Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just One Thing Left To Do

Well, maybe two. As of a few minutes ago, I no longer have pieces of a Butterfly Dress. I have a slightly incomplete dress.

It took me two hours to sew the pieces together, but it's finally done. I'll be working on the neck and underarm bands and the straps this afternoon, after some lunch.

Pictures tomorrow, probably. Oh, the second thing left? That's where Stacey, and perhaps a camera, comes in.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beaded Swallowtail

By 2:00 Saturday afternoon, the shawl was dry and out of it's pins. It was worn last night and received rave reviews.

All in all, I think this one will become a favourite. The beads are definitely not too heavy, but give the shawl a nice drape. The yarn feels yummy, the colour is rich (much truer in this picture than yesterday's shot), and the pattern is a great one.

Speaking of the pattern, I did enlarge it. The original pattern calls for 14 repeats of the budding lace section (the body of the shawl), but that makes a scarf-sized shawl. I wanted a full-sized shawl, so I did some research on Ravelry. Others who had enlarged the shawl indicated that, in order to make the lily of the valley section work properly, you have to work repeats in increments of 5. In other words, you'd have to work 19, 24, 29, etc. repeats. I did 24; the lily of the valley section worked perfectly, but when I got to the next small section, I found I needed 4 more stitches on each half of the shawl, so I worked an extra transition row, which gave me 2 more stitches per half, as well as working 2 increases in each half. That gave me the right number of stitches to finish the remainder of the shawl.

Remember yesterday's picture of the Luna Moth shawl? Well, I've frogged it. It just wasn't looking right somehow. I'm not sure why. I'll probably cast on for it again at some point, but in the interim, I've picked up the Icarus shawl again and will get that one done. It's been very patiently waiting.

Now, on with the rest of the day...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Finished Object!

I do love finishing things. The little thrill when thate last stitch comes off the needles is so rewarding. This time, the finished object is a little bigger than the small, quick projects I've been finishing lately.

The beaded Swallowtail shawl is finished and blocking. And she is lovely!

The colour is a little off in this pic; it's actually more of a spring leaf green (and I did straighten out the edge after taking the picture and realizing how crooked it was). You can see the beads I used for the Lily of the Valley section and the swallowtail edging. I was concerned at first that the amount of beads, and their sizes, might be too much weight for the shawl, but in the end, it all worked out just fine. The beads will contribute just enough weight to help the shawl drape nicely. Size-wise, the shawl blocked out to 65" x 30", a nice size.

The details: the yarn is KnitPicks Shadow (100% merino) in colour #24204, Spring Green Heather; I used 1.5 skeins. I'd bought three skeins, so I'll be able to make another shawl with the remaining skein and a half. I knitted the shawl on 3.5 mm (US4) KP Harmony circulars (love them!)

I have every intention of wearing this shawl later today. We're having a staff Christmas bowling party this evening and, because it's bowling, the dress is casual. I think the shawl will be a nice, festive accent, especially with forest green cords and an off-white top.

Being me, you know that there's never just one project on my needles. I started another shawl last week and have been working on it during my lunch breaks. I did mention the Luna Moth shawl (from before. Here's how it's looking so far...

The yarn is another Knit Picks yarn, Gloss (70% merino, 30% silk). I'm really liking the feel of it and how it's knitting up. This time, I'm using 4.0 mm needles. I want this one to be more open, lacier.

This is not a difficult knit; it's not intuitive, but certainly not difficult. I'm finding it quite easy to recognize where I am in the pattern; because I'm working on it at work, I fear sometimes that my magnets will move around on the chart (I carry it in my bag, to and from work). So far, that hasn't been a problem. Again, I'm in no hurry to finish the shawl; I love the process of knitting lace. I have a feeling that it won't take very long; it's a pleasurable knit.

Next on my list of shawls to finish, though, is Icarus. It has been languishing long enough and is not far from being completed. If I remember correctly, the body of the shawl is pretty much complete and all that needs to be done is the border (the hardest part, of course).

It feels good to be working on MY projects again. News on the Butterfly dress another day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oh, the Joy of an FO!

Almost a month ago, I started what should have been a small project as a thank you for one of the ladies I work with. She very graciously agreed to shorten my lovely long, black winter coat. I'd purchased the coat almost 10 years ago, while living in Calgary, but, because it was so long, I found it to be rather impractical, except for those special outings, which were rare. I think I'd worn the coat less than ten times. Since she shortened it for me, I've worn it more than I've ever worn it, and I know it will get plenty of wear from here on in.

Hazel wouldn't take payment for the task, so I told her I'd make her a scarf. It should have, and would have, been done long before now, but with the Butterfly dress being my first priority, the scarf, and most other projects, have been moving slowly. Yesterday, though, I finished it. When I finally gave it the attention it deserved, it worked up very quickly.

Here is the Backyard Leaves scarf, from Interweave's "Scarf Style". The yarn, if I remember correctly (I don't have the ball bands anymore) is a Louet worsted weight. It's worked on 5.0 mm needles and took 2 skeins, with very little left over. I worked one less repeat of the leaves than the pattern called for (it called for 11 reps per half; I worked 10) as it's recipient is petite. Even so, this scarf is about 6' long, plenty long enough, I think.

I like how this scarf turned out. If I were to make it again (and I might), I'd be careful to use a looser cast on. The two halves are worked separately and joined at the middle. I had thought about using a provisional cast on, but I'm not sure it would have worked out correctly. I'll have to play with that idea a little. Anyway, the center seam is a little tight, but not overwhelmingly so.

