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Archive for March, 2010

Last night I had the privilege of attending a meeting of the Common Cod Fiber Guild where one of my all-time favorite knitting designers,Jared Flood (aka Brooklyn Tweed), addressed a room full of knitters at the Stata center on the MIT campus.

First off, allow me to apologize to Jared and all of his fans for the crappy cell-phone photos. I never even thought of taking my camera until halfway through his talk when I was thinking “I need to blog about this!” So this artist who is such an incredible photographer must be immortalized on this page in a very bad way. Sorry, Jared.

So: on to the man. I have already been a big fan of his designs. The simplicity and “earthiness” of his knitwear has been an inspiration to me for a while. But I learned more last night. Not only does he design for functionality and simplicity, but he also keeps the knitter in mind. He likes a good, easy knit (“I’m a big fan of garter stitch”, he once stated) but just as it’s getting really boring he’ll throw in something toward the end to make it more interesting. Maybe a lace pattern, maybe a funky inventive collar. I think this is one of the great benefits to his knitting everything he designs. Every garment photographed in his new book Made in Brooklyn was knit by him. He knows what it’s like to knit the things he designs!

That leads me to his approach to creative property. When wrote this book he was very particular about what he wanted. He told the publisher, Classic Elite Yarns, that he wanted basically complete creative control. Not only did he knit it all, but he photographed it all using friends as models. Additionally, he requested to keep the rights to his own designs. My understanding is that this is just not done. He’s an artist who is proud of his work and I respect his determination to own his own designs. Obviously Classic Elite did too; they granted the request.

After seeing pictures of what motivates him (lots of nature and architecture) as well as many of the designs from his new book, Jared showed us some of the other things he’s working on including items for a future self-published book. Yes, he likes control, but more as a matter of professional pride than anything. He’s a very down-to-earth guy and I really enjoyed getting to meet him. Now I must move on to creating some of my own designs.

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During my “busy times” I took on a little project: an iPod sock. For Christmas I got a brand new iPod nano from Santa Claus. Well, from my wife. Actually, from myself with my wife’s blessing. It was part of a grander scheme. We both upgraded from the iPod shuffle (me to the aforementioned nano, her to an iPhone) and gave our old shuffles to the kidses. Yes, I said kidses. This way we were all happy, and able to tune each other out at any given moment. Joy!

I love my new nano. It’s shiny and red and has my favorite U2 quote emblazoned on the back–“The right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear”. Due to its pedometer function I keep it in my pocket all the time, so I can keep track of my daily number of steps in a lame attempt to get in shape. This has caused a problem. If anything else is in my pocket my iPod gets scratched. Within the first month of ownership I already spotted a few little scratches on the back (the horror!!!) SOCK TIME!!

Right around that same time I ordered a copy of “Sock Innovation” by Cookie A–a genius in the art of sock design. Using the leftover Knitpicks “Evil Stepmother” sock yarn from my daughter’s yoga socks and inspiration from Cookie A’s “Rick” pattern I devised the following pattern:

Twirvy iPod Sock

Yarn: 5 g of Fingering Weight (shown here: Knitpicks Imagination Sock Yarn–Evil Stepmother Colorway)

Great project for that little ball you have left after a pair of socks.

Needles: Size 2 double-pointed (dpn) or long circular for magic loop; tapestry needle; stitch marker

Cuff

CO 36 stitches. Being careful not to twist stitches, join for working in the round and place marker for beg. of rnd.

Work ribbing as follows: K1tbl, p2, *K2tbl, p2* rep until one stitch from marker, K1tbl

Work ribbing for 1/2″

Twirvy Pattern

Row 1: *ssk, YO, ssk, YO, ssk, p, K2tbl, p2, K1tbl, ssk*, repeat 2 times

Row 2: *ssk, YO, ssk, YO, ssk, K2tbl, p2, K2tbl, ssk*, repeat 2 times

Row 3: *ssk, YO, ssk, YO, ssk, K1tbl, p2, K2tbl, p1, ssk*, repeat 2 times

Row 4: *ssk, YO, ssk, YO, ssk, p2, K2tbl, p2, ssk*, repeat 2 times

Repeat these 4 rows until the sock reaches 3 1/2 inches long.

Knit 8 rows. This is necessary so that the iPod nano’s corners don’t stick out of the YO holes in the pattern and pull on them.

Graft using Kitchener Stitch and sew in ends.

And that’s it. I love this iPod sock. It has been great to keep my iPod from getting scratched up, though I wouldn’t rely on it for protection from a fall. 🙂

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Back from Hamelin

The past 3 months of my life have been overwhelmingly infested with RATS! Let me explain.

For those who didn’t read my earlier post, I just got finished directing and producing a middle school production of “Pied Piper–The Musical”. Never heard of it? Well, you’re in good company. Many people haven’t. It’s kind of off-brand, but still good stuff. Oh, and we rocked it HARD CORE!!

If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s a sick and twisted tale of a town with a rat infestation. Middle schoolers, rats, the parallels are staggering. Anyway, a dude comes into the town (Hamelin Town, to be precise) with a flute and leads them away to the river and drowns them because the folks promise him a thousand guilders (not sure what the exchange rate to dollars, U.S. or Canadian, may be). But when the town doesn’t pay he takes their children in the same way, only this time to a magical mountain. In our version they see the error of their ways, pay the dude and get their kids back. Of course, there are much less happy versions as well, but this is a school production after all.

I’ve gotten precious little knitting done during this time, but there has been some. I’ll update everyone over the next couple of days, with photos and everything, on my iPod and cell phone socks, as well as the dragon socks and the progress on my endless checkered sweater. Stay tuned…I’m back!

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