Workin’ the Big Boys

Big on knitting!

This Cornish knitter is my hero! See article at Treehugger.com

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Working those One-der Skeins

OK, with this recent donation of great yarn skeins, I suppose I have to officially admit to now having a stash. As I’m finishing two charity blankets, an intarsia blanket and ball baby gift, and ramping up to tackle the EZ’s Baby Surprise Jacket, I have been weaving in ways to stash-bust these great single skeins using Judith durant’s 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. As I paged through the book, several projects caught my eye. The Elegant and Easy Tie on page 104 featured a ball of Rowan Tapestry (#175-70% wool 30% soysilk) that is very handsome: bluey-grey and subtly gradated. It looked familiar. Could it be? I rushed to my new stash and, yes, not only do I have the yarn brand but it is the exact colorway. Yay! Cast on and was half done an hour later. Whoa, quick! I may do several of these ties for me and for gifts. Gotta bust this burgeoning stash!I’ll vary the design to try out some new cables, stitches, etc. and be able to display my handiwork. Also, maybe this is the good project to work on my quest for teaching myself Continental. I know what to do but it just feels so damn awkward! I have to persevere to gain speed but it is very frustrating . . . I’ll conquer this as I am tired of being such a slow knitter. Process is pleasing but progress is potent!  

Great YouTube Knit Vids

The Untalkative Bunny Goes to Knitting Class!

Conclusive proof that a desperate knitter will knit with anything on hand. How to Knit with Ramen!

Froggy Froggy Night

Shades of Don McLean (Starry starry night . . . song about Vincent van Gogh)! Last night I was crankin’ away on Miriam Felton’s Seraphim Shawl (30 rows in) when I stopped, took a long look at what I’d done, and frogged the whole thing. Contrary to what you might think, it felt great. Being a process knitter, and embracing that in me, I found a while back that it is liberating to just admit when things aren’t what i want and bail—frog— if unable to make a substantive correction. I really recommend this mindset for everyone. Even if you really want that product soon, why go further in if it’s all wrong?

In this case, everything was wrong. I was using a deep green, fingering mohair (Filatura di Crosa) on very small, Harmony needles. Love those Options Harmony wood circs but small dark fuzzy yarn turns out to be hard to see on them . . . Hard to work, hard to see, a frustrating experience that was creating a too-dense fabric. Yes, I had swatched . . . but my tension over the difficulty of seeing the yarn and pulling it through was making me knit too tightly . . .and I am a very loose knitter! Anyway, I let it go for another day (on larger, lighter needles).

That’s OK. I recently received a bag of yarn from a friend (this is the third time in a few months!), single skeins and balls, and ordered a sampler from Knit Picks of their summer-weight cotton, cot-lin, bamboo, etc. skeins (beautiful muted colors selection they called “Victorian“). So, now I have a sort of a stash to work through. Will be working some of the 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders as well as the free sample patterns sent by Knit Picks. Fun summer knitting that will be quick and instructive. Planning to up my game with new stitches and techniques. Also, looking to knit more quickly. I really do knit very slowly and would like to do better. English style? Better throwing technique? Keeping the yarn closer to the needle tips? I’m planning to try them all. Also, will be in traveling in June (Okinawa) and then again in August (business . . . ?) so small, light projects are just the ticket for plane time.

Baby Surprise Jacket DVD arrived so I’m looking forward to watching that closely. My strategy is to really pre-think the the whole project before casting on so as to avoid some of the frustrations voiced by David D and Guido (wow, you guys are so famous you are mono-names, like Cher, Madonna, Fabio!).

In addition, I really want to finish Tsuchigusa before it gets too hot. I like the round, lacy knitting but still, we’re talking mohair and acrilon, both of which get sticky with humidity.  

A Silly Knitting Mantra

May 7, 2008- My new mantra (inspired by the sultry sages Jenny and Nicole of Stash and Burn):

Knitting has taught me to go with the flow.

Knitting has taught me to trust what I know.

Knitting has taught me to take life in bits.

Knitting has taught me to breathe as I knit(s).

A Quiet Children’s Day

May 5, 2008- Yay! Today is Kodomo no hi- Children’s Day! National holiday=no school. Everyone gone. Quiet house. I knit all day in pajamas, drinking wheat tea and eating mochi. Finished Gedifra scarf (see photo in margin- will block tomorrow if it isn’t raining). Worked a bit on Tsuchigusa. Found cool project at Craftster: explains how to spin newspaper into a knitable “yarn”! I wanna try their technique. 🙂 I’m thinking, too, that to cut the paper thinly in z’s up and down will avoid all that joining in of small pieces. Lots of possible applications on stage . . . (costumes, set pieces, etc.)

On the other hand, if I get a drop spindle, will I not be selecting that first seductive step down the slimy, steaming, sloping path that sucks one inexorably into the Sinister Slough of Spinning? Arghhhhhhhh!!

Moving on UFOs

May 4, 2008- Determined to finish the Gedifra diagonal lace scarf (more than half done). With only a six row repeat, it’s good process knitting for me but I’m eager to block it to see how the diagonal yarnovers open up. Maybe they won’t show up as well as I would like because 1) yarn pattern is a bit busy and 2) despite large needles (US Eight) yarn is thick for this pattern. I’m hoping for the stitch definition to save all when blocked out. Probably will have to frog back one repeat because I clearly skipped a row: the wrong side is showing on the right side. Lazyass me, I considered either leaving it as a “midscarf accent” but I critically eyed it from a few feet away and decided it just looked undeniably sloppy.  This yarn has been ripped a bit as I completely frogged it out of a messy shawl I begat in my newb-infancy.  Actually, I have several projects stashed away like that from long ago that either need to be ripped or refurbished or rethought. Hmmm.  

Want to move on to finishing Tsuchigusa (Earth and Turf) as it is more than half finished and I really enjoy knitting the combination of fingerweight mohair (Filamenta di Crosa Italian yarn) with Sean Sheep grassy funfur. I know, funfur. . . heresy, heresy! But, what can I say? I likes what I likes! I have to admit that I like experimenting with what can be construed as yarn. That has included strange stinky recycled yarns, shredded plastic bags, shredded jeans, twine, wire, rubber tubing, susuki grass, newspaper, extension cords, and rope, among others. Obsessive creativity, much? Anyway, I’m hoping my dirty, grassy shawl will sway the doubters. It’s artsy enough that if my partner refuses to wear it (a possibility . . .) then I’ll debut it for the public. It’ll have to be late fall, and attending an art event, and dark.

After reading several accounts of Baby Surprise jacket knitters and their post knitting advice (especially David Demchuk’s in his blog Knit Like a Man and Guido’s laments in It’s a Purl, Man ), I’ve decided to study up ahead of time by getting Meg Swanson’s DVD (have done!). By visualizing each step in advance, maybe I’ll avoid some of the pitfalls of others and really enjoy each step of the process. 🙂

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