. I've therefore rewarded myself with a flirty treat of a sock project that combines three magical elements in one. Here are the three magic ingredients:
- Jaywalker sock pattern by Grumperina (is here). This pattern from Sep 2005 is still sweeping the knitting world like wildfire and I can't believe I haven't yet expressed it in yarn. Now is the time.
- Short, wooden, 2.5mm DPNs. These little, wooden needles are light, warm and delicate. They're only 5" long instead of the usual 6", so there's no excess needle sticking out all over your knitting. I picked up these Brittany needles at the recent Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace and I've been waiting for a chance to use them ever since.
- Regia Silk Color yarn. They've been raving about this on the Angel Yarns forum and I had to try it. Pure silk is not great for socks (no memory, for a start) but Regia Silk is 55% merino, 25% polyamide & 20% silk so it has all the functional properties of sock yarn but feels totally luxurious.
And finally, the Pink Lana Grossa Socks are making great progress. The first sock is done already. I knit half while commuting since the start of the month, and the other half in a single evening on Friday. I'm planning to make the second sock as quickly as possible so I can give the pair to Cal, whose birthday it was the other day. I'm going to have yarn left over so I plan to make a miniature pair for little Clara at the same time. Does anyone know how many inches long the feet of a child aged 15 months should be?
Friday, December 14, 2007
And I have the DPN set too!
They are, of course, the indescribably beautiful Knitpicks Harmony needles, which have just become available in the UK and were ordered from that much-loved British retailer Get Knitted.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Is finally blocked. This is the sort of thing you can easily do in between video editing. Capture video, put in a few pins. Save the file for processing, put in a few pins. Render the finished movie, spritz with water. In reality, it took a much longer time than I'm implying, but hey, I managed to fit it in around work so who's complaining?
Basil is blocked too. Having put in something like 14 hours' work yesterday, I did not bother pulling out the ironing board. I just immersed Basil in water and put in a few pins at the same time as editing the video, same as Perugino. I do feel I've wimped out a bit there and will definitely try the pressing method next time. Anyway, it's blocked, and as soon as it's dry I'll sew it up.
The Central Park Hoodie is not behaving itself and is in the naughty corner. To look at the back, you'd think I'd made quite a lot of progress.
- Kay, thanks for your compliments on the rose needles and stitch markers. They are from Knitz & Glitz here in the UK. The yarn is indeed Rowan Soft Lux.
- I can't remember who was asking me about Summer Tweed (Basil). I'm liking Summer Tweed. It sure is an unusual texture and feels a bit like string when you have it OTN. Which is actually good for knitting without looking, I find, because the stitches are so easy to feel. I was a tad concerned about wearability so I sloshed a good bit of hair conditioner in the blocking water. I'll let you know how it feels when it's dry, but I'm hoping for soft results. It worked on my Noro scarf, after all.
- Susan, I have no idea what I'm going to do with 8.5 kilos of mostly vintage acrylic. If you have any suggestions ....
Until next time, folks.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I avoided mentioning it up to now because you guys are giving me helpful support and advice about blocking and I am listening and I am going to use it. I didn't want you to think I was taking no notice. But it's now Tuesday and I can't go on pretending I spent the weekend blocking when I really didn't. So let me tell you what I've been doing instead.
I didn't block, but in my defence I did make all 23 tassels. Here they are, strung to the ever-versatile Knitting Tree.
Next, I set to work on the Central Park Hoodie, in Barbie pink. The campest hoodie ever. I've made both sleeves now, and what you see here is the ribbing at the start of the back.
I could exist no longer without a travelling sock. It was killing me. I found myself stalking my sock yarn. NOvember has been wonderful for kick-starting my various WIPs but while working on all those projects I've been without socks for a month now and I NEED some. So I cast on these, which will be plain vanilla socks strictly for knitting when travelling.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Having successfully shielded myself from housework for most of my life, I have no clue how our iron works (it is joined by quite a long list of appliances that I don't know how to use, including the cooker and the central heating).
Because of this, I normally go for full-on wet blocking when I've finished an item. Get it wet, pin it out, leave to dry. However, this weekend we're going to do things differently. As you know, I've just finished knitting both Perugino II and my Basil sweater. Perugino is going to need traditional wet blocking (OK, maybe damp rather than wet) and it's big. It needs lots of space. If I'm going to block Basil at the same time, we'll have to find a method that doesn't involve it sitting around for hours all wet, taking up space. In other words, for the first time, I'm about to follow that common instruction, "PRESS, as described on p.15".
Let's see what's involved.
Darn in all ends neatly. Yeah, right. We'll leave most of those ends swinging free, thank you. They will come in handy for seam-sewing later.
Block out each piece of knitting using pins. What, on the ironing board? I don't think it's going to be big enough. Perhaps I can improvise an ironing board with something laid out on the floor.
Gently press each piece, using a warm iron over a damp cloth. And that's the scary part. How gentle is 'gently'? How warm is 'warm'? How long to press for? And what are the risks attached if I get the temperature too high? Better have a look at the ball band ... which says 'use a damp pressing cloth'.
All right, let's give it a try. Piccies soon.