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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The End of Cotton Yarn?

That's the question I ask many of my clients or they ask me. As time goes on and my hands get older there won't be a choice, using cotton on the knitting machine, creating jackets with shaping means using multi prong tools to move stitches in and out creating vertical darts. Sure I like the cotton knits I make and I can accomodate my clients who cannot wear wool but my hands are starting to scream at me with the effort.

For non machine knitters, wool has a natural elasticity and and resiliance and quickly and willingly returns to it's orgininal shape. You can fold a good wool sweater and put it back on the shelf after wearing and it will freshen up, relinquish odors (when aired) and relax back into shape. Cotton, on the other hand, will not be so ready to sping back as it hasn't the elasticity, the stretched out cuffs and wrinkled elbows will have to be pressed or washed out. Anyway, because of this it takes strong arms, hands, fingers to push and pull the many stitches from the machines needles onto the tool to move them then to get them back onto the machine and I'm finding my wrist tendons, especially in my right hand, are telling me they've had enough.

Knitting with larger stitches in cotton might seemt to be the answer but then I don't get the knitted fabric I'm known for. My cottons don't lose their shape as produce a close knit, a loser knit would make for baggier fabric that I do not like for my styles.

Well, I may just be knitting in wool only soon, it is my most favourite fibre, I LOVE it!!!!

Oh...the photo? I took my camera with me on one of my power walks this week and found this wonderful tulip!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Studio Musings on a Rainy Day.

Well, it's raining again but mild enough for me to have my studio dooor open. This means that our cat just wandered up meowing trying to tell me he's bored and needed a little attention, now he'll curl up at the top of the stairs and monitor the driveway and his cat door (his friends pop in for a snack now and again).

On these rainy days I'm quite happy to be ensconsed in my studio. I have no desire to go out as I might on sunny days and wallow in my work, filling orders, checking emails and hitting relevant sites, creating, perhaps going through books and publications looking for ideas and instpiration or new techniques. Sometimes the only way I really know what time it is is whatever is on TV... which I tend to use as a radio for company.

If I don't have my 'office work' done by the end of The View I'm getting behind in my knitting. You can't hear much over the knitting machine so soaps are perfect....story lines take years to work out!!!! I mourned 'Another World' which I latched onto in college but now I have 'Generaly Hospital'... I've actually been inspired by the fashions on soaps as they always have the latest.

Well, nothing inspiring on just now so just back to work to the beat of the rain on my skylight.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wanted: Extinct Knitter's Tool!!!

Do you have one of these and desparately need to get rid of it, can't stand it cluttering up your space? Well, you've found a buyer.

Pictured here is a 47 prong Transfer Tool used on most Standard Bed knitting machines. I use mine every day as I make vertical darts in my handloomed knits. I love it to bits and could not do my work in the alotted time without it..... however IT'S EXTINCT!!

No one can seem to find one, none of the vendors I've talked to have seen one in ages, some don't even know what it is and I certainly don't know what it's really called. Anyway, if you know of one going begging, EMAIL ME!

..... well, now back to search Ebay.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Knitters Jamboree & Mother's Day!

Well, drove three hours to get to the Knitter's Jamboree in Mississauga .... all the machine knitting vendors (and more) in one place for a day.

When your sewing machine breaks down or you need some bits you head to your local sewing machine seller. With knitting machines it's usually time spent on the internet to see who is stocking new or used parts and equipment, investing in shipping fees and hoping what you purchased arrives in one piece (after the shipping company has tossed it off a tall building before loading in onto the truck.... just to test the seller's packing skills!!) Well, that's if the part or machinery still exists on the planet.

I found that the multi prong transfer comb I wanted, as I use mine every day, is extinct, so getting a spare is out of the question so I had better not step on mine while rushing to grab the phone, or sit on it when I get back to knitting... aaarrrrgh! Other than that I had a wonderful time surrounded by Machine Knitting books, magazines, manuals, yarn, tools, knitting, the fashion show and mad knitters. I met up with my friend and co conspirator Sonja and accompanied her to her car with her first load of shopping!! I bought books that I have to include in my library in my studio, very helpful on those days when creativity dries up and you have to sit on the floor surrounded by books and mags trying to jump start it.

