New Knitty!

…and in my opinion, it's got more to be excited about than the last couple of issues. Not that they were *bad*, but to me, just not *thrilling*

Ironically, some of the socks look fascinating – ironically given that the last issue specialised in 'extremities'. The two that catch me particularly hard are SoxOn2Stix (innovative knit-flat technique, adapted from machine knitting)

There's a lovely, graphic felted bag – somehow refreshingly different from the ubiquitous felted bags that seem to be a mandatory feature of every issue of every knitting magazine these days – and a wrap that looks intriguingly different… The texture reminds me of those deeply grooved tree barks you sometimes see; I'd love to see this worked up in deep browns with a touch of grey worked in. If this one hits the blogosphere as hard as, say, Clapotis (I don't really have to link that, do I? Oh, OK then…) I think we'll see a similarly amazing variation in the final object as interpreted by each and every knitter out there.

I love Lizard Ridge, and might have to adapt the idea to use up all those 'leftover' bits of yarn I can never quite bring myself to throw out.

Ivy and Viveka are both really interesting looking sweaters, but I will probably wait to see how they turn out for other knitters before committing myself; I think it's the photography in each case, but I get the feeling that something is just slightly 'off'. No offence to the photographers, of course; it's just not giving me quite all the information I want.

Avast is a lovely, basic, bloke's sweater with a hint of detail. I know J is never going to wear an all-over cable unless I force him to don it at gunpoint, and even a single, central cable is probably just 'too seventies' for him – but this might eeease him in gently to the concept… In fact, I might have to make one of these for myself; no law against it, is there?

The sleeves on Serrano deserve special mention – lovely split cuffs! And, looking at the rest of the cardigan – oooh, no zipper! I know some people will *leap* at that opportunity… I think this could be a lovely layering piece, just as the designer suggests, but for me, it's launched too late for this year. I want to be wearing it *now*, not thinking about knitting it. Maybe next year…

Oh – and a knitted skirt! So very few of them work, but this one is tempting.

As for the rest of it – well, I might have a 'why I didn't have it on my faves list' post later (though I will mention now that I still don't think there's any excuse for knit, non-felted bags, unless they're mesh or something) – but for now, no more bitchin'. More knittin'!

Nice yarn, shame about the patterns

It's been a while since my attention was caught so completely by a yarn that I spontaneously catch my breath; I'm not impressed by the new Rowan range, and there seems to be a lot of copy-catting going on amongst the B-list brands. But this did the trick:

The colours! The lustre! The soft, delicious hand! (The price tag!)

OK, you'd have to be doing something wrong to make 100% pure silk yarn not look luscious, especially if it looks like simple singles (I haven't dissected it; I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be corespun for strength), but this hits all the buttons…

I liked it so much that I went looking for the accompanying pattern book. Ohh… well. There are a few garments in there that I would consider knitting, but I'm not sure if they're right for the yarn. Admittedly, I'm not sure what *is* right for the yarn – maybe just leaving it in skeins is enough. It doesn't help that there is no hint of lustre in the book's photographs; this is a lustrous yarn, folks; if you don't want to play to it, at least don't hide it! Nothing p!sses people off more than finding they've knit a garment that has been misrepresented in the photographs (believe me: ask about Minnie sometime. She's still awaiting surgery…). In fact, in some of the photographs, the yarn looks really tired and sad:

It's hard to believe that this yarn is from the same line as this, where even the black shines:

To me, this yarn calls for luscious, draping forms, simple stitches that will let the material speak for itself; perhaps a draping, ruffled flounce or two (think Garland from Rowan's Classic Garden, though the quantity of yarn and thus cost of knitting this garment in this yarn would be prohibitive; I only mortgage my house, thanks!) I'm sure Kim Hargreaves, with her understanding of simple form and elegant drape could come up with some fantastic ideas.

These two, I think, are not the way to use this stuff:

Can you imagine cables and bobbles in high-lustre yarn? You'd look like a disco ball…
My two favourites from the book:

though I'm still worried about expecting silk to have the kind of memory that allows ribbing not to sag out horribly after a while… And the neckline on that wrap top is already looking… odd.

