Monday, February 25, 2008

Little Rivers

Little Rivers from Starmore's Stillwater. The pattern is splendid but it is quite challenging, with a lot of action on the WS as well.

The yarn is Jamieson's Soft Shetland from my stash. I bought it in late January, left it for a week to become stash, then started the sweater.
I found that people look at you with more respect when you say : 'ah, the yarn is from my stash...'
Now the thing which is totally puzzling me is why did they use the word 'Soft' to label this yarn? What's soft about this yarn? Anyone?
The result is very nice though - it's going to be one of those love-hate relationships with me and this yarn.
Knitting is very difficult (can't quite explain why) so I've imposed myself to only do 6 rows a day.
I could have easily skipped the gym subscription and just knit this sweater instead...10 minutes on the bicycle: 200 Kcals, 1 row with Little Rivers: one million Kcals.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why charts after all?

I just complained a few days ago that I can't knit using the chart description (instead of the chart itself).
A few nice ladies sent me some links so I can learn the meaning of k2tog, ssk and such.
Well I don't think I was clear enough. It's not that I don't know their meaning, is just that I refuse to knit following step, by step, by step, by step, [100 by step], [100 by step tbl], instructions.
All I need is a chart and maybe a legend to explain the symbols in case they are not the standard ones.

Now, before jumping into why are the charts important, let's first discuss the main types of charts.
Basically, I would say, there are two types of charts : great charts and rubbish charts.
A great chart will use symbols which are visually very near to the real knitted swatch. See the Japanese charts.
A rubbish chart will use symbols which visually look like anything else but the result itself. Best example, my last Sandra lace cardi chart, where the right slant and the left slant decrease symbols are far from being even symmetrical.

Next. Lets see why are charts good for us.

1. The chart is giving the visual context of our knitting. We see what we knit. We do not knit blindly. We can double check easily that we are on the right track.
Like exploring a new territory with a good map in your hand.

2. The chart helps us to figure out where we are. Imagine retrieving a project three years old, and God knows what row number is that on the needles. And no chart.

3. Charts help us to discover errors in the pattern and correct them on the spot. They make counting and visually aligning stitches easy.

4. Charts are universal. You can send a good chart in space and they'll figure it out in no time. Send the description and you'll lock them for ever. The best example is the k2tog instruction. Some people can knit 2 stitches together and get a nice right slant decrease. Others, like me, can do the same, and get a nice left slant decrease. We are called continental combined knitters. So k2tog does not help us at all...But a right slant decrease symbol in a chart would.

5. Now listen to this, because that's where it gets really important. Charts make you think. Charts make you creative. Charts will make it easy for you to change any element, to insert a new element if you fancy so, to modify the original. Can even teach you and make it easy for you to attempt to CREATE YOUR OWN PATTERN next time you attempt a new project. They teach you to be become a designer. Words don't. Words will make you a robot following rows of instructions.

I wonder why is it that some designers (or publishers?) do not publish the charts. It will definitely take less space. And it's quite obvious this is the way they created the pattern in the first place anyway.
Might be because it's financially more profitable to train an army of followers which are mechanically knitting word by word by word ...and thus will have no further knowledge nor creativity desire to break free from their published books ? Just a thought...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hello Martha !

Enjoyed both the pattern and the yarn.
I just went with the pattern requirements in term of everything - didn't even swatch, just went for the M size and it fits perfectly.
All I have to do now it's to wait for the summer...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Martha is finally off the needles

This cardi was a quick knit, at least once I managed to translate an awfully written pattern into a decent chart.

People, get a grip ! Please publish chats, for idiots like me, which can't read words like ssk, ssdtk, k3tog, k2tbkugfddgbvszyhzb etc. Thank you.
Right, these are all the parts ready to be assembled.
My 'favourite' game.
And this is how it goes. I use to stick needles, stitch by stitch, along the edges just to make sure I have them align properly. What do you mean I'm a control freak? It looks great in the end.

Keep reading my blog in the next days and you might see the real thing blocked and eventually ready.
Weekend update. The weather changed completely and we had a beautiful sunny and warm weekend. Thanks God - I was beginning to go nuts spending the last at least five weekends indoors.

This is Saturday, we did a good walk in the Lyme Park.

Is this real spring or what?
A few funny naked trees.

The city in the distance, under that pink cloud is Manchester and the pink cloud is actually all the pollution we are breathing in and out every single day. I was realy grateful for a day out of pink clouds.

This road had a very special light somehow, and reminded me of the 'Road not taken' poem.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference."

There will be always a time in out life when we need this poem at hand.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Snowing in England

Every winter we get one day of snow. Just to be reminded how winter should look like. Obviously one can't get too much of a good thing. It's not British, you see.
So that's this winter snow.

Or to be more precise - this was this winter snow. It's evening and it's almost gone now.

Managed to take a picture with my Marvelous Mitts swatch.
The size is right but the pink is too sad so it might be replaced with a different colour.