Posts Tagged ‘lace’

A Week Or So In Stitches

I have had precious little to say, or rather, precious little to say that anyone is lining up to hear. Cheyenne left us on Saturday, October 8th. I had the following week off so my Mom was able to stay in Suffolk and grieve in private. I was able to stay home and do the same.

I worked through it in yarn mostly (and some beer, I don’t deny it), and I talked about memories of her as a puppy and found old photos of her playing with me in the big snowstorm of 2000. I am mostly better now. No more crying jags. I still catch myself turning in the computer chair to look behind me where her bed used to be to check on her. I was looking for the gate to the backyard to be closed when we pulled in the driveway after work yesterday. I keep catching myself thinking “I wonder if I need to let Cheyenne out” from time to time.

Time, prayer, and knitting can do a lot for one’s soul.
I started with Arroyo.
Yarn: KnitPicks Chroma (New England colorway) (one ball and I had some leftover)
Needles: 5mm (US8)
No modifications. This knit up very fast and I loved the short row shaping. I especially love how the colors turned out. However, that said, I had real problems with that Chroma ball. 4 rows into the scarf, the yarn was broken. Not knotted, completely broken. Then there were 3 more places in the ball where the yarn had been knotted to a new yarn, and they didn’t even try to keep the colors together. Fortunately, the abrupt shifts in color were less noticeable in the finished product than I feared they would be. The colors were fabulous, but I gave the yarn only 2 stars on Ravelry because of the issues I had with this ball.
It was a very quick knit, but I was highly focused on it as well. Cast on on Friday morning and cast off Sunday night.

After that, still being hung up on half-moon scarflettes, I immediately cast on Annis.
(Check out my model! She had been playing dress up just before.) Sadly, I have no decent pictures yet. I only have photos from blocking, and it was shockingly difficult to get any light on the shawl.
I blocked it on my yoga mats over a thick carpet. That worked okay, but I really need to look into getting some of those interlocking foam floor pads like they use in kids’ playrooms.
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace (Lettuce colorway) (also did not use the whole ball)
Needles: 6mm (cast on only) and 5mm
The only modification was I used the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off since that had worked so well on Arroyo, but I think now I sort of regret it. I think a less stretchy bind off might have allowed for more curve. Or it might not have. It was very difficult to block it in the shape I wanted. I think I would be more in love with it except that it rolls up really badly. The curl did not block out. Stockinette is known for its tendency to curl and one of the things I loved about Arroyo was the garter stitch body, which patently does not curl. I almost modified the body of Annis with garter instead of stockinette stitch, but I thought it would look more elegant in stockinette.

It does, but curling is definitely not elegant. It is still very pretty, very light weight, and the yarn developed a nice halo that compliments the pattern nicely.
I hope to get some pretty, natural light photos soon.

I am pretty much half-moon scarfed out for a while. I was going to knit this third one for me (note, the blog is mostly in Russian, but there is an English translation of the pattern on Ravelry) with some recently finished handspun fingering weight wool, but I have a lot of Christmas knitting to catch up on. Probably by the time that is all finished, I will be ready for another scarflette. I really like the feather stitch pattern and in the peacock teal handspun, it will be a striking project, I think.

I have another project to cast on tonight though. Pictures soon, I hope.

Two Autumn Challenges

This entire year is proving to be a roller coaster of a year. Ups and downs, 180 degree turns, and sudden stops. I am ready to embrace autumn with open arms if for no other reason than maybe it will provide some relief from the nonstop hits.

I finally made up my mind and placed a KnitPicks order today, following up from my post a couple of weeks ago.

Rather than take the Triple Dog Dare challenge and go for the Dogwood Blossoms Pullover sweater, I ordered the Blue Corrie Vest. I could better easily afford it and I am twice as likely to finish it, I think. I am looking forward to what will probably be a significant challenge for me, between the small gauge, the intensive charts, and simply because I don’t usually finish really large projects. I wanted something to keep my hands and brain busy this autumn and I think this vest will do it.

I also ordered the appropriate needles, a set of Harmony 2.5mm dpns, and because my balance was then $46 and change, and less than $4 more would get me free shipping, I went ahead and ordered a skein of Shadow Tonal Lace yarn, in colorway Pearlescent. I will get a small shawl out of that.

While Hurricane Irene was raging and the power was out, I did something I haven’t done since probably as far back as March. I sat down at my spinning wheel. I had already spun up more than 4 ounces of Ashland Bay colonial wool, and it was a matter of spinning the second half and then plying.

