Wednesday, May 30, 2007

By Jove I think she's got it!

Huge shout of appreciation to Kathleen for leaving a link to some excellent crochet videos in my comments! Crochet definately seems less catered to on the interweb so if you have any funky links please please leave them in my comments.

The videos combined with this Craftster post made me sigh out loud. As Kathleen had suggested when I showed her my drunken 'v's, I was in fact crocheting slip stitches. Through no fault of my own I might add - the Happy Hooker book has a fatal flaw; the single crochet instructions are actually instructions for slip stitch.

So I have mastered slip stitch, and for those that wonder what happens if you crochet slip stitch: you get a sideways knitted fabric...

[above] You can literally see where the penny dropped. Thanks also to Ella at the Knit n' Stitch for keeping me right. Once I'd mastered the first basic stitch it was time to address those row ends and beginnings ...

Ta-da!!! 20 stitches of Single Crochet [Double Crochet UK], Half-Double Crochet [Half-Treble UK], Double Crochet [Treble UK], and Triple Crochet [Double Treble UK] - woohoo!

...and after that I began to run. A circle [bit of trouble with the row ends/beginnings though - Happy Hooker didn't mention whether to keep going round or to turn back]

The ultimate in crochet mastery; the Granny Square! I can't believe I made these! They are so funkylicious! Now I'm addicted to squares and will probably make enough for a blanket before to long. They are so quick and fab for using up spare bits of yarn. This is all cheapo acrylic for practicing.

I may need some help with sewing them together if anyone at the meet knows how to do this?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Knitty love and Crochet hell

I can't believe it's been a fortnight since my last post.Various things have kept me away; Blogger, the camera, lack of writerly mood, the lack of excitement in photographing Icarus - stunning, and so exciting, but at the moment it's really just a clump of lace knitting on circs.

But mainly my hand has been giving me trouble. It's been tingling, and 'nerve-jumping' for a while, causing me problems with knitting [gah!], keeping in touch with friends [email & texts] and gaming. All of which has made me blue. Honestly, I don't know how people can just veg out in front of the TV and do nothing - tried it, and turned into a crabby person within 2 hours.

I mentioned my plan to restrict my knitting/gaming at work. My colleague said 'yeah, don't knit for a week or so, that should help'. I meant I wasn't going to knit for 24 hours. A week! A full entire endless week with no knitting *shudder* Not possible.

So I did everything else. Swapped my mouse over, adjusted seat, monitor etc. a-la
University workplace guidelines, stopped slouching and sat up in my seat. I've walked lots [over 12000 steps the day I walked to K1 Yarns after work] in attempt to 'fix' the twinge in my back which is probably causing the hand strain.

Everything is feeling a bit better now - I haven't felt the tingling for a few days. Clearly my sedentry hobbies are not helping. The fear of being unable to knit or game appears to have motivated me to take exercise where every other motivational tool has failed. I don't care about floppy muscles or an inability to run to catch the bus.

I DO care VERY MUCH about being unable to knit though...

Thought I'd try my hand at crochet ... the top attempt began as a rectangle and ended up 'freeform' to get used to the crochet actions.

My second rectangle - a pair of lips! ... I started using stripes in a vain attempt to ensure I was using the correct 'v's with my hook. My 'v's are drunken and slope off to one side - I have no idea why this is so. Trying to work it out caused me to flip a bit though... I tried to demonstrate to the boy how knitting is the art of giving one pointy stick a stitch with another pointy stick, whereas crochet seems to be jamming the bluntest part of a hook directly into the fabric causing much yarn splittage and expletives.

The inability of the boy to understand and help led to further rage and a call to my mum; who offered to show me next time I visit [I'm sure she can't wait!] When I can't grasp something I tend to get all rage-ful, stressed and cross, which doesn't help. I learned knitting via the medium of rage, and it seems to have worked though ...

The thing that makes me cross is that this is my great-granny's hobby. And she was brilliant at it. So I feel like it should be built into my genes somehow in the way that knitting is. Hopefully soon I will be able to present an actual rectangle, that I can read and see the rows and stitches in, rather than a wooly mess.

I have been in the land of pattern-reading of late, since I wasn't able to actually knit much. So I bought a few mags, browsed the web and found some lovely patterns to add to the catalogue of Works in the Queue.

Toe-up sock pattern from Interweave Knits...

