27 March 2007

Le Tricot Machine C'est Moi

My sleep schedule is a bit screwier than usual tonight, because I didn't get up in the evening and just kept right on sleeping, which meant I woke up at 3:30AM. So I sat down to do a bit of knitting until I got sleepy enough to go back to bed. As I often do, I opened up iTunes to catch up on my podcasts a bit, and it whined at me that I hadn't listened to the Bande à Part podcast for a while.

Now, I don't really speak French. I've taught myself enough over the years that I can sort of almost understand it, though I'm sure there's a lot that gets lost in translation. Still, I live in a state with a large francophone community that shares more of its border with francophone Canadian provinces than it does with the one state it also borders (Québec and New/Nouveau Brunswick license plates are almost as common a sight as New Hampshire and Masshole ones). And one thing that I've learned from that proximity is that francophone Canada has a phenomenal music scene. Since corporate radio doesn't see fit to let us hear any more of that scene than Céline Dion (wailing at us en anglais, naturellement), I keep up with it via podcast.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see that last week's podcast, which I had yet to listen to, featured a duo who go by the name Tricot Machine. With a name like that, I was a little worried that I'd not like them and feel really, really cheated, but it turns out that I love their music - indie folk pop with a very sweet & whimsical, slightly melancholic feel. In fact, I loved it so much, I started looking for somewhere to buy the album, and I found it here. I can hardly wait.

Des Chapeaux

While listening to my brand new favorite band, I made some progress on the second hat for Dulaan in the lite lopi type yarn.


I did a 2x2 rib for the band of this hat, and I'm still working out in my head what I want to do with the decreases at the top. It looks like I'll have just barely enough of the darker yarn to finish it off. If not, there's enough of the lighter yarn that I can start working from the other end and maintain the thickness of the stranding and have a top that's finished off in one color.

At work, I have another hat-in-progress that is destined for Dulaan. This one is a Fair Isle that I'm doing in Limbo from Halcyon Yarn.


Anyone recognize the motif? Isn't it cuuuuuuute?

Questions Gladly, If Not Promptly, Answered

KnitNZu asked the other day, "Do you have a good way to catch the color you carry in two-color knitting?" She has a post with photos of one way to do it here.

My answer is that I try not to, if at all possible. Elizabeth Zimmermann addressed the reason for this in Knitting Around, I believe, but I had already discovered it on my own. If you catch up a float by wrapping the carried yarn around the yarn in use, the color being carried will tend to show through between the stitches where it is wrapped. A better option might be to use a singles from one of the yarns (or a finer thread) and a sharp needle and lightly tack the float down later, if necessary. Either that or I would probably do segments that would otherwise require long floats in intarsia instead (Priscilla Gibson-Roberts discusses methods for doing this in tubular garments in several of her books & articles).

The standard rule with Fair Isle knitting is to avoid floats longer than 5 stitches, and since a lot of EZ's designs were worked at 5st/inch, I will stretch that rule a little bit to floats of no more than an inch. In the bunny motif above, the space between the ears is 6 stitches. Since my gauge is around 6st/inch, I wouldn't want anything longer than that, but as it's not going on a part of the body where there are appendages that would be likely to snag those floats, it should be just fine. In a patterned sock, I'd probably try to avoid floats longer than 3-4 stitches, just to minimize the risk of snags.

That and I'd keep my toenails trimmed.


Anonymous said...

LOVING the Cute with Chris hat! Very clever. Has he seen it yet, or will you be sending him a picture?

Anonymous said...

This band completely cracks me up. It's a shame I can't go to their album release tonight...it's right down the street from me. Their accent is very strongly Québec, and the lyrics are alternately hilarious and just plain sweet.

I think I have to have their album :-)

Scoutj said...

The hats are great!

Have you listened to this podcast? I just found it yesterday and can't wait to listen.


Sheepish Annie said...

I don't speak much French either. But, in the summer, I find that I understand it better. The tourist trade in our neck of the woods is good for something, I guess! ;)

Love the hats!

Anonymous said...

You mean there are two of us that watch Cute with Chris? An angry shaved cat beats out fweinds any time!

knitnzu said...

Yeah, I'm finding the color shows through here and there...livin' and learnin'! Sadly I do not speak french though I have a VERY french name. My grandfather was born in Lewiston and his birth certif is in french. Me, raised in that neighboring state that we don't so much like...ahem. When I was in NY and PA, nobody "got" my name, here they not only can say it, many people know how to spell it, and I am frequently asked if I'm related to the St. H's of Winthrop. Answer? Probably. Espanol es la lengua segunda en mi casa (but I'm not so good at that either!)