Friday, 25 May 2007

Damn stash busting.........

So how is the thneed, why thanks for asking, it's going great. I especially love the colour, such a pretty soft grey. What your computer shows maybe, is it, red? No it is definitely grey because grey is all I want to knit at the moment, yep definitely grey. So anyway I am so happy knitting my gorgeous grey sweater........ Shut up it is too........... Look mate it is not my fault you need to get your eyes tested......... Its grey, grey, grey, grey, grey, GREY!

It's red.

Another red.

Damn stash busting. I am only knitting from my stash and in all my wisdom when I accumulated a majority of my stash I guess I figured that only knitting red was a good idea. I don't want red anymore I want grey, what was I thinking? I have at least another 2 sweaters worth of red, and lets not mention the "I am so bloody cheery orange". Be warned, another reason to keep the stash under control so you don't have to knit red when you want to knit grey.

It would be so pretty as grey though wouldn't it?.....................

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Book Review: Lace Style

Lace Style oh how I wanted to love thee..............

But I don't.

See it is an okay book and to be honest it arrived with Victorian Lace Today so maybe it never stood a chance. As my library grows I realise I need more from a knitting book than just another pattern book. I need it to educate me, I need it to challenge me, I need it as reference material for whatever technique it is covering, I need it to be comprehensive, I just need more. Lace Style doesn't meet that standard. It is a very nice book with some nice patterns, great no, but nice. I loved Scarf Style, did not buy Wrap Style as I felt it was underwhelming and find Lace Style to be between the two. To give Interweave credit the photos are far superior to Scarf Style, they aren't blurry and they do show the garments front and back (big, big improvement). In normal Interweave fashion the patterns are well laid out and clear. This would be a great book for a beginner. There is the usual line up of designers. No one really pushed the envelope on their designs. Interweave did not go outside the box on this one, not at all. If you were to only buy one lace book I would recommend Victorian Lace Today if you can afford two then this is a definite consideration. There is a very nice design notebook at the back with some useful information on different lace techniques, a few stitch patterns, how to do some easy fixes, blocking, etc but it really skims over each section and perhaps would not be adequate if you truly had difficulty. It is nice that it is the same style and size as their others in the series (Bag Style and Folk Style are to follow in the fall) so it would look good on the shelf as a part of a library. Boy now I am stretching for good points. You know what there are simply too many great books being released at the moment that it is hard to feel excited about this one. If you only have limited dollars (and who doesn't!) then check out Victorian Lace Today, The Natural Knitter, No sheep for you or Knitting Lingerie Style first, these are great books. This is simply cute and nice.

A show of a few patterns for all those still interested.

The essential Tank Top

Shetland Shawl Turned Vest

Lacy Waves Top (another Norah, very nice)

Peek-a-boo Cloche (a maybe knit, it has a plain layer underneath the lace)

Katharine Hepburn Cardigan (the only knit I am truly considering and in the shorter version. This one seems to be disliked by many but I don't understand why, I think it is lovely. I really like the shorter length with a longer top underneath. This could be because I am short but for some reason it makes me feel taller. Lets not go into what I think great shoes do.....)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A thneed.........

Have my goose for garters I think I am knitting a thneed and a thneed is something everyone, everyone, EVERYONE needs.

Sweater update

Now even though it may make me seem a little sad, this sweater is the most fun I have had in ages! Of course coupled with the fact that since Ted had to work last night, my idea of even more fun (after the kids were put to bed of course) was to pull out Anne of Green Gables and do a marathon viewing. In Ted's words apparently "I watch dorky stuff". Maybe next time he works I will download some porn so that at least I will seem complex and "hard to read"! I dunno is porn dorky? Yeah I know it is boring but dorky, that is the question?
Before the cross:
So in between my cries of " you go Anne girl, you show that Josie Pye what for" and "ooh Gilbert is too little boy icky, stay away" there was giggles over the sheer joy of this sweater. Because it is weird, it is weird to knit, so so weird and that makes it all the more fun. And boy does it race. So I did the first cross (36 stitches total!) and as promised it was tight, down a needle size or 2 and I whizzed past that. I have separated the neck and am racing over the shoulder. The really cool thing is you can cast on for this and figure out the sizing after. I didn't need to do anything about the sizing until I hit the the length of the neck. One little problem (that in light of my recent sock shortage may prove a little embarrassing) I don't think I have enough yarn. I know, I know but just feel, like right down in my gut, that it is going to be okay. I have 1199 yards and the medium calls for 1337 yards. But you know they always allow for extra right? It's only 138 yards difference. And this yarn was voted "most likely to succeed" in my stash. I can't ignore that can I? I think it is going to be just fine, just fine. Yep just fine.

