Thursday, 29 March 2007

so... I learned somethings new today. :)

The last time we left our intrepid heroine, she was curled in a fetal position in the corner of her room, eating her hair due to her difficulties with Loll.

Today, oh glorious day!

Today, I started lace. I've learnt how to thumb cast on (who knew? It's rather like a long tail cast on - but better). I've also learnt the difference between a yarn over and a yarn forward. Before I actually start on the relatively upmarket rowan cashcotton yarn though, I'm doing it on a scrap of alpaca.

I do hope that I take to lace relatively quickly and neatly though, because I'd actually like to get a piece of knitting where I can sit and dream. One of the things that attracted me to knitting was the supposedly meditative aspect of it. In my two years of knitting, I've been annoyed, attracted, vexed and hearbroken. Meditative it aint. It would be nice to do a bit of knitting where my mind can wander, but I'm afraid of miles of stocking stitch, though.

Will set up my photobucket today, wish me luck!

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Stash yarn

I have been stashing yarn like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the upcoming winter. Never mind that my knitting progress is spotty and depressing right now. I need to knit something simple; with soothing acres of stocking stitch, or neat ribbed furrows. I can stand the boredom. I can, promise.

Look ma, pretty stash.
So, I took Nell's advice and decided to give Paton's a whirl, and bought six balls of
patons yarn in foxglove. It looks more fushia in RL than that purple, but it's bright and I can dig it. Whatever to make with it, I wonder.
No worries, I'm just glad that I have the colour to ward off the gloam of this wintry weather.

I also have Rowan all seasons yarn in a discontinued colour (Military). The yarn reminds me of Paton's aran haze, the same heft and makeup (60 cotton/40 acrylic), but the former seems to have a better colour range.

So, I'm going to have a play with the stash, and hope for some sort of inspiration for summer knitting. I'm supposed to be going camping soon, and it helps me to while the hours away with some intensive knitting, while my partner goes on long inspired walks and breathes in fresh air.

Or should I do crochet?

My mum taught me to crochet when I was six, but I liked emboidery better. I got the Debbie Stoller Stitch and Bitch crochet book, and it's fairly straight forward. I have made the odd flower, but perhaps I should try my hand at one of those patterns in the books. What's the worst that could happen, right?

Right, off to look at the stash. I'll get photobucket access, try and charge my camera and take some pictures.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Wherein I cry glistening, emo tears

I am attempting the Kim Hargreaves pattern from the Rowan Calmer collection called http:// Loll.

I forget how to do the link so that it forms a word.

Now, a bit of background.

I'd classify myself as an intermediate knitter - as in, I can follow a pattern, do fair isle, and am able to figure out where I've gone wrong. My second knitting project was a jumper (the first was the ubiquitious scarf), and I think mentally, I'm strong enough rip stuff back without crying (I've gotten tougher over the years).

But this pattern is kicking my candy ass all over the place. It left home with lollipops and ass kicking, and somehow turned up at the step of my flat with the latter. So far, I've had to rip the sleeves back, and am looking to rip all 30 rows of fronds (on the bottom of said pattern)back to the cast on. *sob*

The Rowan consultant at my LYS loves the loll pattern, to the point of her knitting it once and looking to do another one because it is so clever. After watching me struggle with said pattern, she's like: "How long have you been knitting?"

Says I, "Two years, I reckon."

She leans over and breifly squeezes my hand. "You're a baby, all you need to learn is how to do continental and awareness with your knitting and you'll be fine."

That told me.

I think I'm going to put my Loll away for the while and focus on how to do lace.

Also, I need to read on how to do pictures for this blogger. Baby steps.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Going off Rowan

It pains me to admit this, but I'm going off Rowan yarns with the quickness.

This is difficult for me, because when I first started to knit two years ago (yikes, time flies!) Rowan yarn was the yarn of choice. Of course, it helped that my local John Lewis was a stocklist, and the then Rowan consultant was a sweet lady, albeit a little fey.

When I first started to knit, I was told that you should use the best yarns that you can afford, use wool due to its springiness and elasticity, and that upmarket yarn (such as Rowan) had the best in terms of saturated colours.

But a fair bit has changed since then, and Rowan yarns have been getting on my tits for a lot of reasons.

