Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ready for an update?

I've been nibbling away at the Pi Shawl. Every day, I try to do at least a few repeats; so far, I've eaten away 186 stitches of the 576 edge stitches. I've decided not to rush it because it's hurting me, knitting as frantically as I have been.

I decided to take a progress picture this afternoon.

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Elizaduckie asked if the shawl had a name, or is it my own design? No and yes. :)

I've been trying to find a name for this shawl and haven't even been struck with inspiration yet. (Hmmm.... while proofreading my post, I thought of a name... what do you think of the Evolution Shawl? Evolution because, from just inside the outer edge, it goes from waves... or water... to vines... or land... to batwing... or air. Well?) It is based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's basic Pi shawl pattern, with stitches of my own choosing. I will be writing out the directions, or at least making the charted version available at some point.

It will be a nice, big shawl, just what I wanted. It will be perfect for those evenings when I just want to cuddle up with something (as opposed to someone) warm and cozy, but not too heavy.

Oh, and also to Elizaduckie, I very much appreciate the suggestion of indicating what format my patterns are in. I will be making those additions to the pattern titles as soon as I can. Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention. It was something I had never even thought of. For those of you who have no idea what I'm babbling on about, Elizaduckie pointed out that Macs can't open .doc files. Some of my free patterns are Word for Windows files; she suggested that I indicate what type of pattern each is. It was only when I started working with Macs at work that something like that even came into my radar.

I have a small confession to make, to end this blog. I started another project. I wasn't going to, but I was inspired! I'll tell you more about it on the weekend, but I WILL say that it's another shawl, a very cozy one, and it's going to use up some stash yarn, and I'm following a pattern this time.

En... Tijm? Mijn haar is nu langer en ik heb veel meer grijs. En wij wonen nu niet meer aan het meer. *zugt* ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

An Updated Blast from the Past

A couple of years ago, I posted a pattern for a simple shrug. The pattern was from a Bernat leaflet, no longer available, as far as I know. To jog your memory, here's what it looks like...



The pattern is on my free pattern site. However, I'm not rehashing this pattern for my own benefit. I was approached by another knitter on Ravelry, asking if she could adapt the pattern to machine knitting. I gave her permission to do so, with the proviso that I could publish her notes. After she had made the machine knit version, she emailed me the directions.

It took a while, Nicola, but the pattern is up, finally. My thanks to Nicola, who blogs (with friends) at Four Friends and a Blog.

On another matter, Robbyn tagged me, on her blog, with a "You Make My Day" award; I'm afraid it may take me a bit of time finding another 10 bloggers who haven't already been tagged, Robbyn. That's a lot of work! I appreciate the honour, and I'll have to go through my blogroll this weekend. :)

As well, I have an update on the Pi Shawl. The edging is progressing nicely at the moment. I have about 144 stitches (of 576) nibbled up as of this morning. I finally found the perfect pattern for the edging, in, of course, one of Barbara Walker's treasuries (#2). I charted it, swatched it, made sure it worked and then cast on for it. It's not an easy pattern to memorize, but with just a 12 row repeat, it's working up fairly quickly. It's interesting how the yarn (and your project) will let you know whether a stitch pattern is right or not. At least, that's how it feels; looking back on the other stitch patterns I had tried, I know they just wouldn't have been right for this shawl.

Now, I'm really looking forward to having it completly off the needles, washed and blocked. I can't wait to see how this shawl turns out!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A No Pic Update

Sorry, no pictures today. Pictures of a round shawl at the stage it's at just aren't very pretty. No, it isn't finished yet, but it's getting there.

I decided to re-try the Feather & Fan pattern and managed to get it going, with the help of a lot of stitch markers. On Tuesday night, while watching the DaVinci Code, I used up all of the cream yarn and attached the dark gray, which is the edgin yarn. When doing the stretch test (hold the center point and the outer edge, making sure nothing slides off the needle, stretch it out), I figure the shawl to be about 5-5 1/2 feet across. That's dry stretching it. I'm hoping it blocks out to at least 6' across, and I don't think I'll be far off that mark.

Last night, I decided to start the edging. Last night, I put the whole thing aside to stew. I tried three different edgings, each a couple of times. To say I was frustrated when I gave up in favour of a bath is an understatement. Even John asked if he should tread carefully around me for a while. *grin*

I could swear there was a mistake in one edging chart; how can an edging that starts Row 1 on 7 stitches and ends at Row 12 with only 6 stitches work? Where does that extra stitch for Row 1 come from? Thin air?? And that was in a simple Van Dyke lace edging!

