Tuesday, July 27, 2010

News, reviews and anwers

Today's post is full, first up I'm guest blogging over at GrannyG's place, a review of the Nightingale sock pattern, so for a full update on that knitting you will have to pop over and read it there. There is also news ... two finished objects, the Mobius and the Rouge Roses socks .. which means I've started new thing(s). Yes plural, as in I have 3 projects lined up ready to go and I want to knit them all, one of them is the newest kit in the Winter 2010 Vintage Purls Sock Club.

so projects, well ever since I saw a pair of these in person, I've coveted them. Nothing for it but to knit my own, can you guess which pattern they are?

Squirrel sampler mittens by Adrian Bizilia. I had a day at home with the eldest cub, he had a chesty cold and really wasn't ready to participate and infect a classroom of kids. Wow .. when one knits from noon until bed, with small breaks for after school pick-ups, and travelers vaccinations, and evening meals .. one gets a lot done. I'm hoping my squirrel will have a head and complete tail by end of today.

This all came about because I finished the Rouge roses socks, and they are thick and warm and cosy. I love the weight of the yarn, its a 'medium' sock yarn, and heavier than that I usually use. I'm not sure of the logistics of fitting thicker socks into my shoes .. and I'm a little wary of wearing them too much and putting holes in them. They are lovely but nylon-less .. and for some reason that worry's me. I want my hand knit socks to last .. but I am just supposing they will wear faster, they may not and in fact the high twist is supposed to prevent that, so I need to relax, trust, and wear them.

I also finished the Mobius, and while it is longer than I expected, I did cast on a lot of stitches, and looks more like crochet than knitting, I'm happy with it. Small bear has already claimed it - which is fine by me, I can see there will be another of these soon, wider and shorter and perhaps with a finer pattern.

the 2nd installment of the sock club arrived this week and I'm smitten. Look Bugs, and aptly named Bug out. I love it, we are a little spoiled in our neck of the woods as the designer delivers kits to us, this time at spin night. She also brings her sample along all knit up for us to fondle and admire ...

and there were gasps of surprise as we turned it over and found a knitted squashed bug under the foot - that just makes it even cooler. I have already queued this one, I've not cast on .. but it might just be the very next thing after squirrels are done.

Now recently I had a comment / question from Moemoe you do such great color work are there any site, books, patterns you can recommend for a beginner?.
Well, I can tell you how colourwork began for me. At first I worked a few items that had stripped cuffs, vertical striping, that let me play without fear and intimidation of taking on a large and complex project. To start with I also worked a few child's, (well toddlers) jerseys with small repeating colour work motifs. One that I can't find a photo of right now as a variation of Wendy Johnsons baby Norgi sweater that was a pattern and steeking tutorial on Knitty. I can't say what book would be best for you as I don't have many that show how to work colour work, but one of my fist purchases on knitting was Knitting in the old way, which has details for shaping sweaters and has quite a few charts one can use to decorate items with. I worked quite a few smaller simpler projects, the FakeIsle hat, a few pair of mittens, even a pair of colour work socks with very simple patterns. I designed and worked a larger cardigan for myself, Fannigan, and knit a Bohus from a kit. Each of these was a step more complicated in the colour work and gave me more practice and experience and confidence. Most of the early colour work was simple, working a 2 blue, one green stitches across a round. And all of it was in the round, that was essential for my sanity, not to have to work the design in reverse as I purled back the other way.
In my early projects I stressed a lot about 'how to best hold the yarn'. I found several video's on line that demonstrated ways to hold and work the yarns, the Fair Isle and Norwegien blog post has a lot of excellent detail of sources in print, dvd and free on line so I wont' repeat it all here. The Philosophers wool videos were a good source when I started, as I was knitting more with my yarn in the right hand. That technique is a good one and works well for many many expert knitters. Youtube is invaluable as well.

Eventually I started to carry my yarn more and more in the left hand, and I asked on the Knitters Review forums (pre-ravelry) about how to work colour work carrying both yarns in the left hand and had several very nice knitters post details of their techniques. Those I tried and adapted and found worked for me. I have a mental block with using both hands, I can never work out which hand is holding the colour I want to use .. even if I'm looking at my hands. When I carry both colours of yarn in my left hand I can just scoop the blue or the white .. whichever I need and I'm much less confused. I have now posted on Youtube and here in the side bar videos of how I knit colour work.

One of the best hints I ever read was by Wendy Johnson, its on this page under color knitting questions. Wendy suggested as one knits to stretch out the stitches on the right hand needle so the floats are as long as they need to be. Magic! that worked wonders for me and I do that all the time now. And don't panic or write it off until its blocked ... every. Blocking solves a multitude of tension problems in colour knitting.

I guess the main point is that one becomes better at anything in stages, start small and simple with a corrugated rib or simple geometric pattern on a hat. Work up confidence and ability in stages .. and use yarn you like, in colours you love.

please .. if there are other sources or information or advice that is important, do leave a comment
na Stella


Kate/Massachusetts said...

Great post! I am just beginning to learn color work so any link really helps. Have you seen this blog? She does lots of fair isle:

Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh, those new socks are gorgeous! I bet you'll be casting on pretty quick :) What a fun bunch of club kits. I tend to use both hands when doing color knitting, which works just fine as long as it's two colors, but when I was knitting the Bohus hat, I had to negotiate three colors per row sometimes, and that was a bit more tricky. Because I'm a right-handed knitter, I tend to put the color that's more in use in my right hand, and the contrast color in my left.

Knitting Linguist said...

P.S. I hope the young cub is feeling much better!

KathyR said...

Much food for thought in your post! I love Morag's latest sock club installment and am really looing forward to knitting it. Strange, but I have been slowly drawing closer to colourwork knitting recently. :)

Rachelle said...

I cast my bug socks on yesterday; I've called them Forest Floor on my projects page and although I've never done colourwork before it's quite easy; tension looks pretty good so far and they do go on my foot without a fight. I needed to get them started, after this there's the Gryffindor Pride socks, Nightingale, a colourwork vest and then Henry VIII (the ultimate for me)