Monday, May 29, 2006

Girl friend Shrug is finished !

Girl friend shrug was finished, and on the party day. But was she finished in time for the party - no. GFS was finished at around 10 pm on the night of the party. Given the party was for a four year old, the party was all over by 4:30 pm, shrug was officially late to the party, and well past bedtime. So what happened? A little thing called responsible roles at work and research funding - thats what they think they pay me big money for. Well they think they pay me big money - I do ok, but I might argue the big money bit. Any way here is the Poppy-girl in the girl friend shrug. btw - have you ever tried to photograph a small exited four year old who had way to much fizzy, chips and sugar the day before? If you had you would know that even on the sport setting this was as good as it was going to get.

Blue shimmer bohus, no progress shot, I have knit all the increase rows for the back yoke, and now am working on the below the arm hole/syce section. I will have to stop dithering and come to a decision about waist shaping very soon. Bear confirmed last night that Rose collar was on the shoping list for my big '4-Oh how did that happen' in July, but both of us are a little easy-osey about delivering prezzies on time.

Knitting demo - how I knit and purl on my Bohus with the yarn in the left hand,

As mentioned in my last post, I am not suggesting this is the best way to knit and purl a Bohus. It is working fine for me, and gives me nice even tension with both yarns. Bohus knitting is famous for its use of both knit and purl stitches to give a textured effect to colour work as well as using three, four or more colours in a single row. When I was researching how to knit bohus found little info which demonstrated how to work colour where there was both knit and purl used. I have a copy of Poems of colour by Wendy Keele, but wanted to learn more about the techniques. Living in New Zealand knitting workshops are few and far between, i searched the net, I quizzed the gurus on knittersreview(see sidebar) and developed a technique which works. Eventually I developed a variation on the continental purl stitch shown in Sally Melvilles Purl Stitch book, and in this video here where it is called the Finish purl. No sadly I do not understand what I take to be Finish, but pictures are universal, and it really sounds pretty. i also aplogise for those with a dial up connection for the number of images in this post, but as a learner I was frustrated by sites that had a before and after shot of a knit technque or had line drawing of the needles with no indication of what the hands were doing.

Anyway, when I knit with two colours in my left hand, I hold the yarns as detailed two posts ago, and then to knit, I start by inserting my right knitting pin into the next stitch on the left needle.

When the knitting pin is through the stitch, I twist my right wrist so the pin is now vertical/pointing up, and scoop under the yarn,

I untwist my wrist bringing the point of the pin down and keeping the yarn under tension 'pop' the pin and yarn back thru the stitch.

Then I slide the stitch off the left needle, leaving the new stitch on the right pin, I tend to give a slight tug of the right knitting pin away from the yarn, at this stage to settle the new stitch in place.

To purl, I first 'lift' the purl yarn into place so it comes over the left knitting pin, this is not so much lifting the yarn as putting the left knitting pin under the yarn and lifting it up. Then I insert the right knitting pin purlwise into the next stitch on the left needle, the knitting pin needs to push through a good distance, so it can be twisted up and 'hook' the purl yarn.

Ater that I twist the right knitting pin down and slide the old stitch off the left pin leaving the newly formed stitch on the right needle. Some times I use my thumb tip to hold the yarn in place as I slip the yarn through the stitch.

I have learned to keep the yarn under tension while this happens, and do this in part by pinning the yarn against the left knitting pin or against a finger to stop it feeding so easily, I also roll my fingers away from the knitting. Most knitting diagrams show the left index finger raised to tension the yarn, but I find that causes me problems with tension and even feed.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Knitting with two colours in the left hand

or at least, how I knit with two colours in the left hand.

But first a quick update, I finished all the colour work on the bohus, which is a little sad, although there is enough yarn left for me to think about some Mrs Beetons as the next project. Brenda spoke of having a completed Mrs Beetons page, but I couldn't spot one on her site. Of course knowing they are designed by the wonderful Brenda D from Cast on also adds to the tempation.

