Friday, May 21, 2010

What is the difference between

Yarn bombing and knit-graffiti? I'm not sure .. but both are supposed to be a little subversive, a little surprising and authored by anonymous knitters (or crocheters). Yarn bombing seems to used by some to cheer up their drab streets with some knitted graffiti, which is the same goal as knit graffiti - Knitta has a mission to make street art "a little more warm and fuzzy. So here I am a fairly ordinary knitter, opps Knitter, working away on fairly ordinary pieces ... sweaters, cardigans, socks, hats ... and other domestic and wearable things, and happily knitting in public (Kip-ing) on a weekly basis, using good quality ingredients, wool and wool blends with other natural fibres. Last knit night, Thursday, I was knitting this, and there came the questions,

Another Knitter: What is that you are knitting,
Me: A cover for the ramp rail out side work,
Another Knitter: Why?
Me: The knitting elective I teach is starting in 3 weeks and I thought I'd cheer up the building with some knitting. Inspire them perhaps.
Another Knitter: What is that yarn, it looks like ....
Me: Yup - it is acrylic.
One of the other knitters: Where do you get acrylic from?

and so it went on for a little more as we discussed the bargain bin yarn shops where you would expect to find acrylic yarns. I think they were more surprised I'd actually buy and knit with acrylic than that I'd knit a cover for a hand rail. I was even asked how much it was - so unfamiliar with acrylic yarns are they. Appears I can knit a cover for a 3m hand rail for about half the price of knitting a pair of socks. I am knitting a cover for the 3m hand rail that edges the ramp up to the main entrance students use to our building, its in garter stitch acrylic .. and I'm doing my best to make it as designer'ey and attractive as possible - you know because deep down I am that kind of knitter who weaves in ends and matches left and right increases and decreases, and slips all the first stitches purl-wise .. and uses wool. And being me I got a little bored working back and forth in plain garter stitch, so I'm now working a kind of two strand garter stitch on circular needles. Yes I'm knitting lime green and bright yellow and still I got a little bored, because despite all that colour there was nothing interesting going on with the knitting, just knit knit knit. So to keep it in garter stitch but spice it up a little first you knit across the work with one colour, then without turning the work, slide all the stitches back to the other end of the circular needle and knit across the work in the same direction in the second colour, Turn the work and repeat ... it makes a neat little pattern of ridges, each edged with scallops of one of the colours. I'm maybe a third of the way along the hand rail, and I've got three weeks to knit it in before classes start, and students start picking electives next week. I'd have loved to have more done, things knitted for some of the table legs, or the pull cord on the projector screen or other bits and pieces .. but there is only so much a Knitter can knit, in wool or acrylic, and there is already too much in my queue.

Then there is the other knitting, the real project knitting, Tobys little brown possum sweater and another bump of fibre leaves the wheel, and there is some stashing. The first sleeve is nearly done, I'm decreasing in preparation for knitting the cuff. I use a different decrease pattern to what is usually recommended, I like to decrease at quarter points every 4th or 5th round, this funnels the sleeve evenly, rather than just removes fabric at the underside of the wrist. A few more decrease rounds and I'll be ready to work 4 rounds of garter and some 2x2 rib.

This is the latest spinning, Romney fibre, blue from Chilko fibres in Ashburton. Its a lovely mix of navy, dark grey, petrol, indigo, green, olive and blue-black, so I Navajo plied it to keep the colour changes intact. I am rather pleased with this yarn, its fairly consistent, with no real thin or over twisted plies - you know I might finally be finding my spinning rhythm. Its a little thicker than DK, so possibly best described as Aran, with 125m in 109g. I'm thinking a hat, for moi?
These little treasures came home from knit camp last week .. a grey sock yarn from Vintage Purls(she thought I'd like it so put a skein aside for me - I love having friends like that), and a cute pin cushion apple in Japanese indigo quilt fabrics. The other treasure that arrived this week is a book, In the Loop Knitting Now by Jessica Hemmings (BlackDog Publishing). This book is an edited compilation drawing together contributions from the first In the loop conference .. and I'm so excited to see it, seeing how I'm off the the second of the In the Loop conferences latter this year. I love this book, its exciting, from the article by Kirsty Robertson on teaching Textiles and Activism ... to the image by Margi Geerlinks of a woman knitting a child. In the book the reproduction of that photo is amazing, the toes are real childs toes and yet the waist is sheer and bunched is clearly knitting scrunched onto a circular needle. I had bought The Culture of Knitting by Joanne Turney late last year .. and was a little disappointed by it, I felt it presented ideas that I already knew, that it didn't develop new or exploratory ideas about knitting, In the Loop does that for me .. its shows me the new in an exciting way - perhaps I'm excited by the images as much as the text. And no ... I got the book after I started the knit the hand rail cover, so it didn't inspire me to start.

