Friday, April 27, 2007

Continental Knitting Photos

Here are photos of some of the processes of Continental Knitting. As I have taught this class over and over, I have come to have some strong feelings about it. I believe it is a useful tool to have in one's knitting toolbox, but I do not believe it is the best way to knit. There are so many wonderful ways to knit that there simply cannot be one best way. It can be faster, but not for everyone. It is definitely useful and worthwhile, but it is no more superior to throwing-style knitting than chocolate ice cream is to vanilla. My class today was fabulous, as all classes truly are, because everyone was open and enthusiastic and worked really hard. Everyone was sucessful and I hope you will all keep at it! I am working right now to start adding video to my blog, and the Norwegian Purl is the first one I'll post. Stay tuned!

The Knit Stitch

Above: Wrapping the yarn for tension. Tension is essential to having control and building speed. For additional tension, wrap the yarn around the left pinky. Finding the right system for you starts with something like this and evolves as you practice.

Above: The position of the needles as the working yarn is picked through the stitch on the left needle. Notice how the needle bosses that stitch around so you can see the working yarn to pick it through.

Above: The working yarn comes through the existing stitch to form a new stitch on the right needle.

The Purl Stitch:

Above: Purling with the yarn in the left hand. Notice that the yarn must be completely in front of the whole set-up.

Above: The yarn must come from the front of the right needle around to the back of the right needle so that it is between the needles before being scooped out the back of the existing stitch.

The Norwegian Purl:

Above: The working yarn is behind the needles-in the same position as for the knit stitch. The right needle comes in behind the yarn and into the stitch purlwise.

Above: The right needle "scissors" around to the back of the work.

Above: The right needle picks up a stitch from over the working yarn, just as for a knit stitch.

Above: The right needle "scissors" around to the front of the work, rotates counter clockwise, dips below all strands...

And Voila! The stitch almost forms itself before you realize it. Try it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting Ready to Teach!

I am getting excited to teach my summer classes. I am working up the Homage design in another yarn to test and refine the directions, and its going well. The other yarn is called Bonsai from Berocco. It is a bamboo ribbon with a tiny, shiny strand of rayon wrapped around it. Luscious, with a little bit of just-right glitz. Lovely texture, but the stitches don't get totally lost. Photos to come. I have the Homeward Bound socks just about done and the pattern writing is coming along. I am still working through old projects and am just about finished with a square poncho called a pelerine and a prayer shawl. I am absolutely exhilerated by all this finishing I'm doing. Next in the queue is a Philospher's Wool kit to prepare for fall's Philosopher's Phinishing Phrolic class at Cloverhill. After that, I will get to my Magnum Opus--the Alice Starmore Rona jacket with 20 exquisite colors that make me happy just looking at the 6 inches of it I've done over the last 6 years or so. I will wear that jacket this fall and you are my witnesses!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Preview of my Summer Tee Shirt design for this summer's class at Cloverhill

Here is my latest design: "Homage". It is designed around the concepts Elizabeth Zimmermann used for her designs, principally the percentage system. It is indeed an homage to Elizabeth herself, because it is from her writings that I gained the confidence to design. In that spirit, it is knit in the round all the way to the underarms, the sleeves are joined and it continues in one piece using EZ's brilliant shaping to give the look of set in sleeves, which for me is more flattering than a raglan. It continues in the round to the neck bind off, then after the neck is started it remains one piece, but is knit flat for a few inches, then a few short rows are added to the shoulders, the shoulders are bound off together, the underarms woven and voila! It is ready to wear. I chose not to steek the neck because of the cotton/acrylic yarn, and that presented some interesting engineering challenges, but I loved the process of figuring it out and can't wait to share what I learned with my students. Best of all, I genuinely like the sweater-it fits perfectly.

This is my Summer Tee Shirt design for the class I'll be teaching this summer at the shop. These pictures are me, with no special effects, so this is what it looks like on a real, 40-year-old body (size 10-12) with a real tummy and upper arms that, shall we say, reflect my age. I like the way the elbow length sleeves are cool enough for spring or summer, but are much more flattering than a short or cap sleeve that falls right in the middle of that aforementioned area that, shall we say, reflects my age.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Back from Seattle with Two, count 'em, TWO finished projects!

I finished the erstwhile Rainbow Jacket by Vivian Hoxbro! I think I hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Halleluja!"

The photos show how nicely the shadow effect shows up. I started this three(?) years ago to support a class and was in sight of finishing when I had to take out half of it and start that half from scratch. I was bogged down with other things, sick of the tiny stitches and slightly boring knitting, and so it sat. But now, it is done and well worth it. I wore it everywhere on my trip to Seattle and got many compliments on it. It's a brilliant design. It fits well, is a perfect weight, and goes with lots of things or jazzes up plain black trousers and a black top very nicely. I found a beaded necklace and earring set in a craft consignment shop in Port Townsend, WA that picks up all the colors.

I also finished the Lacy Moebius out of Mama E laceweight. It is very pretty. Here is a little taste of the lovely bit of delicacy that I ended up with.

Because I finished the two projects I had room to bring, I indulged in some Artyarns merino and started the Homeward Bound socks on the plane. I got this far already. I am totally designing on the fly, just a couple of cryptic notes and charts, and I really like them so far.