Saturday, May 24, 2008

Knitting Choreography (or... I'll show you mine if you show me yours)

In the past year and a half I have learned a lot about manipulating yarn and sticks to create fabric. One thing I have discovered in that time is that there really are many ways knitters make this happen. There are pickers and throwers. There are those knitters that only move one needle and tuck the other under an arm. There are those with big movements, and those who hardly seem to move at all.
But even among knitters who knit the same style, each knitter has their own nuanced "knitting choreography" - a much rehearsed dance of the hands.

Those of you who read here may know of my oddball knitting style I call "Lefty-Combined".
I have not yet run into any other knitters who share my style, but I would love to.

Here is a short video of my hands in motion:

I am trying to go slowly at first to show my oddball ways a little clearer.
I move stitches from the right hand needle to the left.
The leading leg of my stitches are behind the needle.
I hold my yarn in my right hand and catch it from underneath with my needle to pull it through the stitch.
I tend to keep my right needle still, but I have noticed I do a little movement with my right thumb. Each stitch it jumps from the front of the needle to the back as I pull the yarn through.

Since the video quality isn't that great, here are a few stills to illustrate:
Lefty Combined

What is unique about your knitting choreography?
I would love to see other knitting in motion, please let me know if you decide to show yours!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 18, 2008

OK... So... I lied

I typed yesterday that I was not starting a cowl... and then all I could think of was cowls. Perhaps it was because of this yarn... my recent acquisition from the Zen Yarn Garden Semi-solid sock club...
Harmony Semi-Solid "Rambling Rose"
...which has been screaming to be up higher up than my feet.

So I pulled it out last night and cast on for Gloria version 2.0 (version 1.0 is here)

Gloria version 2.0

This time I cast on 85 instead of 99, and I am increasing by 2 stitches every 5-7 rounds so that it is a little cozier at the top and flares a bit at the bottom.
I also wanted to have more of a transition from the seed stitch to the plain stockinette to eliminate the harsh line and stop the tendency to fold at that point.
After the 3 rounds of seed stitch, I did one round of *k2, p1*, then a round of *k3, p1*, a round of *k4, p1, ending with a round of *k5, p1*. I like the random look of the transition so far.
Although I am reserving judgment until I can try it on off the needles.

February in May

I also started my second February Baby sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman during nap time today. After my first one, I knew that I wanted to try another one without the gull stitch lace. I'm using Dream in Color Classy in "Cloud Jungle".

So far I really like the yarn, except it is quite smelly. It's not a bad smell, but enough to make me need to take a break from it. I think it will be just fine after washing it. However it does make me think that I may want to wash the yarn first if I knit with it again.

I was tagged a few weeks ago for the top 100 yarns meme by Michelle of Knitting in Transit, and I have no good reason at all why I have not done it yet - especially since it is my first real meme (woo-hoo!).

Here are the details:
Using the top 100 yarns on Ravelry (by number of projects):
Bold the ones you’ve used and would use again;
Cross out the ones you’ve used and would not use again; and
Italicize the ones you’ve never tried, but would like to.
Add comments as desired, and then pass the meme along to 5 knitters/crocheters. Link back to this post and to the person who tagged you.

Instead of putting a huge list of so many things I have not used (I'm still pretty much a newbie), I have only included the ones I "marked".

1. Cascade 220 Wool – I’ve heard this is a great “go to” yarn, there has to be a reason it it #1
3. Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted - I just gotta at some point
4. Noro Kureyon – Only the new sock weight, which probably doesn't count for this
5. Caron Simply Soft - meh
6. Lily Sugar’n Cream Solid - just fine
9. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solid - I don't like the acrylic mix
10. Noro Silk Garden - Actually I used the "lite"
11. Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM)
14. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
15. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi
23. Zitron Trekking (XXL) – in the stash waiting!
29. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Mediumweight – in the stash!
41. Lion Brand Microspun - meh
42. Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino - socks that were a gift, so I'm not sure how it wears
47. Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK
59. Dream in Color Smooshy – In the stash and casting on soon
61. Dream in Color Classy – Just cast on today, and like it - but it's smelly
87. Lily Sugar’n Cream Stripes - just fine
89. Lion Brand Magic Stripes – another meh
99. Cascade Fixation Spray Dyed/Effects

Other yarns not in the Ravelry top 100, but in my list (and not yet in my stash) to try in the future...
MadelineTosh - Glazed Sock
Ewa's Sockenwolle - Wool/cotton
Hello Yarn - Fat Sock

I know I am supposed to tag 5 people, but I am going to be lazy and just invite those who have an affinity for listy things to opt in.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cowls are the new scarf...

...or so I've been told.