On Monday, a holiday, I spent 2 hours plying.

That is a uncomfortably full bobbin of about 8 ounces of fingering weight, 2 ply handspun beauty in the form of wool. No clue on the yardage. I need to find my niddy noddy and get it into a couple of skeins, wash, whack, and then contemplate its future. Once I have a better grasp on its yardage, I will decide on its ultimate purpose, I think.

Autumn puts me in a knitting mood. I hope so anyway because I have lots of socks to finish for Christmas and the 2011 Self Created Sock Club has washed out for the past several months. Autumn also puts me in a cooking kind of mood. Squashes, stews, beans, and the like. I already did mashed butternut squash a few nights ago and it was very yummy. I got a single volunteer butternut squash out of the garden, completely by accident, and after it has had some time to cure and let its natural sugars build up, it will probably become butternut squash soup.

Last year I made stuffed acorn squashes that were delicious. Then this blog post got me interested in things I can make with pumpkin.

The week I got home from Pennsic, I was so frazzled, so crispy, weary, and worn thin, in spite of just having had a vacation, that I requested another week off, this time for the week of October 10-14. That request was granted and I have been thinking up fun things to do with my time and with the time Grace and I will have together. I decided I will take her to Chesterfield Berry Farm and she and I will pick her Halloween pumpkin, and I think I will pick up a few baking pumpkins. I want to try my hand at pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie NOT out of a can this year for Thanksgiving.

In fact, I have been toying with the idea to attempt a 100 Mile Thanksgiving Feast Challenge. How much of our Thanksgiving spread can we get from a 100 mile radius to our table? The fact that we have already ordered a Heritage Breed Turkey from Empress Farm is the inspiration behind all of this. We did it for two reasons: first, because I have wanted to try a turkey from a small farm for years, and second, because my sister-in-law cannot eat the nitrates that are injected into CAFO turkeys that help make them moister and more flavorful, and every year we go through a whole list of hoops to jump through to make sure her food is safe for her to eat and not become ill.

Maybe no one else at the table that day would care but me (and probably Byram, as he is getting on board with eating local too), but how fun and cool would it be to serve dinner and then announce at the end that pretty much everything we served came from a local farmer? Admittedly, some of the stuff we normally serve like corn and green beans, can be purchased from almost anyone at the farmers market, but they have to be bought soonish and preserved, either through canning or freezing, because late November is honestly kind of a lousy time to celebrate the harvest that was done 2 months earlier. But I think this will be a fun opportunity to challenge myself and challenge my ideas about what a Thanksgiving Feast should look like.

I will post ideas, recipes, and progress throughout the Autumn as we head towards Thanksgiving.

Anyone want to join in on the fun?

One Down

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Worlds Finest team and our efforts to raise money for the local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs. Combined, between the donations made directly to the team and those that were made in Grace’s name, we have raised over $350!

The first of the April SCSC socks is done; I decided in the past day to make a major modification to the pattern. I decided to do a picot edged cuff. Until now, I have yet to knit a pair of socks yet that didn’t have a ribbed cuff, and while ribbed cuffs generally look nice and do a swell job in helping to hold up your socks, they just struck me as being far too dull to bring this flashy pair of socks to a close. This blog was vastly helpful in assisting me on choosing my binding off method.
And, because I have an appreciation for a view of the wrong-side of colorwork projects, I give you the inside:
In spite of all the attention I have been giving to the socks, my brain has been in a lace mood. I haven’t touched Freya since Wednesday, though I hope to give it some attention soon, but in the meantime, I have spent a lot of time looking at lace projects and shawls, and dreaming of future projects.

The Spring/Summer issue of Knitty debuted recently (this week I assume), and I fell pretty hard for Lilah in this issue. I like the idea of the two-toned shawl, but I don’t like the fact that the beautiful edgework becomes invisible with the transition from white to black. I will either knit it in a solid color, or dye it myself, ombré style.

I still fantasize about knitting Shipwreck again, but my list of shawls I want to knit is so long that it is hard to want to set aside the couple of months it would take to complete it, when I could be knitting something completely new to me. Here are just a few that I have been wanting to knit for a while.

Rona Lace: a stunning circular shawl I have been fantasizing about for years. Like Freya, it has no charts, which has kept me reluctant to just cast on and go for it.

Perlata Pitsigootti-huivi: there is an English translation for this gorgeous, Finnish shawl. It is a bottom up shawl, and casting on 404 stitches does make my heart flop around in my chest a bit, but when I am ready, I think it will be worth it.

