Friday, 25 March 2011

Brain Storming

Remember problem pages in teen magazines?  The Agony Column? dispensing cheery advice from Agony Aunts?  Well this week I received a number of knitty related questions by e mail and on the blog and I was teleported back to age 13 and reading the problem pages in Jackie.  So I proudly tweeted yesterday that today's post would be called question time, I would be the knitters' agony aunt!

That is until this morning when I met other knitters in Sainsbury's cafe (we meet every Friday after some of us have taken some brisk exercise in the form of the Knitters Power walk)  and a lovely woman came up to us and asked a question about knitting on dpns.  As I heard three different solutions being given - all quite workable - I thought about all the ways of doing things with wool and needles and how as long as it turns out in a way that pleases you then it's 'right'

So this is not Question Time or Any Answers but brain storming.  Below are a few of the questions people have asked and my answers but I would love it if there were lots of comments with alternative solutions (and so, I expect, would my questioners)

If Caroline read my book review on Tuesday she will probably already know where these baby bootees came from (The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits)

I love it that many people who read this blog are not experienced knitters and Jan, a twitter friend asked what stitches I used for the cardigan and hat that were featured in my last post .

It still amazes me that everything we knit is made up of two basic stitches and a few holes!  The cream cardigan is made almost entirely in garter stitch, sometimes called Knit or Plain and abbreviated to K in patterns.  The shaping at the front is achieved by decreasing five K stitches in from the edge by knitting two together (K2tog) for the decrease on the right front and slip one, knit one, pass the slipped stitch over (sl1 k1psso) on the left front.  This way the front edges and decreases slope away in the opposite directions, towards the armholes, and produce mirror image symmetry. 

The lace patterned edge is a series of holes achieved by bringing the wool forward to the front of the work and knitting one of the decreases described above.  I always follow a pattern for lace, and this one is easy, a good place to start

The hat is knitted in stocking stitch (one row knit one row purl). 

The little blue bells are described in a bit more detail in my frogging post, the stems were made on my knitting dolly

Sandie, another twitter friend asked for trendy boys' patterns, in fact what she said was 'quick, while I'm in the mood what trendy patterns are there for 9/10 boys?'

That's a tricky one, one boy's trendy is another's sad.  I made a big chunky cardigan for DD2's boyfriend at Christmas.

My sons mocked saying 'you'll have to wear it you know'  Well he did and loved it, even wearing it to the pub!

But although it depends on taste I do think Rowan and Debbie Bliss have some very good looking patterns for men and boys

Caroline, also asked if I have trouble with cotton and bamboo yarn twisting up and making my knitting uneven.

Well I had not knitted with bamboo but have used a fair bit of cotton lately, for the little note books and the knitted name  and did not have the problem.  I wondered if the problem was too tight a tension or holding the yarn too firmly.  But  in my stash I had some bamboo and so in the interests of properly investigating Caroline's problem I cast on for a pair of mittens and asked the other members of my knitting group over coffee this morning about their experience.

Sorry to say they do have this problems and so did I -  the bamboo yarn (Sirdar Snuggle baby bamboo) does work itself into a twisty spiral. 

This is very annoying and if anyone has a solution (apart from risking dropping multiple stitches by hanging the knitting over the side of my chair), Caroline and I would love to read it in the comment below.

Lastly enterprising Vandy who's website selling all things wooolly Affinity Yarns has just gone live asked if she could feature this blog on her website and could she interview me for her blog, so if you want to know a little more about me and my knitting life, have a look here

I hope you all have a lovely weekend



PS I am very pleased to report that Spring has definitely arrived in my corner of Hampshire and so I'm off now to enjoy lunch in the garden.



Jee said...

I found I had to unwind all the Sirdar Baby Bamboo off the heavy card inner and just rewind into a ball to stop it twisting up. Didn't have the same problem with the other make of bamboo I had but that was a different mixture with wool and came in a loose ball. Interestingly, as I was making a striped sweater, I noticed that the S. Baby Bamboo had far less on the spool of some colours than others - curiouser and curiouser. A friend says that bamboo knits better on bamboo needles, but I can't comment on that as I don't like the feel of them so don't use tham.

Anonymous said...

Oh boo - just closed this before my comment had posted!

Does the bamboo work as a centre pull ball? I think that could solve the issue.

Also, instead of using a knitting dolly you can use two dpns to make i cord:

Sandie said...

Thanks Catherine,

I'll give them a try - they have some lovely patterns and yarn - your stitches are beautiful - makes such a difference - and love the blog too....

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I find this so interesting when I don't knit at all, and the technical stuff might as well be you going blahdiblahdiblahdiblah. But other people's obsessions or areas of expertise fascinate. Vive la difference

Caroline said...

Ooh, I just caught up on your last few posts on my phone during a ,3 AM slot with my newborn! The needles have been away since Friday, but won't be for long! My very own Debbie Bliss book arrived on Friday and I have earmarked lots of projects, but I knew I. Was in labour when I couldn't face looking at the book any longer! Caroline x