So I divided the stitches up for the front and sleeves, parking these on dishcloth cotton. I have completed around 3-4 com on the back. Above is the photo I made after knitting the first cm or so of the back section. My dress makers dummy came home so I can use her to hold blue shimmer for the photos. Now that I am knitting the body section I have paid a little more attention to the shaping in the pattern. Blue shimmer is shaped by decreasing until 30 cm below the arm scye/hole, then adding a rib. I am not a fan of ribbing around my hips, not that I am big or anything, but on me that always rides up to my waist. I prefer a tunic and in and out waist shaping. I think I will see how the back sits on the dummy as I knit and I may adjust the shape some.

GF shrug is going well, I am up past the elbow on the 2nd sleeve. I am not yet sure if I should just knit like a crazy woman on a mission for the next few evenings and attempt to finish for the big four year olds birthday party on saturday, or just enjoy blue shimmer and catch up with the blogs and knitters review, and my homework instead. Flickr, my photo host-er is having some 'hicups' at the moment, so I will update my progress images in the side bar soonish.

And knitting with two colours in my left hand, how I do that. I have found a few web sites with knitting with two colours in the right hand, but when I went looking late last year didn't have much luck finding two in the left hand. I must say friends at knitters review were very good n sharing ideas and experiences with me, but mostly in words. I would have loved to see photos. So in a spirit of sharing here is what is working for me now. I have tried to be web friendly, and saved these as gif, and for the web, but apologise for the number of images. I wanted enough to how the steps and make it clear how I form my stitches. In my last blog I posted an image showing how I wrap the yarn when kniting with two colours. The wrap is essentially the same as when knitting with only one colour. OK,
Step one, with both the yarns in place over my first finger, move the right knitting pin thru the front of the first loop on the left pin,

After that, swing the right knitting pin up and under the yarn, in this case the green yarn wraped around my 2nd finger. You will notice that it is my wrist that does most of the work, the right knitting pin ends up pointing towards the ceiling. If you are more used to knitting with the yarn in the right hand it is your fingers that provide the most movement.

Once the yarn is 'hooked', return the right knitting pin to a more angled position and twist the knitting pin tip down and back thru the loop on the left knitting pin. Slide the right knitting pin right thru and carefully lift the loop off the left pin. At this point I have developed a habit of giving the new stitch a tighten by pulling it away from the yarns in my left hand. This is a wee technique that really helps me keep even tension and stops rowing out with stocking stitch knit flat. Its so automatic I had forgot I taught myself to do this, until I analysed the photos.

I have not show how to knit with the 2nd colour, as the movements are the same as the those shown, you just hook the 'other colour yarn' instead. I must admit this whole project, to take the images and get them in order and ready for the blog has taken more time than I had anticipated, but I am quite pleased with the result.

As promised I have some showing how I complete the knit then purl stitches used in the bohus, and a set showing rib, using the Finish purl - my current favorite.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Bohus photo shoot

I'm back to knitting Blue shimmer, the final 10 rows or so of colour work. But before I ran out of colour to work with I had Bear take literally hundreds of photos of my knitting. Hundreds to get the lighting right, the focus right and to get the images to have enough infomation so I can show how I knit. Digital cameras sure make that easy, and cost effective and instant. I was pleased with my digial minolta, it is over 2 years old yet worked fine. We did resort to using a tripod to make sure the focus worked and the images were simillarly set up. I have divided the images into four sets, which I plan to post on my blog over the next few weeks. The four 'sets' are
  1. How I hold two different colours of yarn in my left hand
  2. How I make a knit stitch, while holding two different colour yarns in the left hand
  3. How I make a purl stitch while holding two different colour yarns in the left hand
  4. How I rib, using the 'finish' purl method.
At some stage further down the track I will add more, like how I hold two colours in my right hand. I do feel that there is a lot more infomation on the net about right handed colour work.

