Posts Tagged ‘beads’

Catching Up

In spite of my best attempts to fail, I give you my completed February SCSC2011 contribution.
I did not get a single decent picture of the pair, so please forgive me.
Yarn- Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight – Colorway – Lucy in the Sky
Pattern: Leyburn
Needles: 2.75 (US2)
Modifications: Knit toe-up and was a bit willy-nilly with my stitch count. Knit for a Women’s Size 10. 2×2 twisted rib cuff.

Leyburn is the first pattern I have repeated because I liked it so much. It works very well on busy yarns and does a great job breaking up some of the STR’s tendency to pool. I would even knit it again, just not right now.

So, in news of the sad and broken, the Tuesday before Ymir, my top left wisdom tooth gave way. It has been useless for years, broken and slowly going away, and of course, it picked the night 3 days before I left for North Carolina to finally raise my “pain quotient” over my “fear quotient” for a dentist visit. I held on until last Tuesday to schedule my appointment, on Wednesday, received lots of antibiotics and the biggest percocets I have ever gotten (double the dosage from the ones I was given after abdominal surgery!), and on Friday, under a heavy dose of nitrous gas, said goodbye that wisdom tooth.

I have been in a Percocet haze ever since, until today. I think that fact makes it even more impressive that I managed to finish February’s socks.

So last Wednesday, since I was half way to Powhatan anyway, I decided to drive the extra 15 minutes from my dentist to Holly Spring Homespun and celebrate the fact that this particular dental disaster was not going to cost me $3K like the one last summer did.
Yes, I got more yarn for another Not Really Noro Scarf. Yes, I see the blue. Yes, I am aware it is an illness. To make up for yet more blue, and to try and cure my silk craving, I picked up:
Zitron Noblesse.
Feels amazing. I foresee a pair of fingerless mitts for my chronically cold hands.

Also in the realm of “not blue,” here is a picture of one of the gifts I received at my Pelican ceremony. Photobucket
This is a handmade glass medieval-style rosary made by my glass-working friend Christine.

Further, not blue, and also a gift at my Pelican Ceremony:
Black, silk and cashmere fingerless mitts made for me by Lady Cindel. This is the first hand knit gift I have been given since I was probably an infant, and they are divine.

And best of all, in the category of Not Blue:
My first Lenten Rose has bloomed.

Spring is just around the corner.


Tangled Up In…

So now I’m going back again
I got to get her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter’s wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t what they’re doing with their lives
But me I’m still on the road
Heading for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
Tangled up in Blue.

Bob Dylan
(Byram should probably stop reading now or that eye twitch he sometimes gets when I talk about potential new projects could become permanent.)

You know how you get an idea in your head sometimes and it grows and develops into something you can’t really control? You know how an idea can go from a passing thought to an obsession? Even when it is a bad idea and you know it to be? I’ve got one of those ideas. Not a new idea, just an obsessive thought that wants to manifest itself in the form of wool and lace.

It’s trouble and I know it to be so, because I’ve done it before.

This time, I am thinking…
Photo by KnitPicks!
And some of these…
Photo by Fire Mountain Gems

Why? Because…

  • I can.
  • I am a better knitter now. I could do a better job at it.
  • When I first planned to knit it, I wanted to do it in blue with green beads. I had a strange change of heart when I actually ordered the yarn.
  • I want it.
  • I can.
  • It was worthy of reknitting.
  • I want it.

I am cutting in photos of my February Lady Sweater so that you know I have picked up an abandoned project, and that my inherent blue illness has not passed yet. (I think Ishbel offered a reprieve, though.)

I can’t stop thinking about Shipwreck. I think it has something to do with Spring (and Startitis).

So, what would you do? Would you invite trouble to cure an obsessive thought? Would you try and direct that obsession into another pattern, and risk still being obsessed with the original when it’s over?

I am leaning towards giving in and knitting that monster all over again.

(Byram’s eye is twitching. I know because I know these things.)

Laid Low

Not much content here. I was laid low this week by a raging sinus and ear infection that went from being bad to out of control in 24 hours, in spite of the largest antibiotics I have ever been on, and an albuterol inhaler. I was too sick to even knit very much until last night. All I could do was read a fluffy historical fiction book, cover to cover. (The Heretic Queen, by Michelle Moran, in case you are looking for something fluffy and entertaining yourself some day. I recommend it, but you need to read Nerfertiti: A Novel first.)

