Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Inspired to Knit"

Just yesterday several new knitting books arrived in the mail. This fact is amazing to me, because I had been told that they should arrive on the 4th, but everything always arrived the day after the one they tell you, so I am really happy. In view of this, I have decided to review one of them.

That one would be "Inspired to Knit" and it is very inspiring! I don't like it when people say a book is a must, because I feel like they are telling me how ti live my life, but this book is certainly a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to ever (not just in the near future) design their own knitted garments, or any garments, really. Yes, it is mostly patterns, but there is a lesson in four parts on how to design your own sweaters, from inspiration to sizing and schematics.

As for the patterns, they are gorgeous! They are divided into four groups, (autumn, winter, spring, and summer) and use many different techniques. The groups contain not only patterns for wearing in the given season, but inspired by it as well.

Autumn is filled with patterns inspired by leaves, wheat, and fall flowers. There is a gorgeous cardigan with beautiful intarsia flowers all over it, a caplet and gauntlet (long fingerless glove) set inspired by intricate fair isle sweaters, and a jacket with an amazing knit-and-purl leaf design.

Winter has more color than you might think, though it is mostly blue. At least you won't be stuck knitting endless gray sweaters in the gray months. There is a beautiful holiday cropped jacket with lace and softly sparkling yarn, an interesting jacket inspired by snowdrifts with gently sloping cables (the cover garment), and an oversize simple pullover which, while not exactly my style, embodies the spirit of sitting by the fire with a warm drink perfectly, and I might make it for exactly that purpose.

Spring is embodied perfectly in this section, though there are no real florals, as opposed to Autumn, which had two rather intricate ones, and Winter, which had an embroidered one. There is a jacket with an attached lace scarf as a collar, which I think is just plain cool, an intricate Victorian lace blouse, and a fabulous and figure-flattering top inspired by vintage lingerie.

Summer has much better knit designs for warm weather than I've seen in most books. There is a camisole with cables that look like netting over the top, and a creative knit-seven-purl-one rib that together suggest a mermaid to me, although this is not mentioned in the book. Also there is a beautiful but simple body-conscious halter top, that would look great in a variegated yarn (I am always interested in that point), and an absolutely stunning wedding skirt that uses increasingly more intricate lace and lighter yarn, so that the skirt that was solid at the top, is quite sheer by the bottom (which lands around the ankles). It is gorgeously shaped, and could easily be worn to any formal occasion, especially in a different color. There is a top too, but it is t-shirtish and quite boring. Such a fabulous skirt deserves better than that, so I am going to deepen the neckline (maybe turn it into a halter) and shape the neck better. It would look wonderful with the shrug from the latest Vogue Knitting (the one without the freaky hairstyles and weird colors on the front) or alone if it is a halter. Hey, maybe I can combine the previously mentioned halter and this skirt!

This book is wonderful, and the patterns are nearly all flattering and figure-hugging. Those few patterns that are not to my taste employ interesting techniques or ideas to be used in invented patterns. I have not yet knit one of these (obviously, since I only got it yesterday) but I have read through some of the instructions and they seem to be clear. I did have one complaint, but I forgot it. I will write it down later when I remember.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Aaaaaaaaaaand Nooooooooooow . . .

Ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies, though), I present to you, the amazing time made in my projects over the past few days!

First up, the Kauni Cardigan! (clapclapclapclapclapclapwooooooclapclapclapclapclapyeahclapclapclapclapclap)

Before . . .

Aaaaaaand, After!Thank you! Thank you!

Nnnnnnnext . . . the Kiogu vest! (clapclapclapclapclapknittersrockclapclapclapclapclapclapgoEricaclapclapclap)

Before . . .

Aaaaaaaaand, after!

Thank you! You're too kind! Thank you!

