The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Still learning September 30, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 1:37 pm
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I’m still practicing my Irish cottage knitting.  So far, my biggest problem is figuring out how to hold the yarn for the right tension.  If I find a way that works for knit stitches, it’s too loose for purls.  If it’s good for purls and knits, I can’t work very fast.  But I’m still trying and when I get it down, there will be tutorials!


It wasn’t until I was about 8 inches into my “practice swatch” that I realized that this is a good opportunity to make myself a scarf.  I searched my stash for some yummy worsted weight… only to find that I don’t have any.  Well, I have yummy worsted.  But not enough to make a scarf.  (I take that back.  I just realized that I have some wool that was hand-dyed in New Mexico that would have been great, but isn’t stored in the stash right now so I had forgotten about it.  Hm, hopefully the husband who I dragged to two yarn stores, saying that I had no yarn, will not read this!)  So we went to the yarn shop during some errands and then to the second yarn shop when the first didn’t have anything that jumped into my hands that was also in my price range.  I am not making an $80 scarf, Alchemy Yarns, no matter how soft and shiny and utterly gorgeous you are!  At the second yarn shop, I got two balls of Mochi Plus, in Neptune Rainbow.  I almost ended up buying needles too, since this new technique seems to be easier to learn on straights than DPNs at least at the beginning.  But Mochi Plus luckily needs one of my three pairs of straights.  So far I’m liking the yarn very much.  Pretty colors, nice gradation, and easy to work with.  Oh, and SOFT.  I can’t wait to try the sock yarn version!


So, scarf on the needles, socks also underway.  (To be honest, I have many socks underway.  But no one needs to be that honest.)  I have been working on a pair of socks for Lowell; the poor man hadn’t gotten any socks yet!  After I found the perfect yarn (which took a while!), I couldn’t come up with the right pattern.  These seem to be going over well, though.  I finished the first sock last week and am making the second sock in record time, since Lowell has been walking around with a sock on one foot and a felted slipper on the other for the last few days.  I haven’t decided yet if these socks will be submitted for publishing anywhere yet, so no pictures until I make up my mind.  I’m leaning towards publishing them on the blog though.  Will keep you posted.


Learning New Things September 24, 2009

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 3:36 pm
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I love learning new techniques.  One of the things I like so much about knitting is the number of techniques to learn.  Like entrelac, Norwegian purling, Portuguese knitting, colorwork… every time I worry that I’ve learned it all, something new pops up!  The story of how I stumbled on this new technique is long and boring, but I will tell it to you anyway.  I’m just that kind of person.


I was poking around on Abby Franquemont’s YouTube channel for some spinning videos about a week ago.  One of the videos there was this one of the Yarn Harlot knitting and explaining a bit about her technique, particularly how it’s better for preventing repetitive stress injury.

I watched the video and marveled at her speed.  “Isn’t that cool?” I thought.  Then I didn’t think much about it for a while.


A week went by, and I saw on the Harlot’s blog that she had finished another pair of socks.  Now, this woman is always traveling, teaching, writing, and has teenagers at home.  How is it that she can churn out multiple projects in the time it takes me to finish one (not one project, one sock)?  It dawned on me.  She is using that other knitting technique.  I watched the video again and paid attention to the name.  Irish cottage knitting or production knitting.  Also known as lever or armpit knitting.


Well, that set off a full-blown Google search for anything and everything that I could learn about Irish cottage knitting.  This is the technique that the Harlot teaches in her class about knitting efficiency.  I missed out on that class at the Sock Summit (it sold out fast!!) so I’ve tried to piece it together online.  There isn’t actually a ton of info about it out there.  It’s a bit of heritage knitting; not taught much anymore unless you are taught by someone who knits that way.  I mean, I have seven thousand books on knitting and I’ve never seen it really mentioned before!  There’s a brief description in the Art of Fair Isle Knitting and the History of Handknitting, but no pictures or instructions.


So, I believe that I have indeed recreated this technique.  I’ve been practicing so much that I’m almost as fast cottage knitting as my regular knitting!  Hopefully after some more practice, I will reach actual speed-knitting speed.  This is the technique that the world’s fastest knitters use!  It would be very nice to be able to churn out more projects… I have so many ideas for designs but I’m limited by the speed of my knitting.


So, we’ve got the above video.  Then there’s this one, which has a slow motion section and an analysis of the way Stephanie holds her needles.  Then there’s some good info on the Ravelry group about cottage knitting.  Once I’m sure that what I’ve come up with is indeed cottage knitting and really is faster, I’ll post up a tutorial about the technique!


And because I came across some other fun stuff in my YouTube searching, here are two other videos that I enjoyed (the first is very similar to the speech she gave at Third Place Books last October):



And this one is just plain funny whether you’re a knitter or not.  And especially if you’ve visited Denver.