Why did I do this? Not because I think I knit the best way there is, but because over the last two years I have tried lots of variations of knitting. All of this infomation and experimentation has resulted in a current style that works for me. Over the past few months I have had several on online conversations with various helpful people over how best to work with up to four colours for the Bohus work. I am so glad that others on the net share their experience and tips that I would like to offer the same to others. Not all of us live where there are advanced knittig workshops, for me I would have to travel very widely to take part.

So how do I hold the yarn? Like this, I wind the first yarn or 'dominant' yarn around my first finger, then weave it over my 2nd finger, under my ring finger and under my pinky. In this first image I have wrapped the first yarn, but the second yarn is just sitting, waiting to be wrapped.
By dominant yarn I mean the colour that is used the most in the work, or the colour with the longest floats, so I can weave it it if the floats are longer than 3 cm or over an inch. If a yarn is used to purl with in a row of knitting that is the dominant one that I wrap around the first finger.

The second yarn, is wraped around my second finger, then woven under the middle finger and over the ring finger, and finally under the pinky. I tension the yarns in three ways, I can and do use my pinky finger to grip the yarns a little, but try and avoid that. Griping with the little finger can lead to a kind of cramp up the side of my hand and wrist if done for several nights knitting. I hold my first and second finger close together, this stops the yarn sliding as easily. I also hold the side of my first finger against the needle at times, again to increase friction and this allows me to lift my finger and tug a little to ensure the junction between purl and knit stitches is firm.

GF Shrug, is over half way complete. I do need to tell you that while I am being guided by the pattern, I have made quite a few changes to accommodate my own knitting preferences. Firstly and probably most importantly I am knitting shrug in the round not flat. I used a tubular cast on and have a lifted increase 2 stitches appart for the forearm increases. The other major change is that I have chosen to knit shrug as two matched pairs and graft these together across centre back. Shrug is knited in self striping sock yarn with an unbalanced repeat to the colour-way. If I continued to knit from wrist to centre back and then down to the wrist, the striping on each arm would be a reverse match rather than a mirror match. So I am knitting the second sleeve from the cuff up, to match the first. I am nearly finished the rib on the second sleeve. I still don't know if I will make my may 28th deadline, as after I finish the second sleeve, there is 1.5 inches of rib, on 2.25 mm pins around the shrug opening.

And Bear, has offered to send for a 2nd bohus kit, for my upcoming birthday (40 eeeekkkkk), I think it will be Rose collar and knit as a cardie. So Flat fair isle with whole rows of purls. The bar raises.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blogging - the behind the blog work

Yes I have been behind the scenes blogging, or rather tweaking things, mostly the side bar of my blog. A little more pink, a little more lower case. And I've renamed the blog knit- knit - frog, as that pretty much describes how I knit at times. I do like to get things right. I have grown into a perfectionist, where I once just wanted to finish things and wear them. Thats the transition for teenager to adult I think.

So whats changed/ some new links, to Guido's podcast, and to his pal Grumperina, some colour changes, and Yes , what I have been wanting for ages and waiting for, drum roll please, ....

ta da (I did have a wee glitch, but fixed it with the help of Nerissa from Knitters Review), I admit to being a complete html code newbie or bunny, but want to learn.

a WIP or Whats on my needles section, complete with teeny-tiny images. Not sure if I did that the most elegant html code way. I feel so smug and pleased that I worked it out and got it into the code. and didn't break it. I had posted on Knitters review to see what suggestions the knitting geek code guru's have. After I completed my version of the progress images, i checked back into knittersreview, and found that Nerissa had posted a link to Indigirls how to,

Bohus update with photos of the last of the Bohus Blue shimmer colour work next weekend, I promise.

