Thursday, March 20, 2008

Just to Fill in . . . While I Finish Those Socks and Start a Shawl . . .

Do you knit using the English or Continental Method? Continental - started off knitting English, but since I'm left handed, the Continental Way really clicked for me once I learned.

Loose, normal or tight knitter? Though my personality is energetic and err, high-strung, my knitting style is the opposite - looose and laid back!

How long ago did you learn to knit? First time, when I was in 3rd grade from Grammy - but I never learned to knit well back then. I made one sampler pillow, doll blanket and countless garter stitch scarves. I knit through grade school and junior high years, then abandoned knitting when I became a teenager for other crafters, i.e. needlepoint, cross stitch and embroidery. Also tried to learn crochet back then, but all I mastered was chain stitch at the time.

Returned to knitting in the summer of 2003 (into my early 40's) when my daughter wanted to learn how to do it. Mom and I took a knitting class together at Knitcraft in Independence. Janet was our teacher. We picked it up again fast - I guess muscles really DO have memories. But that time, it really "stuck" and I was determined to learn the right way - how to make wearable garments and most importantly, how to fix knitting mistakes so the garment looked halfway decent. I also learned about gauge . . . ah, have to admit that I still don't always do a gauge swatch, even though I know better. Ahem.

Who taught you how? Grammy, age 8; then Janet at Knitcraft, age 42. I was "born again" in a knitting sense.

What was your first FO? As a child, it was the sampler pillow.

First FO as an adult: definitely the felted Rainbow Purse. It was easy, it was fast, and taught me how to knit on circs, which I never learned as a kid! That first REAL year of knitting as an adult, I made several simple stockinette felted bags in bright colors and decorated with eyelash fringe. Scarves too. Many scarves.

Favorite yarn? Gosh, let's see, I prefer worsted weight best of all for most projects- and I love fingering weight for socks. I like Cascade 220 as a staple, Lamb's Pride for felted bags, Malabrigo for pure softness and pleasure in knitting, Noro for color; Peace Fleece for sweaters and that natural lanolin feel while knitting; I love tweedy yarns in whatever brand I can find. In sock yarn, I LOVE Colinette Jitterbug sock yarns for both socks and shawls. I've also recently discovered Kay's Dome Hill hand-dyed sock yarn and enjoy it immensely. One more favorite, for light weight socks, it's Cascade Fixation all the way - it's S-T-R-E-C-H-Y and makes perfect tennis shoe socks and footies.

In terms of acrylic yarns, I'm not a snob. I always choose acrylic for baby items, because I remember that as a young mother, everything was thrown in the washer and dryer. The acrylic yarn I now highly favor for range of color, softness and wearibility is Berocco's Comfort yarn. I also have knit many many projects with Caron's Simply Soft and adore it for many items. I don't like to mix acrylic with wool yarns in any project that just seems WRONG somehow.

Any yarn you don't like? In general, I shy away from cotton.

Projects tend to be what color(s) if knitting for yourself? Autumn colors, browns, reds, greens. With my red hair, I love ANY shade of green.

If you knit socks, what is your preferred method (i.e. toe up/cuff down, double pointed needles, 2 circs, Magic Loop etc.): I LOVE knitting socks, especially as my transportable project. Prefer cuff down using Magic Loop method, but I don't mind toe-up either. I just like to get the cuff part over with, especially if doing (BOR-ing) ribbing, so I like to do the cuff first. However, if the cuff is an interesting stitch pattern, it becomes my favorite part. As far as heel turns go, I prefer the short row heel with a heel flap. It fits best for me. After discovering Melissa Morgan-Oakes "2 At A Time" sock book, I now LOVE the magic loop method and I am enjoying the dickens out of doing both socks at once. Since reading that book, I've become a quick convert and have fallen in love with socks all over again.

Favorite pattern you’ve knit so far? Hmmm. Oh yeah, definitely the Forest Canopy Shawl. No question on that. Susan Lawrence (sp) is an excellent designer. There are no errata in the pattern- it is explained simply but completely in understandable language. The pattern includes both written and charted instructions. It doesn't get any better than hers, in my opinion. I also like the Sally Melville "Knit Experience" books - especially the first one. There are many great patterns in there for beginners and experienced knitters alike.

Favorite pattern source? I love - best of all, the patterns are FREE.

Favorite needles? Addi-Turbos for most things. I love the new Addi Turbo Lace needles - and not just for lace - for everything. I want to replace all my regular Addi's with these eventually. I love the sharp tips. If a project calls for non-slippery needles, bamboo circs are nice to hold and hug the stitches.

Favorite type of knitting? That all depends, if I am worried and stressed-out, I like to get by myself, in a relaxed environment without interference or companionship, listen to some quiet music and knit lace. Nothing relaxes me more than concentrating and becoming immersed in a complicated lace pattern. The best!!! It's truly an altered state of consciousness, something about the total focus calms my frayed mind like nothing else.

When I am in a playful, creative mood, or in a non-pattern-following mood, I love to play with fiber color and texture by doing Freeform knitting and crochet- that's just a real thrill to find a way to play with yarns without a pattern and without rules. Yay! It's funny that when I'm in a good, carefree mood, my preference turns to Freeform.

Are you on Ravelry? If so, favorite thing about it? Absolutely. My favorite thing so far is viewing other people's projects and finding out what yarns they used, what patterns and in what ways. Especially when they did modifications that improved it, and to give me ideas of how to use the yarn in my stash. I love the fact that there are photos and DETAILS about the projects. It's fun reading about other crafter's preferences and ways of making things.

Nicest thing you’ve ever knit: Hmm. Probably either my Forest Canopy Shawl or my huge Harriet Carpet Bag

Project you get the most compliments on: Harriet Carpet Bag - but I heavily modified the pattern so it's not very Harriet-like, actually.

Most hated project: oh God, the Nashua Cilantro summer lace top that I started for myself and ended up giving to my Mom last summer. It was a Total Disaster and a huge waste of time and money. The yarn sucked (it was the most splitty yarn I ever worked with). The pattern sucked. The result sucked. I'd love to burn it if given the chance.

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