Saturday, October 18, 2008

Climate-Appropriate Knitwear

I love my mother-in-law. I know that this goes against convention but hey, that's me. I'm a rebel.

So when I wanted to make something for her birthday, I wanted it to be really special. Last year, I had this crazy notion that I wanted to knit her a shawl. Looking back, this is crazy because I hadn't picked up my knitting needles in over ten years and had to go to the library to get a how-to book. Who knits a whole freaking shawl as a warm-up project? Also, I knit it out of acrylic. I know, not too classy but I wasn't the fiber snob that I am now. And she lives in the desert - Palm Springs California where winter is just one week long and it's not even a proper winter. She swears she used it when she would sit out on her patio at night. But I don't know... I think she's just trying to be nice.

Pattern: Sunspots Cardigan KK275 by Karabella
Yarn: KnitPicks Cotlin in Coral
Needles: US 7

The pattern uses a Barbara Walker stitch pattern called Sunspots. It's a fun knit - definitely not TV knitting. But so many errors in the pattern. Left and right are mixed up at one point and the charts for the decreases are completely wrong. I searched Karabella's website for errata and when I couldn't find anything I emailed them. Two weeks later I got a response telling me to email Berta K (the designer) directly. Nothing. So I winged it. I got out my trusty Stitch Motif Maker 3 and charted the decreases myself. The first chart I did is a little wonky although it didn't make much of a difference in the end result. It was so frustrating that for a pattern I actually spent money on I couldn't get any help on the errata. But I do have to say that by the end of this project, I was feeling pretty confident. Yeah, I got skills. I got mad skills.

As for the yarn, I had knitted with Cotlin before and liked it but I'm not sure if it was the best yarn for this project. I chose Cotlin because I wanted to keep in mind that the recipient lives in the desert. Cotton and linen are ideal fibers for warmer weather but the end result didn't drape as well as I would have liked. Too stiff. Maybe it will relax with wear.

My mother-in-law loved it. She called the Yarn Widower right away (I rarely answer my cell phone and often forget to turn it on). I knew he was talking about the cardigan when he said, "It beats the crap out of anything Nan used to knit." Cheeky.

Here's a crappy picture of me modeling it. I should have used the flash. And sat up straighter. And put on makeup. Maybe drop a few pounds. But hey, I still got mad skills.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stupid Knitting Trick

And by "stupid" I mean "totally brilliant in a loonytunes kind of way".

I stumbled upon this video while looking up backwards knitting on youtube. Thanks, Carissalb, where ever you are. This is simply awe inspiring.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I attract knitters

Last week I went to Michigan for the weekend. A bunch of the Yarn Widower's friends were getting together for a little reunion so we rented a house on Lake Michigan. Out of 14 people, I was the only knitter.

But as I was working on a sock while watching the sunset on the beach, a woman walked by and asked to see what I was knitting. It turns out that she owns the knitting store in town. And was staying in the house right next door. Cool.

Unfortunately there wasn't enough time the next day to actually go visit her LYS. What a shame. I would have liked that.

So what else to do in Michigan? We visited a working windmill in the city of Holland.

After the tour we got into the spirit of things and tried on some Dutch footwear.

I couldn't tear the Yarn Widower away from an intense game of giant checkers.

More grist for the mill...