Thursday, December 25, 2014

Artfully Meandering: Lizard Ridge Infinity Scarf

I pinned this gorgeous afghan on Pinterest and have been obsessing over it ever since I started knitting. I'm a color fiend. And when I start something new, I tend to mix loads of colors together. Seeing this afghan made me want to try it. This is Laura Aylor's Lizard Ridge Afghan. Laura is a beautiful knitwear designer. 

The yarns used in this pattern are also part of what make this pattern so spectacular. This is Noro Kureyon yarn. Eisako Noro is a true artist with the colors and Laura maximized the impact of these colors with this design. The yarn appeals to me because of it's organic nature. The mixes and graduations between colors, plus the inconsistency and organic thickness of the yarn. It knits up into a piece of art.

 Lizard Ridge Afghan by Laura Aylor

Here is my first piece. I used three different skeins of the Noro Kureyon and knitted them into an infinity scarf. Here it is posing on a piece of coquina at Marineland Beach in Florida. Don't you want to be the scarf?

I got loads of compliments in the first wearing. It is most definitely a conversation starter. I always test my pieces for feedback. And this one is a big winner. 

And while yesterday in Florida was 83 degrees F (with a tornado!), today it was in the 60's. Gotta take advantage of the coolish days to wear the pretty knits. 


I make my infinity scarves long enough to wrap around twice. 

Self-Imposed Knitting Apprenticeship

Since I'm in OCD mode on knitting, I've been buying yarn, supplies, patterns, and Pinning anything I love on my new Knitting and Crochet Pinterest board. I love the free-from crocheting, too. But, I'm restraining myself from exploring that until I get more basic skills under my belt with knitting. 

I got the idea to consider this deep dive into knitting an "apprenticeship" from Barbara Walker's book,  A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I found this bit of information particularly interesting, "During the Middle Ages the famous 'knitter's guilds' -- which were, of course, composed entirely of men -- brought the art of knitting to a very high degree of refinement. A young man who wished to become a member of such a guild had to serve as an apprentice to a Master Knitter for a minimum of three years, and spend another three years year in travel, learning foreign techniques and patterns. After this, he had to pass a grueling examination, knitting a number of original 'masterpieces' of his own in a very short time, and then was admitted to the guild as a Master in his own right. The men of these guilds made exquisite garments that were worn by kings and princes, and every member of the nobility had his or her favorite Master Knitter, as well as a favorite tailor or dressmaker."

The internet makes this much easier in so many ways. If I get stuck on something, I can look it up and/or watch a video. I switched from English to Continental style knitting simply through watching a video. So cool. While I started with English knitting when I learned on my own, and I have taught this to my nieces because it's the easiest way to get started, I switched to Continental to ease the strain on my wrists. It has been much easier on my hands. 

Lizard Ridge Pattern - Skill Development Notes
  • Knitting backward - I'm noticing that while technically it's possible to knit backwards continental, it's more efficient for me to knit backwards English. I'm still slow, but I'm starting to get a better rhythm with it. I just couldn't get the proper tension with the Continental hold. It's still slower for me than knitting forward.
  • Steam blocking - I have the HomeRight Steam Machine. I used the hand-held with the squeegee attachment with the fabric cover. Works like a dream.
  • Reading the knitting (knowing where I did the wrap and turn without using a stitch marker). I'm not a big fan of the wrap and turn method. When I pick up the wrap, you can still see the stitch. I found some other methods to try to see if I can make that short row resolution more invisible.
    • Carol Sunday's Wrapless short rows
    • Update: I learned German Short Rows from Very Pink Knits.The transitions using German Short Rows are much more invisible to me than the wrap & turn. It took me a little while to figure out that basically you're pulling up the row beneath with the working row and squishing them together with this method. I prefer this method MUCH better than the wrap & turn. Technical note: if you're using German Short Rows to replace a wrap & turn, you include the wrap & turn stitch (i.e. knit 8, w&t becomes knit 9, then you pull up on the 9th stitch). I find it easier to translate the w&t directions rather than mentally translate them.
  • Learning to adjust to mistakes. I tended to add a stitch. I think I figured it out with the wrap and turn I would accidentally turn it into 2 stitches. But, I learned how to just adapt and roll with the flow. The yarn and the pattern are very forgiving to mistakes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Artfully Meandering: Current obsession... knitting

After 30 years of knitting scarves, I have finally graduated.

To blankets.

I'm a restless creative and must always be doing something with my hands. While traveling to New Zealand, when I got to the more relaxing part of the trip, we picked up yarn and I made an infinity scarf and three neck-warmers for my friends.

And as I do not do anything by half measure, I am now swimming deeply in the knitting pool.

Purl Soho

I've recently discovered Purl Soho and their beautiful yarns. I wanted to make a thank you gift for one of my friends. This beautiful merino was like knitting with a cloud. I love the graphic designer elegance to their patterns. I selected two of the Winterberry kits am knitting this into a bigger lap blanket.

I used the double seed stitch and did a variegated striped pattern.

This is still a work in progress. I'm waiting for the second kit to arrive to make the blanket longer.

You can't capture the luster and glow this yarn gives, but it's dreamy.

The colors they've chosen are flawless. I just love knitting with them.

I've also made some capes in chunky yarn. And 12-14 scarves. And 2 more blankets. Yep. I've been a knitting fool.