Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cool knitty things...

Not an awful lot to write about as the WIPs are top secret. I will say this though; post-it notes don't have enough stick and now I've lost my place in a lace pattern and am sad.

And also this; Noro is beautiful - I have only ever used it for armwarmers or hats though, and have discovered that joining Noro 'seamlessly' involves lots of cutting of yarn and teeny tiny balls....

Perhaps I can use them to make a rug similar to the one pictured below, on Both Textile Constructions. Found by the boy, the rug (they also make bags and cushions) is constructed using felt balls all stitched together. Me - I would have had the patience to make perhaps a necklace at most. An entire rug though?! It is very pretty though,and the bags are cool too. I imagine quite sturdy.

The mural above is from this guy - also found by the boy. I'm not sure that the boy actually does 'work', rather just surfs the web for YouTube videos of stupid people blowing up petrol stations and the like. But he does stumble across some knitty gems in his travels!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Teami Daisuki

Teami Daisuki
Teh-ah-mee -> hand knitting
Dah-e-suk-e -> like very much
I like hand knitting very much!

I have been going to Japanese lessons with the boy for the past couple of months as we are planning a trip next year.

Obviously I am getting my priorities right and trying to locate the biggest and best craft and yarn shops in Japan. Our sensei doesn't seem to be touching knitting at all so far ... maybe next week.

In the meantime, the latest Interweave Knits magazine (Winter 2006) I ordered last week arrived containing a fantastic article by Amy Singer ( editor) It explained that Japanese knitting patterns basically follow a chart - which I am familiar with now. I'm working on a secret WIP using a chart.

The only problem is that Japanese patterns tend to use Kanji. There are 3 types of character sets in Japanese - I have got Hiragana, and Katakana is the same 'alphabet' but with different characters.

Hiragana and Katakana follow a kind of alphabet - there is a symbol for sounds such as a, i, u, e, o, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, na, ni, nu, ne, no etc. - With a few exceptions this is pretty much it. So wherever we see Hiragana (and soon Katakana once we learn it) we will be able to 'say' the characters and then be able to look them up the Japanese-English dictionary that will be no doubt superglued to our persons for this trip!

Kanji however ... well that's a whole other ball game entirely. And there are thousands of these characters. Japanese words tend to be a of mix Kanji and the Kana (Hiragana and Katakana). Therefore, we could maybe transliterate 3/4 of a word and there will be a Kanji symbol somewhere that throws a spanner in the works. No looking that up in a dictionary.

And Japanese knitting patterns are no exception, until .... ta-da! The Basics of Japanese Knitting website! I'm so relieved! I might not be able to deal with a menu, but as long as I can deal with a yarn ball band I'm happy!

If you look at the site the characters for wool - there are two entries for wool. The first has Katakana characters and the second has Kanji characters. *gulp* English wool is written entirely in Kanji, whereas Shetland Wool is written in Katakana. Why? I'm not altogether sure at this stage - maybe Japanese Stage 2 I will understand better.

There was also a fab guide to shopping on Amazon Japan - woo!

Sayonara for now!

edit: I forgot to mention - during the break in the Japanese evening class a woman across the room got out her knitting! I was so excited and wished I'd brought mine. Too shy to go over and talk to her though!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thug knitting

It's the weekend - and to celebrate I ordered the latest Interweave Knits from Angel Yarns. I was in there buying Addi Turbo metal straights to try out and felt I should make the postal charges worthwhile ...

That is if I don't receive a sodden magazine. I checked the
Royal Mail's complaints page after last weekend's sodden yarn parcel. Their complaints page basically says tough pants stupid sucker we so sorry to you valuable customer!

In the course of my work I occasionally very rarely come across an official publication of interest to me. It was the publication of the
Responses to a consultation on a Review of the British Wool Marketing Board. If you are interested take a look, there are some interesting points made.

Supporting local industry is important for Scotland in my opinion. I'd rather spend more and support local industry, than buy cheap and support corporations. Unavoidable in today's society, but every little helps in my opinion.

The boy sent me this. I love Banksy's work, and now he has illustrated knitters! Yay! I like it because although (as many non-knitters stereotype) it is older women knitting, they are rocking!

And that's about me for this post, except for this;
On the way home last night, dark, raining, stuck in nose-to-tail gridlock commuter traffic next to the railway line. My mind full of the myriad things needed to accomplish before saturdays stall, Christmas knitting, Japanese lessons, work stress etc. etc. I saw what looked to be the car wash building on fire - huge enormous plumes of smoke billowing into the sky.

... and then a slow-moving steam train chugged into view. A steam train! I don't know that I've ever seen one before - it had such a huge amount of smoke billowing forth and looking into the windows there were those little rooms for people to sit in.

It made me feel better about everything whirring around my mind, and made me realise that it's OK if I don't get everything finished - slow down...

(Only 3 hours and 15 minutes til I can knit again)

Monday, November 13, 2006

An FO!

