Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lace and socks

I (ahem) unvented a new lace pattern! It's a positive way to look at the silly, silly mistake I made on the sampler shawl, 4th pattern. There is patterning on both sides, but I just purled the wrong side rows - voila, instant new pattern! It looks Ok to me, in fact I was checking the picture and "my pattern" looks very similar to the original. That's the beauty of a sampler - you can play with each section and it doesn't matter what you do or not do, the sampler will still be allright.

(picture here, once it gets light outside)

Last night I finished weaving in the ends and duplicate stitching the black on the Eastern European Footlets:

(picture here)

Pattern: Eastern European Footlets by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, in Favorite Socks

Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in Charcoal, Pine and Crocus (the last two left-overs from Caspian Sea Socks; Pine seems to have been discontinued)

Needles: steel dpns size 0 (really). I hate these needles. They hurt my hands. But how else would you get the insane gauge of 7 st / in with DK yarn?!?!

Comments: I seem to be the only person in Ravelry who has made these footlets. Which is a shame, because they are a very quick knit and they keep one's toes very warm. I highly recommend the pattern for practicing toe-up socks (Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' method is so much better than the dreaded Turkish cast-on!!) or learning intarsia or just for fun.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Busy, busy times

Looking for a job is more time consuming than I ever imagined. I spend a week writing cover letters, personal statements and polite e-mails, and it's still not over. But I have some promising signs that somebody, somewhere might want to hire me some day.

The knitting has been allright. In a fit of "I need to relax, damn it" I cast on for the second of the Eastern European Footlets (remember the first one, back in April?). As I am a much faster knitter now than I was in April, I finished this second one... in less than three days. There is some duplicate stitching to be done, but I hope to show you some finished pictures soon. A word about the pattern - I seem to be the only person on Ravelry who has actually made these footlets, and it's such a shame. It's a great pattern and very quick to make.

The biggest knitting news is that I will be teaching a knitting class! As part of a program of short, fun courses through my university I will team-teach a lace class that will meet a few times throughout the semester. We don't get paid, but the university has some money for "supplies" - so we will have the first class meeting at a yarn store!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


The camera and the photographer are back, so here are the long-awaited pictures of Venezia and the table runner:

I love the fitted curve of the back:

There is a lot of finishing in this sweater, but it's very Zen to see the chaos of steeks calmed and transformed into the order of the folded neck band. I learned so much from working on this sweater, and I look forward to making more colorful sweaters like it.

Scary moments: As I was cleaning up the neck band I realized that I had dropped the middle stitch of the back, quite a few rows down. Somehow, however, the stitch wasn't completely lost, just... hanging in mid-air; there was a corresponding stitch on the row above. Thank the gods of knitting for sticky Shetland yarn! Also, you notice that the color bands on the sleeves match the color bands on the body. Well, I was sewing in the second sleeve when I came across a band that DID NOT match: the background color was wrong! I am normally not too fussy about small mistakes, but this was a huge mistake, so I had to cut the top of the sleeve, frog until the correct rows, pick up stitches and redo the top. Please remember that at this point the steeks had already been cut. Again, this would have sucked in non-Shetland wool.

The sweater is exciting, but not nearly as exciting as the Kaffe-inspired, Yarnplay-inspired table runner:

(pic here)

Right? Oh shoot, I forgot to take a picture of the table runner.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


It is ironic that on this most exciting week for my knitting I do not have a camera. At this point, you might as well click away from this blog - or stay and imagine beautiful things being knitted.

First of all, and first finished object of 2008:

(imagine crazy colorful cotton table runner)

After spending Sunday browsing through and thinking about Kaffe Fassett patterns, my life needed some more color. Inspiration? A table runner from YarnPlay, but with lots of colors! I remembered various odd balls of cotton that came my way, and they sort of went together. They became a length-wise knitted runner for my kitchen table, and I have to say that it doesn't look too bad! Cotton hurts my hands, though.

Secondly, and this should probably be the first: I am no longer a steek virgin!!