GF Shrug, just a quick update photo of GF shrug. Shrug seems a little bumpy, which I am assuming is the result of knitting with yarn that has previously been knit, even if it was only knit for a day or two. you can see how much further I had knit up before she was frogged, by how much yarn is wound back around the ball. Must admit this looser gauge is not quite to my liking, I do prefer a 'firmer fabric'. A very dull day here, with a dark grey sky, so even though this photo was made by a window at 3pm it is very dull and dark. The good side of that is tonight we will curl up in a cosy lounge with a fire. Bear has to work, so once I run around and put kids to bed, wash up alone and generally tidy up ready for tomorrow, I will be sooo ready for kniting.

My dress dummy returned tonight, Yes little Miss Purfex has been visiting. I lent to to a visiting designer at dfi, Darlene who is from Canada, and she has such a cool accent. Darlene must have been on the outreach programme, as she is not listed as one of the incubated designers, Darlene wanted to pay me for the loan of the dummy, but how much do you charge to rent a dress form for 6 months? I had no idea, Darlene thanked me by leaving this beautiful fabric all rust and gold, fabulus - now shirt or wrap? There is just on 2.5m, at 115 cm wide, maybe even a dress? This term I am teaching a class to drape, so mmmmm.....yummy thoughts.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bohus, nearing the end of the colour work :(

Blue shimmer bohus, well I am nearing the end of the colour work yoke, and it saddens me. I really enjoyed the colour work, but am now about to start colour work row 64, and there are only 72 in total. After this will be many many rows of plain stocking stitch. Stocking stitch flat, not in the round as I prefer. My purls will get a practice. But then I will get to wear it. The progress photo is ok, it was taken under a halogen light in the dining room. Usually I use the natural daylight coming in the window, but being it 7pm when I took the photo, here in the southern hemisphere, below the 42nd parallel. Entering winter, by 6pm it is dark. I tried to use the white balance correction in the camera but look ....

not pretty, not even salvagable. I call it Bohus Electric. I had to tone down the colour in the first photo a little, but still feel the aqua is not as faded as the real one, while the brown seems spot on. That is on my monitor, I know every monitor has its own settings, so aplogise if it looks garish on any one elses. On day I will stop feeling like an interloper when using photoshop and feel like I know how to do things.

GF Shrug, this is where I admit a terrible mistake, I didn't swatch! And I am the queen of the swatches, I am drive students and friends who are learning mad by insisting I will not help until they swatch. I should have and I learned my lesson yet again. I have used Opal for many, many socks, and even a hat, always knitting to gague using 2.5mm pins. I planned to use Elizabeth Zimmerman's knit the swatch as you go technique but I was so pleased with progress and the pretty colours I didn't stop to measure. I thought as I was knitting a "size up", and my Poppy would grow into it that it would be fine. But, the pattern was not written for Opal, and I have no idea why I thought I could substitute Opal for another unknown sock self striping yarn. Never, never, never again will I be so plain stupid, I had knit for 4 evenings, and was really pleased with my progress, up to beyond the arm hole and 2-3 inches across the back. I could see that the GF shrug would be finished easily in time for the party. I had half a shrug completed and then .....

A visiting friend of my daughters asked what I was knitting, so I showed her by putting it on Poppy. It was tight, wearable, by not over anything with sleeves, and no growing room. Ok, I left it be for a day, while seriously contemplating finishing it and gifting it to a friend with a younger girl child. Then Sunday afternoon I overcame that, I moved to an acceptance stage of pre-frogging, and ripped it all out. Cast on on 2.25mm pins, and ribbed. Switched to 2.75 mm pins and knit, I have slipped it onto her arm tonight before bedtime stories, and it fits fine, a bit of ease in there. I will check gague latter just to be sure. I wish I had a recorded picture of the shrug before I ripped it, but no, my camera was at work, and a Scan seemed way to much effort. I guess I was not full accepting the result at that stage. Any way this is the progress shot.

Still pretty, and given how fast the 'wrong' version knitted up there is a chance it will be finished by end of May in time for the party. So for now Bohus will share my knitting time with Shrug, but that will give me a little more time to enjoy the colour work. I also want to 'save' some colour work for when Bear can do the photo's of my hands knitting. I see so many images of how others knit and it is not quite like mine. May as well add mine to the mix.

