Monday, July 03, 2006

A not so photo-filled update

Lets see, where to start. My cat was being really cute last night, as I started cleaning my room at about one in the morning while playing one of my favorite movies, Storm of the Century. My room had finally become unbearable to live in. Even the paths made through the mounds of rubble were being encroached upon. Of course, I got tired of cleaning it several hours later, so while it's better, its still not a hundred percent clean.

I managed to take some pictures of my three new additions to my Knitting Library: Knitting Nature, Sweater Design in Plain English, and the Best of Knitter's: The Great American Aran Afghan.

Let's start with Knitting Nature. This is a great book, and I love a lot of the designs. The book is split into several different sections, all based off of a different geometrical shape. Some of the shapes are spheres, hexagons, and pentagons. Then all the patterns in that chapter follow that geometric theme. What I like the most about this is that all the designs are different, and I've never seen any designs similiar in all the other patterns I've looked at both in books and on the net. I'm dying to make a lot of these designs, like the Phyllo Yoked Pullover, Honeycomb Henley, Turbulence U-Neck Pullover, and the Ogee Tunic. My sister wants me to make her the Sunflower Tam.

Sweater Design in Plain English is a fantastic resource with all sorts of information which will make creating sweaters a lot easier, like basic anatomy (neck at an angle, different body shapes with which kind of sweaters are flattering, etc), as well as tons of math on how to adjust sweaters/get them to fit your every curve exactly. She also talks about choosing the right yarn, color, and pattern stitch, estimating how much yarn you'll need, figuring out whether the sweater will fit before actually making it, as well as 13 patterns and complete walkthroughs on each one. I know it seems like any other sweater design book out there, but it isn't. This is a must-have for anyone who wants to design their own sweater or modify an existing commercial pattern. Although the picture makes the book look thin, this is actually quite a thick book.

My last new acquisition in the realm of knitting books is The Great American Aran Afghan. It's a gift for my mom. Not the book, but an afghan. I was going to keep it a secret then surprise her with it, but I figured since I'm going to put 8+ hours into each block x 20 blocks, I might want to get her input about color and yarn. Good thing too, because she wanted it like it is in the picture, a slightly off-white color, not as dark as beige. And how many yards do they want for this aran afghan? A normal afghan is about 1800 yards, and you normally add up to 25% of that for an intensively textured project. But they don't want 2250 yds, they want 4,000! Luckily for me, my mother insisted on paying for the yarn. It would have hurt me financially, but I did offer several times to pay for the yarn. We ended up not making it out of Snuggly DK, which is 75% acrylic 25% wool, but RYC Cashsoft DK. It's heavenly soft, 55% merino wool, 10% cashmere 35% microfiber. I love working with it so much more than Snuggly. Although Snuggly is good as far as acrylic goes, it is still acryllic, and I can tell.

In honour of the 4,000 yards needed, I bought five balls at my LYS, backordered 25 for a total of 30, although technically it only calls for 28.1 I wanted to be safe. My mother agreed with me.

This is the block I'm working on first. It's made in blocks which are all about 12" by 12", then they are seamed together and a cable border is added around the edge. For this block, I've already completed the garter edge and side cable, as well as the little bit of seed stitch and have started the main crossover cables in the middle. See? I have physical proof. :D

And in honour of starting a huge, intensive cabling project (::Cough:: aran ::cough) I thought I'd try some new cable needles. I cannot say enough in praise of these needles. I used to use these old Boye ones, but I had trouble with the stitches becoming the same size of the cable needle as soon as I tried to cross the cable. This was a big problem, since the cable needle is about the size of a US 1, and normally I was working the cable on US 7 or 8. So although I managed to work the stitches (with difficulty) it was a pain in the butt to do so. But these cable needles are heaven! They come in three different sizes (circumference) small, medium and large. Each have tapered ends which are a larger circumference than the middle, so the stitches do not slip off. They're bamboo, which also negates the slipperiness. However, although they hold the stitches quite well, it is easy to put the stitches on the cable needle and knit them off when I need to. I can now concentrate on reading the chart, and am not constantly fighting the needle. I am back in love with cabling!

In other knitting news:

My first fair isle project, a hat for Dulaan, is finished! Look at the pretty fair isle! In honour of finishing a project, I could justify embarking on the aran afghan. My noni bag is a few rounds ahead of where it was last time I posted, but I've been working on other things, like my new lace shawl from Folk Shawls. I love how it's turning out (closeup). Those things running through it are the lifelines, which have saved me multiple times.

I bought the last of the DB Cathay that I need for my shell. And while at the beach a few days ago, I started a cotton toe-up turkish cast on sock. It's going to move very slowly, as you know my feelings regarding cotton.


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