Friday, April 22, 2005

Edited Socks

I succumbed to the call of the swap yarn . . .

. . . but it might look a little different than you expect.

Where's the white, the faux Fair Isle sections? I edited them out!

Mwahaha. Hey yarn, I'm the boss. In total there were 12 sections cut out. This meant I had around 24 ends (instead of 2) to weave in but I took care of that as I worked down the sock so it wasn't a big annoyance. Do try this at home: The yarn was knit at 10 sts/in on size 0 needles, 78 sts cast on. My shoe size is 7.5 (about 9.25"). There were 3 or 4 sections of color left over so I could've added about 1.5" to the leg or foot.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Book Review: Knitting Ganseys

Knitting Ganseys by Beth Brown-Reinsel

Knitting Ganseys isn't a standard book of knitting patterns, it's an instructional book. Chapter 1 covers the history of gansey knitting. Chapters 2 through 10 walk you through the process of knitting a small sampler gansey, which teaches traditional techniques such as underarm gussets. Chapter 11 explains how to design your own sweater and Chapter 12 has six gansey patterns ready to knit (3 child, 3 adult). Hundreds of clear black & white photographs back up the text, there's no reason anyone who knows how to knit and purl should feel intimidated by this book.

I borrowed Knitting Ganseys from the library a few years ago and made the sampler sweater:

Let's see if I can find a model for it. Yes!

Babar wonders what he did to deserve an ill-fitting sweater dress

I really like the concept of knitting a small sampler to learn how things fit together before starting an adult sweater. Ripping back is painless when you're working on an item this size. It works up quickly and you don't have to concern yourself with gauge or fitting a recipient while you're learning the traditional techniques. Get your first-timer mistakes out of the way on the practice piece, it makes sense to me.

After you finish the sampler you're ready to knit one of the six patterns included. If none of those sweaters strike your fancy you can work through the chapter on designing your own gansey. Sixteen pages of knit/purl stitch patterns are included to help you chart your dream sweater.

I pounced on Knitting Ganseys when I finally found it in a used bookshop last week. It has valuable information that will never go out of style, adding it to my collection was a no-brainer. Some of the book sellers on Amazon and Bookfinder have the book listed at well over cover price. It can be purchased new from Schoolhouse Press and other online knit shops so don't pay an inflated price.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A mitten photo, the highs and lows of swapping, & not-cashmere washcloths

The mitten, the single solitary mitten, is finally done. Yes it took over a month and I have excuses but they're boring excuses and nobody wants to hear them (not even me).

Now I have to make another one. Normally I don't suffer from second sock/mitten/etc syndrome but right now I'd rather be working on something different. I could flake out and do more socks (still have two singles that need mates -- what did I say about not falling victim to 2nd sock syndrome?) or fire up the crockpot and dye the yarn for mom's Fair Isle cardigan. That will be her 2005 Christmas present, if I ever get around to it.

I traded some knitting magazines for two skeins of Fortissima sock yarn through the Knitswap community on Livejournal.

Swapping is satisfying. What isn't to like about sending away something you don't want and receiving in exchange the exact thing you've admired at the LYS? Thank you Kate!

Cautionary Tale: 2 or 3 years ago I received Lily Chin's HYUK book (not worth a link) as a gift and quickly determined it wasn't right for me. I offered it up in exchange for two skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky or what-have-you. Someone wanted the book and she had two skeins of LPB in colors that appealed to me. Off went the book and I received two used (nearly half depleted) skeins of yarn. Sorry, was I supposed to specify I wanted two FULL skeins? I thought that went without saying. But I let it drop, it wasn't worth the hassle and I didn't pay for the book in the first place so it wasn't a huge deal to me. The trader probably received the yarn that way from a friend or ebay lot, the labels were a little loose but intact so it wasn't obvious some of the yarn was missing. I eventually used the blue yarn to finish off slipper soles so it wasn't a total loss.

The stupid thing is that I didn't learn my lesson, I neglected to ask if the sock skeins were full. It seems like a really uptight question to ask, doesn't it? The truth is I forgot about the bad trade completely until I was writing this entry, singing the praises of swapping and my brain reminded me about the time it didn't turn out so well. Ahem.

I visited my parents last week and mom showed me the kitchen washcloths I gave her a few years ago. They had reached the end of their usefulness on this earth. She asked for more so I whipped out six as soon as I returned home because she's my mom and she rocks, she deserves to use washcloths made from the finest cashmere, replaced daily -- but I used 100% cotton because it was on sale at Michael's for 97 cents/ball. (2 balls = 6 washclothes.) I bet Oprah uses cashmere washcloths, replaced daily.

The burgundy (wine) is a very attractive color, now I wish I bought 2 balls of wine and left the green at the store. Oh well, they're just silly washcloths. (The green looks good here but it's much worse in reality, it wasn't worth the effort to tweak it.)

I have a couple of book reviews to share but this entry is long enough so they'll be posted tomorrow.