Back at the beginning of March this year, when our hopes for lacy knitting were high, Jessica quoted Amy Detjan in the comments section and called Hazel Carter's shawl Violets by the River "Violence by the River." At the time, I chortled and knit on, oblivious to the warnings of wiser lace knitters than me. "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove."
You know how when you buy a lace pattern, and it calls for laceweight yarn under Supplies, and the pattern's author writes, "Aim for (thus and such) per inch, but gauge really isn't important for this shawl."? Sadly, this optimistic phrase really isn't unimportant. You may recall that I was using the extremely fine and lovely Artisan Lace wool by Margaret Stove. Isn't it lovely stuff?
The silk in the original kit, I would say, is more of a fingering weight. Artisan Lace (Alert! My opinion to follow!) is a truer lace-weight, more in the nature of sewing thread, only slightly heavier than Shetland cobweb. Thus, after knitting and knitting with M. Stove's beautiful laceweight wool, I have a miniaturized miniscule completely tiny Violets by the River hankerchief, barely wide enough to cover my shoulders! Doesn't that just take the mottled oyster?
I want to be perfectly fair and state categorically that the pattern's author *does* call Violets by the River a "small shawl/SCARF," but this isn't as big as a bandana no matter how I stretch it. A rum go, and completely my fault.
I mean, dash it all, Bertie, gauge always matters!
I'm not going to bother knitting the beautiful wavy river-y border on to this version, but instead start over, more near a proper gauge, with hope of having a proper-sized shawl. The pattern, btw, is delightful to knit and produces delightful results.
Isn't knitting wonderful? Despite doing it with sticks since I was a mere tot, I still find I learn something new (sometimes again and again) with each project. :-)
Even so, we are all smiles here because it is Friday. Pip-pip! and
Some knitted lamps to show you today.
Now. Can someone please tell me how to dry things in a vacuum, starting with what kind of vacuum to use, and where you get one? Where do you get resin? For that matter, what is resin? We thank you.
It's a mystery to us.
A Pi Shawl gone wrong? Tatting? Crochet? We'll step back a bit and look at the whole photo by Matt Flynn:
Did you guess yet? Did you guess that it is an implantable device for reconstructive shoulder surgery by way of fiber-y innovation? Cool! CNET has picked up the NYT registration-required story on Extreme Textiles, and it is definitely interesting reading about new uses for knitting and weaving and braiding and more. Select the electrospun fiber mask photo on the left side of the story to view all 14 photos of cool textiles with extreme uses. Isn't it wonderful that neither CNET nor the Times slugged this with a headline like "Electrospun Fiber: Not Just for Granny Anymore" ?
I'm into the next pair of Crazy Heels and Toes. I like it! I thought I was through with socks when I gave away enough sock yarn for 38 pairs during the February caption contest. What an excellent precipitous and fortunate move on my part! Now that I'm interested in socks again, I can buy new sock yarn! Yeah! Here's some Froehlich Blauband Maxi Ringel from that nice Julie at Pieces of String:
By the way, I was delighted to hear from so many of you that the sock yarn you recieved was "just your color" or new to you, or some-such...the yarns were randomly selected while I filled envelopes, so I feel quite lucky about how it turned out. I hope if it didn't turn out quite that well for you that you've traded up for something that suits you better...socks are no fun if knit from yarn you don't like.
Happy Wednesday, right? Take Mikey's advice and Sell It.
When I first started knitting socks, Socknitters had many fewer members than the current 7000+, and in 1999, it was swell to be able to turn to the more practiced knitters on that list and ask the type of questions that are always answered with the preface: "There's no such thing as a dumb question!" The Socknitters and Nancy Bush's book Folk Socks (ISBN: 0934026971) taught me a heck of a lot about socknitting back in the days when we all knit them on 4 (or 5) dpns.
I regretfully quit participating in the list about the time Opal sock yarn hit the market, but it remains an invaluable resource to me. I made the move to two circulars and never looked back, and shortly thereafter, many of us moved on to one circular. Endless socks! And seemingly nothing new to learn about them.
However, in reading Jerry's blog,, I found he'd received a copy of the latest thang in socknitting, Mary Ann Beattie's Crazy Toes and Heels book. You can read what he says about the book here (and wish him a happy belated 58th!).
Ms. Beattie is known to the Socknitters' as Queen Kahuna, and she has self-published a book of instructions on knitting two socks at a time on two circulars, toe up or toe down. Many of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I am quite resentful when I find out I don't know everything :-) So on the strength of Jerry's mini-review, I rushed off to Queen Kahuna's and after gulping at the price ($24.95), made the leap and ordered a copy for myself. It arrived within a few days in a charming chintz drawstring bag.
At first glance, I was snobbishly disappointed in the production values. But on second glance, I was intrigued to the point that I pulled out sock yarn and some needles and sat down to try the Aloha cast on. By the time I completed a pair of sock-toes, I was completely delighted with Queen Kahuna's format. This is a big (8.5 x 11 in) fat (~100 pages) spiral-bound book that is so full of good tricks that I can hardly believe it! Ms. Beattie refers to her book as being for the visual learner thusly: "...if you need patterns that say, do this and it should look like this picture.'" And sure enough, this book is broken down into a series of steps with photographs that walk you through knitting socks from start to finish. You can view (and download the .pdf file) an example of the format of the book here, where the Queen illustrates how to Kitchener a sock toe. (While you're there, have a look at socks knit using this method on toothpicks!)
There's an innovative way to provisionally cast on that, to me, was worth the price of the book all by itself. And then there are the unusual side gussets, and the round toes and heels, and dozens of tips along the way until you reach the cuffs, as I did, of a pair of socks. I don't have as much time to knit as I previously did, but even I was able to crank out a pair of toe-up socks the Queen Kahuna way in under a week. And they fit wonderfully! This book is actually so clearly illustrated in a step-by-step way that I have been thinking of leaving sock yarn and needles out on the open book in case the dachshunds want to have a go at it while I'm at work.
I'm an old socknitter, but there are plenty of new tricks for me to learn in this book. The production values are quirky but charming. Those of you who are of the editorial persuasion may be initially irritated by spelling errors and what you may think are excessive quotation marks. But if you look past those and follow along with the photos and text, I think you'll be delighted, as I was, by Ms. Beattie's plain talk about some pretty fancy techniques.
I like to think I keep up with what's happening in the world of knitting, and I googled around on some of the sock tricks in this book to see if I could find similar on the Internet. I didn't. Much of this book seems to genuinely fall into the "New Tricks" category.
You can visit Ms. Beattie's website to gain more insight into the flavor of her writing style and for some free stuff. There is also a yahoo group and Ms. Beattie is a benevolent presence on it, dispensing further tips, how-tos, and patterns.
This book has grown on me over the past week to the point that I think it's the most wonderful investment in socknitting that I've made in years. I think you might find it the same, whether you are a beginner or an old hand at socks, as I am. If you feel stuck in a sock-rut, this book will definitely shake you out of it. We give it our highest accolade: 12 Paws Up.
And speaking of the paws that refresh us, here's sunny Mikey, wishing you a wonderful Tuesday.
"exploration of limitations"
Crochet battery cable here.
What are you working on? I'm working on a bunch of stuff for the "sea change": Amber's un-knitalong (see her April 04, 2005, post). Cheers! and see you Tuesday with a book review.
[cute pet photos here.]