1. Some yarns don't seem to be spun well. Like, I'm a pretty dodgy knitter. I'll knit something, decide that I've made big - nay -HUGE mistakes, and have no compunctions in ripping stuff back to it's original state. My yarn should not be popping in my hands in mid rip (I'm looking at you felted tweed and you cashcotton).

2. Whenever Rowan launches a new yarn, the initial colours are sludge. Like, the new bamboo line in it's beige, mid tint sludge green, middling blue glory. It wouldn't kill Rowan to infuse a few strong colours in its collection, would it? Like a lagoon deep blue, or a firecracker of an orange? These are summer yarns, for crying out loud where are the colours, Rowan?

3. The patterns - to be fair, the Rowan Studio collections are interesting and edgy - but not much of anything else. How much bobbles does Martin Storey have to do before Rowan farms him off? His designs are strangely old fashioned, or teeth achingly twee. Sometimes Storey gets it, but most times, he couldn't hit the far side of a barn. Although my heart does soar at Kaffe Fasset's use of colour (very inspirational), I can't see myself spending around £126 just to knit a stole or a top. New designer Marie Wallin seems to have already hit a rut with her patterns - a chevron bottom with a stocking top. Basic simple shapes that aren't really cunning or charming.


4. The failure in pushing Jaeger yarn. Jaeger has nice yarn. Very good yarn, such as the excellent extra fine merino in jeweled like colours and a nice sprionginess to it. They discontinue such fine yarn with nary a whimper. Other worthy yarns of note such as the aqua and sienna are really lovely yarn, but the patterns don't really support the yarn. So of course, people don't buy the yarn and it gets discontinued. The Jaeger patterns haven't really been inspiring, *sighs* too bad.

Tis the winter of my discontent

So, instead of chilling out in my winter of discontent, I shall sally forth into finding new substitutes. First on my list is a sub for Rowan cotton cashmere. Lovely yarn, but since it's my first lace knit (cribbing the notes off Nell), I can see myself ripping this baby back. I am worried that my yarn will snap. Unfortunately, the cotton cashmere is rather hard to duplicate - cotton, viscose (I think), and a whopping 9% cashmere. The cotton cashmere is nice and springy in a why that a Rowan wool/silk isn't.

So, I'll be composing a letter. I think I'd like to give Rowan a heads up as to why I'm leaving, and looking as far afield as knitpicks in the US, as well as to other European brands. Who knows, they might take on my concerns and buck up on their product, or they might not give a monkey's, allowing me to take my money somewhere else. The new Lana Grossa cool merino yarns have really pretty colours - will go to my dealer - two weeks from now.

Still ripping that bloody jumper.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007


My first post! Blogger is being a turd for the past couple of months ever since I listed this blog.

So, I guess a potted introduction is in order.

I have an afro and I knit with bamboo sticks. Hence, erm... the blog name.

My knitting style: unfortunately, I'm one of these process knitters. Love knitting that I will learn something new from, and the notion of miles and miles of stocking stitch leaves me cold.

Unfortunately, I have not necessarily worn the things that I've knit and I've been knitting for the past... two years? It's just that, well... when I started knitting, I was advised to use wool due to its elasticity and relatively cushy texture for a novice knitter. It's taken me 18 months to decide that I'm not really into certain sorts of yarn at all.

Right now I'm pulling down a jumper - Kim Hargreave's Salina with Rowan felted tweed. The felted tweed is a lovely yarn - it's nice to knit with, lovely deep heathered colours, but it has alpaca in there and it's very itchy against my skin as a result. So am pulling it down to make a tiny slipover. The yarn is thin enough to wear under a jacket without being bulky, and really quite warm. It doesn't cost the earth as well. A caveat is that this yarn tends to pop when ripping (rather like Jaeger's aqua trinity) so have a care.

Will try and get pictures up in this blog, to keep myself focused on knitting.

This year, I tell myself it is about product instead of process, and taking my time to sew up.

I also tell myself that this is the year I'm going to learn lace. I'm reading the techniques on various blogs and texts, and I do think I understand the concepts, but the proof is in the swatch, right?

Right, off to do some more ripping. About 1100 yards of double knit yarn. Yikes.