Friday, June 18, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid.--Jules Feiffer

I'll admit it--I'm a frustrated artist who can't draw and can't paint.

Which is why I do love Fair Isle.

FI Thoughts, Again
Gee, considering the proliferation of web sites and blogs where you can find great Fair Isle knitting, I was more than a bit surprised to read the comments from the last entry. Seems like a lot of people can't get enough of FI knitting and have questions unanswered. So I'll try to address a few that I've gotten on-blog and off.

But first, here's a picture of my very first Fair Isle, the Morning Glory vest from She Who Litigates At A Sneeze. I so love the colors and I took a very quick picture, so I don't think it does the colors justice. (And I noticed the vest is missing a button that I will need to replace.)

The most difficult piece of knitting on this vest were the neck/buttonbands. Egad. Those little leafy peeries on the bands changed direction at the back of the neck. How I got it right, I still don't know.

But enough of the vest.

Some more FI help for RJ, Barb, and the rest of you who are interested.

:: To keep your floats looser, flip the work to the inside of your circs or dps. You'll still be knitting the right side, only the floats will stretch a bit more on the outside circumference of the needle. I swear to God, this works.

:: Don't knit Fair Isle when you're tense, pissed off, or otherwise not relaxed. It will most certainly show in your knitting, particularly if you've had problems controlling the looseness of the floats.

:: No matter how well you knit Fair Isle, the finished garment must be blocked. Blocking a Fair Isle will relieve a great deal of the knitting inconsistencies. I have a woolly board, which is made for Fair Isle blocking. If you don't have one, pin it out to measurements carefully and cold-mist it. I've steamed my Fair Isles too but lately I prefer to cold-mist block everything. Less damage to the fiber and the stitch patterns.

:: I know some people really like the tensioning ring (or Strick Finger Thingy, as Carol calls it). I found it cumbersome but try it for yourself. It may help you a lot.

:: Get yourself one of those row counters with the ring attached and count your rows EVEN if you are following a chart. With more complex designs, it can be a bitch to try and figure out where you left off in the pattern if you're like me and don't work on your FI for a period of time. The row counter is good insurance.

:: Learn to knit continental anyway, if you throw your yarn with your right hand. It's well worth knowing, especially for Fair Isle. I taught myself how to knit continental initially so that I could knit faster, having been taught the English method by Elly when I was a child. (She claimed it was too difficult to explain continental to me when I was 7. I think that's BS, but that's Elly for you.)

:: Do checkerboard steeks. It's the only sane way to steek.

:: Never be afraid to cut your steeks. The knitting will not run because you are cutting vertically, not horizontally.

A lot of this nonsense can be found in various and sundry books. I'm lucky in that I've been collecting knitting books for 35 years and have virtually every reference book on knitting techniques written. I swear, sometimes the only reading I retain in my head is my knitting reading.

All this writing about Fair Isles makes me want to go back to knitting the Queen Anne's Lace, which is 50% up the armholes. Too hot, though.

Knitting Meet-up
I generally don't do well with a lot of people in groups because I'm shy in person, which is why I'm not a joiner of clubs. Rather than spew, I tend to sit back and observe. But Annie Modesitt is a co-host of our local meet-up and I really wanted to see her. It had been way too long. So I went last Wednesday and had a very nice time indeed. It was gratifying to see 16 people, most of whom were younger than I, knitting stuff other than scarves. Of course, there was one woman working on some raggy-looking Tahki junk but she seemed happy with it. And I did meet a blog reader, Edith, who has my "Shut Up, I'm Counting" old lady picture on her fridge. That was pretty nifty. I love meeting readers.

Ah, fame. Will it change me?

Nah. Big-butted, coffee-drinking, pink nail-polished, over-50 broads like me really don't give a rat's ass.

Chinster's Buch
You know what? I checked out the Tiny Diva's book on beads and knitting when at Borders for the meet-up's half decent. I'd buy it for the technical info, which seemed to be well explained and illustrated. Of course, the garments were pretty much awful, overdone schmattehs, as usual. She managed to ruin a very nice cabled pullover by shoving beads into every spot imaginable. The adage "Less is more" means nothing to our Urban Knitter. More like, "Excess is Best."

I'm about to start a pair of lightly beaded socks for the book. (Note the emphasis on "lightly.") I've never done beaded knitting, so the book might be worth having as a reference.

By the way, it's interesting that TD is not teaching at Stitches East this year, nor was she mentioned anywhere in the brochure. Perhaps the X-Men are a bit ticked that she published with Interweave? God knows, she was wise to do so.

Time to start the weekend. Monday it's back to work for me.

I just haven't been rare and handy enough the past few weeks. That's gotta stop.

No comments: