Thursday, May 31, 2007

I've been playing with colours

and this is what I have come up with. I had a play with the original Debbie Bliss fair isle, but while designed to be knitted flat it was not designed to be easy to knit. By that I mean the yarns were often worked to one end, in a row, only one yarn used in the next row and then both yarns required on the 3rd row - but one was left at the wrong end. I hate cutting and joining unless there are good reasons. That bugged me, so I set out to fix it.

I've only got 7 colours in this, and have 9 to play with, so have to fit in two more. The original blanket repeated the pattern, using the colours not quite reversed - but mixed up. So I will play with that. I'm not entirely happy with the rust and purple line.... nothing is final yet.

So I reworked the pattern, first with colour pencils , then in photoshop. I made sure I kept pairs of working yarns in two row sets, knit there - purl back. I did leave a few single rows where those colour yarns were not needed beyond that row.

I used Photoshop to draw a grid, which I selected and transformed(dragged) to make it more knitter proportions. That is the stitches are wider than taller. I then copied the grid onto a few layers, and build up a few options on each layer. This is the one I like best. Using the scan of the balls of yarn I set each yarn colour as a pattern. I used to magic wand, and holding down shift to select several squares I filled each square with the yarn colour (pattern). Relatively easy - I wonder if Fair isle designers do this? That could explain some of the ones that are almost impossible to knit. I would usually knit and play - but this is Gill's blanket. And I know from our discussion that there were colours she liked next to each other. Using photo shop made me learn a bit more about the program, and let me play very quickly once set up.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

theres not much knitting going on around here ..

... and there really is no good reason. I spent a night playing with the colours for the fair isle baby blanket. My first swatch proved that some thought was needed to get nice things happening colourwise. Once I had a nice 'order' to the colours I made this card reference. With the yarns all aligned so that if I picked up and knit any adjacent ones the fair isle would show up and be attractive. There is a lilac and a grey which are very very close in colour, so I have to keep them appart. I scanned the lot, and defined each yarn as a 'pattern' in photoshop in preparation to make a custom version of the chart. But didn't get much further on that - takes time. The yarn is Patons Bluebell 5 ply, Australian wool crepe, guage of about 26 stitches to 10 cm/4" on 3.75 mm - but I've been knitting on 3.25mm.

I've been knitting on toby's regial stripe sock, half way up the leg and little on the fana cardigan but only a cm or two. Out to knit group last night, and meet a new knitter - Heather. But she had to dash - like all busy people some weeks other things come first.

I found out that Kaffe Fasset was in town yesterday. Giving a lecture on colour at the art gallery. I'm a member, all paid up, invited to the openings and all, and no one told me! I'm miffed. Very miffed. None of those knitting last night knew until it was all over. We are all miffed, very very miffed. I've got a pile of socks (not hand knitted) and other non ironables to deal with tonight. We are all tired of playing hunt the smalls in the clean washed dried but not folded and away washing, before getting dressed each morning. Toby's generally swaps extra tv time for sock pairing - so I plan to use child labour.

I was playing around looking for Fana cardigan stuff on the web, for a little inspiration, and found this . A thesis available on line, by Gail Ann Lambert, for her masters in 2002 on the Taxonomy of sweater structures. And I'm just geeky about my knitting to read it! Well done Gail - I wish my thesis topic was so interesting.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Birthday party & new WIP alert !

Today is Poppy's 5th birthday party, and she work up to find this waiting on the table. Pink cake, her name, purple flowers, green mushrooms and two little ponies wearing party hats having a party on top! When you are about to be five, it can't get much better! We are cutting it latter at the party. Despite that this is a knitting blog, so we do have knitting content - a new sponsored project with swatching, fana cardigan update, and sock progress.

So, I'm a spoilt knitter, Friday I caught up with a visiting out of town friend, meet her poppets (2, boy + girl both under 3), had lunch, and went shopping together for yarn for a fair isle baby blanket. Gills baby no3 is due August, and she brought along two books for inspiration. A Celtic Debbie Bliss and a Vogue 1930's-1980's book. The Vogue for colour inspiration, the DB for the fair isle blanket idea and sizes. I'd offered to knit something, and that's what the BSJ was for, but am quite ready to take on a fair isle blanket. This is the swatch, where I'm playing with the mix of colours, there are 12 colours, all lovely soft muted pastel shades.

