Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm on a "fair isle" roll

I've finished the hat and LOVED knitting fair isle but.... a bit more practice is needed. I've been searching for a good chart, one that fit my specifications. As usual I needed to make modifications to suit my style of knitting. Took out the old pencil and paper and designed my own. Wish me luck.

Cast on and fingers crossed (figuratively because if I cross my fingers I can't knit). I'm hoping this does not turn into a hat. Lately I've been making a lot of hats I'm not sure why but I love making hats. Here is my progress so far and it's starting to look suspiciously like a hat.

Knitting the back of what I thought would be a vest, in the round and will be steeked (cut) to make a flat piece. But when my DH saw me knitting he asked if I was making another hat? And he put it on his head and it really did look like a hat. But NO it's a vest!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog neglect....

Writing entries in this blog are fun, that's why I do it but..... it is time consuming! I have decided to write on my blog once a week on Fridays. Until further changing of my mind here it is a Friday and I am blogging about how my knitting week went.

I have started several projects and surprise surprise not one got finished. I've been knitting socks for "Big Foot" aka. dh. (Dear Husband). He has discovered the wonderful world of hand knit socks. I have created a monster, his socks take a lot longer for me to knit and they are boring. He does not like the colors I want to knit or any fancy stitches. Just your basic socks like the Tami Socks but a bit bigger and on smaller needles. Shish....

Cascade Sock Yarn, navy blue. Size 2.5 Signature needles. Pattern: Tami Socks

While I'm on a sock knitting kick I thought I would start a new colorful pair for myself. Yarn is Blue Moon Fibers, 2.5 mm needles. Pattern: Basic toe up short row heel & toe.

I'm going to teach knitting socks at the Slipt Stitch Knitting Guild in September. I know that is several months away but I thought I would practice some new techniques. I'll let you know how that goes.

Just a couple more projects I've been working on this week. Another AnaBandana scarf, in pale grey and white shadow knitting with beads. Alpaca yarn, so so soft!

About 80% done with this project, it's on my schedule to finish this weekend.

Last but not least my fair isle attempt. I have never really done a whole entire project "fair isle". For those who may not know all these fancy knitterly terms, it's simply multicolor knitting. The are two main ways to knit with different colors and strands. One is Fair Isle and the other is Intarsia. Fair Isle is usually done in the round because it's just easier to accomplish this technique. It is where one color is used for the knit stitch and the second strand of a different color is carried in the back.

The technique I use is the left hand does Continental knitting and the right hand uses "The Throw Method" or English Knitting. I am a Continental knitter and it's kind of awkward for me to "Throw" but I'm getting used to it. This method kind of equals the playing field because if you are a "Thrower" then the "Continental" method will be awkward and vica versa.

I did make a little mistake with my chart and did not realize that I had turned it sideways. Oops! Also I trimmed a few stitches to match my cast on. Oops again. But I think all is well that ends well and so far it looks like it's going to turn out well.

On a personal note, I will be going to the GLASG (Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild) meeting tomorrow and we have a program: Long draw and short draw. As you may know I'm a beginning spinner so I welcome any instructions to master my new love of spinning wool.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

You are as good as your tools.

I have always paid very close attention to tools. My dear mother used to say (with her Hungarian accent) "You've always tooled up elegantly". I love to work with my hands and no matter what I am making the right tool can make the difference between a fun easy pleasurable task or miserable one. And the outcome is proof that the old saying "You are as good as your tools." There is this other one translated "Good tools are half the work."

Using a good tool that was designed thoughtfully well is indeed a pleasure. Yesterday I got just that in the mail a set of Signature double pointed needles. Ok they were not cheap but my dear far superior to any other double pointed needles I have.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy New Year....

This last year 2010 seemed like it flew by. Yet when I take a look at all the pictures I took last January seems like it was so long ago. I love taking pictures I always have and now that I can save them on the computer and have such easy access I use photography all the time. I use pictures to remind me how I did a certain knit pattern or even what brand of underwear my husband likes so when I go to the store I can just look it up on my iPhone. I love gadgets and when they work some of the new ones are brilliant.

This is a knitting blog primarily so I will post about what I've been knitting on since my last post. Last year I got into spinning and dyeing yarn. What fun it's been, I love spinning and the dyeing is just the cherry on the cake. I only use food coloring that I get at my local Smart & Final. Primary colors 2 bucks a bottle and I can use all my kitchen utensils and it's non toxic and permanent. That is the first question people ask me is will it last? Yes it's permanent and will not wash out. Of course like other dyes some colors fade faster than others.

I first started spinning on a drop spindle, the one I love is Jenkins Woodworks Turkish spindle. Mr. Jenkins is an artist and the little wooden spindle is like a work of art. Beautifully made and functions superbly, balanced just right and it's a source of hours of hours of entertainment. For those who do not understand why anybody would work so very hard on making yarn when you can buy it readily made all I can say is that it's not about the yarn you make but the process. Hey it's better than taking Prozac, it's a very relaxing activity and with the world so crazy around me I need calm and relaxation. Also it makes me feel like I've taken a step back to simpler times when you made your own wool to make your own socks etc.

Here are some pictures of the first project of the year. Simple wrist warmer, oh but it feels so wonderful and it's warm!

The pattern:

"One Ply" Single yarn spun from Pagewood Farm merino wool. 50 grams about 80 yards. Needle used 1.25 dpn knit in the round. (Any sock yarn will do for those who do not spin.)

Using a size 3 needle co 72 sts using the German Twisted cast on method for a loose cast on. Join to knit in the round, place a stitch marker so you know where it starts and k3, p3 for about 2”.

Beginning at the next round K2 tog, k3, p3 for 4” (Spiral rib)

Beginning at the next round K1, M1, K1, k3, p3 for 2 more inches.

Crochet picot bind off: take your crochet hook slip 3 sts and pull the working yarn through all 3, chain 4 and repeat all the way around.

(Here is a demo of this bind off I made with a different stitch count.)