Yarn Needs and Progress and my Knitting Giants Talk.

There's a lot of things I could blog about: the dead squirrel in the house, what I'm reading, the cool things I've found in my web serfings, or a nifty reflection on Star Trek: The Next Generation but I won't. At least not yet. I've made some key progress on a bunch of knitting related projects, and I have some thoughts for you. So there.

I think I'm going to buy the number six ebony needles at some point, anyway, though not this instant, as my next two worsted projects are/will be on number fives, because I've already started the first one (and its more directly from a pattern, and I know this will fit, so I'm sticking with it) and the second one will be on fives because I intend for it to be a jacket and I want something on a little tighter. After that I have two projects on smaller needles (because the yarn is thinner,) so its not a pressing issue.

I've started Faroe, and I'm really enjoying the sweater. Again. I lost the pattern after knitting the first half of the first round. I was able to remember the pattern from a year ago, and now have eight inches of knitting completed. So there. I'm a modern day memory ninja. 4.5-ish more till the gusset starts, and I will need the pattern for that, because even I'm not that good.

I've been pondering for a while, how to finish the neck of this sweater. One of the cool things about the sweater is that the neck has a pattern and is hemmed. The other problem is that the neck is about two inches high, which is way too high. Under more normal circumstances where neck/collars are less of a design feature (usually some sort of ribbing) its easy to just stop after an inch and a quarter or an inch and a half, and be happy; however, in this design that's not possible, and with a neck like that I fear that it might make the sweater almost unwearable. Now I don't want that to happen, clearly, and I also don't want to wreck the design by just knitting ribbing at the neck. Which leads me to the following thought and my "Yarn Need."

Since the collar is hemmed, it strikes me that there's no reason that I can't buy a ball of super nice black yarn (the sweater is black and white) and knit the hem facing in it. And while I'm at it, I'd knit facings for the cuffs as well. And since it's only one ball I think I can go all out. My requirements are: soft (and silky) comfortable, not too warm (no angora, for instance), black, and something close to worsted weight. I'm thinking some combination of (merino) wool and/or alpaca with silk or tencel. I thought about Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (DK or regular, actually a bit on the bulky side might be alright), but that might not be right. Also all the merino/tencel blends I've found have been fingering weight, or just fiber, and I'm not keen on spinning this myself. I've also thought about Frog Tree Alpaca, but I haven't seen that in a while and don't remember it that well. I came across a skein of the Bulky/Chunky, baby alpaca (in white alas), I've seen a couple of different branding, but Plymouth seems to be the most common, that might work. Any ideas? I'm all ears. Leave a comment or drop me an email.

In other news: I've broken the back of the first sleeve of the teal tunic sweater, and should I feel particularly inspired (read: unlikely) I might finish it tonight, If not soon. Usually home stretch knitting inspiration is enough to carry me through the second sleeve, so the end is defiantly in sight. I'm forcing myself to at least finish the Teal Tunic before I start the next sweater (Turkish Gul (Rose) Coat/Jacket), which I'm excited about. I spent a few moments a couple days ago figuring out the numbers and pattern(s) for the sweater. It's going to be fun.

And finally, I wanted to post a comment that I wrote for this entry in Stephanie's blog. Stephanie asked for the three most influential knitters. Here's my response:

I was just thinking of this the other day. Here are my thouhgts:

1. Elizabeth Zimmerman because without her, all of our (yours, mine, this community, etc.) wouldn't have any foundation to think about knitting as something that we could do just for fun, because she made possible the contemporary sense of independent and creative knitting. While others on this list have mentioned Meg Swansen, and this is a nomination that I would gladly (and whole heartedly support), except it would mean excluding another amazing knitter, and given that Elizabeth is no longer around to come to dinner, I say let Meg come as her proxy.

2. Alice Starmore. Alice has written the best patterns I've ever read, and the only ones that I am, for some unknown reason, drawn to follow without question. What I like most about Starmore's is that her sweaters are complicated, difficult, but not undoable, and unabasshedly so. Most designers these days seem to be attempting tailoring or dresmaking with knitting needles, and I'm generally less than impressed with the products. Starmore patterns, though clearly not (all) traditional in the strictest sense, respond and interact with a knitting tradition, and are sweaters, uniquely designed by a knitter, and the patters shine as a result.

3. Pricillia Gibson-Roberts. The first two were no brainers, and I think many knitters would say "starmore, zimmerman, and um, um, um...." in search of another knitting giant perhaps of either a more contemporary/popular (a la Nacy Bush, Sally Melvile, etc.) and while I think they are very important to our contemporary understanding of knitting (and indeed Nancy Bush, in particular has written a number of books which I predict will provide the perfect stepping stone for those knitters, converted in the recent fad--the frilly polyester novelty scarf knitters turned felted bags/hats/etc knitters--to move on to more complex things like color work, cables, and lace. But this is merely a diversion.) Pricillia Gibson-Roberts, with some of the best qualities of both Zimmerman and Starmore, doesn't give patterns but teaches the skills neccessary to design patterns like the ones that earned Starmore her place at the table.

So there!

Cheers, sam

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