Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
The bad news is that they don't match. The tension on the second sleeve is bigger, so it's bigger all over, and floppy looking
The good news is that the second one is neater than the first one, which is what I set out to achieve.
I am not going to frog and reknit- not a test garment. Not orange acrylic. But oh wiffle and spot! How annoying!!
Friday, 26 September 2008
I've finished one sleeve and up to the arm of the second sleeve of Alef. The knitting is vile! It's so hard to knit on the very tips of four needles and keep it all even! The stocking stitch is knit on size 5 mm. I bought a 30 cm Addi, and it's maybe a bit too chunky for knitting such a small tube. It seems awkward to knit with, somehow, in a way the smaller 30 cm needles didn't. I tried hard to make the second sleeve neater, but with such a tiny improvement that it is depressing! It all adds up though. Keep knitting!
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Then I wondered about using 9 or 10 strands together. I have a couple of cute jacket patterns for very thick wool and 8 MM needles (and yes, I know what you are thinking, but they really are cute jackets - which takes some designing skill, right?)
The swatch survived hand washing OK, and the house filled with the redolent smell of a sheep on a wet hillside proving that it is indeed real wool. Next I threw it in the washing machine and it came out improved - softer, fluffier and neater. I've read that coned wool softens as it's washed.
Anyway, if I want to sew up my Tangerine Nightmare this weekend, I'll have to leave the new yarn for now and get on with the sleeve - it takes me at least three good knitting sessions to do a sleeve, and there's no saying I'll actually get them, life being what it is!
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
If I don't have time to knit with 2-ply, and I can't get the tension for double knit and 4-ply patterns, does this mean I should stop stashing cones? Probably, but I don't think I can! Not when I see all that yarn for so little money!
Monday, 22 September 2008
The cream cone weighs 1500g, and it burns brightly, leaving a residue that crumbles when you rub it, so I think it may be wool. The pink/beige cone weights 760g and feels much softer. It too burns, but when the flame goes out, it leaves a sticky lump behind that won't crumble, so I think it may be artificial.
It's so thin! I do have patterns for Shetland 2-ply garments and vintage 3-ply garments (I love 50s styles) or it might work if I knit with two strands held together - to get double knitting - that would be the best option because there's lots of practice garments I want to make. I'd need more time to knit than I have now (six rows over a weekend!) to embark on anything in fine yarn. And then, what if it didn't fit after all that effort?
I couldn't get into Blogger on Friday because all my settings changed after I unwisely let the computer install the updates it's been asking for for weeks. I couldn't find anything, nothing worked...Bah! I hadn't taken a picture anyway, because I haven't figured out how to do real good close ups that demonstrate what you want to show, but I would have said how poor the knitting on the first sleeve for the Tangerine Nightmare was.
If you want to knit beautifully, Lucy Neatby has you form the stitches at the very tips of the needles, so that when you have two needles in one stitch, it's only the tapered ends that go in, adding up to no more than one needle at any one time, so the stitch never gets stretched. She demonstrated the way I used to knit, cramming the whole needle in at any old angle next to the other needle, so there are two needles rammed into a single stitch and called it stitch abuse!
I knit her way for the body of the garment, and it is a huge improvement - my tension stays much more even as well, and that has to be a bonus. But, when it came to four needles and a circular for the sleeve, I must have gotten excited and forgotten her rules (and no purl to bother about either!) How messy it looked, even with mohair hiding many sins. I'm not frogging. No way, not tangerine acrylic mohair, but I am going to knit the second sleeve beautifully. Watch this space!
Thursday, 18 September 2008
I have lots of failed attempts at Poppies, that I'll photograph one day - but basically I've come up with the idea of a French-style jacket (you know who I mean even if we're not supposed to use the brand name) in Kafee Fassett's good old Persian Poppies pattern. I love Kafee's fabrics, but his designs don't suit me. I disovered this by spending nearly a year knitting the Turkish Carnation jacket - it looked wonderful spread out on the bed or on a chair, but it turned me into a hippie garden gnome. I'd say you need to be a minimum of six foot high to wear any of Kafee's designs, so, I'm using Jean Frost's basic jacket - at least that's the idea.
