Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Back!

My knitting muse has returned! I knew that working on something fairly mindless would eventually inspire me!

I've decided that I need a new pair of gloves. I've had the same pair of alpaca gloves for the last couple of years now, and this winter, one of the finger tips has given up. I could repair it, certainly, and probably will. It is, however, a good excuse to knit myself a new pair.

My only problem is... what pattern? I've been looking around and haven't found anything that screams "KNIT ME!". Yanno what I mean? So, I'm going to design my own. I have two shades of Jarbo Garn in 4 ply. This is the same yarn I've been using for my lace shawls, the yarn from Sweden that I love, love, love. Just heavier. I have the cream and the charcoal; I might just pick up a skein of the light gray as well. We'll see.

Today, John and I walked over to the library (about a 30 minute walk there), where I had a video on hold (Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Knitting Workshop, Part 3"). I picked up a couple of knitting books as well. One of them is Alice Starmore's "Book of Fair Isle Knitting". That is one inspiring book! I wouldn't mind having it in my personal library, to be honest. The second book is a mitten book.

As of about an hour ago, the only decision I've made for sure is that the cuff is going to be corrugated ribbing. I've already started the first glove. I can tell even now that these are going to be warm and cozy gloves. So far, this is what I have... (by the way, I have no intention of knitting the gloves shown in the picture; I want mine to be uniquely me)


I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stitch and Bitch

Most of my knitting time this week has been spent with the Pi Are Square shawl. It's nice having something so mindless on the needles. I can either zone out completely or I can watch tv, chat with John, or just sit and think. Gotta love a project like that.

It's coming along; at this point, each row takes just over 15 minutes to complete. That's a lot of stitches!



It's also becoming more colourful. I wasn't sure, at first, if I'd like how the colours would come together. I do. I've decided to leave one of the colours out as it's not a heathered yarn, so after the teal-y blue I'm working with right now, I'll be moving on to two shades of denim-y blue.

Now, on to the bitch part of this post. Every time I'm in the grocery store, I check the magazine section for new issues of my favourite knitting magazines. Last week, I saw a Knitter's magazine on the stand. However, it was packaged with another magazine and shrink-wrapped, so I couldn't peruse it. I didn't buy it.

Yesterday, I did. I paid $10.95 for the two magazines. That, in itself, is a lot of money and worthy of it's own bitch. What really angered me, though, was what I discovered later. I took the Knitter's magazine to the tub with me (gotta have some bathtub reading to go along with the glass of wine!) and read through the magazine. I wasn't terribly impressed with the contents and was a little puzzled by all the summery patterns, considering the fact that summer is a long ways away.


Then I looked at the cover a little more closely. This is the Summer 2007 issue!! Excuse me?? Summer 2007?? I paid $10.95 for a magazine I didn't buy (at a discount because I was still affiliated with the yarn store) last summer?? And for another magazine (Australian Homespun) I never would have bought in the first place? As nice as the other magazine is, it's geared to quilters. I don't quilt. I'll never quilt.

The magazines were presented on the shelf with the Knitter's side facing. If I'd had my glasses with me, I never would have bought it, so in part it's my own stupidity. The publishers could have, at the very least, had the decency to include an up to date issue! I'm really disappointed and angry, and I feel that I've been taken advantage of.

*deep breath* Bitch over.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It Ain't Lace

So, last night I decided to see what Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Are Square shawl is all about. There's an article and pattern in the Winter 07/08 Vogue Knitting. My intention was just to knit up a little one to see what the shaping is all about (I have a thing about shawl shaping going on these days... what IS the most practical shawl shape anyway?).

By bedtime, I realized I was kind of getting into this shawl. It's basic. It's garter stitch. It's not lace. It's the perfect stash buster.


It's brown. Brown is sort of how I feel right now.


This is some of the stash that will be busted; I have two 50 gram balls of each colour and all of it will become part of this shawl, along with all the remaining brown I can find. It's left over from the Little Arrowhead cardigan I finished earlier. All of the yarn is Sirdar's Country Style DK. I had purchased the 50 gram balls a few years ago, with the intention of making a scarf out of it. I never did.


This is not going to be a lacy shawl. It's not going to be dainty, or even pretty. It's going to be practical. It's going to be wrap-around-yourself-when-you're-feeling-chilly-or-just-yuck practical. It's simple, it's relatively mindless, seeing as it's all garter stitch. It will not have a lacy edging because I don't think it will need it.