And now, most impressive of all, the knitted object that was only a few rows long two days ago, the one with the finest gauge, and the only one with a technique which Erica had no prior experience with . . . . The lace (and lace weight!) shawl!!! (clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap)

(keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that it will look much better once blocked)

Thank You! Thank you! I couldn't have done it alone! It was a team effort, and I'd like to thank all the little people who helped me get where I am today! Just let me get out my little speech here . . .(Ahem) First, my needles. I could not possibly have done it without their constant support and metallic refusal to break! They are the noblest of needles, humble in their . . .(Hey! Psst, you! Get her off the stage! she's not supposed to be up there, this is a knitting blog!) . . . And without my darning needle, I would have been FORCED to use my . . . Hey! Hey, let go of me! It's my blog, and I'll brag excessively if I want to! Hey! Where are you taking me! Put me down! Hey! Hey! . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing technical and bragging difficulties, we will return to your scheduled knitting blog when we have our main knitter under control (which could take a day or two, plus yarn withdrawal therapy) thank you for your cooperation, and please exit to your right, through the double doors.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Non-posting Post

I don't have much time, but I wanted to assure everyone that I am still here, and I will be back to my regular posting (with the return of the novelty of pictures) tomorrow. Probably. Things have been hectic, and all my projects suddenly grabbed my attention as being really really fun, so I've been trying to devise a way to work on three projects at once. It's a happy feeling, though. Much preffered to startitis. It just encompasses all my time.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

This Is Not May Weather

You can't tell, but it is raining. I know, I know. I live in Seattle, this is not exactly a new thing. But, seriously, on the last day of May? Tomorrow is June (Really, Erica, Today is May 31st, and tomorrow is June? Astonishing.), and it's already been a late spring, they (whoever "they" are) should at least give us a break today!

Moving on, a picture of the vest.

A large improvement on two days ago, am I right? This is one reason why I like modular knitting so much. you make progress so quickly, and it is hard to get stuck in a black hole (when you knit 20 rows, and the garment measures exactly the same). We're overlooking the fact that I have about fifty of these little shapes to knit in this whole thing. It takes away from the glory of progress.
Here is a scarf I started yesterday when I wanted to knit something out of my handspun.

My feet are included for scale (okay, okay, I couldn't get them out and still take the picture).

Here is a close up of the end.

I must say, handspun looks a lot better when it is knit up.

And for Emily, the BPT (duh duh duh DUUUUUUH!!!)

Okay, Okay, I'll spread it out!

You see?! It still doesn't make sense! This is the bad thing about top down construction. You can't try it on and get it to look good without putting it on scrap yarn (I hate doing that). Even then, it still doesn't look good without the button band. Here it is on me.

You see how the collar doesn't work? this is what I'm hoping the button band will fix (button bands fix a lot of things). This picture was take by my 11-year-old brother. he's a pretty good photographer for not being familiar with my camera, huh?

I have a million projects going right now. I can't even keep track of them anymore, and yet I feel like I only have two. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I only work on two (this could also explain why the rest are not getting done) . . .

Friday, May 30, 2008

And So It Begins . . .

My Mom has just left for New York City. She will be gone for a week. There will be only me, my Dad and my 11-year-old brother (excluding the cats) in the house for seven days. I am outnumbered. Mom usually does most of the scheduling for school and stuff, and Dad doesn't have much experience. And my brother is sick. I am doomed. Send yarn.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Difference (or lack thereof) in The Vest

That last post was actually written today, about six hours ago. The computer is weird.

The vest now looks like this.

I know what you're thinking. "But, Erica, that looks exactly the same." But, my dear knitters, it is NOT the same. That triangle on the right has been ripped out and re-knitted at least five times. I never thought of myself as a type-A knitter, and I hope I'm not, but for some reason, This vest has made me inexplicably meticulous. All I'll say is it involved a crochet hook, upside-down squares, and which side (right or wrong, not left or right) the decreases showed up on. It was not pretty.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Big Pink Thing (BPT)

I am currently knitting a BPT. Actually, its a rather fuzzy BPT, so I guess it should be called the RFBPT (Rather Fuzzy Big Pink Thing), but I digress. Though it is a big pink pile of indistinct fuzziness, it should eventually look sort of like this.

