Sunday, May 25, 2008

Professional Finishing at TIK

Well, I gotta tell ya, I had the BEST time on Saturday morning. I was the Magician's Assistant* for the Lovely Lisa at TIK for the Professional Finishing course. And a very professional course it was too. I could talk all day about it and not cover it all. (And I could. Talk all day I mean. Do you doubt it?)

So, briefly, (since ya'll got other things to do today I'll bet):

- I met lots of really lovely knitters. There was great chatting, camarardarie and sharing of funny stories of knitting successes and disasters; (Boy, it was sooooo good to spend some time amongst my own kind.)

- I learned exTREMEly valuable tips on finishing garmets professionally, and especially for set-in sleeves, which are probably the most feared things, and up there with button bands for making-or-breaking the finished garment.

- Lisa did a fabulous job, of course. 'Nuff said.

- It was such fun to watch the beaming smiles of the knitters as they realised one-by-one that their seaming troubles are over. Their happiness was proportionally in contrast to the awful dread and litany of disappointments that is the nightmare of seaming. So, they were very very happy indeed.

This is the Holy Grail of techniques. Really.

- I got to see the Knit Picks Harmony needles in person. And I'll be getting some soon for certain sure. They're soooooo pretty!

- I got a copy of The Best of Interweave Knitting. Another knitting book. So?

- AND I got a set of these clever do-dads. Locking stitch markers. Don't know how I lived without them. And almost the best bit? When you open the packet, there's another packet inside to keep them in, with a secure flap-thingy closure an' all. Fabulous.

So many great knitting things in one day. Heaven.

Inspired, I got up the following day and started seaming the set-in sleeve for the Debbie Bliss Ribbed Cardigan. It's going very very very well (whispering now so's not to wake the mischievous Knit Gods). It's such an improvement on my usual ad hoc stitch where you feel like it and hope for the best freeflow method.

Sound bites from the occasion:

  • 'This child is going to be wearing this cardigan for 18 years' - an expectant knitter refers to a lovely sweet baby cardigan.

  • 'You can hide a lot of things in your armpits' - Lisa, on hiding excess fabric in your seaming.

I strongly urge you to take this course if you've half a mind to. Even if you've read the techniques already, there's nothing like seeing them in action.


Do it.

*If you'd like to imagine her in a top hat and myself in sequins then go ahead. It wouldn't be accurate, but it might add a little theatrical interest.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Summer Bag

Now that summer is around the corner, I've dug out this hibernating project from last year. It's a Summer Bag of my own design, started last summer in a mix of a thick slubby yarn and a smooth thick cotton yarn, with bamboo handles planned. Definltely a lining, red or pink, with either a snap or ribbon closure.

Can’t remember yarn details of course. Ballband? What ballband?

I got it in Shaw's (Almost Nationwide) Department Store in Dunlaoghaire so it's probably Patons, Sirdar or Tivoli. I'm sure there's more hidden deep in the buried stash, so I can probably find out.

The only thing I'm not happy with is the 1st band in garter stitch at the bottom. I'd prefer this in stocking stitch like the rest. Sure I was making it up as I went along.

I'm hoping to finish it this summer.

Otherwise, it looks like it would make a handy dandy hot water bottle cover, eh?


Monday, May 19, 2008

Something else entirely

Darn that shadow on photo!

Once upon a time, fadÓ fadÓ*, long ago long ago, in a time far far away, I used to do tapestry (and cross-stitch). I found this hibernating project recently and now harbour fantasies of actually finishing it.

It's from a book of Medieval Tapestry by Candace Bahouth. I have a particular love of medieval art and architecture and I LOVED this book. It's full of colour and texture and delicate imagery. I can see that my current love affair with knitting books comes from the same place.

There were delicate nosegays (what on earth are those?), medieval gardens, lions rampant and fleur-de-lys all over the place. Heaven. (Mind you, there are some tapestry waistcoats which are absolutely hideous. I choose to pretend they don't exist. De-nile, that's the most healthy way, eh?)

This is a cushion cover, detailing flowers from a medieval garden, including fruits. See those delicious strawberries? Yum.

I'm delighted to see that the colours of the wool haven't faded at all - in the 6 years or so since I've seen it.