Feels like I'm spoilt, totally spoilt, with the knitters equivalent of a sponsor, some one who indulges my yarn habit, and has provided a complete set of yummy soft fine wool for a new project. I will get lots of purling practice with fair isle - as its all knit flat not in the round as I do in laziness. I pretend its better, and it does give a more even knit, but it could be also said to be purl avoidance aka EZ. I also discovered in working the chart, knitting in the round makes it easier than woking 'backwards' on every second row. Gillian thought of a brushed napped cotton fleece liner, I wonder about double fair isle aka helen of troy's pot holders. Scroll down - I can't seem to link to the pot holder posts directly. I'm tempted to adjust the fair isle chart a little, as it has repeated single rows of colour leaving the colour work yarns at the wrong end to knit (or purl with) in the next row. I've already drawn the chart up larger using knitters graph paper, at 150% of full knitted gauge, and drawn in the colours. The base fair isle has 20 rows, of 6 colours and then the 20 rows are repeated with the 6 colours re-allocated or mixed up as it were. There is a 12 stitch repeat, but like the Bohus - the rows often don't have any relation ship to the colour work below or above them. Gill settled on 12 colours, so a wee few decisions to make. There will have to be a purl fair isle video soon.

Fana, well still knitting, and still by day she is beautiful, but by night - yuck. I'm around 4 cm from the underarm point - so was planning to put the body aside and make the sleeves very soon anyway. I guess thats all on hold now as I get a feel for the fair isle blanket as that has a birth-date. Some how dead-line seems wrong wrong wrong when discussing baby arrivals. KathyR asked it I would wear it most during the day or at night. Mostly during the day - Fana was planned for a work and jeans kinda cardigan, over dark teeshirts and such. This image is pretty true colourwise, and not Christmassy at all - even with the stars.

I'm in the middle of the heel of Toby's Regia stripe sock, I had briefly thought about using diamante for this one - but in one of my few wise moments decided that he really should have a matched pair. We are pretending that the toes are matched. Despite his mums desire to instantly learn about and use Diamante shaping to change the shaping in a 2nd sock of a pair is a really mean trick to play on some one. Diamante has a different structure to Widdershins, there is an extension after the gusset increases - so the fit will be different, and you probably could feel that.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Video - 2 colours in left hand

Here is the promised video of my Fana inspired cardie being knit. I'm knitting the two colours, both held in the left hand. I am making sure I stretch out the stitches on the right needle to stop the stranding from forming to tightly. This is a trick I learned ages ago from Wendy on her fair-isle tips page. I tried to leave a nice note to her about minds thinking alike, as we both had titled our most recent blog entries 'a tale of two socks' me on the 15th May and her on the 16th May! But her comments are closed!

I've been temped to try Diamante, by Deb Barnhill, a toe up gusset heel sock with a formulae to make sizing easy. Suzanne's been filling me in on the finer points of difference between Diamante and Widdershins. I am a convert to Debs Blog and Suzanne has told me how many sock Debs knits, at one point it sounds like near on 13 socks in a month! Truely two women after my own warmed by knitted socks heart. I love the idea of scientifically planned socks.

I have hit a low spot with Fana, in that the yarn by daylight is a lovely deep red and a great petrol blue which changes by night into a bottle green. Yuck! She feels like a christmas cardigan, from a xmas special. I'm begining to think Fana should have been grey and white or black and white, more dramatic and 'stylie'. That night time green is a real turn off. Its probably mid project blues, I still love the yarn and the pattern.

I've been playing in i-movie o4, we have an old mac computer. but .... I can't work out how to save the edited and be-titled movie to a .mov format - so huge apologies for the lack of sophistication in this movie clip. I tried - and failed.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Small world this knit one

So this week I've been reminded that although the world is a vast place with millions of people I will never know - it is at times small and friendly, incredibly friendly. I talk about meeting up with an old friend, and making a new friend, Elspeth and Jane. There is not much knitting reported here - sorry about that, but a fair isle video made and in edit stage for latter this week.

