Monday, May 28, 2007

Holiday Weekend Progress

No new photos today, since my kids took the camera with them on a trip, so here's my favorite purse. I made two, one that lives in the yarn shop and this one, which I carried for so long that the handle came off (haven't had a chance to fix it). I guess I made this last year some time or in late 2005. What fun, though! These were my first entrelac projects and I had a BLAST with them. I also made a little holder with a triangular flap for my Palm Pilot in smaller squares, which has been used for lots of other stuff, too. I should write up that pattern. The pattern is from a Berrocco one that's out of print, I believe. I will treasure my copy!

I have been he**-bent on finishing the shiny green top this weekend, and yesterday, in a marathon of congestion incuded restful knitting, I got the body done. Then I looked at it. ICK, it looked just AWFUL. In the shiny (slimy) cotton/viscose blend Mytsik, every knitting irregularity glared back at me--slightly large stitches, slightly twisted sections (how do I do that?), the place where the stitches unraveled because I didn't have a stitch holder and the item was as large as my needles...blah blah blah. I said to myself that I didn't want to waste my time on this item if it was gonna look so bad. So, I stuck it in the sink and soaked it. I pulled and tugged a bit (hey, it's cotton!), then I wrapped it in a towel to get some of the water off.

When I laid it down, just a bit more stretching revealed a whole new sweater body. Yes, there are a few stitches that are a bit large, but it's way more even, lays flat, and is quite acceptable now. So, it's a-drying while I work on the sleeves. I am halfway through sleeve #2 (it is a short-sleeved top). I am knitting it in the round instead of in pieces, too. I hate seams. There will be short underarm seams, but that's all. Once I am done with sleeve #2, I will put the sleeves and body all on one needle and do the yoke. The fun part; the lacy part. Yay.

Also, I did the body on Addi bamboo needles, and I switched to Knitpicks for the sleeves. I am getting much more even tension on the sleeves, so I'm sticking with the Knitpicks for the yoke. The ribbing on the sleeves also looks better, thanks to my new Knitpicks 2.75 cm needle. I am so happy they made ALL the small sizes now. My socks will also be happy with more choices in needle size.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cherry Leaf Shawl!

Woo hoo! Here is the completed Cherry Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, in SWTC Bamboo yarn on size 4 needles. I'll put two more pictures in another post. I am happy with the size it came out--just right, as far as I am concerned. And it drapes beautifully!

What a relief--it blocked and it blocked well. So, anyone wondering about bamboo, it will keep its blocking (at least for a day, ha ha).

The shawl looks like one kind of thing from a distance, then when you get close, the pattern actually does show up--not bad for variegated yarn on a lace project (yeah, it's a sin, I know, but I LIKE it).

I am pretty happy with this one, and iwth how the back looks, too--I turned the corner all right, after all.

More Views of Cherry Leaf Shawl

Here's the back--where you can see the pattern better (especially if you click it)

And here is the requisite close-up. Ooh, aah.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Icarius and WIP

Icarius close
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Since I'm on a lace kick, here's a sort-of close-up picture of my "Icarius" shawl, which is really Icarus, which was featured in Interweave Knits in 2006 (looks like I finished this in August '06). It's in KidSilk Haze (oops, Jody points out that it is Zephyr), in light sage green. We had a lot of fun mis-pronouncing Icarus while more than one of us at the LYS were working on this pattern, so I renamed it.

It was a fun shawl to make, even if I did have to start it multiple times (didn't like the gauge on the first needles I used, mis-interpreted instructions, etc.). I always seem to start shawls many times. The only "bad" thing about this one is that it really isn't very warm. So, I use it as a decor item or fashion accessory.

Work in Progress:

Cherry Leaf shawl is blocking. Sure hope that works! The pointy points are all stretching out on Jody's blocking wires and the rest looks much better stretched out. It is still going to be sorta weird, with such a perky colorway on lace, but I like it.

