Saturday, May 16, 2009


this week its all about play, knitting related play of course but play all the same. Today I can happily report on the 3 knitting workshops I attended this week, and post progress on my two active knitting projects (AKP's) as opposed to the WIP's in the knitting basket beside my chair. Then its that time of the year again - 24hour Regent Theater Book sale - so I went with the cubs and got fiber related books, and Amazon delivered a bundle of books that work let me spend my development money on this year ... so its all good here, well mostly good - cause I've lost some knitting and needle .. and they are not where I thought they would be. You see I had one of those weekends - where one frantically runs from here to there, and almost always running late and rushing ... and when that happens, well, its harder to keep track of things.

So, play, the workshops this week were all about play. I didn't know that when I enrolled in them, I should have suspected ... but I didn't give it much thought. The Lynne Johnson workshops involved playing with various yarns and techniques, pushing us to attempt new combination's of colour, texture, stitch and form. Lynne is a user of fluffy yarns, lurex yarns, textured bobbly and twisty yarns ... and her knitting, well it is perhaps more colourful and textured than mine. So for the first day I was a little lost, as I realized that the other knitters there must have known more about Lynne's work, or perhaps their stash has more in the fluffy, bobbly, boucle, and frilly yarn line than me so they were better prepared to play. Still I played - abandoning all notions that what I knit would be a masterpiece, and finished and useful, and just accepted it would be knitting and learning. By day two I had got more into the swing of it - and truly enjoyed playing with what Lynne called 'super garter', a reversible non-rolling colour work variation on garter stitch. My samples are pale imitations of Lynnes and some of the other knitters work - but this is an amazing stitch, looking almost woven. Worked with a strong contrast of colour, strong compliments across the colour wheel, this stitch produces a fabulously rich fabric with a lot of potential.

I joke I can't follow instructions, seeming unable to leave a pattern as the designer wrote it. I have to re-gauge, lengthen, shorten, and substitute a more polished technique or finish for that given in a pattern. But as a student - to maximize my learning I do try and follow instructions. For this next piece we were told to knit a small tube and then increase dramatically, so I did, increasing into every stitch on the round, and again into every stitch 4 rounds latter. Turns out dramatically was intended to be more like increasing into every 4th or 5th stitch. The idea was to knit a vessel, a tube that flared out and then decreased in again - so we would learn about organically shaping. Still my fluted knit was described as coral like, and sent Lynne off to make a note of what shaping I had used. I spent much more time working my rounds with many many more stitches than the other students - and subsequently didn't have time to decrease back to my original number before the next example was introduced.

The LJ workshops were Wednesday -Thursday, and Saturday was Guild day. J was the speaker and demonstrated her special Air-cell Blanket stitch. Air-cell blankets seem to be a New Zealand thing, I suspect every baby born here is supplied with an air-cell blanket, they seem a national tradition. The original Air-cell blankets are woven, commercially, and designed to trap air, J's crochet stitch looks the same and produces a two layer fabric that is light and thick and warm, and grows fast. This image shows a single thickness of the air-cell stitch, and you can see underneath the second layer that automatically forms as you crochet each row. Saturday morning I learned how to work this stitch and crocheted a wee sample in my hand spun ...and I like it. I suspect there will be a few Air-cell baby blankets made over the next few years. So I left the guild meeting in a rush to make it to the next knitting event (I tell you its all go on the knitting front here in Dunedin this week), I left my show and tell knitting behind .. my Estonian colour work socks. J was kind enough to collect them for me ... remains to be seen if her feet and legs are similar to mine and if I get them back, its growing colder here and she might need them for warmth. I was rushing to a knitting class at the Art Gallery, on designing cute toys .. beautifully run by Jenee, and I was all inspired to knit something cute and weird. I attempted to knit a out of scale knitting needle, long, with a round ball top and a pointy end ... but I left it behind at the gallery. I trust I'll get my knitting back this week ... so I can't show you, yet.