See, I really should have had the camera this week. I bound off the Venezia steeks yesterday, did the shoulder 3-needle bind off, cut the steeks (in semi-darkness, what was I thinking??) and started on the neck band. Picking up that v-neck band sucked big time, but the whole process was so absorbing that I stayed up 'til 3am messing with needles, yarn and scissors. I am pleased to announce the amazing discovery that Shetland wool does indeed felt to itself very easily and that cutting steeks does not immediately destroy a sweater!

It also sucked to get up this morning way too early, my head still full of wine, and not being able to fall asleep because the sweater was calling my name. Half-asleep I finished the neck band and did that insane "pick up the base purl bumps and do a 3 needle bind off with them" (one of those maneuver that requires a few extra hands). The pieces of the sweater are now blocking - I'll cut the sleeve steeks and sew in the sleeves in the morning.

The almost-conclusion to this Venezia madness is that I loved this so much I can't wait to start another stranded project. There is something so satisfying about that folded neck band that holds the steek securely inside (see, a picture would have been priceless here!). Check out Maud's photos - I used her v-neck instructions and my sweater is virtually the same.

Third and lastly, I've found a beautiful, beautiful book about textiles: World Textiles: A Visual Guide to Traditional Techniques. It's everything you'd want such a title to be, and the photos are gorgeous. It's very touching to see old French shepherds knitting while watching their sheep, or a former king of Cameroon wearing traditional cloth. I am also very humbled by the fact that knitting takes 6 pages, is described in very basic terms, and yet we know how complex the craft is. What about the other few hundreds of pages? There are dozens of other techniques mentioned in the book - and each of them might be a world in itself!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Inspiration for 2008

When I'm thinking historically-significant knitting, I'm thinking this:

A beautiful Norwegian men's cardigan. Mass-produced, but beautiful. I took a few extra pictures of the details...

I'm also thinking of the happy, happy person who went home from the auction with the Caspian Sea Socks. "They match my glasses!" she exclaimed. I'm glad to see them go to a good home...

Kaffe Fassett knitting counts as "historically-inspired," doesn't it? It's history in the making! I signed up for a K.F.-inspired workshop at Rosie's Yarn Cellar and now I'm mulling over Kaffe's latest book, trying to pick a design. The only problem is the cost of any project, since Rowan ain't cheap. I might just bite the bullet and do it... Just like Venezia, such a project will take so long that the cost per day becomes insignificant!

Friday, January 4, 2008

On my way to being very, very rich

Ok, you might have noticed the two small ads at the top of the blog text. I hope they are not bothering you too much, and please click on them if you find anything interesting. I signed up for google AdSense just for a kick, and in the past few weeks I've made...

.... drum roll...


Yes, two cents. Keep clicking on those links, ladies and gentlemen. I'm only $999,999.98 away from my first million!

It will be interesting to see what kind of ads are served on this blog. Knitting ads would make the most sense, of course, but who know what other kind of kooky things? Please let me know, though, if you see any offensive ads.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

Where I come from, you don't make resolutions for the new year. Instead, you nurse your hangover (from the big party), spend a few days eating a lot (must finish all that holiday food somehow!) then reluctantly head back to work. This January I am continuing an extended holiday, a.k.a. try to figure out what to do with my life. No heading back to work for a while, or maybe ever? In any case, here is a knitting resolution for the new year:

This year I'd like to make more traditional and historical objects. First there was the genuine Shetland shawl I mentioned in my last post. I am also having such a great time working on a pair of Norwegian gloves and I saw a gorgeous Nordic sweater at the new year folk festival I've just returned from - ideas, ideas.... And I'm falling in love with Folk Shawls, so I will definitely have to make more shawls from it. Here is the first of the Norwegian gloves:

I gave the black bunny socks to my mother-in-law, and I don't even have photos. Damn. In any case, the socks turned out gorgeous. I wasn't going to make them a gift, but she was wearing cotton socks in the middle of the midwestern winter. Nobody should wear cotton socks when it's 0 F outside.

Almost forgot: check out this idiotic anti-knitting article on our local alternative weekly paper. I bet the author eats frozen TV dinners and dresses completely in plastic, because, you know, it saves time and does away with chores.