Thursday, July 26, 2007

And then there were two

I completed the second side-panel of the floor cushion. I'm bored with knitting the long bits now, I think I will now attempt the bottom.

My fingers are used to hours of typing or even better, hours of mashing buttons on the PlayStation, but this is a whole new kind of pain. I experienced soreness and stiffness for the first time today and the fact that it is winter and cold doesn't help at all. I feel quite pleased with my dedication, as illustrated by the fact that I knitted through the pain!

Apparently we should expect bucketloads of rain this weekend, starting tomorrow. Guess I'll stay in and knit, then.

Needles instead of Photoshop

I can't believe I haven't done the graphics for this blog yet. I am so ashamed. Maybe I'll whip out my graphics tablet this weekend. Well, not whip out, since it's always by my side, but pull it closer and use it.

Ok, I've plopped up some make-do-for-now adjustments...I feel much better with some of my personality reflected on here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One panel done

I finished the first panel of my floor cushion, mostly while watching Heroes. And my friend Carlien, once a mocker of knitters, has purchased chunky needles and is knitting a scarf. I'm so proud! I've recruited someone! We're well on our way to becoming Perfect Grannies. All grannies should knit, or at least be able to, as far as I'm concerned. And bake yummy crunchies with oatmeal!

On the photo it looks like the one end is considerably wider than the other, but I just checked it again and it's fine. Weird. I'll get started on number 2 now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter down, floor cushion to go.

My weekend has gone by in a blur. I finished knitting the square for my blanket this weekend, I just have to embroider a heart on it now. I include a picture of the corner of the square - I have started the embroidery and didn't want to capture a couple of stitches that don't form anything yet.

I started reading the last Harry Potter book early this morning, around 4 or 5 in the morning! It was excellent, although I am sad to see the last of Harry. With that out of the way, I can get back to knitting. I shall start on the floor cushion today and I hope to have it completed within two to three weeks. I have no idea how long it will take to knit nine 50g balls of yarn into something useful, so I hope that is a reasonable goal.

During the knitting of my square, the first thing I have knitted since junior school, I had a question. I searched for the answer online and apparently it was such a stupid question, almost no one had thought to answer it. I did find my answer, though, so I will repeat it here. I wanted to know how to count knitted rows. Not how to keep track, but what actually constituted a row. The answer is to count the ridges on the knitting and multiply that number by two. If you stretch your knitting out a bit, you will see ridges and indented rows (these form ridges on the wrong side of the knitting). Now I know.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Calm down, all is well

Oh thank goodness, my magically tranforming yarn has stopped acting up. Maybe I was too tired last night, or hallucinating, because without changing my technique, my knitting is suddenly fine again. What a relief.

Maybe I really should blame it on the cats - last night I was knitting with two cats on my lap, tonight there was only one. I have to add that these cats aren't mine. I am not a crazy knitting cat lady. But give me a couple of years.

What I've learnt: Avoid pretty plum-coloured yarn

I have two balls of nearly identical yarn. They are small (10g) balls, one is cream and one is plum. Apart from the colour, they are identical.

I knitted a tension swatch with the cream, so as to not handle the plum too much. The cream knitting came out beautifully. When I attempted to knit with the plum, it resulted in an unholy mess. (By the way, my tension was almost perfect, my rows were spot on target, 32 rows in 10cm, and my stitches were just a little too loose - I was quite chuffed with myself.)

Time and time again my plum knitting looks, for lack of a better word, holey. I tried three times and finally gave up. I will try again later tonight, and if it doesn't look better this time, I will use other yarn. It can't be me. My cream swatch was fine, neat and delicate and stretchy and soft. I'm using the same needles. I'm going to knit past any holes and ignore the whole thing if it looks like a lace doily. And blame a cat.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cats. Yarn. Oh Darn.

Why on earth do cats love knitting so much?

We have three cats, but only two are worth mentioning. The third is an emo cat who hates the world and everyone in it. If it could grow its fur long and wear eyeliner and be very very angry all the time, I think it would.

The other two cats generally ignore me. If I want to pet something, I have to go find them and dig them out and they always do the dead weight trick to try and discourage you from picking up their heavy and stretchy bodies.

Since I've started knitting, they are all over me. I mean, they climb on top of me, and my knitting, and sit on top of it. If I dare move, they take a swipe at my yarn. What's the attraction? As soon as those two needles slide against each other, the cats are there.

The only explanation I can come up with is the 'hard to get' theory. When you call a cat, they won't come unless there is something in it for them. Like food. Cats aren't petted when you want to pet. They are petted when they want to be petted. As soon as a cat is unwanted, like when you are reading a paper, the previously cold and distant cat will make itself comfortable on top of your paper. If I have to guess, the cats don't appreciate the amount of time I spend doing things other than trying to convince them to come out and play.

I left my knitting on the table - let's hope it's still in one piece when I get there...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Glad I got that Burda

I forgot to mention that when I paged through my Burda to see the patterns I'd like to make, I noticed that they had some very nice knitwear in there too. That looks a lot more advanced, though, so give me a year...

Day One - Got My Supplies

Yesterday I saw a knitted floor cushion in a magazine. The article included the pattern and since it fit on one page, I figured "this must be easy". I decided to knit it.

I don't knit.

Last night I downloaded several how-to video clips and registered on the knittinghelp forum. I introduced myself so that I couldn't back out today and pretend nothing ever happened.

Today I went to the best knitting supplies store in Port Elizabeth - Little Angel. I purchased the ten balls of yarn the pattern requires, two pairs of 5 mm knitting needles in two different lengths, a darning needle, a measuring tape and a small pair of scissors.

I was itching to give it a go, but had to go watch a movie with my sister and a friend. While we were waiting for the movie to start, I decided to go to CNA, a newsagent, to see if the latest Burda was out yet. Burda is a sewing magazine with clothing patterns. The first thing we saw when we entered the store was one of those monthly "learn to" magazines, that always comes with free stuff. You know the kind, they start off being almost free, and in fine print they state the regular price. This series is called 'The Art of Knitting' and the first issue cost R9,95. A milkshake costs more than that. You also get a pair of knitting needles (in a size I didn't have yet!) and two small balls of yarn. Oh, and a DVD with some basic instructions.

I had told my friend, Carlien, about my desire to take up knitting, and so we laughed when we saw this knitting magazine - what a coincidence! I found my Burda, took it to the cash register and saw Carlien moving towards the queue with this massive cardboard square, containing the knitting magazine, needles, DVD and balls of yarn. She's buying it, she said. Now, I'm a cheapskate. I can learn how to knit for free, online. I can get my patterns for free, online. But R9,95 is practically free and I'm nothing if not dedicated, so I bought it too.

Tonight I got home, took out the needles, watched the DVD and started knitting with the practice yarn. I have to make it clear that I am not a complete stranger to knitting. I was taught how to knit at school - I just never took a shine to it. But this is different. I want that pretty floor cushion! I soon had my stitches on and off I went. Easy. I also really like the magazine and the patterns in it, so I've decided to continue buying it.

I will start on the cushion tomorrow. Right now I am not even going to redesign the look of this blog - I have a square to knit! I want to practice keeping an even tension before I start on the large piece. The squares will end up as a knitted blanket made up out of 90 squares.

So far, day one = good.