I had no idea that I was so up on (or is it down with) the trends.

Actually it's Grandma Gloria who is so trendy.
She was the one who asked for a cowl.

Gloria Cowl

I was nervous about even adding it to Ravelry as a pattern - it's just a plain tube with a seed stitched edge after all.

How was I to know that I was adding a cowl pattern into the mix just before the start of Cowl Craze 2008.

I have loved seeing all the different versions of the Gloria Cowl on Ravelry,

...and reading about them
here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

I just borrowed the original cowl back to re-block and record my gauge and measurements.
If you are wondering... I added it here.

So many fabulous cowls and cowl patterns have been surfacing lately... perhaps I should announce (to fit with the craze) that I am currently working on a cowl, but no... instead I have sock plans for this...

Happy Forest

and sweater plans for this...
Dream in Color Classy - "Cloud Jungle"

and this...
Tessan? Jessan?

I found this pile (8 skeins) of white, superwash, worsted weight wool at a local senior center "shoppe" in a grab bag with 4 more skeins of a different brand. I snagged them for a couple bucks to dye and possibly turn into a toddler sweater. I have not been able to find either yarn through Ravelry or the internet. I'm not even sure if the brand is Tessan or Jessan.

My other thrifty purchase (for which I do not yet have a plan) was a 75 cent bag of...
Green Mountain Spinnery - Ear Flap Hat Pattern

Green Mountain Spinnery Double Twist Worsted
250 yards of the bricky red color and 125 of the green.
It included a chaming ear flap hat pattern as well.
There was only one tag naming one of the colors as "Bittersweet" - I'm guessing the red one, but who knows.

I finally finished my "Harlot Socks" that I started for the Yarn Harlot's visit back in April.
Harlot Socks Toes

For some reason the pink, red and orange together just makes me smile,
and I am flabbergasted that the stripes worked out to match - even with two splices in one of the socks.

Harlot Socks Finished
Pattern: Improvised Toe-Up
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Cotton Stretch
Needles: Needles: US 1 Knit PIcks 40" circ

I am still working on Cascading Leaves in Shi-Bui "Honey". [Ravelry]

Two legs of cascading leaves

I really like the pattern - it has a very intuitive feel.
I'm not 100% in love with the slight striping effect of the colorway - but overall I think it is a good pairing of yarn and pattern.

A little friend from out East

Thanks to Nikki for sending me a wonderful surprise package from Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival - including the first of my flock. It was like my own little Ravelraiser prize!
She is participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life soon, and I'm sure she would gladly accept more pledges!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My first sweater!

Finally a finished project to blog about.

February Baby Jacket 2
Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February) by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK (less than 2 skeins)
Needles:US 5 circ

I became enchanted with this pattern when I saw this,
and again when I saw this.

This was wonderfully fun to knit - Elizabeth Zimmerman was is a genius. I have plans to use a few more of her patterns in the future.

February Baby Jacket 1

Last weekend I soaked and blocked, and yesterday I picked up some buttons. Nothing fancy, but I like the look.

The Rowan Cashsoft is wonderfully soft for a baby sweater. I hope it maintains its crisp look with use. It was a little slippery feeling to work with - I think I would prefer using bamboo needles with it in the future.

Instead of following EZ's instructions of finishing the sleeves flat first and then completing the body, I finished the body first and magic looped the sleeves to eliminate any seaming. I also decided not to decrease by 10% at the base of the body.

February Baby Jacket 3

Now that I have finished my first sweater... I am thinking of more.
I have plans to make another without the lace pattern, and I love the idea of making an adult version like this!

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Two and a Half Years!

2 and a Half Years Mosaic
We stopped doing the monthly photo sessions, but I couldn't let the half-birthday go by without one.
This was by far the easiest and most fun photo session we've ever had - there was laughing and even singing.
The Bud was a bit more cleaned up than normal to go to my concert this afternoon, so we took advantage of it.
2 and a half years #2
He didn't make it through the whole concert today. He has sat through entire concerts in the past - entranced by the instruments and music. However today he only made it through the first piece. To his credit - the first piece did have 5 movements. The second piece had a cello soloist - the Bud thought he was intentionally making funny faces while he played, so at that point it was time for running in the lobby. He is very much in a go-go-go phase right now.

Although I really enjoyed playing in the concert - it was a physically demanding line up. The second movement of the Haydn Cello Concerto is a back-breaker. It is extremely slow with no breaks - I spend the whole, long movement making a tiny bow strokes every other beat or so. It just proves that sometimes seemingly simple pieces can be quite difficult.

I knitting news...
My February Baby Sweater is blocking.
Pictures coming soon.

Labels: ,