Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bohus, frogged and continues

Huge Thank you, Dee was nice enough to leave instructions in the comments on how to hold two yarns in two hands, four in total. Thank you Dee. I tried out Dee's 'way', as it was different to mine. I usually knit continental, with the yarn wrapped twice around my first finger, and then just woven under and over the other fingers all the way to the pinky. To carry two yarns I wrap the second yarn around the next finger, and weave under and over all the way to the end. I then slide my first finger under the yarn, so both yarns come over my first finger. When I knit I can scoop the yarn I need, and if I need to hold a long float, more than say 8 or 9 stitches, slide the knitting pin under the first yarn and scoop the second. Dee suggested one yarn would make a more prominent stitch using the hold she detailed, but I have not found that with my own hold. I guess that as both yarns are essentailly held in the same way one is not dominant?

I had a play with Dees right hand method, and I honestly can't remember how I used to do it before I knit contintal. I know I can knit fine with three yarns, but ... and this is the knit-geek in me, I feel a growing need to undertake a project with four or more per row so I can master that many. I will post some pictures of how I work in the next month or so, I have asked Bear to do that for me and he is happy to be chief photographer for when my hands need to be in the picture. If I was techie enough to work out how to do a movie I would. But for now stills are fine.

Bohus progress. Well I frogged the last few rows, all 1k stitches, and worked onward. The yarn was surprisingly easy to frog, being furry and all I had expected far more tangles and snags, but that furry-ness did hold the stitches so they didn't run. After the frogging I knit some more, so here is the updated picture. The bohus grows, and grows. And I love the colours that Anna-Lisa Mannheimer Lunn used. That woman sure had an eye for a beautiful colour combination. I'm even finding the purl stitches not a bother, or the three colours in one row.

Stash addition. I went shopping, to my LYS, or rather they called me to say the yarn I had asked about was in. Yes it is Opal, and yes Regia is softer, and there are lots of sock yarns out there that people like, but I do believe in supporting my LYS, even if they stock yarns for elephant sized needles and only carry one sort of sock yarn, and that in limited stock and colours. And even worse, don't even know about Addi turbos, let alone carry them, despite my requests. I need to be able to shop for yarn locally, so I buy stuff there, as well as on the internet.

New Project,
The Opal is not for socks, but for a shrug, or more specifically the Girl friend shrug. My wee girl is going to be four at the end of May. Here she is, so cute.We plan a fairy and pirate party for her birthday. 3 girlfriends and 2 boys from her Montessori preschool, plus her big brother. Instead of party bags we have bought fairy wings for the girls, and I am making pirate patches and sashes for the boys. I'm thinking of cutting out swords from cardboard, but that might be a tad distructive. Anyway there will be treasure hunts, fairy cakes, jelly, a very Pink theme, and a new Party Dress, but it is short sleeved and so the shrug. Plus, and this is a really big plus, when she wears it to school and drops food and paint and gunk all down her front it won't end up on the knitting !!! How cool is that? Will the shrug be finished for her birthday, not sure, we'll see. Does it matter, not really. I have enough deadlines wihout making new ones to stress myself with. As for my stash, it is small, modest even, maybe not even a stash? I have the bohus, a few balls of cotton for washclothes, and the shrug. Thats it. I am saving for another Bohus, but that will be latter this year. I have just layby'd new boots, they are brown, they are leather, they are lined with deep mauve, they are tall, and cool, and they are so . . . sexy , they are expensive . . . and they will walk home in a month. Bohus or boots, how is a girl to chose?

And a blog update, I think I can blog twice a week, a short one on wednesday (except for the week that bookclub is on) and a longer post on Sunday. I work full time, and havevery foolishly enrolled in two postgrad papers HEDU 503 and HEDU 510, foolish as they are half time papers, with full time work and a very full time family, foolish also as they cost mightily, and we are not made of money - the student loan grows. These are the final two papers, and until the end of the year I expect to feel like I am always late, always have a million things to do, and always not quite on top of things. Thats why the knitting, I need my me/focus time.