I had about four goes at it before I gave up. I had lots of trouble with tension (this is before I discovered Lucy Neatby) and also, my matchy-matchy me didn't like the range of colours that I started with. Some people liked the mad peasant look of throwing every colour of the rainbow in, but I want more colours that are closer in tone. I haven't bought any new colours for ages, so today's cotton was a welcome find.
The buttons are real shell (60p worth) There are two small, four medium and four large. The large ones are not right for Tangerine Dream - too bright. I chose the brown buttons you can see on yesterday's picture before the lacy bits went on, and now I'm not so sure about them. There isn't anything else suitable in my stash, and even if it gets finished, I'm not sure the Tangerine Dream warrants a trip to Duttons for Buttons for special matching!
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
And so, finally, have the collar/lapel/button bands on my tangerine practice Alef. At last I can move on. I've been struggling with them and re-knitting them for so long I was surprised to have reached this point!
Last night I started the lace trim for the bottom edge of the garment. It's going to be another challenge. In the finished original, I didn't like the fact that the left side looks different from the right at the front - the edges are quite different and my matchy-matchy streak just hates that. I emailed Rowan for help, and wonderful Rowan, they replied. I'm not exactly doing what they said, but they gave me the idea: knit one bit of the lace trim in purl and one bit in lace, then graft the two edges together. That way the lace band will have two similar edges at the opening.
Lucy Neatby shows a great way to graft: knit extra rows in slippy contrast fabric, then you can join the graft with your sewing needle by following the path of the waste yarn. I can't wait to try it!
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Made a pair that are loose on the increase side only. I actually assembled all the lace in the right order and knitted up a button band, only to find that I'd made a mess of the band this time. First I did the knitting too loose, then I messed up the number of rows (the pattern instructions are for a two-row buttonhole and this is a one-row buttonhole) so that I tried to do Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn cast off on the wrong side AND on top of that I started doing the cast off wrong. And then I found little holes on each side of the buttonhole. I can't be wrapping the yarn properly. Got out a pair of scissors and hacked it all back. One day, I'll get the hang of it!
But I am starting to think that I might have to make yet another test before I approach the Classic Kid yarn with any confidence.
Monday, 8 September 2008
- One set of lace strips must have been assembled upside down. They can't both be right, seeing as they are different! The left one is even different on the same lapel. It had been a long day, that's all I can say.
- The lapels are different sizes - that's because I used a different technique for each one. The larger lapel was knitted on the same size needles, but working loose at the edges, the smaller one, was knitted changing to big needles at the edge. It's not loose enough. It flips horribly, so that needs reknitting.
- The bands look different - that's because I used the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn cast off on the one that looks smaller. It looks neater, and I like it better, but I was kind of forgetting that the two sides should match.
- I forgot to do the chain edge on the left-hand side - I think the bottom edge will look better and the top edges will sew better if there are no garter stitch bumps in the way.
- The good news is that the buttonholes went OK, eventually!
I'm going to make an instruction sheet and start again from scratch. Hopefully they'll be done by Friday.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Friday, 5 September 2008
Modern life is way, way, better. I'd never wish to go back. Knitting to support the family must have been absolutely gruesome! As Mark Twain says, 'Work is anything a body HAS to do,' but all kudos to those clever knitters like the Yarn Harlot and Eunny Jang who make a living from knitting.
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Fellow knitters - I have seen the light! I am saved!
I put away my wip (Alef in lovely Rowan yarn) bought £2 worth of Tangerine mohair from the charity shop and launched into knitting the new way. It was like learning to knit all over again. Needles clattered to the floor on a regular basis as I tried to work only at the tips of the needles. It seemed impossible for about a week, but finally, I'm getting the hang of it. And yes, my knitting looks neater. The stitches are more regular and best of all, I no longer hurt my knitting.
