Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stories in Stitches

To the casual observer, knitting is just knitting. It's a shawl, a scarf, a  pair of socks, whatever. They keep you warm.

To the knitter, there's quite likely a lot of stories embedded in the final product. Maybe in the colour of the yarn, or the choice of the pattern. There are stitch patterns with universal meanings and stitch patterns with personal meanings. Maybe the knitter took the yarn to a festival or a coffee date, and knit those happy memories into the project.

I'd like to tell the story associated with one of my recent project.

It starts with Doctor Who.

But not all of them, just one.

Isn't he delicious? But not him.

More delicious! But not him, either. We're talking season six mythology.

Specifically, the mythology of Melody Pond.

Whose name was embroidered onto a prayer leaf for Amy Pond.

And the inspiration for a gorgeous skein of yarn.

And there's the mysterious phrase, "The only water in the forest is the river."

I decided to bring them together in a pair of socks.

It took a lot of paging through stitch dictionaries, and several attempts to get it right. The above picture shows one iteration, with leaves on the left, separated from the pine trees on the right by the river in between.

And here are the results. Socks that are supposed to say "The only water in the forest is the river."

I wanted to enter them into the State Fair, but I was concerned they wouldn't display well.

Confession: I haven't worn them at all, except to take pictures. I love them so much, I can't bear to have them eventually wear holes.

Maybe I should have chosen a different medium than socks to tell the story.

Disclaimer: all Doctor Who images are property of the BBC. They own Doctor Who. The rest of us just admire it.

A Finished Object--beads and handspun

Last spring, I blogged about beads. I had a lovely skein of single-ply handspun and a tube of beads, and I put them all together to make a shawl.

At the end of every row, I placed a bead. At first I used a crochet hook, but the handspun has delicious variation in the strands, and the hook didn't always work well. I soon switched to using a small piece of wire to place the bead on the stitch.

This shawl used over 600 beads. This was the project that might have broken my bead habit. I haven't beaded a thing since.

The finished product is sensational. I love this shawl. It gets a lot of wear!

Hello blog!

Hey, look, I have a blog!

The way I access the internet has changed dramatically this year. Getting access to my own computer is difficult, and I don't really blog through any other medium. So, less blogging! Maybe that's the way of my future, but I'll just have to see.

This is a knitting blog, of course, and of course there's been knitting.  However, the methods, amounts, and output have all changed.  I've been experiencing a lot of RSI--Repetitive Stress Injury--pain, and this has changed a lot. Overall, I'm knitting less, but I'm also still doing a lot of work to make sure I can continue this beloved pursuit.  Strategies to keep knitting despite RSI include:

  • Significant breaks. If my hand and wrist hurt that much, I need a few days without knitting. While I might really want to knit, if my hand is in no shape to knit, I've gotta deal with it and not knit.
  • Reduced knitting time. No more can I spend all evening or all weekend knitting. There will be no sock wars in this condition. I can only do a maximum of an hour of my usual style of knitting per day.
  • Exercises. These have made the biggest difference. A smattering of these helps, too.
  • Night wrist brace. Oh wow, do I love this thing! It keeps my hand in the proper position, it's all padded and comfy, it provides warmth and compression, and my hand always feels remarkably healed in the mornings. I'd wear it always if I could, but I can't do anything with my hand while wearing it.
  • Loosen up. I seem to grip the needles very tightly while knitting socks. For a while, I thought I was done knitting socks forever! I made a conscious decision to not grip so tightly, and socks no longer cause me crippling pain.
  • Lever knitting. I am adding a new tool to the knitting tool box. Lever knitting won't replace the kind of knitting I presently do, but rather add another method I can use when I've finished my daily allotment of my usual style. It allows me more knitting time in the day. This will be the subject of a different blog post.
But! Despite the difficulties, there is still knitting, and of course, there's always yarn. So many pretties!  Here's a few samples, to pretty up this wordy post:

This is all Tri'coterie yarn. It's hand dyed in France! Tri'coterie. Top to bottom, we have Jack Harkness, Claire and Henry, and Canth . When she did her Time Travel month, it became apparent that I consume a lot of time travel fiction. And love it all.

Also from Tri'coterie, these are Cinna and Gale.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Baby Surprise

In the spirit of stashdown, I've knit another Baby Surprise Jacket.

I had this skein of Noro (Silk Garden Sock) all balled up, and its project was all stalled.  I decided that it was time to knit it up and embarked on another Baby Surprise Jacket. The yarn was pretty.

It grew up to be that familiar mystery blob.

Which then took some seaming.

And voila! A jacket!

I wound up trading it for a pretty skein of yarn, so it's going off to another knitter for her to gift to her knitter friend's baby.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beads--part four

No, I haven't gotten sick of beading yet.

I have this lovely skein of handspun. It was spun especially for me by Heidimonkey, made with long colour changes.

When wound up, it made a gorgeous cake of yarn. I went and got a tube of bright green beads, hoping they would show up well in the knitting.

The shawl is coming along well. Here's a preview of how it's coming together, though the beads (right there on the upper edge) hardly show in this photograph.

Ok, enough blogging. Back to knitting!

Beads--part three

And while we're disussing beads, (and we were,) I must bring up my Shipwreck, the longterm project with 1400 yards of yarn and 4600 beads.

Get this--it's done.  No really! I beaded and knit and beaded and knit and finally, I have a lovely new shawl.

This shawl is so epic that I went out and bought a black dress just to wear with it. And then today I bought another one!

I keep hoping I'll get to take it out for a real photo shoot. So watch out--there may be more photos.

Beads--part two

In 2007, I bought a skein of laceweight on impulse.

I fully intended to cast on as soon as possible, but at the time I had Christmas knitting to finish. And so finally the skein got tucked into a bin for safekeeping, and while always loved, never utilised.  

So this year, I've been making a fresh effort to use the wonderful yarns that I own. And I decided it was time to bring this yarn out of hibernation and into a project.

This one got paired with some dark iridescent purplish beads I've had for years, and the pattern Annis.

The results are a very light and airy shawl.

The yarn didn't have a tag, but the ravelry entry says it's 50g.  The shawl used 40g of yarn, and I had 39g leftover!

Beads, beads, and more beads-- part one

Hello blog!

Let me tell you, there has been a whole lotta beading going on!

Threatening Seas

I started with a lovely skein of blue 100% merino. This skein came from the Canon Hand Dyes Shakespeare Club. This was the November skein, inspired by the Tempest, entitled:

Though the seas threaten, they are merciful.

I paired it with a bead blend called "oceanic mix", and a pattern entitled Adelei.

The results were small and bunchy.

But as always with shawls, a good blocking pulled it into shape and brought out all its beauty.

Look! It's a shawl!

Sadly, the beads were such a good fit they hardly showed.

But I still love it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Darn it!

Ember recently shared an interesting darning tutorial with me.

And then, just this week, I found a nasty little hole in my man's Bugga! socks. It was in a weird spot, under the foot between the ball and the heel.  Not a usual spot for a hole. Which has me suspecting a feline culprit.

Would this sweetie attack a hand knit sock?

Now I've darned before. It usually involves putting in horizontal lines, then weaving in vertical lines and pretty much stitching the heck out of it. It seems to work, but it's not very pretty. So I attempted to follow the tutorial.

This is what the hole looked like as I was starting to stitch around the hole.

And this is with horizontal lines stitched in:

This is my first column of duplicate stitch:

And here is the inside and outside of the completed repair:

Well. It's not gorgeous, but it should hold!

PS--Hidden mostly out of sight inside that sock is the lovely darning egg my father made me.