Thursday, 11 December 2008

Ribwarmer DVD Arrives

And plays, thank goodness, so that plunge into technology worked out after all. Was it worth it? You bet! I love this DVD. Andy winced when he saw the receipt, but it runs I hour 45 minutes in total. I already watched it twice, which is around 3 hours fun, and for sure I'll watch it another 6 times or so at least, not to mention checking back for odd techniques, so in terms of cost per hour, it's not expensive at all. No, really! Knitting costs practically nothing, right?

I like this DVD because it is completely different from the Lucy Neatby DVDs, but just as good in its own way. Lucy shows you lots of single techniques in great detail. Meg tells you a little of the history around the ribwarmer, including one knit by Elizabeth Zimmerman herself, and a copy of the magazine it first appeared in. Then she shows you lots of variations on a single garment and encourages you to make your own choices and change your mind as you go - which is very empowering. She demonstrates making a child's ribwarmer in detail, then how you can adapt it to a longer length, or make a very pretty bolero version called the butterfly jacket. (The basic patterns are included inside the DVD case.) Also she shows lots of variations: a collar, a sports vent, a seamless version, I-cord trimming, a braided edge. She also shows you how to measure and size the garment and how to shape it a bit more - if you want to. Then she runs over all the techniques she uses. Pretty good value for money, I'd say. I plan to make a good few ribwarmers in the near future and have fun with it.

The techniques Meg shows for garter stitch would have been handy to know for my simple garter stitch jacket, but too late now! I picked it up again and solved the short row mystery - it turned out to be a matter of terminology. If you are knitting short rows, every row is 2 rows, so do you count one each time you do 2 rows, which add up to one complete short row? Or do you count 2, because after all, you knit one way, turn around and knit back, which adds up to 2 rows?Different patterns refer to it differently. Once I understood this, I knit the second sleeve with no problems. BUT I wanted to try grafting the seam. I knit the extra flap in bright yellow so I could a) have something to hold and b) use the waste yarn as a guide, but oh, dear, I didn't go back and watch Lucy again before I started and I carefully grafted two hills together, so there's a ridge on the right side and a double valley on the wrong side. DOH!

I decided not to undo it all. Instead I frogged the mistake sleeve back to where I'd gone wrong, finished it and sewed the seam so it looked pretty much like the other one. Job over! All I have to do now is sew it up and crotchet the trimming.

Those handy techniques Meg demonstrates on the DVD will apply to all garter stitch garments, and she really explains things in a way that helps me to understand. She doesn't say: 'At this point, put the yarn left and then right', She says: 'if you put the yarn left this happens, then if you put the yarn right that happens, and it's up to you which effect you want'. Although I'm not a huge fan of the ethnic knitted look, I will definitely get all the DVDs and knit my way through them, just because of how much I'll learn.

One thing that fascinated me: she knits Continental, but right down at the bottom of her needle! And I just spent two months learning to knit at the tips! After some thought I realised that she mustn't have any problems because she'll use her needles like that consistently - my stitches were altering all the time, probably because I wasn't aware which part of the needle I was using at any one time, so I knit differently in different chairs, or with different needles or even as the piece I was working on changed size. It just goes to show that there is no right or wrong in knitting, but, as Lucy said when she demonstrated the knitting at the tips technique: if you're not getting the results you want, you might want to consider something new. An added bonus is that I do believe that it's faster to knit at the tips - I'm sure I've sped up a bit since I got the hang it.

Last week I ordered some highlighter tape from the Woolly Workshop - I promised myself not to start the next cabled shrug until it arrived. It's so hard to wait though. Yesterday I dropped the shop an email just asking how my order was progressing. The shop owner rang up and said: but you cancelled it as soon as I sent the confirmation email. I said: oh no I didn't! She said: oh yes you did. Very odd. We dug deeper and an explanation emerged. I had put the wrong email address on my form - the one at work has no numbers in it and I sometimes mix them up. So, the shop had emailed a Louise Armstrong with no numbers in her BT email account - and this Louise Armstrong must knit, because instead of emailing back to say she'd never ordered anything from a knitting shop in her life, she replied to say that the order was from a year ago and she didn't need it now so please could she have a refund!! Anyway, my order is on its way and I'll be able to start shrug number two at last. But first I must finish the simple garter stitch jacket and the ribwarmer I couldn't resist starting last night.

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