The Hat-Shaped Hat! It is indeed hat-shaped! Or head-shaped... anyways - I'm particularly pleased with the top - it's exactly the icicly-snowy vision I had in mind. (See below post for pre-knitted up hat kit.)

And below ... yet more magazines [since this picture was taken I bought Simply Knitting... - I have a problem and I admit it. I, Elaine, am addicted to buying knitting magazines and cannot stop. There! I said it!

... and in other knitting news ... the project with the prettiest yarn that I cannot speak of is hard going well. Thanks to Rosie and my granny for their help explaining what happens when 2 strands of DK are knit together - chunky yarn. Too thick for what I have in mind, and so it is being knit in DK after all.

About 2 inches into it and I realised that the emergency metal needles [circa 1960s probably] that I had impatiently grabbed to cast on were leaving black marks on the prettiest yarn! Gah!

Bamboo needles and take 2.

The Harry Potter hoodie has been put down due to mystery project and also a sisterly request for a scarf for Christmas. Whilst I stated that I would never knit for a non-knitter again, my sister has lovingly worn the Noro hat I knitted her last Christmas and has shown the appropriate amount of gratitude to receive more knitted gifts.

(The boy is also not included as he is there with me every expletive step of the way and appreciates my efforts.)

My granny has recently joined the internet revolution and so I will state publically an enormous thank you! for the black out-sized cable-knit cardi that I desired a few years back in my 'gothy' student phase. It must have been a nightmare to see the cables in the black yarn, and as a non-knitter at that time there is no way I showed an appropriate appreciation for the efforts put in. I love it and still wear it! AND now I know how to wash it safely :-)

Hat-shaped Hats

I got my delicious hat kit - made to order by Lilith and some extra yarn. See above for finished hat. I love it - such pretty packaging! Look what happened to my extra yarn though! Standing outside in the pouring rain, pacing and waiting for my driving lesson and the Postie man arrives...

With a sodden packet, delivered exactly as photographed! I screeched 'Aah! My yarn!' in his face ... which made him think I was a raving lunatic and he turned on his heel; "sorry hen" drifting over his shoulders! *humpf* I didn't have time to pursue the matter as my driving instructor arrived.

I'm still uncertain about whether to tell the Post Office. I mean it was torrential ... and the yarn was OK once it dried. Still ... we should be able to write 'contains yarn' on a parcel and it should be assigned to 'Yarn delivery' which would involve arriving in a waterproof backpack worn by a fluffy tame alpaca.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Weekend

Me and the boy were at Loch Lomond this weekend so not much knitting content.

I bought some stunning yarn online that I can neither photograph, nor rave about as the intended recipient is a reader of my blog.

I do have a couple of questions though - if a DK yarn is doubled up is it then an aran weight? If the suggested needle size is 3.75 for the DK is there a formula for knowing what the suggested needle size of 2 strands of DK? Or do I need to gauge and stop trying to find the lazy route out?

So I did do a bit of ballwinding as it arrived in 3 skeins - 350 yards per skein! I really really need a swift [hint hint!] as, although my ball winder has been described by a member of Glasgow Stitch n Bitch as the 'Rolls Royce of ballwinders', it is still sometimes hard going.

The problem is that a device such as a ball winder makes me want to go fast, but sitting with an opened out skein on my knees and winding from there forces a slow progress. Any attempt at speeding up results in the start of a tangle - especially with the fibre blend of this particular yarn for some reason!

It's hard going - the tangling of yarn, the slowness of winding, and the precarious-ness of the opened out skein on my knees, combined with a cat getting ready to pounce on my knees ... All of these make me want to grab the yarn and yank at the tangle, boot the cat and scream a murderous rage ... and yet I must sit there still, breathing deeply and calm myself. To do anything else will only worsen the situation.

And the closer I get to the end [as with nearing the final rows of a project] the faster I begin to wind - the tangling begins ... reign it in ... Slow down... 1 skein down, 2 to go.

No baking this week but a homemade cake none-the-less. This is a cherry cake from the Farmer's Market at Loch Lomond - we also got some Aberdeen Angus Beef burgers [Well Bred, Well Fed and Well Hung according to the logo!] and some Salmon.

Having a stall of my own has made me realise the importance of buying locally and supporting the community.

A view from the edge of the Farmer's Market, next to the Loch Lomond Aquarium [picture above of some jelly fish]. The Aquarium was fantastic - especially the otters. There's Mona, Rona and Shona [mum and 2 babes]. I was pretty indifferent to otters before - the boy once took me to the otter viewing park in Skye - over an hour in a chilly hut watching waves ... no otter was sighted and I took it personally.

Seeing them romp about up close and personal was amazing - they're so cute! Like wet kittens - they can open monkey nuts with their bare hands too.

The aquarium itself was one of the best I've been to - the displays, colour and lighting had all been so carefully thought out to give maximum impact. The Finding Nemo Kingdom was brilliant and there was a baby sting ray in with the sea horses - only born the day previous.

And that was my weekend. A day off yesterday to work on crafty stall stuff means my post is a day late.