Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Farewell to yarn

Knitwrong is taking an enforced absence from the internet in order to effect the sanity-shattering relocation of the Webbo family from from Sheffield to Bath. By Sunday. (And I know that this is not so much an "announcement" as a "statement of self-evident fact", but I thought I should put some gloss on the cryptic pronouncements of the last post.)

Moving means purging. I am taking uncharacteristic pleasure in divesting myself of Stuff - that inchoate accretion of objects which seems untouchable until one is faced with the prospect of hoiking it into a van and lugging it across the country. Goodbye, books I never really liked! (Lunar Park, The Human Stain, Infinite Jest, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - you will not mock me from my bookshelf in Bath.) Goodbye, ugly vase we got for Christmas and kept in a cupboard! And goodbye, amazing jumper from a charity shop in Oxford! I bought this out of a curiosity to see Fair Isle close up, a love of the colours, and a fascination with the label (it was handknit in Oxford, apparently). I am re-donating because it's so warm it makes my face sweat even in midwinter, yellow makes me look peaky, and the floats are brazenly too long (several have snapped and it's beyond me to fix them). Oh, and it's got drop shoulders which give me monkey arms.

As this is like my fiftieth post or something, I suppose I could be ungenerous enough to give it away as a prize. But I'm not even resourceful enough to think of a competition right now. Perhaps by post #51, I'll have come up with some decent loot and a way for you to win it.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Getting down to it

Here it is, just in time to avoid getting rumbled as not-a-proper-blogger: the obligatory trying-on post. Shiny face? Check. Unflattering pose? Check. Unbrushed hair? Check. Well-fitting jumper? Check, check, check! The only reason you're not getting this via the bathroom mirror is that my boyfriend nobly stepped into the breach. (I say nobly, but looking at the state of me, I can't help suspecting that his motives consisted less of chivalry and more of, "let me watch MotD in peace, woman.")

In other things-down-to-which-I-should-have-gotten news, the ever-lovely Seahorse gave me one of those Rockin' Girl Blogger awards at the beginning of the week. Coming from someone who blogs with such insight and eloquence, and who reads blogs with such diligence and generosity, this is definitely an appreciated honour. It also means I get to come up with my own list of people who rock:

Caroline M, because she spins and knits with a technical aptitude and eye for colour I can but dream of, and writes it all up in a self-deprecating manner which belies her many talents, but not her modest and generous personality.

at Half-Assed Knitblog, because I will never tire of her knits' propensity to turn into monsters. Also, because she has been knitting for about the same length of time as me, but has a design sensibility (and an ability to put that sensibility into actual yarn-y practice) which I find inspirational.

Badger. She makes me laugh, she knits neat stuff, she has some entertaining business with a soft toy. As do Little Missy and Wheezy (well, barring the soft toy bit, but with a bonus point for Wheezy because I do so often feel the truth of her blog title).

And finally, an honourable mention for my New Favorite Blog, which is neither by a girl nor girly: my friend Joel's blog about fighting, which is more entertaining and more humane than I would ever have expected a fightblog to be.

It's been a busy week of life-changing decisions, extensive travel, and lots of catching up with friends and meeting new people, so my blogging and commenting game has been weak. I can't say when I'll be back to full strength: in personal and professional terms, August is a wicked month for me. But even if I'm keeping quiet, I'll be around, and keeping in touch one way or another. My email is up there, so feel free to use it.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Raglan, I have had to kill you

You do not do, you do not do, anymore, black shoe raglan, in which I have lived like a foot torso for thirty years five minutes, before I realised that the ease I'd worked into the pattern was unnecessary. But I'm not at the "raglan, raglan, you bastard, I'm through" stage: I've frogged the yoke, and I'm halfway through reknitting it. Which means that you all get a (temporary) reprieve from the obligatory trying-on shot. And you don't want to see another picture of a heap of yarn, or a could-be-anything mass of fabric sitting on a circ, do you? So let's have a look at something pretty.

This is the fabric for Matilda Jane. Get Knitted took my garbled email instructions, and found me a great match to my Wool Cotton from their Amy Butler range. Unfortunately, my sewing machine has packed up, so this has to be forwarded to my sister, who will run it up into a lovely ribbon for the lacing panel. And once I've got that sorted, and found my buttons and attached them, and sewn up my hems, that will be that for Matilda Jane. I'm almost resisting the last stage of finishing because I'm so very happy with this cardigan as a work-in-progress.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Compounding the problem

Lilknitter asked me a question in the comments to my last post: what is a compound raglan? And so, I'm going to attempt to answer her - even though I'm wildly unqualified to do so, seeing as I'm currently knitting the yoke of my first ever self-designed project, and I'm not even using compound shaping for that. With that proviso out the way, explanation ahoy. Oh, and before I start, the credits: compound shaping is an idea found in Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English, and if you really want to get a handle on this nifty technique, you should buy the book. (Indeed, if you want to get a handle on anything related to the design and construction of knitwear, it's probably a good idea to buy the book; it's certainly taught me a remarkable amount.)

Compound raglan shaping is a simple variation on standard raglan shaping. (Because I like to work my raglans in one piece from the top down, I'm going to describe the shaping from that direction: it would of course work perfectly well from the bottom up.) Where standard raglan increases would have you increase each side of the "seam" markers every other row, in a compound raglan, the increases may be planned so that (for example) you work them every other row for a certain distance, then every fourth row for a while after that, and then every other row again. In this way, the shaping can be made to accommodate whatever armhole depth and arm and body measurements you happen to be working to, and you the knitter need never contend with bagging and sagging where you do not want it.

For an example of compound raglan shaping in action, have a peep at Eunny's sweater for Jamiesons. I'm going to look at it anyway, just because it's beautiful. If there are no posts for a couple of days, you'll know I've been electrocuted while licking the laptop screen.