Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gimme an F, gimme and L, gimme and S.......

What does it spell? February Lady Sweater of course!

Yes I too have jumped on the FLS bandwagon! 4000 plus knitters can not be wrong! How could I resist when the it just seems to look so good on everyone. I had to have one for myself.

So I suggested to the Amiras (our Abu Dhabi knitting group) back in November last year that we make it as a KAL in Februaury. February Lady Sweater KAL in FEBRUARY, get it? The word got around, some girls in Dubai decided to jump on with us and now I think there are about ten of us in three different cities in the UAE knitting along together! There is quite a lively discussion taking place here, if you are interested.

On the 30th of January a few of us Abu Dhabians (is that the correct expresion?) headed to Dubai to meet up with a few of the Dubai girls for an afternoon of coffee, carrot cake and of course knitting! There were needles, cake forks and ball winders flying everywhere. Over the course of the afternoon I think we had about 20 knitters all up. It was just amazing. Anyway, at the end of the afternoon after we tore ourselves away from pouring over each others yarn and books, we had a bit if a group cast on. I finally feel like I am part of a community again!

Here's my swatch that I completed that day.

The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Emerald. This is the first time that I have used Mally (we've nicknamed it for convenience and in true Aussie style!) and I am completely in love. It really is perfect for this project and I just can not get over how good the garter stitch looks and feels in this yarn. I want to buy up the stuff!

The other great thing about this project is the speed with which it is working up! The photo below was taken on the weekend, a week after the cast on and now I am past my waist! I'll be on to the sleeves before I know it.

Okay, modifications. I used an M1 increase instead of a yo on the "eyelet" row. On the sleeves I am intending to decrease the additional stitches to reduce the bulk of the sleeves. I am considering doing a longer sleeve and if I do I may look at decreasing needle size as I go down the sleeve to reduce the "bell effect". I'll let you know what I decide on that one.

For the buttonholes I just went with the method suggesed in the pattern. They looked okay so I stuck with it. They might need a bit of reinforcement at the corners, we'll see.

The loopy lace scarf is finished! I sewed the ends in on the way to work this morning. Pics coming soon.

On a more sombre note, please spare a though for the families that are living the horror of the Victorian Bush fires at the moment. Whole towns have been wiped out, and whole families lost. If you have a spare dollar or two you can donate to the Australian Red Cross Bush Fire Appeal.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Son of SnB - A Review

I have decided to do a review of all of the books in my "Year of the Book" list as I knit something from them. Here goes......

"Son of Stitch'n'Bitch" is the latest offering by the now famous (in knitting circles) Debbie Stoller of the "Stitch'n'Bitch" series of books. The original title in the series was my first ever knitting book purchase, back when I was first wanting to learn about five years ago. The style of the book really appealed to me at the time. It said to me that knitting was for funky young things like I knew myself to be (ha ha!). I wanted to make everything in the book! I think I have made about three things.

Since then I have purchased all of the other books in the series and have loved them all. So what about this one?

"Son of Stitch'n'Bitch" is a book of patterns for men, written by various designers, some of them also men. The blurb has this to say....

Son of Stitch 'n Bitch is the latest book in the SNB series, featuring 45 projects to knit & crochet for men. Whether you're knitting for a boyfriend or husband, or, if you're a male knitter yourself, Son of Stitch 'n Bitch has the boy-tested, boy-approved projects you've been looking for, plus plenty of tips to help you avoid the "curse of the boyfriend sweater."
The book begins with a section on how to make sure you knit the right thing for your man. A lot of it is common sense really, like don't knit him something pink, and a sweater with a ice cream cone on the front is probably not a good idea, but it does have some useful tips as well on fit and fibre selection. This section is presented in an interesting way with anecdotes from knitters.

Then the book gets straight into the patterns, there is no how to knit section. This I like a lot! I get so sick of pattern books (Debbie Bliss, cough, cough) that repeat the same old basic how to knit section in the front of every book. It always makes me feel like I'm paying for the same book twice!

Anyway, to the patterns. These vary from the fabulous (Uncle Argyle Scarves), to funky (Hacky Sack Hoodie, DJ Bag), to the silly (Hangover Helpers, Deady Bear) and the downright hideous (Checks and Balances). They are very similar in style to the previous books for men and there is something for everyone, I guess you would say.

The thing I like about this book is that for those of us who like to knit for the men in our lives, the selection is pretty slim. This book tries to fill that gap. The other great thing about this book is the cute boys modelling the knits!

Three and a half stars from me!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book 1 down!

Seven to go!

If you didn't see, I have committed myself to knit/crochet something from all eight of my as yet unused knitting/crocheting books in my Abu Dhabi library.

The first Year of the Book project is finished!

Here is Chi Wai sporting the Uncle Argyle Scarf!

Isn't he handsome! The project details are here.

After my singing of the blues, I seemed to get a second wind and this was finished a few days afterwards. It must have been a cathartic process!

I'm really happy with the finished product and I really hope that my brother Marc will love it (he better!). I don't like to say never but I think it will be a long time before I make another one of these.

That said, I have just started another scarf! "Are you mad woman?" I hear you ask. Well there is a very good reason for this. In about four weeks time, Chi Wai and I will be heading off to London (with a few days in Paris too) to hand deliver the scarf to Marc. I can't wait!

From these photos that Marc sent me this week, you can see that I am going to need something a bit warm!

Here's what I am making (and no the pattern does not come from one of the before mentioned books, I like to live life on the edge!).

Pattern: Loopy Lace Scarf by Katie Harris
Yarn: It's some luscious Misti Alpaca that I bought from San Francisco a few years back that I have been dying to use ever since.

I've also jumped on the FLS bandwagon but I will tell you more about that later.