Wednesday, 29 August 2007

'Complete' Knitting

I read Grumperina's post yesterday about not feeling like a 'complete' knitter because she doesn't like knitting sweaters, and it got me thinking. What is a 'complete' knitter? Is there such a thing?

My first instinct on reading her post was one of disbelief. What? She doesn't classify herself as a complete knitter? Is she insane??? She knits such wonderful things, designs items the knitting world goes crazy over (is there anyone in the world who hasn't made a pair of jaywalkers, cos it sure doesn't seem so), knows about complicated techniques and more importantly, can explain them in language even I can understand. If I had had to make a list of complete knitters, she would have been right up there at the top.

In the comments, the general consensus seemed to be that it doesn't really matter what a person knits, so long as they enjoy it. Yep, I agree with that. There are items I'll probably never knit (I'm not a fan of knitted bags, for example. All that knitting, and it'll need lined anyway? I'd rather just sew a bag, once I learn to sew properly, that is). But it's not that that keeps me from feeling like I'm the best knitter I can be.

I'm more interested in processes recently. It was cables for a while - that was fun, and they'll definitely come back into my knitting. It'll be lace again, once the mystery stole is blocked and finished (yep, still not done), and I'm having great fun with the bi-directional vest. However, it usually takes me the full length of a sweater to feel like I've 'got' the process. Socks are OK to practice things, but not to learn them, and scarves can be just boring sometimes (I still seem to make a lot of them though. One day I'll show you them all). I find with a sweater there's enough variation in the shaping plus the front, back and sleeves are different, so there's always something to think about.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that my own sense of 'completeness' is felt in mastering processes. It doesn't matter so much what I make, just so long as I'm making. And even then, 'completeness' isn't quite the right word. I feel in order to be a master knitter, I would need to learn every process, and try everything at least once. But I feel a sense of completeness whenever I'm making, whether it's knitting, crochet, dancing, writing, and I guess I would apply that to other people too. It doesn't matter what they're making or doing, so long as they feel happy, and hopefully even complete while doing it.

And is it possible ever to learn every single technique, in every possible permutation? I have never heard of any knitter who hasn't something new to learn. In fact, when reading letters sent into magazines, I'm often struck by how many older people write in saying they've been knitting for blah amount of years, and are still learning! And the enthusiasm that comes across in those letters is amazing. I kind of hope I never become a master 'complete' knitter, in case I lose the sense of excitement that comes with each new project. It's that excitement and wonder that completes knitting to me.

Anyway, thanks to Grumperina for her inspiring post. I'm sure I have lots more to say about it, but I've babbled on for long enough just now.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Some Knitting

OK, so I've finished the knitting on the mystery stole, but it's not blocked, or grafted together yet. But I'm getting there. Blocking and finishing are always the bits I procrastinate on.

I finished a hat to go with the scarf I made.

I made it using this pattern, with the mistake rib used in the scarf. Sorry about the crappy picture, I couldn't get a decent one with it on. I think it looks pretty cute on, so long as I keep my hair down. If I have my hair up it looks a bit weird. This is the first hat I've made, and overall I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I've also started this:

It's the Taos bi-drectional vest from this site. I'm using Sirdar Bonus Flash for it, in the same color I used for the sweater I made a few months ago. I'm using up the left over balls for it. I'm not sure at this point if I'll have enough yarn for it, it's getting worryingly close. I'm trying to source some off ebay, but I don't know if it's been discontinued or not. If it has, I suppose I have a scarf made of it that I can rip back and use, so it won't be the end of the world. I like the look of this pattern, it kind of reminds me of the Fifth Element for some reason (my favourite film of all time!). It's knitting up quite fast, and the construction is quite interesting. The row gauge is very important though, so I had to swatch to check that for the first time ever (I normally don't bother). There's lots of picking up of stitches, so it's good practice.

Check out my picking up! It's my most even picking up ever! That's probably cos it's in a straight line though (I did maths to help me figure out where to pick them all up). I'm a bit rubbish at picking up round curved necklines. I absolutely hate it. There are always holes, or it's bunched up, and it just never looks right. But this picking up along a straight line, I like this! I'll be interested to see how this one turns out. It's very different from just plain knitting from the bottom up, and I'm having fun with it just now. I've done the whole front, and the centre panel of the back (or it could be the other way round since both sides are the same!).

Anyway, that's enough for just now. I've got quite a bit more I want to say on other subjects, but they can wait for a little bit, tomorrow at the latest. See, if I hadn't procrastinated on blogging yesterday, I wouldn't have this problem, but I just can't help myself. I'm a dedicated procrastinator!

Friday, 24 August 2007

LYS Discovery - And An FO . . .

. . . but it's not the mystery stole, unfortunately.

It's . . . a scarf. Well, I've spent so much time on the mystery stole, which I seemed to have made about 3 times more complicated than it actually is, and I wanted something quick and easy. Plus I saw this yarn in a charity shop - 9 balls of Richard Poppleton Giselle, and couldn't resist. It's hot pink, boucle and just a little fluffy, everything I would normally avoid. But it has specks of blue, yellow, orange and white running through it, and I thought it would look good as a scarf. So I bought all 9 balls. Hmm. It took 2 to make the scarf. Lol, I just like to buy stuff is all. So now I'm making a hat to go with it, in the same type of rib. Oh, the pattern for the scarf is here. I spent a bit of time trying to find the right pattern for the yarn, something that would show up all the colours, yet still be visible through them, and this mistake rib was just perfect. It was really quite fun, and fast to make after the mystery stole. And no, that's not finished yet, although I can see the end in sight after all this time.

