Needlecraft is addictive

As I’ve said before, I used to do a lot of needlepoint. I stopped when I realized there were only so many needlepoint pillows one person could have. Liz Maryland of Crafty Bitch has made me want to take it up again with her link to the Uncharted Territory catalog. They’ve got all kinds of proper art translated into needlepoint charts. Old Masters, Impressionists, medieval tapestries, Muchas…

I also recently found a computer program that will take images and transform them into stitch patterns, for knitting and needlepoint both. They even make a Macintosh version — happy happy joy joy! — which means it will be that much harder to keep myself from doing something like this. (click on the Bosch painting at right).

If only I could forego sleep or looking for a job in favor of projects!

Book review: Knitting in Plain English

If Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book is the 20-pound reference you’d never haul around with you in your bag, this is the paperback Cliff’s Notes. Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti features chapter titles such as “Buttonholes are Bastards” – what’s not to love about that? She also explains the difference between American and Continental knitting styles, which I haven’t really seen elsewhere. (My grandmother was Swedish, and according to my aunt, she knitted much faster than the usual yarn-on-right method we use here. I’m going to see if my great-aunts remember how to do it!) All in all, I was impressed with the clear instructions in this book, which benefit from Righetti’s 25+ years’ experience as a knitting instructor, and her tips/tricks on blocking, fixing mistakes, etc. Highly recommended.

Sites of the day

Wool Works is a very comprehensive resource, particularly its list of knitting stores across the country. The site also features free patterns, knitting guild listings and more.

Borealis Sweaterscapes, in southern Maine, brings a higher level of artistry to intarsia knitting. They have patterns and kits for sale, as well as detailed tutorials on intarsia and information on key topics such as washing/storing your precious handmade sweaters, converting pullovers to cardigans, and print-your-own knitter’s graph paper. I adore their sock patterns & can’t wait to try the cow one.

Zen knitting

I started to learn how to knit in fall 2000, when I was trapped in a Hartford hotel room for three weeks doing stockbroker boot camp. After calling the helpful staff at the Wool Connection, who picked out & shipped some yarn and needles to me, I muddled through beginning stitches with a 1960s learn-to-knit brochure from my aunt. I couldn’t even finish a scarf, I was so busy being a Type A perfectionist. When I moved to Boston in late winter 2002, I started taking lessons at Mind’s Eye Yarns, and really got into the process instead of the product. Zen knitting.

My goal is to learn to knit well enough to make creative / beautiful wearable objects, and to pick up associated skills along the way. (Spinning? weaving? dyeing? I’ll cross those bridges as they come…) I used to do a lot of embroidery, but you can only have so many pillows! Sweaters are more my speed…

Currently on my Amazon wishlist (comes out August 2002): new vogue knitting book!
I use Crystal Palace bamboo needles (mostly circular, some straight). They make a lovely quiet clicking noise as you knit. My knitting equipment wishlist includes an umbrella swift and a ball winder, because I have a tendency to turn lovely new skeins into tight little balls. Oh, grow up! You know what I mean.

Ok, admittedly, that was funny.

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