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Archive for the ‘Lace Knitting’ Category

There is nothing like hot pink mohair to kick the knitting doldrums.

About a month ago my mother in law asked me to make her the Ice Queen pattern from Knitty.  Since she loves bright colors I’ve been on the lookout for a jaw-dropping ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze.  Even though we are on a spending freeze (basically a self-imposed moratorium on any non-essential spending) The Baron got to buy a few essential pinball related toys.  I decided that one ball of yarn would not kill us, especially since I have been in such knitting gloom recently.  And I am knitting for his mother!

I popped into Unwind the weekend before last and there on the shelf, a full 50 cents cheaper than any other ball of Kidsilk Haze, was one single bright-hot pink fluffball.  I just could not hold myself back.  I grabbed some matching beads and picked up a teeny tiny (size 11, 1.1 mm) crochet hook from Joanne’s.  Finally, after looking at the yarn and feeling fussy for a whole week, I cast on over the weekend and just raced through the project.  It didn’t hurt that I met up with Miss V on Saturday for a literati marathon.

I haven’t worked feather and fan lace before and I was a bit surprised by how easy it was to memorize.  The resulting fabric is delicate and airy but also feels warm.  I just cannot get over how filmy and beautiful the lace looks, especially in such a kick-ass color.

I absolutely love love love the end result and I cannot wait for knitting group tonight.  Right now my big decision is whether or not I should include beading along the top and bottom edges or just along the bottom.  Will beads on the top weight down the lace too much and make it fall like a souffle?  I am also wondering how long I have to wait to pick up another ball to make one for myself 🙂

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Usually I find that my knitting moves pretty directly from point A to point B: I plan a project, get my yarn and tools together, cast on and go.  When I am working on a giant project I tend to work smaller projects in around the edges, but never more than one or two at a time.

Now though, I feel like I’ve got far too much going on knitting-wise, and not too much of it moving toward a fruitful conclusion.

– Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan:

I started this little colorwork project by trying out Fair Isle.  I was less than thrilled with the slightly lumpy result, but rather than rip it out I just cast on for a second cardigan and worked the sheep with intarsia.  I’m happier with the intarsia cardigan but there are still so many ends to work in!  I’ve been trying to darn in ends while I have my Literati Knitters to distract me, but so far it has been slow going.  I then decided (don’t ask me why) to work the sleeve in the round rather than flat.  I guess I was thinking fewer ends to weave in, but . . . I always think magic loop is such a great concept and then I remember what a pain it is!

So now I have two partially finished cardigans and a ton of ends . . . not very satisfying at all.

Add to that the fact that the baby I’m knitting for is a boy (a fact that I learned after starting the sweater) and I really want to knit something more manly for him.  Maybe a sweater and hat with stripes.  I don’t know.  I’m just not very pleased with my baby-gift progress.  And did I mention that I’m sick of weaving in ends?

– Druid Mittens:

I love and loathe these mittens.  Gauge totally deserted me since the cable pattern of the mittens shrinks the fabric up so much.  I knit 3/4 of the mitten body of BOTH mittens (again, don’t ask — I was trying to keep each section consistant by knitting the two mittens sort of at the same time) on size 0 needles before deciding that they were just WAY too small for a grown up person.  Again, rather than rip I just ordered new yarn and was back on my way.

A side note: Woodland Woolworks rocks.  They sent me one odd ball from a different dye lot than the other balls I’d ordered and when I called they immediately got the correct yarn in the mail to me along with a return envelope for the odd ball.  Of course, me being me, I put the odd ball somewhere special so that I’d be sure to remember to mail it back . . . and I have not seen it since.  Go me!

So not wanting to repeat the gauge issues I’d had with the first pair of mittens, I made two cuffs and then worked about two inches of each mitten using two different needle sizes.  I finally picked the one I liked best and ripped the other back to the cuff.  At this point I have 4 totally unfinished mittens and I’m wild to get these little suckers done, especially since they are going to end up in San Francisco where the summers are notoriously cold, but I am not too hopeful.  It feels like they will be on my needles until eternity.

