Friday, July 08, 2005


When I got back from taking #1 daughter to her flute exam this morning, the postman had been. I knew what it was and I think you will too:

I had to do some deep breathing. It is all that I hoped:

Blackberry Ridge are to be congratulated - I ordered Rosy Fingered Dawn on July 1st and here it is on July 8th. One week from the wilds of Wisconsin to the rural backwater. Pretty good.

Out came the swift:

This bit of kit is invaluable - don't begrudge the few quid they cost. There is no messing about with the back of chairs; there is no trying to persuade a passing husband/offspring to hold out their hands; there is never, ever, attempting to emulate the contortionist's assistant and hold the yarn with your own feet, while winding with your own hands. This thing will last a lifetime and will pay for itself in peace of mind (not to mention no chance of putting your back out) in a very short space of time. I urge you to get yourself one - you know, because you're worth it.

The addition of a ball winder is, for me, an optional extra. I used to have one and have no idea what happened to it. I don't miss it. I like the feeling of the yarn feeding through my fingers. Some people can make perfect centre pull balls. Some people use a nostepinde. Some people are absolutely hopeless at all of the above and cannot wait to get the yarn into a ball, any ball, so they can start knitting. Use your imagination as to which category I fall into.

No, I don't wind all of the yarn at the outset. I wind the minimum amount to enable me to cast on. I like the variation of doing a bit of winding every so often. I also like to leave the yarn relaxed in the skein for as long as possible.

Then we have to cast on. 8 stitches, US#6 dpns. That would be 4.25mm. I've decided to go with 4mm for two reasons. Strangely, I don't seem to have any 4.25mm dpns and I know I am a loose knitter, so it's 4mm for me and no, of course, I didn't bother with a swatch. DPNs? I don't think so. Wrestling with a hedgehog? No, thank you. Knitting a small circumference on two circular needles is a breeze. You can do the same thing with one long circular needle. It's also known as the "magic loop" technique. I personally do not like it. I feel as if I am putting too much strain on the stitches but this is just me. You may find it is just the ticket.

What cast on to use? How to get a decent beginning? I've tried various methods. Sandy Terp has a "tab start", Rosemary shared her "belly button" start, but the one I like best of all is Emily Ocker's cast on. There are some pictures here if you are that sort of learner. Judy Gibson does say you can pull it tight and snip off the end as close as you like. That's a good thing because when I gave it a good old tug to close the hole, the yarn snapped in my hand. However, it does not appear to have come to any harm:

There's plenty of knitting to come.


Marie said...

No wonder you're excited about this project! Those colours are absolutely beautiful. I am in total awe when I meet a knitter who can take on a project like this one.

littlelixie said...

I'm with tari - that looks gorgeous!