Saturday, September 30, 2006
Lately, it seems like everyone who avidly knits yarn, also spins yarn. Am I crazy for thinking this is, well, a little, crazy? Spinning wheels make me think of pioneer villages and....Ghandi. Not that there is anything wrong with spinning your own yarn, I guess I just don't see it as a logical next step for knitters. Artists don't always have to create their own paint, do they? What's next? Raising your own sheep?
I decided to get in on this action and see what all the fuss was about. How can I judge something I don't understand? So, I signed up for a drop spindle class at Lettuce Knit. (I highly recommend it! ) At first it was incredibly awkward - kind of like rubbing your belly and patting your head. But you know, knitting used to feel that way to me, so I persevered and slowly but surely, I had yarn. I managed to create 2 skeins of colourful, slightly irregular, lumpy yarn:
So have I been converted? Well,No.
I still don't get it. Learning to spin was a great way to get to know different fibres and understand the construction of yarn etc, but it's so time consuming! I know, I know, spinning wheels make the whole process light years faster, right? That's all well and good, but I still think I'd rather have someone else do it for me. (Somebody needs to buy all that handspun everyone else is creating, right?) I'm a slow enough knitter, so if I took up spinning my own yarn as well, ...well I think I'd average finishing a sock about once every two years!
Speaking of socks, I picked up some sock yarn (yet again) while thrift shopping yesterday. Two bucks for 4 skeins! I really have to take up knitting socks! (We'll see how that first sock goes from my last post) I also found some wicked vintage Needlework magazines! Some of the patterns are hilarious, but there's a few that definitely stand the test of time (as long as I don't knit them in the suggested hideous acrylic yarns!) The best thing about the magazines? The ads! I'll be sure to post some in the future.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
The never ending sweh-HEH-TERRR...ah-a-a-ah-a-a-ah-a-ahhh.... Do you have that 'Never Ending Story' theme song in your head? I do. Do you even know what I'm talking about? 80's kids movie? A flying dog-creature? Nevermind...
I think I've come down with a bad case of 'second sleeve syndrome'. Knitting my first 'real deal' sweater (ie; not a shrug), I'm getting a taste of how long it takes to complete a whole garment.
But I want to wear it!
Alas, I'll need to complete this (stupid, redundant) second sleeve unless I want to rock some kind of single-sleeved, asymmetrical, avant-garde cardigan. Unh....no thanks. So, I'll just have to bear with the few more inches of stockinette stitch. Then, (drumroll please) on to the ribbed border! This border requires picking up about 30 million stitches around the entire outside edge. Gaaahhh! Is there a picking-up-stitches syndrome I should know about? Pick-up-itis?
The almost-finished-sweater-boredom has prompted me to take a gander at the old stash-basket to find a new, smaller project to work on. You know, something I can finish quickly so I can feel like I'm actually accomplishing something with all this knitting. Why is it all the yarn I have on hand never co-ordinates with the projects in the queue in my head? There's either not enough of one kind of yarn, or it's the wrong weight, or the wrong colour... I can just feel your heads nodding. You know what I'm talking about.
So...socks. Socks look to be my best option. I've never knit socks before, so we'll just see how it goes. Last year sometime I picked up some of that 'magical' self-patterning sock yarn. Now, I know a lot of knitters think this yarn is 'cheating' or just a cheap novelty, but C'MON! It patterns itself! Hell-oh?! In any case, I think you'll agree it's perfect for a first sock project. I recently found some dpns in a goodwill - still in their little plastic sleeve. Perfect! I'm all good to go. Until the second sock... I hear there's a syndrome.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I figure it's about time I've told you all what I'm working on. For the past couple of weeks I've been furiously knitting away at a cardigan/jacket that I totally fell in love with on the Garnstudio website. If you haven't been there - GO!
I found them thanks to the Lime and Violet podcast. (Thanks ladies! You ruined my life! Now I have to knit 1000 sweaters!) The site has TONNES of free patterns. The jacket I'm working on has the super catchy name "Jacket in Karisma", or even catchier, the alternate name; 91-8. Whatever you call it, it's a fabulous design. But before I go on, let's talk a little bit about these patterns.
