Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cat got your tongue?

No, the cat hasn't got my tongue. Life has intervened in all sorts of ways that we won't go into here.

I am still knitting. I am still buying books and I am still adding to my stash (through no fault of my own, I promise).

I'm a great fan of the Charity Shop (also known, in our house at least, as "The Boutique" - those in other parts may refer to it as the Thrift Shop). I have, in the past, had some great bargains from The Boutique - Montse Stanley's "Handknitter's Handbook"; Jackie Fee's "The Sweater Workshop"; some lovely yarn - wool, linen, cotton, unknown fibre of all descriptions. My latest purchase was "Odham's Encyclopaedia of Knitting" by James Norbury (there's a little bit about him in this Knitty article, but he's not this chap) and Margaret Agutter. There is an excellent review of this book on Kim Salazar's blog. She has done such a good job that I don't really think there is much I can add.

I was, of course, most interested in the lace knitting section. There are some fascinating looking patterns, though most of them are written out in words and not charted. I never thought I would hear myself complaining about a written out pattern but I really prefer charts now. Not at first, oh, no, I was totally "chart-phobic", I had a pathological fear of all those little squares filled with squiggles (technical term). I overcame this fear thanks to encouragement from my best knitbud (also chart-challenged at the outset); large, clear, correct and easy to follow charts from Dorothy Siemens at Fiddlesticks Knitting; and the excellent tutorial pages on Sharon Miller's site. If, like the me I once was, you struggle with charts, I urge you to try the tutorial above and see that it's not rocket science. There is also an excellent article in the ever reliable Knitty Remember, if you can knit, you can read charts (and it doesn't half make knitting lace easier).

There are occasional charts in the Encyclopaedia and they are like no other charts I have ever seen. I know that there are no universally agreed symbols for charting lace but there are certain similarities among the different designers. Not here.

I have been toying with the idea of designing a shawl of my very own and to this end have downloaded various knitting fonts (from Aire Designs and the Knitter's Symbols Fonts by David Xenakis) and and joined the Charting Lace Yahoo Group. Good job too. It means I can practise on the patterns in the Encyclopaedia and see how they come out.

That's all very well, if I had time to turn round. However, I have been asked to knit rather a lot of stuff for a wedding in December, so there is little time to do anything but knit that stuff, morning, noon and night. I will reveal more about this "stuff" later, but for now my needles are smoking - good job I never use bamboo (nails down a blackboard - for me - don't start taking offence, now) otherwise I could cause a conflagration.


Susanne said...

ohhhh are you going to be able to let us see what you are doing for the wedding? glad you are back.
how is the wrs coming along?

Sarah said...

Good to see you back (I should talk - Ms. Never Blogs lately). I'm about to send my knitpicks order in, finally. Let me know if you want me to get you some needles.

I've found that having a large supply of wine nearby is essential when turbo-knitting. You know, just to put out any fires.