I went back to work on the shiny green sweater from the Rebecca magazine, which I have determined (by reading a label!) is being made from ggh Mystik yarn, half cotton half viscose. Every tiny irregularity in my stockinette sure is showing up. And it's hard to be all perfect with dogs jumping around, family members jiggling the bed, etc. I am glad I am making the body in the round, though, I am tired of purling. Only a couple of rows more and I get to start the sleeves, which I will also try to do in the round, leaving only a few inches of underarm to seam after joining and making the lovely round lace yoke.

Still making the center of the Rosebud Shawl. I do a few rows every day, and after mostly TINKing on Wednesday, made some progress.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tipsy Knitter Socks, and It's Done!

Originally uploaded by sunasak.

Today here's a photo of one of my favorite socks ever. They are made with Regia Bamboo and they really are lovely to wear when it is warm outside (wore them just this weekend, in fact). The yarn has a slight sheen, which is nice, and was soft to knit with. The pattern is from Socks, Socks, Socks by the Knitter's Magazine folks. I recently saw a large scarf or wrap made from the slanty lace pattern. It was fun to do.

Sadly *someone* washed these socks with JEANS. They now look a bit dingy. Sigh. I plan to wash all my socks myself now, even though the culprit no longer washes my stuff.

And yes, yesterday I finished the Cherry Leaf shawl, so there'll just be one more post on it, when it is blocked! The body doesn't look too bad unblocked, but the border needs to be stretched out so you can see the lace. Gosh, I hope bamboo blocks well...eeek. If not, well, it's still a reasonable unblocked, I just need to find a flat dog-free space for blocking. We should have a free bed tonight or tomorrow night, so there's hope!

I am wearing the shawl Jody made at work today. No comments at all. If it isn't golf, coworkers are not interested!

Update: Yay, I snapped up two skeins of Glacier Lake colorway laceweight yarn before it even got posted--not sure why I am so enamored of teal and gray at the moment, but I can just see a very beautiful shawl emerging from the shadowy depths of the yarn. Whee! I am told it is in the mail today! What service!

You can see what it looked like before it was dry and skeined up here. I believe mine is the far right and the middle hanks. They look pretty similar when dry. I really liked the middle one, but need two fairly similar to be the big shawl I am thinking of. Thanks to Ray for making it!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend Update

Swallotwail Shawl Close Up
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
My friends and I have been talking a lot about dyeing our own yarns for fun or doing it for a living, so I thought I'd blog this photo of the only thing I have made out of yarn I dyed myself. This is the swallowtail shawl by Evelelyn Clark from Interweave Knits some time last year. Looking at it reminds me where I have seen that lily of the valley pattern I want to knit a whole shawl of before! The colors are coral, green and an interesting brown, and the yarn was undyed sock yarn someone had given me. Well, you'll never buy yarn in THOSE colors, fer sure. It's also a small shawl, more of a decorative item than something to keep you warm. I finished this in September 2006.

The good news from the weekend is that I used the info from the nice yarn store employees and turned the corner on the Cherry Leaf Shawl and went all the way up side #2 by the end of Sunday! A long car trip helped with that, very much (turns out the bad ole rural Texas roads make knitting the Rosebud Shawl and its teeny yarn a bit difficult). I got too tired last night to finish, so I am about a third of the way through with the first row of crochet edging along the long edge, with a picot row to do after that. I should be done this evening, then just have to find a place to block it!

I think I can, I think I can.

Also, I have seen my next lace project yarn, on the blog. MMMM. It will be dry tomorrow so I can order it this week! I want to make something very large, black and teal.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Birthday Shawl Beauty

Birthday Shawl Border
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
Important note! I did not knit this shawl! The lovely and talented Jody (Killerpeach) did it as a birthday gift to me (birthday was in March, but we haven't seen each other much lately). Whoa, what a gift! I have a picture of it spread out, and a close up on my Flickr pages. The yarn is a slightly vareigated silk/wool blend that is light and warm (so I can take it in to work and wear when I get cold--it matches my cubicle decor better than my purple and green mohair one).

