Sunday, May 29, 2011

Learning how to design stuff

I'm nearly halfway through reading Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti, and she has really opened my eyes to all of the different things you have to consider before even starting to cast on a self-designed project.
Like how cabled knitting doesn't stretch as much width-wise, and how there's no point spending a fortune on yarn if the colour doesn't suit your skin tone. Little things like adding an extra stitch to the end of a row of ribbing to make the rib pattern even at the seams was a total revelation. And I had no idea that chevron lace shouldn't be forced to have a ribbed border at the bottom of a sweater - apparently it doesn't like that.
I'm a long way off from designing my own, but this book is giving me so many different ideas. I just have to concentrate on something that's a bit simple at first, and maybe chunky - a fast-knit jumper will make me feel like I sort-of know what I'm doing.

I've made more progress with my second hood. I'm onto the sixth pattern repeat, nearly finished the main piece, and I got a lot done today at stitch n' bitch at the city library. So nice to hang out with people with similar interests!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Knitting was needed this week

It's been a week of drama. Circumstances at work have made all of the team very stressed and upset, and we are waiting to see whether this week will bring good news. I've noticed that I'm very bad at lace knitting when I'm preoccupied - I've frogged my scarf several more times since last week. I've started to use scrap yarn as safety at the end of the pattern repeat, so I don't have to go back to the beginning every time.

Now it's coming along nicely, but I've put it down for a couple of days to knit another Through the Woods hood for a friend. It's in Cascade Eco Wool in Taupe and since I've done one before, it's going to knit up really quickly. Hopefully I'll finish it in the next two weeks; it's getting pretty cold here so the hood will get well used!

I'm loving cables and the knitting on 6.5mm needles - it makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere a lot quicker, and this week I needed that.

And for more knitterly fun, I went along to the Stitch n' Bitch at the Auckland City Library cafe today, where I got to meet and chat with some of the people I see so often on Ravelry. Coffee + Knitting + Good company = Happy me!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Entangled Magazine is here!

I was pretty excited when I heard a New Zealand-based fibre craft magazine was starting, and even more excited when the amazing Granny G  asked me to contribute. In the first issue of Entangled I've written the Virtually Crafting feature, and I spoke to craft rock stars Shannon Okey, Flore Vallery-Radot, Diane Gilleland and The Knitgirllls. Each of these women have found ways to make craft a big part of their lives, or even their career. I will keep dreaming for now, but they are a huge source of inspiration.

Genny, the name behind Granny G and the editor of this new magazine has done a beautiful job. It's so colourful, nicely laid out and a great read - loving the feature about Angora Rabbits. Entangled is a digital-only format and subscriptions are available on Zinio.
Pic credit Entangled Magazine.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I think I was wrong about lace knitting

It's really hard. Not the actual pattern, but the keeping track of the stitches and the yarn-overs and what row you're on is. I've undone my scarf three times. Right now my Frilly Frilly scarf isn't even on the needles.
I took this photo before I ripped it out, before I lost count for the third time.

Now I'm going to go and start again, in a silent room with no one talking to me so I won't get distracted!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So I ditched the robot again

To start my first proper lace scarf pattern! I never thought I'd be into lace knitting, but I'm finding the challenge quite fun, and I like making holes on purpose. I've found a use for my Wool and the Gang Sugar Baby Alpaca, and with it I am making a Frilly Frilly Scarf by Gryphon Perkins, which is published in Stitch n' Bitch - Superstar Knitting by Debbie Stoller.
So far I think I'm doing okay - no random stitches left at the end of the row, no weird surprises where I've made a mistake. I've done the first eight rows that set the lace pattern - I've only got to repeat this 38 more times without incident to have a pretty purple scarf! I'll post a photo when it looks like something a bit more substantial. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Learning new fancy knitting stuff

I love getting parcels in the post. The best ones have yarn in them, or vintage clothes I've bought on auction sites. This week an awesome white vintage dress arrived, and I'm expecting a knitted jumper over the next few days. No yarn, but I did get something else which is just as cool - two new knitting books.
Stitch n' Bitch - Superstar Knitting by Debbie Stoller, and the new second edition of Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti arrived on the doorstep on Thursday, and I am very excited.

Apart from my Mum, Debbie Stoller is the person who I credit with teaching me to knit. Her book Stitch n' Bitch - The Knitter's Handbook taught me things like joining new yarn to a project, increases, decreases and how to block. For me it really was a crash course in the basics, and it answered questions that I thought were too stupid for me to even ask. With Superstar Knitting, I'm hoping to really improve my skills - I'm really liking the look of the beaded jumper pattern, and some of the cardigans. Most of the patterns in there are things that I would actually wear as well, so I'm thinking it's money well spent.

And with Maggie Righetti's new edition of her famous book, I'm hoping to get over my fear of trying to design something for myself. I keep thinking that I'm too new at knitting to even bother trying to create something of my own, and too bad at maths to do all the calculations needed. But I'm struggling to find patterns of jumpers that I like, or finding patterns that look like all the awesome knitted jumpers in the shops this season. Hopefully the book, at a sizeable 411 pages, will tell me all I need to know.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the 4th be with you

Today is Star Wars Day! Seems quite fitting - I've just found out that May is also Geek Crafts Month. Ut was announced on CRAFT a couple of days ago, so exciting! Who knew there was something so glorious?

I'd like these books to celebrate:

The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton has some really cool things to make - I especially like the ATAT herb garden.

And World of Geek Craft by Susan Beal has some awesome projects - I like the look of the robot card on the front cover

Both books are available on Amazon. Geek Craft Month is giving me inspiration to finish the robot, I'm onto the first arm. And I've finished my Simple Things scarf!

I love it, although I think it's shrunk slightly since I've been wearing it. I'll get a photo of it in use over the weekend!