All in all, it's a satisfying FO. I hope Hazel likes it.

Oh! We have some news concerning the Butterfly dress. When I spoke to Stacey this week, she'd been unable to find the little ball of yarn I'd given her; she went online to order another ball of the yarn and said it was a rush. Yesterday, she called to let me know that the yarn had arrived! Now, I have plenty to finish the dress. I had started to sew the dress together as per the instructions in the book (backstitch seam), but I didn't like how it was looking. I took out the stitching and will re-do the seam using a mattress stitch. It has to look right; it has to look perfect.

Hopefully, this week I'll be able to sit down with a good light, sew it all together, graft the ruffles and finish the edgings and straps. I can see the finish line now and I'm ready for the final sprint.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Butterfly Update and an Experiment

Yes, we have an update on the Butterfly dress! Finally!

The front AND back are now complete!

I didn't do any arranging of the pieces for photographic aesthetics; they've just been draped on the bed. The second piece just came off the needles about 15 minutes ago. I took the pictures primarily to let Stacey know her dress is almost done. I had another reason to email her.

See the matchbox? It's a small matchbox. See the ball of yarn above it? It's a small ball of yarn. That's all the yarn I have left to do the bands at the underarms and the neck edges and to make the straps. I did give Stacey a similarly sized ball of yarn to take along in her search for a slip/underdress to wear, so I hope she still has it. I have a feeling I will need it.

The biggest part of the task is completed. Now, it's just finishing. I'll be blocking the ruffles after I get off of here. They'll get a gentle blocking; basically, I'll just pin out the points and lay a damp towel over the ruffles and let them dry. I don't think I'll do anything with the body of the dress until it's been stitched together and Stacey's tried it on. I have a feeling it will only need a very light pressing.

I feel good!!

Oh.. the experiment? This time, I've posted the pictures directly from Blogger through Picasa. Are they visible now? If so, I'll use Picasa from here on in for blog pics. Let me know.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Joy of Little Things

When you're a knitter, there's a lovely feeling when you've completed a project. It really doesn't matter the size of the project; large or small, when it comes off the needles, there's a sense of accomplishment.

That's one of the reason I like knitting little things. Like this...

Ear Cozy

It only took a couple of hours to knit this up; I finished it at Sit & Stitch this afternoon. The pattern is from Fibertrends, Ear Cozies by Bev Galeskas. Don't ask me about the yarn; all I can tell you is that it's a superwash DK weight wool that was in my stash. The label is long gone, but I do know I made the Baby Albert jacket with the same yarn. It called for, and I used, 3.75 mm needles; I used the magic loop method as I couldn't find a 16" circular, as called for and, because I used the magic loop method, I didn't have to worry about switching to double-pointed needles for the top shaping.

A quick knit, and a satisfying one. And what can I say? The doll's happy with it; hopefully my new grandson (when he puts in an appearance) will, too.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Silken Smoke, that is.

Silken Smoke1

The pattern can be found here. I used Regia Silk 4-ply sock yarn, 2 balls, 3.5 mm (US4) circular needle. I followed the pattern as written... sort of. Basically, this is a 16" tube. I flared it instead. Once I reached about 8", I started increasing every 2" or so. I find that it sits better on the shoulders that way, instead of bunching up at the base of the neck. Other than that, it's knitted as written. It's an easy knit; it only took me three days to knit. All in all, once you're past the lacy section, it's mindless knitting, perfect for working on while watching tv.

Silken Smoke 2

Saturday, November 01, 2008


At least, in some areas progress is being made. With the colour copier down this week, and me being pretty much caught up with my work, I got home early on Thursday. That gave me time to work on the Butterfly dress. I managed to knit up about 12", so it is coming along nicely. I was planning on working on it today, too, but woke up with a nasty headache from a pulled muscle in my neck. (yes, ouch!)

So, instead of knitting, I've been told to relax and do whatever I have to to make myself feel better. I really want to sit and knit, but it will have to be mindless knitting, not the Butterfly dress, I'm afraid.

There has been other progress as well.

Western Seas #1

This is the Western Seas sweater from Alice & Jade Starmore's book "The Children's Collection". As you can see, front and back have been joined and I'm working on the collar. This is an enjoyable sweater to knit. I'm really pleased with how it's turning out and I hope that whichever of my grandsons it finally goes to will get plenty of wear out of it. This is the smallest size (2-3).

I like the pattern so much that I've also started the 4-5 year size.

Western Seas #2

I'm not sure how visible it is, but I've changed the patterning a little. The original pattern has a zigzag design just above the ribbing, and also on the sleeves. This time, I altered the zigzag slightly. Now, it's seed stitch triangles. Not a huge change, but it does vary the knitting. This one is being knitted with Lana Grossa's Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch Softcolor, in colour #510. The yarn is soft and quite cushy. And, again, because it's a sock yarn, it's eminently machine washable and should be quite durable.

I hope this one, as well, will be well worn and well loved. This pattern looks to me like a very practical, yet classy-looking boy's sweater. I'm not into picture sweaters; they can be very dated. I'd rather make something that can be handed down and still look good after the third or fourth kid has outgrown it. It almost has a sweatshirt kind of feel to it, just a lot nicer looking, yanno?

And that's it from me for today. I'm off to relax some more. Hopefully, the meds kick in soon.