22 February 2007

Block That Knit! Block That Knit!

Finished the entrelac bit while listening to Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse. It's my second-favorite Wodehouse novel after Cocktail Time.

1. Entrelac in all its pre-blocked glory:

Yes, the picture is dark. So is the yarn. Oh, if I were Goth I could say something about it matching my tormented soul, or inner void where my soul ought to have been; as it is, I'll have to settle for something less profound than yarn as an outer manifestation of my innermost self which signifies its quest for meaning in an ultimately meaningless world (e.g "it's not the picture that is dark, but Color 225, Lot A2").

2. Amazing Dreampillow during blocking. I know you're just itching to know the ins and outs of blocking. It's so fascinating. Almost as cool as watching someone vacuum. Maybe if you're good, I'll let you watch some time. As you can see by all the little holes, my inner medieval torturer came out as I stretched the piece within an inch of its life. Then I stuck pins along the edges in true anal-retentive printmaker style, misted it liberally with water and left it to die. Dry. I left it to dry.

3. Post-blocking:


it's still green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn. . . . and azure and lemon and russet and grey and purple and white and pink and orange and BLUE! 1, 2

1. (yes, Mullaly, I know you're singing along)
2. (yes, I understand that there's neither orange nor peach in it, and it's really more malachite and garnet and jasper and jet... but you get the idea)

20 February 2007

Rhapsody in Dark Blue Mohair Kidsilk Haze

It is generally true of knitters that if s/he is not buying yarn, s/he is thinking about buying yarn, or fantasizing about the yarn s/he has just bought. There are no limits to a knitter's yarn fantasy. It starts off innocently enough, with visions of a pair of cozy socks, with a snug, simple ribbing up the ankles. Well, perhaps a simple cable meandering to the calves. Although, if one is to go about cabling, one might as well put that cabling needle to good use and show off one's ability to yarn over and k2tog, too. A sort of cabled lace on the calves, like so:

(photo from knitspot.com, "Waterfall Sock")

About that point, the knitter realizes that s/he does not knit socks. There was a traumatic incident in late 2006 with attempting to knit a pair of baby socks on US0 as one's first attempt at knitting in the round, which has left the knitter rather frightened of sock knitting. The very idea of having to divide stitches between needles brings up painful memories of attempting to knit a veritable cobweb on unbent paper clips, of having angry red depressions on one's fingertips, and--with no small satisfaction--of ripping the whole mess back onto a ball which has lain ever since in the deepest, darkest corner of her stash where forgotten yarns have sat moldering and will continue to sit moldering until they have passed from human memory.

Of course, the time when knowledge of their existence will pass from human memory is probably not far off, given the knitter's early advanced state of dementia.

The idea of cabled-lace socks having gone right out the window, the knitter's fantasy then turns to lacework--and promptly runs up against visions of old ladies in musty shawls, of the horrors known as Victorian interior decorating, and of a finished piece that will forever sit folded in a drawer with only the cedar blocks to keep it company.

What else could one possibly do with a beautiful, soft, fingering-weight yarn? As in other moments of quiet desperation, the savvy knitter consults his or her knitting library. A shiny, patent-leather looking black binding winks at her. She picks it up (she has had enough of this s/he business. The pronoun for the knitter is now she. Change can be painful, but it brings its own pleasures. Don't worry, kitten; you'll learn to like it). Ah, the siren call of DomiKNITrix: Whip Your Knitting Into Shape. (amazon link)

Knitter's fantasy takes a few non-knitting-related turns, eventually returning to a few ideas quickly sketched out. No old lady shawls for her. The thing about lacework is that when knitted properly (e.g. in a skin-skimming garment with little to no ease), a dark color creates a lovely contrast against pale skin. You have to make the lacework work for you. No sense in investing all that time and effort unless the end result is what you want.

In a final shift of pronoun/tense/yarn agreement, I leave you with the point of my story:
I bought 3 balls of Cascade fixation at my LYS yesterday in Wisteria, a slightly variegated lilac-purple color. 99% cotton/1% lycra. There has to be a better use for it than socks.

19 February 2007

I went out on a limb

with Noro Silk Garden. This is a stretch for me because the yarn is: (a) part wool (b) variegated and (c) in jewel tones. Normally I shy away from wool because it's so itchy, but it was the recommended yarn for the entrelac class I took at my LYS yesterday. The lesson was Sarah James' Entrelac Pillow, on US6.

Entrelac is a funky sort of knitting which can create the illusion of basketweave. Mine looks rather like Joseph's Amazing Jeweltone Dreampillow. The technique is easy once you learn it. Supposedly knitting backwards is useful here. Knitting backwards is something I can take or leave. It's a bit faster once you get the hang of it, but not essential--and unless you have wrists of steel, it gets tiring. I'd like to do an entrelac pillow in a solid... maybe all-white. I'm a fan of whitework and matelassé. I'm also considering doing some neutrals... maybe camel-hair. mmm... camel-hair... arghghhgh....

Pictures when I finish... probably tomorrow.

17 February 2007

The Best Way to Deal with Temptation...

is to give in to it.

Interweave's Spring 2007 has me bent on making their Keyhole Top:
I'm thinking of using Karabella's Vintage Cotton in 370 (the red shown below).

it's pretty much all I can do not to order the yarn right now. Granted, Vintage Cotton knits up at 6.5-7sts=1" on US3... and the yarn called for, Muench String of Pearls, knits at 5sts=1" on US7... which means a lot of time on US4 or 5 for me. But I'm not averse to endlessly knitting on small gauge, having braved knitted baby hats on US0. The only thing holding me back from ordering the yarn is that I know I have at least 2 upcoming projects (Sophie and Mon Petit Chou) once they arrive. I'm going to try my best to limit the number of WIPs and keep my stash small (famous last words?). That, and it's tax season, which means I'm working 7 days a week from now until mid-April... so, I better get back to those pesky tax returns!

16 February 2007

This Isn't Your Grandmother's Knitting.

I just ordered the "Sophia Babydoll" kit from White Lies Designs, in lavender. I can't wait to start on it. The bottom trim is marabou (ostrich feather). I also ordered some Fixation in 6656, a pink-purple sort of color, for making Mon Petit Chou. What can I say, it combines my latest fascination with knitting lace with my passion for pretty lingerie, matches my short attention span, and it laces up the sides. What's not to love?

I've also included a picture of my largest UFO (for non-knitters, that's "UnFinished Object"). It's based on the "Hearts and Stars" blanket by Zoe Mellor, from Adorable Knits for Tots. I had to adjust the pattern because of my yarn's fine gauge--adding two blocks to the width to get the right size. It feels like it goes on FOREVER. But listening to audiobooks while I knit helps. Thank goodness for the public library. During this blanket, I've listened to:
- Brontë, Charlotte. Villette. (all 19 discs!)
- Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights.
- Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Tales for a Winter's Night.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms.
- Smith, Alexander McCall. The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency.
- Smith, Alexander McCall. Dream Angus.
Smith, Alexander McCall. Portuguese Irregular Verbs.
- Smith, Alexander McCall. The Right Attitude to Rain.
- Wodehouse, P.G. My Man Jeeves.
- Wodehouse, P.G. Cocktail Time.

There are probably others that I can't remember off the top of my head. That should give you an idea of how much time has gone into this thing.

I'd also like to knit Eiffel. I have no idea when that will be. Someday... At least I've held off on ordering yarn for it until I knit a few more things out of my stash. ;-)

First Post

After spending a little too much time reading other knitting blogs, I figured it was about time I had one, too! So... Here goes!