Thursday, March 29, 2007
I have been fighting with a combination of splitty yarn and splitty needles and let me tell you that is NOT a good combination when you are doing a "digging around in the back loop" stitch pattern!
Picture my Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Deep Forest. (Mmmm!)
Picture my new (ebay) Surina wood 3.25mm needles. (Hmmm.)
Two of these needles have split points which didn't show themselves until I tried to find the back of the second-loop-on-the-left for the Diagonal Cross-Rib sock pattern (Favorite Socks). Then the Fleece Artist split, and embedded itself in the end of the needle - aargh! I developed a callous on my left hand pointy-finger, where I tried to push against the needle point to get through the loop in a smooth motion. Ow.
I was so relieved to reach the row where I changed down to 2.75mm needles. Blissful Lantern Moons - ahhh!
Once I got over these relationship problems, I allowed myself to love the sea wool for its sheen and depth of colour. It is knitting up in subtle stripes of deep sea green and forest-floor moss, which is really beautiful. It feels slightly oily to the touch, and the two-ply splitty thing DID get on my nerves. And yet... it knits up as a beautifully smooth fabric, even on such huge (for socks) needles. But... I don't think it is going to wear well, as a sock yarn. It has a tendency to fluffiness once split and while I understand the use of graduated needle sizes to change gauge, it is looking very "open" at the top - I can imagine a thumb going right through it as this manly sock is yanked on in the morning. Hmmm.
The jury is still out.
Pictures to follow.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The proof of my Cinderella stocking pattern for final final FINAL checking before it goes public!
Robynn is on holiday for a week, so I expect this to be available at Purlescence in early April.
Robynn has made such a lovely job of turning my notation, charts and photos into a real "Storytellers pattern" - it has such character to it. I especially like the system she has used for grading her patterns - tee hee hee! I won't give it away - but I have to tell you I love it!
Monday, March 19, 2007
On Saturday, I made my daughter a white cotton camisole out of one of my Japanese pattern books. I haven't sewn for her since she was old enough to have her own sense of style, but luckily we agreed on this one!
The fabric was an ebay "bargain" which I thought had gone wrong when I noticed that the pre-sewn pin-tucks, lace and ribbon meandered their merry way down its length in wavy lines, when clearly they were supposed to be straight. However, with a bit of careful cutting, I have salvaged enough for this top, and probably for an adult version for me. "Reading" the instructions by following diagrams alone made me take extra care. If this pattern had been written in English I would probably have missed the crafty way to fix the straps so there were no raw edges or bulky seams.
It looks beautiful over a black long-sleeve t shirt, but my daughter complained it looked like an apron worn that way - she didn't "get" that look at all. She had this idea she would wear it with denim shorts and over-the-knee socks, but that particular get-up was a bit more "Lolita" than "goth", so has been over-ruled on the grounds of decency.
One thing is certain - there is a forthcoming pair of stockings which my daughter will demand I knit for her! Alice Bell is a winner in the Alice competition at Purlescence! The pictures aren't up yet, but Alice describes her cheshire-cat illusion socks over at her blog - oh wowowow! What a brilliant idea!
Friday, March 16, 2007
Being of a basically frugal nature, it doesn’t come naturally to me to just acquire “stuff”. When I moved to the farm, I spent the first few weeks filling black bin bags (approx 150 of them at the last count) with the detritus of the years which my partner’s ex-wife had abandoned when she left. The rooms and corridors and attic were piled high with unwanted clothes / shoes / newspapers / books you had to squeeze past to get in and out of the doors - and don’t get me wrong, I would have Ebayed them if they had been in a fit state, but really they were suitable only for burning. The dust was thick, the spiders were many. And I swore that I would not allow that to happen to me! So when I see a quizzical eyebrow raised at my growing stash, I get a bit twitchy.
So I need a plan.
If you see me stray from the path, give me a shout. Just call out “bin bags!”
