Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Year Knits . . .


While we're unrolling our plans for the year, as I began to do here (travel) and here (running), and while other bloggers are talking about online shopping (Les Soldes!, flannel pyjamas) or about what new crafty skills they want to master this year, I thought this might be a good time to show you the kit I've ordered from Jamieson and Smith of the Shetland Islands. I got an e-mail the other day telling me that my "order has been dispatched" -- and even that slightly different diction of another country's commerce gave me a little thrill, I must admit. (Not sure if it's quite as much as I get from the correspondence with Bompard over the cashmere sweaters I've ordered, but that's a different story).
This lap blanket/throw (and matching hat) doesn't just represent a lot of knitting, but for me signifies my determination to learn how to knit Continental style this year so that my left hand can share the yarn holding. Knitters among you, have any of you mastered this? Was the speed gained worth the frustration of the learning curve? And did your tension change problematically?

Whatever the outcome of my attempts to learn Continental, it's pretty obvious that however I knit this piece I will have a beautiful, beautiful wrap --- those different colours are the natural hues of the Shetland sheep!

Meanwhile, though, I'm finishing off a few projects started in the old year. The baby this little cardigan was made for is coming up on 3 months now and is apparently over 15 pounds, so speed is of the essence.
I bought the 5 buttons needed to complete it, then somehow lost one in the house somewhere. I suspect it will turn up as soon as I get the new one (which required a separate shopping expedition, that somehow resulted in yet another bag of yarn purchased!) sewn on. Nothing natural about the colours of this, when compared to the Shetland tones above, but the Dream in Colour worsted yarn is washable and sumptuously squishy, all the better to warm a little guy.
I've made a few of these sweaters before, all from kits put together by Toronto's Lettuce Knit a few years ago when I phoned them (from way over here on the other side of the country) after the Yarn Harlot featured her addiction to the Tulip Cardigan. I've made a few Tulips, but this is Rocketry, which does demand those buttons, unlike its sibling. . . .
So I've bought the thread, even picked up the last button, and will have this packed up by the end of the week.

And I'm ready for that Jamieson & Smith kit -- can't wait to cast on!

One last new project for 2013 to tell you about in an upcoming post. But what about you? Is the year beginning well for you? Any plans for the next few months to divert you from the darker days of winter?

36 comments:

  1. Adorable cardigan! That will be one bright and warm baby.

    And again, I'm in awe of your knitting skills. That top throw looks like a very ambitious project. I hope you'll show it off once it's done. (Love the sheep!!)

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    1. It looks trickier than it is, really, but there is a lot of knitting in it -- I suspect it's going to be quite addictive, though, watching the pattern grow.

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  2. Glad to see you're supporting our knitters! Just out of interest what do websites say in Canada & the US when they dispatch an order?

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    1. That it's been mailed or sent... (not as fun as "dispatched")

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    2. Thanks, K! I was actually going to ask other bloggers to chime in with the answer, as I don't do much online ordering other than books. .. And you've anticipated me, coming up with the answer I would have guessed at.

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  3. Where to start with this post?! Hattie is 15 pounds?? Ooooh, I LOVE fat babies with their rolls. When I was 4 months old, in 1970, I weighed 16 and the doctors were "very concerned". They put me on a diet, if you can believe such an atrocity. Ah, the good old days.

    On the topic of gathering intell about Continental knitting, I thank you in advance cuz I'm trying to do the same thing. I've heard that some people who can't get the tension right with Continental to save their lives, have no trouble doing it in colour work projects. Who can say why?

    I've taken a course on continental knitting and I've practiced (though not with much success, I regret to inform you). I wonder to what extent one's competence at working in one style is a hindrance to developing another style? I have really good tension with English style and my brain is having a lot of challenge switching over. Weirdly, I'm left-handed.

    I've got so many projects on the go, it's worrisome. I don't know which to write about on any given day. This schizophrenia is extreme, even by my standards :-)

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  4. Just jumping in quickly to say No! Hattie isn't 15 pounds yet -- that would be downright scary, right? The cardigan giftee is the baby of a friend . . .
    I'll follow up re Continental later when I catch a minute . . .

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    1. Now that I think about it, she's not 3 months. I just went off on a quick assumption.

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    2. As for the continental, thanks for the info. I tension my yarn, and throw it, in a mirror-image to continental, and I'm pretty damn fast, having been working this way for over 50 years (seriously!!)So I'm a bit anxious about trying to learn a different rhythm. On the other hand (ha!!), I do run into repetitive stress issues, so anything to use the knitting body differently should be good, right?
      And yes, you do have a wildness of projects going, mesmerizing to watch. . .

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  5. I too thought you were referring to Hattie! That baby cardi is scrumptious. The lap throw and hat look like they would be complicated to knit, but I am not a knitter.

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    1. I'm pretty excited about knitting them. . .

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  6. Oh that's a lovely sweater...
    almost wishing I could fit into it!

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    1. That's what one of my daughters said about the Tulip Cardigan (the sister sweater to this pattern). . . ;-)

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  7. What beautiful projects all!
    I'm needing some big painting right about now... The streets downtown were ULTRA depressing today.

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    1. Must be a big commitment, those big paintings -- just the cost of the canvas, getting it stretched, all that expensive paint! But creation is such an antidote to dull streets -- and January streets in a rainy city can be pretty dull.

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  8. Aren't baby things the best for instant gratification? All the kids in my life are too big for baby stuff now, but I do enjoy making them hats and mittens.

    I just posted my Fair Isle FO over at the blog, and will be putting it up on Ravelry soon. I'm going to try to learn to knit two-handed on my next tam, so maybe we can compare notes.

