Sunday, August 18, 2013

Some things are easy to explain ... others not so much

And today's post has two easy to explain projects, and one of the not so easy to explain projects. First up, the frog pond socks,
These grow, and in truth once one is working the foot of a top down sock progress is much much speedier. In this case the lace pattern is worked only on the top of the foot, so the sole stitches fly past in a blur of plain knitting. I suspect there is only an evening of knitting left in these, so my self I posed deadline to finish these before I finish my other sock project seems to have worked.

The other project is working up nicely, You turn by Vintage Purls, I've done with the heel and the gusset decreases. And I must say I'm kind of in love with the Sunray of decreases that form the heel cup. I've always liked Sunray darts and never even considered using or finding them in a sock heel ... But there you go. Note yarn is much more orange than it appears, but it was a dull day, and my camera seems to have taken the dullness to heart.
Now it is time to explain the project that is harder to explain, a butterfly. A few weeks ago one of our final year students was exploring beading for her final collection. She had beaded dresses last semester but the beads were tiny, and spaced wide apart within deep pleating in satin and organza. The end result was pretty close up but lost at any reasonable distance, this time around we all encouraged her to use larger more dramatic beads, and I was asked if I would share my tambour tools. I was happy to but felt I needed a wee practice, so spend a few hours that weekend practicing, before taking a table hoop, student hook and showing her the basics. That wee practice sparked a desire to become more proficient, and I again dug out my books and looked around online. Long story short I realized that doodling away with a tambour hook and a variety of threads wasn't the kind of deliberate practice that would I prove my work - in short I needed a project that provided focus. Butterfly's are a traditional embroidery motif, allowing for a range of colours and stitches ... So a butterfly was chosen and started. This is the work from the back, the side that faces me as I work.
And from the front, there are hot pink sequins, fold bugle beads and gold beads, and shiny silver lined blue beads. The work started tamely enough with dark grey chai. Stitched outlines ... then quickly descended into bling, mor bling, and shiney glossy bling. I can't explain that at all, if you have followed this blog for any time you will recognize my colour palette runs to muted, and dull and matt.
I am at a loss to know how this happened, but is has, and it keeps happening, growing and glistening. Not only that but I feel a deep urge to invest in more sequins ... They are such fun to add to embroidery and I feel in ought be mastering the tambour hook. Once my butterfly is done, I might even be planning a frog, worked with a range of pearlescent and shiny green, olive, grey and other frog coloured sequins and beads ....I suspect i should be asking for help, an intervention, or preventative detention ... . But I don't care, I'm enjoying it and loving the bling, even if I don't know why or where it will end.
Take care - and what's your craft aside you can't explain.
Na Stella

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Some socks fly ... Some drag

And I'm not sure why. Recently I have been plodding along with some socks, knit for me, knit in one of my favorite colours (sage like green), my favorite yarn (indie dyed vintage Purls sock), and a pattern themed to appeal ( ode to the frog pond). The sock knits well, the pattern makes sense, is a lace repeat over 12 rounds, where the increases and decreases form a line that can be easily seen, reading and predicting what one does next is fairly straightforward. Still since casting on these socks when I reach for something to knit I have reached over this and dug out other projects, even ones that have sat since 2011 and 2012. I started these socks in January 2013 ... And have only just finished one of the pair and cast on the second.
By contrast two days ago I cast on a new sock project, and already I am quarter done. This one is also my favorite sock yarn, but not in a colour I like to wear (- soft peachy orange), not knit for me (which is always less exciting), and in a simillar pattern, except toe up. I'd like to thin the speedy progress is due to the trill of the new - but there is something else at play here. Something I am trying to articulate and understand. Again this sock is a twelve round repeat and its easy to read the pattern in the knitting. The same needles, and yet my enthusiasm is much much stronger.
The other wock is Youturn, by Vintage Purls, part of a most recent sock yarn club kit. This is the progress in three short evenings, and for this sock I am working old school, using a magnetic chart keeper, as the pattern is paper not digital. I know I could request a digital version from the designer ... But the paper is cool. The frog pond sock is being worked digitally ..something I usually do, using KnitCompanion, I'd have to say that it's as easy and straightworward as paper and chart hold. You turn was designed to be knit in the bright pink yarn provided in the kit, but i couldn't help wonder what it would look like in soft orange.
One is knit cuff done, one toe up, but I'm not sure that has influenced me on the knitting, Ode to frog pond has a fairly traditional flap and gusset heel, whist you turn has a rather neat heel cup that looks like it is formed by decreases that converge. That maybe it, I am looking forward to working the heel.
I'm going to keep thinking on this, and my challenge is to finish Ode to frog pond before I finish You turn. Maybe you can help ... What makes some projects a joy to knit and fly of the needles, while others that seem outwardly the same lag and drag?
Na stella

