Tuesday, November 28, 2006

In the studio

Collar, Angora, size 8 cable needle, 16 in. rib stitch

Like the black mohair, this yarn warmed my fingers as I knit it. In spite of the fluff, it's very well behaved and I do love the feel of it going through my fingers. It's a little bit too big in circumference, so I'm thinking about taking it out and starting over or putting a button on it so that it can be tightened. I supposed I could do the same thing with an interestingly placed draw string.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, yellow wool, rib stitch, size 8 cable needle, 16 in.

This strip will be combined with several others to make a scarf of purple and gold.

I worked on it and several other "in progress" projects over the weekend in Germantown Ohio with a small klutch of knitting friends and one crocheter. We were tipped off about the Yarn & Needle shop nearby at the intersection of 725 and 48 and took a little trip. What a great shop! I picked up three balls of Ironstone "Paris Nights" yarn and look forward to working with it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, black kid mohair/silk, seed stitch, size 9 wood needle

This scarf has been altogether a very pleasant experience in knitting. I caught the last couple balls of this yarn at the Woodstock Wool company and I'm soooo glad I did! I wanted the photo to show the sheer nature of the fabric. The way it works on the wood needles feels quite nice in the fingers, and it clings to itself because of the mohair so that it never slips around and becomes unwieldy. If I had my druthers I'd knit with it all winter long because of its superb insulating qualities. My fingers have been kept warm as I knit. This is the Rowan Kid Silk Haze, I think it's called, and there are a few other brands that are also very pleasant. I'm knitting up something in a deep forest green from France that is satisfying my ever-growing fondness for this yarn.

I've tried knitting the kid mohair silk yarns with smaller needles and I'd recommend something larger in order to get the lacy effect, and a fabric that is not too warm. As it is, I'm not sure I'd knit a sweater with it. I'm not sure anyone could keep it on for long. If I wanted something that warm I'd use something that is also rugged and could be worn outside. This seems too dressy/fussy for that somehow. That's my sense of the aesthetic qualities and choice of what to make with it.

I'm crocheting a single crochet border with sequins spaced every four stitches.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Finished Scarf

Scarf, mixed fibers, purple and gold, garter stitch, size 11 cable needle, 24 in.

I started this one immediately after I completed the first one (in the previous entry). It is another playful design based on school colors. This time I tried for an asymmetrical stripe with the gold, and added some flashy gold. I cast on with the purple, knit three rows then knit two rows of gold. Then I knit about 20 rows of purple and cast off with gold. I want to try much more playing with asymmetrical stripes.

The photo captures the purple a little better, however I had to do a lot of pursuasion with Photoshop.

In the studio last night all the struggling with sequins paid off and I now have tried threading sequins onto a yarn strand successfully for the first time. It's a kid mohair and silk yarn which is a very fine strand, so it went easily through the holes of the sequins. But more later on that... Photo is coming up!

Addendum: this purple yarn I keep praising is GGH "Madonna", which is no longer produced as far as I can tell. Hence the 70% discount when I got it. I couldn't find a better photo than this: http://www.woolworks.com/Knitting/Yarn/Disc%20Yarns/GGH/madonna/?M=A

Monday, November 20, 2006

Finished scarf

Scarf, purple and gold, garter stitch, size 11 bamboo cable needle, 24 in.

I cast on 130 stitches or so and made long rows for this interesting scarf. What makes it most interesting is the wool purple ribbon yarn, which I got at 70% off in Lenox, Mass. at Colorful Stitches. Yum! It is a very springy yarn when knitted, and it's important to be very careful while knitting, as the needle tip must be guided in order not to split the ribbon. The deep purple of this yarn is impossible for me to capture with my camera, so I tried fiddling around with Photoshop, but to no avail.

It's a school colors scarf, and the first of many that I'm doing for the heck of it this year.

The scarf is a very nice rendering of our school colors due to the beauty of the purple, and I can't wait to wear it to the next basketball game.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Finished capelet - circle scarf

White and pink capelet, reverse stockinette stitch, size 11 cable needle, 24 in.

Although I feel like the capelets are by now a well-worn cliche for me, I think this is lovely because of the pale, pale colors. I'll be using this combination of yarns again soon, because they all feel good in my fingers as well. Yummy!

I haven't worn them until recently. I wore the autumn one (September 11, 2006 entry) to a party over in Connecticut recently and not only got a lot of compliments but felt very special. It's putting on those gorgeous yarns that is a wonderful feeling. I wore this one a few days ago and it, too, made me feel quite regal. I hope everyone who is wearing them is getting that same boost.

Meanwhile, last night I threaded a few hundred sequins onto a strand of kidsilk mohair and I'm planning to crochet a fringe and intersperse the sequins. Previously I've tried sewing them in with a needle and thread, and I've been less than eager to try it again. So I'll be trying this experiment, which only works with a very fine strand and big sequin holes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

New project frenzy

I'm not sure what hit me, but I started a black kid mohair scarf, a forest green kid mohair scarf, a purple and gold scarf, a handbag, and a shawl within the past week or so.

Friday, November 10, 2006

In the studio

Dress, linen tape, rib stitch, size 11 cable needle, 24 in.