Garnstudio is a Scandinavian yarn company. Their design department is in Oslo, Norway. This means all the lovely patterns on their website were not originally written in English, and have been translated from....Swedish? (I don't know, what language do people speak in Norway?) God bless 'em for translating them all for us English speakers, but there IS a downside. I'm not sure if it's a spoken language thing, or a knitting language thing, but the patterns are VERY confusing. After reading over my lovely jacket pattern I almost wanted to cry. How was I ever going to knit this? The pattern was so wonky!
Determined to have my 91-8, I did what any brave knitter would do: I re-wrote the pattern. I read over the crazy Norwegian instructions and translated it into language I could understand! (Look for my crazy-long translated pattern at the end of the post). I don't want to jinx myself, but so far it seems to be going swimmingly!
The pattern calls for Garnstudio's Karisma yarn, but I'm using Misti Alpaca (worsted 4 ply) that I picked up at Lettuce Knit. I'm not the most experienced knitter, but it's BY FAR the nicest yarn I have ever knit with. It might have something to do with the fact that it's also the most EXPENSIVE yarn I have ever knit with. In the end, I think it will be totally worth it. The yarn is super soft, and I'm completely in love with the colour (C846). I wanted something neutral, so that I could wear the sweater with almost anything, and this colour is PERFECT. At first glance, it seems dark brown, but at times it can almost seem green-ish or grey-ish. It's slightly tweedy as well which gives the colour some great dimension. The border and cuffs of the sweater call for a contrasting colour, so I'm using Cascade 220 in a great cranberry shade (2401).
I've finished the back, two front panels, and I'm just about through the first sleeve. The pieces look to be shaping up right shapes, so I think my new 'improved' pattern is working out. I can't wait until it's finished!
Here's the original pattern:
And for those of you who speak Swedish (?), here's the Norwegian Garnstudio site:
For those of us who DON'T speak Swedish, it's worth a visit just to look at wacky words like 'Oppskriftsbloggen' and 'strukturmønstre' (I think that's what lived under my bed when I was little!)
GARNSTUDIO & DROPS DESIGN
JACKET 91 - 8
Instructions for Medium size
500g main colour
50 g contrasting colour for trim
Needles: size 4.5mm straight and circular (or size needed to obtain guage)
GUAGE: 20 sts and 26 rows = 10cm in stockinette stitch
• With main colour CO 44
• Row 1: P
2: CO 5, K to end, CO 5 (54 sts)
4: CO 4, K to end, CO 4 (62 sts)
6: CO 2, K to end, CO 2 (66 sts)
8: CO 2, K to end, CO 2 (70 sts)
10: CO 2, K to end, CO 2 (74 sts)
12: CO 1, K to end, CO 1 (76 sts)
14: CO1, K to end, CO 1 (78 sts)
16: CO 1, K to end, CO 1 (80 sts)
• Continue in ST ST until work measures 8cm from CO edge
• *INC 1, K to end, INC 1
Work 4 rows ST ST
Repeat from * to a total of 6 increase rows (92 sts)
Continue in ST ST until piece measures 22 cm from CO edge
• Shaping armholes:
Row 1: BO 3, K to last 3 sts
2: BO 3, P to end
3: BO 2, K to end
4: BO 2, P to end
BO one stitch at the beginning of the next 6 rows (76 sts)
Continue in ST ST until piece measures 38 cm from CO edge
Row 1: K 21, BO 34, K21
3: Dec 1 each side (20 sts each side)
Continue in St St until piece measures 40 cm from CO edge.
BO all stitches.
• With main colour CO 22 sts
Row 1: P
2: K to end, CO 3 sts (25 sts)
4: K to end CO 2 sts (27 sts)
5: P to end, CO 1 (28 sts)
6: K to end CO 2 sts (30 sts)
8: K to end, CO 1 st (31 sts)
10: INC 1, K to end, CO 1 st (33 sts)
14: K to end, CO 1 st (34 sts)
15: P to end, CO 1 (35 sts)
18: K to end, CO 1 st (36 sts)
20: INC 1, K to end (37 sts)
22: K to end CO 1st (38 sts)
25: INC 1, P to end (39 sts.)
26: K to end, CO 1 st (40 sts)
• Knit until piece measures 16cm from CO edge ending with P row.