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Not one,not two, but three FO's

This post is late, appears I didn't push the post button and the words sat unread in my ipad. Then discovering that i managed to delete the entire post, My apologies, and an rewrite. A long overdue update, today there are three finished objects, one startd in 2011 no less, one started last month ...truly the wip basket is feeling lighter.
First up a tam, or what I think of as The Tam, the only tammi have worked so far and most definitely not the last. I wish some one had told me how much fun it was to work the crown, how the decreases turn what is straight colour work into the most amazing kaleidoscope pattern, arrow heads become stars, angles become diamonds ... Things are mirrored and repeated to form patterns that look much more complex than they are to work. Truely the crown of a tam is exciting knitting, probably the most thrills for your yarn as could be achieved in any pattern.

Here is the pattern, a simple set of checkerboard triangles and mirrored angles with a stylized tree.

And look at the result - if I'd have known working the wrong was going to be so much fun I would have finished this ages ago. Although in truth what stopped me was making some decisions. I had workd my own pattern for the brim, based on a chart of dancing couples ... You might just see them holding hands paper doll style around the edge. on the top you can see their heads, torso and hands. They show up slightly clearer in the image above. And could't decide what to work on the crown. I headed of to ravelry and found Ruskins Notes Winter Forest Tam, which was already in my favorites and queue. I had a different stitch count but was blue to dither the crown chart and decreases to work by redrawing the chart slightly modified.
From one extreme to the other, this project was started and finished much quicker, a redux of Hope he never needs this. The first one was for elder cub, this one for Bear, made from the left overs. I like. Knowing that two skeins of sock yarn will make two revsible ribbed hats. Bear has a new job, one that involves more site work and more wearing of safety orange vests. I thought a hat that was orange on the inside, and more urban and dark grey on the outside was in order ... Besides knitting this helped to clear some of my stashed sock yarn left overs.
And last is a super quick and cute knitters study group project, colour work baby mitts. These used a knit up faced hem, with a purl turn row. I think these might become a wee addition to baby booties next time I knit some. Cute, quick and not to many of these out there ... Although I will add a cord to thread through a coat sleeve to prevent loss. The pattern called for the colour work to continue all over the mittens, in a diamond pattern. If I had been using sticky yarn I would have worked them that way, but I was using super wash sock yarn so worried the floats would be finger traps and more trouble than they were worth.
That almost brings me up to date with the missing post, just this weeks post to add ... But perhaps I'll leave that for another day. This week is hectic, little cub is choosing a high school, she is only year seven and still has a year and a half to go but ....we want the decision to be an informed one. There are four schools on the possible list, two more likely than the rest but we have to visit all. That means Sunday afternoon was gone visiting one, this evening, tomorrow and the day after all taken by more school visits and open days. Elder cub choose to look at boys only schools, younger cub seems to want co-ed or girls only schools, so none of the prep work we did for him helps us here. With all that out and about eah night there won't be much knitting here till at least Thursday.
Tak care,
Na Stella