Monday, February 19, 2007

Knitting in shifts

Day Shift

Been working hard on the Syrian Shawl from VLT. I'd thought about making it larger, but decided to stick with the original body size and add some inches by putting a wider edging on it. Ms. Sowerby has some alternative edgings for a few of the designs in her book on page 183. I think I'm repeating myself here, but bear with me. The original edge looked a bit puny on the syrian in the dark dramatic Kidsilk Night I'm using. The wide point lace edging is another story. Very dramatic on this shawl. Take a look. This edging is sooo worth the extra effort involved. I love, love, love it. This is going to take a month of Sundays to do since I only knit on this thing during the daylight hours. The yarn is just too dark and fuzzy to see well by lamplight at night.
I had been having trouble with my needles not being sharp enough, but switched to Knitpicks and this helped tremendously. Then while knitting the edging on....same problem. My bamboo double-pointed needle was just not sharp enough. Solution: get out an emery file, sharpen that puppy up on both ends and put clear nail polish on it. Voila'. Works like a charm.

Night Shift

Well, I needed a night time knit, now didn't I? When in Dallas last weekend, I found some lovely Louet Kidlin Pixie at the Shabby Sheep on Boll Street. (She has lots of very cool stuff. When in the neighborhood, drop in to see. (No connection....just a very happy customer.) My Kidlin is the Colorado Spruce color which shows it's true beauty in the daylight with very subtle color nuances that you don't see at night. It is much easier to knit with at night however. I chose the Scarf with Number 20 Edging guessed it.....VLT. It's a fast and easy knit so far. The Kidlin is a pleasure to work with.

I'm seriously thinking about doing something in the middle section to make the scarf a tad wider which will put it more into the shawl category. I'll either knit more rows of the middle motif or substitute something else. Jury is still out on that. Any ideas? Thoughts?

Knit on,

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On To The Next Thing

Victorian Lace Today is my all time favorite knitting book ever. I might as well just start knitting the beautiful shawls and scarves from the beginning and work my way through. But, that's just too structured for me. It's fun to contemplate what's next....which pattern?...which yarn?...

Of course, all this contemplation and study is taking place while knitting the current project. I've decided that being the slow-ish knitter that I am, being monagamous to each project will see finished results "quicker". But, anticipation being what it is, planning the next one while knitting this one is just plain fun. Also, provides plenty of opportunities to change one's mind about everything.

Currently, I have on the needles the Shoulder Shawl in Syrian Pattern on page 130 in VLT. (I wish she'd named the things with more.....panache....but that's just my little rant.) Instead of the pale powder blue, I'm using Rowan's Kidsilk Night in color 614, which they call MacBeth. Perfect name for this color, by the way. Very, very dark moody purple, with a tiny bit of shiny spun into it.

I'm on row 135 as of this morning. The pattern is totally simple which leaves the yarn to do the performing in this piece. The stated size as the pattern is written is 36 inches from top to tip and 57 inch "wingspan". Not a huge shawl, so I'll probably just keep knitting until it's closer to what I want....maybe an extra several inches...unblocked measurement. With the increase in size, the given edging might be a bit puny by comparison.

On page 183, Ms. Sowerby suggests some alternative edgings to a few of her designs. There is a wide point lace edging for this shawl, so that's probably what I'll do for proportion's sake. It'll also add some drama to an already dark and elegant shawl.

I'm still wrestling with the Inox cable on my needles. My new Knitpicks needles are due to be delivered tomorrow, thank goodness. Here's good news....Skacel will be coming out with a new line of lace needles. Yippee!!! No idea when this will happen, but it won't be too soon.

Knit On

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Long Time Gone

I haven't forgotten or given up on this blog. Life has dealt some nasty surprises and priorities had to be observed. I won't dwell, but will explain. It began with the diagnosis of my mother's terminal liver cancer. She lived 20 short days after this terrible announcement. My beloved mother is gone and I can still scarcely believe it. Then, 40 days later, my father had a massive heart attack and passed away 4 days after that. Medical people say that this happens frequently with elderly couples, but that's scant consolation when it's your parents who have gone in a short span of time. No time to grieve for one properly before you're planning the funeral for the other. Thank God for my five siblings. Together, we're learning to live in a world without our parents. If there can ever be a silver lining to a dark cloud like this, it's this: We're closer than we've been for many years and are learning what we're made of..