A wee while ago I posted a rather sad and lame complaint on Knitters Review about not being able to easily get more Knit pics clear files for my options folder. Just like all the other non-American knitters out there. Jane dropped into my life with an offer, out of the blue to send me some she had spare. What a wonderful gesture from a fellow knitter! Anyway I since found out Jane might be very much a knitter person like myself, with a busy life, and for whom the post office is not always an easy stop. I had a few hic-ups sending a small thank you to Jane, for which I felt very apologetic. Jane's spare knit pics clear files arrived over the weekend. There was also this kit for a key ring sock blocker and instructions for knitting a sock to fit. So cute, I've seen these on blogs and on-line shops and these are 'way way cuter' in person. Thank you Jane. I can see that I might need to knit a few socks, one for each that I knit, just to keep things fresh, and toe up - maybe with a double knit toe ....?

So here is my rather full knit pics options folder, with many, many more clear file folders. It is nice a and fat now. So what use did I put the spare clear files to? Well apart from giving each pair of needle tips its own pocket, I filed the little cute tools that come with Knitpics, the wee flat ends and the small looped tighteners, and then I think I went very commercially incorrect ....

I filed my Addi turbo circulars in the same folder as my Knitpics ... something tells me that this might be frowned on by both the manufacturers of Addi and of Knitpics. And while I don't want to alienate either of those two - this is my knitting resource so both belong here in my eyes.

and Elspeth, well way back in high school when I was not a social butterfly, still aren't, for many reasons(then and now). Elspeth was cool, and intelligent, and soo soo small. In that petite and boyish way. You know there were those girly girls who the boys liked, then there were the ones who every one liked - well that seemed to be Elspeth, she was little, cute and cool. She listened to the cool bands, the Dunedin sound. She was good at art, and nice, nice nice nice - not many cool teenage girls are.
Well last weekend it turned out Elspeth was back in my life, as a student upgrading her qualification at the institution I teach. And true to form, every other lecturer on staff who had taught her (she studied here before I joined staff) remembered her in a good way. She is just one of those people, and yes, we talked, a very quick catch up in a busy class, and she is a real person, and still just as cool and neat as before!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A tale of 2 sock toes

Recently on KR there was a question on the possibility of making socks using double knitting.

SaraKate linked in that post to this, describing how to start a double knit toe. Its pretty close to what I do, so I'll just go with that description. Double knitting socks is not new, Kory at Knitty covered it back in 2006, and there are literature based reports from as early as 1860!

For a while I did toes this way, and I am not sure how or why I started. Maybe the purchase of the Montse Stanley book, 30+ cast on on techniques to play with - my perverse idea of heaven. I also forgot - or got mesmerised by the figure 8 cast on so have been using that in many forms, on dpns and on circulars. Not only that, I have also experimented with
Wendy J's short row toe with a provisional cast on across the knuckles. Any- way that KR post sparked my memory and I decided to resurrect the technique.

The toe in this image was to match the first sock already knit for Toby, in Regia stripe on 2mm dpns. So I invisibly cast on using a 1.75 mm dpn, and knit a few cm's. While it worked, it was much more open than the other toe so I frogged it and started again on 1.25mm dpn's. I had forgotten that you really need to use a needle almost half the size of the one for the body of the sock. That is because the extra yarn that reaches between the stitches when you knit double, ends up in each stitch, the stitches grow once off the needle. The toe knit on the 1.25 mm dpns is that shown in the final comparison image.

Standard double knitting, k1s1 with yarn in front, turn and repeat. Some thinking and planning is required to sort the increases - but not impossible. I could have gone on knitting double until the heel gusset was finished - but I was in to much of a hurry to show you all, so I rushed the toe.

So whats the verdict? I now remember why I stopped doing this toe. It produced what could only be described as a square flare toe. In my last toe photo, the figure 8 cast on is on the left, and the invisable double knit toe on the right. Notice the lines of knitting and how they flare out at the toe. That flare was worse, much much worse last night. Before I left the sock toe to its own devices - I attempted to bring it into line with my expectations. I folded it mid sole, and mid instep and finger pressed the toe into a neat curve - an attempt to squish a rounded appearance into the toe and reduce the square flare effect. It was semi-successful. Both socks have a cast on of 20 stitches, 10 on the sole, and 10 on the instep, notice how much wider the double knit toe is?

