Thursday, May 29, 2008

Twin-Pins, or Waiting on a Factory Girl

Abel Morrall's circular knitting needles, "Twin-Pins" are forerunners to Aero needles. Abel Morrall opened its doors in 1785, one of many needle companies in Redditch, England "the needle capital of the universe". These Twin Pins below date from WWII, early on in the British effort. The cable is metal and fairly rigid, though this may be due to age. I have constructed (as always) a romantic story about factory girls doing their part making spit fire parts, and land girls recycling metal, all knitting for the troops while learning new skills and crafts. WWII saw a renaissance for British knitting and I'd like to think it was a cunning lady who created these early metal circs.
The question is; will vintage needles aid in knitting vintage patterns? I shall have to let you know.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

All The Knitting Nations

And so the Latvian Hockey Delegation descended on our fair city just as I hit, or at least approached a wall with my traditional mitten cardigan.
While the visiting fans don't 'strik'e me as knitters, uh, there is a further coincidence.

As my colour chart hit the blue and white section (with the blues represented by dots, and the white by blank squares), I was faced with a familiar situation. Once I'm established in a two colour pattern my eyes have trouble and the dots invert themselves. Soon I'm doubting myself and wondering which colour is which and truly if I've ever understood charts in my life.

Blinking away in frustration one afternoon at The Loop, Mimi proclaimed "Rods and Cones!". As I listened to the plight of hockey players whose jerseys sport inverted colours for home and away -resulting in players checking their teammates by mistake-I felt very sportif and patriotic, not to mention better about my brain function.
So my eyes were simply having trouble assimilating the two colours, especially at such a strong contrast. It's okay.

There are several ways to make such a chart easier to read. Adding a colour with highlighter or printing on coloured paper works well. A line magnifier is a great tool. I suggest LoRan brand.
Here is my new technique:

With a different coloured pen for each colour yarn (and on a light coloured paper) I write the number of stitches to be worked in each colour until the next is used. For instance,
would read
I also mark the middle stitch with an 'M'.

Let me know if this works for you too.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I'm Used to Being a Bit Short

I only offer this half finished sweater b/c of Ginny the cat. It's "Cinched Waist Top" from an old VK Magazine. It would have been a quick 3-4 day knit, but I ran one ball short-I used the All Seasons Cotton I received as my Rowan International gift. Will repost when complete, if it looks really good on.

If I could, Id have Ginny model all of my knits; she always has great hair.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Latvian for All Seasons

When I was a littler girl I thought it was a real jip that frilly pants and bathing suits have ruffles, bustles, and bows, but only on the back, where you can't see them yourself. To that end I wore mine back to front and also in layers. Such bold and feminine things, I had decided, should not be confined to one area or application.

I think this is also my attitude towards Latvian Mittens. I love everything about the tradition, but I want to see what happens to the patterning across a larger canvas (namely, me). I also want to be able to enjoy the patterns outside of mitten season. It is not really that much work to turn a mitten into a cardigan or pullover. Although Meg Swanson has a Mitten Sweater, I'm using plan 1 from Knitting in the Old Way and treating it like a Nattrøje (a cropped boxy -if unfelted, close look). The scalloped edge of the mitten will serve as the Nattrøje band. I realize that these are Danish sweaters, but I think it will be a good match. If the knit stays light enough, the shrunken style will also let me get more spring-fall wear out of it.

Heirloom Nattroje, Danish Museums Online

Visit Schoolhouse Press to see more of Meg Swanson's pattern "Giant Latvian Mitten Cardigan" (Wool Gathering #67)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Swatch Notebook #4

Kroy, Palate, Jawool,um.
UK 13
Knit Flat
Maroon is a very hard colour to find. I would have preferred it to the red. I will up this to 6st/1" and use Cascade 220

ps in addition to lagging with posts, it would appear that I've been having comment problems. I didn't realise I'd been tagged! 7 Random Things...My Canary chum, I shall have to give a good think before I answer...
Here is one random fact:

I always get sick of ribbing half way through. I need to start using a provisional cast on. And I have a freckle in my bellybutton.
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