Sunday, January 31, 2010

the amazing knitting community.

It's very nearly the end of January. If you've been on Ravelry over the last couple of weeks at all you may have noticed that a lot of the designers on there have pledged some of their earnings as donations to various causes that will help in Haiti - and in other places the desperately need help all the time. I have only one pattern for sale (for now, at least), but dedicating the sales from that pattern made me happy. Thank you to the people who've purchased my pattern in the last couple of weeks - I've already sent all of my earnings from January to Doctors without Borders, and added a little bit of my own. It's not a lot, but it's part of being a member of our wonderful community. Every little bit helps.

And I also was pleased to order patterns from other designers who were doing the same thing - I purchased Whimsical Little Knits 2 from Ysolda today, and the adorable French Press felted Slipper pattern that has made the rounds over the last six weeks or so. Wonderful patterns from good designers, and for a good cause.

The weather is going to be bitter this week and I am wishing I had already knit up Ysolda's Peaks Island Hood. I would get some good use out of it.

WIP: Rosamund's Cardigan pt 2

I've finally reached the point where I can put the sleeve stitches on holders/spare yarn, and work on the body.


I knit onto a second cable earlier so I could stretch out the knitting and sort of try this on, make sure it'll be approximately the right size...


I'm liking how this looks very much. Unfortunately I think the wool is stressing my needles out - I'm knitting so tightly and the wool is a bit rough and slightly sticky so it is hard to shove all the stitches around the cable, and I wouldn't be surprised if this cable is done in after this project. Or possibly in the middle. That's why whenever I order from KP I tend to throw a few spare cables in my basket, they're inexpensive and I wouldn't want to be stuck without the right length in the future.

Subliminalrabbit's Rosamund's Cardigan is really coming together and looking amazing, she's miles ahead of me! If you're not familiar with the pattern you might notice that mine looks different because I'm considering the right side to be the stockinette stitch side, whereas it's written to have the reverse stockinette side (all those purl sts) as the right side. The cable is reversible anyway, so I might be able to try wearing it both ways and see what I really like best in the end.

I wish today could involve tons of knitting but other than getting ready to split this cardigan to work the body and leave the sleeve portions be for now, I have two two hour reference shifts this afternoon and a broomball game tonight. Plus readings for classes and I really need to start thinking about some upcoming assignments. Happy knitting!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

knitters need information too.

About a week ago I wrote about a piece I was writing on the information-seeking behavior of knitters.

I got my lit review back today. I laughed out loud when I saw the first note my prof had made on my title page - she drew an arrow to the word "knitters" and wrote, 'I must be tired: I read this as "kittens"'.

Her challenge to me as I move forward with my inquiry is to address the issue of why the info-seeking behavior of knitters is important - and for that matter, why knitters are important.

I practically rubbed my hands together with glee. This project is FUN!

Monday, January 25, 2010

knitting graffiti

I just got a few great photos from a couple of lovely friends who visited from Ottawa in December. While they were here they were surprised to be part of this:

Halifax 035

The first bit of knitted/crocheted graffiti I've ever helped out with.

Now, this wasn't really a guerrilla effort - the pieces were collected from a few local fiber artists to dress up a telephone pole outside the December Halifax crafters market. The effort was spearheaded by Hello Pineapples. On the day, the three of us showed up to help assemble and see what it would all look like, then when HP was too busy to come with, we set it up ourselves.

AP help pieces in places while I whip-crocheted them together (meaning I was crocheting as fast as I could, and not very tidily, but that's ok!) and JH documented the scene.

Halifax 049

Since then, I've had reports from several friends in several cities that they've spotted some similar works of art!

ETA: I forgot to mention I had knit a couple of things to contribute to this effort, thanks to the donation of some fab pine green acrylic from RP - I didn't want to use any of my stash for this project because it's all ear-marked (more or less) for actual projects! The triangle at the top, and the green strip that crosses over stuff on a diagonal are pieces I knit up while in classes last November.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

lit review notes...

I mentioned in my last post I'm working on a lit review that looks at how knitters seek information about their hobby/business/obsession.

I just came across this neat piece by Cat Bordhi (of clever sock-knitting fame) about using knitting as a classroom management device. I'll just quote a little bit, and if you're interested you can read the longer article linked above.