Bayerische grows, steadily, but those 2mm needles are hard on my hands. Well ... either hard on the hands or I've been knitting to much ... which is entirely true with 2 full days knitting during the week, plus night knitting and guild crochet. I love the stitch pattern but have no idea how long I can make the leg before I narrow below the calf. I'd love to work one more repeat, I've worked 5, but I worry that working 6 will leave me short for knitting the foot and the heel. I found a Bayerische KAL on Ravelry, also a hint of a toe up version - and I've posted a question on Ravelry asking if someone has knit Bayerische as a knee-high, and if any one would tell me how much yarn a standard pair of Bayerische took. So many questions little yarn.

My last AKP is a baby blanket, a promise I made to some one having a baby, no the baby isn't here yet, I'm not sure of the timing of this baby ... but with Bayerische lurking, I needed a simple knit. This is the fourth knit of my current baby blanket, a center out square, with occasional eyelet rows, more eyelet rounds as the blanket increases. I knit until I have no more yarn. Simple. Easy. Fast. Its my hand spun, fiber from Do Arnot, silk, merino, alpaca, tencel, soy .. I joke when people ask what fiber it is, 'everything'!

Books, well at the 24 hour book sale I scored a vintage copy of Vogue Knitting, from 1988, with an article by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and another article on Traandsstickening, and one on Bishop Richard Rutt who wrote the classic knitting history book. All that in one magazine for 50c! I also found a spinning book for $1, Spin your own wool by Molly Duncan, 2 weaving books for local weavers, and a few vintage photography books for Bear. The cubs did well as well, with a huge pile of books each. I need to stop knitting and do some reading, because there are even more books, on Friday a large parcel of knitting related books arrived from Amazon, all bought out of my work professional development funds. In that bundle were, Manufractured, KnitKnit, Contemporary Knitting for Textile Artists, Radical lace and subversive knitting, Knitting Art 150 innovative works from 18 contemporary artists, The essential guide to color knitting techniques, and the one that might be the most exiting A Theory of Craft, function and aesthetic expression by Howard Risatti. I've read the forward and it raises some questions and gels some thoughts about the theoretical gulf between art and craft that has developed in the 20th Century.

so thats me, 2 Active Knitting projects, and one lost project ...and lots to read.
take care



i like the effect of the increasing into very stitch what, 5 rows? i wonder what it would look like if it was used as the end of a sleeve?

your knitting is lovely as always.

your comments on knee-highs made me think; i have fixed ankles and being so short, my stubby legs widen rather quickly. i have hear this is typical of short people. anyway, i think that when i get ready to start my socks, i will have to increase directly from the ankle. i think i will have to take a sock class before i try to make socks for me.

we had dfw fiber fest here a couple of weeks ago...was wonderful but dangerous to my pocket book.

Suzanne said...

Yikes! That was a very full weekend. No wonder you misplaced your knitting, not once, but twice. I do hope that all will be recovered safely. Super garter appears to have much potential. I've been having minor garter craving pangs since I saw JF's latest simple and stunning baby blanket.

JustApril said...

I like your coral tube thing, it's cool, I'm not surprised that she wanted to note how it was done. All of your projects are really pretty. I wish I could crochet sometimes, I wonder if there is a similar knit stitch thing that would do the air trapping thing in a blanket?

Looks like a really fun weekend =)

Erika said...

I donated a copy of the Molly Duncan book to the book sale a few weeks back, so maybe that's the one you picked up! Glad it has found a good home. And I love the Bayerische socks.

Knitting Linguist said...

Whew! You are one busy knitter! The workshops sound like fun -- something to wake the knitting brain up a little bit. And I love the way the B socks are coming along, they're going to be gorgeous :) The books sound SO interesting (I had to stop myself from heading right over to Amazon to try to find them; I need to read the books I bought with my development money this year first!) :)

Shirley Goodwin said...

Look forward to seeing more of the new books!