Heather Knits

Where Heather waffles on about knitting and anything else which crosses her mind.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Broad Ripple Socks

Just a quick post today before I go back to trying to make the house presentable for my parents who will be arriving soon to stay til Sunday.

I seem to have been knitting these socks for a long time, but they are finally finished!

And now for a better picture of the patterned leg:

The pattern is the Broadripple socks pattern from Knitty, well actually it is the version written for sock weight yarn which I'm sure was on Rob's (the designer) website but I can't seem to find it at the moment. Also I twiddled a little since I like plain feet on my socks so that I can wear my shoes comfortably, and I like a short row heel. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the Get Knitted colourway. Interestingly I knitted a scarf from the worsted weight version of this yarn in the same colourway but the colours are completely different - the worsted weight is a lot brighter. I'll get round to taking a picture of the scarf and socks next to each other soon.

The pattern was a bit of a departure for me as I haven't knitted lace socks before but it was good fun. I have a whole stack of interesting sock patterns which I am slowly working my way through.

Anyway, better get back to the tidying. One of the reasons for the parental visit is that Mummy and I are going to a workshop with Horst Schulz on Thursday! I still haven't finished the patchwork jumper I started for the Knitting Olympics but I am hoping to take along what I have done so far anyway.

Knitting with Colour

Sorry for not posting for such a long time (I am beginning to feel like a stuck record, since every time I post I seem to start like this!). Work has been busy and I have just been really tired. I actually got to the point the other night where I had to cast on something new just to have something mindless enough to knit while we watched a recorded Poirot because everything I was in the middle of required too much thought!

Anyway, work has calmed down, I have had a couple of nice long nights sleep and am a bit nicer to be with :-)

I shall distract you from the lack of knitting progress on the projects-on-the-go in the last couple of weeks with pictures from the Rowan workshop I went to on Thursday. The title was Knitting with Colour, and it was held at John Lewis in Kingston (upon Thames that is rather than one of the other many Kingstons). In typical Heather fashion this was the first Rowan workshop I have ever been to, and I decided to sign up a year after I stopped being a Rowan subscriber (having been one for several years) so I didn't get the 5% member discount. Never mind.

The workshop itself was good fun, it was held from 10 til 2 which seemed about right time-wise, long enough to really get into things, but not so long that you just became boggled by it all. There were 6 attendees, plus the tutor, and the new Rowan consultant from Peter Jones in Sloane Square who had come along to pick up tips on running a workshop. A really nice number since it was small and friendly and we could all sit round one table, and the tutor had enough time to really see how people were doing and give help and suggestions as were needed.

We covered fairisle type two colour stranding, and intarsia. The tutor mentioned that she had also planned to do a bit of Swiss darning (duplicate stitch) but we didn't have time in the end, not a great loss to me as that wasn't really my particular interest in this workshop. We started off with the stranding, using a method similar to that used by Philosopher's Wool where you weave in your carrying yarn every stitch. It was really interesting for me to see a real-life demonstration of knitting with two colours since all of my colourwork so far has been a mixture of learning from books and making it up as I go along. I really wanted to have a go at two handed fairisle where you hold one yarn in each hand, and it was good fun. Unfortunately I am not as dextrous as I would like to be and my left hand required a bit of persuasion and staring at to make it do what my brain was telling it, but I think it should get better with practice. I think I shall watch my Knitting Glossary DVD a few more times to see Continental knitting demonstrated and try to pick up some tips.

In the interests of scientific discovery (really there is no hope for me, I'm obsessive but at least I know it :-) ) I then had to do the same sample again but this time holding both yarns in my right hand (at the same time that is, rather than drop and pick up). It was really interesting to observe the differences.

The lower part of the swatch is two-handed, the upper part is with both yarns in my right hand (I think both yarns in my left hand would lead to lots of frustration so I haven't attempted it yet, learn to walk before you run and all that). I found the two handed knitting much slower and had trouble making my left hand co-operate when it was its turn to do some knitting, but the weaving in part was actually not too difficult. With both yarns in my right hand I zipped along on the knitting part but the weaving was much more of a problem, I think I would get along better with holding both yarns in the same hand if I was just stranding the carrying yarn along the back of the work. However even though I usually knit with the yarn in my right hand and so you would have thought I would be more used to it, I think the tension with the right-handed part of the swatch is not nearly so nice and even as the two-handed part of the swatch. I much prefer the look of the two-handed, and it is a lot square-er (is that a word?), which would make some designs easier to work out. I will definitely have more of a go at the two-handed lark when I pick up the languishing Henry VIII. Languishing partly because I am fiddling with the pattern slightly so that it will be wide enough, and turning it into a raglan, and also there are more than 400 stitches in each round so it is somewhat time consuming!

After the fairisle we moved on to intarsia (see the top of the swatch) which was all useful stuff too, particularly the reminder to look at where on the row above you will need the yarn again, so that you can weave the yarn to the right place and are prepared and don't have pulling across the back of the work.

The car is going in for its MOT tomorrow so that will be a nice bit of knitting time while they get that done. I am hoping that it will sail through with no expensive things needing doing since I have my eye on some rather nice looking Peruvian yarn at Elann.

Friday, March 03, 2006

No gold medal here

Well I still haven't finished my Knitting Olympics project so I am definitely not among the medal winners. However Emma pointed out that the Paralympics start on March 10th so I am now re-naming this project to include both Olympic competitions :-)

You will be pleased to know that my jumper has at least grown a bit since last time:

Sorry these aren't great photos, the chair wasn't really big enough and the ground is still rather damp.

I have at last joined it into a circle and am plodding away working upwards, I think I might start the sleeves soon and then I can get more of an idea of how they should fit together. The big difficulty with photographing this is because of the small modules I find myself thinking "I'll just do another square and then I'll photograph it" and then another becomes yet another, and then it is too dark to get a decent picture, and I think I will photograph it in the morning, and then we go round again! I really will try harder from now on.

Apart from the knitting I have been making an effort to get a bit more organised. I have built two Ikea bookcases this week, and we have a couple of sets of shelves from B&Q to fix to the wall when we are feeling brave (I'm not a big fan of the drill, it requires a fair bit of psyching up). I have also got another two plastic storage boxes for the yarn, and am going to get another couple more. I would like to get the yarn into a more coherent organisation within the boxes too, and all this sorting is quite good for being able to get out all the lovely yarn I had completely forgotten I had got and admire it all over again!