The pattern is Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Faroese shawl. It has some nice shaping that makes it hang very well (when not serving as a headscarf). I want to make one of these shawls, too--maybe someone else wil have to be the lucky recipient!

Today we had a really fun day, Jody and I. Jody met me her LYS (the one in south Austin) and looked and looked. While waiting on Jody, the sales staff there were very helpful and I think among three of us, we finally figured out how to do the corner on the Cherry Leaf shawl (yay). They all agreed they are very unclear directions, though, which made me feel better. It's not that I am slow or anything!

I purchased some yummy yarn. I tried not to. But...well...there was stuff they don't have up in Cedar Park...

First is some pale blue (skydrop) Voile de la Mer yarn from Tilli Tomas, a silk and seacell blend. Face it, I just wanted some seacell. I'll make the little dragon scale wristlets in the knitting pattern a day calendar out of them, probably knitting two strands together, because I got the thinner yarn. It really doesn't smell very ocean-y. But it is shiny and soft.

Next we have some Koigu KPPPM sock yarn. Can you believe it, I never bought any before??? They said they had finally gotten in some new colors, and they were flying out. For some reason I didn't get purple (which was very nice), Instead I got some very dark blues and turquoises.

And last in the yarn dept. is Graceful Lace from Yarn Place. It's a laceweight (duh) with very long color changes, 100% wool. The colors are muted greens to purples, violet...very hard to describe, because the colors are subtle and grayed, not vibrant. It's one of those yarns that if the label didn't say so, you would not believe the skeins are the same colorway. I think it would look really interesting on a round shawl, and I want to make some round ones.

(It won't be the next one, though, because I want to make the snowdrop shawl in Lace Style out of some yarn I hope gets dyed this weekend by Ray).

THEN, Jody talked me into buying some roving. Because she thought I should learn to spin. Well, it was pretty inexpensive, so I got some. And we went to her house (after margaritas), and she set me up with a drop spindle. I was predictably awkward at it, but was getting the hang of it by the time I went home. I came back with a borrowed spindle and an instruction book. We'll see how I do!

Must go play with my toys now...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Stuff!

I am waiting on help with turning the corner on the Cherry Leaf shawl due to unclear instructions (the lace knitting girl wasn't at Chicks with Sticks last night, and I haven't seen Jody in ages, so I emailed Jody--help's on its way). I just don't want to mess up due to misinterpreting! I did get through a couple more pattern repeats on the Rosebud shawl. MMM, it's dreamy. Must take a photo!

Much of yesterday was spent playing with new toys, though. I got this stuff in the mail:

Knitpicks needle set: It finally came in, so I put it all together. I put my lace knitting needles and a couple of Addi bamboo circulars, plus my really special fancy stitch markers and my purple scissors in the binder, too. I will rearrange my big knitting bag and feel all professional, probably over the weekend. Not sure why I put off getting these things, which everyone else I know has...I guess my irritation that the small sizes aren't convertible had something to do with it. But, I ordered 32" circulars in 0-3, so I have all the sizes I will ever need (I don't really knit often with anything bigger than 10.5US, so I didn't order any large needle tips). I'll add my 000 needles and put a space for the 00s that are making a sock, and I will have all I need, portable. Still will have the honking big hanging circular holder, though.

Top Down Sweaters Book: (by Doreen Marquart) I also ordered this one, but I am not as thrilled with it as I could have been. All the sweaters seem a bit bulky to me, and most look like things I could have thought up for myself. But, there are a couple of fun ones in Noro Silk Garden that I might knit up, and perhaps the words are interesting (didn't get a chance to read any of it yet). So, I have not given up on the book.

No Sheep for You: (by Amy Singer the Knitty person) One of the women I knit with was going on and on about the content of this one, and since I like interesting fibers, I went ahead and got it. Well, she was right--I actually LEARNED some stuff in the few pages I managed to read last night! Like Tussah silk refers to a type of moth (I guess I thought it was a place). I know a lot about fibers and how they are made, but this book has some new info for me, so I am happy, happy, happy. I think I'd have enjoyed writing this book.

