Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's oh so quiet...shhh, shhh

At this moment, I have nothing on the needles.


Let that sink in for a moment. No current project, and I'm not rushing off to start one. This is big, guys.

I mean, yes, I have 3 or 4 things that need ends woven in, and one or two of those projects that are destined to be permanent WIPs until the strange day when I feel like going back to them. But aside from a little swatch for a design submission (which I'll finish later tonight) I'm currently unoccupied. I've been working on swatches for my self-designed master's program, but those take all of 10 minutes so it's pretty easy to stay in my current state. And while that's intentional (that IS what I want to be focusing on right now) it feels strange. It's like being single and appreciating your freedom, but still feeling slightly lonely and uneasy. Or like when my pet rats died, and suddenly I realized I could travel without finding a pet sitter, or turn the heat off when I left the house without worrying about freezing them, but at the same time my life felt a bit emptier, the house a bit colder and lonelier. (My response was to get a deaf, aging, quasi-retarded pom-mutt with missing teeth, a hacking cough, and a whole host of bad habits. This was not the ideal solution, but I sure do love the little bugger.)

I feel uneasy. Perhaps knitting is more of a drug than I give it credit for.


In other news, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! And that means knitting books (no yarn this time, I'm trying to use up as much as I can of my stash before I move to Portland in the fall. The less to carry, the better.) The boyfriend got me "Knitting New Mittens & Gloves", which is delightfully full of techniques I don't already know (many of which will be added to the master's program as soon as I get around to pulling them all out), and his parents got me Pluckyfluff's new book (Intertwined.) While I'll probably never get into making yarn quite that impractical, I did want to learn the techniques, and the book itself is lovely coffee table ornamentation (too bad I don't have a coffee table.) My parents got me an amazing sewing machine, so I'm sure that stuff will start showing up here too. I'm pumped.

WOO.

I've finally gotten my pictures back from my other computer, so as soon as I get a free moment, I'll put up the posts from my spring break trips. I fail at timeliness.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Be Your Own Master

Ever since I heard about The Knitting Guild Association's Masters Program I've been strangely drawn to it. The idea of pushing myself to learn a bunch of new techniques, and to have an organized collection of beautiful swatches lying around to help guide my designs is extremely attractive.

...However, mama didn't raise no fool. In no lifetime will I spend $300 to be given the privilege of learning a bunch of techniques on my own, with my own materials, just so I can have someone else judge them and give me a pin. A pin! They claim, of course, that it will help business (if you're in the business of designing or teaching knitting, etc.) and while I think it's true that the things you LEARN will certainly help, I can honestly say I've never been more or less swayed to use a pattern or listen to an experienced knitter's advice based on their pin-winning.

For those who can afford the program...good for you. I understand that it's nice to have some impetus to learn these things. For the rest of us, I present to you:

Alex's Super-Comprehensive, Mostly-Free-Pattern-Based, Tailor-it-to-your-needs "Masters Program"! Or as I like to call it, "Stashbusting the Educational Way"

In any case, here's the plan... I'm taking some time off of designing and production to edumacate myself, so you'll be seeing more of this stuff, probably. The simple stuff may come first, but for the most part, I'll be doing it in whatever order is fun and convenient


Most techniques will include a swatching as well as some patterns to help me get the hang of it and make nice stuff while I'm at it (I'll be adding more patterns and techniques as I get find them,) but first, the basics:

Swatch the following:
-Cast ons: All the ones on Knittinghelp.com, plus Eunny's tubular cast on. More if I can find them... I'll be scouring Knitty later
-Bind offs: Same as above
-Decreases: All on knittinghelp
-Increases: All on knittinghelp



Then the fun:

Swatch Stich Patterns that interest me:
-Herringbone
- experiment with numbers, styles, etc.
-Slipped stitch (not mosaic), again experiment
-Linen stitch, trinity stitch, and anything else I can find in my stitch dictionary that I think is cool or involves an unusual technique. If you're a new knitter, swatch the basics, but I'm too lazy for that and pretty confident in my stockinette ability.
-This stitch pattern. I'll probably just make the gloves, because I like them.
-A few from Knitting New Mittens & Gloves, hereafter referred to as KNMG
-nupps?
-linen stitches
-loop stitches (KNMG)
-thrumming

Short Rows
Tychus
Veronik Avery's Short Row hat Careful, pdf.
Amelia Earhart
Short row thumb from KNMG

Diagonal Knitting
I'm going to skip this because I've done quite enough of it, but I recommend The Multidirectional Scarf or Diagonal Striped Scarf

Spirals (of sorts)
Spiral hat
Leethal's wavy spiral short row hat and thanks to her for recommending some of these :-P

Cables
Swatch:
-2 strand
-3 strand (braid)
-5 strand
-reversible: Palindrome
-traveling: Celtic Cable- four strands, travelling
-closed loop (still trying to find some good stuff on this one. Links coming.)
-tree (there's one on knitty but I'm looking for a simpler one.)
-twisted tiny stuff: Bayerische
-stuff from KNMG
-"other", textural stuff: Cap Karma
-another useful link: Eunny's Unventing a Cable

Shirring
-Shirred Hat

Stranded Colorwork
- 2 color, flat Intricate Stag Bag (pdf)
- 2 color, round (I'm going to skip this because I've done a lot of it)
- Multicolor, flat
- Multicolor, round Floral Fairisle Gloves (pdf)


Sock Techniques

- short row heels
- turned heels
- peasant heels (I know I can do these, so skip)
- toe-up cast ons, etc.
- unconventional Francie. Not free, but so cool.

Lace
-Razor Cami
-Foliage
-Do everything Eunny says again.
I'm a wimp and I hardly like lace, so I went a bit easy on this portion for now. By all means, do something more challenging with it.


Embellishments (I'll have to look up some resources for these)
- applied Icord of all sorts
- knitted braids (like this one: Inga)
- beading (haven't found a project I like yet... I'll scrape up some how-to links later.) - possible projects from KNMG
- other fun stuff out of my Interweave finishing book
- applied icord
-i cord knots (KNMG), coiled icord


Finishing (again, we'll talk more links later.)
-hems (picot?)
-seams
-steeks: Do everything Eunny says.

Entrelac
-flat (I know how but a small project to refresh: Quant)
-round: Entrelac hat- also deals with shaping a bit
-shaping

Smocking
-Smocked gauntlets
-Smocked Hat
-Smocked cuff from KNMG

Tuck Stitch
(I'll probably just make up my own thing, but there are tutorials floating around, like this one here and this one.

Raglan Shaping
-top down
-bottom up
(possibly Glampyre's Raglan from the top down or the Anthropologie-inspired capelet

Intarsia
-Argyle: Socks, Pillow
-Other Mario Villains

Illusion Knitting
Counterpoint Scarf - Formerly on Magknits, now only on Ravelry. Sorry.
- chart my own.

Mosaic
Vertigo, also only on Ravelry.

Double Knitting
Exchequered

Brioche
-Brioche Stitches (a seriously awesome site.)
-single color
-multicolored
-flat
-round
-increase and decreases
-Pecan pie

Bat-wing Shape
-from the lacers in KNMG

Pleats
-
box pleats, KNMG


Some neat stuff from "Knitting New Scarves"
-"three prong" knitting
- wavy things
- the zig zaggy ones
- the linked ones
- drifting pleats
- labrynth & hourglass (just for fun mostly)
- carumboa (or rather, just the knitting-through bit)

That'll do, for the moment. ;-)


(I'll show YOU masters....)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Go Team Knit?

I have been told that I'm a bit of a ridiculous person, and as such, I occasionally become neurotic about ridiculous things. Today, it's teams.

