Monday, April 30, 2007

Considering Placement

Nathan the Cat helps me consider the placement of my squares for Lizard Ridge...

I am all blocked, and the styrofoam has been retired. It was a brilliant solution, if I do say so myself. The squares dried quickly because of the big open space, and the styrofoam withstood 24 pinnings-and-unpinnings with no complaints.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Nice, eh?

Looks like it will only take two skeins of the Jitterbug to complete my Clapotis v2007. Which means I'm going to have to knit a pair of socks with the third skein. Does anyone else have socks to match their Clapotis? Surely I'm not the only one.

And Amy's post (waaay down near the bottom) made me realize that I'm not the only one to have experienced a relapse of the Clap.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Block, blocking away...

12 of 24 done. Note the difference in size between the blocked and unblocked squares. It's taking a while, because I've only got one piece of styrofoam.

Next up: considering the placement. This may well take longer than the blocking...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Iro Bolero

I have a Noro problem. It's true. I love their yarns. For someone like me who is fairly cautious about colour, the Noro yarns provide an easy way to introduce some fun colour into your knitting (and wardrobe). Let the genius of Noro choose the colour combinations for you.

Noro Iro is one of their greatest yarns - not just because of the colours - but because it feels softer than many, and it's chunky, so it knits up quickly and easily. It's not the cheapest of their yarns, so I knew that whatever I did with it had to be economical about yarn.

I worked up this bolero design - inspired by a piece I keep seeing around - to create a high-impact piece that keep yarn usage to a minimum. And I love it.

It's a great first sweater project, suitable for newer (or just impatient!) knitters.

Substitute any yarn that knits to 12 sts/4 inches, and you need only 240-360 yds of yarn, depending the size. It's top-down, so you can work it as long as you like - or until you run out of yarn, making it an ideal stash-buster. And you don't even need to make a buttonhole - at that gauge, just push the button through a hole in the fabric!

Pattern available on Patternfish and Ravelry.

The eagle-eyed may notice that this is similar to some other bolero patterns out there. It's true - this ain't exactly an original idea. I, naturally, think mine is better! One of the key reasons is that I've made the edgings harmonious - it's k1 p1 ribbing all the way through, rather than a somewhat visually disruptive garter edge at the fronts.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Matador Variation Mark II

This time using Noro Iro. Worked top down so I could make the most out of the two skeins of Iro.

Again, the edging is different from the original pattern, and it's longer, but otherwise it's the same cropped raglan fastening-less short-sleeve cardi thingy. I guess Bolero would be the right word.

(I really do think that if you're doing the top and bottom edges in K1P1, to do the front edges in garter looks a little odd. I worked the first and last 4 stitches of the row in a K1 P1 K1 P1 pattern, and it creates a nice, neat, fairly subtle non-rolling edge that harmonizes with the top and bottom edges.)

Found this online, and it's basically what I did -- a top down Matador. Again, it has the garter ridges at the front. Would it be churlish to wonder which design came first?

This Iro version needs a different name, I think... the Pinch Hitter, perhaps? We've got relatives visiting from overseas, and we attended the obligatory baseball game today. The last third or so was knitted at the game, and by the time we left I was wearing it.

On a different note, this now leaves Transitions as the only current Noro yarn I haven't worked with... Hmmm....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Look Ma, I'm Blocking!

Lizard Ridge squares, a new packet of safety pins and the styrofoam from a computer monitor. Blockin' away!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Also, because I do keep a promise

Clearer pics of the Matador. As promised.

Just in time for the weather to improve...

Pimlico is done.

Finishing it was a bit of a chore. Oh, how I complained. There was even some whining and moaning. The ribbing around the edge seemed to go on for ever.... 400+ sts in k3 p3 ribbing around and around and around and around and... you get the idea. (Perfect for car knitting actually.)

But you know, I think it's absolutely worth it. It's a really interesting shape, and is rather fun to wear. I did it with 6 skeins of Lamb's Pride, adjusting the stitch counts downward a bit to match the gauges.

The yarn is much rougher, much more organic if you will, than the yarn the pattern calls for. It changes the look of the finished piece fairly radically from the originally, but I like it very much. It is, as the pattern, promises, clearly inspired by -- and as comfortable as -- a big sloppy cardigan, but it's got genuine style and impact.

If you're facing lots of long car/train/bus/boat/balloon journeys, or a period of house arrest, or a case of chicken pox, and are looking for a good project to keep you entertained, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting Show

There was less actual knitting than I'd hoped, but lots of variations on the concept of lace.

The most immediately amusing (and knitterly) piece was a traditional Shetland lace shawl, in a lovely off-white wool, with a nice traditional edging. The centre of the shawl was a garter square, with "It sucks" spelt out in yarnovers.

It did rather feel like the show was really two different smaller shows jammed together. There were four or five things I'd describe as subversive knitting, and the rest qualified as lace - radical or otherwise.

The interesting thread with lace is the inherent contradiction in the different materials and methods -- often very substantial, heavy, or hard -- being used to simulate the lightness, delicacy, flexibility of lace. A lacy scuplture constructed of whitewashed found objects, like shelving and fenceposts. Lacy patterns cut into scrap metal. A light fixture created from fibre-optic light filament bobbin lace. Or in a different direction, equally arresting in its inherent contradiction, garments constructed from paper lace doilies.

I was captivated by one particular piece -- a deconstructed carpet reconstructed with staples. From a distance, it just looked like a very worn carpet, but close up you could see that most -- but not all -- of the fabric had been supplemented or outright replaced with staples. Hard to describe, but take my word for it, it's magnificent. My husband was particularly amused by the "tiles" made of chocolate and melted winegums that had lace designs pressed into them.

I chatted to a couple of other visitors, who once again confirmed my theory of the generation gap in handcrafts. A woman the age of my mother looked almost offended when I asked her if she knitted. "Oh, no, no. I'm just here with my daughter. She knits."

Surrounding the Knitting Table in the basement -- because what's an art show without an interactive component? -- was a series of photographs depicting knitterly topics, rendering in knitting. The most startling to me was a WWII-era photograph of women knitting what can only be described as grenade cozies, wrappers for grenades that were destined to be coated with a sticky substance so that they would adhere to their chosen targets.

But as a knitter, I have to say that the single most amazing thing there was the display of Althea Merback's knitted miniatures. Micro-knitted sweaters and gloves worked with silk thread on filed-down medical needles. 1/12th scale. These are teeny tiny garments... featuring fair isle and intarsia. I swear I might have fainted. For those brave souls, you can actually visit Althea's site and order patterns and needles to create your own miniatures. This is the ultimate triumph of the process vs. the product knitter (more on which later).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Off to NYC for a Long Weekend/While I'm Away

"Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting"... yes, that describes my weekends, but it's also the name of an exhibition currently running at New York's Museum of Arts and Design.

I am very excited about this. I shall take my needles.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Yeah, Well, That Didn't Work...

It did, sorta.

I carefully unravelled the picked up sts joining the sleeves to the body of the shrug, and it worked fine. I wasn't happy, however, with my reverse engineered cast-off. And perhaps more to the point, I wasn't happy with the decrease I'd done.

In modifying the pattern, I'd had to turn what had been an increase round to get k2 p2 ribbing to turn into k3 p3 into a decrease round to turn k3 p3 ribbing into k2 p2. I wanted a centred, non-slanting decrease. I made something up, a kind of fudged m1-centered 2 st decrease hybrid monster.

After some consideration, I ripped the two sleeves back and started again. Probably unnecessary, but hey, if I wasn't going to be happy with it, I wouldn't have worn it... The good news is that it's a quick knit, only 10 inches of ribbing in all for each sleeve. What's taking longer is the k3 p3 ribbing on the 400+ sts of the edging. SLOOOOOOOOOW....