MMario's blog

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Tales from the T.A.R.D.I.S.

some day I'll have to look up what those initials stand for...

Spent most of my weekend back in 1842 preparing for Her Majesty Victoria's visit to the lovely village of Skaneateles - President Polk* is hosting HRM for negotiations regarding the Oregon Territory, an inspection of the local Teasel industry (see? fiber content!) and a good American Christmas Celebration.

anyway - since a lot of the rehearsal time is spent sitting I kept my hands occupied working on one of the shawls I haven't finished up yet - just a couple more rows to the edge on this one; and started another Christmas stocking to be felted. If I get enough done this week then NEXT week I'll be working with heavier yarn and bigger needles and knitting a shawl for one of the characters. Probably a nice simple Faroese garter stitch shawl with a simple lace band. If I can find the second skein of that garnet-red yarn.

Has to be pretty mindless knitting though, because though I know most of the words to the songs we sing (this event involves 4 hours a day of caroling - outside - in Upstate NY!) and the melodies - the music director likes us to sing harmonies...and I don't read music. Add to that trying to learn to sing a different tune then the one you've been singing for somewheres around 50 years *WHILE* someone sings the familiar tune right next to poor brain cell is fried.

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Knitting at a Folk Music Gathering

For the past five years or so I've been attending an annual Folk Music weekend - lots of time to work on various knitting projects. Over the years more and more handcrafts are making their appearances at the various song workshops, concerts and sing-alongs; a bunch of knitters this year, several crocheters, some hand spinners, embroidery and this year even a quilter. Several comments heard at various times over the weekend:

wow! I can see knitting to shanties, but I never thought you could knit to Do-Wop!

Can somone loan me some needles and yarn? I feel out of place.

I knit Music into every stitch.

but best of all was when they tried to turn the lights down at once concert - got a chorus of "NO!"'s and then a shouted "We knitters have needles and we know how to use them!"

I managed to do the finishing on one shawl, added several inches in diameter to a circular shawl and got most of a christmas stocking knit up while listening and singing.

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Filet Knitting

or how to knit a "Picture Afghan"

Something I enjoyed in crochet - and which frustrated me with knitting was the ability in crochet to easily create filet mesh "pictures". done in a heavier yarn they make nice afghans. Or filet mesh geometric patterns made complex looking but mindless-to-work patterns.

Which was a reason I purchased 'A Gathering of Lace'. In that book there is a technique for filet knitting - they use it in the round to work a graphed picture of a unicorn.

To use the technique in back and forth knitting (such as for a blanket or afghan or laprobe or wall hanging or door screen or window shade) is a little more complicated - but I worked it out last year to knit a dragon stole for my niece's Mother-in-law.

The technique uses 2 stiches x 3 rows for each square in a graphed pattern. The meshes are either "filled" or "empty". You're aiming for a stockinette fabric - so in addition to the 2 stitches per square you also want to allow for some edge stitches to prevent curling and you also have to add 1 stitch per row to make things balance out. or subtract one edge stitch.

(each square worked "loans" a stitch to an adjacent square to complete it)

But since it takes 3 rows of knitting to work a row of graphed squares, you are working every other row of squares in opposing directions. (confused yet? believe me - I was!) So odd rows are worked one way and even rows another...sorta

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OT:the other side of life...

yes - there is life outside of knitting. I know, it was a surprise to me as well, *grin*

But I've discovered it is much less boring burning my CD's while knitting then not. I'm restocking for a trip this weekend - will probably spend tonight getting covers and inserts printed and assembling the things - worse then finishing off knitting! And wondering if it is kosher to mention my Christmas album....makes a great stocking gift....

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Kinzel's Rose of England

Did I ever mention I am severely afflicted with startitis? though I do usually, eventually finish most projects. [except for that birth-gift quilt I started for the nephew that turned 29 last month...]

anyway - this is from the 2nd book of Modern Lace Knitting; since I am using my usual laceweight on way bigger then normal needles (In this case US #6) I'll get away with doing the smallest variation and still have it come out a good sized shawl.

the baby picture of little ROE are out at my picture page.

There 5 sections to this pattern - the picture was taken 3 rows into the second section.

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'A Gathering of Lace' - one knitters opinion

AMAZON has this to say about the book:
Collected from knitting designers all over the world, the patterns in this guide will be a joy to create for any knitter. The lavish full-color illustrations and easy-to-follow instruction charts will make these traditional patterns an exciting addition to a lace knitter's repertoire. From beginner to advanced, the 34 projects contained include designs for sweaters, vests, shawls, scarves, gloves, and socks. With beautiful photographs of these unique patterns, this knitting book is perfect for those who love to knit lace and those who would love to learn.

I'd quibble with their phrasing; and have some issues with the layout and indexing of the book. I feel it is more a "coffee table" book then anything else - though it *does* have some nice patterns in it. For me, though, the most intrugueing stuff in the book cannot be made without puchasing other books and/or patterns or don't include the patterns. However there were a number of things in it that made me willing to shell out for the book.

A pretty good dscussion on traditional Orenburg technique of shawl construction; ditto on Shetland. A 'filet mesh' technique; the "formulae" for Pi shawls; plus a few motifs and edges I'm pefectly willing to use - even if I will never actually knit the project they are included in. however, much of the same info is now available on the web - (I purchased this some time ago)

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Shetland Tea Shawl

From 'Gathering of Lace' with a few changes (of course!)

I started the edge a couple days ago and should get a picture tonight. (Posting this should motivate me)

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"women's work" HAH!

some excerpts from a document on historical knitting:

In England, knitting expanded rapidly in the 15th century, and at the beginning of the 16th, a number of strong Knitters Guilds were formed. A long and difficult apprenticeship was rigorously regulated: it took three years, after which the apprentice, now called a Companion or Journeyman, was to spend another three years working and studying elsewhere. After this six-year period he was admitted to the rank of master artisan upon the completion of:

A rug measuring eight by twelve feet
A shirt or jacket of wool
A pair of wool slippers

All this work had to be executed within thirteen weeks.

The rug had to be of a complex pattern composed of leaves, flowers, and birds, stylized in a conventional fashion and using twenty or thirty colors. This would not be the floor rug we know today, but a tapestry to adorn a wall


It is a curious fact that knitting, in the Middle Ages and even earlier, was a masculine craft, while women spun the yarn

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Queen Anne's Lace Shawl

I am on my third time 'round on this shawl - the first was an experiment to see if I could do it; the second was an attempt to figure out what I did on the first one (which I botched - though the result was nice) - see Thread on another forum for lots of babble regarding both).

This third atempt got side-tracked as well - it is pretty similar, but not the same. I need a secretary!

There are links to pictures of both the first and second attempt on the other forum. Hopefully posting this here will make me get off my duff and take a picture of the current incarnation.

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Aladdin's Carpet

well - a while back I joined the yahoo group for the Mystery Stole #2 from Melanie at PinkLemonTwist. (she also wrote the pattern for Leda's Dream that I finished recently - well, my version of it anyway)

As usual I used a different yarn and a different sized needle - so I truncated the pattern by about 150 rows or so. 8 foot long is really sufficient.

since I really can't call the result 'Scheherazade' since it it only BASED on 'Scheherazade', I'm calling it Aladdin's Carpet.

I used US #8 needles (5mm) and jaggerspun heather 2/8 yarn in 'burgandy'. will try for some pictures tonight or tomorrow. Got to get it blocked as it is a wedding gift for Saturday morning. (Not that I work under pressure or cut deadlines close!)