Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ooooooooh, ahhhhhhhhh!

The Fall 2007 Interweave Knits preview is up!

This excites me to no end, as Eunny Jang is their new editor, and I am in love with everything she creates! It's definitely time for me to get myself a subscription, because this is a really beautiful issue.

I am madly in love with Eunny's Tangled Yoke Cardigan*, and Kate Gilbert's Cinnabar Pullover. They make me smile.

The Composed Mitts by Michele Rose Orne are definitely making it onto my Christmas Knitting Giftlist this year. Huzzah!

What are your thoughts on the new designs?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A True Hat Story

I don't know if I ever showed this hat off on the blog.
It was a Christmas present for my boyfriend a few years back, and makes me smile to think of it.

As you can see here, it's a simple hat pattern (I just made it up, and started decreasing when it looked big enough) knit with double-stranded cheapy yellow acrylic from my stash.

The braids were the toughest part. I wanted them to be "posable" and so needed them to be wired. To get the strength I needed, I ended up triple-stranding yellow pipe-cleaners around 6 strands of floral wire. I then put one of each of these 'bunches' of wire inside each strand of yellow braid. Of course, the ends then needed blue ribbon!

They were very well-received by my boyfriend, who had (believe it or not) requested such a hat after watching a cooking show with a crazy Frenchman wearing ridiculous hats (including, a carrot hat)!

He wears it every Winter (to my delight), and will even wear it when driving. The looks we get are priceless; it is as if the random people we pass on the street are saying: "Hey guy, do you know that you've got braids on your head?"

Yup. Sheer crazy, and perfectly wonderful.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Looking for a new shawl pattern?

In the last two days I have found two tremendous resources:

1) Jenny Raye's list of Rectangular Shawls

2) Vicki's listing of Triangular Shawls, organized by required yardage (fabulous!)

Both lists link directly to free, online patterns. This will definitely be keeping me busy for a long while! Enjoy!

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On inspiration...

Inspiration is a funny thing.

I am definitely inspired by being here in Graz, Austria. This is one of many little courtyards, off the main square downtown. You can just walk through any of the lovely archways here, and find something so perfect tucked away inside. It's not knitting inspiration, but it's good for the soul.

Also good for my soul, has been coming back to the Land of the Knitting Blog. As I was away from it for almost half a year, I managed to gain a new perspective of all this Knit Blog stuff.

I am loving the exchange of ideas that is happening so quickly online. It also speeds up my inspiration process: I see something someone has knit (or even is knitting), and I want to knit it too. Two blogs later, I see something else I'm dying to knit. And, oh! That Peacock Feathers Shawl, those socks, the Finnish mittens!

Besides the new projects that I see, I also get reinspired to work on projects that have been lingering in the planning stages for a while. I have some gorgeous yarn at home, and I would love nothing more than to turn it into something perfect. Of course, the new projects I'm inspired to knit, and the yarn I'm inspired to knit up don't exactly match up.

The problem with this frenzy of inspiration, is that my WIPs get a little neglected. It's more fun for me right now to be looking at all the pretty fibre, than to work on my Icarus. Of course, I'm knitting my Icarus out of alpaca, and I'm in the middle of a ridiculous European heatwave... so maybe it's not all lack of inspiration. Next time I'll be sure to pack summer knitting!

How do you all stay focused? I feel like the internet and all these blogs (and I'm sure once I'm on Ravelry) are almost giving me a bit of Knitter ADD. And, I love it!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why Ravelry Makes Me Droooool...

Ok. I am already in love with Ravelry, and I haven't even gotten my invitation yet.

I found their Sneak Peek website (go take a look if you haven't already, I can wait) today, and fell madly in love with:

a) The Stash Notebook has a grid view. I think in grids, charts, spreadsheets, and matrices. I'm already in love. As much as I thought it was silly that our substitute math teacher in grade 11 wanted to be a fax machine when he grew up so he could play with matrices all day, I totally get it. I think I should be a fax machine when I grow up, too.

b) The Stash Notebook OUTPUTS TO EXCEL!!!!!!!! See point a. I love this excel stuff.

c) There's a Project Details page which will force me to record important details (such as: what magical needle size I used that differed wildly from what the pattern suggested, and why can't I remember so I can make it again?)

d) Ravelry doesn't replace a blog, it supplements it. Like the cliché saying about what a man is supposed to do for a woman: "He doesn't complete you, he complements you."

e) I'll be organized! And it's fun to organize yarn... even if it means owning up to my stash. This could mean destashing... in fact, it probably should!

f) I'll be inspired! The fact that it's so easy to see everyone else's versions of the same project blows my mind. Sorry, Google Image Search, I'm not going to be needing you much more.

g) Designers I love are on it! This includes the designer of my Icarus shawl, Miriam from MimKnits!!! How cool! I've already found another shawl of hers that I'd love to knit: The Cleopatra Stole, which will be published in Sensual Knits, in Winter (January?) 2008. Yum.