And, I found like, the best yarn store ever! Well, OK, the best out of the three I've been to, but it's going to take some beating. It's only just up the road in Newburgh - Twist Fibre Craft Studio. I'd heard of it of course, it being nearby, but I'd never actually been. I don't go to Newburgh very often, if at all, and had never been there long enough to go in. But I was looking for a magazine, and saw on the net that they stock Vogue Knitting, and Interweave and all those magazines. So I went yesterday.

I was very restrained actually - I bought 2 magazines, and 2 balls of sock yarn. My first proper sock yarn! Yay! I got a ball of Opal (Schlange, it looks like from the inside of the ball band. I can't read german, but that's what's underneath the photo), and some Trekking, but I don't know what the colourway is called for that. The Opal is going to become some Monkeys, after I've finished drooling over it.

I got Vogue Knitting Winter 2006/07, and Interweave Crochet fall 2006 magazines. It was great! They had all the magazines I'm interested in - newsagents only seem to stock Simply Knitting or Knitting Today or Knitting Magazine, which is all very good, and I like those magazines too, but I like the range of styles you get in the American magazines, especially Vogue. I prefer Vogue to Interweave actually, because the styles are more unique and well, frankly off the wall for some of them. The Interweave knitting designs are nice too, and more wearable perhaps, but I'm at a phase just now where I'm inspired by more experimental designs.

So Twist Fibre is my new favorite yarn store. The guy just got on with what he was doing while I made my selection, and didn't try to bug me into choosing, and the general atmosphere was very relaxing and welcoming. And the yarns! I'll definitely be back there.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Random Stuff - No Pics (sorry) :)

Lately I've been working on the mystery stole. I already said how I didn't want to make it with the wing, and was trying to reverse the lace pattern so I could just keep going - well, that didn't work out. My brain is not quite up to reversing a pattern like that. I just kept going at first, then realised after about 7 inches that I would need to reverse the side bits if I wanted it to continue into the triangle at the end. So I ripped back, and tried drawing various versions of the lace pattern and knitting them up. That didn't work at all. And I had decided in a fit of confidence to rip out the lifeline at row 287 or wherever it was. "Lifeline? Ha, I don't need that! I KNOW what I'm doing!" Remind me never to listen to myself again. Now I can't rip back and follow Melanie's directions for knitting seamlessly to the end. So, I'm grafting. See a few posts ago for progress on the second half, cos it looks exactly the same.
I'm suffering from Second Side Syndrome with this bit (I never get second sock syndrome but I've definitely got its variant). It's just cos I'm knitting the exact same thing, and I know I'm not smart enough to change it the way I wanted. That's frustrated me, but I'm persevering. It's a lovely pattern as it is, and I don't want it to languish in the 'where are they now' pile? That pile is already too big.

Some happier, dancing news. I bought my place on Yasmina's workshops in Edinburgh on the 25th and 26th, finally! I wanted to go to the Maria de Silva one a few weeks ago, but didn't have any money, so I was determined to get to this one. You can get information about the workshops on BellyDancingCaroline's website.

I can't wait for this workshop, or the other ones listed on her site! I also can't wait for Jewel of Yorkshire. It seems so long till that one! The middle of October! I haven't been away anywhere this summer, so I'm really looking forward to that one, getting away for a weekend and all.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Knitting Guru?

Hee hee. I love getting good results in quizes. I don't know if I'd describe myself as a guru but I definitely love my knitting!

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.
Take this quiz!

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Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Summer Walk (pic heavy)

Today it's been really nice outside (makes a change!), so I decided to take the dog for a walk to a nearby forest. It was so warm, it actually felt like summer. This forest is about 20 mins walk away, pretty close but I haven't actually been there since last summer. But the dog seemed to remember exactly what route we used to take round the forest. He was always running in front of me - he'd get to just within eyesight then stop and wait for me to catch up. I'm always terrified he's going to run off - he's not too good at the whole 'come here' thing yet, and he gets so excited when he sees another animal, I might as well not exist at all, but he was actually really good. We only saw one other dog, and it wasn't interested in playing, so he just continued his running and waiting like before.

I took lots of photos, here's a few of the best.

Some Scottish countryside:

Inside the forest:

Some timber cut from the trees in the forest:

And my new desktop:

And of course, one of the dog. This was the best one I could get. He was either running off into the distance or doing things I'm sure you don't want pictures of :) Or if you do, I'm sure there are other sites that cater to that.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Knitter's Block

The knitting mojo seems to have left me for a few days now. I just can't seem to get motivated enough to get on with it. I've got several things on the go, but I'm spending my time just now playing video games and watching stuff.

I caught up with the mystery stole knitalong before clue 5 was out: here's pics up to the end of clues 3 and 4:

Then clue five came out and I found out it wasn't what I was expecting ie. it was assymetical in shape. I was kind of expecting it in pattern, but not shape and it threw me a bit. I spent about a day thinking about it, and I decided I'm not going to make it that way, but I'm not going to rip back to the lifeline either. I'm going to attempt to keep going with the pattern, then knit the end charts backwards, so the points will be the same on both ends. However, that takes thinking, and my brain's not really up to that this week. Maybe in a few days.

I've also been knitting jellyfish from magknits (speaking of which, I hadn't even realised the new one was out). Now that I've looked at the new patterns, jellyfish might get ripped in favour of summer sky. I've got to that bit of knitting where I get unsure of the pattern, whether I like it or not, whether to rip it or not. I think I've mentioned that before with other patterns ;) Anyway, that one's been in the knitting corner since I got to the picking up stitches part, and found that I had nearly double what I'm supposed to, so if I continue I'll have to make up the ribby part myself. More thinking.

Anyway, from this month's magknits, I like summer sky, and pink champagne. Not that I'm in the mood to cast anything on though.