Monday, 17 March 2008

Interim post

I'm having great trouble getting myself in gear to photograph the (many) things I've been making over the last few weeks, and I don't articulate myself well enough to describe without photos, si I must apologise for my slow blogging. Hopefully, as I have 6 days off work for Easter, at least one of them will be good enough to get my camera out.

One thing I know I am good at is lists, so here is one for you: A while back (23rd July 2007 to be exact - see this post) I posted a meme listing the knitting related tasks I had tried or completed. I thought now might be a good time to review what I have achieved since I started knitting, and how far I have to go ...

So, from the original list, I have additionally tried:

  • Shawl

  • I-cord (I'd not heard of this at the time - now I think it lives up to its name of 'idiot-cord'!)

  • Toe-up socks

  • Mittens cuff-up

  • Hat

  • Knitting with silk

  • Slip stitch patterns

  • Twisted stitch patterns

  • Charity knitting (innocent hats)

  • Knitting with soy yarn

  • Knitting with circular needles

  • Cable stitch patterns

  • Buttonholes

  • Knitting with alpaca

  • Fair Isle knitting

  • Household items (tea cosy)

  • Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars

  • Holiday related knitting

  • Dyeing yarn (Kool Aid - great stuff!)

  • Kitchener stitch

  • Purses/bags

  • Knitting with beads

  • Entrelac

  • Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers

  • Thrummed knitting

Phew! There's still a way to go, and I'm adding my own ideas to the list every day. I will not however, be knitting clothing for my pets. Nor will I be combing them to harvest their fur and spin it any time soon (2 short haired cats. But perhaps when I have sheep or 2 that will seem infinitely more sensible!)

Sunday, 9 March 2008

In the post ...

I love getting parcels. Even the most unassuming item that I would not take a second glance at in a shop suddenly becomes much more exciting if it arrives in the post. So imagine my excitement over the last couple of weeks as my UKarma swap parcels have been arriving. For those non-ravellers out there (join join join! You don't know what you're missing!), the idea of the UKarma swap is that you post something that you no longer want, and someone else claims it. Then they post something that they no longer want, and person no. 3 claims that, and so on.

So the delightfully eclectic selection of items that has been confusing the postman currently stands at:

1 skein of banana fibre yarn in a gorgeous minty appley green colour. I've looked this one up, and banana fibre yarn is made from the dead bark of the banana tree, which is soaked until all the cellulose rots away and then the resultant fibre is spun into yarn. Rather like flax into linen. Its a strange yarn, as it is rather rough to hold, but the individual fibres are soft and silky. As it fell into 3 or 4 sections while I was winding it I think I'll make it into a bag.

1 ball of Austermann step sock yarn with Jojoba and Aloe Vera. This is also, serendipitously, something I've wanted to try for a while, ever since M&S started impregnating their tights and socks with anti-smell, moisturising magic. I love a gimmick. This colourway is nice and simple, but doesn't make me go ooohh, so I think it will probably turn into a pair of work socks for the summer. Gosh, I never thought I'd be knitting 'normal' items.

And finally, 1 copy of Yarn Forward (Winter 2008). I've read lots of knitting magazines, in a vain hope to find the perfect one. Simply knitting never has anything I fancy making, although I will be buying the Alan Dart book from WHSmiths as soon as I get there (if I start on the Noahs Ark now, by the time I have someone to give it to, several years hence, it might actually be finished!). The other UK knitting magazines are similarly uninspiring in my view. Interweave Knits is great, although as it is primarily pattern based I always feel like I would prefer to buy the patterns individually (as I now can).

Yarn Forward comes close to being my perfect knitting magazine I think, although I've not tried knitting any of the patterns yet. The projects are modelled on normal people, and there is a good variety of cardigans, jumpers, hats, bags etc. The articles are interesting and varied - the issue I got has an article about angora rabbits! And it is quite obviously not a 'professional' publication - by which I mean it is not published by a big magazine consortium and thus does not suffer from the surfeit of advertising promotions and obviously (yet surreptitiously) sponsored features.

I love this way of ridding yourself of unwanted bits and bobs, particularly if you've received something as a gift that you feel you will never use - I'd never sell something like that, but if someone else could make good use of it, then good luck to them.