Knitting as Therapy

My knitting has served as a cheaper form of therapy than a psychiatrist. Heck, maybe I have gone bonkers and don't know it, but I did finish the most beautiful thing I've ever made. The Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby has been my obsession and consolation. Without further ado:

Pre-blocking photo....the stash basket is only a hint of the total. Nuff said about that!

After blocking...first image.

Second image....after blocking.
Yarn: Louet Kidlin Pixie (Kid mohair, linen, nylon)
Color: Grasshopper
Needle: Inox size 7
Time to complete: One month

I am a slow knitter so the time to completion is easily bested by faster, more dedicated knitters, I'm sure. The pattern is easily memorized and goes fairly quickly once you've done that. The knitted on edging was a new thing for me, but again, it was easily put to memory and flew right along, even by my slow standards. I did find a better explanation on how to do the knitted on edging in Traditional Knitted Lace shawls by Martha Waterman.

I would change one thing. The needles. Inox are pointy all right, but those cables wanted to kink right back up even after the hot water treatment and the hair dryer trick. The yarn is not particularly slippery, so Knitpicks needles would have been better....if I'd had them. You can bet they're the next purchase to be made.

My current project is the Shoulder Shawl in Syrian pattern on page 130 of VLT. I'm using Rowan's Kidsilk Night in the Macbeth color. That's a deep, eggplanty purple with a bit of shiny spun into it. I'm really knitting this one slowly so I won't have to frog anything. Kidsilk is a non-froggable yarn. Ask me how I know that.

It's good to be back. There will be more photos and updates. I haven't fogotten the Victoria Shawl in the curry Zephyr.


Sunday, December 3, 2006

Wading through the Frog Pond

Remember the Swallowtail Shawl from a previous post? Well, here's how that turned out:

Yesssss, boys and girls, I frogged the whole damn thing. Have you ever been knitting along and suddenly you realize that this is the wrong yarn for the wrong project? But you kept on knitting? To make matters worse, I had a feeling that something was not quite right. Oh, yes, indeedy. It was quite wrong. But I kept on knitting. All the motifs had shifted over one whole repeat. How the hell did that happen, huh? Was the knitting fairy godmother trying to tell me something all along and I was deaf to her entreaties to STOP KNITTING RIGHT NOW!!!!! THIS IS NOT WORKING!!!!!!!!! But, nooooooooo.....I kept on tinking and knitting and tinking and knitting. Dogged determination is what I was calling it. Yesireee. I don't give up easily. Nope, not me.

Only a moment, a split second, of clarity came to me just in time to stop the nonsense. (Or maybe it was the sun glaring on the snow....) Whatever. I hooked that baby up to my ball winder and cranked away. Goodbye Swallowtail Shawl in Morehouse Merino.

Hello Victoria Shawl in Jaggerspun Zephyr. (From Victorian Lace Today) This time, I'll listen to my knitting fairy godmother.

Knit on

Friday, December 1, 2006

Wintry Blast

The storm has been through and wrought its havoc. Now we dig out and deal with it. Life goes on. It's a good day to stay in and knit or dream about future projects....and make chili. The sounds of the neighborhood kids laughing and shouting while they sled is nice background noise.

My second lace project (Swallowtail Shawl) is moving along, albeit slowly. I apparently have trouble counting past three because in this very simple pattern there has been a fair amount of tinking. That'll teach me to knit and count while watching television. Usually, this isn't a problem, but it seems that senior moments will strike without warning and.....blotto!....there goes the pattern all out of whack. I vow that from this moment forward, I will pay closer attention to the knitting because I absolutely HATE tinking laceweight yarn. Okay, sure, that'll work, I'm sure.

