Thursday, 30 September 2010

Hipstamatic (G)love

I have finally succumbed to the lure of the iPhone, and have been playing around with the Hipstamatic app to photograph my Farinelli gloves.
It's been making me think about photographing knitwear. There is the urge to produce a faithful, true-to-life document, and visually to convey technical details about the pattern and the yarn (one of the most common notes on Ravelry project pages is 'the colour is most accurate in x photo'). I wonder, though, if being too anal about these aspects sometimes makes for boring photos...

The colours in the above photo are wildly inaccurate, but maybe that's ok - to my mind, it captures more of the evanescent 'spirit' of the glove. What do you think? Are they annoyingly misleading?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Kingscot Button Update

I asked you not once but twice for help choosing buttons for this cardi, and then I repaid your helpful comments with stony silence. Where are my manners? I do apologise - I can only imagine that the suspense must have been unbearable, so without further ado...

You may notice that I have gone for none of the previously photographed options. That is because of the words of a rather brusque anonymous commentator (who upon a little probing turned out to be my mother), which hit home:
I think you should find ones that match the shade of the wool - it's busy enough already, better to choose something that doesn't attract any attention. The green ones are very nice, but a bit too fussy for this garment, I would say.
 I had been working on this project for such a long time that I had lost sight of its elaborateness. My mother was right (isn't it annoying when that happens?): this is not a cardigan that needs sparkly buttons, contrasting buttons, flowery buttons, buttons dancing around doing jazz hands. This cardigan calls for demure, slightly pearlescent buttons in a shade similar to the yarn, little blue plastic droplets of buttons that could pass more or less unnoticed through the teal sea twists and bobbles. So that's what it got. I hope you approve.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Snow White... 's no more?

I don't know if this makes me into a wicked stepmother, but I'm thinking of dismembering Snow White. I love the yarn and the pattern is genius, but the two are not the best match; if I were ever to make it again, I'd definitely use something more washable, that could be comfortably worn next to the skin - perhaps a wool-cotton blend. Such a tight-fitting garment in non-superwash wool is just a bit... hot. And not in a hot way. Also, I made it just a little too short. On the few occasions when I have worn it, I have felt at war with this pullover, as it demanded constant yanking down, or undignified wriggling out of, making me feel like a seagull caught in an oil-slick. 

I have not fully decided: this is a beautiful jumper, and the thought of reducing it back to a pile of crinkly yarn does seem a bit heretical. But then, what's the use of a beautiful jumper that just sits in a drawer? I've been considering transforming it into the Estelle Pullover: I think it might get more wear that way (and it would have the added benefit of matching the Meret I made out of the remainder of this yarn). Or are these evil thoughts deserving of a poison apple? What do you think? To frog or not to frog? 

Monday, 20 September 2010

Crafty Craft-tea

Is there a finer accompaniment to knitting than tea? I have recently acquired a celadon teapot, whose capacious china form only increases the pleasure of the combination. I never seen the point of tea cosies; now I have a teapot, all I can think of is clothing it. Just to stick with the theme, I have also started the very popular Tea Leaves cardigan (of which no doubt more later).

In fact, tea and knitting have long been intertwined, and not always in a positive way (see Kate Davies' excellent blog post). How about you, lovely readers - is your crafting tea-fuelled? 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

9 down, 1 to go

My Farinelli gloves are only missing one important appendage, so they are one better than the original Farinelli, who was missing two. Do excuse the ballsy wordplay - it just tickles me that I'm knitting something named after a castrato. It has been suggested to me that I make a whole castrato-themed outfit, complete with Senesino socks, Nicolini knickers, a Carestini cardigan, and, in honour of the only castrato to have had his voice recorded, Moreschi mittens.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

It's a sign!

No sooner had I written that last post about needing to expand my colour palette when a rainbow appeared, apparently bursting forth from an opposite chimney. Could there be a more obvious sign to invest in the yarn for a major colourwork project?!

'Deep Greens and Blues Are the Colours I Choose'

... as evidenced by my last six projects (two of which I have yet to share with you). Maybe it's time to explore some other areas of the spectrum?

