Friday, July 27, 2012

A perfect match of yarn and pattern

This is one of those times when a knitter's yarn choice is better than my original....

This is the Turtle Purl self-striping sock yarn in the Burberry colorway, used for my Herringbone scarf.

Seriously, how good is this?

Very proud of Brenda, and I can't wait to see her finished project.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Project Bags: Little Things I Love

I carry my knitting around. A lot. I'm a public transport user, and I never go anywhere without at least one knitting project.

I've used any number of little project bags to nestle into the corner of my purse: everything from purpose made knitting bags, to ziplock bags, to repurposed camera bags, you name it.

I met the lovely people of Della Q at TNNA, and they introduced me to a line of theirs I hadn't seen before: the Edict Project bags.

Naturally, the Sock Project bag was the most appropriate. It makes me happy.

In addition to being adorable, it's very practical. Large enough to hold the yarn, the sock-in-progress, any pattern notes, and the sock's mate (so I can count and make sure I've worked the same number of ribbing rounds on both), it's still small enough to tuck into my purse.

Della Q hass a whole range of these 'Edict' project bags.... some identify what you're working on: "Hat Project", "Sock Project", "Scarf Project", "Random Project".

Some clarify the state of your knitting: "Tangled String", "Handknit for you", "Knit with Love".

And some declare the state of your mind: "Shh.. I'm counting", "Naughty Knitter", and "Paws off My Knitting".

But best of all may be this one: "Cheaper than Therapy".

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reader Mail: On Stopping, or Not

I recently met a knitter, D., in a class.

We've been having an email discussion, and she made a passing comment at the bottom of her email...
"BTW, for when we knit late at night and we don't want to let go and stop... any suggestions?"
It made me laugh, because I knew exactly what she meant... I bet every knitter does. That compulsion to keep going, that need to work one more row, to get to the next step, to knit on, late into the night, when you know you should be asleep.

I'm often knitting to a deadline, working on design commissions and samples. For those projects, there's sometimes late nights. Right now, I'm working on a pair of mittens that need to be completed for photography, and I'm knitting on them every spare moment I get. Which includes knitting late at night. I can't stop, because there's a deadline.

But it's not the same. What D. is talking about is that compulsion to keep going on something for the sake of it. Because you're enjoying it. Because you don't want to stop.

This happens to me less often with knitting - because I am most often working on things I need to knit - but I suffer from it terribly when it comes to crochet.

I don't do much crochet professionally; indeed, I don't do much crochet at all. I rarely create crochet designs, and I don't often have the time to work on projects that aren't specifically design projects or commissioned work.  (This isn't a 'poor me' thing, I promise, it's just the state of my to do list.)

Because I don't really design crochet, when I do get to crochet, it's most often working someone else's project - those Noro crochet slippers, for example. And because I don't have a lot of spare crafting time, so if it's project from someone else's design, I need to really really want to work the project to push off work projects... and when I really really want to work the project, I really really want to keep working the project... and I don't want to let go and stop... There's a "just one more" element to crochet, too - just one more round, just one more motif, just one more slipper....

And so no, D., I'm sorry - I don't have any suggestions. Just suffer along with the rest of us :-).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Foot Sizing Survey Results

It's been a long time coming - for which, apologies - but the results of the foot size osurvey are now available, Over at the Knittyblog. Not only the data, but I've done some analysis on what the results mean for sock knitters and sock designers.

Let me know if the info is helpful!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Photo of the Day Has Been Dormant: Back At It!

Make this the last but most important lesson in my quest to become a better photographer: you can't get better if you don't actually take any photographs.

I got back at it this morning.

There's epic construction along my usual commute to Friday morning class at the Purple Purl. I've been trying a new route, the College/Carlton/Gerrard streetcar, and there's a 10 minute walk done Jones Avenue towards the shop.

It was a hot, bright morning, and I was looking around the unfamiliar neighbourhood as I walked. I loved the little peeks into the backyards through the alleys between the house.

This one seems particularly inviting: sunshine leading me down the alley, to an open gate, through which you can pass into a lush green garden. Urban oasis indeed.

