catching up

Hello! I’ve been buried under a pile of knitting projects for most of this year and not able to show off to you because I must wait for them to be unveiled. More on this in coming weeks, hopefully.

I do manage to squeeze in the very necessary Small Project from time to time, especially while I’m watching DVDs.

My latest SP was this cowl. With a circular needle, some scrumptious yarn and a good stitch dictionary, you can make one like it or one of your own design.

Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns is my favourite. You can’t go wrong with Barbara.

For Polly’s Cowl I used the Scroll Pattern on page 220.

I made it while watching a superb, inspiring documentary, A Bigger Picture, featuring the brilliant David Hockney who moved from Los Angeles where he’d spent many years, back to his native Yorkshire to paint. And what paintings they are. The English countryside as you’ve never seen or imagined it. If you love colour, you’ll love this film. I’ve now watched it twice and I’m going to buy it so that I can watch it every time I’m lacking inspiration!

You have to love a man who makes a whole book’s worth of paintings of his own precious dachsies:

Back to my cowl and the practicalities of adapting stitch patterns.

Most are written for flat rather than circular knitting, so if you’re going to work them in the round, you need to do a bit of translating.

1. When deciding how many stitches to cast on, leave off the extra edge stitches at the beginning and end of each row.  For example, “multiple of 10 plus 2″ changes into  “multiple of 10″.  Your repeat  will be what’s in parentheses only.

2. Pay attention to the alternate (wrong side) rows. In some patterns they are simply purled. These you would knit in the round. But if the alternate rows are patterned, you must translate. For example:

In  “Scroll”  Row 2 is written thus:

P2 tog, p7, yo, p1.

Because you’re working from the opposite direction, and still on the right side of the fabric, it will turn into this:

K1, yo, k7, k2 tog. It’s backwards.

note: P2 tog-b on the wrong side becomes ssk on the right side.

You’ll need to make a swatch to determine how many stitches to cast on for your cowl, so you might as well use the opportunity to work the pattern back and forth for one repeat to get familiar with the way it works. This will make the translating easier.

For Polly’s Cowl I used a 9 mm [US13] 60 cm circular needle, 2 strands of aran weight yarn, and cast on 70 sts. I wanted it to be generous. If you want a more fitting cowl, you will need a 40cm needle.

Remember I was yak-king about men who love knitting a while back?

Here’s Ryan again, in a Fair Isle beanie he designed and knit himself. Gorgeous, eh? ( boy and beanie)

I’m still not sure why knitting is still considered by some to be fuddy duddy. Polly and Ryan above would seem to indicate otherwise? Sadly, there are many here in NZ who mistakenly think this and no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds, it seems, although it’s always worth trying.

It’s not so in the USA, at least in my experience, although I tend to mix with the choir. I don’t know if it’s the case in the UK, Australia, or other countries?

Here, I meet knitters who say their work mates (usually women) laugh at them because they knit. Wow. What an archaic attitude.

Don’t they realize that while they think they’re terribly modern, paying for horrid acrylic scarves, we’re knitting beautiful  things with lovely soft yarns in gorgeous colours and having fun into the bargain?

We knitters can not only make it ourselves, we also get to have fun while doing it. Lucky us. Spread the word!

3 Responses to “catching up”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Mel that is so very true! Unfortunately it seems that it is not only knitting that this pertains to with Kiwis – we have a real tall poppy thing going on here. Anyone that stands out as different or particularly skilled at anything (unless it is a sport) puts themselves out there for ridicule. I adore New Zealand, but if there was one thing about this country that I would change it would be this attitude.

  2. Tamara Says:

    I appreciated reading this post this morning, as I have been experiencing similar attitudes from people around me lately. They view my knitting obsession as quaint, or some view it as sad even (so young and she’s already given up on life for needles and the couch). One women this week, upon admiring my scarf, said “Oh that’s something I will do when I’m old and retired.” So many people associate it with being a grandma or something. I think it’s very sad, and we have the last laugh…we get the joy of working with our hands, and beautiful finished pieces, and the adventure of choosing new yarns and projects.
    Thanks for your great blog, I’m happy to have found it!

  3. Mel Says:

    I love your story Tamara! Given up on life for needles and the couch, indeed. In that case I’ve never had a life since I’ve been obsessed with knitting since I was 8.
    I wonder why this attitude about knitting and yet cooking, painting, reading, gardening, sewing, etc seem to be ok? It’s very strange.
    Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply