Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's in Your Knitting Bag?

My new zippered bag for notions like stitch markers and scissors

How many of these items do you have in your knitting bag?  (The list is from My Little Knitting Book:  A Quick Reference, a booklet by Joan Sheridan.)

  • Yarn darner 
  • Sharp small scissors and theadcutter pendant
  • Crochet hooks (D,J, Steel 10)
  • Stitch markers (more than one kind)
  • Cable needles and/or spare double points
  • Stitch holders (two of each size)
  • Smooth yarn for provisional cast ons, holding stitches and making emergency stitch markers
  • Plastic seaming pins and/or Knit Klips
  • Point protectors
  • Row counter and calculator
  • Blocking pins
  • Tape measure
  • Small ruler
  • Needle gauge
  • Pen, pencil, & highlighter
  • Sticky notes and removeable highlighter tape
  • Zippered bag for notions
  • Business cards for your favorite yarn stores
  • Nail file and hand cream

I can check off maybe 1/4 of that list.  I always put in:  small scissors, row counter, tape measure, needle gauge, tiny wooden crochet hook for dropped stitches, cable needle, big-eyed sewing needle for kitchenering sock toes.

As of two days ago, I no longer just toss that stuff loose into a tote bag.  I treated myself to a little zippered notions bag.  I can keep it pre-loaded and just toss the thing into my knitting bag.  Now I'm considering upgrading my tape measure to something from Lantern Moon.  That sheep and bumblebee crack me up.  Or should I keep with the egg theme I have going with the notions bag and go for the hen?

Zipper pull detail on my new notions bag.  Shiny!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ulmus Shawl

Hand Maiden's Casbah (81% merino, 9% cashmere, 10% nylon) in Nova Scotia casting an accusing and defiant eye
 Not going for twee here but yarn pretty much does tell a knitter what it wants to be and what it doesn't want to be.  This is not a case of Chitty Chitty Bang Bangitis or enchantment or lunacy.  It's simply that you may purchase yarn with the reasonable idea of making it into one thing but find that it doesn't look or behave as expected.

My skein of Casbah in Nova Scotia didn't want to be socks.  Now, I have used the same yarn  in a different colorway for a pair of mansocks.  It was wonderful, perfect.  Magnificent, even.  This encouraged me to insist a little more than normal.  I made two attempts to force the issue, first with a baby-cable pattern, then with a slip-stitch pattern.  The yarn won out.  My mistake:  there are other uses for sock yarn than socks, of course.  Baby clothing comes to mind.  Scarves, fingerless mitts, wraps.   It's simply a matter of taking full advantage of the yarn's relative lightness and colorways.

The pattern is Ulmus.  It's a slip-stitch pattern calling for two rows of Yarn A followed by two rows of Yarn B.  Some use contrasting yarns but I happened to have a complimentary yarn on hand.  This is the result:

Yarn B is Shibui Knits Sock (100% superwash merino) in Emerald.  I bought it online, thinking it was a solid. Yeah, it's a self-striper in shades of green.  See?

I didn't love it for socks.  I do love it as contrast and edging for this shawl.

Nice shawl, stash down by four skeins (one of the blues/greens and three of the emerald).  Happy ending, right?

And so I, too, believed.  Then the Loopy Ewe decided to put on Camp Loopy - details of what that is in the link.  The first project is a scarf or shawl or cape in two colors to be knit between mid-June and mid-July.

So, yeah, I'm in.  Let's see what an Ulmus Shawl from these two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock will look like.