And right now, it suits my frame of mind.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Knitting Muse has left the building

It's been an odd week. After last weekend, having completely finished the Evolution Shawl, nothing I'm working on feels "right". I'm just not feeling the love with any of my projects.

John's Sterka socks are finished. I grafted the toe of the second sock last night, then sat about, restless, not being able to decide what to pick up next. I hate that feeling!

The socks. Yes, I do have a picture, just to prove that they're done. :)


He loves them! This yarn is interesting. It feels quite a bit rougher than any sock yarn I've worked with to date. And thicker. The socks feel more "substantial" than most of the socks I've knitted for John and he likes that. That's not to say that the yarn IS thicker; it's a 4-ply (fingering) weight yarn, worked on my usual 2.25 mm needles. They just feel thicker, stiffer, "woolier". Yanno? The important thing is that he likes them.

I did start on another project last Sunday, one that caught my eye. It's from the Winter 07/08 Vogue Knitting.


It's pattern #2, the Beaded Shawl. I'm using the Jarbo Garn Gastrike Lace I have leftover from the Evolution shawl, with pearl seed beads. I like it but, as I said earlier, I'm not loving it yet. I did swatch it with other beads, but the pearl beads looked the best with the dark gray. What you see there, I did last Sunday afternoon and evening. I haven't picked it up since then.

I've looked at other projects that need finishing (like the Shawl Back Shrug), but again, I haven't picked up anything that screams "Pick me!". It's frustrating.

Where'd my knitting Muse go??? I want her back!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Pattern

Yes, I had intended to write out the pattern. Here it is, but keep in mind that I haven't done much in the way of proofing or having someone test knit it. If you find any mistakes, please let me know and I'll do my best to update the pattern.

Evolution Shawl (in pdf)

It is also available on my free pattern page (link in the sidebar). Enjoy!

Edited to add: I've been informed by a number of knitters that for some the link above doesn't download properly. It is a 7 page pdf, so do be aware that it may download a little slower than some files. I have also stored the file in a different location. If the above link doesn't work for you, try this one:

Evolution Shawl (pdf)

Again, let me know if it doesn't work. If it doesn't and you really, really want the pattern, email me at evskae at gmail dot com (same goes for any of my patterns).

Breathing a HUGE Sigh of Relief!

Yesterday, you saw the pictures of the shawl. You saw the horror of the hole. Well, John (and those of you who left comments) was more confident of my abilities than I was, it seemed. And, it seemed, rightfully so. Once the shawl was completely dry and released from the floor, and once I'd had an opportunity to sit down with Rena Crockett's book, I set about to repair the hole.

It didn't take as long as I thought it would. Nor was it as difficult as I thought it would be.


You saw this picture in yesterday's post. As I said then, a splice had come apart at that spot. Lesson learned, nuff said about it. Basically, what you do to repair a spot like this is re-knit that section, using a fresh piece of yarn. I found all the stitches, pinned them onto the cardboard and, using the new yarn, simply re-knit the section and grafted it to the other end of the "hole". Then, I made sure that the ends were secured! Very secured!

That was the "before", here's the "after"...


Am I happy, or what? That shawl hasn't been out of sight since I finished the repair!

"Flawless Knit Repair" by Rena Crockett... it isn't a big book, it's self-published, 19 pages, cost me approximately $12, if I remember correctly. After yesterday's repair, I think it was worth every penny. Now, I feel a little more comfortable about tackling the hole in the Icarus Shawl (finished that one a year or so ago, but it's been hiding in my yarn stash until I was confident enough to dig it out)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Blocking Day (picture intensive)

9:25 a.m.

I’m ready to block the Evolution Pi shawl. It’s soaking in a Eucalan bath at this very moment, getting all soft and squishy and nice-smelling. There’s just one small problem.

My office is too small for the shawl to be comfortably blocked. I need a minimum of six feet around. If I take all the boxes and shelving units out, I could do it, but where would I put them? I could move all the living room furniture out of the way, but again, where would I move it to?

I’m wondering if I can fold the shawl in half and block it that way? Do you think it would hurt it? Adversely affect it?

I’ll let you know what happens. *keeping my fingers crossed*

1:40 p.m.

The shawl is drying on the office floor. I did have enough room... barely. I tried blocking it folded in half, but it just didn't work very well. So, I tried it full out. It worked. It was a little cramped while trying to pin it all out, but I managed (and only pinned my finger once, badly enough to draw blood). I would have taken a picture, but the camera batteries were dead. They are now recharging.

