Hello, Again!

It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted here, but I have a couple of good reasons — heart surgery and spinal surgery. Between hospitals and rehabs, I have not felt much like knitting, writing, or even writing about knitting.

A week ago, however, Ellen Kushner posted a pic of a beautiful sweater her wife had made her. When I finally stopped drooling, I asked Delia for the pattern or a link to it, and she pointed me here. I then spent a few hours searching the web for someone who would have the correct yarn, which had been discontinued, in enough quantity for me to make the sweater in my size. Found the yarn (Rowan’s Lima Color in Colorway 712 – Rosario) at Seattle’s Little Knits. Then came the waiting for the yarn to arrive – one week to the day from ordering it!  It’s amazing yarn – 84% alpaca, 8% merino, and 8% nylon! Buttery soft, and very subtle color variation. It’s a chain, rather than twisted plies, and it knits up deliciously.

I swatched it before dinner, and decided that I needed to go down one size on the needles for the sweater, since I knit a tad loosely. The back has been cast on now, and is an inch long as I type this. If I can keep my gauge steady, which will be no mean feat, this will be the most gorgeous thing I have ever made. Pictures as the sweater happens.

Review: Stick Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting (Kindle Edition), by Ashley Anderson

I really wanted to recommend this book, but I cannot. The writer gets facts wrong, and her explanations are confusing at best.

For example, when discussing working from a chart she says: “When knitting flat, you will work the first row from right to left, and on the return you will knit left to right. Or, more simply, on odd numbered row you will be working from right to left. On even numbered rows you will be working across the chart from right to left.”*

Her first run-on sentence is actually correct, but her third sentence is wrong.

She also confuses Contentinental knitting and English knitting, among other errors. Most Americans knit Continental, which involves holding the yarn in the left hand and scooping one’s stitches. English knitting involves holding the yarn in the right hand and throwing it around the needle to make stitches.

There are many reputable beginner knitting books on the market, and I would be happy to recommend some if contacted privately. Sadly, this is not one of them.

*Anderson, Ashley (2012-06-26). Stick Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting (Kindle Locations 414-415). . Kindle Edition.

Trying the Multi-Project Route

After finding myself stalled out on the socks I am working on, and needing a project I could work on kind of without thinking much at a party I went to this last weekend, I started my net commission – a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend.

I haven’t gotten much knitting done this week, though. I’ve had writing and editing deadlines up to my ears.  This is not because I have had too much work; it’s more because I seem to have acquired a summer cold that is kicking my butt.

I hope to get back to my regular schedule soon.

Knitting Apathy

I’m struggling to get a pair of socks knit that should have taken me two weeks, tops.  Instead, it’s been a month or so, and I have to get them finished, because I have other commissions in the pipeline.

Not sure what the problem is; it doesn’t feel like summer knitting apathy — you know — when it’s just too damned hot to knit.  Oh well, will slog through, one stitch at a time, if necessary.

Why I Love Independent Dyers

As many of you know I do get a good portion of the yarn I buy from independent dyers. This is not to say I don’t buy yarn from major companies any more; it is to say that when I have the choice and the money, the independent dyer often wins out.

I feel this way for a number of reasons:

1.  I can build a real relationship with an independent dyer.  Some of the dyers I use (I’m looking at you, Kellee and Melissa) have become real friends over the years, whether I’ve ever met them in person or not.

2.  Independent dyers are primarily doing this because they love to create gorgeous yarns. Yes, when they earn money from it, it’s wonderful, but these are fellow creatives, and I will always support a creative over a corporation, given the choice.

3.  The service.  Maybe I’m just lucky, but I have never had bad service from an independent dyer. What I have had is friendly and excellent service, often accompanied by little surprises (of the pleasant sort) in my orders. I’ve gotten stickers, pencils, stitch markers, and once, I even was gifted with a travel kit of body essentials.  Beats the heck out of a snarling clerk in a discount yarn store any day, let me tell you.

4. The yarn itself. I can order exactly what I want, in the yarn I want.  And I have never had a dyer charge me more for a custom hank than they did for a hank they just came up with.  I get the choice of yarn, too. That skein of Panda she did in DK – can I get it in sock or laceweight? Yep. And if she (or he, but most of the dyers I deal with are women) doesn’t have the particular weight I want, they will let me know when they are expecting their next shipment of it, as well as letting me know what they do have on hand in the weight I want.

5. Negotiating power. I am on a limited budget, and I have had independent dyers hold a color I fell in love with until my pension check comes in and clears. And if that is not possible, or if someone else has shown interest in the same skein(s), I have been able to work out deals where they would dye some up for me when I had the cash to spend on it.  I have also been given wonderful discounts for being a loyal customer (and that also goes for independent pattern designers).

6. Finally, these are people who understand. They love fiber as much as i do; in all its colors, textures, and glory.  They get it.  There is an understanding between us, even when I am negotiating my first or second order, that their fiber is going to a good home, and that I will turn that fiber into something that I or someone else will love and cherish.

And I think that understanding is — quite possibly — the best part of dealing with an independent dyer.  It’s what makes us sisters (and brothers) under the skin.  We each understand and respect the effort the other one will put into creating our end result.  And it’s a very seductive feeling.  And it’s why I keep returning to independent dyers, spinners, and other creatives when I want really good yarn for something.

I Have Had no Time for Knitting Today.

Between deadlines, client meetings, an online class, and a futon frame that should have taken an hour and a half to put together, but is now jury-rigged because the screws don’t fit the holes, which are not properly aligned, I have had no time to breathe, let alone knit.

Besides, I’ve been sufficiently upset today that it probably would hve played hell with my gauge.

Hopefully, life will get back on something vaguely resembling an even keel tomorrow.

Still Here, Still Working, Progress of Sorts Being Made.

I’m almost caught up on the socks I am making, and I have a line on the yarn for a scarf for a client, although she now wants to postpone the commission for a bit. I sent her an email back as to whether I should hold the yarn for her, or can I use it for other stuff, and order new yarn when she’s ready (I will be getting it through an indie dyer I often use).

I also got my domain names back from the person who had theoretically been administering them for me, so at some point soon I will start building a website to host this blog and other knitting related things.

Anyway, I just spent two hours working on the socks, so I must get back to writing now — I have some articles due before I go to bed.

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