Friday, March 6, 2009

Knitting Lessons

My friend, Misa, visited this week from Japan.  She brought with her many special Japanese gifts, including two great knitting books.  The garments included in these books are very inspirational, especially the garment shaping and stitch patterns that are used.  I know that I will take advantage of many of these features in my own design process.

During her trip, we set aside some time for a knitting lesson.  Teaching Misa how to knit was great fun!  She was a very quick study, and within an hour she was knitting and purling!  At the end of her stay she was still excited about knitting (this is always a good sign), so I sent her home with the swatch that she had been creating on a circular needle.

M & M Knitting Lessons

Teaching Misa to knit reminded me of my experiences in high school math class (have I mentioned that I love math?). Mr Wallace, our math teacher, loved to assign story-problem worksheets that were written in French.  When we would groan about how difficult it was to solve math problems in another language, he would say, "math is the same in every language."  I now feel that the same can be said for knitting.  With Misa, our lesson mostly involved practicing the movements of the knit and purl stitches, and studying the fabric that resulted from using these stitches independently or in tandem.  With this understanding (and without much knowledge of the English terminology for these maneuvers), she began to create a scarf-like swatch that included alternating bands of garter stitch and stockinette stitch. I am in awe of how quickly she caught on, and I think that she is going to be an excellent knitter!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Top-down Raglan - Finished!

I finished my top-down raglan sweater early this afternoon.  At the end of every project, I am overcome with feelings of elation as I weave in and snip the final yarn ends.  This project was no exception.  And I could hardly wait to wear it, so I gave it a quick steam with the iron and put it on the bed to cool and rest.  I am wearing it now, and it is just wonderful!  It hope that I never tire of the exquisite feeling of handspun and handknitted wool goodness.

Handspun Top-down Raglan Sweater

Knitting a sweater from the top down was a new experience for me, and I think I will be knitting the vast majority of my future sweater projects this way.  It is just so logical.  Though I really can't stand slipping my knitting onto waste thread in order to check the fit, I found myself giving in to this necessity every couple of inches.  As a result the sweater fits me very well.

I am off to scheme about my next sweater.