– Baby Booties:

A friend has asked me to knit a pair of booties for her, something that she could give to a new baby arriving in her family.  Although it’s not normally something I’d volunteer for, Miss V and I have been plotting to create some bootie patterns so this request seemed like good motivation.  My job is to come up with the bootie form on which to build cute little bootie animals.  So far, I am not doing so hot.  I’ve given a few ideas a good test knit, but so far I am not loving anything and I’m a bit frustrated with myself.  On one hand I am trying to build a better mousetrap, but on the other . . . reinventing the wheel.  And now I’m writing entirely in cliche.

– Ice Queen:

My mother-in-law specifically requested a smoke ring.  This weekend I found a really intensely hot pink ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, some pretty matching seed beads, and a size 11 crochet hook small enough to fit through the beads.  I am dying to chuck all of the above and just bite into some meaty, colorful lace.

Poor me . . . frustrated with my knitting.  There are worse problems a person could have, but there you go.  Today I am a very fussy knitter.

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After the snipped-skein mess last week, I was quite relieved to finish the main body of my Mandala/GKAMS and still have quite a bit of yarn left in the large ball I was able to salvage.  I’m on to the edging, (using a variation of the shawl edging technique I learned about here) and quite happy with the way the varigated yarn is striping up.  If you’ve been following along, you know I’m working with Knitpicks Gossamer in Caribbean which is a pretty loud color.  For the whole body of the shawl, the color and pooling has been pretty intense.  Now that I’m on to the edging though, a back-and-forth 13 to 17 stitch repeat worked vertically along the horizontal edge of the shawl, there’s a very fun quick striping happening, with each color change lasting about the length of one row.  It’s going well and I hope will finish up quickly.  Although I’m very against holiday gift knitting, because of the timing on this bad boy I’m hoping to get it out the door in time for a Christmas delivery to my Mother-in-Law.  We’ll see!

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Though there hasn’t been much blogging going on recently, there has been an awful lot of knitting . . . mainly on my Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl, now also known as Mandala.  Sadly, as with most lace projects, there is little visible progress since my last photo and the thing still looks like a giant blob.  I only know that I’m making progress because I’m checking off row after row of the giant chart 4 (96 rows!) and watching my third skein shrink down to nothing.  I was expecting that three skeins would do it, but luckily, thanks to the generosity of fellow Ravelers, I had a fourth skein on standby.

Last night, with just a tiny length of yarn hanging off of my shawl, I put the fourth skein on my swift and realized immediately that I had a huge problem.  Several rounds of yarn had been cut or perhaps broken, and the whole thing was a gigantic stringy mess.  Not sure what to do, I grabbed the first strand I could find and started winding.  This approach worked well until after about twenty cranks of the ball winder the tail-end of the yarn appeared.  Although I now had one neatly-wound ball, I also had a bunch of unwound strands that were tangling around the bottom of the swift and generally looking knotty.  I admit I was tempted to just toss the whole thing, but I needed the skein to finish my shawl.

It was a painstaking process, but finally I managed to wrestle each snipped strand off of the main skein and was able to salvage a medium-sized center pull ball in addition to a whole bunch of mini-balls.

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Hopefully I’ll be able to finish the project with just one more splice!

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Hey there . . . I know I have not been blogging too much recently but still . . . I am feeling very lucky for the people and stories I’ve encountered on the internet . . . from my very first blogging buddy Mick to Needles & Vectors, a blog I just discovered today, I wanted express my appreciation to all the varied ways that wonderful people and ideas and experiences come into our lives.  This is a thank-you for the other knitters in the world — yay knitters!  Also a thank-you for the other bloggers — including my cousin who is solving the world’s problems here — yay bloggers!  And of course . . . put ’em together and you get a huge double-yay for knitbloggers!  To me this is all just part of learning how technology, something that has the potential to be so isolating, can bring us all together.  It amazes me how quickly I can zip across the country and see through someone else’s eyes a new perspective on life.

