Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wild Cats

I seem to have two wild cats running around the house. I keep hearing these mysterious sounds behind me that seem to be running feet or thunking into various pieces of furniture (or maybe walls). Those don't bother me so much, but the occasional sound of sharpening claws in the furniture do.

They used to be such well behaved cats and would only sharpen their claws on the cat tree...I don't know what happened.

On the knitting front, I've managed to start lots of stuff, and I've finished one sock that's in the coriolis architecture from Cat Bordhi. I definitely like this architecture. It's from her latest book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I'll have to take a picture when there's enough light outside. Which, given that I'm in the pacific northwest and it's late November might be a challenge. We'll see if I can get enough light this weekend when I'm home while it's actually daylight.

I'm stalled on weaving. I managed to get the warp beamed and tied on, but I haven't gotten any farther. I just need to decide that it's time to do something. Maybe if I had a purpose for the placemats that I intend to make from the warp...it's an idea anyway.

I did manage to get into both the Rockin Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and the club that Simply Sock Yarn Company is running. I foresee a large amount of sock knitting for me next year. Which is good, because I have a bunch of things that I want to try!

I think I'm going to try to use this blog to record some of the experiments that I try. Sounds like a good way to try to get myself organized.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Continental knitting

A comment has inspired me to post on how I purl in continental knitting. I'm hoping this might help others, since this was my big stumbling block to being able to knit either way.

Technically when I purl when I'm knitting continental, I purl backwards. The stitch ends up on the needle backwards.

Here's the best explanation that I can manage without pictures. With your knitting in front of you, hold the yarn in your left hand in front of the knitting, insert the right hand needle as if to purl. Look at the orientation of the yarn and the needle. Now, it's relatively easy to scoop that yarn up from front to back, but if you have to try to grab it from back to front, you end up doing all kinds of gyrations. The most effective way that I've seen to do this involves holding it at a weird angle with your index finger (which works but isn't particularly fast or efficient for me).

So, when I'm knitting continental, I scoop that stitch up and keep going. By doing this, I actually think that I purl much faster than I knit. The drawback is that the stitches end up reversed on the needles. That's not a big deal, since all you need to do is knit or purl into the back of the stitch.

I was encouraged in this behavior by one of the ladies behind Just Our Yarn, and by Knitting for Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg. I particularly like this book, since it pretty much echoes my philosophy for knitting, spinning, weaving, etc. Do what works for you, don't be persuaded to do something a specific way because they believe that it's the correct or only way.

I do find purling into the back of a stitch to be a pain, and so I often wont use continental for something with a lot of knit/purl patterning (cables for example). I also don't find it as satisfying for my knitting experience (and stress relief), so I usually end up designating fairly simple projects as my continental knits. Knitting continental doesn't bother my shoulder nearly as much, so that is often the motivation I need to cast one on.

I think it's time to go do some spinning.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Too much knitting!

You wouldn't think that would be possible, would you?

I've been doing a lot of knitting over the last few weeks, and my shoulder is complaining about it. I have an old repetitive motion injury that is mostly kept in check with exercise, but excessive knitting can set it off. Too much mouse work on the computer, and certain other things can also set it off, but knitting is definitely one of those things that I have to watch.

I guess it's time to go weave or spin, since I think I'll regret it if I do much more knitting without giving my shoulder some time. Sigh...

I've had a lot of inspiration from the workshop that I took from Cat Bordhi, so that's part of the problem. I have lots of things that I want to try and I don't want to lose the momentum.

Seems like maybe time to try continental knitting again. If I cast on at least one project that's continental, then I can at least knit something when my shoulder is like this. Sounds like a good excuse to start that moebius cat bed that I wanted to do...