Blog Stuff, well I have fixed the links, but need to spend some time working on the blog layout. I really want a WIP section, with those cool progress charts. Bars showing how complete, or even cooler wee images of the project with the colour filling up as the work grows towards completion. Not quite sure how to do that, I was thinking images of the garment, I can do that in corel draw or photoshop, and then fill in the colour as I go, saving each to my flicker acount. then the WIP in the side bar would link to the relevant image? I would have to upload a new image for each WIP that had progressed, for each blog, but I already upload a few images each time. Might post that one on Knitters review and see if there are any suggestions.

Friday, May 05, 2006

links fixed,

which I had not realised did not work, note to self to check every thing, twice .....

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bohus vs Shrug vs Work,

Just a really quick post this time, this has been one of the more hectic weeks, it included
  • teaching monday afternoon,
  • teaching all day wednesday and thursday,
  • giving a lecture on 'good design' to a room of around 80 this morning, including 5 fellow staff which was a little nerve racking,
  • planning meetings all afternoon,
  • hairdresser tuesday night,
  • Book club wednesday
  • homework for my study tonight.
I have a full day of meetings tomorrow including one with my supervisor for my study,
so time seems a tad short this week. Things should settle down next week.

Blue shimmer
is looking good, I managed a little more progress on her. I must say Bohus Blue shimmer is a girl, at least in my mind she is. Here is a picture. There was a little more frogging, fribbit, fribbit. When reading the chart I found it really hard to see the difference between the two blues, 103 and 102 on the chart under incandescent lights. I initially thought I had made a mistake half way around the row, so frogged, then realised it was right and reworked it. I had a simillar incident of uncertainty a row or two latter, eventually I took a drawing pencil, 2B and carefully outlined the areas of each colour. That made it much easier, and I would strongly recommend that to anyone knitting at night from the chart.

This week I started the Girl Friend Shrug, working the rib on my vintage 2mm knitting pins. I inherited them from Mrs B, my MIL, who was a prolific knitter in her day. But she never knit socks, making my husband - Bear - only one pair and they were a new and significant experience for her in the 1970's. So significant they were remembered 20 plus years latter. I have no idea where the knitting pins came from or how they came to be Mrs B's, but can only imagine she saved them from another relative, her sister died much yonger and she had a lot of special things saved of hers. There are only 4 in the set but they come in a delightful vintage wooden tube, with size "14" carved into the side. to stop rust they are stored in talc powder, so smell all baby fresh and spill a fine dust whenever I open the tube to use them or to store them away. I do prefer to knit with a set of 5 dpn's so I have to add a modern Milwood needle, which is shorter and feels different. The knitting is not affected, but I always know when I am not working on the steel pins.

Anyway, GF Shrug grows well, I have decided to rib for twice the length in the pattern, so around 6 cm, this will allow my wee girl friend to grow somewhat over the winter. I have not yet decided if the sleeves will match in colour repeat or not, knowing how fussy I can be they most probably will. This image was scanned, rather than photographed, as my camera is at work. The colours are brighter or more garish than in the real yarn. If I was more photoshop savy I would remedy that, but I am not.

Book club, meet last night, we swoped the last book by Witi Ihimaera, Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies (1994), for Silas Marner by George Eliot. Bit of a difference between those two! I didn't get very far into Bulibasha, but wished I had after listerning to the group talk about how much they enjoyed the story. Witi has a wonderful way of describing people and situations, you can smell the environment it seems so real. It will be on my things to read over the christmas break latter in the year. They all said the first few chapters were really hard work then it became a 'can't put down' book and the story with its characters was great. I missed out, with being so busy I didn't stick around past the first 60 pages.

Of now to read a chapter or two on educational methodology and research methods, so I will be all fresh and know stuff for the discussion tomorrow.