Will I use this toe again, maybe, it is quick and easy, and after a wash or two it appears the same as any other toe up sock. It is firmly part of my technique tool kit, and I do this for gloves and mittens and thumbs, double knitting is very handy to know about. In the dark yarn, at night it was easier to do this toe than to tug a figure 8 cast on into the same firmness as the surrounding stitches. It always takes me ages to carefully re-arrange the tension in that first row so the knitting appears seemless.

Will Toby ever notice he has one square flare toe and one more rounded - probably not.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A blast of steam - and the 'Stella' presents

Today, mothers day in our house, a quick blast of steam improves my fair isles appearance, 45% of pair of socks, and then I'm planning to take on my first lace sock.
First mothers day - hope all of you who do duty in some way as mothers at least got a kind thought or deed. Mothers day around here is a very one sided affair, being only me, both chris and I are sans mothers. Oh we had them, but in that particullarly Brittish way of putting it - we must have been careless so 'lost our mothers'. Chris's was quite elderly and had spent some years in a nursing home because her meds needed careful control beyond what we could do. Mine misplaced herself a long long time ago, way back in my very early teens. But she did teach me to knit some years before going.

Any way -Chris took our two to town to make beaded knitting markers, one each. Poppy's creation is the butterfly, and Toby's is the gold tubular one. Very nice, and within our small folks meagre pocket money budget. Around here pocket money is $1 per week per year, and half must be saved. That buget is for the kids, some times I think Chris and I should get the same deal. Chris stepped in to supplement with four kinds of dark luxury chocolate, that man knows me well. It don't get much better than four foil wrapped dark bittersweet chocolate bars, two swiss, one italian and one german. And our in-family joke - one was a Stella. Of course I do quite well from the name joke, the one where you buy things that have the name of the recipient in the name of the product. I get Stella McCartney perfume and body lotion, and Stella chocolate.

Sylvie shared her knit-kit contents after the last post. Very cool extending to DIY stitch markers, cut from straws and from electric tooth brushes. She also mentioned scissors, needles, a pencil, measuring tape and safety pins. Even though we are a half world away it seems we have the same stuff in our knit kits. I substitute snips for scissors, and don't use the safety pins - other wise the rest of the kit is the same. And she is knitting the pomatomus sock so has just ordered a magnetic chart holder.

So when fair isling - tension on the strands is everything, I stretch the stitches out across the right needle as I knit to keep the floats long enough. A helpful hint from Wendy. But some times the knitting, even though formed flat, finishes up looking slightly puckery. Not good. I know in theory part of this is from knitting on a circular slightly smaller than the knitting round, so the fabric bunches up. Partly the bunching also occurs as you squish stitches up towards the end of the left needle to feed onto the right needle and the fabric seems to set into this bunched shape. My Fana inspired cardigan is now a little over 15 cms tall, and was slighlty puckery thus, but as shown in the 2nd image - a quick blast of steam, a few gently pats, and flat as a pancake. I am beginning to realise this one will pill, its merino - so almost inevitable. Maybe thats the price for so-soft yarns. From sewing with silk, I know the loose fibres cling to everything, so I am expecting that to help the floats felt a little across the back in the first few washes.

And the latest socks, Toby's ribbed regia stripe sock, as patterned in the last post. Nearly finished. just an inch or two of 1x1 rib and cast off, then the second sock to go, so I figure I must be around 45% of the way through. Until now I have not suffered from second sock syndrome. Usually socks take just over a week - there never time to get board. This time however - I have belatedly discovered Cookies socks, starting with Monkey and then it seems after everyone else in the kniterverse Potatomus. that knitter seems to have a gift for socks with wow factor. Top down but - hey I can do that. These are of course the 'free' patterns, but I can just see that I will be signing up for both German and the sublime twisted flower sock, and maybe others. With inspiration like that well - I'll just have to get Toby's second sock out of the way quick.

and fish ... I've got to get some more fish knitted.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'll share whats in my knit kit, if you share whats in yours ...

