Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Book: Abby Franquemont, Respect the Spindle

With spinning so far I have not bothered to "properly" learn it; instead, I simply gave it a go without even looking up anywhere how it should be done. Luckily, it seems as though I haven't made any grave errors, or at least nobody has ever mentioned any. My approach was entirely intuitive and it seems to have been right so far.

In order to find out more about the theory behind spinning (methods, material etc.), I added Abby Frankquemont's book Respect the Spindle to my wishlist recently. Abby's Youtube videos were recommended to me by a fellow spinner and I used them to check how to ply before my very first attempt. So, I thought that getting her book couldn't be such a bad idea either and, lo and behold, Mark's parents gave it to me for Christmas! I have been engrossed in it ever since and it was so frustrating not to have my spinning with me over Christmas. I am sure next time I read a page I will be spinning soon after.

So far, what I don't like about the book is the very basic chapter about physics. It's not really relevant if you just want to spin, and it is far too basic to be of interest to anyone who has ever suffered through Physics at school, in my opinion. Then again, it may only seem irrelevant to me because all principles at work while spinning are intuitive for spinners anyway. We don't think about how the shape and weight of our tool influences what we do, we just adapt to it in the way we work with it. I am not sure anyone who is unable to spin intuitiveley would be any better at it knowing the physical principles, to be honest - I guess we all know that practice and theory are two very different things.

Other than that the book is very good so far (I am almost at the halfway mark now), if a little repetitive. The latter is excusable: having written a book myself I know how editors like to insist on a little bit of repetition since they don't like to assume everybody understands what you are talking about right away. (Why they think readers would have the attention span of a gnat, I have no idea.) Despite my dislike of catering to the thick, the editor has the last word and that's that. But do not let that detract you from buying the book because it really is good and the photos are wonderful too. I especially liked the start of the book in which Abby writes about growing up in the Andes. I would say the book is probably better suited for beginners and those who, like me, haven't read about spinning before. It is a book about technique and history for the main part and an easy read that is easy on the eye too. I suspect, however, that is is not of any use to advanced spinners.

Being a Busy Bee

(Image: Duftoase)

On a train to Reading this Christmas Eve I started my first hexipuff for the Beekeeper's Quilt. 10 down, several hundreds to go!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Woodland Hoodlet

Some time ago, I receoved the Woodland Hoodlet pattern as a gift in the German RAK group and I bought the yarn and needles for it soon after. I used Rowan Big Wool in Hot White, a colourway I normally would not go for. But white is a colour I associate with winter and the bulky quality of this yarn is so cosy that white seemed to be the ideal colour of all the ones I saw in the shop.

I started the hooflet 11 days ago, though of course I did not work on it every single day, so it is a very quick knit. The pattern is easy to read though I did need to get used to now working with a chart. How strange to think that there once was a time when I found charts to be daunting instead! The front cable section is not as complicated as it seems either. The one thing that was new to me was making the tassel, which I love, by the way. It's my favourite thing about the whole hoodlet!

The only thing that bothers me about it is that it does not look great on me. I suspected that might be the case, given that I am a large girl. I would have preferred the hoodlet to be longer, which might improve the whole look. I suppose that blocking it would make a difference, but I have no idea how to block this hoodlet properly, given that it is closed all the way around and I can't pin it out properly that way. I should have blocked it before sewing it up, really (which I thought of, but then did not do so I could finish the whole thing). The instructions do not mention blocking at all.

I made some modifications to the pattern. Firstly, I shortened the back because it would have been too wide otherwise. Secondly, I also shortened the hood although I now think it might have been all right at the original length. I just normally find that hoods are much too big for me. If I knitted the hoodlet again, I might make the cabled front one or two repeats longer. As it is, it looks like it is far too short and the stocking stitch back begins much too soon.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Swedish Fish Socks - Completed

There they are, my Swedish Fish Socks! I started them in October, believe it or not, and I only finished them now because I was so lazy. I never did any stranded socks before so I was expecting them to be more difficult and tighter than they turned out now. In fact, the socks are looser than most of my past ones.

Of course I made the obligatory mistake of knitting the second sock without consulting the pattern since the first had been so easy. That resulted in my having more stitches in the foot section and therefore two additional stripes on one side. Ah well, no one will see them but me (though it irks me that I know they're there!).
The socks are very pretty to look at and I love both yarns. Luckily, I still have loads left of both to perhaps make another pair of socks. For now, though, I am working on a completely different project: the Woodland Hoodlet. More on that another time.