You are currently browsing the archives for November, 2005
I am usually very skeptical of such conditions. Everything, it seems nowadays, is either a syndrome or a disorder and before you know it, it’s been given an acronym and a pill. So of course I scoffed at the idea of Second Sock Syndrome (SSS, no less, on the Knitter’s Review forums), but I’m now thinking there might be something to this. It’s identified as the boredom that strikes one after completing one sock, and the consequent postponement/abandonment of the second sock, leading to miserable failure in completing the sock project. So is that why I want to desperately move on to something else, now that I’ve completed one sock of the Knitpicks Dancing?
Oh, who am I kidding! It’s no syndrome-shyndrome, I just don’t want to knit with this stupid yarn anymore and I’m looking for an excuse for not having finished the pair before my niece’s birthday. I didn’t realise KP Dancing has some elastic in it, and what’s more, it has it twisted around hte main yarn, which makes it a pain to knit. It tends to split. It’s not very soft on the hands. Plus, (and this doesn’t have anything to do with the yarn) doesn’t the size look weird? The 2×2 rib makes the cuff look very small compared to the foot. As if my niece’s feet were like birds’ feet. And I messed up the toe by making it too pointy and now I have to undo it and regraft it.
About the only positive thing here is that grafting is now a breeze, thanks to the excellent instructions and video at Amy Finlay’s Knitting Help site. (scroll down for "Kitchener stitch"). The photos in most books make the stitches look so flat and cooperative, which anyone who’s tried to graft two edges together knows is NOT the case. But after seeing that video, I can do it without any problems.
Has anyone seen the Banana Republic ad where a woman drops a red accessory in the snow and the guy picks it up as an opportunity to talk to her? In the ad they call it "a lost mitten." If that woman really does know a thing or two about clothing, she should turn around and tell him, "no, stupid, that’s a glove you’re holding." So how many knitters are going to write to BR and tell them about this gaffe?
Two of my friends from Colorado are visiting right now, and they brought me this gorgeous, huge, luminous handpainted skein from one of my favourite stores, Textiles A Mano. I miss it very much, and am hoping that Laura will send me some freshly dyed worsted weight soon. The all over cabled sweater in my Sweaters album was made with one of her yarns La Paz and it’s very durable, soft and doesn’t pill, even after regular wear. This new skein is 1750 yards of superfine merino, it’s sofffffft and I love the shades. The colour on my monitor is pretty accurate. It’s laceweight, but not as thin as the Malabrigo laceweight; closer to fingering, really. I am so tempted to put everything aside and start on something with it. I’m thinking a biggish lace-scarf, a cabled hat and a pair of mittens or gloves. I don’t want to complicated lacework with it because the shades are too variegated for that. Any other suggestions or patterns? Ideas welcome.
My first ever Knitpicks order! I can’t believe I waited this long to order from them and the box arrived in three days flat, with free shipping. I ordered small samples, enough for a hat or a pair of socks or mittens, maybe, and the yarns are unbelievably soft. Even Wool of the Andes (the light green skeins), which lots of people said was plain, scratchy wool. My favourite is the deep red Andean Silk, which I cannot wait to turn into a soft, winter cap, before ordering more for a sweater. Like many other people, I’m a little disappointed with the colour palette of Knitpicks, but as far as my favourite – deep red – is concerned, am not complaining. The Elegance (the other red skeins at the top of the picture) is a little too bright, but I’ll probably come up with something Christmassy for it.
In other news, finished one Shepherd Sock, but had to put the other one aside to make a pair from this lurid sock yarn, also from Knitpicks. It’s for a niece of mine who wants pink-purple socks, and it’s her birthday this weekend, so.
Also, the Stitch & Motif Maker is a blast. It has a great drag/drop feature that you can use for repetitive cable patterns. I’m having a blast playing around with it.
You can’t see it in the photo, but my size 1 bamboo needles are slightly bent from the effort of the sock they just knit. Does that happen to everyone’s thin needles? I don’t like metal DPNs but this is really weird.
Break from knitting. Already! Found out at the last minute about a Dhrupad concert yesterday near Columbia University by Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar. I don’t understand Dhrupad very well, and am usually much more comfortable with Khyal. The style of taans (the way the chords are exercised as well as the use of the bol-taans) takes a long time to get used to.
All the Dagars with their similar-sounding names have blended long ago in my imagination and I was expecting a venerable old man, and was quite surprised to hear the announcer introduce the musician as "born in 1969". (She also told a very cheesy story about how she saw him rush into the house as a little kid with cricket bat in hand, but never mind that).
This is only the second live
Dhrupad recital I have been to, and Wasifuddin Dagar was great. He performed raga Jaijaiwanti, then Kedar, a small piece that I couldn’t identify, and ended with a beautiful Bhaityar poem. I had vaguely known that Dhrupad alaaps are longer than Khyal ones, but got to experience the full joy of it yesterday. The Jaijaiwanti was superb; about 20 minutes of the alaap and he brought out all its playful, cajoling style. I kept thinking of how different it was from Bhimsen Joshi’s "jhana nana nana payal baje" which I also like, but the alaap without any percussion accompaniment sounds so much better. And Dagar has this gravelly, raspy voice that I really liked.