Needle Gauge: I am so happy to get the Knitpicks needle gauge and magnifier doo-dad. I like the magnifier thing. That will make figuring out gauge a little easier for almost-50 me.

I managed to not buy anything other than an iced latte at the yarn store (since my air conditioning repair will be $2K, I think that was wise), though I did drool over a couple of Louisa Harding patterns...too bad I' like to make her winter sweaters out of her summer yarns...maybe I can. Looking forward to her workshop in a few weeks, though!

Oh, everyone at the shop really liked my Lace Style book. I think I sold a few items for Interweave Press last night by showing that one off. I am strongly encouraging Pilar the daring dresser to make the little lace dress in there. Unanimous opinion was that the abundance of photographs of the items at different angles was very helpful. Nothing's worse than a book of patterns with such artsy photos that you can tell what the knitted thing actually looks like.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

She's So Bad...

Well, I said I would concentrate on nothing but the Cherry Leaf shawl. But last night we had to sit through a very long percussion recital (that is a lot of loud banging). And I knew I couldn't sit there with the chart on my lap, flopping the shawl over and over every short little row. So, I broke down. I started the Rosebud Shawl.

I knew that it started with a bunch of long rows of garter stitch. I used my new Addi Turbo lace needle in size 3 (oooh that is nice), and the incredibly red wool/cashmere laceweight yarn that I have many skeins of from one of Jody's yarn co-op purchases. I do believe this will look as nice in red as it does in white. If not, who cares. It's FUN to knit that teeny tiny yarn on the smooth brass needles with the extremely slick joins. I have to be a bit careful to form the stitches right--it's easy to reach in below the next stitch, so I have to look, but it's fun.

I couldn't stop. I knew I "should" work on my border more when I got home, but I just had to see how the lace would look. I had to force myself to put the darned thing down to go to bed. The center pattern of little rosebuds is nice and simple, and I know I will wish I got to do more than 12 repeats of it!

So far, the lace looks great, even unblocked. It's really neat how the whole thing can squish up into a couple of inches, but it stretches out quite wide. Yummy, yummy yarn.

But, I WILL finish the Cherry Leaf shawl, because I want to wear it!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

More Progress on Shawl

Yay! I finished the main body of the Cherry Leaf shawl and am cruising down the border. It took me a while to get going in the right direction, but it's a nice border when stretched out. I just can't memorize it, darn it, and occasionally lose my spot. I will probably have it memorized the last couple of repeats. The colors look a bit more realistic in this picture and the one below, and it straightened out nicely when I stretched it on the cushion. It seems a bit on the wide side compared to length, but that may change in blocking.

Here's a close-up of the border, I am doing the connecting in a slightly different way than usual, which I think, when blocked will look nice--won't have that effect that looks like a crochet slip stitch chain on it. (Speaking of which, there's a typo in Victorian Lace today, on this pattern, where they spell "stitches" "stices."

You can see that I broke down and bought a set of those little short double pointed needles for making the border. They are NICE, way less awkward than the circular one and even less unweildy than longer dpns. And since I am doing my next shawl on the same size needles, I should be able to use them again. A good investment. They also make nice cable needles.

Yeah, I picked my next shawl. It is the Rosebud Shawl from Heirloom Knitting, and it is going to be extremely red wool/cashmere laceweight (like Lacey Lamb in texture). I look forward to that challenge!

I got the new edition of Wild Fibers. I sure like that magazine. It's like National Geographic, only for knitters. The articles on Bhutan are very interesting, and there sure are some beautiful yaks, goats and alpacas in the pictures! I got to see a couple of friends at the yarn shop, but no Jody. Shoot, who's going to explain to me how to do the corner on the border? I am having trouble understanding the instructions and she's the expert translator.

