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?