Here is the plan: (yarn from stash)
Claudia hand-paint “Ingrid’s Blues” Rib and Cable from Favorite Socks
Sea Wool “Deep Forest” This one from Favorite Socks, for First Love
Fleece Artist merino “Cosmic Dawn” Pattern of my daughter’s choice, for her
Austermann Step in blue/ grey self-striping This one from Favorite socks, for First Love
STR “Lucy” I still can’t decide!!!
Duets “Chocolate Fantasy” Aran Clog Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks
Piece of Beauty “Vintage Floral” Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks, for ? :)
Bearfoot in ?partridge / pheasant /grouse Friday Harbor from Knitting on the Road
Fyberspates in “Sea scape” Pomatomus socks from Knitty for ? :)
Hipknits cashmere “Buttermilk” Something from Favorite Socks for my mother
Now, none of this takes account of the bubbling desire to knit Clessidra, or the over-the-knees from Hand-Knit Holidays, or indeed Marnie’s knee-highs. But sadly, these all require more than one skein of yarn…oh no! I need to start buying yarn in 200g increments!
How long can I hold out, I wonder? I think I have a year’s-worth of knitting in that list, but still there is this worrying acquisitive gene…BIN BAGS!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I just received my copy of Favorite Socks.
Bryony did an excellent saleswomanly job on me - does she get commission I wonder?!
I have to say there is a lot I like about this collection. I didn’t have any of the patterns before, because I only have one copy of Interweave Knits to my name, so it was all fresh and new to me.
There are several patterns for thicker socks – “sportweight” or “worsted” – so I will have to invest in some fatter dpns – shame eh? (“Daisy, daisy, I’m on my way to you!” Tra-la!) So I can play with my new Duets yarn, which arrived practically overnight , all the way from America - amazing!
And there are some interesting man-friendly patterns – I especially like the one that looks like a cable, but is actually just a wide rib with a cannily-twisted stitch winding its way down the columns like a helter skelter. And another that has the word “Undulating” in the title, which reminds me of anaglypta wallpaper – a raised but smooth-surfaced pattern that would bring out the best in a Piece of Beauty yarn , methinks!
The only minor irritation I have with this volume is its use of a bizarre 4-lettered acronym, which I have deduced is some sort of definition of a standard weight / thickness of yarn, as it is followed by grades like “#1 superfine”. Maybe it is a US-thing, but it is new to me and I would much rather see a chart of equivalent yarns somewhere in the book – like the one in “Knitting on the Road”. Even a definition of the term would shut me up! But I can see I am going to be forced to swatch. This could be my new project – making a swatch flick-book!
Still on the second leg of Cinders – progressing well!
Also entering a dressmaking phase – of which more another day!
Monday, March 12, 2007
I mentioned it to my First Love and he disappeared for a while, there was some clattering upstairs and then he came back with this:
This is Sligachan, Isle of Skye, as stitched by my youthful self and presented to my First Love about 25 years ago. Gulp. I went on a Youth Hostelling trip to Skye, all by myself, and sat around in misty landscapes and took photographs, made drawings and wrote bad poetry. When I returned, I made this.
So when we went to Skye a few weeks ago, my love and I, I was remembering so much, and seeking new inspiration. The landscapes could not let me down.
Everywhere we went, we ran into a film crew making a “Scottish road movie” about two young men from Glasgow running away to Skye. My First Love walked or drove through the shot on an embarrassing number of occasions – we should have been paid as “extras”!
I was disappointed that the handspinner’s shop was closed until April, and that the hand-dyer was at the opposite end of the island and “by appointment” at this time of year. But I enjoyed looking round Ragamuffin at Armadale pier, and seeing so many beautiful bravely-coloured woollen coats and scarves and fingerless gloves – especially the fingerless gloves! I came home buzzing with ideas which have yet to make it to paper / yarn. But the inspiration is there, bubbling away!
Friday, March 09, 2007
It has been a long week as I learned how to drive my "new" car - lots of dodgy cornering and an inability to move straight from 4th to 2nd gear - sigh!
The pink socklets are finished and I am working hard on Cinderella's second stocking, mainly because I don't want to fall victim to "second sock syndrome". But it is so tempting to start on something new! Especially since the new Knitty is out and these are begging to be knitted!
