Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Adventures in Aran Knitting Part 1.2

I'm proud of myself. There I said it, I really am. The only thing that frightens me more than Aran knitting is lace, and I'm not going there, yet...

The stitch pattern is fairly easy to memorize, I just have to keep track of the number of rows for the cables, everything else works itself out. I am amazed and in awe of the talent and attention to detail it must take to design; I don't think I'll ever design.

I won't bore you with endless updates of each inch. This is going to be a long project; I'm only 5 or so inches into the back and have a long, long way to go. Mike is 6'5", 225lbs ... that adds up to one heck of a lot of blackberries! I do hope I enjoy knitting every last inch as much as I have loved knitting the first 5! This isn't mindless knitting that is for sure. I have to pay attention, but I enjoy the rhythm. I enjoy see it grow and develop. The only thing I wish I could do differently with this sweater is to knit it in the round, but the blackberries don't allow you to do that since they are worked on the wrong side. Well maybe they can, but I'm certainly not advanced or experienced enough to do it! Posted by Picasa


Here's a close up of the different stitch patterns. Blackberries, twisted stitches, cables, 1/2 diamonds, and moss stitch. Posted by Picasa

Blackberries Close Up

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Gratuitous shot of the boy

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Adventures in Aran Knitting ... Part 1

When I heard about Clan Aran Sweaters where I could purchase yarn and a pattern that represented the Shean name I thought it was a pretty cool idea. I checked around a little, but I couldn't find any place to purchase the pattern only. So I decided to just bite the bullet, fork out $100, and buy the authentic báinín yarn and pattern straight from Ireland.

...Then I hear about The Great Aran Sweater Myth over at The Knitting Curmudgeon's blog. Oh boy, I had been had, or so I thought. Fortunately Marylin did all the research for me (thanks!) and I was quickly relieved to figure out that I hadn't been swindled. I knew that The O'Sheahan's hadn't been fishermen ... so why would they have a family sweater?? Of course they didn't, well not to identify their washed up dead bodies anyway. You can read more about the history of aran knitting at the link above, but basically each stich pattern represents the different motto's of each family. The Shean's (or O'Sheahan, O'Shea, and O'Sheehan) stand for. Cables symbolize luck, Diamonds: wealth, Tree of Life: Family, Ladder of Life: Health and Happiness, Honeycomb: Work, Trellis: Success, ZigZag: Love, Irish Moss: Holy Trinity, etc.

I was pleased when it all showed up, then suddenly very afraid. I have never worked on a pattern so complex. And the site of all that báinín yarn (did you notice how huge that 1 ball of yarn is??), well, it's just a bit overwhelming. I have several projects on the needles right now, but this has been calling my name. So I worked a swatch to check my guage and practice the different stitch techniques. I honestly thought I'd try it out and decide that I was indeed over my head and put it away for awhile ... until I was more experienced. I mean I have ONLY been knitting for just over a year! Instead I'm hooked, I LOVE it!!! The Irish Moss, the blackberries!!! It is so cool to see them come to life. So I bound off my swatch and just casted on for the back. I'm still on the ribbing and have to write out the entire pattern, but I'm not worried, I'm excited and can't wait to see it come to life.

...More to come! Posted by Picasa

Aaaaaaaah Manos

I've heard about this stuff, I've read about it ... but I had never seen it in person. As far as yarns go, I seem to find that when I actually come across the yarn that people gush over, it's just ok. Not bad, but doesn't live up to all the hype. I was beginning to think that my expectations were just too high. Until I came across this. Oh my, it's like buttah I tell ya, like buttah!

I was rumaging throught this yarn store that I heard about near my work. And when I say rumage I mean RUMAGE! I'm sure there are many more treasures than this Mano's to be found ... good luck finding it! This LYS has yarn from floor to ceiling ... all shoved into plastic bags and cubbys. Now I do appreciate the bags, keeps the yarn clean and all. But it makes it real hard to browse the store and get the feel effect, which to me is one of the few perks of going to a LYS. I will go back there, but it will be with much more time to search and browse.

So back to the Manos, I will be making it into a throw for Mike. You can see I grabbed up the entire lot of this yarn, there are 12 hanks, which should be enough for a small throw. I was going to do a basket weave stitch, but I think I'm going to look for a different pattern as the variations in guage don't allow the pattern to really show up. I'll post my progress. Posted by Picasa

Socks, Socks, Socks!

Here's my stash of sock yarn. I've got about 2 1/2 inches done on the second sock for my Father in Law, the color is Cape Cod. Next will be socks for my Dad in Fly Fishing, then my Mom in Morning Glory, finally Mike will get a pair in Yukon. That is of course if I don't pick up more sock yarn along the way ... yeah right, I hope no one is holding their breath on these! The ones for my Father in Law were suposed to be a Christmas gift, when I missed that deadline, I thought I'd be done by his birthday ... well that was Thursday and well you know the end to this story! I may put those aside and crank out my Dad's pair in hopes of getting them done for his birthday in March. Well I wont tell him since there is a good chance that won't happen! I really love knitting socks, this is my fourth pair so I experimented with a 4x4 ribbing. According to Mike he likes his socks a bit longer, so they take a while (not to mention he wears a size 12) My dad on the other hand has smaller feet and likes sport/ankle socks, so his will be quicker and I'm not going to do any ribbing other than the top for his. For my mom's I think I'm going to try the Jaywalkers I've been hearing so much about. I have no plans for Mike's other than I love those colors. Posted by Picasa