Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Book Review: Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis

I'll start out by saying that I have a particular fondness for cables. The traditional styling, the celtic flavor.... I'm all over that. However, it is very often the case that the knitting patterns that utilize cables have a tendency to fail to live up to the promise of their design elements. The sweaters are, in a very real way less than the sum of their parts. Or, to be less tactful, they suck.

This is not the case with Fiona Ellis' new book Inspired Cable Knits.

It is very rare that I look through a new knitting book and find even two patterns that I would consider knitting. From this book I can think of four off the top of my head that I am seriously considering knitting (and here's the kicker) for myself. Yes, Ellis includes a size range from XS up to, in some cases, a 52" chest.

The very best part of the book though, is Ellis' commentary on the design process. The book is broken into four basic design concepts or inspirations: time, change, energy, and nature. Each design reflects in some way its parent category, with detailed descriptions of why she chose each element.

Each sweater is laden with symbolic meaning, what do the empty spaces represent? Why does the cable curve to the right rather than to the left? There is a language hidden within each sweater, a secret communication between the knitter and her project.

The concept of mindful, symbolic meaning within a project deeply appeals to me. I am inspired, much as the book's title promises, to not only create some of the sweaters held between the pages of the book, but also to deepen and enrich the intention hidden within my own designs.

Projects Completed in 2006

  1. Flower Basket Shawl
  2. Rhiannon's Magic Stripe Socks
  3. Half-Circle Pi shawl for Morgan
  4. Heart Cardigan for Morgan
  5. Funkadelic Warshrag
  6. Peach Socks
  7. Mystery Shawl 2 Ragnarok Shawl
  8. Flower Basket Shawl for Rhiannon
  9. Calico Yarf Scarf for Gretta

Projects Begun in 2006

  1. Flower Basket Shawl
  2. Mystery Shawl 2
  3. Glad Raggs
  4. Arr! A Pirate Sweater
  5. Tank Top
  6. Peach Socks
  7. Funkadelic Warshrag
  8. Better Be Gryffindor! Scarf
  9. Dancing Sockies
  10. Flamin' Fingerless Gloves
  11. Rhiannon's Flower Basket Shawl
  12. Calico Yarf Scarf
  13. Cream Eyelet Socks

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Nothing to see here folks, move along

So, I wonder if I should count sewing projects in my "started/finished" counter? Possibly, I am overthinking this. On hand the first, this is a blog wherein I have occasionally mentioned other crafts. You know, like quilting. I also sew. I initially intended this as a knitting blog, but dude, I barely have enough RAM (random access memory) to keep up with this blog. Its not like I'm gonna start a second sewing/quilting blog. Now, on the other hand (I do have two, ya know), I had originally intended the counter to motivate me to finish knitting projects.

Why do I keep insisting on compartmentalizing my life?

I put together a seriously cute bag for the Bardic Olympics. I'm gonna try to borrow Jess' camera to get a picture of it before it escapes out into the world. I'm meant to make a ritual robe for Himself this evening. See? If I counted those, my numbers would totally go up.

I'm such a dork.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Shawl? What shawl?

I think that my grand plan to complete my shawl through slow but steady progress would ultimately be more successful if I were to ever, say, pick it up. I haven't knit a single lacey stitch since I publicly announced I would complete two repeats a day. I think I'm just tired of the durn-blamed thing. I will do better.

Meanwhile, I have completed the back of Rowan's pirate sweater up to the point where I need to start shaping for the armholes. Go me! He is really excited about it — I picked up the sock I'm working on and he said "But I want you knit my pirate sweater!" Demanding little booger.

And, speaking of the socks, I'm an entire 13 rows into the Glad Raggs pattern. Size 1 needles are wee and ickle, and sharp. Ouch. That's all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Case of Startitis

Apparently too much knitting monogamy is bad for you. That's the excuse I'm looking to use anyway. I'm at the point in the MS2 shawl where I will be adding edging until I die. In fact, I'll die, and I'll keep knitting the edging onto this shawl.

So, my current plan is to do at least 2 full repeats a day. That will effectively bind off 10 stitches a day. Until I die. Yup.

Image hosting by PhotobucketSo, meanwhile I've started a pirate sweater for Rowie, from Little Badger Knitwear by Ros Badger and Elaine Scott. There is serious cuteness ahoy.
I cast-on on Sunday and have finished two sleeves and about 1/3 of the back. Dude, I so rock. This sweater will be done before I die, yessirreebob, in fact it could totally be done before the four year old graduates from college from kindergarten. He is already highly enamored of it. You'll remember how excited he was about his Weasley sweater.

I've also begun the Gladd Raggs socks from the Six-Sox Knitalong. I'm using lang jawoll in a brown/natural ragg -- its groovy, it even comes with extra ickle yarn for the toesies and heel. Hee. Who knew that reinforcing yarn would make me giddy?

For yet another child, Morgan this time, I am planning a stripedy cardigan. I am loosely basing it off of a pattern in the 2005 Knit It mag. By loosely I mean "am totally re-working the directions, shaping and making up. In different yarn." This will be more of a "inspired by" project. I am pretty proud that I have progressed to a point in my knitting where I feel confidant enough to do that. Which is not to say that it will work, mind you, but I'm brave enough to try.

Rhiannon will be receiving a Flower Basket Shawl in the medium-gray Knitpicks Palette, and I'm comissioned to do another for a friend out of Midnight Alpaca Cloud. My queue is filling right back the hell up.

What happened to February is For Finishing you ask? Dude. Its March. March is for Making (New Things). Get with the times.

Okay so I totally intend to keep working on finishing things. Really.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby

Jess' post about her pretty girl prompted me to take a turn bragging about one of my kids as well. Rhiannon turned an amazing 12 years old this past Thursday. Happy birthday my beautiful, talented, amazing girl.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Here she is with her Olympic Gold scarf. Yeah, she made that. All by her onesies, and in plenty of time to get the gold. I am so proud of her.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

This is me, still working over time

Man, I'm even starting to bore myself.

Although I've been striving mightily, my knitting monogamy came to a screeching halt. I've started working on the tank top I keep in my drawer at work (emergency knitting). I'm also starting to plan the pirate sweater I'm going to knit Rowan.

This morning as I'm driving to work I'm on the phone with Carl, getting him to measure the gauge of Rowan's Weasley sweater for me. All so I can do math to plan the sweater here at work. I am such a dork.

Monday, March 06, 2006

All of your overtime are belong to us

Still no gold.

Still working overtime.

Still too lame tired to blog properly.

The hateful shawl is proceding apace — I have the edging approximately 1/3 down. We hates it forever, precious. It is going to be a lovely shawl.