Monday, November 15, 2010

Who says it's too early for Christmas carols?

You better not pout, you better not cry,
You better like lace, I'm telling you why,
Franklin Habit's coming to town...

Or came and went.  And I got to meet him.  

If you're new to knitting, maybe you don't know who he is, but let me just say I have sock yarn named after him.  Sock yarn which has been rather naughty.  Franklin is a hilarious blogger/cartoonist, but I found out that he is also a gracious teacher and a friendly celebrity.   So friendly that he put up with my request that he work some good karma into my half-knit socks.  

This pair of socks has been knit and frogged and knit and frogged and knit and frogged... you get the idea. My problem is the fit around the heel/gusset area. While my struggles to get the sock right may be close to a breakthrough, my desire to finish this pair of socks has severely waned. Hence, the pilgrimage to meet the colorway's namesake. Hopefully the socks will feel better about themselves now.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to take two classes with Franklin, in which he gave a historical introduction to the three big schools of knitting.   In the class on lace edgings, we actually got our elbows dirty knitting a small model demonstrating the construction of Orenburg shawls.  The result?  A stupid little snowflake.  (Note: that's Franklin's wording, not mine.  Just in case you think I'm disrespecting.)
I've knit lace, and it doesn't really faze me, but this class was challenging for me.  I attribute this to two factors:
    1) It tested my ability to constantly turn an object in the air and see what's happening, kinda like writing while looking at a reflection in a mirror.
    2) I had not gotten any coffee that morning.
It should not have been so mindbending, but leave it to me to make a simple thing complicated.  We all have our intelligences and lacks thereof.  Coffee tends to simulate the latter.

After the class, I can say that somehow I am gonna find some way to use the herringbone stitch to join two pieces.  Super cool!  Ooh... an idea is brewing right now...

I didn't get a chance to take Carol Sulcoski's class on yarn substitution, but I did manage to snag a few of  her yarns.  One was simply labeled, "Mystery Wool."  That tickled me, but it was beautiful, so I had to add that to my purchase.  You'll see it at some point, I expect.  Oh, and I finally got her to autograph her book, too.  If you're no stranger to my blog, you may remember my mutant version of one of the patterns published in her book.

Recent Knits...
I had a blast knitting up the Cairn hat by Ysolda Teague to match my Diamondback Mitts.  

I also made myself a cowl neckwarmer out of Malabrigo Rasta.  It's a little monster-ish, but it does the job.  I'm generally anti-scarf in the traditional sense.  I don't know if it's because they don't really cover my neck the way I want them to, or because they get stuck in the armpits of my jacket, or because they take so freaking long to knit, with turning the work constantly... I just know that I'm more a fan of knitting a shawl or cowl or a neckwarmer.  The difference between the last two, as I was told, is that if it's close to the neck, it's a neckwarmer.  So there.

I know with looks like these, I'm bound to either become a knitting superstar or a model or a judge on Project Runway. 

My looks aside, this yarn is quite nice.  And very big.  

Current Knitting (or Designing???)
I'm working on a bunch of secret knitting, either for Christmas, or because it's a testknit for Stephen West. I've spent a good bit of time poring over stitch dictionaries, swatching, graphing, and trying to design a shawl.  I now have a greater respect for Stephen. Not only are his designs great looking, but they knit easily and the ideas tend to be pretty simple.  Ingeniously simple.  It makes me realize I probably will never be a knitting designer for my living.  Still, I want to dabble.  While I was at Loop, I got to splurge on a bit of BrooklynTweed's Shelter yarn.  I'm cooking up a convertible mittens project in my head that is borne out of necessity more than aesthetics.  Kinda like that neckwarmer.  Stay tuned to see how it works out...