I will be spending the weekend sprucing the house up for a little get-together next weekend at our place, doing some knitting, and poring over a very cool wedding gift: The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen of the Moosewood Cookbooks.  I spent last weekend with my college roomates on our annual (and far too short!) girls’ weekend in Tahoe, and they tosted me with the most delicious champagne and princess cake and sent me home with what looks to be an absolutely kick-ass cookbook.  Yes, I will cook the meats as a gesture of my love for The Baron, but I am trying to find increasingly healthier ways to eat and cook and be in the world, and veggies seem like a good start.  Who knows, I might even find the new “it” dish that will keep my belly full and happy all winter!

On the needles at the moment: I’m turning the heel of my second of the Oriel Lace Socks for Glamourous, and I’m cranking away on the Goddess Knits Anniversary Shawl.  I got a lot done traveling to and from Tahoe, but I am working chart 4 B, which has 95 rows, but I’m on row 17 so there’s not really a light at the end of the tunnel yet.  After sleeping on the baby blanket of it all last night, I think I’m going to try swatching for an Aran something using some variation on the KnitPicks Swish Bare (undyed) in my stash.  Stay tuned!

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Yes, I’ve finished my Trellis Baby Sweater (now in the possession of one very tired mom and one very new baby) and I’m making progress on my Oriel Lace Socks and the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl. More on all of that later.

For now, I’m excited to show off my knitting in action. Not being modeled for photos for the blog, not on display right off the needles — these are bona fide action shots of Glamorous wearing the Frost Flowers & Leaves shawl. Here’s the side view:

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And the view from the front:

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I think I am a process knitter as much as I am a product knitter . . . so far I’ve been able to let my finished pieces go happily off into the world . . . but it really made me happy to see this particular labor of love actually being used.

And of course, who can resist a glam shot . . .

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The Fourth of July weekend was just perfect — friends, family, BBQ (just veggies for me of course), fireworks, a movie and lots and lots of knitting.

I’m almost done with the Trellis baby sweater — Mick, I think you’ll be proud of what I’ve done with your yarn — and although the pattern itself is a bit fiddly I enjoyed working the cables. Over the weekend I spent some quality hammock time just swinging and knitting, watching The Baron splash around in the pool.

Here is the sweater in pieces (back, both fronts, and a sleeve):
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And here is the sweater after a slavish amount of finishing (the color is closest to this photo, at least on my monitor):
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The directions called for grafting the two front panels to the back of the sweater at each shoulder, but after several failed attempts to kitchner in pattern (including cables) I gave up and just worked single crochet through the live stitches to seam things together. I used the same technique to seam up the sides, to close up the sleeves and to attach them to the sweater body.

I’m now working the collar, which calls for yet another in-pattern kitchner and then seaming the collar to the neck hole. After working the adult-sized Tangled Yoke Cardigan, specially designed to require a minimum of finishing, all this seaming is a bit of a drag. If I ever work this sweater again, I’ll be working the body in one big piece and working the sleeves in the round by picking up stitches at the armholes. Boo to seaming and double boo to weaving in ends.

However . . . on the topic of weaving in ends . . . I came across this amazing tutorial today that demonstrates how to weave in ends as you go — super simple and it looks like it really works. I’ll be trying it out on my next time I have lots of ends to contend with!

I finally got around to buying another copy of Sensational Knitted Socks so I could finish working the Oriel Lace Socks. The socks were the perfect sitting-and-chatting-by-the-pool project for the insanely hot weekend, and I’m almost to the heel turn on sock number one. Very exciting. I know I’m no sock magician, churning out pairs in a day like some bloggers out there, but it’s a great project for just schlepping around to keep the fingers busy. Of course, as soon as I bought the new book I found the old one — I’d hidden it in a dark corner of my stash closet as part of the under-the-rug junk sweep before the in-law invasion — so now I’ve got to return the new one.

And finally, I got started on the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl. Here she is, just moments after her birth:

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Much more about this project later, but for now it sure feels good to get some lace on the needles!

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