My first order from Sarah's Yarns came the other day. I've never worked with Jaggerspun Zephyr and the word is that it's one of the best lace yarns out there. Word on Sarah is that she's also the best. I ordered some Zephyr in Indigo and also in Curry. This stuff is drop dead gorgeous. Sarah is truly the best as rumour had it. She's amazingly fast in fulfilling orders and sends a great selection of color cards with a first time order. I highly recommend her for both excellent customer service and the best prices I've seen on Zephyr. (No connection...just a very satisfied customer.)

Both of these yarns are destined to be "Victorian Lace Today" projects. Just which ones is yet to be decided. I'm so bowled over by Zephyr that I ordered more from Sarah in the color Steel. I ordered enough to make a large shawl. The planning and anticipation is part of the fun, isn't it?

I also have some Alpaca Cloud on order from Knit Picks. I ordered the Midnight color. This is also on the project list from VLT.

That's all from this lace maniac.
Knit on

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Here I go again

Looks like this blogging thing might just take off.

Knitting going on around this house. I just finished a self-designed scarf for a nephew in return for a huge favor he did our family recently. He's a wonderful young man and deserves the "kick ass scarf" that I promised him. Hope this one qualifies as "kick ass".
Robb's Scarf

It's a reversible cable and rib pattern. Very simple to do, actually. I used Cascade 220 in black and grey tweed yarns. Needle size #8's.
Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches. (48 in this scarf - 32 in black and 16 in tweed. You can decide how wide, just remember to use a 4 stitch multiple.)
Knit in k2 p2 rib for 4 rows beginning with tweed side, twisting the two colors of yarn around each other once as in intarsia knitting.
On 5th row, slip first 8 tweed stitches onto a cable needle and hold in back, k2 p2 next 8 tweed stitches from left needle, then k2 p2 8 tweed stitches from cable needle. Twist black and tweed yarns around each other once (intarsia style) and continue with black in k2 p2.
Continue in ribbing, twisting the yarns at each color change and cabling every 10 rows or so. You decide how tight or loose you want the cables to be.
Bind off in ribbing when the scarf is long enough, you're bored out of your skull, or run out of yarn.
If you don't want to fiddle with the color changes, use a single color. It flies along very quickly.
Swallowtail Shawl Progress

I've begun my second lace shawl. Since the Shetland Triangle was such a pleasure to knit, I decided to go with another Evelyn Clark design in the Swallowtail from Interweave Knits Fall '06 issue. These are wonderful learning to knit lace projects. They aren't huge, are easily memorized, and give a lot of design bang for your knitting buck. So to speak. Ask me if I feel the same after working some nupps. We'll see.

Yarn: Morehouse Merino laceweight in a heathery lichen green.
Needles: Inox size # 5
I plan to knit this a bit larger by knitting 19 repeats instead of 14 in the main body of the shawl. I think I read somewhere that the math works out correctly this way. If anyone knows different, please let me know.
Next up is something from Victorian Lace Today. My new favorite book. I have some Zephyr calling out to me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A New Beginning

Here goes. My first blog. Bear with me....this is a new experience. I'll try very hard not to be lame or redundant. No promises, though.


This is a knitting blog with a bit of photography thrown in. I do both with varying degrees of success.

I'll start off with my first lace knitting project. I recently completed The Shetland Triangle from Interweave Press's Wrap Style book. I used fingering weight sock yarn from Crafty in A Good Way. The colorway was Garnet and is a gorgeous, rich red with dark claret. This is lovely yarn.

For a first lace project, this was ideal. The pattern is easily memorized, so makes for a good take along project. It's also easily resized, which I did, in order to make a larger shawl.

Without further ado:

A closer view:

My next project is another Evelyn Clark design...Swallowtail Shawl. I'm using Morehouse Merino lace weight in a heathery lichen green color. I just cast on and worked a few rows to see how it would progress. I started with Knit Picks needles, but changed to Inox. Have to say, for this yarn, I prefer the Inox for the better grip. Wish they had the pointy-ness of the Knit Picks, though.
Okay. That's it for now.