Sunday, September 28, 2008

Knittipina Report 001

This last week was my little niece's birthday week, so things have been a little topsy-turvy around the house.

Incredible Joie was a little freaked about the tainted Chinese milk business, so instead of crafting or blogging this week she has been madly researching distributors of infant milk brands here in the Philippines. As a result, Lilo's birthday party is milk-candy free (no White Rabbit, folks *sadness*).

Our Tita Nora D. passed by the house recently, visiting from LA. She's leaving Manila in November, so that gives me time to make some cable rib merino socks for her grandchild. The 3yo Pavel is German-Filipino, son of our close friends Annie and Ingo, who are based in Germany but are spending Christmas in LA. According to Annie Pavel's feet measure 6.5" from toe to heel, which would make his socks a child's medium (according to Ann Budd's book). Since baby merino is the only sort of appropriate sock wool available locally, I'm using olive green. (My other baby merino yarns in the stash are in pale pink and cream, and Joy's using her cream one for Annie's crocheted scarf.) As of this writing I'm 75% done on the first sock.

It's a weekend, and I'm enjoying my dose of TV series, so I would need some mindless knitting to keep my fingers occupied, right? When I started this blog I wanted to make a free-style tank dress for Lilo, using a buttery yellow Cannon crochet cotton. After an inch or so I realized it would be a drag to knit two sides, sew them together and finish them off with a crocheted border. So I frogged it. Then I cast on again and tried a circular knit this time. Only I used circulars that were too long and it became a drag to Magic Loop something that's supposed to be 30" in circumference. Yes, there's a reason why Magic Loop is recommended for SMALL circumference knitting. I frogged it again. All this frogging was frustrating but also part of the learning process: a knitter should find the most efficient technique for whatever he/she is knitting. Good thing I remembered my 16" Milward circulars, and they were the very thing for the project (although the bent ends ala Boye and the join really annoy me).

By now you must be wondering, what pattern am I using? The pattern should be what's most efficient. Ordinarily it is, but I wanted TV knitting. Which means, right now, no pattern: just knit a basic tank-dress, using stockinette and some shaping, and then embellish later with crochet or crocheted appliques. Why the crochet and crochet appliques? This is for Lilo, this is sister-bonding crafting. Incredible Joie does the crochet. She can embellish the plain vanilla knit dress with whatever she likes. Give it some personality. A mom knows her kid best. That's how we divide the work. We were able to do it the first time around with Lilo's coral babydoll blouse.

The ballet slipper project is temporarily shelved because of the Pavel socks.

Amy is requesting local knitters to make hats and scarves for Mongolia, to be sent through her sister who's coming home from San Francisco in February. I have never knitted a hat before, but maybe it's about time to learn. Besides, we're going to Baguio end of January, someone in the family might like to wear a hat there too. Amy would like everyone to check out, a charity knitting site whose latest campaign is to send items for orphans in Mongolia. I don't have a lot of wool, actually, but it says in the guidelines that you can use acrylic for a baby blanket.

This is definitely an eye-opener for a lot of knitters like us outside the US. Knitting for those close to you is an expression of love, but knitting for people you don't know really extends the boundaries of love. Of course you only knit what you can, how you can, but think that a worldwide effort gives your participation a bigger picture. Isn't it great that you can help people and enjoy your hobby at the same time! Of course critics will say, why don't you do that here at home first? So many people have been victimized by floods and storms! Baby steps, dear readers. One day Amy and the rest of us will learn how to do it properly for here. Let's say right now donations get too politicized for our taste, and knitters might get frustrated and fatigued. Baby steps.

I have also started moderating at a local tech forum where I have been an active member for some time now. I'm not an IT professional, by the way. But I think there is a role for intermediate-level tech users who have ventured into areas where newbies fear to tread: software tweaking and hardware configuration. People who save money by doing the easier things themselves. We're relatively easier for newbies to approach, don't you think? I'm one of three such mods trying to attract more participants into the discussions: first-time gadget owners, parents choosing gadgets for their children, more GIRLS. The tendency is for these kinds of forums to be populated mostly by guys, but we're going for more balance. These days, GEEKY IS HOT! My current role model: blogger Gina Hughes, the TechieDiva.

Over the past few nights my guilty pleasure has been reading the books that I recently got. My fellow Pinoy Raveler Jinky and I were discussing fun topics like size conversions, yarn substitutions and dyeing, and out of curiosity I tried to find out how we could do things here in Manila. We don't have a lot of wool available to local knitters, but then I aim to find out other unpublished sources. I won't be deterred by the idea that I can't make something because I can't find yarn or needles to produce the right gauge. The size conversions, however, was a great discussion, because it led me to re-examining The Knitting Fiend online knitting calculators. Going over my books I realized that getting Debbie Stoller's Stitch n' Bitch Nation (apart from Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks) was one of the best investments ever. Why? She simplifies knitting as a process and makes sure crafters have a RELAXED, practical, and fun approach to knitting. A lot of knitters are discombobulated by the math involved in adapting sizes different from what is in the patterns (if other sizes are not provided specifically). They get wistful or tense. I was one of them. If I were you, I'd read and re-read the chapters before the actual patterns. Debbie Stoller, you just removed the woolly gauze from my eyes!


Liz said...

Love reading your blog! You are soo busy with your knitting, mor so than I am. I think I've frogged more wips than finish them!

Your work is great, too! I'm not as good a knitter, I'm afraid...but I am working on it :)

The Gravelcat said...

I shelve a lot of WIPs, hahaha!!! I couldn't post my FO's from before this blog, because I gave them away already. To my sorrow I didn't take any pictures. You can see I'm making up for lost time...