And Marnie's set of three stockings has been revealed in its entirety. I only like the knee-highs. The stitch pattern is very different to mine (phew!) and a bit fussy for an over-the-knee in my opinion. Interesting range of sizes though - I suspect she must use computer technology to calculate so many variations. Something fancier than Excel. Especially with that complicated stitch pattern to manipulate.
I had to do another Cinderella photo shoot for Robynn, as she needed pictures of the curvaceous leg the stocking was knitted to fit - not my slender 10-year-old's! This was a bit of a nightmare, involving my partner, who is no photographer! We managed to achieve some reasonable shots, but it took a lot of patient coaching from me and a lot of huffing and grunting from him, as he contorted on the floor trying to get the right angle... which of course got the dog all excited, and then the cat got involved... well you get the picture! I also did some self-portraits in the wardrobe mirror, which have lots of "mood" but not much clarity on the kntting details. I hope Robynn can find a use for one of these "what the butler saw" snaps!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
By the time this appears on the blog, these little pink socklets will be finished.
Heel-less Sleeping Sock from "Knitting Vintage Socks" in Almost-Sock Hop, Pink Cadillac, 2.75mm (US 2) dpns.
These are sweet socks. They are very quick and easy to knit, even on a lurching bus. Probably best kept as bed-socks or for snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket, a cat, some Lemsip and a chic flick. Which is what I felt like doing last weekend.
For some reason, I actually went kite-flying in a howling gale and stayed up to watch the eclipse of the moon.
And I wonder why I have lost my voice?
Monday, March 05, 2007
Because I had already ordered some "Deep Forest" Sea Wool and some "Cosmic Dawn"Basic Merino (both from Fleece Artist) via an Ebay.com seller.
I am not sure that the books balance, exactly. But my mood and my stash are suitably enhanced!
Robynn at Purlescence hit the nail on the head when she wrote to me:
I'm glad you're feeling calmer! I really do understand the shock you must have felt - when you're so close to something all you will see are the similarities
And she told me about her time in a creative writing class where she and another participant came up with "the same" story - same but different!
So I emailed StitchDiva, the American studio which is about to publish a similar design by Marnie MacLean, just so they know I am here and that I know they are there - in case they come across my design and think I am copying them.
And this is what they said:
Thanks for your email. It seems you have also come up with a concept for a beautiful pair of knee-highs. You may have also seen the sock feature in a recent Vogue Knitting as well as in the latest issue of Interweave Knits where they feature beautiful knee-highs with embellishments at the top. I suppose this zeitgeist is the expression of what is currently fashionable and what captures the imagination of style-conscious people. I know that Marnie and I were inspired by vintage socks and stockings and old photos of women in hosiery – it seems that you have been inspired by the same source.
Just to let you know, the knee high is just one out of a collection of 3 designs – one for crew and the other for thigh high. Next week we will issue a preview of the entire collection.
Thanks for your note and good luck with the publication of your new design.
Here are Marnie's stockings: (Image copyright Stitchdiva Studios, all rights reserved)
I am looking forward to seeing her other two designs - especially the over-the-knees.
It's not that I thought I had invented the wheel (stocking).
It's just that if it wasn't for the "Cinderella" angle, these are the stockings I would have designed!
But as Robynn pointed out to me, it is the Cinderella concept that won me the prize! So it is the hearts and the crown and the herringbone which make my design "mine", not the scallops and the ribbons and the lace!
And it is amusing to find myself regarded as part of the "style-conscious" sorority - that IS a first!
Friday, March 02, 2007
But I am in shock today.
I received an email from an American knitting store, previewing some patterns they are about to sell... and guess what?! Yup. There is a stocking which looks so like Cinderella as to be her sister.
It's all there - the lacey top, the ribbon garters, the zig zag stitch pattern - maybe not the same one, but near as dammit.
The only difference appears to be the length. These ones are only knee-high. Oh and two rows of ribbons instead of one. They are rather lovely actually.
I have contacted Robynn at Purlescence cos I don't know where I / we stand. My drawing was in the public domain - and I never thought to copyright it.
I won't name and shame... just yet.
I need a strong cup of coffee.