After sleeping most of the day yesterday, I was able to stay up a little late and felt well enough to knit. Surprisingly, I had the mental energy to work on Ishbel.
I have chosen to add beads to make the Vine Lace pattern much more visible since the Kidsilk Haze does not really lend itself to stitch definition. Further, the beads will add some weight to what will otherwise be a featherweight scarf, and should help keep it from drifting in the slightest breeze.
Finally, I added beads because they are just darn pretty. I am doing section B now, and intend to keep it a small size, so A, B, A,C, D, E (for those Ishbel knitters out there who know what I am talking about). Any leftover Kidsilk Haze might contribute to an Ishbel Beret, but only if I have a good yarn to do it “held together” with. A hat would need a little more body than the Kidsilk alone can give.

I am still obsessively knitting my Faux-oro Scarf (I pronounce it ‘fore-o’.) I have a confession. I don’t like Noro yarns; they are too expensive, too itchy, too “artsy” (which is a polite way of saying they are full of vegetable matter), and sometimes, the colors are just too odd. But I like this yarn. It cost half the price of a ball of Noro. The colors are nice. The texture is good. The gauge can get a little thicky-thin, but it is only a slight change, and nothing dramatic. I don’t mind that it is mostly acrylic because that means I can gift it to the person I have in mind and say “Sure, throw it in the wash; just don’t throw it in the dryer!” and even if she does, it will probably be okay.
It is just now starting to shift from blues, purples, and pinks, to greens and blues.
I never expected to be quite so helpless in the face of a simple 1×1 ribbed scarf; I thought I would be bored, I thought the stripes would even bother me after a while. No. I keep working on it, fantasizing about going back to Holly Springs and getting two more balls for another scarf.

But wouldn’t you?

I Am Not Impressed

For having only worked two days this week, it certainly has been a long week. I got to enjoy a couple of vacation days in the middle of the week to spend with Grace because my mother needed the week off, so those were quite pleasant days. Now I am back at work and trying to catch up on emails, work, and blogging.

Now, staying home and watching Grace is not really conducive to knitting time, but I took my chances when I could and managed to make some headway on Miralda.
You will notice that I have switched to straight needles, which I generally prefer. I enjoyed getting to sit outside with Miralda and knit in the very nice, very autumn-like weather we have been having. I sat on the back deck while Grace played in the yard.
I think September is becoming my favorite month. It is warmer and more summer like than October, cooler without being chilly, and the world is still green. In fact, here is what came in from the garden on Wednesday.
That is a Purple Wonder sweet pepper and it went very nicely with my lunch of liver and onions. The cucumber became a transportation device for roasted garlic hummus. Yum.

Earlier this week, I played with power tools and wood stain. We have a couple of old benches we use for the SCA, and they were in pretty awful shape. I volunteered to refinish the benches, but I have only gotten one done so far. It does allow you to see a contrast of before and after, though.
I hope it is obvious that the bench at the top is the refinished bench.
It is nice to see how far an orbital sander, heavy grit paper, and some new stain applied with more care can go on these worn out old benches. I am very pleased with the initial effort and hope to get the second bench sanded and stained on Sunday. Then next week, they can get a protective clear coat and be ready to go for our next camping event in about 3 weeks.

Tomorrow, we are driving to North Carolina (second weekend in a row of this) to go to a family reunion. The embarrassing part is I don’t even know which side of the family we are ‘reunioning’ with, but it’s okay. Grace will get to meet some extended family and I will get to see more of Byram’s relatives that I have never met. However, in preparation for several hours spent riding in the back of the van, I need a knitting project that does not involve nupps or beads. Or, if I can get through the last 10 or so rows of this shawl that involve nupps and beads tonight, then it can go with me. So the question tonight is do I cast on a new sock project or do I spend my whole evening getting through the remnants of the Miralda diamond chart, and that way tomorrow is mostly garter rows, some gathered stitches, and then onto the body of the shawl which is just the same 3 stitch pattern repeated a several thousand times? At that point, I will barely even need to refer to the charts at all.

Part of me is feeling a sock coming on. I have that Felici self-striping yarn that looks most excellent when just knit plain. I want to recover that yarn after the epic Jaywalker sock failure from back in June. I also want to knit the Leyburn socks for my Grandma for Christmas.