Summertime Tunic, also from Interweave Knits. You know the patterns you look at and just 'know' - like Central Park Hoodie? Well this is one of those - and there's even a KAL. Whoop! Love it. Love the simplicity of the pattern - this is a meetup pattern for sure.

Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's funky Colinette jumper from
Vogue Knitting - I adore this so much. Priced it at Colinette - £74!! Perhaps this will just stay as a picture then ...

In Oxfam I found this total gem of a Patons pattern book from the seventies;

I really want to make the jumper in Christmas green with white and red reindeer. I'm thinking Home Alone - the American Christmas with everything festive and themed - I need a Christmas jumper. The hat and mittens are a bit overkill though - esp. on a beach in summer....

This intarsia pattern is delicious - it was a man's jumper that was so vile Blogger probably would have rejected the image so I cropped it so that it wouldn't detract from the beauty of the pattern.

I love this librarian-type 3-quarter sleeve top - too cute!

Look at her retro serene-ness - the sleeves are fabulous!

And a final shot of the area where I live [next to Hampden Park, Glasgow] during the UEFA cup final. Both Spanish teams had to come to Glasgow to this weather, poor things.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Busy old week ...

It's been a busy week, what with Scottish election going on. It was busy for me as I work in an official publications library, so there was displays to put up and continuous updating required as the results trickled in. I was really pleased to see crowds of interested students around the displays reading the latest news on spoiled ballots, results etc. It made it all worthwhile.

On the other hand some of the students have been getting up to high jinks relieving exam stresses in the library - I came in this morning to find books wrapped in pairs of boys underpants [!] stuffed into the roof of the lift ...

And the Uni has put on a Pedometer Challenge - all staff signing up get a pedometer and those that show the most improvement could win a prize - it's all very compulsive, this step counting. There's all kinds of fancy technologies attached to this gizmo - for example, I've burned 1933 calories walking and walked 2.46 km - the life of a library assistant is quite active it would seem. The challenge begins next week.

Onto knitty content - does anyone know how many calories knitting burns *thinking of Excel spreadsheets and how much chocolate I could have if I exercise-knit*

Icarus is coming on well -although it's kinda 'saggy'-looking when photographed. The safety pin is where I have an extra yarn-over and absolutely no inclination to drop down and try to fix this. A darning needle and some yarn at the end will sort this out.

I read this blog and her happy accident helped me to see how 2 colours would work with Icarus. I have decided to do the same with mine- with this 'just burst into flames' scorching hot yellow colour.

Whaddya think? I may even add some amber-coloured Swarovski bicones to the ends as the designer Miriam demonstrates so clearly how to add them, and I think it might add a bit of weight [and sparkle] to Icarus.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Summery Icarus

It has been lovely these last few days in Glasgow - perfect sunny Icarus weather! I finally knat back the 4 rows to fix the problem above by 6pm on Friday. After dinner on Friday I sat back to resume when ... [click to enlarge the pic] if you look closely you will be able to see that I have knit 2 together on either side on the central line for two more lace knit rows below ...

What had taken 2 days of painstaking fixing has been done twice as much below. The boy saw me staring closely at Icarus and remarked that I looked as if I had been punched in the stomach...

... and so I decided that there were 2 options. Frog the whole thing [given the yarns' fusion capabilities this was not appealing] or try to fix it. I added an after-thought lifeline [yes I can hear how ridiculous and unlikely this is to work - but I was desperate!] and frogged back 5-ish rows.

Of course navigating the lifeline row amongst k2togs, yos and ssks was bound to be troublesome - especially as this is my first shawl. I learned ALOT about lace yarn fabric - including; how to rectify stitches picked up from the row above and the row below, how to k2tog, ssk using a crochet hook, how to add/remove yarn overs and so on.

Of course it shouldn't have worked - Karma should have punished me good for even trying such a thing as an 'after-thought' lifeline. But I was determined and - after many, many, many hours - it was fixed.

A lifeline has been added, and I will not knit Icarus at knitting meeting again - I have learned my lesson.

Such was the lovely sunniness yesterday that I took Icarus all to a grassy bit next to the Uni ...

... set up a wee area with iPod, strawberries, water and spent a happy hour lace knitting in the sun. Taking pictures of my own lap did draw a few curious looks ...

A final pretty shot of the tenements in Glasgow.