Decisions, Decisions

So, I’ve got finished knitting, I’ve got finished patterns, all I need is photos.  Luckily, I’ve also managed to flee my snowy, freezing home and come somewhere a bit warmer (not warm mind you, I’m still walking around bundled up in woolies, just warmer).  Looks a bit like this.

riseEven luckier, I actually managed to bring the knitting in need of a photo shoot (on the theory that it might be easier to find a spot to take pictures here than at home).  I intend to press my willing victim into service and get two patterns worth of pictures while I’m here.  So now, all I have to do is decide which pattern should come out first (one will come out next week, the other the first week of March).  What do you guys want next, socks?

socksOr a hat and mitt set?

hatNow full disclosure, if something goes wrong, or the pictures don’t cooperate (or if editing them is too much of a bear on the laptop), I reserve the right to be all contrary and ignore your sage advice.  But if you’ve got a preference, I’d love to hear it!

Rescue Mission

While I did not buy any yarn at Rhinebeck, I did get myself two little treats.  One was the blanket I told you about back in October (and which I continue to adore).  The other was a purse from Julia Hilbrandt.  I love it, it is just the right size and totally my style.  It’s gotten tons of compliments, and it goes with more or less everything I own.  It’s perfect, and it’s driving me mad.

The bag is made of industrial felt with leather handles.  After about a two weeks of carrying it, it started to get a few pills.  After about two months of carrying it, it’s so pilly I’m just about ready to throw it out.  I’m really rather disappointed.  I expect my purses, especially ones in that price range, to last more than two months.

So before I have to say goodbye (which I really really don’t want to do…it’s an awesome bag…except for the blasted pills), I thought I’d try some sort of de-pilling device.  But I’ve never used one, so before I go and buy one, I thought I’d see if you guys had any suggestions.

I’m currently considering the Gleener, the Lilly Brush (I don’t know if the felt is all wool or has some man-made fibers, and this one says only for natural fibers), or the Sweater Stone.  But I’m totally open to suggestions if you have a favorite.  Have any of you ever rescued a bag (or a sweater, or a blanket, or any other bit of wooly goodness) from the dreaded fuzzballs?  Any word of wisdom (or maybe some stories of triumph…I really want this to work)?  Or am I just getting my hopes up when this is really doomed to failure?

Wrap up

So, the pillow is approaching its end, and I find myself with a question.

I began with Judy’s Magic Cast On, which let me get all my stitches on the needles and ready to start knitting in a nice, tidy, seamless fashion.  If I were working with a sturdier wool (ie, not pencil roving), I would just kitchner the sides together when I was ready to bind off.  But, kitchner (where you have to drag your working yarn through each stitch two times) is too taxing for this pencil roving.  It won’t take the stress of all that tugging.

So, I want something that makes as seamless a join as possible, but is worked without having to break the yarn, thread a darning needle, and drag the yarn through the individual stitches.  My first thought was three needle bind off, but that’s only really moderately seamless if you work it from the wrong side.  And, for a host of reasons, most having to do with pillowforms and stubbornness, I need to work this one from the right side.

So you guys are way smarter than me.  What are your favorite ways to join two bits of fabric, from the right side, as seamlessly as possible, without having to drag a tail through stitch after stitch after stitch?

Where Do Your Toes Start?

Well, not so much your actual, personal toes.  I’m assuming those start towards the end of your feet.  I more mean where do your sock toes start.  I ask because the yellow socks are looking a lot like this:

Where do you start your toes?That’s the point where I have to try them on every two or three rows to see if it’s time to do the toes.  For my feet, I’m happiest if I start the first round of toe decreases just as the sock reaches the tip of my smallest toe (so I need about another half inch or so on this one).  Then I do decreases every other row until the sock reaches the tip of my next toe.  For me that’s usually three pairs of decrease round/non-decrease round.  Then I decrease every row until I have somewhere around 20 stitches left (the precise number often depends on the specifics of the pattern and what will look best).

