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.