As anticipated, the Politically Correct Banana Silk Purple Girlfriend Market Bag went down an absolute treat with my politically correct purple-loving inner city greenie girlfriend (who is a friend-girlfriend not a girlfriend-girlfriend, not that there is anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say).
I have approximately 12 items on the go and at least as many in my queue of things I would like to make. I have more yarn than I can knit in my lifetime and more yarn on the way. I am weak. The moment anyone raves about a particular yarn on Ravelry, I want to try it for myself. This week's yarn is Pear Tree, an expensive but exquisite Australian grown and spun wool that definitely lives up to its reputation for softness. I bought a skein of the 12-ply on 'clearance' ($18 instead of $26 for 100 grams - plus postage) and started knitting a hat but I have more hats than I know what to do with. It is so soft. I am tempted to make a cowl like everyone else is but cannot shake off my initial prejudice against them. A short scarf? Fingerless arm-warmers? Inspiration will strike.
Also on the needles :
'Amused', a V-neck jumper for myself designed by Jordana Paige for Knitty; I am convinced that this will actually be a flattering jumper on me if I get it right. With the sudden influx of cold weather, I need to get going on this.
Marti's jumper - Marti may have been born 6 weeks early but he is growing at such a rate that I fear he won't fit into this jumper (sized for a year-old baby) in a month's time. I also fear it may be a little OTT and tacky, all embossed with Liz Gemmell Fair-Isle motifs. I only have the sleeves and neckline to go and he will grow out of it for sure after this winter, so I will continue it.
Blanket squares - I've now decided I definitely want to make a BIG enormous blanket for myself which I've calculated will need almost 200 squares. On the plus side it is easy brain dead knitting and a great stash-busting opportunity.
Dalek Dishcloth - For a swap; I'm halfway there AND I've learnt that knitting bobbles isn't as hard as I thought. (I now want to make the very cute matching Dalek soft toys - preferably using glow-in-the-dark yarn - and a Dalek hat for J)
I more or less taught myself - or retaught myself - to knit in my early 30s using a book. I had no trouble learning 'English'-style knitting (yarn in the right hand) and knitted-on or cable cast on but got stuck at this point. I kept hearing how 'Continental' knitting was somehow faster and better for ribbing but couldn't work out from the books and YouTube videos how to do it. Thee was also this mysterious "long-tail" cast-on which was supposedly so easy, yet I got myself in knots trying to teach myself.
So when I saw The Thread Room (formerly Marta's Yarn) offering a 2-hour class in Continental (incorporating long-tail cast-on) knitting, I thought it was time to face my challenges. I went with a friend (blogless Kris) and it turned out that we were 2/5 of the class - which meant plenty of personal attention. Our tutor was a young man called David Pearce who is currently studying textiles at RMIT. I have no idea what his artistic skills are like but he is a very good and patient teacher. He also has beautiful long fingers, perfect for manipulating yarn. With him pointing out the bleeding obvious to me ("you'll find it easier if you hold the yarn...") I quickly mastered the long-tail cast-on and soon 'got' Continental knitting. I can see how it will be faster but I need to practice some more. I've also decided that while I love the process and speed of doing a long-tail cast-on, it's really annoying to try and calculate how much yarn to use - I always seem to end up wasting too much by having too long a tail or - even worse - running out of yarn because I have too short a tail. Maybe with practice I will be able to judge it better.
And of course I had to take advantage of the 10% discount on all yarn at the classes. While I find the yarns a bit rough and splitty to work with, they certainly come in the most gorgeous shades - I picked up a variegated purple yarn and some gorgeous green and brown lace yarn.
There's a Fair Isle and Intarsia Knitting class later this month that I'd love to go to but I have to make sure I actually have the time for it.