I had been pondering on the awkwardness of my knitting life's resemblance to a James Taylor lyric, when I paid a little visit to the mighty Loop in London, which has moved to the lovely Camden Passage, and is now two whole floors stuffed with untold delights.
... and I bought this yarn:
Oh well. Perhaps this is my Blue (and Green) Period - which would sound better in Japanese, as I believe 'blue' and 'green' are the same word in it.

Do you have a colour you can't seem to get enough of at the moment?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Pyjamas and Opera Gloves

I have just finished one of the Farinelli Gloves (I'm tempted to make a castrato joke, but I haven't got the balls) by Ysolda. I have never knit gloves with fingers before, and I was so proud of my first completed one that I decided to model it in my pyjamas. I hope you don't mind.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Help me choose buttons!

 Kingscot needs closure(s). But should they be the iridescent glass ones at the top, or the green flower ones at the bottom? I like how the first ones echo the shape of the bobbles, and perhaps their more neutral colour would be more versatile. Then again, I love the contrast of the green... I need your help! Sometimes I think that choosing the buttons is the trickiest part of making a cardigan.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Kingscot Cardigan

I went on a riverside walk yesterday to see the Antony Gormley statues, pick some wild brambles, and take some photos of my finished (but still buttonless) Kingscot cardigan.

I am so utterly delighted with this new addition to my wardrobe, not least because it is the first sweater project I have finished since Audrey in Unst last November.

The design is a fine one, by knitting demi-god Norah Gaughan, with cables and bobbles inspired by gothic windows gently curving to shape the fronts, and rope-like cables snaking up the back. My one criticism is that it is supposed to be knit in many pieces - it even has you knit the button-bands separately then seam them to the body. I hate this kind of construction, so adapted the pattern to be entirely seamless apart from the shoulder seam (if you're interested in the technical details of that, I made quite comprehensive notes on my Ravelry project page).

The yarn is the smooth, soft Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK in teal blue. This was, in fact, one of the first sweater's-worth of yarn I ever purchased, almost two years ago. I am now much more easily seduced by  hand-painted skeins, or small, independent producers, and I would be less likely to buy such a commercial yarn. I have to say, though, that it was a pleasure to work with (apart from the loosely-wound balls that fall apart as you knit from them), and produced an impressively even, snuggly fabric.

This yarn also featured in the stash pledge I made a year ago. I did break that pledge in that I bought more yarn, but actually haven't purchased any more in sweater quantities. I wonder if this is part of what has made me less enthusiastic about knitting jumpers and cardigans - that worthy but also ever so slightly dreary feeling of knitting from stash. Hmm... I appear to be justifying the buying of more yarn - this could end badly! [ETA: I've just realised this is a filthy lie - I did buy some yarn to make a cardigan and completely forgot about it! Probably a strong argument against buying more...]

I still have to decide on buttons for Kingscot - I may be asking your advice soon!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Treasures of Granny's Button Box

Centre: the button box. Clockwise from top: general buttons; severed doll head; cluster of shiny silver buttons; two buckles.

None of which, unfortunately, were quite right for my Kingscot cardi (which was what was weighing down the scales in the last post).  I think I'll use one of these two options when I get back to my own, Cambridge-based button store, and possibly photograph it without buttons in the meantime.

It was still fascinating to paw through this heavy repository of buttons and bric-a-brac. Do you have anything like it, either with a collection you've built up yourself or inherited?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Irtfa'a Shawl (or 'Earning My Wings')

I went to the Botanics today to take some pictures (finally) of my humungoid Irtfa'a shawl, which has been nestled around my shoulders for much of this manic month.

Above I am spreading out the magical cloak of dreams. Its wingspan is so much bigger than mine; I think of the wandering albatross every time I wear it.

The gardens were in vibrant bloom, and virtually deserted - the perfect place for knittish swishing about.

It was rather tricky to show off its beautiful bigness on my tiny frame and, as always, the multi-dimensional brilliance of Lilith's yarn is difficult to capture.

I would recommend the pattern; I did get ever so slightly bored of the small feather section, but the finished effect is definitely worth the slog. This is the largest project I have ever completed, taking over half a mile of yarn! I feel like I have earned my knitterly wings.

That's shawl, folks.

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