Toys or tools - call them what you will, these little additions to a knit kit can make knitting easier. Today I'm talking my favourite knitting toys. Some times these toys are the simplest things, take two of my favorite knitting tools, one barely a week old, the other part of my knitting kit for a few years. Both of these are now firm favorites. This Post I explain how these two little things work in my knitting. My Fana inspired Cardigan progress slowly. I've got a sock up date, and working on a simple percentage formulae for a toe up widdershins sock variation.

So what toys do you like to use in your knitting? This last week I realised that two of my essentials were not in every one elses knit-kit. At the lace weekend, we used markers to indicate specific repeats or pattern lines in our knitting. Our kit instructions told us to bring 2 safety pins, which we were then asked to mark certain stitches. Cumbersome and ugly. I used my little silver jump rings, and ended up loaning a few to other knitters in the room.

I then found my little knit box, a little plastic 'tin' which one held french liquorice candy, did a trip around the table as I watched people discover the things it held. What was so fascinating? Well it has silver jump rings in two sizes, 3mm and 5mm, a broken 5" brittany dpn, a fine and larger wool needle, 4 or 5 markers made from old drop earrings, and a weird paper clip. The paper clip is just a simple loop of metal with rounded ends that hold a few stitches easily. You can spot it in the first photo if you look closely. I find the little jump rings from some sources better than others, look for ones that join neatly, not overlap - those ones can catch and snag yarn. Jump rings are narrow enough to leave no trace, as some larger plastic markers insist on shouldering a space between stitches, a little like that beginner ladder when you start using dpns.

I also have nice nice jewellery stitch markers, these really were real jewellery. Once these were earrings in the 1980's and 1990's, and have been reformed into stitch markers. I wound the earring hook around a metal knitting needle, size 4.5mm, and then trimmed away the extra with wire cutters. The broken britteny dpn - well it feels like jewellery, I can't bring myself to throw it out. I am sure it has a use some where in my knitting.

My new essential tool. We were asked to bring a magnetic pattern holder to the lace weekend, if we could afford it. Being of shallow purse, I trotted off to the local mega craft store to price magnetic craft boards. I told myself, if they were less than $39 I could maybe buy one, that if hinted these could be a major purchase. Oh My God! These little treasures are priced between $8 and $13! Talk about cheap. I bought the delux large size, slighlty shorter than A4. Before the end of that day I had mine put to use in tracking the star colour work on my Fana cardigan, what did we use before? I can't remember. Today I bought another, now I have four places for project charts, as each has two sides. I bound the edges of each, one with trimming elastic, and one with narrow bias binding. The manufacturer suggests using masking tape - but it goes sticky. Remember that $13 NZ is probably around $8 US, given our dollar holds it value like toy money. If you work from charts, this little treasure of a tool makes knit life easier.

Progress report on my Fana inspired cardigan, and while I have not been knitting much on it given the lace weekend - it has grown. From 9cm last time to 13 cm this time. I am finding the silk merino a real challenge to knit fair isle with evenly, especially on the stars with longer floats. This yarn is slippery, and I am hoping the blocking will relax it a little. Look close and you can see little bubbles in betwen the star points where I wove the floats. The Bohus was much easier to fair isle, with its slightly fuzzy angora yarn. This yarn also is photo shy, while the first image is around the right colour, the 2nd is not. Notice I have stitch markers every 15 stitches - as repeat markers, little silver jump rings. Those save my sanity. There is a thread on KR right now asking if it is ok to use stitch markers to identify repeats, I say yes, yes YES!

And socks, these regia stripe socks are for Toby, my nearly 8 yo young man. My own version of a toe up, widdershins variation. My new favorite sock pattern. I have not made a lace sock yet, I want to, its on my list to do. But for Toby, manly ribbed instep, plain sole, ribbed leg socks. I'm working out a simple formulae for my own Widdershin variation.I know widdershins math is a hot blog topic, I know Squeeky has posted a formulae but I'm math challenged. I specialised in physics in high school, held down an engineering cadet job for 4 years, have a university stats paper under my degree and a PhD which involved much much statistical planning, testing and analysis. I even lead authored a paper on the stats behind representative sampling of garment leather. But some how I'm still maths challenged. Go figure ...

So here is my version of a widdershins based sock formulae. No gauge, no idea of what the total stitches are at various points, just knit to a formulae as you go. Very EZ. So far its fitting. Its worked for Poppy aged 4, Chris aged 50+, and Toby aged 7. I knit socks on 5 dpns, stitches on 4, knitting off onto the fifth, so I write for stitches dived onto 4 dpns. I like a firm guage, so knit sock yarn on 2mm dpns.

Using toe up method I figure-8 cast on around 20 stitches, for Poppy I cast on 16, for Chris around 24, it depends on how pointy their foot is. I trace the recipiants foot, and use it to measure my knitting against, toe width, sock width, sock length. Knit rounds increasing every 2nd round at each end of the sole and instep stitches until the sock is the same width as a tracing of the widest part of the foot, this became K, I put 1/4 K on each dpn. If possible make the K divideable by 4, it makes using a k2p2 rib instep and leg easier. Thats so easy on dpns, just make sure each of the four needles has the same number of stitches. I knit the instep in K2 P2 rib and the sole in plain knit. I also make Left and Right paired m1 increases. I'm fussy.

When the sock measures 3 1/4 inches short of the heel, I increase for the gusset.
The gusset increases are equal to 50% of K, or 1/4 K on each side, so m1 at each end of the sole every 2nd row until the sole needles have K stitches. or in plain English, double the number of stitches on the sole needles, if they each had 12, they now need 24. This is a much bigger gusset than most patterns but it is working for me and my clan. We got high arches - maybe we need a high gusset. At this point you have 150% of K stitches on the needles, 100% on the sole needles, and 50% on the instep needles.

Make the round heel on 50%of K stitches, 25% on each side of the centre sole stitches.

(note this is the number you originally had on each dpn)
Knit to 2 stitches before the end of the sole stitches, m1, wrap next turn,
purl to 2 stitches before the end of the sole stitches, m1, wrap next stitch, turn,
knit to 2 stitches before the m1 on previous purl row, m1, wrap one, turn,
purl to 2 stitches before the m1 on the previous knit row
continue until around the centre 6-10 stitches are left on the two sole needles.
knit one complete round, ribbing the instep stitches as worked, picking up the wraps and knitting in with heel stitches as you go.

Work slip stitch heel,
the heel flap is worked on 50% of K,
knit to 1 stitch before 1/4 of K stitches past centre of heel, ssk, turn
s1, purl to 1 stitch before 1/4 of K stitches past centre of heel, p2tog, turn
s1, k1, to 1 stitch before 1/4 of K stitches past centre of heel, ssk, turn
s1, purl to 1 stitch before 1/4 stitches past centre of heel, p2tog, turn
Repeat last 2 rows until all extra heel and gusset stitches are gone and you are back down to the original number of stitches, K.

Work the leg in K2, P2 rib, lining up the ribs with those already set on the instep. Fudge it if you need to get a number divisible by 4 for a K2 P2 rib.
Rib until its nearly long enough, for us thats 1-2 inches longer than the sole.
Switch to K1 P1 rib for around 2 inches and cast off using your preferred sock method. I use a sewn up bind off and do this loosly.

happy knitting,

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lace, knitted lace, and more knitted lace

First a quick report on the lace weekend, and then normal blog service will return latter this week.

Well, I went, I knitted, we talked and we ate, and then we knitted some more. And that, my friends, was about the sum of last weekend. I attended the inaugural Dunedin Weavers and spinners knitting groups lace retreat. 14 of us had peace and quite and no interuptions, no phones, no tv, just yarn, instructions, help, wine and good good food. There was at times silence as we all held our mouths in that funny shape we find helps our knitting along when it is tricky, at other times there were words that will not be typed here. And in between teaching Lorna catered food like you would not believe. In a word YUM. I do apologise about the quality of the photography in this post, I was in a hurry and did not use daylight, and so these are not as clear or as accurate as I would like.