Well, Happy Mothers' Day. I got myself the Knitpicks needles for the event, if they ever arrive. I hear I also will get some cards.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cherry Leaf Landmark

I'm totally focued on the Cherry Leaf shawl from Victorian Lace Today right now. And last night it hit a milestone--I finished all the cherry leaves. Ended up with 304 stitches across. Now I am doing 14 rows of garter stitch, after which I can bind off and do the lace edging. Sounds quick and easy. Well, until you multiply 304 X 14 = 4256. Perhaps I should not have done that calculation. Still, I have a concert to go to this evening, which is perfect for garter stitching! That will let me get going on the border at the yarn shop tomorrow. Woo.

Speaking of the yarn shop. They got in Addi lace needles. And they sold them out. Zoom. That's what happens when I miss a Saturday visit. I only ended up with size 3 and size 6 (47") because hardly anything was left. I look forward to using them on my next lace project, though.

And bad little Suna that I am, I also broke down and ordered the Knitpicks needle set, plus 0-3 in their longest circulars, plus two books. I got tired of waiting for the shop to get that top-down sweater book. I want to read it NOW (if I can put down I Am a Small Loop, which competes with my knitting).

Back to my LYS. They are going to host Louisa Harding on June 10! I am happy we are getting a visitor, since it is usually the other yarn store in town that gets all the fancy knitting guests (lovely place, good selection, just a bit far for me to drive to often and I don't get a discount there). It will be fun to go to the store on a Sunday, too!

Tomorrow will be a good knitting day, I hope. I hope to see Jody at the shop, and maybe meet my birthday shawl. I am then going to go on a hike with friends from my former job at Inks Lake State Park. If I am really lucky, I might sneak a visit to the rumored yarn shop in Burnet, which Jody and I have never managed to go check out on our own. Bonus: lots of car time for knitting.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Placemat and Quiz

Originally uploaded by sunasak.

Today's photo is one of my placemats. I have 3; I need 6. I will get back to them soon. So far, none of them are the same, because it's been a learning experience. The pattern comes from a rather odd book called Knitting in the Round, which seems to be have put out by a yarn company. The book has lots of slip-stitched afghans in it that are knitted in the round with steeks. Interesting technique.

But the last patters was for a placemat, and I had wanted to knit some placemats, so it was a thrill. I got a whole lot of Peaches and Cream yarn (two cones) in the best colorway ever--it matches all the potential stains that would land on it (actually the colors are prettier than in this photo--the red is pinker--and it is more rectangular than it looks). The first placemat I did followed the instructions exactly. You cast on in a circle, then when you are finished, you sew the seam straight in the middle, to create the rectangle. Well, even though I make lovely seams, I was not pleased with the result. It also ended up bigger than I wanted.

So, on the second one, I used the cast-on says to use for toe-up socks. It's a really pretty one, and you really can't see it--looks like the knitting magically just starts going in two directions. As I knit that one, I said, oops. Instead of the center being a rounded rectangle, it veered off to the right and left. Duh. The pattern had you start at one rectangle corner, not in the center of the side. So, it was off balance. Heck, it's a placemat! I thought. So, I finished it, making it a little smaller. I liked the size. And plates sit on the funny spot.

The third placemat came out right, and it's the one in the picture. What I did was cast on two fewer than the instructions called for, then I did a little M1 kind of thing on either end--the genesis for each of the smaller ends. That came out balanced. If I could only explain this intelligibly, I could write it up, but in a different desig, and make a pattern...maybe later! In any case, the placemats wash well and sure enough, wine, mustard, gravy...all blend nicely.


Directions: Mark with bold the things you have ever knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest. [Oh yeah, I will comment, I bet...]

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire

Shawl - numerous
Stockinette stitch

Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up

Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk - silk blend
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL - just not my thing
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns

Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn

Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book (I've sold patterns)
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours

Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars

Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit

Knitting for a living (it doesn't make a living but I do get paid)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards

Machine knitting (watched someone doing it)
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies

Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Whew, I've done a lot of stuff. And still there is more to do--that is why I like knitting!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Have You Heard of This?