The other part of me is exceedingly wedded to finishing off Miralda. I am not usually so monogamous to any one knitting project. See the poor Beer socks, my single Ruba’iyat mitten, the Sienna Cardigan, or even most recently, the Peacock and Leaves scarf. Those are all projects I fully intend to complete, but just haven’t yet, and feel no heartache that another project jumped ahead in the line. But when I started the Pennsic shawl last month, I was all in, totally committed, and ready to go the distance without knitting a single stitch on a single other project; a task which I successfully achieved. Apparently, project monogamy has not worn off me yet.

Since I mentioned the Sienna Cardigan, I should mention that I am getting the itch to get back to work on it. I left off at the shoulder cap of the first sleeve. Once I finish that, I can do the second sleeve, and then go after the button band and collar, and then it will be time to sew it up. It is really not that far from being finished, except that I lost one of the needles. Really. I cannot find that 10″ 5.5 mm cobalt blue needle anywhere in the house. It just blows my mind. Maybe I will just start picking up the stitches to knit the collar and button bands with my 5.5mm circular. At least I would be making progress while I hunt down (or replace) the missing needle.

The weather is turning cooler and it is getting easier to turn my thoughts away from lace and more towards warm, solid knits. That’s really why I want to get Miralda finished and blocked. I am afraid I will lose the lace bug before I get this last shawl finished.

I think that just writing this out has helped me figure out exactly what I am going to do with any knitting time I have tonight. It’s time to finish that Diamond chart.

Now I just have to relocate the beads and crochet hook I have misplaced in the past 48 hours.

One final note. The NFL kicked off its 2011 season last night. I am a Minnesota Vikings fan, so be prepared for some lamentations as I suspect this is going to be a pretty painful year for my team. The picture below and the look on my face pretty much sums up my feelings about Opening Night.
That look says “I am not impressed.”

The Test Block and a Tutorial

Since there is no knitting time up front anymore, and I cannot do any regular work, this is a good time to blog.

So, first, the River City is hot. No, more like HAWT. At 11:04 a.m., as I am typing, it is 95 degrees, with a heat index of 102. Needless to say, even though today is technically my next scheduled run, it is not happening today. I will start week 6 tomorrow evening during the cold snap (mid-90s tomorrow) at the local park, where I can run after 5pm and in the shade. It is miserable outside, which makes it a perfect day to stay inside during lunch and knit.

So, one of the things I love about lace is that it is that until it is blocked, it really is a little bit of a mystery as to how it will turn out. You can stretch it, pull it, and hold it open to see the design, but really, until it takes it’s lukewarm bath and is pinned within an inch of its life, it is a mystery.

I love this mystery and I love the surprise ending (Surprise! That shapeless and lumpy thing is actually beautiful!). However, there are times when the shapeless and lumpy thing you are knitting is SO mysterious that you wonder if it is possible for it to really turn out.

This honestly looked like a complete wreck to me.
This is the Peacock and Leaves scarf a week ago. Its colors were beautiful and it was fun as anything to knit, but look at it. No matter how much I stretched, pulled, or squinted, I just couldn’t see it turning out very well. Not all yarns work great with all patterns. Some lace should only be done in a light colored yarn. I was growing more and more concerned as I went along, so I decided to “skip ahead” to the end. I did a test block to make sure that this wasn’t a disaster in the making.
That is without a flash so the colors are truer.
Now with flash. The colors are brighter than in reality, but you can see the pattern better. The top inch is new knitting since the test block, and therefore looks like nothing.
That is it in the tiny bit of natural light I could score here at work. Nice, eh? That is pretty close to its actual color too. The beads show up quite nicely in the picture too.

I wish I could say I planned the yarn to make that nice color progression because then I would look like a genius. However, I am simply not that smart nor talented enough with the spinning wheel, just very, very lucky, and also deeply concerned that the large ball I have waiting at home will not continue this nice progression. It does not have to match or repeat; I just want the color to shift throughout the scarf like it has already done. We will see. I am prepared for the heartbreak to come if it does not. I am about a third of the way through the scarf.

Since my post about nupps and beads, I have gotten several hits from people looking for instructions on how to replace nupps with beads. Here is a pictorial demonstration. You will need the beads of your choice and a very tiny stainless steel crochet hook. Mine is 1mm or a 12 in US sizes. (I prefer millimeters because a millimeter is a millimeter, where a 12 can mean just about anything.)