So what did I knit?

First the blue triangle above, because it had the most complex graph and I decided if I was going to learn reading a lace graph I would use a graph with lots of symbols. Yes that could work, if you were very clever and very pedantic, but then there would also be a requirement to line up all the holes in a neat pattern. That was apprently beyond me at first. Much tinking occured. Lace is harder than it looks. After one pattern repeat I was ready to try something else - that means much easier.

So I tried this blue leaf swatch, which is a beginnings of a Annie Modesit lace scarf from a recent Interweave special, that was in a magazine I took away. I had tried before at home but the chart for the double slip stitched boarder had eluded my simple brain. Not last Saturday, I sussed it, I can do it now. With a little or a lot of help from my new knit buddy Lorna.

and then I knit this,
Which is what most of the group knit, I started late Saturday, when they were half way along. It is a mini version of a Russian lace shawl, designed to teach all the required techniques. I will not show you what it should have looked like. By that stage I was in a hurry to catch up and over thought the pattern, leaving out an important slip one wyib that defined two of the internal sides of the central square.

I did learn a neat new alternative to grafting, sort of plating together the stitches from two edges as you slip then through each other and off the needle. Very cool - close up here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

9 cm done .... 100's to go

Colour work, I love seeing the pattern emerge. Of course with this one, I don't have an accurate plan, its sort of evolving - something I will address over the next few days. I do need to plan the pattern elements, in terms of positioning and placement. I am thinking of this as having fitted shoulders and sleeves, so maybe not a raglan, more of a saddle shoulder. If I do set in sleeves- even if picked up and worked down - I have to work flat. That invovles not only tension shifts but mind shifts - so we won't go there right away.

So images, first the front, and then the back of the knit fabric so far. In daylight the yarn is deeper in colour, something the camera is having a little difficulty with. And on the back, nice short floats and very little distortion. Thank you Wendy for your fair isle tips, especially keeping the fabric stretched out flat, on the right needle as the stitches are formed. Following that advice means I do not get any pucker, nor do i strand to tightly - anymore.

So - this is the drawing in the Pricilla Gibson Robberts and Deborah Robson book, Knitting in the old way, designs and techniques from ethinic sweaters. I've never seen an original, but like the idea of a caridgan with small scale repeating fair Isle patterning all over. The 'real' ones are finished using fabric binding - and have a rolled checker board stocking stitch hem. I've already deviated by using corrugated ribbing. The pink merino fair isle i knit for poppy recently used the motif from this sweater, alternating bands of stripes with dots, colours reversed every 3 rows.

I have been sketching some options - And will post best ones next time to show where my thinking is going. I like the stars but wonder how would they work with sleeves that were not steeked. I am thinking more tailored than straight dropped steeked arm holes and sleeves, but that is probably as the students are begining their tailoring design project, so I've been exposed to and exposing them to lots of tailored images. and memories of a neat little rowan cardigan i made once with fitted set in sleeves, back when I did use patterns and followed instructions.

BSJ - Baby surprise jacket, all finished and ready for buttons, on the to do list. Hand over date 20th march, so need to do that soon. Suitable buttons to find, safe, matched, cute - all needed criteria will be adhered to. Front and back, its the stripes that made this one make sense to me, without them the shaping would be much more of a mystery.

Stash, new yarn from Webs, First Trekking pro natura, with bamboo fibres instead of something man made like polymid or nylon. I like it, and plan cables, if it knits up not to stripy. Yarn two - not sure of and is a bit of a surprise, it was a clearence yarn so a real cheapie. But while I was ok with the varigation, I did not realise it was a self patterning yarn, check out the little sock picture on the ball band - Not sure if I can cope with that. A case of nice colours shame about the patterning. Still kids socks are a very real option.

And I'm off tomorrow for my first knitting lace weekend, I've got my knit bag, a brand new toy in a magnetic board plus a new 4mm crochet hook (mine were all to small), an old towel, two tea towels, my suitcase(and contents), my pillowcase, my pillow, my essentials and I'm really looking forward to it. All I need is warmth, light, and good company and I'm happy.