Peacock Shawlette (Rav link): so I like peacocks, peacock motifs in lace, and the colors associated with peacocks. This one is also worked bottom up.

Cartouche: I LOVE this shawl. I love it that it looks heavy, warm, and exactly like something you would wrap up in on a chilly, early winter night, sitting outside. I love that it is lace and cables. I love that the difficulty level on it is going to be on the high side. I plan to knit this late this summer, maybe taking it to Pennsic to start it there. It certainly won’t be a “Two Week Pennsic Shawl” like Haruni was last year, but it would be nice to have it done in time to wear it once the weather cools down later this year.

When I have $20 to spare, I am going to buy Romi Hill’s Seven Small Shawls to Knit e-book. Tagyete, Caelano, and Asterope are my favorite shawls of the seven in the book.

So what’s on your queue to knit that you are itching to do these days?

A Spring Smile

It looks like a smile; a pretty, lime green smile.
It is a nice little wedge of spring in an otherwise gray, colorless day. The world seems like it was washed out after the storms that came through last night. Since I was up all night with Grace who was not feeling well, I too, feel fairly washed out and gray. Worn to the nub.

Tomorrow is another day; hopefully a more rested one. In the meantime, I have delicious, soft, spring green lace weight wool to bolster me up and fend off the hard edges of the world.


While I have a few minutes to catch my breath…

I am very busy with work and with Sapphire projects, but have started my April 2011 SCSC sock club socks. I will give you the details when I have more time and more brain cells to rub together. Suffice it to say they are green and yellow, colorwork, and so far, a few stripes in and a few rows of colorwork in, I can say I love the combination and I wish my Fair Isle skills were better. I am struggling with my stitches being too loose rather than the more typical trouble with them being too tight. I hope it will work out in blocking and that I will get better as I go along.

And following up with last night’s post, I think I have settled on knitting Freya (here’s the Ravelry link for Rav users). I spent a lot of time looking through my Ravelry Queue and my Favorites, and there are so many shawls I would like to knit out there, but I think Freya fits my mood. Since last Spring, I have knit Laminaria, Haruni, Travelling Woman, and Ishbel, so I have done my share of American-style semi-triangular modern shawlettes lately. Freya is very Old World in appearance; very traditional and very elegant. It is adapted from a Danish doily pattern, so it IS very Old World and very traditional, and that is just the sort of mood I am in.

What worries me is that the pattern is completely written out. No charts.

Now, very early on, as I was teaching myself to knit, I wouldn’t knit anything that wasn’t a fully written out pattern. Charts scared me to death. At least they did until I found my lace passion, at which point, I developed a serious aversion to written out patterns for anything more than short easy repetitive patterns (think scarves and socks). For me, lace and written patterns do not work well together. My eyes tend to glaze over and I have a tendency to get lost trying to count words (or knitting shorthand). Charts work for my brain. One box = one stitch. No problem. For whatever reason, 123 rows of written out instructions feels like I might as well be reading a familiar book in Spanish — I see the letters, they look familiar, I even sort of understand the gist, but miss out the details.

So do I just tackle the pattern, as written, and be patient with myself and adapt and grow as a Knitter, or do I attempt to create a chart of my own (sans charting software)?

The second question I have is should I investigate a special edging for it? I see a lot of other knitters have put an edging of their own devising on it, and I love almost every one of them. How do I choose one? Going to need to look at some lace pattern books to see if I can find an edging I like.

I can’t wait to cast on.


On a random dash into The Yarn Lounge, I walked out with 970 yards of Malabrigo Lace in colorway Lettuce.
I am positively in love with it. But it was a complete impulse buy. What will I do with almost 1000 yards of spring green love?

My thoughts run to:

Vernal Equinox, which would be a re-knit of the first lace project I ever worked, and the shawl itself came apart after Grace manhandled it soon thereafter.

Bitteroot just because it is beautiful.

Torreyana because it would be the most difficult thing I have attempted yet.

Aeolian because I have wanted to knit it forever and I adore Elizabeth Freeman’s works.

Freya because it is semi-circular and I am in that kind of mood.

Muir because it is rectangular and I have been wanting to try and tackle a rectangular wrap.

Those are just the projects that come to mind based on my queue and favorites list on Ravelry and what yardage I have. I would appreciate any thoughts, opinions, and suggestions any of you might have.

I have been bitten by the spring green lace bug, but have yet to settle on an outlet. Please help!

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.)