Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Tricks for an Old Dog

I have been knitting for a long time. I have a few preferred methods for casting on and binding off that have worked well for me over the years. For casting on, I generally use long-tail cast-on for “regular” knitting with the occasional cable cast-on or knitted cast-on; Emily Ocker’s cast-on for circular knitting; and a provisional cast-on with a crochet hook. For casting off, I use the traditional bind-off, Icelandic bind-off, or crocheted cast-off for doilies and some shawls.

My repertoire just expanded with two new books: Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods by Leslie Ann Bestor and Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting by Cap Sease.

I like both books. Yes, there is some duplication between them, but both are handy reference books. Both have clear text, illustrations, and photos, and both offer applications for each cast-on and bind-off. Each book gives the inquiring knitter lots of fodder for experimenting and thinking.

And I will finally learn the Channel Island cast-on.

The attentive reader may note that I use “cast on” and “cast off” for the verb and “cast-on” and “cast-off” for the noun. That’s what happens after a career as a copy editor.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Best Husband in the World

My husband, Mike, recently went to Cape Town, South Africa, to attend Cape Wine and to give a speech at the Nederburg Auction. I chose not go because he could only be gone for a week and the cost/benefit of going along did not compute for me this time. However, I did ask for yarn from South Africa, if possible. I specifically asked for yarn produced in South Africa, not yarn imported from somewhere else and sold in South Africa.

I have total faith in his yarn shopping abilities. He has been to enough yarn stores with me that he knows what I like.

He did good! He did great! He asked the concierge at his hotel, who directed him to Spin Knits, a short walk away. Then, he found someone in the shop to help him buy four skeins of yarn from Nurturing Fibres. One is sock yarn in Blissful, a combination of purples, pinks, and blues. The three lace yarns are Georgina (pink), Dappled Forest (green), and Truffle (brown). The hand-painted colors are rich and gorgeous. I cannot wait to knit with these yarns.

He also brought home some South African wines that promise to be just as beautiful as the yarn. And a cookbook with South African braai (barbecue and grill) recipes. The book is in English, although I will have a little translation to do: a tot, I think, is about a tablespoon?

Now, let us give a round of applause to a husband who will go yarn shopping for his wife when he is 10,000+ miles away from home and surrounded by beautiful scenery and excellent wines.