M looked puzzled. He apparently beleived that gussets only figured in pants and couldn't work out where they'd go in a gansey. ("Where they Go in a Gansey" ought to be the title of ... something ... rude ... in a music-hall sort of a way ...)
"Think about the patterns for tunics for re-enactment costumes," I said (thinking guiltily how I owe him a new Middle Earth-ish tunic, but hey! I'm knitting him a gansey), "and what a gusset actually does."
"Extra room," I said. "Under the armpits."
Anyway, this got me thinking. Lansallos has features that make it seem more like a woven fabric garment than a knitted one. The underarm gussets, for one. The almost smock-like appearance some of the stitches give it. It makes me wonder how the features of knitted garments may have developed from sewn garments that preceded or were contemporary with them.
Also, "gussets". "Ganseys". Why do they both sound so rude?
Almost as bad as "district nurse" or "stocking tops" or--deep breath--"black and white kitchen darwers". (Gosh! That felt really naughty ;-)
I was spinning away this evening, wondering what use I'd put this new howspun to, when it suddenly came to me why this is. I only want to knit with yarn I've spun.
So that's understood.
I did have some help:
The shawl was almost dry by the time I'd pinned it out, so I don't think--beyond a wet bum--there's much of a problem. He moved as soon as I started making lunch.
So, credits for this piece of work:
- Pattern from The Knitter magazine, issue 91
- Yarn from John Lewis
- Crystal beads from Bluestreak Beads
- Tiny beads from Hobbycraft
- Eucalan from The Sheep Shop (possibly blocking pins, too)
- Music from Annie Dressner, Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names
Days 6-8 saw me tackle the big Swarovski crystals, the lace pattern, and the beaded edging. All mostly OK. One dropped stitch and miscount recovered.
So, apart from an itchy nose, Kidsilk Haze is survivable. Shawl knit from rectangular tab is fine. Beading is fiddly.
Tomorrow: ends (weaving in), blocking, ends (trimming).
It's a shawl (from the booklet from Issue 91 of The Knitter (can't find a big photo of it... yet!)), knit from a tab in centre back, which I've never successfully done before.
It's also beaded, with two different weights of bead. And these are knit-in having previously been threaded onto the yarn. This is also something I've not tried before. (The odd bead attached using a crochet hook during knitting, yes. Not this way.)
And... It's in Kidsilk Haze, which I've avoided for years. Everyone uses it and I'm too much of a yarn snob to follow the crowd. Also....
Wind back many, many years and picture me watching the RSC production of A Doll's House at The Other Place in Stratford on Avon. We're sitting on the far side of the auditorium having walked across the set and climbed up stairs at the far side to get to our balcony seats. It's summer. My neighbour on one side is wearing perfume (probably L'air du Temps) and a new mohair sweater. I get an violent attack of hay fever. I cannot leave, as far as I can see, without crossing the set. I suffer through the performance by hiding behind handkerchiefs and trying tot to sneeze too loud or too often. I've avoided hairy yarns ever since. (Happily, I saw the same production of A Doll's House when it later toured to Newcastle, and so I got to enjoy Cheryl Campbell's wonderful performance properly.)
So, back to the knitting, new yarn, new techniques.
The knit a tab, pick stitches along its side and base, technique, especially with a provisional cast on to unpick, is as much of a fiddle as I feared. I nearly had it twisted. It was hard to tell if it was successful until I'd knit a dozen or so rows. But, I did it. It looks fine. I'll do it again. (At the time I thought the hairy yarn was a hindrance, but I think that it's probably very generously hiding any imperfections.)
The yarn is sticky. My heart sank when I had to pull the end away from the ball and it resisted. This is not a ball of yarn that is going to unroll and escape away from you across the floor exiting pursued by a cat. As a solution, I stuffed it in a yarn bowl with a rim that is smaller than the ball and it unrolls easier with the bowl holding it under a little tension.
It doesn't grip the needles, though, sliding on (and off: oops!!) my Symphonies and over the join from needle to cable very smoothly. It just likes to hold onto itself!
The yarn is also, as I mentioned, hairy. I'm fine with that. No sneezes at all. I've had to exaggerate my knitting style, throwing the yarn much wider so as to trap less of the halo of fibres round the needles. I'm terrified of ever having to pull any back, so the extra care is worthwhile. The fabric I'm producing is light as a feather, but feels plump due to the depth of that halo. It knits up fast, too, and I've already got 108 stitches of the 204 I need before border pattern and beading begin.
A good experience, with the beading to look forward to.
[I may also have acquired some neon shades of sock yarn yesterday to spice up the beekeeper a little. It was both gorgeous, and in the sale.]