I say "sort of" because there are a few wrinkles, like the fact that the neckline doesn't behave correctly. Oh well, maybe the button band will change that. It is knit from the top down, and I am just beginning the cables on the body. The only reason I am this far is because Mom (who knits too) did a lot of the stockinette stitch at the top. Stop looking at me like that, those rows are long! It is fuzzy because it is like, half angora (bunnies!).

I just recently got this book

So I am a happy knitter. My case of startitis is finally starting to abate, thank the knitting goddess (why yes, I do read yarn harlot a lot)!

Emma is giving out free yarn if you come to her knitting group! Go to her blog to get more info.

Meanwhile, I'll be sitting here, quietly working on my (absolutely fabulous) vest.

Emma was totally right color-wise! I am such a happy knitter right now!


I was just in the middle of writing this great post for all of you when I clicked "add image" for, like, the seventh time, and the computer froze, then everything dissappeared. Okay, Erica, just keep repeating to yourself "Computers make my life easier. Computers make my life easier."

I'll rewrite it later, when I believe myself.

Hey, I Found My Post!

I am a reasonable knitter. I really am. I understand that things get finished faster when you work on them. I understand that dropped stitches aren't the end of the world. I understand that the Christmas knitting needs to be started at least as early as September. What I don't understand is this.

And, er, this. Which explains why half the pictures in this post will be great, and half will be crappy. Really crappy. Sorry.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. yes, ladies and gentlemen, that would be my knitting bag, pathetically trying to contain all of my current projects. Actually, that's only most of them.

In case you hadn't guessed, I have a whopping case of startitis (that would be when a fiber artist has a huge compulsion to start a million new projects, only to discard them and start more). The worst part is that these are all fantastic projects, and they are not being enjoyed the way they should. Let's introduce them.

This is the Kauni Cardigan. It is very popular, and not too difficult. I mean, yes it uses tiny gauge, and it is steeked (that's when you knit a tube, take some scissors, and cut it into a cardigan with armholes. It's a Norwegian tecnique, those Norwegians are always trying to make our lives harder), but the fair isle is only the little squares. the rest the yarn does for you.

This is what I mean by charming projects that should be enjoyed. (and, yes, there is no yarn attatched. The cats find yarn tasty.)

Next, the Kiogu dilemma. After successfully concluding that these two colors

(you see? crappy pictures.) do not go together well enough for my purposes (though I know some of you will disagree) I have decided to make this

Out of this

And this

(which is what I was going to make in the first place) Out of this

plus two other colors. The only problem is that I don't have the needles for the vest, so I am, of course, going crazy with wanting to start it, when as soon as I do, I'll probably loose interest.

Both of those last projects are from this book

Wow, that was tiring. I found the post in this secret sort of draft area I didn't know was there. It took a lot of energy, because I already had a new post half-written when I found it, so it was all just wasted effort. I will introduce more projects later.

Many thanks to Emma, the leader of the local teen knitting group, who mentioned my blog on hers today. Go read her blog. It's good.

And while you're doing that, I'm going to go horseback riding. See ya.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My First Entry (scary!)

Hi, it's me, the newest addition to the blogosphere! Actually, by the time I've typed this there have probably been several hundred others.

Okay, who am I, and why are you stuck reading my blog?

My name is Erica, and I am an avid knitter. Really avid. Pretty obsessed, actually. I just learned in September 2007, but, well, you'll see.

I also learned to spin about a week ago, and my knitting is jealous! I have done nothing but that the past week, but now I'm settling into a balanced craft life.

Actually, my craft life is almost my whole life right now! I go to a private alternative school (oh, I'm in my early teens, by the way) that is a lot like home school, so I have lots of free time, and I am already out of school for the summer! The only other things in my life are a bit of horseback riding, acting, and boys (though they won't be mentioned much here).

You are probably reading this by chance or because you got lost. But, if you are a knitter or spinner, maybe you could drop by and leave a comment every once in a while. There's no point publishing a blog if you're only blogging to yourself.