The other two charts I tried... well, it was probably operator error. I couldn't say for sure that there were mistakes, but I could not get either to work. The best thing to do in a case like that is simply to put it aside for a while.

Now, where did the bag with John's socks go?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

C'est finis!

Even though the Little Arrowhead cardi was already off the needles, I didn't get around to sewing it all together until this morning. It is completely finished now, even blocked.

I think I'll get a lot of use out of this little cardi; it's the perfect thing to wear over a short sleeved t-shirt (which I wear to work most of the time), or a sleeveless summer top.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How I Spent My Monday Night

On Sunday evening, I went from 288 stitches to 576 stitches, or at least I thought I had. After work yesterday, I started the Feather & Fan section. The first pattern row left me six stitches short. I improvised. I knitted a knit round, putting in stitch markers at every 100 stitches. I counted 578 stitches. I knitted a second round, re-counting every 100 stitch section. By the end of the round, I had the right stitch count. I knitted a third round, removing the stitch markers. I started the next pattern round and, by the end of the first pattern repeat, found a mistake. Arghhhhh!!!

I put the whole thing down for a while and stared at the tv (I have no idea what was on... CSI or the news, probably) while John was preparing dinner. I knew what I had to do. I picked it up again and studied it. I came to the realization that picking up the final stitches of the previous section would be fairly simple as they were slightly "separated" by the yarnovers of the increase round. So, I dug out a needle and some waste yarn and began picking up stitches. Hmm... yanno, there's not a lot of difference between gray and cream when you're trying to see which stitch you're supposed to be picking up! It wasn't until after dinner that I had all the stitches on the waste yarn. Then, I gingerly pulled out the circular needle (with John watching what I was doing, a puzzled look on his face); no problem so far. I started frogging. It went quite well, actually. The yarn only stuck in one or two spots and not too badly (I'm liking this yarn more and more).

So, now, the shawl (which still has no name) is off the needles, on waste yarn, waiting to return to the needles. It does give me a perfect photo opportunity. Here's where the shawl is at right now...


Obviously, I haven't stretched it out as much as I would have if I'd been blocking it, but it does give you a pretty good idea of what's happening to this point. Now, though, I'm re-thinking the Feather & Fan pattern. It may be too wavy for a nice edging. F&F looks best with a very simple finish, like a plain cast off. However, a plain castoff on a round shawl isn't a good idea as it won't block nicely. It just wouldn't have enough stretch.

Any opinions? Suggestions? I had been considering a continuation of the vine pattern with a round of the batwing lace pattern towards the end of the shawl, a few knit rounds and then a lacy edging.

In the interim, I'll get it back on to the needles tonight, work the increase round and a couple of straight rounds, just to make sure I have the right number of stitches. And then I'll work on John's socks.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Allow me to introduce...

...umm.. I'm not sure what to call this project at this point. Suggestions are welcome, certainly.



Right now, this looks like a rather bland bit of gray knitting. Believe me, it's anything but. I'm having a lot of fun with this shawl. It is based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl, which can be found in various publications. If you've never heard of it before (where have you been hiding?), it starts out with 9 stitches; after one round, the stitches are doubled; after three more rounds, the stitches are doubled again. You double the number of rows, then double the number of stitches; and you knit straight between increases, which makes the shawl a blank canvas, really.

Every stitch dictionary I own is piled up on the floor of my living room, where I've been plotting the next section. Right now, I have 288 stitches on the needle and am 16 rows (2 of 3 pattern repeats done; picture shows one pattern repeat) from my next increase and another stitch pattern. The hardest part of this shawl is deciding which stitch pattern to use next! I'm leaning towards the feather & fan pattern, but I'm not totally certain yet.

And then, there's the border. It will be knit sideways around the entire outer edge. That means I'll have to decide on a border to finish it off nicely. I think I mentioned that I'm using the yarn left over from the Icelandic shawl. I'm starting with gray; with the next increase, I'll change to the cream and near the end, I'll change to the charcoal gray. I think I'll still have yarn leftover, at least of the light gray.

It's a good thing I have to go to work today; I'd spend all day working on this shawl (and killing my wrist) if I stayed home. Speaking of work, it's time for me to get ready.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Photos and stuff

I tried to post this yesterday, but Blogger was having none of it. When I hit the button to publish, all that published was the post title. So, I'm trying again today.

