Monday, April 23, 2012

Flat or round??

My Schoolhouse Shetland Pullover is progressing nicely. I am now working on the yoke area. This sweater is worked in the round, with steeks and various other interesting techniques, new to me. I am an experienced knitter, I have intarsia, Fair Isle, lace, cables under reasonable control. I have knitted all sorts of things, from big blankets to tiny Christmas ornaments. I love knitting on DPNS. But knitting a large item in the round just isn't my cup of tea. First, I knit with one needle under my arm, which leaves my right hand free to wrap yarn which ever way I need; circular needles are very uncooperative that way, they demand I grip them with both hands and keep them cozy in your lap. They feel insecure in my hands, and make me fumble. I even had a phone conversation about this years ago with Meg Swansen, of all people. She advised me to look for long DPNS. After all, that is what knitters from the Shetland Islands used to use, they even had a knitting belt to secure the back end of the long needle. Let me tell you, long 14" DPNS, are not easy to find. But with luck and perseverance, I got most sizes. Most of them are bamboo ones, made in Hong Kong. Others are metal ones, from Italy. I love them, they are strong, secure, undemanding, efficient in their straightforward way. They are also a bit fresh, and have a habit of letting some stitches slip away. But that does not bother me much. What bothers me is that I do not have a sense of size when knitting in the round. I cannot stretch the fabric flat on my body and decide whether it will fit or not, because a tube does not like to stretch horizontally. A tube on slippery DPNS is definitely not amenable to stretching, unless I was prepared to pick a whole lot of dropped stitches. My current tube is looking lean, too lean. I am beginning to worry. And I have not even tackled the steeking part yet! I am seriously questioning why knitting in the round is so much favored. People even convert flat patterns to round ones. Or knit eminently flat objects, like blankets in the round, then cut them (I do the opposite, ahem). My friend Misa correctly pointed out that colorwork, like Fair-Isle (not Intarsia, definitely not), is much easier in the round, and I agree: that is a definite advantage. Otherwise give me purling and seams anytime, and I'll just be on my way. As for my Blue-on Blue Schoolhouse Shetland Pullover, wish me luck.

Monday, April 09, 2012

unnecessary loss of randomness

Lanesplitter 2 came out lovely, it is difficult to go wrong with this pattern. But I wish I had alternated skeins, as recommended in the pattern, to create a more random look. With my first Lanesplitter skirt, I had no need to do that, the color variations were unpredictable, and the skeins considerably different from each other.

I wonder if the American market has requested more uniform Noro yarns than what they used to be. The batch of Noro Iro that I used for my first Lanesplitter skirt was a gift from my sister and her wife, and it was purchased in Sidney, Australia, where they live.

The batch for the second Lanesplitter was purchased at Webs. And the color pattern in this batch is very uniform, practically a self striping bulky yarn. I seem to recall many bloggers recounting manipulating Noro yarns to eliminate some of the randomness, as well as some saying that in each color theme, there always was one hue completely out of tune with the rest.

Well, it seems that that is no longer the case, or at least it wasn't for this batch. Have uniformity and predictability been driving market forces? Who knows? For me, this is not an improvement. I loved the randomness, it was what made Noro Noro.

I still do love the skirt, though, and I hope the recipient will love it too!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

What can I say?

"How long has it been? Way over a year.

So much for promising more frequent posts.
Most of the knitting has been dutifully reported on Ravelry, of course.
But of course it is not the same, the dialogue is reduced. On the other hand, I am not reading blogs very frequently myself, and I contribute nothing to the general knitting dialogue."

Well, I wrote the above in May 2011. Now is April 1, 2012. Is this an April fool's thought about restarting blogging? Am I fooling myself?
My internal intermittent commentary about knitting, and spinning, and various other things is still running in my head, and maybe it would get straighter, less muddled, if some of it was posted.

Also, maybe my fiber activities would re-acquire a social dimension, if I actively participated in the blogosphere. And that would be a lot of fun.

And I know I will need some help with this project at some pointy, or at least some encouragement. I am talking steeks, and shoulders finished with I-cord, and not sure what else yet.

It is the Schoolhouse Shetland Pullover from Knitting in America, first edition.
So far I love the knitting in the round, on long DPNS. It feels like cardboard, the Shetland yarn on cones is not soft at all at this stage. A swatch for a different project turned lovely after washing and slight fulling. So there is hope.

This project has a lot of unknowns, nearly uncharted territory for me. It will be exciting, hopefully so much so that I need to blog about it.

How about that for a carrot?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Done with drab knitting....

for now at least!

My December knitting palette ranged from gray to military green to brown, in stockinette and ribs patterns. Boring?? Ya thinkkk?!?!!

