Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fear of Cutting?

The dragon scarf is progressing nicely now that I’ve had some time to knit. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Two pictures, even better:
This design has evolved from my original concept. I was originally going to do ordinary mitred squares but then I thought, “It would be nice to get a dragon scale overlapping effect”. I recalled seeing other garment pictures with irregularly shaped mitred squares, partial shapes, and some inlaid within the other. I thought I can do that. So I devised my method.

In the centre, I have a straight needle working the small, solid coloured, mitred square. The centre square is the only place I cut yarn. I pick up 7 stitches along the edge of the right mitred square, take the loop left from the square below, then pick up 7 stitches along the edge of the left mitred square, which I can’t do if I leave yarn attached on my last stitch.

You will notice in the picture above that I have one circular needle active on each variegated mitred square with yarn still attached; I never cut yarn on these squares. Let’s take the right square as an example. Once my small teal square in the centre is complete, I start the right square. I have 15 stitches on the needle, I cast on 7 more. I knit working the mitred decrease, then pick up and KNIT another 7 along the edge of the teal triangle I just completed. I purl the entire next row, but after that, I keep working the mitred square as a garter stitch square decreasing until I get down to 15 stitches again ending with the right side facing; then that side goes on hold and I work on the left side. I was hoping the bit of stockinette in between would help distinguish the individual “scales” (without having to cut and join yarn).

Because I end with the right side facing on the left mitred square, I turn the work so that the wrong side is facing me and do a pick up and PURL along the left edge of the centre square. I then turn the work so that I have my right side facing me to begin knitting again. I knit across, working the mitred decrease and finish knitting the row. I turn my work and cast on 7 stitches; I then purl the row. I continue working the garter stitch square as above until I’m down to 15 stitches again. All this so I don’t have to cut and rejoin yarn again. I’m even working from both ends of the ball at the same time; I like going for maximum efficiency.

Would it be simpler to just cut my yarn each time and rejoin it so I could start knitting from the right side? Probably; but I gotta be me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Tiny Bit of Fame

I got Joanne Yordanou’s book. I love it! I knitted the lace pillows on page 102 (Joanne did the lining and stuffing) which are also shown on the back cover of the book and I’m given credit in the acknowledgement section. I’m thrilled. It was really exciting to have been a part of this even though my part was small.

The layout of the book is beautiful and Joanne writes so eloquently. My favourites are the cable patterns. If I had to pick just one, I would have to say my favourite is the sleeveless white wrap cable sweater also shown on the back cover. Too many projects, too little time.

As an aside, my son's dragon scarf is coming along well (though slowly). Hopefully, I will have something to post on that next week.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Addition to the Family

We got a pet today! It’s a blue Siamese Fighting fish (Betta); blue being my son’s favourite colour, it just had to have blue in it. We’ve named our new pet, Blue Dragon.

Ironically, I’ve finished the blue dragon hat, too. It was my son who came up with the name for the fish. Okay, I guess I influenced him somewhat. Before looking at fish, he thought he would like to call the new pet, Mr. Fish. I said I liked “Dragon” considering the breed we were contemplating getting. So he said, “Mr. Dragon Fish”. My hubby in his wisdom said, “Why don’t we look at the fish first and then decide”. So we went to get “the fish”. When we got it, I asked again, “What do you want to call it”? He said, “Blue Dragon”. There was no argument from anyone. Let’s hope we can keep this fish alive. We’re new at this.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Cat Bordhi - Genius

Well, I didn’t much knitting done over Christmas but I scored in the book department. I got Jan Messent’s Knitted Gardens (an exceptionally fine work of art) and Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting at Christmas time. I could not put these books down. Cat is a genius and her instructions are fantastic. It is pretty intense reading. I needed a nice quiet place to concentrate and absorb all the techniques I was presented. It was so exciting and enlightening; I went to sleep dreaming about all the creations I had seen. If I had the right needles with me, you just know I would hardly have slept that night because I would have been knitting. You definitely get your money’s worth out of these books.

Another designer I would consider to be in this genius category is Debbie New. I’ve had her book Unexpected Knitting for a few years now and look at it quite often. Refreshing, ingenious, fine art; enough said.

I could babble on but I’m trying to keep this short. In future blogs, I’m sure I will be mentioning other designer’s I admire and/or who have inspired me.

What I think is a shame is that Cat Bordhi, Debbie New, and other ingenious designers like them aren’t recognized as much as some other designer’s are because of marketing or maybe not “being in the right place at the right time”. At least, that’s how it appears to me. I feel there are some truly gifted designers / innovators out there who aren’t getting the accolades they deserve. It’s also a reflection of my personal taste; there are designers I’m not crazy about but other people adore.

Another book I’m looking forward to is Joanne Yordanou’s 12 Months of Knitting due out January 8, 2008. I was one of the test knitters for the book. I’m so excited!