Monday, February 16, 2009

Knitty Gritties

Long, long ago, in a house very near to mine...okay, my house, a woman lived who attended her knitting group regularly. Every other Monday night she would pack up her most recent project and head out to Lakefield, usually with Annie in tow, and she would knit and chat and laugh and she would feel content.
Then she got pregnant, and she continued to go to the Knitty Gritties. Then she had a baby and she went a few more times with a sleeping baby. But then one night, that baby got too big for his carrier and he started to crawl and get into things and she couldn't find the energy come Monday night to drag her arse to her favourite place.
Weeks turned to months and then one day, she check out her Facebook and lo, and behold, both Annie & Jenn both were asking her to come to knitting. Well, she couldn't very well turn down that chance! She missed them. She missed the knitting and chatting and laughing. Of course, she would go. And so I did!
On the drive out I explained to Annie my current hatred towards the socks that I was sllllloooooowwwwllllyyy knitting. She reminded me that I really didn't have to finish them. And unlike a book that you are not enjoying, you don't have to just put the knitting away. So I spent most of my evening frogging the afforementioned sock...
Then I sat staring at it for some time. Meanwhile, Annie had not brought any knitting per se. Her first project was to finish the Snoodle (sp?) that she had started to make for Lulu. It is basically a square of flannel, folded in half, with a ball of stuffing in the middle for a head. Then you knot each of the corners, to make hands and feet.
Its adorable and simple and so soft!
Her next project was some needle felting. She's starting out making a mobile (again for Lulu) with little felted balls of swirling colours. The roving yarn is gorgeous and soft and looks absolutely beautiful, multicoloured cotton candy.And when she started to needle felt, it looked like the kind of zen work that I live for. There's not watching TV while you do it, because you can easily prick a finger with the barbed needle. But its a simple poking process and when she got going, it was a almost like watching a manual tattoo artist, her hand was moving so fast.Meanwhile, everyone else was working on various parts of various projects. Jenn was adding fringe to the ends of her new scarf; she's adding her Guide's badges later, which is priceless! There was also much sharing of baby photos; Annie hasn't been to knitting in some time either. She brought a gorgeous calendar with photos of Lulu's first year. I had my camera with some pics from today, and I also had my digital keychain with pics of everyone, and loads of Harper.

Needless to say, it was a fantastic night and I'll be sure to start going regularly again. It fills up my cup and then I'll at least have some fortnightly blog fodder!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Okay, so why does everyone love socks so much?

I've heard so much about socks. First of all, a lot of women I know are mother, my mother-in-law, my best friend (whose been known to go for a walk in a parka in July, I shit you not). They all complain about being cold all the time. They bring slippers to my house. Granted, I have hardwood floors, but seriously! Its not that cold in my house!
Anyway, in my knitting group (which I've been neglecting terribly the last year) everyone loves socks. They go on and on about knitting socks, almost like its a religious experience. Now, I thought before Christmas, okay, maybe in August, that I would knit up a few pairs of socks for Christmas gifts, for the aforementioned cold nellies. I figured I'd be conservative and start with a couple balls of Patons Kroy Socks in Denim Jacquard. They were to be for my mother-in-law, just because she's the most difficult to buy for of the three.
I cast on and the first problem I had was in the joining, but I got out my copy of Domiknitrix and, of course, found some great instruction. So, the pattern was easy enough (it was the one on the Patons website), but my passion for it waned immediately. I've kept at it, but certainly was not finished 3 pairs in time for Christmas. Actually, I wasn't finished one pair in time for Christmas. Okay, OKAY!! I wasn't finished a single sock in time for Christmas. In fact, even though I still have worked on it little by little all along, this is where I am today...Just barely passed the halfway point. Anyway, the other problem I had was with the spaces that were appearing between the needles. These ladders are ugly and everywhere I look, the advice is just to keep practicing, that they'll disappear with practice. Well, for Christ's sake, I don't want to practice doing socks, just so that I can get rid of unsightly ladders. I DON'T LIKE KNITTING SOCKS! So, when I do finish them, whoever is the lucky recipient better appreciate them, because they are going to be rare. Much like my experience making pumpkin pie from just wasn't worth the immense amount of effort. I can get really cool, well-made socks in many stores, at a great price. So, why would I continue to waste my time knitting these ladderfilled monstrocities!?

And here's the ladders...

My Christmas Present to Myself

My husband listened to my complaints this year and bought me a new winter jacket. And he did a fantastic job...I wasn't with him to try it on and I didn't give him any clues as to what I'd like. But he bought the perfect jacket. Its a thigh-length, brown and black tweed, with a detachable hood and zippered pockets. Its simple and classic and bookish looking...just like me!But I needed a new scarf to go with it. I wanted to do something a little different. Within the fabric of the jacket are fine threads of green and teal. They are so faint that you can't even really see them unless you get up good and close, and I point them out to you. I wanted to draw attention to them. So, I chose Lionbrand Wool in Lemongrass and Dark Teal; 1 ball of each. Then I decided that I wanted the actual scarf to be original, but classic. This sounds simple enough, but I wasn't. What I ended up with was a scarf that wasn't striped, or braided, or tassled, or weaved.

So, this is the pattern that I came up with...

Cast on 26sts, on 8mm needles.
Continue in 2X2 rib until you're nearly out of the first colour. Knit next row with the other colour and continue in 2X2 rib until second half is the same length as the first. Bind off.

I know, I know. Its incredibly complicated. But if you keep a stitch marker and stitch counter and don't watch TV while you work, you should be okay. My other piece of advice on this complex scarf, is to try not to smoke TOO much pot while you knit...I found that the needles looked REALLY REALLY BIG and it freaked me out a little.

Here is my finished scarf, which looks great with my jacket, by the way.

Another Old Project...

The story behind this is simple. I bought some yarn on eBay and didn't know what to do with it. It was a nice cotton/poly ribbon yarn, in a great creamy peachy colour. There was enough for a small garment, but I'm not a small girl! So, I thought a poncho would be nice.

It was at the height of the poncho comeback and although I was up for making one for myself I knew it had to be a simple design. I also hadn't started to knit, so it had to be a crochet design.

The pattern was the simple Incredible Ribbon Poncho at Lionbrand. Its a basic rectangle, then you sew up one side part way, leaving a hole for your head, so it fits asymmetrically.

I still wear the poncho now; its a great weight for spring when the weather has started to get good and warm. And the colour is nice on my olive skin tone.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Catching Up

Well, I got a digital camera for my birthday. Ah, I know...only now do you have a digital camera, you say? Shit, that is simply the plight of any middle-class parent. My daughter has had a digital camera for over a year, and actually had the audacity to ask for a new one when she thought it was broken!

Anyway, I've taken some pics of some past knitting and want to catch up the blog with them.

So, let's start with the least recent.

My brother-in-law managed to get his hands on some vintage knitting books (back when I was only doing crochet). This was one of them...
I was so enamoured with this pattern...
that I couldn't help but teach myself to knit. I really only wanted to make the pants (the jacket just seemed too daunting at the time). This was also before I was even pregnant with my little man. And considering the fact that I had no interest in doing the 'gender' ultrasound, I think it was fortuitous that I made these in Bernat's Baby Coordinates in Sky. They turned out perfectly, although they failed to inspire me to finish the rest of the outfit.
A close-up shows the soft boucle of the yarn; its kinky and entwined with a sparkling white thread. It's great to work with; so soft, silky and warm.
The pants are great and are just fitting him now (at 12mos), so he'll be able to wear out the rest of this winter in them.
I'll be posting some other pieces in the next few days, so stay tuned!