For the record I am using Valley Yarns Stockbridge (from Webs). It is 50% alpaca, 50% wool, #5 needles (my addis although I think my options would have been better, not sure why I made that decision.) And yes Kathleen, it is quite luscious.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Fling Four

Hot Water Bottle Cover

Winter is coming. For all you doubters, they work, well. It is also my most requested gift (especially by my family in the tropics, can't quite figure that one out) so I figured it was time for my own. Usually I go all fancy, felting it more and then needlefelting a design on it like this

Or this

I have made many but have not ended up with one to call my own and seem to resort more often to a grubby old t-shirt around it than I should have to. My kids have laid claim to the other 2 we have kicking around.

It was all leftover yarn but I like it, I think it looks like a sweater, a sweater hottie bottie -how cute.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

It's a Norah Gaughan Love Fest around here.............

Okay this is mostly a post of why you should purchase The Natural Knitter but I feel I have to start with an ode to the genius that is Norah Gaughan. It seems that lately every time I am struck with the cleverness of a pattern it is Norah. Her pattern in The Natural Knitter continues that trend.

First off, what a gorgeous book. This was my sleeper hit. I don't know what I expected from this book but I far underestimated it. It is a tasteful, well designed, well photographed book with some lovely patterns from some talented designers. But it is so much more than that, it also feels like a natural fibre textbook. It completely addresses natural fibres; the animals/plants that produce them, how to knit them, and how to care for them. There are wonderful snippets of small producers and their yarns. It is inspiring and beautiful and a wonderful tribute to Barbara Albright (I feel so sad writing that).

So to the projects. This is only a few as I don't want to overload this post with so many photos. I really would only consider knitting a few to be truthful but I feel inspired by many different parts of all of them.

Little Sit-sters: what a great way to add a quirky touch to a gift and to sample a new yarn

Back home in Vermont Sweater: finally a sweater that a man would actually be interested in wearing and that I wouldn't have to die of boredom making.

Shetland Fern: look at that colourwork, impressive. No I'm not going to make it but I would love to see someone else's version of it.

Memories of Ukraine

Mod Socks

See what I mean; tasteful.

Finally Norah with her Architectural Rib Pullover. Fabulous.

Let me explain its brilliance. I'll take it slow, as it took me a couple of times to click.

So you start at the bottom and you decrease up to the cable crossover then you cross your cables and start to increase towards the shoulders, you at this point have an hourglass kinda of thing. Separate for the neck and over the shoulder we go and start to decrease to the cable cross again. Then we increase until we hit the bottom. Now we go back and pick up all the stitches on one side; the front and back and start knitting outwards including the sleeve. Do the same on the other side. Pick up the stitches around the neck and do the turtleneck, cast off, block, done.

Damn even I am a little confused over my directions. Better yet just follow along in person. For you people this is what I will do-

I will take this

and turn it into a Norah Masterpiece.

No thanks are necessary. God I'm selfless.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

When it rains, it pours....

I ordered some books (ooooh tax return!).

I can only last for so long. Books are my first love. I ordered too many but never mind, is money ever truly wasted on books? I feel like I waste my money when I buy and consume 8 oz of hot flavoured water with a little milk for $5 but books, never.

Unfortunately they all came within a few days of each of other so we will take the reviews a little slow. I am still in my lust at first sight stage so I need to settle down a little before we talk.