I'm feeling pretty good about myself these days, knitting-wise, at least. By January 10, I had three projects off the needles: the Icelandic shawl, the Malabrigo Lace scarf and the Little Arrowhead cardi (yes, Robbyn, she is finally off the needles; just need to sew the underarm seams and that will be done today). I've also frogged one project; the Luna Moth shawl, which was gorgeous, was being stubborn and while sliding the stitches up the needle, decided to get sticky. Close to 30 stitches popped off the needle and started to undo. I had no patience with that and frogged all of it. Oh well, the hemp will be used for something else one of these days.

Because of all my finished projects, I, with no iota of guilt, cast on for a new project. I'm using the leftovers from the Icelandic Shawl to create a Pi Shawl, as designed and written by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I'm following her basic instructions and using lace stitches of my own choosing (from Barbara Walker, so far). Right now, I'm up to 288 stitches and am working my second lace pattern. Once I increase to 576 stitches, I'll change stitch patterns again, and possibly yarn colour. Because I'm using what was left, I've started with what I have most of, the light gray; then I'll go to the cream and, finally, end with the charcoal for the edging. I'm having a lot of fun working on this shawl right now. I will post pictures, but not with this post.

Today's post is for other photos. I said I'd take some "artsy" shots and I leave you with those.




Monday, January 07, 2008

The First FO's of 2008!

One picture, two finished objects, no artsy shots... yet.


And, the Icelandic shawl before blocking...


As well as a close-up...

The scarf in the first shot is from Victorian Lace Today, by Jane Sowerby. It's the "Scarf with the striped border from Weldon's, Volume 5, 1890". Yes, that's the title. As I said in my last post, the yarn for the scarf is Malabrigo lace, on 4.0 mm (US 6?) needles.
The yarn for the Icelandic shawl is a Swedish yarn, Gastrike Lace, in 3 natural shades, worked on 4.0 mm needles. Each skein had 660 yards per 100 grams and I probably have enough to make another shawl, changing the colours around. I really enjoyed knitting the shawl. I'm not the greatest or most patient when it comes to blocking, but I'm happy with the result nonetheless.
Once both are dry, it will be time for artsy shots. As artsy as I can make them. :)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Just Where Has My Brain Gone??

I can't believe I forgot! I've already got an FO! I finished the Malabrigo Lace scarf on January 1. It's on my dining room table, waiting to be blocked. It is absolutely gorgeous, if I do say so myself.

Everyone, by now, has heard about the softness, the cushiness, the absolute lusciousness of Malabrigo. Well, the laceweight is no different. A year or so ago, I made John a 100% cashmere scarf for his birthday; I would say that the Malabrigo Lace scarf rivals it for softness. It's THAT luscious! And the Malabrigo is merino, not cashmere!

So, why are there no pictures yet? Well, I do need to block the scarf and by the end of today, I'm hoping the Icelandic Shawl will be done, too, so I may as well wait for that and block both at the same time. Considering I have to work this week, both projects will likely wait until next weekend to be blocked. Most likely.

If I do get the Icelandic shawl finished early enough in the day (I have 10 rows left to do), I may block them today. If so, I'll take pictures and post them. In the meantime, back to the needles!
I can't believe I actually forgot to post about an FO! Sheesh!

P.S. Happy Birthday, Lianne!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

And it's 2008!

I'm just plugging away at finishing things. Sort of. I mean, I am, really. However, I found some sock yarn my Mom gave me a few years ago and I decided that I needed a mindless project for those times I don't really want to concentrate.

Right now, most of the projects I'm working at finishing are projects that require concentration (like, at least 2 lace shawls and a lacy shrug). Socks are great tv knitting. So, I cast on for another pair of socks for John.


The yarn is a yarn from Holland. It's a 4 ply fingering weight sock yarn called Sterka (the word sterk means strong, in Dutch, and would be pronounced the way you'd pronounce stair-ka), 75% wool and 25% polyamide, 380 metres in a 100 gram ball. I was given 1 1/2 balls, plenty for a pair of socks. This yarn has a much more "wooly" feel to it than almost any sock yarn I've knit with so far. It's a good thing John has no sensitivity to wool and doesn't mind a slightly scratchy yarn; I find it a little coarse to knit with, but I'm sure they'll make good, strong socks. And, most importantly, he likes them!

Here's a close-up of the yarn (and heel flap)...


The colour is pretty close to the actual colour, muted, neutral, just the way John likes them.

Now, for something totally different. We'll see how well (if at all) this works. Photobucket, where all my blog pics are stored, has a neat little feature I was playing around with this morning. You can put together your own little remix, incorporating pictures, video, text, music, etc. I decided to put together a remix of some of the projects of the past year (or so).
Stay tuned.