Monday, 21 January 2008

Versatile and Plasticky

That's me! I thought about redoing the quiz, but decided that in the interests of honesty I wouldn't.

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Acrylic.While you are very versatile, your plasticky countenance can be offputting. You are very good with children but can become a pill if left alone with them too long. You are very flexible but don't give in to manipulation.
Take this quiz!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Casting On - Thumb Method

I've always cast on stitches using two needles, the way I was taught as a child, but the pattern I am knitting specified the thumb method. I decided to be obedient to the pattern and learn a new trick. It worked ... thanks to the instructions I found here.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

A Woodland Pixie

I love this pixie-hooded cardigan - complete with bell on the hood - that Mrs. Pea knitted for her little boy.

Lucinda Guy

These pattern books by Lucinda Guy come highly recommended by Mary of By Hand, With Heart.

There are copies of both in our library system, so I need to decide ... do I order them now, or do I wait until I have finished some of the projects I already have planned?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Book Review: Cornish Guernseys and Knit-Frocks

Title: Cornish Guernseys and Knit-Frocks
Author: Mary Wright

I found this book Googling for guernsey patterns, and was intrigued by the title - I know Cornwall well as I had relatives there during my childhood, and would love to live there one day. Until finding this book I had no idea that there was a tradition of knitting in Cornwall, though given the importance of fishing and the sea it is no surprise that these hard wearing, weather-resistant garments were so popular. I was in luck, as our library system had a copy in their Reserve Stock, where it had sat neglected since 2000.

The book is partly a history of Cornish knitting, and partly a pattern book. It includes a basic pattern for a Cornish guernsey (known locally as a "gansey" or knit-frock), which can be adapted to use any of the twenty-one local pattern variations collected by the author, and another pattern for a Polperro Knit-Frock. It teaches the "how-to" of creating a Cornish guernsey, though only gives two sizes (smaller and larger adult). The sweaters are knitted in the round - traditionally on large stocking needles, though a circular pin would be easier for modern knitters. Unlike the traditional Guernsey, it begins with a ribbed welt rather than a garter stitch band. A sleeve gusset is knitted at the top of the round section, then the front and back are completed separately. The sleeves are knitted in the opposite direction, starting with stitches picked up from the armholes, and decreasing down to a ribbed band at the wrist. Worn cuffs and elbows could simply be unravelled and reknitted.

I would love to knit one of these, as much for the interest of following a traditional pattern as for the garment itself. Frangipani, a small business in Cornwall sells reasonably priced Yorkshire wool (£15 for a 500g cone) and a number of pattern books, including Mary Wright's.

Knitting Projects

I have a whole raft of knitting projects lined up for this year ... mainly for Little Cherub, who is at a great age to knit for. Little jumpers (sweaters) and cardigans for her don't take long to knit, and they use little enough wool that I can actually afford to knit using the yarn recommended by the pattern rather than a budget version.

I am already half way through knitting this little fur-trimmed jumper using Sirdar Snuggly and Funky Fur ...

I picked up some bright pink Sirdar Snowflake yarn in a sale bin a couple of weeks ago, and after trying and failing to adapt another pattern that used yarn with a completely different tension, have now ordered this pattern to make a little cardigan, and some sky blue Snuggly Bubbly wool to knit another using the original pattern.

I found a wonderful book at the library that has many, many patterns I would like to knit: The Big Book of Kids' Knits by Zoe Mellor. I like this so much I am tempted to buy it rather than keep renewing the loan. Thanks to a Christmas gift from my mother cotton yarn to knit this little jumper for summer is on the way ...

I am determined to tackle this long term project from the same book ... a knitted puppet theatre.

A puppet theatre that can hang from a door frame and be rolled up when not in use is far more practical for our limited space than a free standing one, and this looks so bright and appealing. Sizing isn't crucial, so any budget double knitting yarn should work. Even the puppets are knitted. I'm sure Star would love using this, and Little Cherub would get years of fun from it.

Unlike scrapbooking, knitting is something I can easily pick up and put down even with a toddler around, so I'm hoping I can get all these projects made this year. Another appealing aspect of taking up knitting again is that I am a good enough knitter to be able to knit while I read, which means I can keep up with both the Formation and Fun sections of my New Year's Resolutions simultaneously.