This is a sneak peek:

Lace Style: (mmmm, give me time, a little underwhelmed at present)

The Natural Knitter: (my sleeper hit!)

No Sheep For You: (such a ridiculous cover for such a glorious book!)
Victorian Lace Today: (whoa, I am not sure I understand most of it yet)

Knitting lingerie style: (lovely, really lovely)
Stephanie Pearl McPhee Cast Off: (haven't even opened it yet, I bought this out of reader loyalty and because I loved her earlier 3, her competition is stiff for my reading time!)
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World: (aka: getting ready for winter)

I am told that cupcake blogs are the hottest blogs around now don't you know.

That's me; happening.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Fling Three

"Bob the snake"

(I didn't name this one, oh you already guessed that, okay)

Because there was no way Kaitaia was going to let me get away with only making one for my niece. "Mum I have decided I have enough love for another baby so please make me a turtle, pleeeease. Besides Koala is going to adopt him so I will have help"

Except that now we have him it seems that bob the snake would rather live without his turtle shell or maybe that is because teddy is now wearing it? At least he is spending quality time with "Dad".

Oh, and no, I never want to make this fiddly pattern again, no matter how cute!

Friday, 11 May 2007

Can a rightie ever be a leftie?

I am a rightie from way back, an english knitter, a thrower. Then a couple of years ago I started noticing all of those fancy lefties. It looked cool, it looked different and those kids they urged me to try it, to become part of their crowd. EZ told me that I should be a leftie too and so I did.

Sure I struggled at first. I didn't do it in public because I looked like a dork but eventually it became comfortable and I could venture out. Sure I noticed my tension was looser but eh so what - smaller needle will solve that right? Sure I noticed that my usual neat knitting was looking a little messy but it would get better I assured myself. I still didn't see that I had a problem when I started to make up excuses in public for my sloppy knitting; "oh this yarn", "just a little tired", "the weather""more/less coffee". I was in the "in" crowd, people liked me. I was fast, it was just me and the addis. And ribbing it was a dream, I was like the wind, seed stitch stand aside.

Well it has been over a year now and still my knitting looks like crap. So I have been secretly returning to the comfort of english knitting. The slow, steady neatness of it. And I am remembering I have never wanted to be cool. Those cool kids they usually aren't very nice, remember high school?

And then I was doing a swatch and it just wasn't working and so I changed hands and look:

Bottom - leftie
Top - rightie
Same needle size

Yep I guess I was just never meant to be hip.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Fling Two

Murray (aka: Sheldon):

This toy charmed me from the start and was always on "the list". My 6 month old niece is coming to visit and since my plan is to become her favourite auntie I need to start young. I used Knitpicks Shine. I adore this yarn. It is a wonderful washable kid yarn. The price is right, the colours are cheerful and it is easy to knit with. The other yarn used was Berroco Plush and it too is perfect. I have a little novelty yarn in my stash for these moments, a little trim on a pair of kid mittens kind of thing and I am always struck at how difficult it is to knit with, how much attention you have to pay to what you are doing. Why oh why do knitting teachers allow new knitters to knit with this?

I have a thing about names. I love them, I love thinking about them. One the greatest things I have ever done was name another human being. When I was in hospital with Palin after his birth I was across from a woman who's baby had just been moved down from the premmie ward. Her son was really premature and had spent the last 3 months in the hospital. He was going home the next day so the hospital decided it was a good idea if she came and spent a night "sleep training" him before she took him home. The poor little buggar spent hours crying for his mum but she "stuck it out" and eventually he gave up on her and went to sleep. It was one of the more horrible things I have witnessed. But that is not the worse thing this kid is going to have to deal with. His name is Murray. What do you say when you are told something like that? My mother looked horrified. I went with "family name, huh?" "no, we just felt it was an uncommen name now and we really liked it". A new little baby named Murray. Now an eight year old named Murray. Just cruel. This one is for you Murray, I have a feeling you are going to need it.

Murray. Murray. Murray. It just never sounds better does it?