Monday, July 28, 2008

DIY Sock Knitting, Replacing RSI with Reading, New LYS

I have really had to take it easy with the knitting. Since I am still so fanatical about the craft, I have a tendency to go on knitting binges which sometimes last up to five hours in one sitting. But, hey, what is a solitary expat writer to do? It probably doesn't help that I also spend the good part of my day (when I am not knitting) at a laptop, writing things for the benefit of your reading pleasure and our bank account.

Two weeks ago, I got this dull ache in my right wrist and forearm. It started while I was trying to flick open my bicycle lock and has been hanging on hard ever since. I have even had it briefly in my left hand on occasion. So, Bearski's Caribbean Socks, the BSJ ala Brittunia, the Bigga Baby Blanket and the Spumoni Scarf are all resting nicely in my craft room awaiting my return. Well, okay, I have spent some time on a sock because I just couldn't help myself. 

I have restarted the socks after finding Ann Budd's book, Getting Started Knitting Socks (Interweave Press, 1997), at my newly designated LYS. Being the perfectionist knitter that I was, I frogged my first sock in the name of ultimate technique. What I had initially done was used an amalgamation of my own propensity to ignore what a pattern tells me to do, the free pattern that came with the wool (it was for Regia 6ply jacquard when I had bought 4ply - go figure!) and the amazing step-by-step pictoral tutorial, Socks 101, put together by Terri Lee Royea.
Photo courtesy of  Interweave Press

Well, that strategy was just too all over the place for my brain. And I wasn't happy with the transition I had made while knitting the gusset. The transition was just plain bizarre in retrospect - I knitted the first row, purled the second and knitted the third three times. It looked crap to put it bluntly, so it was unravelled. And now I am trusting Ann to guide me through the anatomy of my first sock knitted according to a real pattern!

Getting Started is a really great book with a simple, easy-to-follow layout and clear, demonstrative photos and illustrations. What I really like about this book is that it has small troubleshooting sections for each part of the sock (ie those pesky, loose stitches at the beginning/end a needle, matching lengths, and preventing holes in the gusset). It is exactly what I was looking for.

New LYS: Fibre + Clay in Knutsford

I cannot begin to tell you how amazing Fibre + Clay is! Given, there isn't much around these parts and I survived my first couple years of fiber obsession shopping outlet craft stores and big boxes. Owned by a husband and wife team and manned by several experience knitters who exude not only a love of but a passion for teaching the craft, Fibre + Clay features ceramic and textile art on the ground floor and a wool department to die for on the top floor. They have a library where, for a deposit of ten pounds, you can check out the latest knitting books and preview them. They have pattern support and amazing notions like handcrafted buttons, not to mention some really great bags. (Photo courtesy of Fibre + Clay website)

And their twice weekly knit gatherings, complete with tea, coffee and biscuits, are a really wonderful, nurturing place to soak up inspiration and new skills. Get there if you can - I managed to while they were having their summer sale...40% off some great stuff (nine balls of Regia 4ply, 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Silk Alpaca, and assorted Rowan Pure Wool for my Mochimochi Land knitlets).

Reading Replaces RSI

I don't know if RSI is something that afflicts every knitter, but I don't think it is. I decided that if I can't binge knit, then at least I can read about it in books for hours on end. I went to the Central Library this morning in search of magazines to profile for my budding journalistic repertoire and came home packing three inspirational books: 

Zen and the Art of Knitting by Bernadette Murphy
Machine and Hand Knitting Pattern Design by Kathleen Kinder
Felt Forward by Maggie Pace
Simply Felt by Margaret Docherty and Jayne Emerson
Textiles of the Wiener Werkst├Ątte 1910-1932
Vienna 1900 and the Heroes of Modernism

I think that is enough to saturate my need for inspiration, don't you. I am really excited about all of them and will let you know what I think. I always do.

Knit well and knit often.

1 comment:

rubbishknitter said...

oh no! sorry to hear the RSI is still acting up. You cycle as well then? That could also have something to do with it. I had terrible wristache when I was commuting to work by bike and in a mad knitting phase. I don't really have any advice for this other than try avoiding bumpy roads - or taking the sore hand off the handlebars for a second when you go over a pothole (preferably without falling off, but this can be tricky!)

fibre and clay looks ace, i must get out there some time!