As a child (er...and as an adult) I was never good at sports. I only once played on a sports team of any kind, a tee-ball team in first grade that never won a game...except the one I missed due to chicken pox. And even then, on that farce of a team (sponsored by the Moose Club...and unfortunately I believe that was our team name, as well) I was banished off into right field so as to avoid giving me any unnecessary contact with the ball.

But you see, I was never really a nerd either. Math and chess teams were out of the question, and while I did a brief stint in quiz bowl, but I wasn't enough of a trivia-gargling fact-geek to stick around long. I was a creative. The artsy kid. And the artsy kids...well, we don't have teams. The game of "making things", if you overlook the occasional collaborative piece or show, is a singles event. When it comes down to it, the only thing I'm exceptionally good at is knitting...and as far as I know, there are no knitting teams.

There are knitting gangs, true. And there are clubs and stitch & bitches a-plenty. There are the Knitting Olympics, yes, but that is more about individual knithletes challenging themselves, and the events largely take place in the safety of your own living room. There are people who knit while watching other types of teams.Occasionally you get a speed-knitting or speed-spinning event, and creative contests abound.

Here is the thing, and here is where the neurosis kicks in: Quite frankly, I feel robbed! I feel like by never having had the skills to be a part of a team of some sort, I've missed out on a valuable part of my youth. I want the sense of camaraderie and bonding that comes with a group of people coming together to defeat a common enemy through some activity that they love and work hard at. I want to pile into a van and sleep/party in a dirty motel on the way to a regional tournament. I want a t-shirt with a number! I WANT A TROPHY FULL OF YARN!


But the fact remains: knitting is not a team sport, and there are no knitting teams, no knitting tournaments, no trophies full of yarn. To which I say... well why the hell not?

I'll make my own damn team.

Just picture it: teams from all cities and regions, of different ages and skill levels, coming together to compete. I'm not sure, yet, exactly, what the events will be. Speed knitting, crocheting, and spinning, for sure. Maybe a speed-knitting relay. But it shouldn't focus all on speed, we want to look at technique, as well: who can spin the finest yarn, perhaps? Execute the most types of decreases on command, without stopping to think or check references? And creative events, of course...which team can come up with the most tasteful use for fun fur? Can knit the scariest monster? The prettiest collaborative gown? We could give each team a sack of materials and a time limit and see who can come up with the best...whatever. We could reward the mastery of skills, both individually and on a team level (sort of like the TKGA's Masters Program, but without requiring you to pay out the butthole for the priviledge.) There would be blood, sweat, tears, and sports injuries. There would be weak links and MVPs (MVKs?) There would be gruff coaches who, while at first you thought they hated you, you would come to realize were only trying to make you the best that you could be, and really epic music would play as they patted you on the shoulder and shed a single tear when you brought home the championship. Wise and seasoned yarn-workers who don't wish to be on teams could act as judges and referees.

There would be mascots! The Bay City Alpacas or the North Seattle Knit-A-Longers... LYSs could sponsor local teams, host events, and donate prizes. There would be t-shirts with numbers! Witty nicknames too, like "The Yarnnhilator" and "Ole' Stichy." Cheers and chants, riddled with profanity (or not, depending on your team's style) and after parties with bottles of champagne to celebrate our wins or drown our sorrows.


And we don't have to limit it to knitting, either. We could open it to the whole world of craftletics.

When I get back to Portland in the fall (or possibly 9 months later when I'm done writing my thesis) I am going to make this happen, somehow. I'll start with one team...we'll have to make up our own events, perhaps going out on sneaky yarn-gathering missions or busting in on stitch & bitches to challenge them to impromptu battles. When enough people are involved, we split. We spread the word. We convince other cities to get in on the fun. It shouldn't be too hard, really... tell someone that you're going to kick their ass at whatever it is they think they do well, and the game is on.

Yes. Yes I think that this shall be fun.

In the meantime I suppose I better think up some more events.

add this

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
romantica theme by Pink + Lola