Slide your bead onto the crochet hook and set it aside.
When you come to the point on your chart where you are supposed to increase a single stitch into 3/5/7/however many stitches, ignore that, and simply knit that stitch, and go no farther. Very carefully, without jerking the knitting around, slide that stitch off the right hand needle, and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger in your left hand so the stitch cannot be dropped. Take the crochet hook in your right hand and hook the pinched stitch and carefully slide the bead down the shank of the hook, and very gently pull the loop through the bead.
Then, gently, slide the beaded stitch back onto the right hand needle. You will need to give this particular stitch a little more yarn than usual.
Once it is back on the needle, continue to knit as directed. On the reverse side, purl the beaded stitch as you would any other stitch, ignoring the directions to purl the 3/5/7/etc. stitches together. Just remember that stitch will be a bit tight, so approach it carefully.

This is not nearly as tricky a maneuver as it sounds. The real trick is not dropping the beaded stitch or accidently sliding any of the other stitches off the needles while you are working. Still pictures are not the best demonstration of this method, so you could search YouTube for a video demonstration. I cannot access it at work to find an appropriate video.

Special note about beading your knitting. The crochet hook beading method DOES NOT work on yarn overs. If you want beads to hang between your yarn overs (like in the Shipwreck Shawl), you have to thread your beads directly onto your yarn before knitting it.

Also, you will want to go back over your beaded stitches later and slide the beads up the loop. When you purl the beaded stitch, in order to have room to work the needle into the stitch, you will force the bead down the loop as your purl, and that can make the beaded stitch look a little sloppy and loose since you did have to give it a little more yarn. Simply sliding the bead back up the loop will hide that “looseness”

So, I hope this helps those people who came looking for directions on how to replace a nupp with a bead. Happy beading!

A Hostage Situation

I love my new Boot socks. Still not caring that they are not the same colorway (or dyelot, or something).

I am in absolute love with the Peacock and Leaves scarf. I wasn’t feeling especially spectacular last night so I turned the Pookie over to Daddy to put in bed and put myself in bed with my handspun and my charts and went to work. I knit quite slowly while lying down, but slow knitting is better than no knitting. I completed the Peacock edging chart, put in the garter rows, and added the eyelet row, and went to work on the Peacock center chart.

There are nupps (pronounced ‘newps’ and rhymes with loops) on one row in the center chart. I had originally planned to knit those nupps as designed because of their traditional nature. According to Nancy Bush, Estonian knitters charged for their shawls by weight. Well, a fine lace shawl doesn’t weigh all that much, but if you add nupps, you add weight, without changing the dimension of the shawl. Plus, since nupps cannot be replicated by a knitting machine, nupps offer proof that a shawl is genuinely handknit, not machine knit.

What is a nupp? Take a single stitch, increase it 3/5/7/9 times. On the purl side, purl those 3/5/7/9 stitches together, and you are left with a elegant looking bobble of yarn. You can find some great images of Estonian lace and nupps here.

Nupps are not tricky to create, it’s just that purling all of those stitches together on the backside can be a smallish challenge, depending on how many stitches you are knitting together.

So, my plan had been to approach this scarf and put in the traditional nupps. If you chose to leave them out, you can. Just ignore the symbol on the chart and keep going; nothing is affected. Or you could chose, as I did with my Swallowtail Shawl, to replace those nupps with beads. You get a nice effect that way. See my Lily of the Valley section of Swallowtail. Each bead could have been a nupp. My mom loves beading and I thought she would appreciate the beads instead of yarny bumps.
Whatever you choose, it is no harm no foul. No one will call the knitting police on you.

So back to Peacock and Leaves. My plan had been to go with the 7 stitch nupps as called for by the pattern, but since I am not totally sure I have enough yarn to even complete the pattern as designed, I decided to go the less yarn-consumptive route and place beads instead of nupps. As dark as the yarn is, I figure the nupps will be lost anyway, so since I have some beads that look nice, that would be my route.

So I reached into my knitting utensil drawer (doesn’t everyone have a drawer for knitting tools?) to grab my teeny-tiny little crochet hook to place my beads with. It is not in there. I look again. And again, as if a stainless steel needle is suddenly going to become visible in a drawer full of wooden and brightly painted aluminum DPNs. When was the last time I used it? First, I thought it was when I finished Swallowtail, but then I remembered the disastrous run on the shawl that never will be.
That’s the Faroese shawl from A Gathering of Lace that I got about 6 inches into and suddenly fell seriously out of love with.

Look, in that picture is even my beading crochet hook.