I finished the back of the Tangerine Nightmare (whatever happened to Tangerine Dream? Does anyone remember that band?) last night and began the second front. I forgot to change one needle after finishing the garter rib, so there's a tight spot on the bottom 5 rows of stocking stitch. I'm not frogging and reknitting acrylic yarn so it will have to do!
I have been getting out both needles, when I need to change sizes, and putting the second one on top of the row counter so that when I finish the first row and go to change the counter I think: What's this needle doing here? Oh, yes. I'm supposed to be changing sizes from ribbing needles to stocking stitch needles (you can tell I go college, right) Thing is, it sounds so simple but it does work! Because I didn't do it last night, and so I ended up with 5 tight rows because I didn't notice the difference between one fat needle with a red end marked '5' and a thinner needle with a black end marked '4'.
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
I ordered Knitting Essentials One, to see if Lucy was any good, and within the first few minutes I was blown away. I was casting on wrong. Casting on!! How basic is that? I was doing the cable cast on wrong. I was doing the long-tail cast on wrong. No wonder I was struggling to produce good results. I was doing EVERYTHING wrong. So I made my Internet yarn store happy by sending off for Knitting Essentials Two, Finesse Your Knitting One, and Knitting Gems One, Two, Three and Four. Yes, all at once. That's a lot of knitting instruction, but I need to know how to knit.
Lucy Neatby has a pleasant, calm voice and the DVDs show her hands working against a black background and give you a knitter's eye view. No fuss, no mess, no tricks. They are wonderful if you want to learn how to knit. But for me, it was traumatic viewing first time around.
- Lucy sets the tone by demonstrating the right way to deal with the last piece of yarn and then by demonstrating the way I do it and saying: 'Now promise me you'll never do this again!'
- Lucy raises the embarrassing topic of stitch abuse. Oh no! I am a stitch abuser! No wonder my poor knitting looked so ragged.
- Lucy mentions the 'unpleasantness' that results from certain knitting habits. You'll have guessed by now that those habits were all mine.
- Lucy mentions the 'junk' that hangs from knitting like mine and promises that 'you'll feel so much better' if you tidy it up her way.
- Lucy explains why the type of yarn I've just bought is so difficult to work with.
- Lucy demonstrates her way of doing mattress stitch, and then mine, saying, 'you'll see that the result isn't quite so neat if you do it this way.'
You can see that she has a dry sense of humour. It softens the pain of realising just how wrong you can go when learning to knit from diagrams. There's nothing like seeing the yarn actually move over the needles to help you understand how the stitches should be formed. From now on, I do it Lucy's way. It will be interesting to see how the Tangerine Nightmare turns out. But if it's a disaster, it won't be Lucy's fault. It'll be mine!
Monday, 1 September 2008
- Feb 2006. I buy yarn, and the magazine, oh, and the buttons (you could buy a winter coat in Primark for what those buttons cost) and set off knitting. I sew it all up. I try it on. I burst into tears. Frog entire thing.
- I carry on knitting. Nothing works. I don't know why. I read blogs. I buy books. How hard can this knitting be?
- Feb 2007. I must be able to knit by now. I reknit a practice Alef in brown acrylic yarn. I sew it all up. I try it on. This time I don't burst into tears because I was kind of expecting trouble. My DH gets to carry the soft pile of disastrous knitting to the rubbish bin in the yard outside. It looks horribly like a pet going to the vet. I wave it goodbye.
- I carry on knitting. I read more blogs. I buy more books. I knit miles of practice knitting. Surely I can knit by now?
- September 2007. I make another practice Alef in peach acrylic yarn. I've learnt a lot. I get cocky. I make all kinds of alterations. I sew it up. I heave a deep sigh. Realise that I am now so hardened that I can throw my own rejects into the bin. I think this counts as knitting progress.
- I carry on knitting. I discover Lucy Neatby. I spend all my money on her DVDs. I find the tangerine yarn. I must be able to knit by now....
- I'll let you know how it goes