Friday, 3 September 2010


I've been thinking about getting a tattoo again. I wobble between 'meh' and 'meh', but pronounced differently. Part of the reason can be seen on the second row of today's mosaic - all inspired by 'sashiko'.

Pretty cool huh? You can click on the credits for the photographer's Flickr page. Such a skill with the camera. That kind of body art is just divine. I can imagine not getting bored looking at that for the next eleventy years. Although of course as a woman I can expect my body to do more waxing and waning than a man, especially within the next decade.

My love of sashiko took a bit of a blow this morning. I was ready half an hour early so decided to mellow out with some stitching. A new pattern arrived yesterday so I was all set when I found I Could Not Find The Sashiko Thread That Was There Yesterday. Grrr. I may have to use normal embroidery cotton which I dare say will be ok but it's not the same and will give a different look to the end result. But then considering I still haven't worked out what to do with any of my finished panels that's not such a big concern. It's definitely more 'process' than 'product' round here.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Tutorial Tuesday - on a Wednesday

One of the things I like best about Ravelry is the 'Friend Activity' page. To reach it you log in, click on 'friends' in the 'my notebook' menu, and then click on the 'friend activity' tab.
I have this as my ravelry bookmark page so it is the first one I look at each and every time I log in. It is fascinating to see what my Ravelry Friends are knitting, favouriting, queueing and commenting on. Often I'll see someone queue or favourite something and then see mutual friends do the same until almost the whole screen is made up of one pattern. These are the 'must make' patterns of the moment and often are just transient. However, some of them stick and become the pattern giants of the knitting and crochet world.

While cruising the forums I saw a thread where a knitter had asked how to find a list of all the most popular patterns. Someone had kindly responded with not just one, but three lists! Each subtly different.

In the following descriptions if you click on the links you'll be taken to Ravelry to the results of the search itself. These lists depend on Ravelry users so may have changed between me posting this and you looking at them.

The first search was for 'Most Popular'.
Looking at the top 8 (since my screen is displaying 4 in a row) we have...
1. Ishbel by Ysolda Teague (shawl)
2. Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (baby cardigan)
3. Fetching by Cheryl Niamath (gloves)
4. February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (cardigan)
5. Monkey by Cookie A (socks)
6. Clapotis by Kate Gilbert (shawl/scarf)
7. Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf (head band)
8. Turn a Square by Jared Flood (hat)

The second search is for 'Most Projects'.
Again, let's look at the top 8.
1. Clapotis by Kate Gilbert (shawl/scarf)
2. Fetching by Cheryl Niamath (gloves)
3. Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (baby cardigan)
4. Monkey by Cookie A (socks)
5. Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf (head band)
6. February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (cardigan)
7. Saartje's Booties by Saartje de Bruijn (baby booties)
8. Jaywalker by Grumperina (socks)

Probably no surprise that 6 of the 'most popular' are also in the 'most projects' list.

Lastly, we have the 'Most Favourites'.
Top 8 time.
1. February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (cardigan)
2. Saartje's Booties by Saartje de Bruijn (baby booties)
3. Star Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson (hat)
4. Owls by Kate Davies (Jumper)
5. French Press Felted Slippers by Melynda Bernardi
6. Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery
7. Shalom Cardigan by Meghan McFarlane
8. Travelling Woman by Liz Abinante (shawl)

Here we see only two cross-overs from the previous lists.

"So what?" I hear you ask.

Well, anyone noticed the names appearing in these lists? Or rather, noticed the names that are not appearing? I know I've only arbitrarily taken the top 8 but there is no Norah Gaughan, no Ann Budd, no Kaffe Fassett, no Debbie Bliss. In fact no mainstream names other than Elizabeth Zimmermann. Jared Flood and Ysolde Teague are certainly big news in the knitting world but still relative newcomers and might not be on most people's lists of the top knitting designers in the world. And yet....these lists show whose patterns knitters are really enjoying. Which ones they like and which ones they come back to time and again.

And for me that is a very interesting thing.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Book Review - Knitting Green

I am lucky enough to have been given two copies of this book and so am giving one copy away to the winner of this competition.

This is an Ann Budd book, which in itself is a pretty good indication that this will make a useful addition to your knitting library. Her book "The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns" is my go-to book for projects and in fact I've got two on the needles at the moment using patterns from that book. This book is not quite in the same league, in that it has 20 patterns with set sizes, but it has the same straight forward layout you can expect from her books.

Knitting Green follows a now familiar format of interspersing knitting patterns with short essays on topics relevant to the book's theme. I doubt whether anyone has ever bought a knitting book for the essays, but they're well written and interesting to dip into. The patterns are an interesting variety of scarves, shawls, socks, accessories and tops with a skirt and a hat thrown in for luck. There is a lot of worsted and chunky in evidence although there is a fingering weight shawl and jumper. Each of the patterns has an eco-mum type name like "Tree-Hugger Pullover" or "Back to Nature Hat" or even the "Save the Streams Slippers". Photos are very good - showing all those details knitters want rather than Vogue-esque arty shots. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry here.

All-in-all the book is very much visual comfort eating with nothing scary, challenging or too on-trend. It's the sort of book where you really enjoy looking through it and can instantly spot at least three things you could cast on straight away. get your hands on this lovely book just leave a comment on this post giving your "go to" knitting, crochet or crafting book. All comments posted before 11.30pm UK time on Sunday 5th Sept will enter the random draw!

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