Sunday, February 13, 2011

Smashing stuff

This week I got to do one of my favorite things - teach someone some craft. Last weekend we had some visitors from Dublin in our house, one of which was the most beautiful Christina. She was admiring my spinning wheel so I suggested we give it a go. When I was shown how to use a wheel I was advised to concentrate on what my hands were doing while my teacher, Seema, made sure the wheel kept turning. For the most part, I turned the wheel with my hand, because it does take some time - more than we had - to get the hand of drafting and treadling at the same time with a nice rhythm. Indeed, I still don't have the hang of it! Christine did really well, her yarn was much more even and thin than my first few attempts were - I learned a few things about what I might have been doing wrong by watching her hands. Thanks Christina! And remember - you promised you'll have embarked on another knitting project by the time you come down again.

The other week I was reading an interview Craftster did with Debbie Stoller, who some of you may know as the author of the hugely popular Stitch'n Bitch range of books. In this interview they discussed a new Stitch'n Bitch book: Superstar Knitting. Naturally, I had ordered it within minutes. It arrived a few days later and is exactly what I wanted it to be. This book is designed for the knitter who is ready to take things a few steps further, but would appreciate some guidance along the way. Color changing (all types), lace, cables and bobbles are all detailed here with clear descriptions and diagrams, as well as a whole section devoted to teaching you how to design your own sweater (I'll admit I haven't read much of that one yet). To motivate you, there are 41 beautiful patterns from a range of designers, each with their own mini bio. A couple of projects really caught my eye, but I'm being strict with myself - no buying yarn until I get rid of some I already have. Not that anything I have is ridiculously expensive, but I'm trying my best to avoid accumulating too much more stuff. Maintaining the same level of stuff is just about acceptable though. So if I want to get new, I have to get out with the old. That's where granny squares come in.
This not a color combination I would perhaps have put together myself given a choice, but one of the things I always kind of liked about granny square blankets was their randomness. Either way, it's tearing through my years-old supply of acrylic nicely. I'm going to London for a weekend next month, so by then my stash will be positively aching for replenishment. Huzzah!
As well as this, some simple patch on second hand blazer action. Yes!

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