Lastly - thank you to Anonymous who corrected my spelling in the last post, from dying to dyeing - appears when speaking of a weekend involving 15 knitters the first spelling is tragedy and the second is not. Readers will be well aware that spelling and grammar are not my strengths ... in fact once at primary school a school report stated quite truthfully that 'Stella is the only child I know who can use a work 3 times in a paragraph and spell it a different way each time', that teacher was good, she let me know I wasn't there yet, but not in a way that killed my enthusiasm for learning. It also explains why I failed at French and German and Maori - for if I can't remember the rules in my home language - how on earth can I learn another set to use in another language? I try, there is definitely a slight dyslexia going on when I use letters, more so with numbers - you should see what I can do with a phone number as I write it down. At one stage I had a volunteer editor who offered to email me with 'suggestions' and 'corrections' but I think she grew tired of tidying up my ramblings, and honestly - I was very very thankful but always pleased and surprised she took the time, I never expected people to spend that sort of time providing detailed help. I know there are people out there who can spot a misplaced apostrophe across the room and can't make sense of the words or meaning until the spelling and punctuation is correct ... I'm not one of them, and so I do apologize to all those I offend, and understand when you go and read the musings of knitters who can spell and order words in the right way instead of reading me. I also give a huge thank you to all those who let me write and ramble and post and don't make the spelling or grammar an issue, unless I fail to make sense, and talk about a weekend of 15 knitters dying not dyeing, and then please do help me out - because as pointed out to me, fifteen knitters dying in one weekend is indeed a tragedy.

Thank you.
na Stella


Erika said...

In case you're wondering, your anonymous spelling teacher wasn't me (though I did react on Ravelry when somebody posted about "dying baby" alpaca--that was just a little bit too alarming).

paulam2 said...

ooooh Stella, your library is makin' me jealous! Can't find the Margaret Murray book for sale anywhere...just to visit frustration on the student populace you could always set it as a set text for your elective ;-)

cheers, paulam2

Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh, I'll need to get that book -- it sounds like one for the library! I can't wait to see a picture of your knitted handrail cozy in action, it's a perfect way to pull your students into the world of knitting :)

Walden said...

I think the rail cover is a wonderful idea!! About the spelling . . . people are too uptight. :)

KathyR said...

Re the spelling - I notice people's mistakes a lot of the time but, as long as I can make sense of it I think "what the hey!" It used to bother me a bit but I'm older and wiser now! ;) (Sometimes it can be downright funny!)

Yarnbombing/knit graffiti sometimes seems a little pointless to me (see the "older" bit above!) but sometimes it is cute. Depends on my mood, I think. Your idea of the rail cozy is cute - something knitted and colourful as an introduction to the students as they enter the building has to be good! The stitch you are using - is that the super garter stitch from L J? We missed out on her classes here as she only went to Christchurch and Dunedin. I can't remember why - reasons lost in the mists of time, I guess. Good to know the stitch, if it is. Looks simple and effective. I'll give it a practice and show them at our group at the next meeting. Thank you for that!

T's jersey's progress is looking good - any particular reason why you prefer to funnel the decreases on the sleeve? Inquiring minds and all! Your spinning looks excellent, too! Love the colours! Perhaps the weight could be called worsted? A hat might be nice as romney isn't always THAT cudly soft, is it?

Your sock yarn is pretty (but not as pretty as mine!) - for you or Bear or ??? Pin cushion's cute too. I didn't buy one of those as I didn't really have a need as I have a lovely felted pumpkin one I made. Have to draw the line somewhere, I guess. Ooops, rabbiting on again - sorry! I'll stop now. :)

me said...

your yarns in greens is lovely! Oh-so-lovely!!!