Sunday, 22 May 2011

Oh that old WIP?

Glad you like it, I just flung that on and off my needles, nothing to it...

Yeah right, as if!!
It took me almost exactly a year.  A year of this mainly lying around.  I got the yarn in a sale (yup, there was a reason why this was cheap) and as soon as I knitted with it, I realised why.  This is called haspel silk and it looks gorgeous: lustreous, smooth, like liquid steel... Lovely!

Unfortunately it's a right b**ch to knit with.  'scuse the language.  As soon as you hit it with the tip of your needle, the yarn puffs up as if it was raffia.  It is extremely splitty and snags as soon as you even look at it.  If you have a rough bit of finger nail anywhere near it, you're bound to pull a puffy little cloud of fibrous plumage that will stick out like mad.  I'll be trying to pull all those to the wrong side with a crochet hook.  Well, you live in hope, don't you.

Love the stitch pattern.  I adapted it a bit from one called 'branch panel' - made the adjacent K2tog and SSK into a double decrease and mirrored each second section.  Unaltered it would have been quite wonky, this gives me something that looks like scales.

Which is why I am calling it Steely Dragon's Teeth Top.  Got a nice ring to it.

I'm very pleased that I managed to make it fit.  Pretty darn good even if I say so myself.  Love, love, love how the side seams came out.  Just take a look:

Isn't that delightful?  Well, I delight in them, I'm not usually so neat, so this is something to celebrate - seeing as we didn't get Rapture while I was sewing these yesterday...

I put a single row of crochet around the neckline as edging.  It looks a bit like I only cast off and then couldn't be bothered to do anything else with it but I wanted a neat (check), slim (check) and stylish (uh... not so much) edge.  Oh well, two out of three ain't all bad.

I even wove in - all - the ends too, and there were doo damn many of them I can tell ya... Maddening they were.

But now it's done, done, done, done!  Might even wear it tomorrow if the weather plays ball.

I wish everyone happy WIP finishing!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The dreaded sewing up bit...

I'm sure you've been there: you were enthusiastically knitting, crocheting, dressmaking, whatever... - it was all going so well!  You got very close to the finish line: you cast off your knitting, did the last bit of crochet, machine stitched the last hem... and nothing.

Dead stop in the water.

Those pesky finishing touches!  Loose threads to weave in, seams to sew or crochet up, buttons to sew on... I'm sure you know the exact type of thing I'm talking about.  Aren't they just horrendous to accomplish?

It's as if you were filled with all the joys of spring: boundless energy to motor through the bulk of your project, and just as soon as you get to within the last 5%, it all just peters out and you feel about as energetic as a depleted bouncy castle. Lacklustre and unenthusiastic doesn't even begin to cover it!

I think I might have had a good idea.  And boy is it paying off!  Do it the easy way!

That is if you're in the habit of meeting up with friends for crafty endeavours.  Or maybe even when you're not doing that already, maybe this is the start of a beautiful leisure pursuit!

Anyway, before I get waxing too lyrically: I had the rather utterly fantastic idea to propose a 'sewing-up' meeting of my knitting group (as one of our odd ones).  We had sock meetings, crochet get-togethers, evenings for tapestry and needlework - why not theme one as the encouragement to finish those pesky WIPs off?

And do you know what?  It's worked before it even happened.  Because 'The event' is taking place tonight and because I didn't want to run around the house like a panicked blue-bottomed fly, I actually collected a few projects in advance and stuck them into a carrier bag which, even better!, I then managed to take with me for tonight!  Now if that's not success in the making, I don't know what is.

Wait!  It got even better.

At lunchtime I -actually- (woo! Surprising myself here) managed to sit and start on one of those four projects that I took along.  Two smaller, two bigger ones.  I mended a hole in a favourite cardigan (major success! I've been wanting to wear said cardie for simply ages) and a hole in a sock (how do you get a huge hole in the back of a sock heel on only wearing it twice? I don't get that at all) - and I even started on whip-stitching the binding for a quilted pot holder, a project that's been lying around for about a year and lots and lots-of-time-I-don't-really-care-to-add-up-right-now... {cough}.

The one project I was hoping to be getting on with is the one I haven't started yet.  But it's only lunchtimes, the day is still young... so I could conceivably dedicate myself to that one as my main task of the evening?  Here's hoping...

It's my plum-coloured leightweight top that I knit from the back hem up, increasing into the sleeves and then down the front to the front hem.  With lots of holding against myself for measuring.  It's 1 ply held double and I already crocheted one of the side seams.  It took an entire evening!  Not happy.  Not looking forward to the second one, really need to get motivated here...

