Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Natural Color Inspirations; and, a New Work In Progress

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 6:36 pm on Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Walk in the Woods

Or at least, in that small patch of it in Emerson Park in Milford, NH. That’s where Gryphon and I have hidden our geocache, the Milford Memory Box. We visit the park fairly often to check on the box’s condition, and have come to love this little parcel of woods smack in the middle of downtown Milford.

Today, there were signs of fall – and of our recent dampness – everywhere. As usual, I found some of the color combinations displayed by the plants and trees in the park to be awe-inspiring. This is why I carry my camera everywhere – to capture the images for future browsing when I’m trying to design a new project. Here are some of the best and most interesting colors from today – maybe someone stuck for an idea will find it in these pictures.

Fungus Encrusted Tree
Shades of Cream and Brown – Fungi Encrust a Tree Trunk

Magenta/Green Bush w/Orange Berries
Red-Orange Berries, with Leaves in Dark Pink and Green

Sunflower Going to Seed
Cream, Shades of Yellow, and Light Brown – A Sunflower Going to Seed

Red Berries, Green Leaves
Early Holiday Inspiration – Christmas Green and Red in a Berry Bush

And We Have Cast-On!

A Knitter's Dozen (A Knitter's Dozen series)I have been talking about the Market Squares Bag from Bags: A Knitter’s Dozen for a while now, and I finally felt my project roster was clear enough to cast on for it yesterday.

I like the colors I selected for the bag – a mix of brights that a lot of people wouldn’t have put together, but that make me smile to look at them.

New WIP - Market Squares Bag
Market Squares Bag Underway
Yarn: Galway, in five colors. A single skein weighs more than was called for in any one color, and my five skeins weigh more than the total needed for the bag. But I may have color issues to decide later, as the color used for the strap needs more yarn than is in a single Galway skein. I may wind up doing the strap in color bands, which would actually be fine with me – more color, more fun!

Needles: Addi Turbo circulars, size 8, 24″

Gauge: Unknown, but then, it’s a bag, not a fitted garment.

This is my first experience knitting the entre-lac technique. The first thing I’ll say to anyone considering it – if you don’t like picking up stitches, don’t even go here. Every single square you knit begins with picking up stitches.

If you are trying to get used to picking up stitches, though, whether you just want to improve your technique or you’re trying to get past a personal dislike for it, entre-lac would make for a good practice program. You’re doing a lot of picking up stitches, but only in small sections at a time, and you get a rest of almost normal straight knitting in between.

My first error came after I finished the tubular band for the top edge of the bag (the purple in the picture below). I thought I had carefully counted and cast-on 144 stitches as called for, but when it came time to create the foundation triangles (blue), I wound up two stitches short. I wasn’t about to re-knit the entire piece to that point, so I simply added a couple of Make 1’s, each in a separate triangle to spread out the correction. I think this fix is essentially invisible, even before felting.

My second error was in the picking up of the stitches, which happened for the first time on the yellow squares. For my first two (seen in the middle and at the left below), my pick-ups were done from the edge of the triangle, and you can clearly see where the yellow comes through in a place it shouldn’t.

Close Up - Market Squares Bag In Progress
Detail of Market Squares Bag, Showing First Squares in Yellow
By the third square, at the right in the picture, I had figured out to catch the bars at the back of the edge stitches. This kept the yellow from peeking through.

Could I have gone back and fixed the first two squares? Yes, definitely. But this piece is ultimately going to be felted, so the appearance of the error will be either completely obscured, or at least greatly minimized, in the final piece.

So far, I’m enjoying this one. The knitting is intricate enough to be interesting, yet the process of creating each new square is simple enough to memorize. This will be good take-along knitting. Won’t have to have the book sitting in front of me all the time, but it will really impress casual observers. Unless they’re more experienced entre-lac knitters than I am – then they can sit there clucking their tongues and cooing encouragingly at how cute I am, thinking I can take on big girl knitting like this!

Final Note:

Thanks to my commenters for your kind words about my Micro-Spun socks. I actually wore them inside my walking shoes yesterday, and despite my initial evaluation that they would make better slippers, they worked fine. They still seem loose in the leg, but we’re going to see how they are after their first washing.

And huge thanks to Queer Joe for linking to me after I told him about Zoundry BlogWriter in a comment at his blog. I feel as if I’ve been noticed by a celebrity! Queer Joe was one of the first knitting blogs I found when I started doing the blog thing a few months ago, and I always enjoy his commentary, his discussion of his knitting, spinning, and quilting projects, and his other life adventures (like the time that Kaffe Fassett visited his home to see a quilt Joe had made!). I may not always agree with his opinions (I usually do, though), but I love that Joe doesn’t hold them back at all. I wish more people had the guts to speak their mind that way. Thanks, Joe!

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