Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 21
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SPUN YARN #21

March 2008

Spring driving in New Brunswick!
Spring driving in New Brunswick!

Dear Friends,


This is just a little update on the dramatic non-arrival of spring on the East Coast (see discouraging picture above!) and the progress of this year's crop of DVDs!
The DVD covers are ready (yes, we checked the spelling of knitting very carefully), and we have just sent our approval to the manufacturer to proceed with pressing. We may get our hands on the first discs within two weeks, fingers crossed.
Intarsia 1 Intarsia 2 For a greener world: In an attempt to be a little kinder to the environment, we are putting our money where our hearts are, and have ordered biodegradable outer wrappings for the new DVDs. For the time being this option is only available for discs manufactured in Canada (we do usually have subsequent pressings produced in the US to reduce trucking distances). There may be a slight visible difference in appearance, but we hope you will appreciate our efforts, and, despite the additional cost, we will be maintaining our current retail prices. Intarsia 2
For the many of you who have preordered the new discs sight unseen (many thanks for your kind support of this endeavor), you should be receiving them within a month from now. (If you don't get your discs within this time, please let us know so that we can rectify the situation.)

The glass is half full ...
I have been very fortunate in my travels this year, visiting many fascinating places, including Tacoma. Tacoma's claim to fame as far as I'm concerned (aside from the infamous bridge collapse) is as the birthplace of Dale Chihuly, the renowned glass artist. (DC's collection of Pendleton blankets was the inspiration for my Cape Spear Blanket.)
Although my scheduled spare day (intended to give me a little time to explore) was mostly eaten by airport delays, I did manage to reach the glass museum with half an hour remaining, and managed to view one extraordinary exhibit. Glass seems to have a lot in common with ice it can take on so many different forms, from smooth as silk to jagged as razors and a multitude of scarcely believable forms between. (My youngest daughter can now attest to this, having recently skied into a pond of floating ice chunks, wearing only a bikini. OUCH! BRRRR!)
Despite the disappointment of mostly missing the glass museum, I was cheered by a plethora of publicly visible glass exhibits around the town. I absolutely must go back again.
glass museum
The Madrona Fiber Arts Winter retreat, besides being a wonderfully diverse fiber event of great merit, also happens to have been held in the most interesting hotel I have visited in a long time. This year they were still in the grips of renovation, implementing a serious glass theme. There are no other hotels that I can think of where I have envied the bathroom sinks (laminated, multi-colour glass confections)! Unfortunately I failed to take a picture; I don't often feel tempted to take pics in hotel bathrooms. Their website gives only a mere hint of the number of glass installations throughout the hotel.

After a quick stop in Marin county for Marin Fiber Arts , a location where lemons grow on trees and the grass was at least visible if not actually warm, it was on to Stitches West. The theme this year was socks. XRX announced with great fanfare their massive new sock competition. For all you ardent sockists out there check out the details in Knitters Magazine, there are categories for everyone and big prizes; entries are due next January.

I made my way home via Colorado (it was almost on my way), where the quantities of snow were enormous, the scenery breathtaking and skiing conditions superb. Yes, of course I had to test the skiing. I hope that the spring thaw comes slowly!


Wishing you all contented spring stitches,

Lucy

PS : The giant snow woman, Olympia, was built in Bethel, ME. She will probably make the Guinness Book of Records. She stood (I suspect that she is shrinking now) 122 feet 1 inch tall. Her eyelashes are 16 alpine skis, her mouth is made of tires. She was very charming, her fir wreath eyes giving her a very benevolent expression. Congratulations to all the builders.

PPS : At last we can let the cat out of the bag: Adventure Knitting with Lucy will be visiting the Galapagos Islands in May/June 2009! Bookings will open in late April. For info on the itinerary, which includes textile things ashore in Ecuador followed by an 8 day cruise around the islands on a 16 passenger boat, contact Judy.
Olympia Olympia

Still in effect ... but not for much longer, as we expect to see the discs here on April 9!!!

DVD pre-release special offer!


Toll-free Order Line 1 (866) 272-7796. Paypal, Visa, Mastercard. (Pre-paid orders only, valid ONLY until the DVDs become available.)

Price: $27 Cdn per new disc title including shipping and taxes (if applicable)for North America. (Half price shipping to countries other than the US or Canada).

If you would like to add any of our ten currently available titles (see below) to your order they will be at the regular price $29 + applicable taxes (Canada only), but free shipping or half price shipping as noted above, will apply.
(All discs will be shipped together as soon as the new ones are manufactured.)

Knitting Essentials 1 and 2
Sock Techniques 1 and 2
Knitting Gems 1 to 4
Finesse Your Knitting 1
Double Knitting Delight


And here are the new ones:

Intarsia Untangled 1
= 978-0-9782898-3-6 K
Intarsia knitting, despite its (highly undeserved) poor reputation, can in fact be enjoyable and yield wonderful results.
On this disc: we look at preparation for serene knitting, tackling the first few rows, reading charts, tangle reduction and resolution. Learn also how to maximize the number of ends that may be knitted in and to make the best use of those tails which do require darning.
Also included are a number of cool rescue techniques.
Running Time 2 hours 27 mins.