That shawl went into a plastic bag with the needles, beads, hook, and pattern. It sat on my kitchen table for weeks. WEEKS. And now it is. . . lost in the twilight zone as best as I can tell. I really couldn’t care about the lost shawl. I would at some point like my yarn and 3mm circular needle back, but the shawl itself is a lost cause. What I REALLY want back in my crochet hook. I cannot go a step further in my scarf without that hook, and I am losing my mind not being able to work some more on it.

I have a sneaking suspicion it is being held hostage by one who wants his beer socks completed.

The 11 Months Ahead

I am an official snow hater. I can handle one big snow every few years, but we have had three significant (6″ or more) snows in the past 11 months, there is a threat of sleet this morning, and another looming storm that could bring another 6-10″ of snow to Richmond this weekend. I did NOT move to New England overnight, so what the heck?
Photobucket Photobucket

Shall we blame El Niño? Or Punxsutawney Phil? That little marmot bastard saw his shadow this morning. I think it’s time for old Phil to take the “long walk” and with 6 more weeks of winter predicted, I would be happy to do the dispatching.

I kid. Mostly.

I returned to work yesterday after missing only 12 business days post-op. Life actually feels better now that I am back to work. I did not accomplish much knitting during my break. The beer socks are back on the needles and my husband will be happier for that. I started a scarf before going into the hospital and did knit a bit on it at the hospital, but I learned quickly that a stitch pattern that works fine while on morphine might burn a hole into my brain once unmedicated. I ripped it and started over with that lovely yarn on the Impressionist Cowl (It’s a Rav link for all my Ravelers). It is turning out positively lovely, and as soon as I get my hands back on the camera, I will show you just how lovely.

I also started the “Sienna Sweater” that was a free pattern from Interweave Press/Knitting Daily. My first sweater. I am taking my time with it because I have other projects going on, and because I have sized it “Large” instead of my customary 2X. You see, this sweater is the personification of the hope I have for my changing body. I really do live in joyful hope.

So, I lost the entire month of January really. I feel like with my return to work, I am finally starting my new year, and with my new year, I have been thinking about what I want to knit. It is already February! Time to think about Christmas knitting, you know?

I kid. Mostly.

So right now, I am knitting Beer Socks, the Sienna Sweater, the Impressionist Cowl, the Laminaria Shawl, and a couple of other random, unlikely to ever be finished scarves. That is a LOT of knitting and none of it is a real rush except Byram’s beer socks and really, the cowl should be done before Spring arrives.

I placed a Knit Picks order in early January for yarn to knit a few more pairs of socks and some fingering weight yarn for a shawl.

I want to knit “Jaywalker” socks from my Felici sock yarn in colorway Marsh. I think those bold stripes will look excellent as Jaywalkers.

I will knit a pair of plain-ish, probably 2×1 ribbed, mens socks for Byram out of the Stroll sock yarn I got for him in colorway Merlot.

I plan to knit Haruni (Rav link!) relatively soon. I picked up 2 balls of Knit Picks Palette in Iris Heather for that shawl. A soft purplish-gray, neutral shawl will be lovely to have for Easter, I think. It should be a quick knit too.

After that, things open up. I am getting in the mood to do another big shawl. I am thinking circular instead of triangular too, since I have done several triangular shawls in the past several months, especially if I finish Laminaria and Haruni.

I have wanted to tackle one of MMario’s (from Ravelry) lace shawls. I like the Spanish Armada shawl, and being square, it would be a totally new kind of knit for me. However, I am very tempted by the Snowflake Peacock shawl; very pretty, but I am losing interest in knitting anything that invokes snow at this moment. I might settle on his Queen of Heaven shawl. I love the name and I could see that in a pretty, true blue.

I need to start considering Christmas, in all seriousness. I have family to knit for and I think they are coming to enjoy getting hand knits for Christmas. Socks will likely abound this year. Everyone seems to like their socks who got some this year. The men of the family will pretty much only be getting socks, but maybe they can each get two pairs this year.

Maybe I could work up a couple of intricate cotton doilies for my Grandmother who likes those kinds of things.

Maybe I will knit my sister-in-law some kind of hippy-dippy tote or shopping bag. I think that would please her.

I have some leftover yarn and beads from the Shipwreck shawl and I have a plan to knit a pretty, beaded, faggot lace scarf, just as simple as a border, and YO K2Tog throughout, with the beads floating randomly on the YOs. The beading would help keep my interest. I think my mom would get that as it would be reminiscent of the Shipwreck shawl, which I gathered she wanted very much.

Either way, I am looking forward to a year of knitting. What is on your list to knit this year?