But I know everyone seems to do their toes differently, and I’m curious how you do it.  Do you do exactly what a pattern says?  Do you have landmarks on your own feet you use to guide you (yes, I have seen the tattoos, that’s some real dedication)?  Do you do anatomical toes?  Or maybe you just wing it?  I always feel that really well fitting toes are one of the perks of knit socks, and I’m curious to hear how you guys tweak yours.

Pin Me Down

So let’s talk about blocking. You know those stitches that just, by their nature, don’t want to lie flat?  The ones that have a bit of ripple and curve to them?  Yeah.  There are a few ways you can go with them.  You can force them flat when you block, or you can exaggerate the the waves.  I think both can be fun, but what about you guys.  Would you freak out if the blocking instructions wanted you to do this?

You’d need either several (oh, maybe 12?) straight needles or a set of blocking wires or some super skinny dowels from the craft store or the snipped off bottom parts of some coated wire coat hangers or some other clever thing I’m sure I’m just overlooking.

Or what about something like this?

That’s the same swatch, just held in place with some tiny binder clips.  Clothes pins or even hair clips could work too.

The point is that you’d likely need to do some creative scavenging to block  this way, but it wouldn’t be all that hard.  And if you did need to buy something like dowels or binder clips, you could get what you needed for less than five bucks.

Would you be willing to try blocking something that way?  Or is that just too much to ask?  What if blocking it that way was presented as an alternative option…you could block it flat if you were feeling like it, but you had another option if you were feeling a bit more adventurous?

Advance Planning

Next month is going to be busy.  It’s the good sort of busy.  Actually it’s two good sorts of busy, first the super productive slightly frantic sort, then the relaxed chill sort.  It should all be fun, but it does require a bit of advance planning.

So, I’m polling the collective here.  First, any must know tips for Rhinebeck?  I’m going (yay), and it’s my first one, and I want to be sure to do it right.  Second, any marvelous yarn shops in Maine I should know about?  Maine’s big, and we’ll be staying on the coast, so nothing too far inland.  But you guys are all knowing, so I’m shamelessly asking you for ideas.

Creepy Crawlies

The hat is going to have a wee flipped up bit at the brim.  I had initially planned to hold this in place with a button.  But the more I play with it, the more I want the hat to be reversible.  That means a button won’t really work so well.  A pin or a brooch would work much better.  Now of course I’m happy to try and track down something cool (oh etsy, your siren song draws me in every time), but I’m also a fan of the use what you have approach.  Alas, I’m not really a brooch sort of girl…I have one or two, but none that seem quite right for this.

Except for this one thing…

You see, I have a few of these old, embossed metal bug pins.  I think they’re Japanese.  I know they’re nifty.  I’m not sure what the appeal is…they’re much more realistic than your standard cute bug thing.  Yet somehow, they fill me with mirth and glee.

So the question becomes, is it too creepy to use on the hat?  Or more specifically, is it too creepy to use on the hat’s eventual pictures? Will it’s buggy goodness squick people out and send them running from the pattern?  Or is it merely charmingly eclectic?  I mean you’d be picking your own yarn and pin, it’s not like you would have to use a bug.  Or are bugs just too far beyond the pale?

Your Turn

I’m meeting with the photographer for Book the Second on Thursday.  We’ll be having a planning meeting, wandering the halls of our photo shoot location, and generally plotting how to make this book extra awesome.

I have my list of ‘things to ask’ and ‘things to insist upon.’  But I’m sure there’s something I’m overlooking.  After all, this organize and execute a book thing is still new to me.

So here’s where you come in.  I’ve got two questions for you.

First, what do you always wish you could tell the photographers of your knitting books?  Is there something you love? Something you hate? Something that just bugs the crap out of you?  Whatever it is, lay it on me.  I can’t promise to do everything (because sometimes y’all give contradictory answers), but I can promise to read and think about all of your comments.

Second, do you have any favorite knitting photographers I should be flipping through for inspiration?  I know (and love) Alexandra Grablewski, and would love to have names or sites for other folks I can look at and share with my photographer.