Susan's (Tradewinds shipping and accounting wizard) comment on a preview copy of this DVD:
I'm about 1/2 way through the first Intarsia DVD and I LOVE it. It makes sense, it follows in a logical progression. It is lovely to watch and makes you want to start working on an Intarsia project right away just so you can follow the steps: It makes something that seems so complicated appear to be just a series of small steps to final production. You've done a really good job with this one. (All of them are great, but you just keep getting better.) I suspect because this is also one of your main passions, that shines through as well.


Intarsia Untangled 2 = 978-0-9782898-5-0 L
Now that you enjoy intarsia, here are some sophisticated skills to help you tackle special situations: long horizontal colour jumps without breaking the yarn or having to think ahead, as well as a selection of slick tricks to make life easier.
Explore textured stitches within colour blocks, sculpted shapes and how to analyze patterns to see what lies ahead.
Running Time 2 hours 22 mins.

Finesse Your Knitting 2 = 978-0-9782898-4-3 M
Expert shoulder shapings and various joins, setting-in fitted sleeve heads with ease.
Experience the exquisite joys of double bands: knitting-up the stitches (right first time, every time), equalizing the two sides, adding shaping to the corners of the bands, and reversing for the inner layer, and how these principles may be applied to neck and armband situations.
Running Time 2 hours 17 mins.

Toll-free Order Line 1 (866) 272-7796. Paypal, Visa, Mastercard.



Knitting Hint
Colour Dominance: Two-colour practice swatch

If you would like to prove to yourself that it really does make a difference in which position your yarns lie when working with two colours across a row, try the following:

Use two strongly contrasting, solid coloured, smooth yarns: A and B.

Onto a double-pointed needle (flexible / circular, or rigid):
Cast on at least 20 sts in one colour.
With the opposite end of a circular needle or a second dpn work:
Row 1 (RS) (K1A, k1B) to end of row.

Regardless of whether you use one hand or two to manipulate the yarn, be sure that the two yarns do not twist around one another. (If your yarns are twisting, place the ball of yarn A to your right, and B to the left, and, after working a stitch of A, pick up B from the left and work the B stitch. Now drop B yarn back to the left, pick up A from the right and so on. This should eliminate any 'twizzling'!)
Look carefully at the back of the work, you should find that one yarn rides consistently above the other all the way across the row. I consider this one the 'above' yarn.
intarsia knitting intarsia knitting
Without turning your work, slip all your stitches back to the opposite end of the needle, as shown above.
Row 2: (Trail both yarns loosely across the back of the work) use both yarns to work the first stitch of the row (this helps to anchor the second colour), and then work colours in alternation as in Row 1 (to produce vertical stripes of each colour).
The far end of the row will be very loose but this is unimportant. **
Being sure to keep the yarns in the same hands as before or maintaining the same 'above' colour:
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for at least one inch.

Now SWITCH the positions of the colours:
Either put the colours in opposite hands or switch the position of the balls of yarn: this will change the 'above' colour to the 'below' position.
Continue to work exactly the same vertical stripe pattern as before for another inch or more.
Bind off.
Cut the floats of yarn at their mid point.
intarsia knitting intarsia knitting
Now pin out your swatch and walk a fair distance away...take a good look! Can you see a difference? Now take a peek at the back, too.

DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT - GIVE IT A TRY!
Discover for yourself that:

1. The colour that forms the 'above' yarn shows less than the 'below' yarn colour.
2. When working in a background / contrast situation, it is best to keep the background yarn as the 'above' colour to achieve the maximum effect from your contrast ('below') stitches.
3. For most knitters using the two-hand technique the RIGHT hand forms the ABOVE yarn. Do check for yourself to be sure: there are rare exceptions (it wouldn't be a good rule otherwise).

Note: Many right-hand yarn operators naturally choose this arrangement on the basis of having the majority of stitches to be worked with their best knitting hand. This is the right decision but for the wrong reason, as they then switch colours/hands for the periodic rows where there are more contrast stitches than background!
This is largely of academic interest in many designs, BUT it is really important in geometric patterns with a strong colour contrast between two colours throughout. In a multi-colour floral design, you would hardly notice it.

Proof irrefutable: below are some partially worked Paradoxical Mittens. In a design such as this, where there isn't a strictly definable background colour, you must decide which colour you'd like to emphasize, and make this the 'below' colour and be consistent throughout the project. Write it on your working notes!
"White in left hand" is how I like my Paradoxical mittens.
intarsia mittens intarsia mittens
** BONUS TECHNIQUE
This 'slip to the beginning of the needle and float across the back' technique is also how one works a modest sized swatch for a garment that is intended to be knit in the round. Pick a representative area of the chart, cast on to the same brand of needles you intend to use for the real thing, and swatch in pattern as above. Wash and block your swatch before measuring and ignore the first and last 5 stitches as they are likely to be off gauge.



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