I'm pretty pleased with this one: no edits made at all. I sort of wish the recycling bins weren't there, but they do add to the "urban-ness" of it all.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Hoist with my own petard

The problem with being opinionated about things is that they come back to bite you sometimes. And I've been bitten.

It's not uncommon to see an instruction like:
Knit, decreasing 12 sts evenly across the row.
I don't like these sorts of things, particularly for patterns aimed at less experienced knitters, because they can seem awfully intimidating - and they require either math or a high degree of confidence to power through. I understand why designers use them, absolutely - mostly to save space in the pattern - but they're scary for less confident pattern readers.

Now, the important thing to know is that ultimately, if the designer isn't specific how about to decrease, or where, then it doesn't really matter. You just need to get to the right number of stitches.

I'm working on some new patterns, with multiple sizes and multiple gauges, and I've found myself in need of the following instruction:

Knit, decreasing 6 (6, 6, 6, 8)/6 (8, 10, 10, 10) sts evenly around. 34 (36, 38, 42, 44)/26 (28, 30, 32, 34) sts.

The problem is that this particular pattern is aimed at newer knitters, and I realized that there was no way I was going to let myself get away with this. So I had to write them all out - 10 different rounds! It took a surprising amount of thinking.

The final decrease round.
Fingering weight version
1st size: (K5, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k5, k2tog) twice. 34 sts.
2nd size: (K4, k2tog, k3, k2tog) 4 times. 36 sts.
3rd size: (K4, k2tog) 10 times, k4. 38 sts.
4th size: (K3, k2tog) 10 times. 40 sts.
5th size: (K3, k2tog, k4, k2tog) 4 times, (k3, k2tog) twice.

Worsted version
1st size: (K3, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k3, k2tog) twice. 26 sts.
2nd size: (K4, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k4, k2tog) twice. 28 sts.
3rd size: (K4, k2tog) 6 times around. 30 sts.
4th size: (K4, k2tog, k5, k2tog, k4, k2tog) twice. 32 sts.
5th size: ([K3, k3tog] 3 times, k4, k2tog) twice. 34 sts.

I haven't proofread them yet, but I think I got them right. I hope. But most of all I hope this makes my pattern easier to work.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Interweave Knitting Lab California

I'm over the moon that I've been asked to teach at Interweave's fabulous Knitting Lab event in San Mateo, California this coming November.

I'm teaching two of the classes for which I am best known:

Two Socks In One: The War & Peace Method

The Sock Knitter’s Mount Everest? This class teaches the legendary technique for knitting two socks at the same time on the same needles, one inside the other, as mentioned by Tolstoy in War and Peace.  In the class, we’ll work a pair of mini socks using this amazing technique.  The design we work is top-down, but the techniques I demonstrate are easily applied to toe-up knitting.
Designing Custom-Fit Socks
Liberate yourself from pattern books, and ensure your socks really fit properly! Learn how to create a top-down or toe-up sock pattern for any yarn, and for any foot.  We’ll cover knee socks, and discuss special fit requirements like high arches, flat feet, skinny and not-so-skinny ankles. I’ll show you how to apply pattern stitches like lace, cables and colorwork, and how to manage differences in gauge and fabric stretch.  You’ll leave the class with a set of templates and guidelines for all your sock fitting needs.

and a new one:

Fair Isle Bootcamp: Design Your Own Fair Isle Wristwarmers 

This class will teach you everything you need to know to be a confident Fair Isle knitter. We’ll review the history of Fair Isle knitting, and discuss the types of patterns and how they evolved. Through practice swatches, you’ll master reading the patterns and charts, and working with multiple colors - both one-handed and two-handed methods, both in-the-round and flat. In the second half of the class, you’ll be provided with the motifs, templates and yarns to design and create your own pair of unique fingerless mitts.

More info about the event here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

What I'm Knitting: Godzilla Ridge

Have you read my post over at Knittyblog?

This project is making me very happy, and it's coming along brilliantly.

I don't know why I always end up knitting heavy blankets or similar in the summer. Over the weekend, in temperatures in the mid-30s (Celsius), I was working on a bulky-weight cowl...