I tore myself away to spend the rest of the afternoon with my step daughter Alana looking for ribbon at Mokuba on funky Queen West in Toronto, then off to the Distillery District
for coffee and to take in some art. Part of the art was the scenery, a wedding party trying to dodge the rain drops and take advantage of the occasional sunshine while taking photos in that wonderful setting. The colours chosen by this bride were wonderful, lime green (chartreusey)trumpet skirted, strapless dresses and all carying boquet's of roses in cream, laventer and rose. (And I had to leave my camera in the car.. rats!) Then taking in the Sandra Ainsly gallery (Glass) and the Joan Fontcuberta called 'Googlegrams' using Google Search and thoushands of tiny found pics used as mosaic.

Well, now no lack of creative inspiration so I droped my girl off home and before shutting the car door she wished me.....

.... Happy Mother's Day.

Found: A Knitting Shop

On our way home from vacation we hit Williamsburg and I found a knitting store. We managed to get to Knitting Sisters before they closed for the day. It is a wonderful store and they had just finished a workshop and the store was full of mad knitters with one husband sitting quietly in their 'waiting area'!!! I added mine to the mix but he tends to follow me around and encourage me to buy this and that, he often finds yarns or other stuff that I've missed, I bought feathers... I know I'll do something with them some day.

I was looking for a silk yarn for the trim on my second Noro shawl (I'm wearing the first one in the pic with a couple of the wonderful ladies running things). We had a bit of fun playing with the shawl in different ways to wear it: I've worn it in bed as a bed jacket, over my jean jacket (as shown in the Noro pattern book), over my leather jacket. I've worn it wound around my neck and ears to keep warm in the snow and loosly, held with a sweater pin, over black evening wear!!

Knitting Sis's - hope you go ahead with the Noro shawl project who's seed you sewed that day!!!

Little Things That Amuse.

This little knitted purse is an exercise in bead knitting which was fun to do while away on vacation. Working on something that involves close pattern following and counting beads somewhat like on an abacus took my ever thinking/designing/business organizing mind off into a quiet place with a pretty result at the end.

Though I love hand knitting, I've been doing it since seven years of age and started my business with it, I rarely get time to do it. When I do get down time I sometimes just want my hands to rest.

This is my second little bag from the same pattern, the pattern is from BagLady, and I purchased the beads, cotton and needles separately.

This little thing really amuses me.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Memoirs of a Knitter's Vacation

This is being written after the fact as email access was spotty at best while away, but I'm still reaping the benefits of getting out of the studio and far away for a week. I like to call this pic 'Sox on the Chesapeake'as I took it during our rainy drive over the .... you guessed it.... Chesapeake! from Maryland to Virginia and on to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Socks are the only way to go on a road trip, I call them 'chewing gum for my hands' and as I've been knitting them for the last three decades I can almost do them in my sleep (in fact I have nodded off while knitting in the car!). Keeps my hands busy when I'm not the driver and I can still look at the ever changing landscape.

Didn't look for a yarn shop in Philly, time better spent at the Art Musem... perhaps another time, I'm sure a city that big has a machine knitting shop somewhere too, but not to worry I found one later on our trip. My other half is excellent at finding and getting me to yarn shops!!!

I feed my addiction at Wool Tyme where Anne keeps a good stock of fab varigated sock yarn.

Vacations are a great time to catch up on stuff you don't get time to do at home. The socks were great company when I planted myself in front of some cable channel to watch endless episodes 'Gunsmoke'!!! What fun trying to recognize actors we know in their 50's and 60's back when they were in their salad days.

Sounds like I wasted a day but....

.....isn't that what holidays are for?!