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Up to my neck…

§ February 25th, 2006 § Filed under Cashmere Vest § 8 Comments

Next to alliterations in annoying titles, surely, are puns. But please bear with me. Imagine this is what my Cashmere Vest project is saying to you.

Because, it has indeed reached the point where I will cast off for the neck on the front, with the back already done and if I can actually get my head and neck out of the oceans of work they are currently buried under, I might even finish this project next week. About two hours of concentrated knitting, then finishing.

I have a serious manuscript deadline in about four weeks. Right now I should be thinking only of footnotes and the first and last ten pages of the book that a few people will hopefully read, incidentally the only bits not yet done. But all I can think of is getting back to my Faux Russian Stole and a couple of other serious lace projects. All the words I’ve painstakingly composed over the last few years are swimming in front of my eyes and I am strongly fighting that tired, blah feel. I must revise, revise I must…

Another thing that’s left me quite exhausted is the Knitting Olympics which thousands of knitters have apparently joined., to finish challenging projects in two weeks flat. I find it amazing that some people have been knitting the Frost & Flowers Lace shawl, others have already finished two lace shawls… makes me tired just visiting their blogs and seeing how much they’ve knit in a day. I don’t care either for speed knitting or for the Olympics so I’m out of this race, but it’s still pretty amazing to see the projects progress in leaps and bounds.

A Cosy Fit

§ February 20th, 2006 § Filed under Simpler stuff § 6 Comments

Just returned from a trip to the west coast for a conference. Much merriment with old, not so old and new friends. I had a blast. Now it’s back to the daily grind. But, some knitting news and some excitement. First, Sepoy had requested his Ipod cosy and I started work on it before leaving so I could give it to him at this conference. I started using Grumperina’s pattern, with some modifications:
ipod4.JPG

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I adapted the straight pattern to a joint circular cast-on, like toe-up socks.

Then I knit it in the round on DPNs.. and when the time came to divide for the screen and wheel, I knit back and forth. It’s the first time I’ve ever knit purl rows at length on DPNs. Not the best thing, but not that bad. Anyway, I had to frog the whole thing.
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Despite my gauge being correct and all, for some reason it turned out to be waaay bigger than needed. I didn’t have an Ipod and I took it to the coffee house next door where Mike, the coffeewala has an Ipod. My cosy was large enough to fit a whole Ipod family.
So I bought a coffee and frogged the damn thing, cursing.

And soooo, after much encouragement over the weekend from some Ipod veterans, I finally decided to take the plunge (all to have something to measure my knitting with, of course!). Am both attracted and repelled by the seduction of new technology (and my inability to comprehend it). But now at least, the cosy shall fit.

Now for something totally different. I took this photo from 35000 feet in the air. Is this Lake Tahoe? It was taken about 30 minutes or so before landing into the Bay Area, and seems about right. It looked beautiful from that distance.

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In the beginning…

§ February 5th, 2006 § Filed under Simpler stuff § 6 Comments

..there was crochet. Arrgh! I do not like to crochet. But in response to Zarine’s question a couple of days back, I have to admit, I came to knitting via crochet. And now I use a crochet needle only if I absolutely have to. For chain cast ons, weaving in ends and for some borders. Seriously, knitting is so much nicer to do. Anyway, I digress. I thought this would be a nice way to pay tribute to the folks who taught me this wonderful craft.

I fell out of a tree at approximately age seven. My mother decided I needed some feminising influences and carted me off, scraped knees and all, to Sushila Raichur, one of the teachers on our school campus who knew how to crochet. I actually remember walking over there with her, red acrylic yarn and a crochet hook in hand. I made a small red and white tank top that Aai kept for years.

A couple of years later, as part of "hobbies" class in school, Mary Aranjo, one of the most accomplished knitters in the world in my firm opinion, taught me to knit my first garter stitch hairband. Mary-teacher as we called her has never been seen in public without her needles; she knit *everywhere* and knit a lot; like most knitters in India she was not tied to a written pattern but basically created her own with every garment. It is thanks to her and my Aai that I graduated to socks, baby sweaters and hats from the hairband. I still take many of my projects back to her for approval.

Cut to college, where Anagha Patwardhan persuaded me to knit the "boyfriend sweater". As is well known (but wasn’t to me then), this is an ancient curse! As it turned out, it was a blessing for me, plus after making the sweater four sizes too large for the intended wearer, I learnt that size can matter. But years after browsing the outdated British knitting mags that sold for a rupee or two on the footpaths at Lakdi pul and Camp in Pune and the vast wool markets of Lajpat Nagar in Delhi, I never learnt to read the instructions and size the damn garments properly.

Thanks to the women at Knitting.about.com, especially the patient and cheerful help of Megan Mills and Nancie Kremer (IslandKnitter) and Fran Marrs at Knitter’s Review, I started by asking about WS (wrong side!) and never looked back! It’s been several years now, and knitting is truly one of the things I love about living in the States. The techniques, the yarns and the possibilities are great and it almost makes the cold weather tolerable.

A Winter in Blue

§ February 1st, 2006 § Filed under Caps, Hats, Etc., Lace work, Mittens, Gloves, etc § 7 Comments

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So here it is, the blue winter set, in Brooks Farm wool/mohair. The scarf, a Jane Sowerby design from Knitter’s Winter 04 was knit last winter around this time, not a time I want to remember with great fondness. Lots of job and home issues, the latter quite literally,  with the worst landlord in the world giving us a horrible time. I always think of him somehow when I wear this scarf, and that is not good. But it was wonderful to knit, very easy. The watch cap is my own pattern, made up as I went along, and the gloves are from Katharina Buss’s Big Book of Knitting.

Specs:

Scarf: Brooks Farm 100% mohair, took about 475 yards on a size 6, it’s about 6 ft x1.5 ft.
Hat: BF 100% mohair + 50% mohair/wool, one strand each on a size 6. Took about 200 yards.
Gloves: BF: 50% mohair/wool on a size 2, am not sure how much, but less than 300 yds. I don’t think I want to knit gloves again for a while. As I finished I was thinking: 42 loose ends to weave in, wtf? But then if you leave the ones in the fingers unwoven, who’s going to notice? Maybe I’ll try Nona’s totally cool top-down pattern someday, but not for a while.

And mohair, I have realised while picking innumerable bits of fibre from my teeth, eyes, collar and furniture, is a royal PITA. I mean, I like warm and fuzzy, but it doesn’t wear well at all. People ooh and aah over Rowan Kidsilk Haze, I just don’t get it.

Here’s a picture of the scarf taken a year agobluemohairscarf1.JPG
I wonder if reblocking and reblocking is the answer, though, because I fear that it damages the delicate fibres too. Ah well, at least it’s toasty.