I felt like screaming most of the time. BUT I could not have more pleased with the final results, the recipients LOVED their items.

Giacomo got a peaked hat who never leaves his head (mm.., maybe it's time to wash the thing..)

He also got the most boring sweater in the whole world, but he wears it unprompted! Seriously!

And I can't sing enough praises for Guendalina! Just look at her!

Maddalena is the queen of hippos, and she wanted this knitted hippo so bad she learned to knit for her! Maddie did most of the knit stitches, I did the purl rows shaping etc.

This was not too bad to knit, the shaping and general adorableness helped the brown stockinette move along.

More project details on Ravelry.

For January I have spinning and color for you. To be saved for the next post. I'll try to be a bit more regular in my blogging activities, ok?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

An adventure in spinning and knitting

Well, more in spinning really, the knitting was not very adventurous.
But still, I knit a sweater for my husband with my own hand-spun! Whoo-hoo!

I guess that, in a way, I did it all wrong: did not decide on a pattern, or on a type of yarn, did not look for a specific fiber or used a dedicated spinning technique, did not compare samples, certainly did not take notes. Probably did not even make a swatch (gasp!).

What I did do was to let my eyes linger a little too long on some prepared top in beautiful shade of gray blue that I knew would complement my husband's eyes perfectly; I lingered long enough for the helpful owner of Brimstone Hollow Farm booth to help me out of my misery by selling me more than enough fiber for whole project.

I spun the fiber in my very little and very interspersed spare time. A bobbin here, a bobbin there, the only way I know how to spin, i.e. just as it comes. Every two bobbins, I plied the singles, for lack of extra bobbins. In September 2009, I had more time, and finally finished the spinning. By then I had read the book by Amy King, and my spinning technique had somewhat improved.

At that point, I took out a bunch of knitting books and magazine, sifted through them, offered my thoughts to my husband about various possibilities. His choice was either Field of Dreams from The Natural Knitter or Corduroy from A Fine Fleece. Even without making a swatch, I knew I would have to make some serious adjustments to the pattern to knit Corduroy, while Field of Dreams looked reasonable.

So off I went with the knitting, trying to mix and match skeins at random, to spread out the considerable unevenness of the yarn, without much success. Some parts are soft and bouncy, some are like rope. Some are denser, some are thinner.

But hey, when looked at in its entirety (and from a little distance...), the sweater is just fine, really. And the color is just perfect for my husband!

Just trust me on that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I know, I know

It's been over a year, and I have a long list of excuses, or better, good reasons for not blogging, but hey, I thought that I really should try again, I feel reconnecting to the knitting blogging world would only bring me fun and joy.

I won't even try to recap, there has been too much. The barest minimum of an update goes like this:

July 2008-May2009, clinics, clinics, clinics, nights, weekend, on call, dogs, cats, horses, alpacas, raptors, turtles, seals, guinea pigs, fish, sharks etc.

Graduated from Vet School in May 2009. Whoohoo!! That really was a looong haul.

Moved to NH in June 2009.

Very stressful summer in Italy dealing with a multitude of issues regarding my mother's house and estate. Some still unresolved business, some very good outcomes, some really awful outcomes. Difficult for me to talk about it and make sense of it all, as yet.

Currently trying to find my feet in NH, and also find a job.

Well, that is not me, and treating koala bears is not on the horizon right ow, but you never know, right?!

Ok, now, knitting-wise I have some real news. I just about can't believe it myself, but I did it, I finished China Clouds!! That was even a longer haul that Vet School, let me tell you. Can't even remember when I started it, before the blog, before vet school, eons ago.

What you say? You saw that already? Yeah, but look at this now!

Yes, I am actually wearing it, and I made it reversible, somewhat.

More details on Ravelry. China Clouds, by Kaffee Fassett, Rowan Magazine No. 28

Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday, one of my favorite days in the whole year.

And so far, I am having a good one: work in the Large Animal Surgery rotation is pretty slow, my horse patient is behaving and loves cuddles, the cafeteria had lobster rolls for lunch, many people paid me great compliments by not believing how old I turn today (which is the goodly number of 44) and I expect presents and a dinner out from children and husband tonight.

Oh, and the weather is beautiful! Perfect for the beach, which is what I love (I am firmly ignoring the lack of beach and beach-time for now).

I love celebrating birthdays, mine or other people's!

My parents always made a big deal and threw big parties for us, with lots of friends and lots of presents, and we were always made feel very special on our birthday.

So here is my wish: that you too will enjoy your birthday and feel special, no matter how old you might turn or whatever else might be going on in your life!

Happy Birthday!