It did not block out as large as I had anticipated, but it's still a good size. I thought it might be 6.5-7' across, but it's about 6' across. That's good, because I'm 5'4" across (arm span, that is), so it gives me plenty of width. It took almost an hour, and 98 pins, to block the shawl. It's gorgeous. Really, it is. I'm pleased with how it's looking.

So why do I not sound ecstatic? Well, I've learned a valuable lesson: when doing a spit splice, no matter how felted the yarn appears to be, make sure you make it a long enough, and very strong, splice.... or leave tails that can be woven in later. Why, you ask?

As soon as the batteries are charged, I'll show you why.



You can see how little room there was for pinning out the shawl. A couple of detail pictures:

Batwing Lace Center panel:

Vine Lace, moving outward to the Feather & Fan section:
Modified Van Dyke edging:

And then, the reason for my disappointment:



So, what happened? I had to splice the yarn at this point. Apparently, I didn't splice it very well and in the course of blocking it, the splice separated. Had I noticed it sooner, I could have blocked it a little less strenuously. However...

I do have Rena Crockett's most excellent little booklet, "Flawless Knit Repair" and will attempt to repair this shawl flawlessly. Or as best I can. I've decided that, since this is a Me shawl, it doesn't have to be perfect. The shawl itself isn't perfect (yes, there are mistakes in it.. your knitting doesn't have any???).

And here's the shawl, unpinned and draping on my ancient sofa. Other than the hole in the edging, I really am happy with this shawl. I'm seriously thinking of knitting myself another one, perfect this time. *grin*


Robbyn, there's a box of tissues on the table; no drooling on the shawl!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oh Yeah!


Uh huh, it's off the needles! All that's required now is a good blocking!

When that's done, I'll post pictures. For now, I'm thrilled beyond words that this shawl is off the needles, not because it took forever (it didn't), but because I really want to see how it looks totally done!

(and I'll tell you one thing right now.. it will probably be close to doubled in size!)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I wish I could show you the finished Evolution Shawl. It isn't finished. The border is more than halfway done, though. I'll tell you what, that border is taking me as long, or longer, than the body of the shawl! It would be nice if it was mindless knitting, but I'm learning the difference between knitted lace and lace knitting.

For anyone who doesn't know the difference, knitted lace has either a knit or a purl row on the wrong side of the work. Lace knitting has patterning on every row. That makes for knitting that demands concentration, and attention to the chart. It also means that it takes longer.

Because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I cast on for a mindless project. Not only is it mindless, it will also be a stash buster. Here's what I have so far...



The pattern (yes, I'm following a pattern this time) is from Vivian Hoxbro's "Shadow Knitting". The yarn is the unspun White Buffalo-style yarn I was given a couple of years ago. The pattern in the book is done with a fingering/sport weight yarn; this yarn is, obviously, quite a bit heavier than that, at least a worsted weight, so I've changed up the needle size. It's going to be quite a large, and very cozy, shawl, which is just what I want.

I'm using 4.5 mm needles (US7); it's not a stiff knit, but not terribly drape-y either. I'm envisioning something I can wrap myself up in on the sofa (or in my recliner) while watching tv or knitting. If necessary, it can also replace a jacket if I need to run across the street to the grocery store; just so much easier, dontcha know? As far as yarn colour goes, I didn't have a lot of choice. These are the colours I was given, plus a natural white. I was going to use the white instead of the blue, but I have more of the blue than the white, so I'm going with what I have most of. You know what? I don't actually dislike the combo.

Froukje left a comment on a previous post (the one that had some Dutch in it) and I just wanted to respond to it. Froukje, my parents are from Friesland (Bergum and Garijp); I grew up hearing Frisian and Dutch; I still have a lot of extended family there. I was married to a Dutch man and learned how to speak, read and write it. I've always loved langages and I do try to keep up my Dutch, isn't easy because my present husband isn't Dutch at all and I rarely hear anyone speaking it around here.

What a Difference a ' Makes

I'll post a longer entry later today or tomorrow. For now, I just wanted to let you know that the patterns that weren't downloading before should be fine now. This morning, I had enough time to examine things and think about what was happening. It came down to.... '

Seriously. I had named two folders as Kids' Socks and Kids' Hats. In the link address, the address stopped at Kids. Therefore, no pattern found. I've gone in, renamed the folders and all is now well.

HTML... gotta love it!