Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bad Donald

I'm working on a pattern design just now so haven't been doing my usual amount of blogging/blog reading. And because I'm so good a sabotaging myself, I'm procrastinating on the pattern by working on my green opal sock. The poor bloody thing has been knitted to various points and unravelled more than the usual number of times, even for a perfectionist knitter.

As most of you know, I'm a fat chick. I'm a very fat chick - that's right, the picture to your left is not really me (it's Joan Hickson as Miss Marple). This means knitting garments for myself is a major commitment. This is why I thought socks, once I overcame heel hysteria (thanks Spidey), would be the perfect project. You know, wear my normal boring classically elegant black top and trews with something colourful over the top, but have fascinating socks under my boots.

Great plan, I even did the maths and a tension square. Unfortunately the maths for proportionate bodies (measure your ankle circumference, subtract and inch from total circumference, multiply new figure by stitches per inch taken from your beautifully wrought and deeply resented tension square, knit for a bit then do a heel flap that is equal in length to the width of half your stitches) doesn't work for fat legs. I don't need a heel flap that is 5 inches long, for a start.

I knew that all along though, so it doesn't make sense in anyone's reasonable definition of that term that I knitted the full five inch heel flap, turned the heel in a flawless manner, elegantly and without gaps picked up the gusset stitches, and spent two whole evenings knitting the decreases. It is particularly stupid that even though I was pretty sure that this was a silly thing to do right from the off I persisted. Right beside the voice in my head that was saying - "Ya know, Taph, this don't look right" was another one saying "But the instructions said...". I felt like Donald Duck - remember he often had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? It's almost enough to make a woman take up that horrible feral cr****t just to shake herself out of the "pattern is always right" mindset, even when the instructions are from the Yarn Harlot herself.

Moral of the story - if you knit like a duck, don't be surprised when you get flippers.

For those who asked, and bless you, of course I didn't take any of the previewed projects to the Celebration of Wool with me. I took 4 entirely different projects and spent most of the day playing with short rows. Photos and a pattern to follow soon.

I spent a fantastic day at the markets followed up with an SnB at Starbucks and came home happier than I've felt in a very long time. Yes, I bought wool (400gm of a 4ply merino - a black strand and a white strand plied together *swoon* and half a kilo of a lovely corriedale cross in natural white to spin with), brand new Ashford hand carders, flick brush and drop spindle, and another Keepsakes from Mothers Table book because I keep giving my copies away.

The book is brilliant. The money goes to the Canberra Mothercraft Society which has been the saviour of generations of new parents and continues to do fantastic work for families. The book contains knitting patterns, some traditional, some not so much, and recipes. It has cheescake and knitting - what more could you want? Buy a copy for yourself and for someone you love - you'll feel better for it. Also, if you're making that cheescake, I'd be prepared to review if for you. ;)

It was more than the stuff I bought that made me so happy - it was fantastic to be able to speak to so many producers and enthusiasts. I saw a lot of people I knew which was lovely. The creative energy in that place was so revitalising.

My copies of the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules and Jillian and Amy's Big Girl Knits arrived last week and much time has been spend devouring them. Despite the obvious problems in the sock instructions (see above), Knitting Rules is as brilliant as you would expect. My expectations were not as well met by Big Girl Knits.

BGK is being raved about all over the net. It has it's own blog and it's own Yahoo group (I'm sick of linking - go Google it). It's being lauded as the fat chick's bible. It's pretty good it just didn't meet my expectations. The opening chapters about dressing for your body type and how to measure yourself are very good and accompanied by healthy dollops of self-accpetance talk which I fully support. I applaud their insistence that fat chicks should throw away the bulky and the novel yarns and seek out the finer fibres. I did expect, however, to find a few more patterns that actually went beyond the US 3x (about a 24 here in Aus). There were very few and the sock pattern didn't go up to my ankle measurement either. Yes, the book tells you how to do the maths, but the whole fucking point was that I was buying big girl patterns and wouldn't have to do the maths. My recommendation on this book, read my copy and spend your money on a couple of patterns from White Lies Designs. It isn't a coincidence that Joan McGowan-Michael's patterns in BGK are the ones I like the best. Also, Joan MM is writing a new book - looking forward to that one.

No pictures today - I forgot to borrow a camera.


kylie said...

ah yes how i sympathise on the big knit front. and when you do find them theyre always so DAGGY! might as well just wear a hessian sack really. i cant even add up properly so the whole rezising thing just looks like greek to me. and then theres this assumption that if one has big boobs or big hips one is, ergo, gigantor and must stand at ten feet tall so the sleeves come down to ones thighs! *sigh* anyway i look forward to seeing the book hopefully this thurs night and also discussing the finer points of spinning still-greasy wool. have fun with those socks! (see, i reckon if you take on things that require one more than two needles youre asking for a whole world of hurt). :)

Kate said...

I completely agree about the 'avoid chunky wool' comment. Although the rest of me is average size, the boobs ain't. I tend to avoid knitting jumpers for myself because everytime I measure up the bust of a jumper, I've generally got to do the largest version to make it round the boobs to avoid horizontal stretches forming. This means the sleeves are way long, the length hits mid-thigh and the rest flaps in the breeze. Or I look like I'm breast feeding. Which would be good if I were but I'm not. I guess I'm going to have to face it - I need to learn how to knit my own jumpers from the top down : (

Dood said...

The White Lies website has been such an inspiration! I think finally get off my fat arse to knit a proper garment, I might try one from there (although an easy-ish one!)

Have been battling the baby blanket this weekend, socks haven't even got a look in.
I'll be at Thursday's SnB too :) Yay!and I'll actually knit this time!


Jejune said...

Hi Taph! Yes, the markets were great fun, weren't they? I can't wait to see your drop spindle - dear dotter is lusting after one, now - yet another slippery slope...

Bugger about the sock :/ What a bleedin' pain. And a bit of a disappointment about BGK... I'm interested in seeing it, too, for same reasons as everyone else has mentioned. It's just damn difficult to find a pattern that will fit - and just forget about Vogue Knitting, or *most* magazine patterns :p

So, any cats out of bags with the pattern you're designing, or is it a Secret Squirrel project? :)

BTW Judes - LOVE your avatar, what a sexy naughty fat chick!

knittydoll said...

oooh, I want to learn how to wrangle a drop spindle one day! Perhaps when I get around to acquiring one, and finding instructions, you'll be able to give me some tips taph :) Good luck with giant-heel socks... try calling it a 'design feature'. Reminds me I must get down to Cassidy's for sock neeldes, must do hot socks wool some justice... see you Thurs :)