Thursday, 26 August 2004

Knitting gone wrong...horribly wrong.

Yesterday I saw what I consider to be the prime example of knitting being used for evil instead of good. It was being worn by a customer that I was expected to serve without reaction or comment. Below is a very crude artists' impression of what I saw:

(Imagine it being worn over a red, long-sleeved shirt, by someone who I swear was channelling Saffron from AbFab.)

I remember every detail, because I couldn't keep my eyes off it! I was astounded. I could barely function. I thought, this jumper has to be handmade, you just can't buy anything like this! But why would anyone make something like this, and then go and wear it out in public??

And you know what the most amazing thing was?

It was made in exactly the same wool, in exactly the same shade, as my very own Jumper from Hell that I recently exorcised from my past!! I'd recognise it anywhere. It was like a middle-finger-up from the goddess of knitting, frightening me into submission, reminding me not to get too cocky. Hmm!

Friday, 20 August 2004

Slowly but surely.

The cardigan is begun! I started on the back, and I've done 20 rows.

I have a very short attention span, and I'm obsessed with the Olympics at the moment, so Im usually only doing 2 or 3 rows per session. It's going soooooooo slowly! I'm also starting to think I'm going to run out of wool before the end. The first ball was gone in only 12 rows. By my count that means I'll be 1 to 2 balls short. I was planning to make a border in a separate colour anyway, so hopefully I can make that longer without it looking too stupid. The suspense is killing me.

Also, I'm having second thoughts about all ponchos being evil. This one is all right:

You just have to remember to wear something that matches.
(It's actually crocheted, not knitted, so perhaps that's the difference?)

Monday, 9 August 2004

This is it! Cardigan Time

Okay! I'm doing it! I'm going to make a garment!

I'd begun to despair, because I'd found the perfect wool on the internet, Panda Airwool, but
I couldn't find the colour I wanted anywhere. On Saturday I went to Spotlight (I could rant
for some time about how much I hate that place) to get some other things, and found
something even better!:

It's Panda Funky Chunky. It must be discontinued, because it's not mentioned on their website, and it was only $1.29 a ball (Which is the right price for me!). And it's a wonderful, light green colour. Not quite the 'mint green' I'd envisaged, but fantastic nonetheless.

Now I'm going to bore you with the details of design. Being a more voluptuous build, I have to adapt any pattern I come across, so I may as well do it in a way that makes sense and is efficient, and I tend to mix and match patterns. What I normally do is start out by choosing the wool, and deciding what sort of pattern I'm going to use, then deciding what size needles I'm going to use to get the desired effect. Then I measure myself, and work out how many stitches/rows I'll need to get it the right size.

Most traditional knitting patterns do it the other way round, i.e. they tell you what size it's going to be, what wool to use and how many stitches/rows to knit. All you have to do is work out what size needles to use to conform to it. This is fine if you fit the narrow idea of what a 'Size 10' or 'Size 12' "should" be. Or a 'large' or 'small' hand, for that matter.

I find the whole idea of knitting this way constricting and superficial. I know a lot of people can't/don't want to go into design, which is fair enough. Honestly, I'm not really doing much more than cutting and pasting. Plagiarising, you could even say. But the whole point of handmade garments is that they should fit perfectly, so why not make them that way?

For this cardigan, I want to take the one-piece pattern from the Specialty Knitting Book, the booklet from the 1930s I saw at the State Library, and then chop the arms off. :) This is for practical reasons, because I'd have to use circular needles for the longer parts with the arms, to accommodate the large number of stitches on the needles. I bought some and tried using them, and I hated them! So I'm chopping the arms off, and just doing the front and back in one piece. Then I'm going to pick up stitches on the shoulders and knit the arms from the top down. That way I'll have just as little sewing to do at the end, plus I'll have more control over how long the arms are to be.

I think I'll underestimate the measurements, especially the length. The number of times I've read on other blogs that other people's finished pieces are longer than they're supposed to be, in addition to my own experience with the erstwhile Jumper From Hell, makes me think that pieces often come out larger than expected. Which makes sense when you think about it - the greatest property of knitted fabric is that it stretches. Even it if ends up a little too small, I can always stretch it. How can it go wrong?

Wish me luck!

Friday, 6 August 2004

No news is good news.

All things knitting have been going along very slowly these last few weeks: basically, the spirit is willing, but the fingers can't be arsed.

However, last night I got my fluffy dice up to the stage where they can be stuffed. I can't wait to buy the stuffing and finish them off! I guess that's why I mostly do small projects - you get more things finished more quickly.

Plus, I discovered something I'd made years ago that I'd forgotten about - a pair of legwarmers! I've added them to my Finished Projects page.

More news when there is some...