Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Give Up!

After feeling worse again, I finally broke down and made an appointment with my doctor for tomorrow morning. I was trying with all my might to heal without the help of further antibiotics but I took one look at my red lumpy throat this morning and caved. I’m getting really sick of being sick! And I’ve gained about 5 lbs from lazing about too. I was sorry that I had to renege on my offer to help my LYS set up their booth at Fibrefest today because it’s no fun fetching and carrying when you can’t breathe for coughing. I had enough trouble trying not to hack all over my spinning class again last evening. Phooey.

Cynthia had a great suggestion in yesterday’s comments for a way to make the foot on the Moose thing. Thanks, hon’! However, I’m really trying to avoid knitting on this too much more. I’ll let those who are “decorating” Wilfred figure out how to work this legwarmer in with the overall design. They still have several weeks to get him ready for transport to Alberta. I’m pleading flu-bugs-on-the-brain! Meanwhile I’m almost done. Final photo will be posted when I finish and block it.

Yesterday in the mail I got a book. Quit laughing — you know I can never resist books. This one I ordered from the Needle Arts Book Shop in Toronto, ON. It’s a self-published book so it’s not on the radar of big book sellers like my usual Chapters/Indigo Books. Even though books are more expensive this way (no big discount, no free postage), buying it from Marsha is a much more personalized experience. She wraps your order in paper with a ribbon bow. She includes a vintage poem about the needle on her invoice. She includes a book plate for you to put your name on your book. And she has free bonus presents like:

A set of 3 different sizes of rubber o-ring stitch markers. That is service! Oh, you want to know what book I got? This one:

“The Knitter’s Guide to Stitch Design” by Annie Maloney from Belleville, ON. Velly Technical. I love it! Annie crams a ton of information in a spiral-bound, black & white, desktop published, 100-and-some pages. There is no white space left blank. Any bare spot is covered with lines so you can add your own notes! There are little nuggets hiding in the plethora of text too, like how to knit a number of different cords and a neat little mini-bobble-thing she calls an Irish Knot. It’s kinda halfway between a nupp and a bobble and is shown to advantage in some of her 150 original stitch patterns (including both charts and text versions). The best thing about this book though is hints and tips on how to design your own stitch patterns. I wouldn’t say anything is exactly “new” in the sense that it’s completely different from anything you’ve ever seen before in knitting. There are of course limitations in the very nature of knitting that prevents the “totally new” from being possible. However there are mutations, adaptations, rearrangements, etc. that can be experimented with and it’s a lot more fun and challenging than just going to your “Barbara Walkers” and picking out a stitch pattern. Really creative and experienced knitters can have a ball coming up with just the right design to use in a garment or whatever.

In this book Annie explores several types of patterns: knit/purl textures, lace, cables, and fair isle. This isn’t by any means all the possibilities (slip-stitch/mosaic being one of my favourites although it uses more complex designing parameters so I understand why it was left out) but it’s enough to whet your appetite. This book isn’t for the visual learner though because aside from the charts and photos of the stitch patterns, there is very little besides a few cute illustrations by the author. The text is dense but, to my mind at least, clear. But then I’m geeky that way. Annie has five books in her series, including this the latest, all available through Marsha’s online shop. They are fairly pricey but not really if you consider they are self-published and appeal to a fairly limited audience so she won’t be selling many thousands of copies.

So while I was at it, I also bought this pattern:

Fiddlesticks Knitting’s Paisley Long Shawl by Dorothy Siemens. This was also pricey but what a lovely design! I bought it mostly to see how those paisleys are made and the charts confirmed that it’s “lace on every row” aka you have to pay attention on the even-numbered return rows as well. Dorothy’s patterns are very well put together and printed on quality paper and placed in a page protector. There are lots of detailed instructions so that even if you’re fairly new to this type of lace knitting, it’s not hard to follow the pattern charts. Not sure if I’ll make this as-written or whether I’ll reduce it to a narrower scarf and sans fringe. Might even use the paisleys for a triangular shawl instead since I’m not fond of rectangular stoles (aka I would never wear it!). We shall see. First there are other things to work on. Like the Moose Legwarmer which I’ve promised shall be completed today!

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