I learn the strangest things when I do job searches. I visited the office of my previous contract employer on Monday, just to let them know I exist and that I'd love a permanent position somewhere. While there, I chatted with the dudes who interviewed me (both of whom, it turns out, live really near me). The main interviewer has only lived here a while, and seemed nice for a fellow who recruits accountants, mainly.

I mentioned that I teach knitting (naturally I did!) and he got all excited and said his wife was a big crafter, and that she did this thing, "hooking." I said, Rug hooking? Latch hooking?" and he said, no, that it was something else, something uncommon. I gave him my email address and phone number so he could tell me, 'cause it sounded weird.

Yesterday, I decided to google "hooking" and "craft" and sure enough, it came up. It is locker hooking (link has photos and info on how it is done). It looks like a cross between needlepoint and rug hooking. And according to this article (beware irritating pop-up ad), you can do it with roving.

Have you heard of this? Am I the only one who totally missed out on this craft? I wonder if there's anyone around Austin who does it other than the technical recruiter's spouse?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Arm Warmers

Arm Warmers
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
This is a practical item knit from necessity, not for art. But they did come out rather pretty, if a bit garish. It is so cold where I work that my arms get all freezing, and I have no idea how anyone wears short-sleeved shirts. So, I decided to make myself some arm warmers.

I chose Dashing off of, because it was long and simple, but not totally boring. It was nice to knit. Of course, I forgot to knit the second one with the cables going the opposite way, so there will be no right and left one, but big whoop.

Using what I think it more of a sport or DK weight yarn than what the pattern calls for, this is a little snug, but nice. The yarn is one I got sent as part of a sock of the month club, but I hate making socks on thick yarn, so I knew I wouldn't use it for that. The colors are really pretty in person (not in the photo, it's true) and are shades of turquoise, one shade of purple, and white.

A sign that they are a fine project is that the Older Boy informed me that he would "totally wear those" if I made them black with a little lime green for an accent. Oh yeah, I'll start that right away.

If these work, I may make others. I'd like to use that leafe pattern from the Fiesta Sweater in the leftover yarn from that, combined with a 2X2 rib on a pair. That would look nice alone or with the sweater. And there are a couple of other nice online patterns to try. On Flickr, there's a picture of the other side of this.

Shiny Top in Progress

Shiny Top in Progress
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
Here's the other thing I am currently working on. When this extremly "grass green" yarn came in, I just had to get it, and that same day I saw a top in a Rebecca magazine with a round lace yoke in it, which I really loved. It looked like I could wear such a thing a lot. So, rather than the silk called for in the pattern, I am using this nylon/cotton blend, whose name escapes me, but I will add later.

The yarn is a bit "snaggy," and it is very hard to knit evenly on it, but that adds to the "handmade" look I guess. I am getting close to the intreesting part on this. I stopped it to work on the Fiesta Sweater, but will re-embark this week, alternating with the Myrtle Shawl.

Cherry Leaf Shawl Progress

Myrtle Shawl Progress
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
Today I will show a couple of the things I am working on. Here is the Cherry Leaf Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today. (For some reason, I used to think it was called "myrtyle leaf" so the photo title is off.) I am knitting it with SWTC Bamboo yarn in a whacky combo of pink, white, brown and gray. The colors look WAY nicer than this picture would indicate. When it's done I will be sure to photograph it in natural light. Or get a new camera. Also, it's really soft. I have 19 repeats complete and think I will do 23, then add the knitted on border. I am pretty sure this will end up a good size, though I do not know what it will block to--certainly lumps up a bit unblocked, so I have hope for expansion.