See, what happened's like was a lot of work...really a LOT of work....and I was running out of steam when I eventually came to the border, which is a sort of scroll work in several different shades of brown....and I just got fed up of it. Utterly and completely sick-to-death of it.

Might have to get back to it tho'. I love it all over again. Not so sure about the cushion cover now tho', my ancient piano stool needs a new seat.


* NB: Gaelic language for 'long long ago' - used in childhood stories in place of 'Once upon a time'.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

JGG Update

So there is some knitting to show after all, despite the lack of actual knitting in real time. Here is a sleeve from the Jolly Green Giant, from 'round about the time that I had to cease knitting-through-the-pain.

Isn't it purdy?

And yes, it is hanging from a tree in the garden. NOW I understand why blogs always show the knitting hanging around outside lounging on vegetation. In this case it's a particularly nice maple tree and this is the branch that Little Monkey spends a lot of time hanging out of.

(If I remember, I'll post a picture of this tree in Autumn - the colours are SPEC-TAC-ULAR.)

And here is a detail of the Hugs 'n Kisses detail running up the sleeve. Notice that I removed the 1/4 pattern at the rib edge. Happy sigh. Much better.

And by the way, this lurid colour is far closer to the actual colour than the pic above. People, I tell you, this is a green to take notice of. A green that is not ashamed. A green that will heard and noticed.

You can see this baby from Outer Space.

At night.

In a Black Hole.

Sari Ribbon

Isn't this lovely? It's the Sari Ribbon for my Vintage Handbag.

I can't wait to get started. 1st task, wind this sucker into a ball - it's outta control!

(Yes, I know it looks la bit like seaweed, or something you'd be served in a Japanese restaurant, but it's lovely - trust me.)


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spoken in jest

Last weekend I met Jellyknits for a knit and chat. She knitted, I chatted. (Well she did get a word or two in edgeways.)

As a joke she suggested that I should knit a cover for my wrist splint. It's currently swaddled in one of Little Monkey's socks, since the many velcro straps on it were sticking me to the furniture.

I laughed at the irony of it, since the splint is coming between me and my knitting and why should I cover it with knitted glory? Knit FOR IT? No way...

However, I realise this morning that she's right. Especially since it looks as if I'll be wearing it for quite a while. Talk about Knitting for the Enemy. A nice summery version would be good for this fine weather.

Now...what yarn to choose!?

I've also decided that I am going to start knitting again this week. I figure it'll be OK so long as I don't do too much at one time. The main problem is general tasks, ironing, lifting kettles and saucepans, driving etc.

After more than 4 weeks of no knitting at all I've found that I think about it a lot, planning projects, thinking about designs and of course browsing Ravelry. Looks like the knitting still claims it's place even tho' it's not happening.

Funny how the house isn't any tidier for the lack of knitting!

Inspired by Jellyknits's Vintage Handbag from this book (see her lovely project* in Ravelry if you can) I've decided that the only thing to do is to knit one for myself. After all, I've only 3 unfinished projects - a 4th will be no problem.

*PS: While you're at it, check out her other projects. Fabulous, eh?


Friday, May 9, 2008

How to make visitors feel welcome? Knit them something!

Yesterday, myself and some friends some friends and I were enjoying the sunshine in the garden.

You know that magic equation.

Kids + sunshine + popcorn + sausages + friends + knitting + chatting = Happiness

Anyway, A____ had brought an unusual friend to the party. I'm not sure if he's an alien or an amphibian creature, but he had a good time and told some good jokes.

Here he is on the deck, calling for beer. We didn't give him any, he's too young.

A___ wondered if he was entirely at home with the Irish weather as it was warm, but not especially sunny that day, and a bit breezy.

Being a fearless young knitter with a kind heart, she whipped out her needles and yarn. Casting on lengthways, she knit a few rows.

Allakazam! In a flash she had a scarf to take the edge off the chill.

Doesn't he look happier now? I'm sure that's a smile that I see.

Well done A___!


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sunny Monday

In honour of the lovely weather we had over the weekend, (and in the absence of any knitting progress), let me present the following. On Sunday, Little Monkey picked these flowers from the garden. She went to a lot of trouble to get a mixture of flowers and greenery together.

Notice how the two little fair flower heads are leaning together?

Now see how these two little fair heads do the same?


Of course, Little Mouse had to get a closer look at the camera.

Double Aw.....