Monday, November 17, 2008

Germans know how to short row heels.

I'm all for traveling, though it may at times be difficult. Besides being entertaining, I learn things. Heck, I even learn things from other people's trips. One of the members of my knitting group went to Germany last month. When she returned, she brought back instructions for a short-row heel. She raved about the heel, and even had a sock her German friend had knitted using the instructions. The joins were very smooth, even smoother than a wrap-and-turn short-row heel or a yarn-over heel (the one designed by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts).

The heel uses a "doublestitch" instead of the yarn over or wrap and turn. It is called a Boomerang heel. Of course, the instructions are in German. That's no problem for her (German is her first language), but presents a huge problem for me. I've looked around the internet, but can not find instructions for a boomerang heel. I did find something close, though.

The instructions I found do call the stitch that joins the short rows a doublestitch, but the heel is called a Yo Yo heel. They can be found here at Tess Knits. I don't know the differences between this and the boomerang heel. I will have to wait until I can either watch the boomerang heel being knitted or until I get translated instructions to see if there are any differences. The knitter who brought back the German instructions wasn't ready to knit socks just yet, though she will get to it soon enough, I'm sure.
Edit: I think I've figured out the yo yo and the boomerang heel and explain my theory in this post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Piles of knitting

My Christmas knitting has grown into a tidy little pile. That's 3 neckwarmers, 3 towels, and a skirt, just fitting on a little table. The skirt isn't really a gift, it is a problem project I took over and finished for a friend. I think it counts as a gift, since the re-knit took a little over a week of my gift-knitting time. Two of the towels are the gridded towel pattern I developed--they're for the kitchen. The third towel is a bit different -- there's another look at it below.
You've seen two of the neckwarmers already. The top one was made on my rake-style knitting loom in just few days. You can see it laid out below with the second entrelac beret I've knit from the pattern in Hip Knit Hats. The neckwarmer is loomed with Karabella Margrite Bulky yarn using the zig-zag stockinette stitch. Looming yielded a double stitch fabric that works well for neckwarmers. The beret was knit from one ball of Nashua Handknits Creative Focus, a chunky yarn that worked well for this pattern. (Actually, I ran out while knitting the brim and bound off with a slightly darker gray worsted, double-stranded.) The errata for Hip Knit Hats claims the entrelac beret to be the most difficult pattern in the book, but I don't see it. It took only about three days effort to produce a striking beret that is fashionable and most flattering to wear. (In spite of that, I failed to get a nice modeled shot for you. At least there are still some bright leaves on the ground to set off the gray. I understand gray and yellow is the new hot color combo for this fall.)
Since I have yet to get buttons for the neckwarmer, a scarf pin is holding together it for now.

This towel, which you can see in the pile above, is a new detour for me. One of my giftees asked for knitted face towels. I think she meant guest towels--she mentioned something about having people over. I used an edging from Knitting over the Edge, the bubble wrap stitch, and some cream Pakucho cotton to knit this otherwise plain stockinette towel. It has a garter stitch border which you can't see here since it is folded in thirds. The bright green and yellow is Blue Sky Alpaca cotton yarn.
This simple, tasteful (I hope), knit has gotten more compliments at my knitting group than any of the other projects. That surprises me, really, but it does prove that my tastes often lead me to the more complex designs. Simplicity is always a winner.
Or it could be the pretty Blue Sky cotton--their colors really stand out.
This is all shown and said to prove that I'm still knitting things, even if the things I'm knitting don't excite me. Not that I'm not happy to knit for others. All of these and the other gifts I will knit are done by request. I don't usually knit something for someone unless I've discussed it with them first. I like to make sure people actually want my knitting. Otherwise, I'd rather knit for me. I've about reached the end of the gift knitting and am looking forward to other projects.

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