Keep your fingers crossed!  Any progress shall be joyfully reported forthwith!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Knit Nation - 15-17 July 2011

I am so excited!  I managed to snag myself a place on a specific class at this year's Knit Nation taking place 15 - 17 July at Imperial College.

I liked the description of many classes but didn't feel that I would get lots out of them.  I am happy enough to look for info about things I don't know yet, either online or by asking others.  But there is one class that I would give my eye tooth for!  (Whatever that might be)

I registered to do the 'Photographing your Fibre' class on Sunday given by Franklin Habit.  I immediately wanted to do this class because it would be very useful (I'd love to take better pictures for my Ravelry projects page) - and the description of the class convinced me further: I really, really, really want to do this! Badly.

The course info includes:
"...learn the basics of lighting, depth of field, styling and common fiber-photography problems like capturing true color, capturing stitch definition, and photographing lace. We will also learn how to make a light tent at home, cheap! You don’t need fancy equipment to make good photographs–the emphasis will be on getting the best possible images using your camera."

Tips on making a light tent at home!!  How completely, absolutely, totally fabulous is that?  I am over the moon!

I like the fact that students are to bring their own camera (so there must be some practice involved! And you learn with the camera you'll be using) and a project or two (boy, I can think of loads! It'll definitely have to be one black one, very difficult, and a funny colour like pink: for the trueness).  I am very keen on any tips to do with capturing stitch definition too - my favourite method of taking pictures involves taking lots of pics at as many angles as I can think of, in preferably day light, keep fingers tightly crossed and hope for the best!  Things have improved somewhat since I discovered the 'macro' setting on my camera, oops...

So I was already very excited about getting a place, about going to Knit Nation for the first time, and about what I was going to learn.  And then I finally got round to investigating the website a bit more, and my little beady eyes fell on some more information on Franklin Habit himself:

"Franklin is a writer, illustrator, photographer and author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). You can read his musings, essays, cartoons, and the adventures of Dolores the Sheep on his blog Franklin has contributed to Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and writes a regular column on historic knitting patterns for"

Oh my gosh, I'm about to faint!  I've only been subscribed to The Panopticon's blog for utterly ages!  Love that blog.  I can't believe it's the same person!  (I still remember the blog post about 'fingering weight', look it up if you want a full-throated belly laugh, too funy for words...)
How do I luck into things like that?

I am just so excited, I literally can't contain myself!

Hurrah for a 'Tier 5 Creative Worker Sponsorship Certificate' whatever that might be, which makes it possible for him to teach in the UK.  Blog post on his Upcoming Events here.

- - -

I just looked at the list of vendors as well:

Artisan Yarns, Atomic Knitting, Blacker Designs & Yarns, Brownberry Yarns, Cocoknits, Debonnaire, Easyknits, GMC Publishing, Great British Yarns, Habu Textiles, Jeanette Sloan, John Arbon Textiles, Juno Fibre Arts, Knitting Magazine, Krafty Koala, Loop Knitting, NicsKnots, Nimu, Old Maiden Aunt, Purl Alpaca Designs, Renaissance Dyeing, Skein Queen, Sparkleduck, StitchMastery Knitting Software, Susan Crawford Vintage, Sweet Clement, Tall Yarns'n'Tales, The Bothered Owl, The Little Knitting Company, The Natural Dye Studio, The Yarn Yard, Twisted Angle, Well Manor Farm, Woolly Wormhead, Yarn Box, Ysolda

Some of these sound fascinating and I'm looking forward to checking them out!  I know Sweet Clement, Skein Queen, Artisan Yarns, The Bothered Owl and some other better known ones, - they do great stuff!  They really do.  There are some others that I heard of and I am very curious to check them out.  It'll be great!

- - -

The one project photo that I like best, is this one.  It is, of course, a complete fluke that it came out like that:

It was taken outside in day light, during a break in the rain - those bricks that I placed my project on were still pretty wet!  It was taken quite close up and I am not sure if the light wasn't a bit odd or not (what with the rain only just letting up a bit).  I was very surprised that the background came out as dark as it is.  The true colour of those bricks isn't like that at all, they are much lighter.  The yarn in real life is bright white - there is a hint of a creamy tinge in this.

I am so happy that I managed to get a place!  At 19:59 today I was sat hitting the refresh button to get to the registration page as quickly as possible and I was flying through the registration process - and it worked!  I have my confirmation email (I am still pinching myself to be honest!).
I am so very pleased, it's going to be very, very good!

I can't wait!