Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NYC + VKLive = priceless

Having just returned from New York and the intoxicating atomosphere of Vogue Knitting Live, I've got some adjustments to make. At least I have a small pile of new yarn to inhale to calm me down. Skyscrapers to mountains...what a transition. Actually, the show was about what I expected. There was certainly full disclosure about the exhibitors and classes. I was mildly surprised and happy to learn that the fashion show schedule had been expanded to include shows by yarn companies as well as by Vogue Knitting. Although I didn't look forward to the other shows with the same enthusiasm I had for VK's, I can't say that they were any less entertaining. It's just that I like the complexity and touch of high fashion that prevails in VK.

This model was quite good. Could she ever walk!

This one was super cute. Nothing she put on could ever look bad. As part of the VK show, we were treated to a preview of the knits from the spring issue of VK.

The theme is white. The details in this one are nice. I'd love to be able to blog the entire show in pictures, but that really wasn't why I was there. I hate to let a camera come between me and life too often. Although I kept telling myself, just look and enjoy, don't try to take photos of everything, I couldn't resist a quick close-up of my next sweater.

What a thrill. I hope mine looks even better, if that is possible--at least I'll get better pictures, lol. (It's the cover sweater from last Fall's issue.)

Just to show that there is plenty of crazy to be had in the city, here's what you'll see if are lucky enough to ride through Times Square in a pedi-cab. This is what it looks like if you are stopped, with the plastic curtains zipped down, cozy and warm, waiting for the light to change.

This is what it looks like once the light changes and he starts pedaling .

Bbbuuummmpppy... but fun. Way better than walking when it's 10 degrees Farenheit and your tummy is full of fine French food and wine.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Knitting Shopping Socks

No, not shopping for knitted socks, knitting socks to wear while shopping! Really comfortable hand-knitted socks, socks that keep my feet from hurting (much) after a full day of walking--that's my goal.

Towards that goal, I knit a pair of socks from a plain, durable yarn. They're the first of my Perfect knitting projects for 2011. I confess, I finished them last month, but I haven't blogged about them yet. Since I feel I could "pat them and call them perfect", as per my last post, they qualify as my first perfect project.

I hope no one was expecting something spectacular. Even so, there is something about these socks that marks a new level of knitting success for me. The stripes match--almost perfectly. It wasn't easy, either. I had to cut the second skein of yarn into three pieces to get the repeats in the right place. I also fussed a good deal with the fit of these socks, changing the pattern of the ribbing to adjust the fit, wider at the top, narrow at the ankle and tapering at the toes. Since the number of stitches is the same throughout, they slip on very easily. I have other socks that I knit to fit my ankle tightly--those are a little hard to pull on over my heel. Not so with these.

Besides the shaping, there's another feature that makes this pair of socks perfectly comfortable. Much of the foot is purl-side out. That means sensitive soles and toes are soothed by the smooth knit side of the stockinette.

Although I have knit socks with Princess soles before, I found purling the entire sole much harder than just knitting the foot. I constructed these socks to avoid a lot of the purling. With so few knit stitches in the foot, it was easy to knit these socks inside-out after the heel flap.

Besides the smooth, ready-for-shopping foot, and the ribbed shaping, I also like the tubular cast on I used for the 1x1 ribbed cuff. Absolutely perfect.

I'm thinking of writing a pattern, but doubt it will be very popular at this point. These plain socks aren't attracting any attention. Instead, I'll just keep knitting all my socks with inside-out feet. They feel wonderful. Maybe after I blog a few pair, this construction method will catch on.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Perfect Knitting, 2011

Many years ago, I was involved in child-rearing. I don't know if it was the particular child, or if this applies to all children, but nonetheless, I quickly learned that I had to eliminate the word, perfect, from my vocabulary.

It was a hard lesson for me. I had heard that praise is advisable in child-rearing. Since I had habitually used the forbidden word, in my inexperience I began using it as an exclamation of praise. When something the child had done, or made, was praise-worthy, I often exclaimed, "Perfect!"

This exclamation, frequently voiced in excited tones, worked very well for months. It wasn't until I began to absent-mindedly began to say "That's good." or "Very nice!" that I was met with the question, "Not perfect?" And then, tears. Not that I hadn't been using those other terms all along. It's just that the child had figured out the difference. Oh, no.

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. Voltaire

(Often translated as "Perfect is the enemy of good.", but the meaning is disputable.)

The realization came, unfortunately for my peace of mind, and the child's developing standards, too late. As I said, I tried to stop saying the word, but I don't think it made any difference. The damage had been done. Even as I tried to explain that not everything can be perfect, that good and nice have merit, I knew it was a lost cause. We all learn that there are degrees of success and, as much as we would like our works to be perfect, sometimes our efforts just don't measure up.

Of course, the ideal is to have perfect be attainable, not to set a standard so high that it can never be achieved, thereby producing tears of frustration.

Therefore, this year, I'd like to explore the term, "perfect knitting."

This year, I'd like to be able to finish a project, pat it, and think, "Perfect!" That would mean not only a change in the way I knit, but also a change in how I think of my knitting. Not to view perfect as an enemy, but to make perfect my friend. To meet perfect, recognize it and become familiar with it.

I am ready. (I promise that not all of those are sock yarn.)
Along with that word, perfect, the other word that comes to my mind in thinking of the new year is promise. A bright new year, filled with promise. If it's half as good as the last one, it will be fantastical.

Which bring me to that queue I mentioned in my last post. I, like many other Ravelry users, bounce around the patterns, happily queuing away. I'm relieved when my queue is less than 4 pages long. I have prioritized my queue, making a sub-set of a dozen or so projects that are at least possibilities for 2011.

Sweaters, 7 -- Equinox, Inversion Gansey, Anney, Fair Isle Tunic, Cabled Cardigan, Snowbird, Peplum Cardigan
2 pairs of fingerless mitts -- Susie's Reading and Lusekofte-sque
Shawls -- Dottie, Whippoorwill and Prairie Rose
One hat, with yarn for a matching shawl, wrap or scarf, pattern undecided
In addition to these, I'd like to work on a couple of hibernated projects, plus the two shawls currently on my needles, Domovoi Shawl and Andrea's Shawl--the last one is showing its edging in the photo below.

And a lot of socks!