Plans, I borrowed a swift from a work friend, to wind the Bohus hanks into balls, and it is so simple that I plan to make my own. I am not worried about copyright as hers was bought at a school fair for $5. Where am I when my friends have these school fair and op shop finds? I go to fairs, I rummage, I op shop, but all I find is smelly worn out white elephant stuff. Any way, her swift is very simple, and has the stamp of being hand made by a old man for his wife, it is very much not commercially made. I'm going to make my own in a few weeks and keep a photo diary and post the instructions here. I've already bought the wood . . . . . .

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Bohus begins ..

Well I did it, I finally began the Bohus, a few days ago, I used the cast on method in Wendy Keele's Poems of Color. It took a few goes to make it work, some how my brain and her instructions didn't seem to conect. I really wanted to look up the method in Montse Stanleys The Handknitter's Handbook, but I had lent my copy to a student. Sometimes I am so generous with my precious things and then regret it, but mostly it turns out fine. Its just I find myself wanting to use books I have loaned away, and then I really miss them. It did remind me to ask for her to return it. I had taken it in for another student who was interested in hand knitting, just so she could see that there was always more than one way to do anything. And a second student asked to borrow it, how can I refuse a request from a noobie knitter wanting to learn ? Short answer is I can't, or rather I can't be 'mean' and not share - I guess my mother taught me well. I hope I do as well with my own two kids.

Anyway the Bohus, I mastered the cast on last weekend, cast on for the rib, and knit every night since, and finished the rib quite quickly, scarily fast in fact. Some nights I almost felt guilty as I wisked both kids off to bed with only 1 story each. There was no dally-ing tolerated. our dinner was quick and easy, soup, or risotto, salad, with minimal clean up. I really wanted to say just have a smoothie and thats all but knew we needed 'real' food. Some times I feel like we are among the few remaining families with out a dishwasher, so I excused myself while my hubby washed - I owe him. Enough of that, some time I will blog and show you my antique 1930's kitchen. It elicits comments of cute and fantastic, but then the guests, they leave and I try and fit modern kitchen stuff and cooking into 1930's spaces. We do have the most practical wooden bench you could imagine, if only it was wider and longer. Amazing what you can cook in less than a metre.

Back to the Blue Shimmer, after the rib, I moved on to the colour work. Even though I had swatched it doing it in the round for real was easier than I had imagined, and as you start with only around 154 stitches each round works up fast. The pattern repeats are really small and relly repeatative, 4 this colour, 2 of another, repeat, so the chart is really easy to follow. Dee offered in my comments to tell me how she was taught to carry two colours in one hand and two in the other, I worked out a method to carry two in my left by quizzing knit gurus on Knitters, and can do 2 in my right, and lots of practice on my daughters preparation for the Bohus sweaters. So have only had sucess with even tension with 2 in the left and one in the right. Any hints and tips greatly appreciated Dee, thanks for the offer. I am envious in a good way that you have access to workshops on colour work. I find it hard to keep the stitches spaced out along the right needle (essential for me to knit evenly when doing colour work) when carrying yarns in my right.

Picture, yes here one is, and pretty true to colour, on my screen anyway. I used a tripod and daylight which seems to give the best results. Now the guilty confession, I made a mistake, in the colour work and I will have to frog it. Yes really, in the dim light of our lounge, synthetic light, its begining of winter here and dark by 6:15 pm, not daylight I misinterptreted the chart colours and used the darkest blue when it should have been a mid blue. The actual yarns are quite different, but the ink used on the chart is simillar. So that last row of pattern, about 4-5 rows, of 217 stitches on 2.5 mm each need to be undone. That means froging 800-1000 2.5mm stitches, and picking them all up. With no lifeline .... argghhhh.