So, dearest Ravelry, please send me my invite! I'll be really good, I promise!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Now, I have been lucky enough to get my mum back into knitting. She and I went to an LYS in Toronto recently, where we were looking for yarn and a pattern so she could knit a baby sweater. Upon finding a pattern she liked, she then went to the suggested yarn, and didn't like any of the available colours. But she did like another yarn.

My response was for her to choose the yarn she loved, and then find a pattern that would work with it. "No!!!!!!" came a voice from the corner of the store, "you can't do it that way. You HAVE to choose the pattern first!"

Now, I understand the logic here. Not following this school of thought can lead you to end up with a lovely stash of yarn waiting for a pattern. (I have lots of this... a few skeins allocated to become "a hat", "a shawl", "socks", whenever I find the perfect pattern. And I like it this way, as frustrating as it sometimes is to look at a few skeins and think, "if only I knew what to do with you.")

However, I think that knitting for me is primarily about the yarn, and then the pattern only comes second. Of course I'm only going to knit patterns I like, and I substitute yarns freely, but I am first of all inspired by the yarn! Maybe this is the budding designer in me, or the fact that I'm a fibre-a-holic, but I think both ways are equally valid.

In fact, I have been inspired both by yarn-first, and by pattern-first:
1) I saw the pattern for Birch, and knew I had to knit it in something Kidsilk Haze-y. It had to be red. It worked out perfectly.

2) I saw the green Misti Alpaca laceweight, and knew it had to be a shawl. I found the Icarus pattern. Again, perfect.

I think that my yarn-first approach may work best for certain knits, like hats, shawls, scarves, and socks. Sweaters probably would be better off choosing the yarn first. But I don't always want to. If I see a skein of yarn I like, it's coming home with me... and if I'm smart, it'll be in appropriate amounts for a project (like enough for a shawl, or socks).

So knitters, what do you think? Is this sacriligeous, crazy, inspired?
Which way are you inspired?
Do you think the crazy LYS lady was right to yell at me for advising my mother in such a reckless way?

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

I'm baaaack

Hello, knitters!
And greetings from Graz, Austria! I'm here doing a singing program for the summer, and it's divine in every way (except maybe the lack of vegetarian or low-salt options!). I thought you might like a little shot of the Rathaus (City Hall), to get a feel for where I am.

I'm doing so much singing here, and I'm surrounded by music almost every minute of the day. It's important to keep balance in one's life, especially as a singer. One's performances are most influenced by your interpretation; in order to have a personal interpretation, one must live life and be inspired! Knitting definitely inspires me, so I have a good excuse to have some "me-time" while I'm here. Besides, I just don't feel like me if I don't get to knit!

I have returned from the land of "grad-school = no-knitting", and have even restarted my Icarus Shawl! Of course, as it is unblocked lace, it has the distinct quality of looking like "cat barf". Bear with me, it definitely is growing, even though it is mainly stockinette. I have just officially determined that I'm at 20% complete. How fantastic!!

The pattern itself is very interesting: it's mainly stockinette, but every 7 stitches there's a little k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk thing going on. This means that it's interesting enough to keep it from being mindless (TV) knitting, but it's not quite interesting enough to feel like much other than stockinette. And of course, it's in ever-increasing rows, so I'm trying not to be defeated by it.

As I don't think it's going to be particularly good Blog Fodder for a while (unless you enjoy watching paint dry), I've brought another treat with me to Graz. This is the lovely koigu KPPPM, that I bought with my dear knitty friend, Lisa at her fabulous LYS, Cloth and Clay, in Waterloo. I've called it my "Sunshiney Koigu," because the colourway is just so sunny and makes me smile. It's destined to be socks, (I miss knitting socks!), but I think I need to do some swatching to decide which socks. I really prefer koigu variegated yarns in plain stockinette, but I think I might need some Jaywalkers, knit toe up for myself!!!

As you may know, since Linzknits has been on hiatus, Blogger has added labels (like "tags" in LiveJournal) to their system, so I'm going to be deciding about going through and labeling old posts, and then getting rid of my seventy-five-million journal system. Or I might start over. We shall see.

It's good to be back, not just writing my own posts, but reading all my favourite blogs. It feels like I've come back to old friends. And I know I've come back to lots more inspiration. I love it.

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