Sunday, January 27, 2008

In praise of the knit blog

This is a post in praise of the knit blog. Its inspired by the 'You Make My Day' award which has been doing the rounds, and Veronique and Emma both presented me with tags for. But I'll start with an FO post - its been waiting to be blogged for a while, and is (kind of) on topic.

gothic spire socks with brown shoes

I only made one of these. As part of a 'single sock swap', Kate (of Zeitgeist) did half the work. Plus she chose the pattern and complementing yarn, which is, after-all, a big part of any decent FO. I'd made this sock for Heather (ADD Knitter), and sent it to her with enough yarn and the pattern to make its pair; Kate did similar for me. Isn't that the best idea for a swap, possibly ever?

Needles: 2mm & 2.5mm knit-picks circs.
Pattern: Gothic Spire, by Cookie A.
Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering Weight
Shoes: Doc Martin's Mary-Janes, purchased in the winter sales.
Ravelled: here.

I loved knitting this. Not just because of Cookie’s pattern, or the soft and gleaming yarn, but also the Kate's notes on how to accurately replicate her first sock. I always feel knitting from a pattern (as opposed to designing your own) is an insight into another knitter’s approach. I often learn techniques from following patterns. This time, I had the added bonus of an insight into how the pattern was read by another knitter.

gothic spire socks done (worn)

So, the 'You Make My Day' awards. Rules: Give the award to 10 people whose blogs make you feel happy about blogland, then let them know so they can pass it on. It was so hard! I limited myself to knitter-bloggers, but still my first draft was about thirty. But here are the final ten, and why, in alphabetical order.

1) A Mingled Yarn. Elizabeth churns out sweaters at the most amazing speed. She thinks about them too; chooses good patterns and pairs them with appropriate mods to produce perfect FOs. She is also a big inspriation on me to sew and I enjoy her more literary posts. A well thought out, well organised and often inspiring blog.

2) Dogged. Funny, observant and thoughtful posts. Gorgeous photographs, with an amazing warmth to them. I really like the ways she reflects not only on knitting, but knit bloggers and their trends. Plus I enjoy drooling over her quilting skills.

3) HelloYarn. In one word, inspiring. Gorgeous shots of knitting and yarn, produced with a great sense of colour, immense skill, an obvious delight in a knitting challenge and a beautifully subversive style. Fair-isle insects, you can't get much cooler than that. Adrian is also one of the most knowledgeable knitters blogging, and one of the many that inspire me to challenge myself to try new techniques.

4) Knitting Philistine. Megan's another one with incredible, fiberlicious, camera-skills. She has a great eye for choosing patterns and yarn, and writes with a lovely breezy style. She's also one of the (many) grad-school knit-bloggers I read. I especially enjoy the enthusiasm she puts into her knitting, photography and blog. It's enthusiasm with a good dose of sardonic humour, but that's my favourite flavour. A real celebration of knitting, without getting 'too twee with the squee'.

5) Needled. Kate composes relatively long posts, but beautifully crafted ones, on a range of design and material culture issues. Funny, extraordinarily skilled, and most of all intelligent. Always worth the read.

6) Practical Polly. Perhaps its crazy to include the blog of someone you share a flat with. Kirsty often says she doesn't bother reading my blog because she assumes I'd tell her anything noteworthy. I read Practical Polly though *screws up face and blows raspberry at rude friend*. I enjoy seeing what aspects of her life she'll choose to blog about. Also, Kirsty has a large part of her knitting life based in Oxford, so it happens outside of our shared space. And through this I have an odd, virtual connection with her knit group, the Bluestockings. I read a load of their blogs too, so I'm going to cheat and add them along with Kirsty.

7) Quelle Erqsome. I read this in a completely different way from (for example) Needled, as Emma's blogging style is more about providing frequent, intense hits of her irreverent humour, great photos, forthright views and superb links. Plus, I like that she's a Londoner academic, even if I fail to go to any local knitting groups and so haven't met her in person. A speedy, punchy blog, but not a frivolous one; it can stay with you for a while afterwards.

8) Specs. Funny, thoughtful, self-deprecating and honest posts, lovely knitting and nice photos. What more could you wish for in a knit-blogger? I first started reading Sarah's blog when she commented here while knitting one of my patterns. It's one of the nicest ways I've 'met' knit-bloggers, and my blogroll is full of such links.

9) Tres Chic, Veronique. Great FOs, clear technical skills, pretty photos and an obvious enjoyment of knitter's maths. Plus, she's another knitter who inspires me to sew. I 'met' Veronique through a run of secret pal, and been a fan of her blog ever since. When I was briefly in New York this winter I even managed to meet her in person. I had assumed she'd have a French accent - not the case at all - I bet there are loads of other bits and pieces I've accidentally 'coloured in' about the lives of the bloggers I read. As with Kirsty and the bluestockings, I'm going to cheat again and include the rest of the Spiders with her, as I'm an avid reader of nearly all their blogs too. It was really nice to meet Gleek (and the Peanut!) in NYC too.

10) Ysolda. I don't know how she finds the time for so much knitting, designing and other domestic gubbins, but its all oodles of fun to read about. She writes well and the photos always look so very good. Plus I like that she's in Edinburgh, it reminds me of my Scottish roots. A classy blog from a clever and creative young woman.


Stacey said...

those are so that pattern. the swap was the best idea ever. it better happen again!

thanks for the links - love finding new blogs!

Jesse said...

Thanks for all those links!

Taj said...

I love the socks! and what a good idea doing that sort of swap... I always get bored doing the second sock of a pair.

Thankyou for the links too... more blogs to read lol

Veronique said...

Wow, your socks are so intricate! Not that you wouldn't be able to make 2 of them, but are you secretly relieved that you only had to make one?
And now I have to go check out those blog links! I know most of them, but there's a few new ones for me :)

wazz said...

TA! I am flattered to be included. Kate (from needled)

Ashley said...

Oh, Alice--thank you so much--that totally makes MY day!

As do those socks. Gorgeous. And I love that about the swap too--knitting through someone else's eyes. Lovely.

melissa said...

i admired the first sock after kate finished it. so pretty! looks like you've made the perfect mate.

i love these lists. so many contain a few favorites, and a few to add to my bloglines.

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

That blue is just a killer!

whitney said...

Those are such gorgeous socks, both the pattern *and* the color! I really loved the single sock swap, it was a brilliant idea!

Anonymous said...

you're on my "you make my day" list! thanks for your encouragement with brompton!

Ramona said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love all these new links to look at on everyone's blogs!

knittingphilistine said...

Just thought you should know that you make my day, too! Visit my blog to find out why.

schrodinger said...

Love that pattern!

contactos madrid said...

Oh my god, there's a lot of effective material in this post!