An Ashford in the family




I meant to blog more fully about the construction of this wheel, but nothing very interesting happened, and anyway, I was so absorbed I lost track of my camera!

I've actually owned this wheel for a couple of months now; it came as a kit in unfinished wood. Now, normally me and delayed gratification are just fine together, but not in this case. Each piece of this beauty (and a few more – see later) had to be sanded and waxed1. I'm not a woodworker; it interests me, but I'm not 'into' it. Anyway, it's now finally together, and it is so easy to treadle and so quiet compared to my other wheel that I spent about two hours spinning Lorna's Laces top on it last night without noticing any fatigue at all.

The wheel, I love; the top, I'm not so sure about. It's probably because it's been stashed for ages, but it feels pretty compacted and refuses to draft. I'm trying to pre-draft, but even that isn't helping all that much; it sticks and jumps and won't draft smoothly. If I want to spin this evenly, I need to find a way to help open it out again. I'd think about carding or combing, but the roving's already space-dyed, and I'm not sure I want to mix it all up.

1 OK, I could have just assembled it without finishing – the wood is nice and smooth anyway – but I just *know* that within months it would be looking grubby and sorry for itself, especially around the treadles and those places where one's hands repeatedly touch… So I wanted to seal the wood, so that all muck and rubbish would not soak into the grain and would be easily removed.

by the skin of my teeth

Stu's sweater was finished in time for him to take it away with him when he left my house – just. I'd hoped to finish it in time for his arrival Wednesday afternoon, so ended up weaving in ends in preparation for steaming and seaming at 06:30 Wednesday morning…. (since I also had a collar to knit, I'm sure you can see where this is going). For a start, weaving in the ends on that double-lizard back was no mean feat:

But hey: it only took four hours

I had the shoulders seamed, the sleeves attached and the collar picked up and about three centimetres worked by the time Stu arrived. It took a car journey and a film (V for Vendetta; still excellent the second time round – watch it!) to finish the collar, which is a tall turtleneck, and I got up early the next morning (again!) to seam the sides and under arms.

I failed utterly to take any photos of the finished garment, modelled or otherwise, but I did get snaps of this pair of lizard-heads, which together show the importance of designing your intarsia motif with the direction of all those little 'V's in mind (I reversed the motif for the back of the sweater; the original designer got it right!):

Out of time: send new schedule please

Well, still haven't finished knitting the back of Stu's sweater. I have finished all the intarsia, and have only about ten rows of plain stockinette to go.

I usually (read: always) fully wet-block a sweater before seaming and finishing. I did it once; it works; I keep doing it. However, there's not going to be anywhere near enough time to do that before Stu arrives tomorrow at around 3pm. This sweater could really do with a blocking just to even out the slight variations in the intarsia tension; will a steam block do the trick, do you think? This is a pure wool yarn (Rowan Cork) which has been overdyed by me; is steam a bad idea?

Hoping to finish the main knitting and get the ends sewn in this evening. Everything except fingers crossed (it interferes with the knitting, you know).

UPDATE: The knitting on the back is finished…. There's a lot of ends to weave in, though

Down to the wire

Anyone remember Mask? (No, not the film; the sweater. Scroll down a bit!) This is my oldest knitterly WIP; I started making it for my brother's Christmas last year, and put it on hold as I wasn't going to have time to knit for my other brother, too. Parents got knit gifts last year; everyone else got bought ones. This is now officially a year old, as I started planning early last year! I decided that this would be Stuart's birthday gift instead; his birthday's at the end of July.

He's coming to visit on Wednesday, and I'd really like to be able to present him with his pressie when he gets here. The front is now done:

And both sleeves:

And the back looks like this:

So my schedule is as follows:

  • Today (Monday): finish back, wash and block
  • Tuesday: let it dry; start seaming
  • Wednesday: finish seaming, knit neckband.

Because I'm knitting in Cork on 8mm needles, this is a quick knit. Because of the intarsia, it isn't. I *might* make it; I hope so. Further bulletins as events warrant…

© Copyright yarninmypocket - Designed by Pexeto