Monthly Archives: March 2008

Weekend in San Francisco

I went to SF to attend a wedding, unfortunately, I drank some chai tea drink this morning that had bad milk in it. I spent a good part of the afternoon being ‘sick.’ I don’t think I’ll ever be able to drink chai again. So I was too sick to attend the wedding, and I’m sitting in the Hotel room recuperating, watching BBC comedies and drinking Genmai-cha (green tea with brown rice).

Though I did have a great time yesterday. I’ve scored yarn, books, and a few Samurai videos. We’re staying in Japan Town at the Kabuki Hotel, and it’s quite a lovely spot. I highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to stay in SF and be pampered at a reasonable price. Each hotel room has a traditional Japanese bath. I was able to scrub up and relax in the tub before curled up and fell asleep yesterday… complete heaven – near Nirvana. The Hotel also has a lovely little garden to sit and knit in for a moment or two.

The hotel is part of the Japan Town complex that includes a mall complete with several Japanese restaurants, a huge bookstore and a number shops with Japanese goods. On Thursday night, I spent a few hours pouring over the books in the Kinokuniya bookstore. There are so many wonderful inspirations and designs in these books.  I wanted to pull out my notebook and jot some of them down, but I felt a little self-conscious. I do think that I’ve noticed that many Japanese styles featured in some of the books didn’t seem fitted. It must be a style adaption that comes from Japanese fashion history. Clothing in Japanese culture wasn’t really fitted until they adopted styles from Westerners.

I did buy a knitting stitch pattern book which was a little spendy, but well worth it because all the stitches were diagrammed in charts. I absolutely hate reading instructions to lace and cables line by line. The Japanese really understand how to explain things visually and with symbols. The only thing I get more joy from is the instructions for some IKEA products. There’s something comforting about not having to use too many words to explain things.

Yesterday I visited Art Fibers for the first time. What a joy! They have the most wondrous array of fibers and yarns. I bought a few things including a silk and mohair blend yarn called Tsuki that knits into an absolutely dreamy cloud. I’ve never knit a mohair lace shawl before, so I opted for something very simple: a triangular shawl with daisies. I started it yesterday and I’m about a third of the way done. I’m really quite pleased with the look and feel of this yarn. The silk catches the light beautifully.

Artfibers is a wonderful place, they actually allow you to ‘taste’ the yarns in house by swatching them yourself. Also, Kira Dulaney was there to offer advice and guidance on the yarns. She even helped me design a custom pattern for a tank top. If you have a chance, do check out her pattern site as her work is absolutely gorgeous. My only regret is that I don’t live close enough to frequent the shop regularly. Here are a few of my scores from the store: Mozambique, more Tsuki (in bright teal), Baccarat, and Golden Chai …

Addendum 4/1 – the scarf/shawl in Tsuki is nearly finished. It took only 40 grams and at $14 for a shawlette, that’s quite a bargain.

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Filed under Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Fashion, Fibers, Garment Design, Knitting, Travels, Yarn

FO’s for March and February

When I was shut in in bed in February the cold inspired me to finish my first seamless yoke sweater. I love this sweater, but again, I knit the body in Knitpicks Swish Superwash, so it’s piling and balling up something awful. I really need to buy a new “fuzz buster.” Maybe Target carries one.

This month I was able to finish the Peasant Blouse from Interweave Knits – Spring ’08. This was actually super fun to knit, especially the bands for the neckline and the sleeves.

Again, it’s a one piece knitted item so I could avoid seaming.  I’ve worn this sweater twice and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is the most comfortable thing I’ve knit.  I’d like to try another version of this style in a lighter weight cotton/linen/silk blend or even hemp.

My only complaint about this pattern is Garter stitch edging. Even when you use a needle of a smaller size than the body gauge, you still get that floppy, hangy edge. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never knit a garter stitch edge for any garment again.  If I do a slightly different version of this garment again, I’d probably use a nice picot edge.

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Filed under Knit, Knitting, Stuff I made

Quest for Father Dougal’s Vest

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the “Father Ted” comedy series from BBC. I want to design a simple Fair Isle vest inspired by the character Father Dougal McGuire.

Last year, my brother gave me the “Holy Trilogy” of the entire series for my birthday. I’ve go through the series to get some ideas from the character’s wardrobe, but I was unable to find anything I really liked or that struck me.

Here are some of the photos I found.

fatherdougal1.jpgfatherdougal2.jpg

Like I said, none of the images of Dougal in a vest really inspired me. I’ve included a photo of the colors I’d like to use here. The yarn is Knit Picks Palette (click on the photo for a larger image):

smallballs.jpg

I’m thinking that I’ll probably go with something similar to the classic “Prince Edward” jumper here:

Here’s one of the most endearing and funny clips about the character Fr. Dougal McGuire here: [Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AB7IDw3PNI]

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Filed under Challenge, Colorwork, Fair Isle, Garment Design, Knit, Knitting, Vest

Dr. Who Dolls in Crochet

Say what you want of my infatuation with Dr. Who, but I just absolutely adore the dolls created by this wonderfully creative and inventive individual. She’s basically crocheted and knit a version of all of the Doctor’s incarnations. Each complete with a detailed outfit. I have to say my favorite is the Peter Davidson Doctor. I believe that you can order the dolls. Here’s a link to photos :http://www.geocities.com/drwhonace/homemade/bathroombuddies.html.

