Tuesday, September 02, 2008

These things I know about knitting

There are some things about knitting that are universal, if you go and knit in a bar, with a new knitting group and your favorite crystal palace dpns .... one will be lost. Thats what happened last night, M, J, A and I all popped in for a quick visit to the Tuesday night knitting group, in the Albar. It was good, there were lots of them, we made up 2 tables in the end, and apparently not all of them were there. There was usual knitting stuff, examining of items in progress, and asking of technique advice ... and more passing boyfriends than occurs in our Thursday group. But I lost one of my favorite needles, and a gift at that, from Magpie/Suzanne in CA. Worry not, I had a replacement set ordered before I went to bed the same night.

But the loss got me thinking about the unspoken truths of knitting, those we know but don't say. So these are some of the truths of knitting for me:
  • If you knit in a bar, as a one time thing - with your favorite needles, well you will probably loose one
  • Knitting snacks need to be chosen to match the knitting project, nothing greasy or crumbly especially if knitting with white, light or precious yarn - the seasoned knitter selected hot chocolate over chips, chocolate biscuits or straight chocolate only because it keeps their fingers clean.
  • Wine or spirits are best consumed in inverse relationship to the percieved difficulty of the pattern.
  • Mid way thru any row or pattern repeat requiring concentration - at least once every knit session an unexpected interruption will leave you wondering just where you are. With any luck - wondering is as bad as it gets.
  • The best hat, mitten and scarf patterns are released or come to my attention in time for spring in the southern hemisphere.
You probably can think of many many more ...

ok - so here is my next knitting project, my 2-ply merino silk handspun, in a center pull ball all ready to go ...

When I considered starting a blog, I was but a naive net knitter (and I don't pretend to be any the more savvy about knitting or the net now) and I actually asked the following question in a forum about blogging on Knitters Review Forum, if you have a blog, do you have to include photos of your cat?. Yup - every blog I found seemed to feature quite regularly a cat, or three. I wanted my blog to be about the knitting, and I guess I worried that without the personal that a cat would add, that my blog would be boring. At that time I didn't realise that for me a blog existed to make connections with fellow knitters and give me a space to order my knitterly thoughts. Which is a very long winded way of saying - here is my yarn with my cat, Yo-yo, who has been here for around 8 of her 10 years. Who-ever had Yo-you before us taught her well, she is great with the kids, has never to our knowledge taken so much as a swipe at them, and pays only a passing sniff of interest in yarn or fiber things. She is a nice cat to share a house with.

so ... its Wednesday, and with the Intarsia in an indecisive state - I'm not sure what to do about the crown, last night I avoided that altogether and cast on for some spring mitts,
By now the yarn above has become the start of a new pair
Wine and Roses Mitts design by JoLene Treace. I have not caught it clearly in the photo but the cast on ripple is the prettiest cast on edge I have worked in ages, perhaps ever. And even though the edging is only 4 rows its real lace knitting, yo and ssk and k2tog every single row. I've done something wrong though - a row that involved slipping a stitch purlwise with the yarn in back, well I slipped purlwise but the yarn was in front and now there are long floats on the front, they look pretty but they are not meant to be there. By now I've knit up to the wrist shaping, but I plan to park this and start anew. And those slipped purlwise stitches? Very clever, they allowed a yarn over to be placed either side of the central stitch, and shortened that section, making the scallop shaping more pronounced. Lace is like knitting math - really it is, increasing and decreasing in clever ways and keeping an eye on the stitch count at all times.

Knitting aside, I've got two projects on the spinning wheels, first I've been making Rolags. K was kind enough to loan me her carders and with a lot of help from the Amelia on Ravelry , and u-tube with Sue, I appear to have mastered the art of making Rolags with hand carders. I've also been spinning with them, trying to make fluffy light yarn. I won't know if that has worked until I ply and set it. This fiber is baby Gotland, from Chocolate wool, and I had ordered it to be carded by Belex - but the carding was not good and there are areas which just will not draft at all. This also happened to another batch of Gotland I bought last year from another farm. I tried drum carding this batch, but it seemed about a third of the fiber ended up wasted. Using the hand carders I can creat spinable rolags with very little waste and its only taking a few nights to turn the carded bump into rolags. And yes - it appears the correct name for a lump of carded fiber is in fact a 'bump'.

And on the other wheel (notice how that just fits neatly, the conversational slide from one wheel over to the other?) some thick black merino. On an early visit to the Milton mill, at the start of my spinning journey, I picked up a little bag of 190g of 22 micron black merino combed top. I thought it might as well become some yarn, and could be ideally practice for spinning a little thicker. Spinning thicker is harder than spinning thinner, or perhaps its just harder because I've been doing more finer spinning than thick spinning. Both this and the Gotland rolags are being spun thicker than I'd usually spin and gosh if those bobbins arn't filling up fast, at this rate I can fill a bobbin with thicker singles in a single night.

Its fathers day here on Sunday, so the cubs and I are off Saturday to find something suitable for a father bear ... sensible suggestions that fit modest pocketbooks welcome. We've also got a meal booked at Platos, a local resturant cafe of prize winning status. It should be nice weekend.

Take care, go well, knit when you can and need


Knitting Linguist said...

I love those mitts! I knitted a pair for my SIL, and they've been on my list to knit again ever since. And they look so lovely in that yarn. Your spinning is looking wonderful -- I've been dying to get back to my wheel regularly, and I think that tonight's the night. As for father's day, maybe a "gift certificate" for time in the darkroom? ;)

Erika said...

Aha--so that's why we couldn't get a table at Plato for my birthday! Nice rolags . . . are you going to spin them long-draw? And I'm going to have to go and look at the cast-on for those mitts.

CraftyGryphon said...

I freely admit that if I had a cat, photos would be all over my many blogs. Since I'm allergic, the world is safe... but eventually, I'll be able to house an Angora bunny safely (once the never-ending construction is done), and then there will be Bunny all over the 'net. Until then, all y'all are safe.