    Sorely tempted by Kate Davies' patterns -- especially her Bettie Mouat cowl. Must finish freelance projects so I have some money to buy new yarn!

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    1. They really are -- another friend just had a baby boy, and I'm thinking of casting on quickly. He's just 6 pounds so I've got some wiggle room. . . .
      Loved your FO! And it would be useful to have a fellow knitter learning two-handed to compare notes with.
      Wondering why I'm so late to the Kate Davies party -- such gorgeous knits, but the blog itself is wonderful as well.

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  9. I took a continental class at my lys. My tension is about the same but I am a really loose knitter anyway. ( I usually have to go down at least 2 needle sizes to get gauge). I try to practice continental when I have long stretches of stockinette to do but if I am doing any sort of pattern it is much easier to knit English style for me.

    My knitting goal for this year is to learn how to knit cables. I can't seem to manage the cable needle.

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    1. That's encouraging -- there is a class being offered at my LYS, but I just can't spare the time to attend during term, so I'm going to try to figure it out from a YouTube video. . .
      I'm not sure how long you've been knitting, but I suspect you'll get the cables down pat soon. Probably too early to ask if you've ever tried cabling without the needle (only on a small cable!)
      Are you on Ravelry? Perhaps we could "be friends" there. . .

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  10. I've tried to learn continental with very little success. Old dog and all that stuff I suppose. Thank you for sharing another resource for me to get lost in and drop a bundle :-)
    Just last week my hubs discovered me, mid stash organizing, (yarn everywhere) and proclaimed I must not need to purchase any new yarn for YEARS!
    Just where do they get silly ideas like that?
    Gorgeous little sweater. I need to post more to Ravelry but I'm too busy knitting!!
    **Yarn does not apply in the "less is more strategy" I'm applying to wardrobe and possessions. Yarn is not a choice, it is an addiction for me.
    Have a great week,
    Jennifer

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    1. I store my yarn in various baskets and bins in a closet in our TV room, so Pater probably has a vague sense of the depth and breadth of my stash, but I'm glad he has no idea what yarn can cost . . . ;-)

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  11. I haven't tried to learn Continental. When I was in Peru working with a women's craft group and teaching them some lace patterns, they knitted Continental and thought the way I knitted was hilarious!

    I haven't done any serious knitting for about 3 years - just haven't found the time and/or have been caught up with other things. This year I'm determined to finish a couple of jumpers (sweaters) that have been languishing in the Department of Shame, once the weather cools down.

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    1. I don't think I've ever gone more than a year (if that long) without knitting something, although often there would only be one or two projects a year. This latest popularity of the craft has definitely ramped up my activity -- there is just so much opportunity to share ideas with other bloggers/knitters.

      What a wonderful experience that must have been in Peru -- I had an instant image of you (probably erroneous) surrounded by Peruvian women, knitting and laughing . . . .even secondhand the (false) memory was joyous.

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  12. Carolyn from OregonJanuary 16, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I used to knit a lot about 30 years ago. Quit smoking and knit a sweater, usually just a vest, every month for several years. A colleague taught me continental knitting back then and, for me, it was well worth it. I knit a garter stitch scarf just to get used to it and get my tension right. I had naturally even tension - it wasn't quite as good with continental but it was good enough. I especially liked it for knitting in the round.

    Good luck!

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    1. Like you, my tension is naturally quite even, I think because of the way I wrap the yarn around my little finger, then across my hand, before throwing with the index. I remember how frustrating it was making the transition to this (much faster) method, about 10 or 11, so furious at my mom for insisting I learn it. And I've been grateful ever since.
      So I really hope that I have a similar experience with continental, and I must say that your experience is very encouraging -- thanks!

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  13. Climbing out of the doldrums here and finally getting around to catching up. Your energy and the way you grab hold of new projects is inspiring - I'll try to take some of it with me!

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    1. Today I'm flat out with that cold or 'flu, so perhaps there was too much grabbing hold . . . ;-) Here's hoping you continue to climb . . .

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  14. I wish I could knit or crochet but just never learned. Such a lovely sweater.

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    1. It's never too late. . . . although there are so many activities to claim our time, aren't there?!

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  15. Love your throw project. Absolutely fabulous! I have had a couple of goes at knitting continental style but found it so frustrating that I have given up. I do agree with you about the advantage of avoiding repetitive strain though. I tend to change to crochet when I begin to feel I have been knitting too much. I also find that yoga helps. You wouldn't think that you could do stretches for wrists and hands would you but you can! I have just found myself knitting some cable fingerless gloves and have moved onto a hat. This is exactly the sort of distraction I am always coming up with!

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    1. Yikes! I hope I have better luck with continental -- It's the two-handed I'm really interested in as it's obvious the Fair Isle would go so much faster.
      Do you do that stretch where the hands go under the feet so that the toes massage the wrists? so great!

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    2. I try to! Looks rather more impressive when my teacher does it but it has to be worth doing even my way!

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    3. ;-) Big difference between the way the teacher's poses look and mine on so many . . .

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  17. (Too many typos so deleted first try) What an elegant throw and impressive project! And the Lettuc Knits! I still have two exquisite fair isle cardis made by MIL, packed away awaiting the next lucky generation. Sometimes, I think it was I who introduced people to Bompard by mail, at least one of the very early cheerleaders. And am happy to have done so.

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    1. What a wonderful heirloom you have to pass along -- you are going to be such an awesome grandma.
      You are absolutely the one who introduced me to Bompard, and I'm quite sure Susan picked it up from you as well -- and we told two friends, and they told friends, and so on, and son . . . . .Seriously, if you could get a wee commission each time, you'd be piling on the cashmere! And I thank you very much for expanding my horizons -- so happy with each of my sweaters!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we?

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