Sunday, April 29, 2007
She has been described as the "rock star in the world of knitting". I know J. and I think so - if there were posters of her, we'd have them pinned up in our locker. We discuss her blog postings regularly, we were completely disheartened when we were unable to watch her on Knitty Gritty (don't get this in Canada) and we dream of the day when we can see her knit in person. I saw her knitting one time on CBC - she was discussing KWB and knitting at the same time. I was AMAZED. I called my husband into the room and was excitedly spewing "look at her knit, can you believe that; I've NEVER seen anyone knit so fast. Look at her knit". It was truly like watching a master. I was mesmerized.
I think what draws me to the Harlot is her approach to knitting. She is obviously obsessed with knitting (as am I) but she isn't, or at least doesn't seem to be, obsessed with the "rules of knitting". She ad libs; she takes chances and she makes mistakes; she is serious about knitting but doesn't take everything regarding knitting too seriously. So refreshing. So real. This is what is enticing and enthralling about her. When I grow up, I want to knit like her.
So Ms. Pearl-McPhee - J. and I salute you for all you stand for and all you do in knitting. Thanks for showing us the way.
Friday, April 27, 2007
My current projects are very different. I'm usually knitting a pair of socks, usually for a birthday or if I'm really good, stockpiling for Christmas. Boy, that is optimistic. I say I'm stockpiling but really I'm just knitting for me. Secretly, I tell myself I'm testdriving the patterns and then if I like how they turn out, I'll knit them for someone else as a gift. Not even I believe that one. So on the DPNS (circular needles for socks isn't something I've tried and while I like the name of the magic loop, I'm an old fashioned girl at heart), are the dreaded Pomatomus.
Fortunately, I have some mindless knitting that I've been working on. T. mentioned that we're playing with Knitpicks Cotlin. I'm making up a sweater. It's my first attempt at designing and I have used a couple of books as resources and inspiration. I've only just recently discovered Barbara Walker's Treasuries and they are an amazing reference for stitch patterns and ideas. AND some brave souls have organized this online library of knitting stitches. It's brillant! And as ever, Ann Budd is indispensable in having already done all the math for me. Thanks, Ann. Let me buy you a latte sometime. So, with the help of Barb and Ann, I present to you....
Now if only some kind, knitting fairy would come and finish this sock so I could move onto other things, that would be great!
So to our friends - and anyone who's come across our blog - let us know by posting a comment...it won't hurt I promise.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
You could check out these other blogs, but why would you want to? You have everything you need right here.
I took out my newly borrowed copy of Stitchionary from Vogue Knitting (J. has it on hold from our library and was surprised to see it on my coffee table...are we on the same wavelength or what???). There are MANY fun stitch designs in there. I started off with a fancy garter rib, but after a couple of attempts frogged it. It just didn't look nice with the garter stitch border, which is necessary to keep the towels lying flat on the towel holder. Also it required a whole row of K2tog which kind of annoyed me ... for no particular reason other than it seemed like a lot of work. So I decided to move on. Now I'm trying a different stitch repeat (small mock brocade pleats). Seems a bit better, but looks a little 70's-ish to me. Any thoughts from anyone else??
As my first real attempt at designing something myself, it's a good project to start with. I've only frogged it twice and it is knitting up quickly.
The traditionalists (or the good knitters) out there may suggest I should have gauged it first and that would help with deciding what to do. J. suggested that I was swatching, which I balked at. No way, me swatch?? Honestly. So why am I so anti-swatching? I am not really sure. I know there are no "knitting police" (as the Yarn Harlot specifies quite nicely in "Knitting Rules") making me swatch. I know that even if you do swatch, the pattern may not work out for a variety of other reasons. I know that swatching can save you time in the end, even though it takes more time up-front. I know that swatching can help you to better understand your knitting style. Still, I don't know why I'm so anti-swatching. I think it may symbolize to me a knitting rule. Something that should be followed by every good knitter (or at least by knitters who make wearable objects). I think that there are so many other "rules" in my life that I don't want to have to follow any in my knitting. Knitting is the one thing that is total anarchy in my life (some may argue this....after meeting my 3 year old....); and I like that.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Knitting can be a very solitary activity done in your home or perhaps shared with a few friends. The repetitive motions are soothing. One can reach a point where you don't really need to look at what you're doing if the pattern is simple. The mind is free to wander, to undo the knots of the rest of your life, to muddle through the problems of the everyday. And if you make an error, you just rip it back. At the same time, knitting patterns can be complex and all consuming, requiring your full attention and concentration. This can be a welcome distraction from the day to day.
I am amazed at the size and scope of the knitting community, both online and in person. You can find knitting groups in just about every major city in North America and strangers are always welcome. Knitting blogs abound. You can read about knitters who range from goth to grandma and everyone is welcome. These knitters understand what it is to chose a pattern to knit for a loved one, to painstakingly find just the right yarn in just the right shade. They know that to knit a pair of socks can require more stitches than a sweater. Knitters understand what it feels like to find that pair of handmade socks in the bottom of a drawer, unworn and forgotten about, but that the love with which they were knit remains.
I am delighted to contribute to and take part in this community with my good friend, T. We enjoy knitting and we are really good at it. I know that nonknitters don't understand our culture and that's fine. All I'm looking for is a little support and understanding. Can I get an AMEN?
Friday, April 20, 2007
Wow, I thought! Now I can knit socks and they'll be fancy and everyone will be so impressed with me and they'll talk about my socks around the water cooler. "That J. sure can knit socks", they'll say. "She's got skills."
But isn't it funny how quickly one can become disillusioned with the apple of their eye? I, for example, have a large quantity of self striping yarn in my stash. It has been waiting for me to dust it off and whip up some Jaywalkers and I thought about it for a moment and then I met Cookie A. Oh, Cookie. You wooed me with Baudelaire (even though I had to learn how to do a figure 8 cast on and it nearly drove me to ruin), you enticed me with Hedera. I stalked your blog, I coveted your brilliant hosiery. I wrung my hands and I tossed at night. The only thing that could calm my feet was
REVENGE! (Titania's Revenge, actually, knit in Lorna's Laces Vera colorway.)
Knitting to me is a way of making my hours of watching TV at night seem less useless. It's a way to unwind, shut off my mind and do something creative. If I started stressing about every little detail, I wouldn't have the same sense of peace when I knit. And that's my goal -- a peaceful mind. That doesn't mean I don't like to make beautiful, detailed pieces -- I do. I just do them in small "doses". This is why I need to have 5 things going on my needles. More difficult things like Embossed Leaves Socks from Interweave Knits (Winter 2005)...
Not too difficult, but requires some thought. I also am trying to come up with a pattern for a handtowel set for my mom for mother's day (still in the process of this). Also requires some thought.
But, at the end of the day, nothing can beat rows upon rows of stocking stitch...all those knits and purls make me endlessly happy....and peaceful.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
This is the second side of the front. I love the ruching at the bottom - it's a nice touch.
Well I want to get this post up as a trial so I'll post more pics later....