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October 2010
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November 2010

Knitting with light

I often start my day by listeninng to a podcast of the previous day's Woman's Hour and knitting during my commute. This
morning a piece on the Royal College of Art's textile students led me to discover Fay McCaul ( who
knits with light.

She both works with photoluminscent wire and with reflective or other optically interesting materials woven into more
conventional yarn based knitting.

She says: "I have always been excited by the idea of a piece of textiles appearing one way in daylight and then
transforming in the dark.

"With the use of lighting technologies and contemporary materials, I aim to push knitting into new realms by creating
structures and fabrics that ‘play with light’, providing a unique and magical form of decoration for interior and
exterior use."

Needles for courses

The other morning on the train to work, after a late night at an industry event,  I cast on a simple ribbed man's beanie on 5mm needles. This was a lot more friendly for the morning after hearing Tom Jones sing live and toasting industry colleagues than the glove on 2mm pins that is my current first choice "train knit". 

For comfort I also decided to listen to my favourite knitting podcast, Electric Sheep. One of presenter Hoxton's themes was needing different knitting for different occasions. Exactly what I was doing and in fact my current range of active projects is an excellent example of this approach.

Knitting life for me divides into two main categories train knits and sofa knits. Train knits fit into a handbag and are easily started and stopped on a commute. Sofa knits tend to be bigger and/or require a lot of concentration.

Sofa knits at the moment are:

Proj 006

Triangular summer shawl by Nancy Bush from Knitted Lace of Estonia: this is in 2ply and features nupps and lots of stitches so only suitable for when I can concentrate.


So as an alternate I have Meg by Louisa Harding - still some lace but on big needles. On the other hand it is a dress which I'm working in the round, so it is definitely too unwieldy for travel.

Meanwhile the handbag features the aforementioned beanie.

Hat 005

And my Knotty gloves - only for mornings when I'm wide awake.

Glove 002


First glove

I most definitely don't do socks -mainly because they wouldn't be worn. But I'd never really thought about gloves until the "knitteratti" of Twitter start a chat about possible patterns to have go with.  And as I had some wonderful purple 4-ply Clan merino/nylon from the Yarn Yard left over from another project, I decided it was time for a stash bust army experiment.

I was tempted by several patterns from Laris Designs but eventually decided on Knotty because it was free pattern, suitable for an experiment.

A spot of testing revealed that I needed to reduce the gauge so ended up working on 2mms - nothing like making life easy then. Plus I would mainly be knitting these on trains.

The first part was straightforward - a tube of rib worked in the magic loop method on a circular needles and  spot of cabling.


Glove 007

Then you create the thumb gusset (a bit of increasing) and thumb hole. Still reasonably ok because I was still working on lots of stitches.

Glove 001

And then it got interesting. Dividing for the fingers and working on 4 needles.

Glove 002

But despite my fears it proved logical and I was pleased that my 4 needle work didn't have gaps. And gloves have the advantage that you can try them on regularly.

Glove 003

And so I present my first glove - just got to do it again now.

Glove 006

Note Because I started with the right glove some of the photography is a spot shaky