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I guess the main reason I like the finer yarn is because of my arthritic thumbs. I find I can knit faster and longer with small needles and fine yarn. I think the movements are smaller and there is less weight on the needles. Another consideration is that you get a lot more knitting out of 500 grams of 4-ply or fingering weight than you do out of an Aran-weight yarn. I do like a nice Aran, though. The last was what I brought back from Inish Mor the last time we were hiking in Ireland. I love that cardi, and it was fun to make. --Peggy
You're right, Peggy, Whatever you knit should be practical at the same time. Both for the knitter as well as the garment. Aran sweaters are usually in thicker yarn, simply because they're originated from a colder climate. But there's no reason why they can't be done in thinner yarn, keeping in mind that most patterns will be in thicker yarns. On the other hand, it's usually easy enough to re-jig the pattern and re-calculate the stitches per inch / cm.
If you like, I'll have a look around for patterns in our 4-ply thickness, top to bottom.
Oh, what I forgot to ask, what is "steek"? I've never come across that term, but that's not surprising, seeing I'm talking / writing, knitting in a different language than my mother tongue, anyway :)
A steek is where you cut the knitting after it's done, such as for armholes or the front of a cardigan. With some yarns it's best to stabilize the sts with a line or two of sewing, either by machine or by hand. Some people crochet an edge around where they're going to cut before they actually cut into the knitting. I confess, I haven't done it yet, but it's on my list of things to learn for 2009! --Peggy
I would love to see the directions for a group knit along. Quite a number of years ago I found directions for a group to knit a sweater or blanket together. The skein of yarn traveled among the knitters. The knitters sat in a circle and could complete a sweater in a very short amount of time. I do not remember exactly what it was called, but of course, looked very interesting. I have lost the directions, but it would be great for groups or families of knitters to try. The toe up two at once socks idea is also great! The beginnig is the hardest, but once you get started it is so much fun. I have even started two socks from two different colors. Yes, I do have to do it again, but then AI have TWO new pairs of socks!
Renee
Have you seen the book "Knit Along" by Larissa Brown? It has several projects designed to be knit by multiple people. http://knitalong.net/
Three possible suggestions:

1. "Very Easy Circular Knits" by Betty Barnden... a step-by-step primer on circular knitting, workbook style; ten project sections, most with more than one pattern to work; great pictures throughout; a stitch library that could easily be worked as samplers to learn the patterns and techniques. Working through the book would help newer knitters with many techniques well demonstrated... or knitters new to circular knitting... would have an excellent opportunity to master all levels of circular knitting... teaches both circular needles and double points.

2. "Weekend Knitting" by Melanie Falick... although most projects probably couldn't be completed by most people in a single weekend, they are mostly smaller/quicker projects. Or a similar title of quicker, varied, projects.

3. (Possibly the best?) A KAL with the "One Skein Wonders" series [currently three titles]... small, quick, very varied, and many "giftable," projects... and a great way to try out a skein or two of a KP yarn you've been wanting to try but not commit a sweater to just yet. :-) Or use up left over yarns, for some projects.
~*~ Note: You DO have to pay attention to the yardage/gauge of the project... "one ball" means different things to different "balls"... but a hefty number of projects can be done with two balls or less.
(There are several other books like this series that could maybe be added later?)
I think a One Skein Wonders KAL is a good idea. The books from this series are probably the most popular books in my knitting group (and also my quilting minigroups!) :-} I gave the first one of the series, which I had spiral-bound at a copy place, to my DD and her niece, my 16-year-old GD. We each picked out some yarn to make a project from the book, so if they have issues, they can e-mail each other or me. My DD is doing her first felted project, and my GD is learning a new skill: YOs. I have finished my project from the book: David's Cap, which you can see on my page. It's on its way to Wisconsin as I write this, to keep David's head warm for the rest of the winter. I agree that you have to pay attention to the yardage for the project. Even with that, I ran out of yarn for David's cap because I made it slightly larger for his slightly larger head (he has a PhD), and because I make the border a tighter knit. It was a good thing he wanted some gray added as an accent. My GD needed three skeins of what she picked out for her scarf. The nice lady at the yarn shop helped us figure out the substitutions. --Peggy
Well this isn't for a new KAL, but I've just finally paid attention to the two Sheldon KALs. I tried to click on the link to see the kit but only get error messages, so I've looked all through the regular ordering sections to find the original Sheldon or any of his component parts and find nothing other than a blanket pattern with a pocket for Sheldon... is that the first and original Sheldon project? And, if so, where and how do I find the other stuff related to the KAL for the animal Sheldon's? Do I have to join the KAL to order the other stuff?

I would prefer to be able to order Sheldon and the animal patterns first, then join the KAL once it arrives. I'm thinking this project could be a great Holiday gift for my GD, as we choose to celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas... just cuz of all the commercialization of Christmas and the fact He wasn't born in December anyway... and I could give her one of the animal outfits each night for Sheldon. :-) There wouldn't be a full 8 count, but I could fill out the remaining with some gloves or a hat or whatever...
We've sold out of the other Sheldon kits. That's why we took them off of the website. However, the original Sheldon pattern is available for free at www.knitty.com.
Okay, thanks! I'll download that soon. I'm certain I have plenty enough fiber to create my own "kit" to make him. :-)
One, I feel a little ripped off: I wanted to join the Sheldon (original) Knitalong and it is now gone. [whine, sniff, sniff, snarfle]

As soon as we pick up mail today, my order is there with my yarn to make him so I was gonna join the knitalong... now I'll have to wait until I get to making his "personas".

I just had an idea. Rather than have the separate Knitalongs for his careers and critters, why not just have one big Sheldon Knitalong for him and all his personas?

~*~

The other thing... I know we've got lots of grandmas and moms and aunts and other interested parties that might enjoy knitting sweaters for the Build-a-Bears and other 18" dolls, and can be sized up or down for other size dolls/bears.

I have a book ordered from KP about knitting sweaters for these guys, "Knits for Bears to Wear." I would love to have a Knitalong with others... it would be quick projects and fun to share photos of the kids (and big kids) who are the recipients of the sweaters... and the outfits are REALLY cute! My daughter went nuts when I showed her I was going to order the book to make sweaters for GD's two BaB Monkeys.
Maybe we could make a knit along for knitted stuffed animals and outfits? I just saw a book for knitted outfits that American Girl dolls or similarly sized dolls could wear. I would have flipped out if that book existed when I was 10. I first learned to sew and crochet because I wanted to make outfits for my dolls. This could be fun stuff to give as gifts, or to encourage kids to learn crafts.

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