Saturday, 22 March 2008

Knitting Circles

Having completed the first panel of my throw, I've developed a version of diagonal moss stitch to do a larger section. This has forced me finally to venture onto circular needles, in order to support the large number of stitches (200). Apart from a moment when I only had 199 (= misery) and some slight frustration about not being able to find bamboo circulars in the right size, this has been a real addition to my knitting world over the past fortnight. Although I'm using them to knit rows not rounds, there are still substantial benefits. The weight of the knitting is nicely balanced as it grows, it's a neater "package" to carry around on my weekly commute and I can spread it out to look at it, which isn't possible when it's all stuffed onto straight needles. My cat is happier, too, as I don't jab him with my needles when we're curled up on the sofa together of an evening.
By coincidence I've been reading a lot about Elizabeth Zimmerman's enthusiasm for circulars this week and there was also a good letter in this month's Knitting asserting their benefits. The writer was keen to promote a vision of knitting garments that is not about knitting, then blocking out, five flat pieces and sewing them together. I can go along with that as the cardigan I've been designing is still languishing in its basket waiting to be progressed. I don't know why I didn't begin using circulars for that project and why I've felt scared to try them out. There's something very strange about these blocks we put on our creative and artistic endeavours, which leads me back to take a look at such helpful books on this subject as Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and Skolnik and MacDaniels' The Knitting Way, which I've mentioned before. There's an odd juxtaposition of fears around both success and failure, somehow, which I've experienced but don't really understand.
Circles have been in my mind in other ways this past couple of weeks, with a very nice meal out with my knitting group, a successful recycling of some of my furniture to a member of the group, and a quick break from my throw to knit a pair of socks. Have also had a link with the worldwide Knitting Circle, with a lovely e-mail from Donna Druchunas, author of Arctic Lace, giving me permission to sell the scarves I've knitted from her book as long as I give her the design credit. Of course, Donna, and many thanks!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Obsessed with moss

Another fortnight has gone by - how? Lots of work preoccupations and, last week, several trips to the ballet, including my first visit to Covent Garden, which was wonderful. Meanwhile I've been continuing to work on my moss stitch throw and have nearly completed one panel strip. I'm quite pleased with the effect - am rather obsessed with these mossy colours at the moment - and think it succeeds in looking like the Shetland picture I posted last time. Now I'm experimenting with other moss stitch based panels to go alongside it.

My cardigan design has rather run aground, I think for several reasons. I've finished the fronts and the back and can't quite work out the best way to do the three-quarter length sleeves. There also seems to be a problem with the fronts not quite matching because the fabric has been pulled too tight on the side where I've changed colours doing the slip ribbon stitch. This has happened before when I've been doing coloured stripes and the thought that I could have avoided this if I'd knitted the project on circular needles is providing quite a lot of inertia at the moment. I'm also really enjoying working on the throw and trying out different samples and ideas and want to concentrate on that for now. This means that I've not been practising spinning either, although I have another session booked with Carole for this week. I've always been concerned about setting aside time to learn to spin when there's so much I want to do with knitting and this is proving to be the case at the moment. I need some incentive, like a sense of making progress from my current complete incompetence at the task!

Meanwhile my Tuesday knitting group is one year old this week and we're having an anniversary dinner. Like the time between these blog entries I can't quite get my head round that a year has gone so fast. It's been such a great addition to my working week, the Tuesday night stop off on the way home to catch up with everyone's news and latest projects.