And when I look at it and compare to the completed pictures of 'real' Blue Shimmers, I see the dark dark blue is not right at all. I'm off to frog, but maybe tomorrow, to much for me to face today. It was all I could do to tell you about it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Preparation for the Bohus.

I am in love, in love with a 'sweater' - or more specifically a Bohus, Blue shimmer. Maybe it is more an infatuation, but I think it is more solid and meaningful and unlikely to fade so must be love. I bought the kit from this site attached to the bohus museum, after seeing Wendys on her blog late last year (here). I ordered mine in the light main colour and had to save up, they are not cheap but when the yarn arrived and i saw the colours for real I was thrilled. anyway, I was also in awe of people who knitted whole sweaters on tiny needles. I was in awe of people like Wendy who knited with many colours in one hand and who's work was flat when on the needles. I was afraid to 'stuff' up the Bohus. So I conceived a cunning plan .... I would knit several colour work sweaters for my daughter in preparation for the Bohus.

Sweater No 1. a steeked fair isle in baby yarn, fingering yarn to those in the states, and 4 ply to my fellow New Zealand knitters. Knitted up on 3mm needles. I based it on an article in knitty on steeking and using a baby sweater for practice (here). My daughter was going thru a pink thing, and she looks soooo good in blue that matches her eyes, I compromised and developed a variation on the baby norgi. I also sized it up somewhat - using gauge and a wee skivey that fitted her well to determine the size. My fair isle got better and better as I worked up the sweater, by the time was knitting the tops of the sleeves it was flat and even. I do admit to designing as knit - not a good idea. the aesthetics of this peice leave me a little cold and reminded me that drawing and sketching lots of variation before starting has an important role in designing. After finishing the sweater I was inspired by Nippertails to knit a matching hat.

Sweater No 2. A top down Raglan, knitted in sock yarn on 2.75mm needles. You can see I was working my way down to those 2.5mm needles, and was hoping that my gauge was matched enought that I didn't need to use smaller than 2.5mm. I bought Addi turbos in 2mm and 2.5mm, and Inox in 2.25mm just in case. For the raglan I used fair isle patterns from Magnificent Mittens by Anna Zilboorg, 1988, page 41, and Lasekofte 2, page 137 of Knitting in the old way by Pricilla Gibson-roberts and Deborah Robson. I tried to map out the maths for a Top down Raglan using EZ/s ESP formulae, but resorted to Joan Scoggins About knitting instructions (here). My maths is good, but I just couldn't get it to work. Joan's works well but I do feel the increases are very sudden. When laid flat the yoke ripples. I had it all finished and was knitting matching socks - it was made of sock yarn and I had a ball left over. When my girl wore it the sleeves were a tad short - looking like she was just growing out of it. So after the socks were done, I cut a thread in each sleeve, picked up the stitches, and knit down two new sleeves, about 2.5 inches longer.

So its April, and I have knit two sweaters, one pair of socks and a hat since January. the Bohus awaits. the yarn arrived all skeined. So I borrowed a ball winder from work, sweet talked my man into being a human swift and last weekend we 'balled up the yarn". I've done the swatch, Bohus are worked with the colour work in the round and the body and sleeves in the flat. My swatch took 3 nights as i worked out how to match my 'in the round' to my 'flat'. I also had to work out how to eliminate the rowing out! I guess I have been knitting in the round so long i now have a knit/purl tension difference. Turns out I have to knit firmish and purl tighter to have even flat knitting with no rowing out. My other preparation involved determining what size needle was one size smaller than a 2.5 mm. That was the instructions for the ribb. I posted a question on knittersreview forum and recieved a wonder full response from a Swedish knitter able to tell me that in Sweden - the true home of Bohus - one size smaller than a 2.5mm is a 2mm. This makes me sound so anal, but I so want this to be 'perfect' or as perfect as it can be.

So .... its all go for the bohus, next move cast on 154 stitches on 2mm needles and rib for 5cm.