• Shaping armholes:
Row 1: BO 3, K to end of row
3: BO 2, K end of row
5: BO 1, K to end of row
7: BO 1, K to end of row
9: BO 1, K to end of row (32 sts)
• Continue in ST ST until piece measures 27 cm from CO edge
• Shaping neckline:
Row 1: K to end, BO 1
• Repeat rows 1 & 2 for a total of 6 decrease rows (26 sts)
Row 1: K to end, BO 2
• Repeat these 2 rows for a total of 3 decrease rows (20 sts)
• Continue in ST ST until piece measures 43 cm from CO edge.
• BO all stitches.
•Follow instructions for left front, reversing shaping.
•W Contrasting colour, CO 65 sts.
Row 1: P (wrong side)
2: K3, P4, (to end)
3: K all K sts, P all P sts
• Change to main colour. Continue in this K3, P4 rib until piece measures 2cm.
• DEC each 4st grouping to 3 sts (56 sts)
• Continue in this K3, P3 rib until piece measures 14 cm, ending on WS row
• Decrease 4 stitches evenly: K13, K2tog X 4
• Work in ST ST until piece measures 19cm, ending on a WS row.
• INC 1 ST each side every 8 rows 9 X (70 sts)
• Continue in ST ST until piece measures 51cm.
• Sleeve Cap:
Row 1: BO 3, K to end, BO3
3: BO 2, K to end, BO 2
5: BO 2, K to end, BO 2
7: BO 2, K to end, BO 2
9: BO 1, K to end, BO 1
• BO to at beginning of every row until piece measures 57 cm.
• BO 3 STS at begining of next 2 rows.
• BO all STS when piece measures 58 cm.
• With main colour PU 384 STS starting at middle of right side, making sure to concentrate more stitches under the arms (so that ribbing will not stretch too tight here)
• Join in the round, placing marker to note beginning of round.
Row 1: P
Row 2: K
• Work in K3, P3 rib for 3cm
• Increase each P section to K3, P4 by knitting into the front and back of the last K ST before each P section.
• When rib measures 7cm, INC all P sections to 5 sts in the same manner as before
(K3, P5 rib pattern - approx. 512 sts)
• When Rib measures 11 cm, switch to contrasting colour
• INC all P5 sections to P6 (as above) EXCEPT around back neckline (the middle 60-
65 stitches of upper back section)
• Work one row rib.
• BO all stitches rib-wise.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
WHEEEEEE! Look at me! I'm blogging!
After much TALK of creating a knit-blog, I'm finally taking a bite out of that big ole' bullet and gettin' down to business! So, why a knitting blog? Why now? Allow me to explain myself... As of late, I have become OBSESSED with knitting. I've been an avid knitter for a few years now, but recently...I don't know what the hell is wrong with me! It's become all-consuming! I blame....the INTERNET!
You see, up until recently, I've been a bit of a knitting loner. I have a few friends that 'dabble' in the craft, (a scarf here, a hat there) but no one really knits as consistently or frequently as I do (at least, not yet). I needed someone to share my 'yarns' with. I needed co-conspirators. I needed inspiration! Then I found the holy trinity: podcasts, websites and blogs (oh, my!). One site led to a blog, which led to a podcast which led to another blog, which led to a forum which led to a website... you get the idea. Next thing you know, my usually very patient and understanding boyfriend had had just about enough of the yarn-speak. It was time to branch out. I needed real-live knitters to chat with - for the sake of my relationship!
Enter: the Stich n' Bitch.
I live around the corner from an absolutely fabulous little yarn store - Lettuce Knit. I know, LUCKY, right? So why had I not attended their weekly knit-night before? I have NO IDEA. Okay, I have no GOOD idea. I guess it's the anxiety of showing up as the newbie in what could already be a tight-knit (excuse the pun) circle of friends. Silly, but I'm sure we've all been in similar situations. In desperate need of social interaction with other knitters I had to suck it up. And was it painfully awkward? Of course not! Well,... I DID bring wine - Ha!
Of course the lovely people at the Stitch n' Bitch were incredibly welcoming and friendly. And now I'm actually speaking face to face with the people CREATING these wonderful podcasts and websites and blogs (oh, my!).
Next step: create my own damn blog!
After all, knitting and blogs go together like needles and yarn. In the future I plan on letting you all know what I'm working on, sharing my hard-earned knit knowledge and most likely - asking a lot of questions! Bear with me as I figure out this technology. Just you wait and see - before long this blog will be all tarted up like a Texan on Tuesday! (Don't worry, I don't know what the hell that means either. It just sounded good!)