Friday, January 19, 2007

Goofing Off

There was no shortage of things to do this morning, the most urgent being to polish up this,in time for today's submission (fortunately, I can hand-carry it.)

There's reams of computer work I should be doing, a house which is in dire need of organizing, and a sadly neglected coil of fine silver casting longing glances at a pair of size 00 needles. Even the poor Dulaan sweater is merely inching along:

Instead, I went skiing.

Because really, what is the point of living here, if you're too busy to ski? Also the twenty pounds that have attached themselves to my waistline over the last year are not going to melt away by the power of wishful thinking. (Believe me, I have tested this method extensively and feel I may speak with authority on this point.) The conditions were fabulous, the crowds were minimal, being early on a weekday, and I feel so much better. Now back to work!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Work work work

I spent a goodly portion of yesterday turning a corner of my living room into a photo studio, so as to create a series of 8x10 glossies of my work. (Amazingly, the printer did not run out of ink, jam, or otherwise thwart this effort.) The portfolio gets turned in Friday, and then we see what happens. (You'll be the first to know if something happens.)

As a result, I didn't get much knitting done, so here's a wee bit of crochet from the other day:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I'm beginning to see a pattern to this business of creative entrepreneurship. There seem to be flurries of intense activity engendered by pop-up opportunities, followed by lulls during which one thinks all those long overdue daily life and paperwork things can now get done because it is going to be months until the next big push, and suddenly another opportunity comes flying in the window and the deadline is Three Days Away and everything goes on hold again. Not that I'm complaining! Opportunity is a very very good thing, with spin-off benefits like food and clothing. It just makes things feel perpetually scattered.

I have still managed time for some walking:

With the cold temperatures over the last week, Fitzsimmons Creek has begun to bloom with ice, and the effect is simply mesmerizing.

I have also managed to accomplish my daily knitting increments:


More swatching in Lopi:

I know, it's a bit skinny for a legitimate swatch - I wanted to play around with gradually contracting and expanding a cable as a shaping device, and I think the effect is quite satisfactory. This particular cable is a bit unusual - you place all the cable stitches on a dpn, rotate it 180 degrees and knit them off. The purl side is hidden in the twist and it makes for a nice little 3-D effect.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Daily Increments

It appears that my attempt to demonstrate, by way of that little photo documentary, that steeking is not so scary, has failed miserably. A round of tranquilizers, anyone? Seriously, it is fascinating what a mythical beast it has become in the collective modern knitting consciousness, considering its humble origins as a shortcut construction method for every-day work wear. Ah well, I'll make wider steeks on the Dulaan sweater. Those have a more reassuring look about them, since the cut edges are so far away from the working stitches.

Speaking of the Dulaan sweater, I did get a start on it over the weekend:Knitting time has been pared down considerably of late, and likely will be scarce for the next couple of weeks, but I figure if I set a goal of one motif per day (usually 5-8 rnds) the project will at least progress, albeit slowly. After swatching and measuring, I opted for 192 stitches around, which gives me lots of potential variety in terms of pattern repeats. I'm choosing smallish motifs from Sheila McGregor's "Traditional Fair Isle Knitting" as the mood strikes me.

I haven't forgotten to swatch, either:
This is the Teetering Ovals pattern from Barbara Walker's third treasury (another Christmas gift from my sweety) and I love it. I think this will be the centre panel on my cabled Lopi sweater, with the loose cables on either side. As for the remaining motifs - I'm still pondering and waiting for it all to gel, which is fine, since I've got plenty to work on in the meantime.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Steek Day

I managed to clear a space in the chaos that has reclaimed our condo (why is that battle never over?) and pulled out my sewing machine to do the deed. Better knitters than I have expounded upon hand stabilisation methods, including simply trusting the wool to grab itself; however, until I move on to authentic Shetland wool, I feel most secure with machine sewing. (Besides, if it was good enough for EZ....)

1. I got brave this time, and made a measly 4 stitch steek. (I've seen EZ use only two, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.) Below you can see the four stitch column, with pins inserted up the middle to ensure I don't lose my way on the dark gray yarn. (BTW, a couple of commenters and family members think this sweater is blue - does it look that way to anyone else? I'm wondering about my monitor.) I chose good cotton thread (no polyester sullying my wool), and the widest zigzag setting, with the centre mark of the presser foot aligned between the two stitches to be stabilised. (I haven't seen zigzag discussed as a means of stabilisation - I find it preserves the elasticity of the knit fabric, while also functioning similarly to two rows of straight sewing.)

2. I sewed down the two stitch column on each side, being careful to reverse for a short way at top and bottom to be sure to catch the edge stitches. Red denotes the cutting line, and green is the space in which stitches will picked up for the sleeve.

3. The deed is done!

See? Not so scary!