I'm in the process of finishing a summer dress in a length of fabric I failed to make into a dress well over twenty years ago. (Good thing my tastes haven't changed too much.)
I've also started a Beekeeper's Quilt to make us of as many bits and bobs of 4ply and sock yarn in my possession (easier to get at as I've had to move stacked boxes from the corner of the bedroom to under the new bed so the widdling cat can't find any floor to make use of). It's modular, and I'm aiming big--four foot square--so it'll take some time.
I also discovered the downside of disposing og things: I ran out out clean duvet covers (the worn-out or incorrect-sized ones went a few weeks back). Sometimes decluttering means reacquiring jsut the right stuff.
They're joined by a flexible cable, too ;-)
Yup. A knitting problem. I didn't dare wrecking the tension on the last little bit of the slipover I' ve been working on since Xmas. And plastered up and begloved left hand would almost certainly do that. So I started a shawl so I could try out a triangular construction with the, to me, messy-seeming rectangular tab start. It's simple, garter stitch. I've gone from seven stitches to a handful over 100 (227 is the target for this section). It's mostly OK, but a couple of eyelets at the centre increase a a little... off.
No-one will ever notice. Someone might notice. I'llknow.
Do I pull the whole thing back and start again?
All the sock/4ply lace projects for Xmas were really a precursor to this:
'Cos I'm a coward and that yarn is almost as fine as standard sewing cotton, almost too soft to feel between the fingers, and fragile as hell (no pulling at tangles: it breaks). I've not blocked it properly yet, just given it a quick run over with the steam iron, so there is still the odd dangly untrimmed end showing.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with it. Hence the several pictures via the camera on the spare mobile phone*.
And the dead needles?
I'd decided that the past weekend would be when I finished. I'd hoped it would be Saturday, but watching 3 1/2 episodes of Forbrydelsen** slowed me up somewhat. So, on Sunday afternoon I disappeared upstairs to knit along to Professor Challenger on Radio 4 with Ozzie and Socks for company. Ozzie dozed at me. Socks sat on the stool level with my shoulder and watched. He'd evidently never encountered knitting before and was fascinated. Then he had to join in. First he hooked the end of the nearest needle with his paw, lifted it to his mouth and chewed it a bit. (Not entirely pleasant as we'd given him Little's rejected breakfast [Sheba with Trout***].) The bead on the end proved insufficiently tasty so he came round to the other end and chewed the points a bit. (Yes, I let him do all this. He was slow, cautious and remarkably gentle.) This wasn't such a good idea as the bamboo had already become very slightly split (I've been sandpapering the points regularly to keep the snagging to a minimum) and kitty spit exacerbated the situation; kitty weight dangling from the end has enhanced the bend in one of them too.
I will need to replace the needles. Unfortunately, the carbon fibre ones I want only come as dpns and not straights. I assume cat teeth won't harm something used for the outside of spyplanes.
* So the quality's not great.
** Yes, I'm utterly addicted. By the time I've watched it all, I may have learned some spoken Danish. Total immersion.
*** To be added to the unacceptable-to-small-anorexic-cats list.
So I knit Fetching--twice. (A further pair has been requested by the wearer of pink.) The green pair took a tad over the single ball of Cashmerino Aran, but I had some spare, so no problem there. For the black pair I had only one ball of yarn: a reduction of three rounds in the plain part of the hand was spot on for yarn requirements.
The one other change I made was to even up the ribs so that the mitts are a proper mirror image (look at the picture on the index page of the Knitty site just above the start of the thumb and see how the lines of purls in the rib aren't quite mirrored--I know it's marginal, but I likes my symmetry). The solution on the second glove was to finish the final round of the main section of 4x1 rib three stitches early and commence the knit in waste yarn section for the thumb there. Simple, but pleasing tweak.
( big piccies )
... with one ball of sock yarn?
It helps that Opal Petticoat is so pretty.
So far, with some yarn remaining, I've done my watch strap, Looby Loo's socks (well it is sock yarn), a dress (for Barbie), and two dresses for her little sisters (with a correspondingly small pattern design--yup, it's a small, square post it note).
I think that's what I'm calling them. There's an associated half-remembered quote (from my 'O' level music notes, no less, so there's little chance of chasing it up). They're certainly perversely (left and right socks mirror) elaborate (picot edging, lace panels, beribboned eyelets) enough for the description. I rather fancy them whilst lounging, semi-d|shabill|e, in my imaginary salon. Fingerless gloves in complementary design most defintiely required.
But first to write up the pattern... properly.
( sox )