Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Lot of Needles

A very large part of my day yesterday was spent with needles in hand. No, I wasn't working on the Miralda shawl. I did, however, cast on for a second pair of gloves. I am so loving this pattern!

It's a Drops pattern, #86-5. The yarn I'm using is SandnesGarn's Sisu, a fingering weight sock yarn that's 80% wool, 20% nylon, making the gloves machine washable. The pattern calls for 2.5 mm needles, but I'm using 2.25 mm. The first of the two pictures was yesterday, well into the first glove. The colour in the first picture is also truer to the actual colour of the yarn (same colour, but a deeper shade in real life).

The second picture was taken this morning. Once I found my stash of 2.25 mm needles (I have about 8 sets of them, I'm sure), I cast on for the second glove. In order to get them done in a reasonable length of time, I've decided to alternate working on them. What I mean is that now I'll work on the second glove until it's at about the same point (almost to moving the thumb stitches to waste yarn) as the first one. Then I'll work on the first one until I'm ready to start the little finger and switch back to the second one, getting it to the same point, and so on.

Right now, I'm enjoying the almost mindlessness of the knitting. As you can see, there is some lace patterning on the back of the hand, but it's a simple pattern, easy to read and easy to memorize. The best part of knitting these gloves, though? They're knitting up quickly!

I do love knitting things that work up fast. If I have the opportunity today, I have every intention of continuing with the gloves. I do believe, however, that John would like to get out for a bit today. We're out of coffee, after all, and that just won't do! I'm tempted to let him go and get what we need so that I can stay here and knit. Umm... knit and bake Butter Tarts. It's his birthday tomorrow and he doesn't want me to bake him a cake. Butter Tarts* aren't cake, and I know he'll appreciate them (so will I... yummm!!).

By the way, there's still no podcast. My voice just can't handle all that talking right now. Be patient with me. Please?

*For those of you who have no idea what Butter Tarts are, they're a uniquely Canadian pastry, a tart shell filled with raisins, walnuts or pecans (optional) and a blend of butter, brown sugar and eggs (with a few other ingredients); they should be slightly runny on the inside, although there is some debate about that. They're insanely sweet and tasty, almost like butterscotch. From what I've read, the closest thing you have in the States is Pecan Pie. I'll post my recipe (and pictures) another day. Just trust me when I tell you that they are absolutely delicious!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Miralda Update

Both John and I have been hit with a nasty cold this week. I think I'm over the worst of it now, thankfully, but it's been a rough week around here. It's podcast week, but I'm just not feeling up to it yet, so I won't push it.

About the only thing I have energy for (and not much of it) is Miralda. This shawl is working up very quickly and it's a fun knit. I wasn't sure I'd have enough yarn, so I did pick up another skein. Then, after I got home, I was going through my stash and found another half skein of the same yarn. It seems I'll be making another shawl in this yarn... some day. Around here, laceweight yarn will not go to waste.

As you can see, Miralda is worked from the bottom up, making each row shorter than the last. I'm now working the last chart of the pattern and I may just have it finished this weekend.

I have decided that I will go ahead and get the yarn for the christening dress. It's been on my mind all week and all of your comments have contributed to my decision. Whether it goes to a charity auction or to someone in the family (Gail?? Are you telling me something???) remains to be seen. There's plenty of time to make that decision.

As for right now, though, I'm going back to my knitting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

So, I've Been Thinking...

Since I'm back into lace knitting and since I really enjoyed entering a few things into the fair, my mind has been going full steam. I have at least one project in mind for next year's fair.

Normally, when I say I have a project in mind, I'm about 5 minutes away from casting on. That's not the case this time. I'm thinking about it. I'm swatching for it. I'm getting acquainted with the pattern.

Here's the pattern I'm thinking of doing. It calls for "the finest lace weight Shetland yarn"; I think I've found the perfect yarn for it. When I was at the yarn store yesterday, I saw some absolutely scrumptious, fine, natural white merino lace weight yarn. The gown is knit on 2.0 mm needles. That's pretty fine, making it a lot of knitting.

Here's a swatch of one repeat of the bottom edging. The only reason I even swatched it is that the pattern is from Sarah Don's classic book, "The Art of Shetland Lace" and all of the patterns are written in an old form of pattern writing. For instance, "O" is yarn over, "T" is knit two together, etc. That makes the pattern a little more difficult to follow. My swatch isn't done to size; I used a slightly heavier lace weight yarn on 4.0 mm needles. As I said, I only did the swatch to see how the pattern would be to follow.

I have a dilemma, though. I have absolutely no reason to make a christening gown. I don't expect there will be any more grandchildren in our family. Do I make it and hope that, one day, one of my grandchildren will want it for a great-grandchild? Do I make it and sell it? Give it away? Should I even make it at all?

Got input? I'd love to have some!

Oops, I Forgot

Going through some older posts this morning, I realized that I hadn't shown you the finished Multnomah Scarf/Shawlette. Can't have that, now can we?

And so, without further ado, here it is...

This was a really quick and simple knit. To review, the pattern is the Multnomah Scarf by Kate Flagg. The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download. The yarn is some unlabeled sock yarn from my stash. There are actually two different shades of the same yarn as I ran out. If I'm not mistaken, it was knit on 4.0 mm needles.

I've worn it a couple of times already and anticipate that it will be one of my go-to scarves this fall and winter. The garter stitch gives it a nice cushiness and the yarn really is nice next to the skin. I'm pretty sure this is a 100% superwash wool.

Now, back to my knitting (I'm working on the Miralda shawl this weekend; it's coming along very well!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


It started out as a gray and rainy day today (it has since cleared up), the perfect day for knitting. Of course, I've been taking advantage of that! This week, I've been working on three projects, off and on. The Miralda Shawl, from Nancy Bush's "Knitting of Estonia" is progressing nicely. The diamond section, where I am right now, is taking a little longer than anticipated because of all the nupps, but it is definitely coming along. The nice thing about this shawl is that the rows get progressively shorter, rather than longer, so each row takes slightly less time.