I am really enjoying working on this one--so I am doing it while working on other things to make it last longer. It's what I work on at lunch while I am at work. The pattern is not too easy and not too hard and the yarn feels good. I don't know if it will be warm or not, but it will be mostly for looks.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Why I Like My LYS

Originally uploaded by sunasak.
I was just thinking about friends I met at my Local Yarn Store, and how much I miss just sitting with them and knitting, either in companionable silence or while talking about our lives, our issues, our problems and such. I have received so much solace, empathy and peace from this.

I am very grateful to the LYS owner for setting up a place where a community could form and knitters (crocheters too) can spend time just doing their craft with likeminded others. I know some stores I have been to seemed more shopping oriented, or the community was more tight-knit and not open to new folks. Each does what works for them, but I enjoy mine.

And I enjoy it even when there is a lot of noise, distraction, animals and children there. You get pot-luck at the LYS and if you don't like it, come back later; it will be different.

Lately when I am there, fewer knitters have been present, and the ones I have "bonded" with most don't seem to be there as much. One moved away, another seems more involved with her guy know, the usual. Plus some of the people who are close friends prefer to get together in the back, away from the random group of knitters in the front. That's natural, that close-knit groups would form! It makes me happy to see the friendships growing from random shoppers.

I certainly don't get there as often as I did when I worked from home, or even as often as I did when I had my more flexible previous contract job. I miss the silent, calm knitting with friends. I miss getting to teach a variety of classes, too--teaching people to knit or teaching new skills are both real joys in my life. Teaching is so much fun!

So, what's the picture? It's the River Rock slippers I designed for a class at the LYS in 2005, so I thought it was appropriate. I supposedly sell patterns for them, but eek, I think my PayPal is attached to a defunct email address. I plan to look into that, honest. The slippers are based on a baby bootie pattern that I modified to have a circular cast-on rather than a bumpy seam at the bottom, and I added a fun top with optional novelty yarn. Of course, the best pair I have made so far are the store samples, pictured. And I can't wear those because they are at the shop!

One Big Project Not by Me

If you don't read Everyone's Favorite Knitting Blog, you might miss this link to the biggest glove I ever saw. Now, this woman is an adventurous knitter! Check it out! The photos are just great.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Fiesta Sweater Complete

Fiesta Sweater
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
Not the best picture, since it was taken at night, but it shows that the Fiesta Sweater ended up with arms and a neckline!

This one was a big experiment for me, to make teaching top-down sweaters more interesting. I made up the rounded V neck because I didn't want a total V. When I had finished the sweater, I edged it with a picot hem, which worked out fine--it's not folding out nor in (I have a shirt on under the sweater).

There was some fun pooling on the sleeves and a couple of places on the body. I like pooling, so sue me! Sleeves are in the columnar pattern that the bottom of the sweater is (from an old lace book I had), only in the green. And the insertion can be found in Knitting on the Edge or many other pattern books. It's common.

Why is this sweater in two unrelated colorways? Well, ya see, I ordered three large skeins of this wool, cashmere, and angora blend. They are big skeins (all the orange is one skein), but it turns out not quite enough to make a sleeved sweater. The other ball (yellow and blue) I think will be a vest of some sort. So, I mixed and matched. It looks very Hippie Chic I think.

What has surprised me is that the Fiesta Sweater doesn't look too bad at all on me! I don't look gigantic and it doesn't wash me out (thanks to my festively colored hair I guess.

My hope is to post a more clear photo of this later, when it is not rainy or dark. It is both today. On the Flikr stream, there's a picture of the back, too.

Fiesta Sweater Close Up

Fiesta Close Up
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
Here's a close-up of the Fiesta Sweater so you can see the patterns I used. The top shows a simple yarnover grid. It was fun and easy, except boy howdy it was hard to keep from forgetting to do one. There's also a hole-free zone in the front that I'd accidentally put holes in sometimes (I did this because, of course, the pattern didn't work out evenly, since I winged it.

The middle is the leaf insertion. I got it fairly smooth by joining two body stitches every third right-side row, then when picking up on the bottom, adding those stitches back. I like the leaf pattern a lot. It's a lot easier than it looks. It's fun to add an inserted element like that!

