Pattern notes.

January 2008 has begun on the wrong foot, regarding my knitting. I have had to frog several things entirely, including my Analogue Amnesty yarn hat, which was just ridiculous:

My Fyberspates gloves which I was forced to admit just didn’t *fit* my hands – and the yarn is just too lovely to use in a pattern that doesn’t completely work:

My candy-cane striped walking-stick cosy, (modeled here with the delectable Elly) which just wouldn’t stretch over a walking-stick owing to the floats being *too tight*:

…And a small, angora dress I was knitting for Elly, which I never photographed because it was so appalling. On top of these failures is the whole saga of Tatami. Now before this spree of unlucky knitting, I completed and designed several things without incident or error, which have failed to make it into the blog. I shall present them here to balance all the frogging, cursing and lack of progress that is currently prevailing.

The Giraffe Hat, completed for my lovely brother, Ned. I am especially pleased with the shaping on the ears and the colourwork:

The Sushi-scarf, knit for my friend Sharon. I love both by the novelty aspect of this amusing garment, and the fantastic inroads that knitting it made into the acrylic portion of my stash:

The felt-bag I knocked up out of some grey/green roving and a ball of Analogue Amnesty tape-yarn:

A ballband washcloth using extremely scratchy, chunky yarn from Prick Your Finger, plus some ordinary kitchen string and carpet yarn my friend Caroline had in her stash:

A mitre-square I recently did in order to understand the process of mitred corners and suchlike:

And the circle I knitted (and grafted on to the rest of the hat) to comprise a ‘record’ on the top of the Analogue Amnesty yarn hat:

I’m realising I really prefer to design things myself; most of the stuff I’ve made or plan on making, is stuff I imagined myself. The ridiculous Analogue Amnesty yarn hat is supposed to resemble a record on a record-player (loosely speaking) and I’ve used silk because I wanted the end hat to be as soft and comforting as the music on the tape with which the darker yarn is plied. But the jump from silk to handpsun creates unpleasing tensions on the fabric, and the square shape of the decreases just doesn’t look lovely when worn. I also made the hat far, far too big. I propose to decrease in a much more circular fashion – not quite reducing in a circle pattern, (8 sts every other row, spread evenly ) but instead by 6 sts every other row. And I plan to integrate a strand of white bamboo leftover yarn in with the silk, to even out the fabric thickness throughout the hat. The failed first effort is a reminder to me that I must do my knitting maths.

With the Fyberspates gloves, I think in the end I must gauge swatch for my hands as they are quite tiny and the prescribed number of stitches is too large for them. I also think that the gorgeous mobair/fyberspates yarn combo makes a slightly-too-chunky seam inside the fingers of the gloves, so I propose to adapt this pattern in knitty for thick DK yarn and re-knit the gloves in the round.

I think the candy-cane walking-stick-cosy needs to be revised, but it may be the kick in the butt I need to learn Intarsia. One just can’t strand easily or neatly across 6 stitches… the other option there is to make each band of colour 3 sts wide instead of 6. And it’s not necessary to do such a pattern in mosaic stitch. So I think to complete this satisfactorily, I need to invest in some ziplock bags and cast on again. It could be a good first-date/first impressions cosy for Valentine’s day!

I’ve been reading a lot about stash management in people’s blogs, and projects like the little brown dress project have really inspired me to think more carefully about what I consume and make. I’ve realised – and it’s obvious from this post – that I find it much easier to buy yarn than to knit with it. But the pleasure of making small leaps in understanding (such as the mitered square, or learning how to knit a perfect circle) far outweighs the guilty pleasure/pain mix of acquiring more yarn. I also was upset this Christmas not to be able to give everyone hand-knit items. So I’m slowly going to turn everything in my stash into gifts/practise/garments, and resist the temptation to invest in more yarn until I have mastered the skills I need to be able to realise all the great designs I have in mind.

In summary, my disappointing January start has also been a time of review, exploration, realisation and recognition, and it’s put me in better stead for a year of considered knitting and intense learning. I really can’t recommend making mistakes highly enough – in spite of my last post’s bleak outlook, learning curves are sexy.

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