This weekend, I got to delve into the needle arts in my family. My mother never knit much. She and my aunts and grandmother were quilters. My grandmother, Granny, did a lot of needlepoint. But as far as I knew, knitting wasn't big in the family. We lived in Texas, after all. But in a phone conversation a while back, my Aunt June told me she had some things to show me the next time I came to visit. During the break between semesters, Jeff and I headed down to spend some time with her and her grandkids. She fixed us a wonderful lunch, complete with the family favorite, fig preserves. And, she brought out some treasure to share with me.
Although she knew how to knit, she was more of a crocheter. She and her sister Gladys crocheted a lot. Although MaMa died some months before I was born, I have memories of Aunt Gladys in a nursing home. She and her roommate had covered nearly every surface in their room with crocheted cozies of all kinds. I don't remember her not crocheting.
What a treasure. Thanks, Aunt June!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I saw this pattern, Vinnland, in the Beltane 2007 issue of The Anticraft. What an awesomely quirky thing this is. It's not all about knitting, and I can't claim to get everything it offers, but it's always worth a look. Not for the faint of heart. These socks caught my eye. Since they needed to be green, and since I had my Kool-Aid-dyed Absinthe yarn sitting around, it seemed like a match made in, er, Valhalla.
The pattern is complicated and I haven't quite figured out how to read it so that I'm not constantly glancing at the chart. But I like how the ribs seem to weave and intertwine in a Norse-ish pattern. When I first saw this I thought it was cabled, but everything is done with increases and decreases. The most difficult thing is that the increases don't seem to follow a logical pattern as to whether they're made purl-wise or knit-wise. I'm sure there is some sort of rhyme and reason to it, but I'm not seeing it.
Not sure what's up with these pictures. I wanted to skip the flash so that the images weren't washed out, but they seem washed out anyway. Later pictures should show the green-ness better.
I like these already.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
This was a pattern that I took from the opening chapters of Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. The pattern called for casting on 60 stitches, resulting in a sock for a woman's size 8 foot. I knew that the number of cast on stitches had to be a multiple of four, so I cast on 76 (close to my ideal circumference of 78) and ran with it. Everything worked well, except for the special toe, which was highly prescriptive. I just did a regular flat toe and left it at that.
So, most everything is tidily taken care of, knittingwise. I think I'm going over to Hill Country Weavers this afternoon. You know, just to look...
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
You may recall my frustration at trying to get someone to put in a zipper for this sweater. I have zero (or, one might say, "zip") sewing skills. My mother was a former home economics teacher who taught me the importance of attractive plate presentation and making sure that all cookies were uniform in size. However, when it came to sewing, I didn't ask and she didn't tell.
I had a little problem with the bottom part of the zipper, which is kind of leathery. How are you supposed to hand sew into that? I'll ask at the knitting meetup this weekend. Thanks to all who helped me with this, especially the knitters at the meetup and my sister, Susan, for machine-sewing the steek. I couldn't have done it without you.
As I finished this afternoon, the temperature was 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Time to pack the sweater away until January...
Posted by Steven at 2:54 PM
Last week, our good friends and Sharon and Janelle attended the 34th annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. They braved long lines and spent precious fiber fondling time to get us t-shirts from this year's festival. Thanks, girlfriends!
Jeff and I went to Sheep and Wool with Sharon, Janelle, Kristina and the Natter family two years ago. I had just started knitting then and found the whole thing a bit overwhelming. I can't wait until the college's academic calendar and the festival calendar align once again so we can head back. My fondest memories:
- "Stalking" the Yarn Harlot -- which meant just getting a picture of me with her in the background -- I was too shy to try actually speaking to her.
- Having people ask me the age of Sharon & Janelle's son (whom I was carrying around) and not knowing. The shocked looks!
- Janelle helping me buy my first hanks of sock yarn and helping me cast on for my first pair of socks.
It was a great time and these t-shirts really make me nostalgic for that wonderful weekend.
In exchange, we send them a boxload of HEB flour tortillas. Their boys love them, and the ones they got when they were down this winter have already disappeared. For good measure, we threw in a care package of bootlegged Knitty Gritty episodes.
Posted by Steven at 11:51 AM
Saturday, May 12, 2007
So I spent the afternoon trying to get started on it. I'm following these instructions from Claudia's Blog. I pinned the zipper in about how I wanted it, and then I basted along a column of stitches, trying to get both sides pinned straight without causing bunching and gapping, and generally getting everything to line up. It was a bit of a challenge, because when I basted the steek stitches under the selvedge edge several weeks ago, I ended up with the left edge being a column of knit stitches, and the right edge being the gutter between two rows of knit stitches. You can't see it unless you're squinting, but it meant basting was different on each side and that threw me off until I figured it out.
mostly happy with it. Everything was lined up, but a little too much of the zipper tape was showing. I want to be happier with this, so tomorrow I'll start over. A little disappointing, but also encouraging, because now I can see this is doable. The end is in sight. Which is good, because it's starting to get too hot to even imagine wearing a sweater.
Still working on the Gorgonzola socks. I finished the heel flap and turned the heel while at the knitting meetup this morning. It was my first time there in nearly a month, and it was good to see everyone. I wore my new Sheep & Wool t-shirt which arrived in the mail yesterday. Thanks, Sharon & Janelle!
Posted by Steven at 6:02 PM
Friday, May 04, 2007
The usual reasons apply -- busy end-of-the-semester work stuff, evenings taken up with extra chorus rehearsals, and a general spring knitting ennui.
I'm pretty proud of myself for adapting a pattern to fit. The first sock fits great. The Welsh heel was fine, although it has weird little yarnovers in it. They don't show in this yarn, so they don't bug me too much.
I did a cable cast on, which I probably won't do for a sock ever again, and, which I indeed did not do on the second sock -- it was cast on with the tried and true long tail. I was wanting a different cast on, figured out how to do a cable, which I thought would be great because I wouldn't need to measure out a bunch of yarn -- which I always get wrong. I read the word "firm" as "super stretchy and elastic" in some instructions I had, and ended up with a combination sock/tourniquet. It's not that bad, but it is, shall we say, snug.
My new Knitpicks size 0 dpns are disappointing me. While knitting one evening, I saw all kinds of glittery sparkles on my tshirt. The coating is flaking off and now, instead of being all shiny and semi-surgical, they look like chunks of old coat hangers. Ick. And they're all bent. This, of course, is from my too-tight knitting. This could be genetic -- more about that later.
And the ZimmerZipper sweater still languishes. I ordered a zipper nearly three weeks ago and I've heard nothing. I need to follow up.