In the second half of the commentary, Cat says

--When knitting is integrated into the curriculum (see lessons that follow) and integrated into the daily routine of class (for instance, when students are encouraged to take out their knitting projects during class discussions or other times when hands and eyes are free), an alert peacefulness arises in the room, opening a window for education. Many students told me that knitting had made them feel differently about school - it had become a haven instead of a burden. I watched tentative friendships develop between students from widely differing social groups, chronically inattentive students become intellectually engaged in class discussions, and marveled at the dramatic drop in classroom management. In my opinion, knitting is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to improve educational engagement and foster a positive social environment for learning that I have ever experienced.--

Very cool.

WIP: Rosamund's Cardigan

You wouldn't believe the number of new WIPs around here; and my knitting time has suddenly evaporated under the pressure of approaching academic deadlines. Boo.

That said, if I could, I would be working on Rosamund's Cardigan. Here's the swatch, done on size 6 needles and coming out at 4/4.25 sts/inch in Briggs and Little Heritage, color Mulberry, picked up at Avonport Discount fabrics a little over a year ago when the Nova Scotia wool adventures started:


Subliminalrabbit and I have done a couple of Knit-a-longs now (Textured Tunic and Minimalist cardigan), and this time Beigeberry is joining us. I see that the first two sweater KALs were in 2008, so it's about time we lined up a new one!


(You can see the nice heathering in the yarn here, but the color is washed out.)

Rosamund's Cardigan is from IK, Fall 2009. Everyone's pics on Ravelry are encouraging, and I'm excited to power through this - just have to go write a lit review now.

My topic? The information seeking behavior... of knitters. Possibly yarn store owners. I'm still narrowing it down. At least I got to choose whose info seeking behavior I am interested in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Knitting podcast roundup

I like to listen to knitting podcasts while I'm being crafty. Once in while I go through my podcasts and get rid of a few things that I'm just not enjoying as much as I used to, or podcasts that have disappeared and are no longer being produced.

When a knitting friend and I were discussing podcasts before the holidays and I offered to share a few favorites, I realized that it had been some time since I poked around to see if there were any new crafty podcasts I might like to listen to. I've been auditioning a few in the last few days, since I'm pretty caught up on Cast On, Sticks and String, and Fiber Beat.

New feeds in my podcast library include Knit Misadventures, Knitpod, Knitty Nora's Knitting Natter, and Never Not Knitting. I've listened to the latter three so far, and like Knitty Nora the best, I think. She has a lovely English accent and keeps up a good pace, with a nice mix of knitting chatter. I just finished listening to the first episode of Never Not Knitting, and although I'm not sure I'll stick with Alana because of the content not lining up with what I do so much, as well as the length of the episodes, she has a good way of making the audio more interesting by adding little sound bytes.

If you have any excellent podcasts to share, please do. I miss YKnit a lot, but luckily WonderMike is back with Fiber Beat, which is also pretty good so far. It's amazing what a difference some editing abilities and additional sound clips can make for audio interest.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

WIPs: Citron / Bridgewater

I finally got started on my Citron on the train ride back to Halifax - I just couldn't bear getting all the way back to the city without even starting the project I'd brought yarn for - even though the holidays were very full of knitting...


It has grown a bit since, though I'm also using those needle tips (size 6) for a baby gift for a little someone who has recently arrived - earlier than I was expecting!! I'm designing something for her, stay tuned for that.

I also worked on Bridgewater a ton on the train. It seems impossible to appreciate just how much there is to this shawl so far - I'm about halfway through the 5 charted lace repeats - but believe me, it's going to be enormous. And amazing when blocked. Though for now it just looks like a big soft lump...


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snowshoe Alpacas!

As I mentioned in passing in the last post, soon after I got back to Vermont there was a wonderful visit to a local alpaca farm organized by my fab friend subliminalrabbit.


Big eyes, gentle manners (though they do keep an eye on you just to be sure), soft coats, and a healthy bit of curiosity, we really enjoyed visiting with the herd of 58 at Snowshow Alpaca Farm.


Don't you have a pretty face!


Kisses for one of the owners:


Oh! More kisses!


The lone suri alpaca in the herd:


And since there's just no excuse for not getting a bit of the good stuff while on site (when will I ever go back!?), there was some stash enhancement.

Laceweight from the alpacas on the farm, 500 yards in a natural oatmeal color:


And I couldn't resist this 80/20 alpaca/angora blend, though it comes from Ibiwisi alpacas in Putney Vermont, a completely different operation:



Mmmm, so soft and lovely! No idea what these will grow up to be but life is too short to not buy pretty, unique skeins when they come my way, especially when they're rather one of a kind - and produced in Vermont!