The Kedar was less imaginative, I thought, but the Bhatiyar at the end was superb. First time I’ve heard a concert end with a morning raga (that is, an evening concert, of course the Sawai Gandharva ones in Pune are different!) , but it didn’t sound so odd. All the pieces were celebrations of Shiva, and the last Bhatiyar piece was a bhajan, I think. Dagar described Shiva as central to Dhrupad singing since "he was the beginning and the end". The unidentified one was a Tandav, so the noisiest of the lot and the one that I understood least, and it was mostly invocations of different names of Shiva. I also haven’t heard the pakhawaj sound in a long time; much less sharp than the tabla. the player was very good.
What I found great about Wasifuddin Dagar was how relaxed he appeared. It was like a small mehfil, except that we sat on chairs, which was most uncomfortable, but what can you do. Still, the audience was very well behaved and didn’t burst into claps everytime a rhythm cycle ended. That is the bane of most Khyal performances nowadays. All in all, a good evening. The Jaijaiwanti alaap will play in my head for a long time, and I’m scouting around for some Dhrupad CDs. Need to listen to some Gundecha brothers, too. (And I did knit several rounds of the sock too, but more on that later.)
I went into Purlsoho the other day to buy a pair of size 5 bamboo
circs, because I have to start work on a cashmere cabled vest for my
husband. They only carry the metal Addi turbos for $15 a pair, not
worth it at all. So I virtuously turned down that suggestion, only to
go completely crazy and buy some Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in a
lovely colourway called "Brick Stripes":
All the colours are lovely and I am wondering why I need a pair of socks for $20, but what the heck, it was an impulse buy and the yarn is wonderful. So I started a pair of socks on size 1s, mainly to knit on the Path and subway commute.
What I cannot figure out is how to make the stripes look even, as they
did in the sock on display in the store. Mine looks a little weird, but
at least it’s sort of in a regular pattern, which I like. I haven’t
made too many socks before, but this self-striping is interesting.
Anyway, this should be a nice break of stockinette, mindless knitting between the Russian Stole and my cabled vest.
Speaking of Russian Stole, I finished one vertical pattern repeat. At
45 rows per repeat and five such squares of 24 stitches each per
vertical repeat, I will be doing over 800 rows total for the size I
want the stole to be. I cannot imagine I’m actually looking forward to
a long winter, so I can actually wear this thing this season. Here’s
what it looks like, and I really recommend this pattern: it’s so
rhythmic, almost, and easy to memorise.
What else? I have some Indian rangoli patterns that my mother drew for me when she was visiting, and it’s long been my ambition to convert some of these to cabled designs. These are cursive lines drawn with rice flour on floors and courtyards of homes and temples, mostly in South India, and many of them are beautiful and intricate. So I have some with me, and my husband has manfully agreed to wear a cabled vest with some of these. In another impulse buy, I placed an order for the Stitch and Motif Maker Software. And also bought a ton of various Knitpicks yarns just to swatch. Two each of Andean Silk, Elegance, Merino Style and Wool of the Andes. So many people have said so many nice things about this company’s yarns, but I need to check for myself. So more on those next week, and more about my swatching for the rangoli cables as well.
This project is also from Meg Swansen’s Gathering of Lace book, and it’s called the Shaped Triangle Shawl. I swatched for it and it is now awaiting its turn behind the Faux Russian Stole. The yarn is Jaggerspun Superfine Merino laceweight, and it is gorgeous and soft. It’s for my mother-in-law, who specifically requested a black triangle shawl. Who knows when she’s going to be able to wear it, though.
There are some lovely finished pictures of this shawl here and here.
I got into this lace lunacy over the summer, and joined the "laceforallseasons" groups on Yahoo. It’s a lot of fun, but now I want to work with some worsted yarn….
But I also have some gorgeous rose coloured yarn from Malabrigo, and it will hopefully someday get made into the Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl which I totally fell in love with.
This is my second pattern from the wonderful book A Gathering of Lace edited by Meg Swanson. The first was the circular Feather & Fan shawl which I made with Malabrigo handpaintedyarn. The Russian stole is a very simple pattern, but I am modifying it. The suggested length and width are 24" by 72" but I added a couple of repeats to make it wider and will probably make it a lot longer as well. The challenge is going to be sticking to it, and not getting bored with the repeats. But it’s not so complex that I cannot watch a film while knitting, so hopefully it will be done this winter.
Isn’t the yarn a lovely colour? It’s Brown Sheep Naturespun Fingering, in some kind of berry shade. I bought a cone, and will probably end up using about 2000 yards out of the 2800 for the shawl. The needle size is 5.
I love the way the pattern includes the edging with the main body, but I have no clue why this is called a "faux" Russian stole.
So I’ve succumbed. Am trying this out for thirty days. Let’s see what happens…
But if it lasts, it will be a blog mainly about knitting.
It might also include complaints about my students from time to time.
Or photos and descriptions of places visited.
But mostly, this is intended as a yarn about yarn.
Desi? Not a short form for Designer. Ho ho. Not at all.
"Desi" in Indian / South Asian English, is a word for someone "from the country". It’s a term for "South Asian", or people from the Indian subcontinent, a word that folks from there use to refer to themselves. So, my profile is sort of self-explanatory.
Earlier, it also connoted "unsophisticated", but we’ll see about that!
Take a look around, check out my photo albums of finished projects, and I’d love to hear from folks.