Excellent work. I heart and I covet! I’m still amazed at the details in the costumes. Especially Sylvester McCoy’s.

K-9 Tissue holder is adorable!

Peter Davidson’s Doctor aka. the Fifth Doctor

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Filed under Crochet, Dolls, Knit, Knitting, Science Fiction, Toys

Oy, Marilyn! Fighting the Stripey Stockinette Syndrome

I wanted to finish a sweater fast! I mean two to three days fast, and it just isn’t happening. I thought I could do this with Debbie Bliss’ Simply Marylin, but alas it’s not going to happen… fast, I mean. You may remember that my idea for this sweater began in my quest for an orangy red pullover.

After I cast on and started knitting this sweater on the recommended size 10 needles, I discovered that the fabric was just too dense and tight. So I ripped out about 10 inches of work and started again on size 11’s. The knitted fabric was much nicer, flexible and soft. However, I began to notice the striping in the stockinette. I have this inferiority complex when it comes to my gauge, it it straight enough, is it perfect enough. G-dmit! I just want to finish knitting this boring sweater.

In my quest for perfect stockinette, I searched the internet for tips and tricks. I found a great resource: TECHKnitting on Gauge/Stockinette
The four tips on this page were quite helpful!

Tip 1 – Knit in the round or never purl. I love knitting in the round. But if you are knitting a cardigan, you’ll most likely have to steek. While steeking is on my list of things to learn this year, I’m not ready to waste $40-$80’s worth of yarn on a very big boo boo.

Tip 2 – Adjust the tension in your hands between purl and knit rows. I actually did this, knitting slightly tighter on the purl size, and it helped a great deal.

Tip 3 – Use different sized needles. I tried this on the Marilyn sweater, and discovered that like the detective Monk, I have issues with asymmetry. Using the different needles really bothered me to no end. Maybe because I was using two different kinds of pairs, one plastic and one birch, perhaps if the needles were of the same type, I could have handled this better.

Tip 4 – Use yarns that hide the flaws. I think this has been my standard way of dealing with the stripey stockinette problem

I think I took a lot of comfort in reading Elizabeth Zimmerman’s reassurance in Knitting without Tears. She made the point that every stitch and every row doesn’t have to be perfect, after all you don’t want your knitting to look like it was done by a machine.

On another note, I’ve discovered that I like using the Gianna yarn for knitting project such as these. I wasn’t impressed when I took the yarn out the of the package, and I held it in my hand. It seemed like shabby thick rug or craft yarn to me, but I discovered that with the right gauge/needles this yarn knits up into a nice rustic looking fabric. It’s too bad that it doesn’t come in more muted colors.

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Filed under Knit, Knitting, Pattern Links, Project, Reflection, Stockinette, Sweater, Techniques, Yarn

I’m a knitter not a miracle worker

I love the old Star Trek’s for their kitsch value. I don’t ever think i’d knit a Star Trek sweater, but I was shuffling around the web looking for colorwork patterns and I ran across this…

http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/allpatterns.htm

I freaked out because I took one look at this chart and thought… who the hell would want to knit a sweater with Saddam Hussein on it….No, really… it looks like Saddam Hussein. I know it’s Scottie, but still. Maybe the mustache isn’t as full as Saddam’s.

scottie.gif

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Filed under Kitsch, Knit, kniting humor, Science Fiction

Went to the Beach.. and reflections on what I want in a sweater.

Last weekend… it was pretty cruddy and rainy most of the time, but we were able to get a wee bit of sun towards the end of the trip. I finished my Elizabeth Zimmerman Fair Isle sweater en route to the beach. Eric took a picture of me on the beach wearing the sweater, but I will not post it (because I look fat in the picture…. heheh, vain me). Instead you just get a picture of a very happy pug:

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I was just listening to Episode 44 of Stash and Burn, and it sparked some consideration of my tastes in sweaters for knitting and my taste in fashion in general. I love some of the beautiful patterns in Interweave Knits, but I find myself not wanting to knit many of them because my gut tells me that they can be dated given a few years (not to say there aren’t good classic patterns in IK). I think I’m a bit conservative when it comes to the sweater style. I don’t want any really distinguishing features in the sweater that might date it and I tend to go for a classic look a.la Sarah Dallas and Erica Knight patterns. I adore 1920’s and 1930’s style knitted goods and accessories. I might try to alter the stitch pattern or use a different yarn, but I really don’t want to veer away from classic patterns because I spend so much time knitting the darn things, I don’t want to wear it five or six years later and realize that I look like I need to unburden myself in a thrift store.

Really, if I’m going to spend up to three months making a garment I want to make good use of it for a long period of time. I feel like I’m going to have this sort of relationship with my Central Park Hoodie (even though it took me only a month to knit).  Having a good sweater is a lot like having a really good friend. They’re dependable, they go with you most places, and they make you feel comfortable and good about yourself.

Recent search of sweater images on line revealed the following treasures for inspiration:

Fair Isle Cardigan

I recognize this image… it’s from the Book: The Art of Fair Isle Knitting

I have this book and absolutely love it! Love it! I recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the art and history of Fair Isle.

leafcardigan.jpg

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Filed under Fashion, History, Knit, Knitting, Patterns, Reflection, Sweater