The picture isn't the greatest, but it's not easy to pin out the shawl when it's dry. I think you can get a pretty good idea of how it's coming along, though. Once I get around to blocking it, I think I'll be able to block this one quite severely, opening up the stitches to their full advantage.

I've been working on my second Vanalinn glove, too, but there really isn't much to take a picture of. Once they're completely finished, I'll take pictures to show you. Right now, I'm ready to start the shaping for the thumb, having finished the cuff this week.

The little Setesdal sweater (a Lanett pattern) is coming along, too. It's been my tv knitting this week. I think I have about 2 cm (about 1") to go before I get to the point where the steek will be placed. Once there, I'll have to read the pattern over very carefully so that I understand what's going on.

Right now, that prospect is somewhat daunting, not because I'm nervous about the steeking, but because I've come down with a terrific head cold. Ugh! Reading of any kind intimidates me at the moment. Heck, even thinking intimidates me right now.

We're supposed to have our Sit & Stitch today, but I think I'll opt for a nap instead. Now, off to do a few more rows on Miralda while my brain is still functional. ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One Down, One to Go

This past week, I finished one of the Vanalinn gloves. Oh my goodness, these are nice! The glove fits perfectly, it's light, it's warm, I love it! The second one is now on the needles; I'm about one inch into it.

In this next picture, you can see that there's ribbing on the inside of the cuff, helping the glove to fit snugly. I made the ribbed section a little longer than the pattern calls for, simply because I like my gloves (and mittens) to stay securely inside the sleeve of my jackets. I do not like cold wrists!

It seems I will have ample time for knitting today. John will be leaving shortly to help the gentleman across the hall. He needs to find some rims and tires for his car. He's elderly and has emphysema and John doesn't mind helping out if he can. Once he gets home, he's got a table full of tomatoes to deal with. Yes, I could help with that, but he's particular about how he likes them processed, so it's his show and I will stay out of the way, knitting needles in hand.

In other knitting (surprise, surprise), I started another project. Do I need an excuse? If so, I can only say that I wanted to try out the new KnitPicks Zephyr needles. Oh my! Do I like them? Can I recommend them? One word....YES! They're smooth without being sticky, but there's just enough stick that the yarn doesn't slip and slide all over the place. I like them better than bamboo and as much as the other KP needles (Harmony and Options). The price, as with most KP items, is reasonable and the quality is good. I can definitely recommend them! It's getting to the point now that I'm using the KP needles more than any other brand of needle, including the Addi Turbos that I have. I just like them better.

The pattern is Miralda's Triangular Shawl from Nancy Bush's book, "Knitted Lace of Estonia". I am happy to report that I got the cast on (331 stitches) right the first time!! So far, it hasn't been particularly challenging, but there are some interesting stitches coming up. I'm thinking I'll cast on a small swatch to practice some of the stitches. This pattern contains nupps, gathered stitches and another stitch in the upper section. I have no problem with the nupps; as long as you keep your tension loose (very loose), they're easy enough to work. I've read the instructions on the gathered stitches, and that's the stitch I want to swatch for before I get to that part.

The yarn I'm using for this shawl is the Jarbo Garn Gastricke 1-ply. It's the same yarn I used for my Evolution shawl, my Aeolian shawl and my Icelandic shawl, one of my favourite lace yarns. It just has an earthy, organic feel about it that I really like. It has a nice "bloom" to it and is nice and cozy knit up. It feels just right for this shawl. I'm pretty sure I won't have enough on this skein, but I'm equally sure that I'll still find it at my LYS. It isn't a colour that a lot of lace knitters want to work with, you know? I think it will go very nicely with my black winter coat.

And now, John's heading out the door, so it's a good time for me to pick up my needles and get knitting!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Finally! Gloves for Me!

Do you remember that, back in July, our Sit & Stitch group went up to the Oyama Lake Alpaca Farm? You can read about it here, if you'd like. I came home with a cake of beautiful 100% cinnamon coloured fingering weight alpaca and John had suggested that I knit myself a pair of gloves with it. I did start them at the time, but frogged them because I'd made some kind of mistake (at this point, I don't remember what I did, but I seem to recall that it had something to do with not reading the pattern carefully before starting).

Well, this week I cast on for the gloves once more and I'm loving the process! You can see in the picture below that I'm making good progress. In actuality, the little finger is now complete and I'm working up to the ring finger. This is glove #1.

The pattern is Nancy Bush's "Vanalinn Gloves", from Victorian Lace Today. To reiterate, the yarn is 100% baby alpaca from the Oyama Lake Alpaca Farm. There's a link to the farm in the right sidebar. The gloves are knit on 2.0 mm (US 0) double pointed needles. That, in itself, sounds a little intimidating, but the gloves are knitting up quickly and, as you can see, this one fits very nicely.

The pattern is well written, making it easy to follow. The stitch pattern is easily memorized; by the time I'd gotten through one pattern repeat, I no longer needed the chart.

You can't see it in these pictures, but the palm is knit in stocking stitch and there is a ribbed cuff, ensuring that the gloves will hug the wrist. I made one small modification in that I made the cuff longer than the 24 rows the pattern calls for. I prefer my gloves and mittens with a longer cuff that will stay inside a jacket sleeve. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a chill on my wrists. All in all, I'm really enjoying the process of knitting these gloves (yes, I know, this is just the first one!) and I'm looking forward to wearing them when the weather gets colder.

Incidentally, there's no news yet on how I did at the fair. We'll be going some time this weekend; I'm just not sure when.