• One of a Kind Show – What a Find!

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    I have to admit that upon entering the One Of a Kind Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre, I felt like I had been duped.  The words ‘one of a kind’ to me say ‘I have only made one of these, and I made it by hand – I poured my heart into this thing!’.  What I saw when I walked in was booths, rows and rows of booths of things that were not one of a kind, and were made by a machine.

    I did not run from the building, however.  I calmly walked beside by friend Rhiannon (who graciously offered me the ticket)  and tried to open my mind to a new definition for ‘one of a kind’. Then it wasn’t long before I met some folks who indeed fit my profile of One of a Kind artisans.

    One such person was Julie Pongrac, Vancouver designer and owner of Gossamer Knitwear.  Her little patch of space in the exhibition hall was filled with gorgeous one of a kind pieces, including this pair of alpaca/cashmere  wrist warmers (excellent for knitting in my freezing cold apartment).  Rhiannon picked up a beautiful pair of berry coloured wrist warmers, knit by hand from Julie’s own handspun – truly one of a kind!

    Check out the intricate crochet detailing on the leaves and edges.  She achieved this with complementary coloured cashmere that picks up the lighter shades of the alpaca.

    Not only is Julie a beautiful designer, she is also a knitting design teacher.  She has experience with colour theory and is a Master Knitter, the experience necessary to help people create balanced pieces in texture, weight and colour.  I cannot wait until she has time to start up her Thursday night class again!

    … and voila, me knitting in the cold apartment (not to mention a little sneak peak of friday’s FO).

    If you missed the One of a Kind Show, don’t forget to mark the following events on your calendars for November:

    Eastside Culture Crawl (over 300 open studios)
    Friday, November 20 from 5-10pm
    Saturday and Sunday, November 21 and 22 from 11am-6pm
    more information at www.eastsideculturecrawl.com

    and

    Make It! The hand made Revolution
    (90 canadian artisans and designers)
    Friday, November 20th from 4-9pm
    Saturday, November 21 from 11-6pm
    Sunday, November 22 from 11-5pm
    5$ at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive)

  • Movie Monday: Continental vs. English Style Knitting

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    Oooh… don’t toss that subject onto the table at your Knit-Night unless you want to experience the Opinionated Knitter who  lies in each of us! Afterall, we all have our reasons for choosing to knit the way we do – here’s a glimpse into my process.

    I’m an English Style Knitter, or thrower because when I was in Girl Guides, at the impressionable age of 12 or 13, my Guider, Roz, a brit, taught me how to knit. Later when picked up knitting again and started going to knit nights in my 20’s, I noticed that everyone had a different way of knitting, but I was particularly fascinated by the Continental Style.

    Since my adopted knitting style isn’t a tradition in my family, I vowed that one day I would learn both and then choose which was actually the most efficient for me.  I was still a pretty slow knitter at that point, and I didn’t want to further decreased the FO rate, so I kept on in English Style.  Recently, however, I decided to branch into colourwork (Mmmmm ‘Deep in the Forest Mittens‘ knit in  super suculent yarns from Sox that Rock, anyone? Photos to come!) and after watching someone at knit night knit a colourwork mitten by dropping the yarn, I knew that I could not permit slowing down to constantly rewrap that yarn!

    So, this weekend, I did it.  I learned continental knitting.  So far, I feel a little bit like a left-handed kid with a pair of right-handed scissors, but it’s coming along.  Hopefully it won’t be too long until I am consistant enough to throw and pick at the same time?

    I got a lot of help from the following videos:

    Here is a vid on the continental knitting style and its benefits (warning: harshes quite a bit on throwing – I throw much differently (and more efficiently!) than she demonstrates – try and ignore the bias and observe her continental demo)

    For some variety, here is Knittinghelp.com with her demo:

    And here is Miriam Tegeles, the worlds fastest knitter, with Knit Picks‘ Kelly, to demonstrate her version of continental knitting and how far you can take it.

    Anyone else attempted ambidextarity?  Let me know your top resources!  I’ll keep you updated on my progress once my swatches resemble knitting.

  • Fiber Goals

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    My Knitting Goals (in no particular order)

    • to have someone read my blog without being forced by me (thanks whoever you are!)
    • to get a comment on my blog (thanks Beverley!)
    • to learn to effectively use my video camera to record knitting technique videos
    • to dispell all mystery around how the Yarn Harlot knits by persuading her to teach infront of my videocamera
    • to do a TED talk with a knitting theme and change the world
    • to design something so snappy that it gets published in a knitting magazine
    • to see the hubster become inspired to knit his own juggling balls or learn to spin cotton on a charka
    • to see the hubster learn to spin on a spindle
    • to start a craft co-op and spread the good word of knitting, spinning and weaving
    • to only wear handknitted socks
    • to knit my mom a sweater and have her actually wear it.
    • to spin enough laceweight yarn on my spindle to knit a shawl
  • Finished Object: Hero Pullover

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    In the last days of September, I put the finishing touches on the sweater I am making for my brother for christmas.  It is a men’s pullover called the Hero Pullover by Ann Budd in the Fall 2008 edition of Knitscene.  I found this to be a very easy knit, as the sleeves are t-shirt style, the front knit/purl pattern is such that if you screw up, you will know it right away and everything is afforded to you in casting on and binding off (No steeking risk!)

    Overall I was pleased with the instructions and chart in which I found no errors, but then again, I tend not to follow them exactly (ie: the zipper detailing).  As per usual, I wish that the writer would include the finished measurements of the garment instead of just the chest size of the phantom body (because there is no way that the dude in the picture is a 40 chest size, wearing a 40″ around sweater, unless ribbing ease isn’t counted.  Thank the Goddess for other users making htis project on Ravelry!  Instead of the recommended yarn, I used Cascades Ecological Wool, Brown Grey Colourway 8087, size 3.75mm needles.

    I blocked the sweater by sewing the shoulder seams together and blocking the front and back on one board, with the arms separate on another board.

    What I enjoyed most about knitting this sweater was the finishing detail on the collar zipper.  Though finicky, it looks pro when finished instead of undulating like most sweater zippers, thanks to the garterstitch facing.

    If I was to knit this pattern again I would knit the lower body in the round to break up the monotony of miles of ribbing and also because knitting in the round prevents one from needing to stop and measure every second row whilst watching my knitting shrink instead of grow until both pieces measure the same length.

    Voila, the finished project!  We’ll see how the fit is at christmas…

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