Random Ravelings

Thoughts on knitting, yarn, writing, and life, as the mood strikes me.

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Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Friday, June 02, 2006


I just got the new issue of Knitter's in my mailbox yesterday (Summer 2006, K83). Let me start by saying that I don't look at these magazines necessarily as a source of complete garment patterns, but more as general inspiration. I look for interesting structural techniques, pattern stitches, uses of color and so forth. On that score, this issue isn't bad. On the other hand, most of the sweaters seemed to be very boxy and oversized on the models. There were a couple of exceptions that had some waist shaping -- Flannel Garden (a sleeveless sweater with front yoke details) and Bon Bon (a tank top designed by Lily Chin). What I find interesting about all of the boxy sweaters and tunics is that this is not a style we'ere seeing much of in ready to wear (I'm not talking high fashion here, I don't pay that much attention). More fitted garments definitely seem to be in, especially for younger women.

Now, boxy sweaters certainly would be easier to design for multiple sizes. After all, you don't have to worry about exactly where all of the womanly curves actually are -- just make it big enough to cover the body. Throw in an interesting stitch pattern, an neat or exotic yarn, and you have a sweater! Unfortunately, what you have is still a box, and not necessarily flattering on all body types. Maybe this is why I make socks, even though I have to adapt those patterns to fit my stout ankles. I'm not all that keen on spending the time it takes to knit a sweater, only to end up with something that just hangs there. Especially when the design involves acres of stockinette, as some of these designs do.

Now, in other patterns. The socks are interesting, though I've not had time to actually read the details of how they're constructed. The felted purse is very cute. I love the colors, but probably couldn't afford the yarn. There is one blanket, another example of interesting construction which I'll probably take a closer look at later, though I have no plans to knit it. The four jackets aren't bad, and the purple one (French Lilac) is kind of cute, but all are very boxy in design. The French Market Bag is intriguing, though I'd skip the matching wrap. Oddly enough, I don't think there are any designs for men in this issue (they usually manage at least one).

Peri Klass has a nice essay on knitting two baby blankets which I enjoyed. Sounds familiar, buy the yarn with great plans of a quick and easy project (or two), which end up taking far, far longer than anticipated.

Overall, a rather middle of the road issue. Nothing that leaps out and screams "Knit Me!", but enough designs to keep me interested enough to read through the patterns and consider possible adaptations -- alternate yarns, colors, trims, etc. A few designs I may go back to at some point (Flannel Garden, French Lilac, the felted purse, maybe the socks).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

June, already?

Where did spring go? First April was hotter than usual, than the first part of May was actually pretty cool, and this past week it felt more like summer. Long days, highs in the 90s. Really.

I'm still knitting, but not that much. Busy with stuff like finally getting the fence fixed that got busted down by a pickup truck that ran off the road last December. The reconstruction work was finished last week, and I've been painting it by fits and starts this week. It's a wooden picket fence, painted white. Of course. It also serves as a very visible marker for the edge of the road, which while it didn't help the two times the fence did get hit (daylight accidents with relatively young, i.e. inexperienced, drivers), does help provide at least a slight buffer between the road and my house, which isn't all that far from the fence. And the visibility factor is definitely a plus. On the other hand, a wood fence is not exactly low maintenance. Kilz is my friend. Just keep priming it. Seems to be working so far.

Knitting has included finishing a prototype double-knit mitten for the northern branch of the family Christmas presents. It's a prototype because I'm not sure if it will fit the recipient and because I forgot which color was the main color and accidentally switched the yarn in left and right hands between the main part of the mitten and the thumb, so the thumb while okay, does look a bit funny compared to the hand -- the colors are emphasized differently. I figured out the problem after I finished and woven in the ends and frankly, didn't feel like redoing it. And I'd already declared the mitten either mine, or a prototype. I'll get the intended recipient to try it on this weekend, since she'll be visiting.

I did finish the Wild Foote socks I'd been working on earlier, and also knit up a (quick) pair of boot socks in Chunky Wool-Ease. I'm using up the yarn from a sweater project that I frogged a year (two years?) ago after realizing that the resulting sweater was WAY too big and besides that the color really didn't do anyone any favors. They call it "Foliage", an interesting mix of green and greenish brown, with flecks of other colors tossed in. It should have been a great color for someone of my coloring (fair, freckles, red hair), but in fact it reminds me mainly of standard army camo green, about the color of the army-issue undies my ex brought home with him from the army. I actually made a hat out of the yarn. The main redeeming feature of the hat is that it's warm. The color just doesn't work. I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure this out. So, it's socks for this yarn -- keep it as far from my face as possible!