Saturday, 16 June 2012

Machine knitting fraud

I spent a very pleasant day today attending the AGM of the Guild of Machine Knitters, held this year near Cambridge.  I was a machine knitting fraud on two counts:  1) I am not currently a guild member, although I have been in the past, and 2) I am really rubbish at machine knitting.  But nobody threatened me with pitchforks and I was able to pay my admission and take my seat without challenge.

I had been to the AGM before a few years ago and this one followed a similar mix of guild business and talks from speakers. The morning speaker was Nick of Uppingham Yarns, handing around many different fibre samples from the basics like wool and silk, right through to pretty far out materials like jute, stainless steel, holographic, glow in the dark, and ultraviolet activated fibres.  Apparently students like the last one, which they use to knit questionable words into garments that are only revealed when they are dancing at clubs.

There was a small market where I bought two MK patterns from Clair Crowston, one for a draped front cardigan and one for a garter carriage jumper.  I don't even know if my garter carriage still works, but I liked the embossed leaf design.  I also bought some back issues of the Machine Knitting Journal, a little A5 pamphlet of letters from readers and a few patterns in each.  I'm not sure their commercial model is the right way around: I could buy a year's worth of back issues (4) for £8 instead of subscribing for a year for £11 (normally £12).  I did not buy yarn - I think putting all my stash onto Ravelry has really damped down my shopping impulses when it comes to yarn.  The competition entries were all on display, as were stands of knitting from two local MK groups.  And most importantly, there were delicious home-made cakes and scones and plenty of tea.  The afternoon speaker was more esoteric, a lady named Jools Elphick who designs artistic headdresses that she sells for as much as £500 gave a slide show of her work and talked about her artistic development and some of her concepts for the hats.  I got the feeling the avant garde styling did not appeal to everyone.  The funniest part was an older lady (almost everyone there was older than me) behind me, who I think was a bit deaf as she complained occasionally that she couldn't hear, making comments which she probably imagined were private to herself but which all of us around her could easily hear.  Her gasps of horror at some of the prices mentioned, little mutters questioning the wearability of some of the more far out styles, and comments on the presenter's technical problems with moving on the slides made the lecture much more entertaining.

I passed most of the day happily knitting.  I finished the first of the Japanese Stitch Socks, giving it a round toe instead of the standard toe in the pattern.  And I made a start on the Pipers Journey Shawl, designed by Paula who presents the Knitter's Pipeline podcast, which I am making in the recommended Quince & Co Chickadee in dark blue.  The yarn is everything that has been promised in all the rave reviews, bouncy, squishy, soft but still with body, and knits easily with no splitting.  The shawl starts out with a lot of garter stitch, which increases at both ends, so ideal for working on while watching speakers and slides. I only decided to knit it this morning about 10 minutes before we left, so had to quickly buy the download, find needles and throw two skeins into a bag.  I wound these in the car by dint of draping them over the sunvisor as I wound them off.  It is a sign of how well trained DH is that he didn't even comment on this activity until I got the second skein out.

So what else have I done this week?

The two fabrics I ordered from arrived, with their usual super-fast delivery.  Unfortunately one seems too light, and the other too dark, for my Teacup Quilt.  I suddenly remembered a Civil War type stripe that I bought at Keepsake Quilts in New England, and got that out of my stash.  I think it might work as the border.  What do you think?

I finished the first True North mitten and sewed all the ends in, and made a start on the second mitten.

I also knit a second front and back for my machine knit set-in sleeve jumper.

I completed the second version of the Tri Fold Wallet that I tried out last week.  I made all the fixes to the pattern that I mentioned in my last post, as well as adding a zipper across the receipts section.  I've been using the wallet this week, so far it seems to be working well apart from the fact that I had used my old wallet for years, so it is weird having things in different places and orientated differently.

The last few weeks I've been forgetting to blog that I am working on the 16th applique block of my 25-block 'Grandmother's Last Quilt' applique quilt.  It is a rose wreath which is actually from the Rose Sampler book, only I enlarged the pattern to fit on a 17" square like the blocks from the Grandmother's book.  There are still lots of leaves to add to this block, which is all needleturn applique, and I haven't stitched down the inner side of the stem yet.

The weather continues to be cr*p - for example today, 16 June, I was dressed in the same type of outfit I would normally be wearing in October, including a woolly shawl around my neck.  It's ridiculous.  It makes me glad we sold the camping trailer earlier this year, because I would be really frustrated if we were waiting to go camping (or really wet if we had gone ahead).

In my continued attempt to get through the quilting UFOs and PIGS (projects in grocery sacks - I suppose the UK equivalent would be PICBs or projects in carrier bags) that I have accumulated over 17 years of quilting, I pulled out two colourways of a toile fabric, one in red with white scenes, the other reversed.  After googling lots of eye candy for two colour quilts, and going through my collection of rulers, I have decided to copy a quilt image I found online here.  It has two blocks:  a sawtooth star and a Martha Washington star.  After doing some calculations in my London-based studio (aka the office) I have decided on 3 on-point blocks wide by 4 on-point blocks high, with blocks of 14", to make something near to a single quilt size.  Hopefully I have sufficient fabric.  I've pre-washed the red fabric as a precaution, and I'm hoping to have a sewing day tomorrow - although first I need to shovel off the sewing table.


swooze said...

I have a red and white quilt itch too. Have to decide which pattern. I have been thinking about doing Monet's Wedding ring.

Received my post card. Thanks so much!

Aakash Gupta said...

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Thanks and Regards

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