This is the second shift in what might become a series. They're for wearing around the house and being very comfy. The first one was a silk and cotton blend (see September 12) and was stockinette on the bottom and rib from the waist up. I began that piece by thinking of a long cylinder, but in the middle I decided to do a halter top and have an open back. While it looks good as a piece, it looks really bad on me, so I'm going back to my original garment design ideas for this one.

I also decided to do this one entirely in rib stitch, because I think the linen tape looks really good in the rib stitch and that the garment will have an overall better shape - like a big sock. I'll see.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stash confessions

When I was standing in line at the Web's tent sale this summer, oggling the great buys that my fellow shoppers had nabbed, I sniffed when I heard a newbie saying "I have a *drawer* full of yarn that I haven't used.

Yes, all you seasoned knitters out there know what I mean. All the knitting writers and bloggers have written about it, contemplated it and just given in to it. Stash is unavoidable after you truly fall in love with yarn.

I've been guiltily stashing art and craft supplies since 1977, so it has sort of been not a surprise to acknowledge that I have a lot of yarn. But...I have a *lot* of yarn. It's not crap, either. Also not terribly expensive since I get an extra little thrill from scoring at yarn sales, scrounging sale bins and wandering around shops until I find the sale areas.

Lately I have been wondering about my increasing efforts to slow down on collecting. This is serious. I've never thought so hard about cooling it in 30 years. Could it have been tripping and falling into the 10 very large shopping bags crowding the studio floor? Honestly, I felt like one of the characters in the classic scene where the protagonists end up sliding down a long chute into the whatever-it-is thing that begins to attack a few minutes after everyone settles down and stops screaming.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Finished hat

Hat, wool, rib stitch, size 9 double pointed needles

This is one of my favorite yarns ever. Or maybe to state it more accurately, it's a yarn by one of my favorite yarn manufacturers ever: Noro. I hope I never find out bad things about this company, because I love their yarns for their colors, their fibers and their textures. This yarn is a wool that doesn't look like it's spun very much actually. It's appearance is more like a felted strand.

But the colors. The color changes and combinations are some of the more intriguing and attractive available today. Yum!

I knitted this using a set of plastic dpn that drove me crazy. I'll try to remember to produce a photo to warn you off them. They have a long slender tip with a slope that suddenly broadens to the actual needle size. It produces an audible "thup" as every stitch slides onto the needle from the point and it takes considerable pressure to force the stitch from the point to the needle. They'll be donated soon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In the studio

Scarf, mixed fibers, size 10 wood needles, seed stitch

This is one of the complex scarves I've been attempting over the past month or so in the studio. This is one half. I will knit another piece the same size and attach the two using buttons as embellishment at the attachment points. It will be twice as wide as the piece shown when completed. The buttons are hard and shiny, about 3/4 in. in diameter. I have used pieces of approximately 20 yarns, each about 18in. to 24in. in length. I have not woven in the knot ends, so they act as small tufts on a surface that is very rough, hairy and fuzzy. I've got two bags of these autumn color yarns and it's been fun making hats scarves and bags.

My fiendish knitting has been abated only by a little housework and library work. As a result I'm getting places as far as really trying many of the ideas that inspire me.

I picked up Knitting Over the Edge by my current knitting heroine, Nicky Epstein. The bookstore lady from my favorite independed bookstore gave me a sort of mysterious discount, which was wonderful. Yeah, I'm drooling over that every day. But for some reason I haven't tried any of her patterns yet. Go figure. They're steeping.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In the studio

Afghan, mixed fibers, "woven" stitch, size 13 cable needle, 29 in.

Still growing! I'm wild about this work. The texture is some of the best work I've done so far in my knitting, and it'll be my largest work, at least until the black afghan gets completed.

As I read other knitting blogs I realize that my blog lacks commentary about my life, feelings and so on, so I'm going to try to add a bit more to my descriptions of my knitting. I'm pouring my soul into this afghan for a few different reasons, and I really do feel as though it's a masterwork of my knitting ouvre. The size means a lot because I have in general stayed with smaller work, feeling that I get the experience of the textile that I'm after without spending months looking at the same fibers. I've afforded myself opportunities to experience many combinations that way.

I also have not been that great a knitter and have struggled to improve my skills. I have had many technical weaknesses that I've worked hard to overcome, and I think this piece demonstrates my level of ability as masterful in the handling of the yarns and fibers and especially the color and texture aspects. It has virtually no technical flaws, and that to me is the mark of a master work. I also think the concept and design have reached the master level as well as the execution. I still have ambitions and there is still work to be done in areas that I believe are critical to the art of knitting, but I think this piece illustrates a mature level of craft.

I know, I know, this is still as dry as dust, but...I'm working on developing a more loose style.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

In the studio

Capelet, mixed fibers: wool, cotton, nylon, acrylic, lurex, polyester; size 10.5 cable needle, 16 in.; reverse stockinette stitch

I'm making fewer of these, but still have a huge attraction for them. I liked working with whites and very light tints. The lurex glint does very well in whites. I've made this heavier than versions I consider being more appropriate for summer by using heavier yarns and knitting with a bit smaller needle to make the fabric more dense rather than more lacey.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In the studio

Crochet capelet, hemp, single crochet, size 3 aluminum hook

This poor thing was forgotten and left in Colorado for a month or so, but I'm finishing it gradually now that it's returned. I like working with hemp, and I think I'll be putting beads in it to give it a jazzy tone. I'm looking at red beads that will glint a little bit but not be too gaudy, to put around the bottom.