Monday, November 21, 2005

Any Time Now...

... I should have a new nephew. I'm very excited.

In other news, let's play weekend report, shall we?

Friday night was awesome. Kim had her craft/card party, and I stayed way too late talking and eating and teaching a couple people how to cast on and helping Kimmie with her felted purse and random other things. Kim and I brainstormed a plan for the bottom of her felted purse (from
Holiday Knits), since she didn't want to buy the pre-made one online. That's what I worked on for most of the day Sunday. It was really cool to work out all the math and figure out which structure would work best and how to implement it... very fun.

Saturday I worked at the yarn store again from 10-5. They were pretty slow in the morning, so I started this:
Back to the Cherry Tree Hill yarn. (No, the second Liberty sock is not finished yet. I am well aware of the dangers this may pose.) This time I'm starting toe-up, as Brenda suggested. (Don't worry, Joy... I haven't forgotten your question. Tomorrow, perhaps.) Anyway, I think it's good to work on stuff from the store when I'm working there. Makes sense, methinks.

In the afternoon, I got to take a class in between hopping up to help customers. The class was Knitting Ganseys, based on the book of the same name by Beth Brown-Reinsel. I'll admit, the main reason I signed up for the class was that the newsletter for the store listed it as an advanced class. Plus, the book came with the class. (Since I get to take classes for free, I did have to purchase the book, but I'm really glad I did.) This is not a book I would have picked up on a random day or even considered. It previously did not have any appeal to me. But now that I've gotten into it and already learned so much from it, I'm really eager to read more and learn more of the techniques.

The book teaches you how to make a mini-sweater as a sampler before you attempt a person-sized sweater. So that's what we worked on Saturday afternoon. This is as far as I've gotten with mine. This is the front of the sweater... the back isn't complete yet. Ganseys are worked in the round, divided for the front and back once you reach sleeve height, then the shoulders are attached and the sleeves knit down from the shoulder.

The first new thing I learned was a brand new cast on. New cast on methods were developed for ganseys (basically, fisherman sweaters) in order to make the bottom edge more sturdy. This cast on is called the Channel Island cast on, and creates pairs of stitches with a bead of doubled yarn between them. It's sort of like our beloved long-tail cast on method, only there are two strands wrapped double around the thumb, and the technique is slightly different. Perhaps some time I'll document the technique here, but there's a great step-by-step in the book if you simply cannot wait. I think it looks super cool.

Not so much a new technique, but something that I was previously unaware of, is that the intended recipient's initials were worked into the plain section at the bottom of the sweater. This "B" is from the purl chart, but there's also a seed stitch chart in the book that you can work from.

See this mini-cable-twist in the body of the sweater? Easiest "cable" ever. Maybe you already know about this technique, but I didn't, and it may now be my most favoritest thing ever. Knit two stitches together, but leave them on the left needle. Knit once into the first stitch and drop both stitches off the needle. There you go. Mini twist. I adore it.

The last technique that I made it to was the sleeve gusset. Apparently this diamond patch in the armpit gives the wearer that much more freedom of movement without causing more stress to the sweater. I've been unaware of sleeve gussets in the past, but they fascinate me now. I can't wait to get further on the sweater so I can work on picking up the sleeve stitches and working the rest of the sleeve gussets and on down.

This book has a ton of charts and ideas and techniques, and although it does give a handful of specific patterns at the end, the idea is to combine your favorite techniques and patterns into a one-of-a-kind sweater. I feel like I'm beginning to understand that concept even more (even though I've pretty much done that before... especially with Maggie's birthday sweaters). This class has given me additional confidence to tackle my gorgeous
Latvian Mittens book, which is almost all color charts and techniques, and good luck combining them into real mittens. I'm excited to look back through that book as well and attempt some of the more complicated techniques.


Brenda said...

Brooke! That is so sweet! You are knitting me a mini sweater!

You truly are a knitting goddess/sensei/apprentor. I wouldn't have the nerve to take an advanced class.

You HAVE to teach me the new cast on. I LOVE cast ons.

brooke t. higgins said...

Hey, you made me what I am today. The new cast on shall be yours. There's two or three others in the book that I can't wait to try, too. w00t!

Joy said...

That looks SO cool. I can barely read a regular knitting pattern, let alone something as complex as that must be!

Gansey looks like something that would truly banish boredom from your knitting forever!

What is w00t?

brooke t. higgins said...

Heh, yeah... during parts of the class, the instructor was finishing a gansey sweater that would fit her made with sport weight yarn and size 4 needles. Totally unbelievable. It's not so complex, really. Just a bunch of new combinations of the knit and purl stitches.

w00t is a gamer word, usually used by the silly kids who play online and chat at each other as they play. It stands for "we own (the) other team" and is used in happy-making times. I just use it because I think it is fun and sounds funny. I'm not so much an online gamer.

Kimmy said...

I can't believe you went to a craft party that wasn't at an "LYS"! Do you hate the "LYS"? You know - the entire US economy will probably collapse because of your recklessness! What the bleep? Get a life! Next time just tell your little party pooper that you can shop anywhere the bleep you want to shop and tell whoever you want about it - its called a free country and a free market economy.

Haha - just so that everyone knows - the craft party was at my house - I was joking, not being a bastard!

Hey Brooke - are you going to Seattle? Oh wait - I don't care. (Inside Joke - Diversions at the GS Office)