The bottom was supposed to be slightly wavy, but didn't come out that way. It's a yo, k3tog pattern, like a mini feather and fan, but too mii, I think. It did add the verticle lines I'd hoped for. The idea is that it would make my hips look smaller (as if the insertion didn't make my waist look bigger). The same pattern repeats on the arms, where I let it get bigger and bigger for a few rows at the end, to make a slight bell. The garter stitch edging at the bottom was going to be something more interesting, but since I ran out of the orange-ish yarn I couldn't repeat a more interesting thing on the sleeves. So, oh well.

An experiment that was not a total failure!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Aurora Scarf

Aurora Scarf
Originally uploaded by sunasak.

Here's a more distant photo of the Aurora scarf, contrasting mightily with the outdoor chair cover.

And though I thought I would not have much occasion to drag this item out in public, I even wore it to work one day last week, with a lilac dress shirt. Interesting colors, huh: many shades of gray, brown, black, purple and lilac. I'd never have put those colors together, but Noro-san did. That dude really has a way with colors--I can't find a colorway of Kureyon that I don't like!

I did not block this scarfvery intensely, so when I wear it, it curves a bit, but I didn't want to stretch out the ribs.

By the way, if you're wondering how I am doing the pictures, I am using Flickr to blog photos from their interface. It's pretty convenient! And when you click, you can see other things I knitted.

Aurora Scarf Close-Up

Aurora Scarf Close-Up
Originally uploaded by sunasak.

I'll start posting with this really nice scarf I finished last month but only just managed to block last week. The yarn is Noro Aurora, which I got at the yarn shop that used to be in Lakeway, the only time I ever managed to get there and find it open. Now my wonderful LYS has this yarn, too. What interesting yarn! I had 5 balls, and only two of them had the color green in them, so I didn't use that color--and the lilac you see in the photo only appeared once. The shiny parts are green lurex and it is just right. Adds a bit of shine but isn't distracting.

The pattern is a Eugen Beugler Fiber Trends one, Fuschia Lace. I love his patterns. The border is twisted garter stitch for better definition, with little cables to give the scalloped edge. And the pattern is hard enough to be interesting but easy enough to memorize. I really enjoyed doing this one!

By the way, this is the first post I wrote, though I am going to back-date some others.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Close Up of Shrug, from February 2007

Close Up of Shrug
Originally uploaded by sunasak.

I must say that this is the item I have knitted this year that has had the most wearing. I believe the yarn is Schaeffer Elaine. It's a thick and thin hand-dyed yarn in my favorite colors--looks like the colors of pansies to me.

The pattern is loosely based on the little top-down shrug in One Skein Wonders, but I gave it sleeves and lengthened the body so it is more like a little cardigan. The button is made from Fimo or Sculpey; the LYS owner bought a bunch of them that a very talented woman did, and this particular one looked meant for my shrug-like object!

I actually made two of these shrug-esque items, because my knitting shop friend Erin really wanted to make one of the little shrugs for her rehearsal dinner, but was intimidated by the instructions--she mostly just wings it on things she makes. So, I made one out of some precious Noro Blossom I'd received as a gift, to be sure it was as easy as it looked (it was), then made this one to knit along with her. I think I got more out of the project than she did.

And indeed, I used all but a foot of that skein of expensive Schaeffer yarn, so it was a one-skein wonder!

I actually did most of a third one in a much smaller gauge with my leftover Noro Aurora, but the second yarn I added to it didn't work out, so those will get ripped out and used elsewhere.

Fiesta Sweater, in Progress

Fiesta Sweater, in Progress
Originally uploaded by sunasak.
Yes, it's bright. Yes, those colors don't really go together. It's a long story. I'll give more details when it is finished, but, to whet your appetite, this sweater is made from wool/cashmere/angora blend that I got with Jody got in a co-op purchase. It's from Alaska; that's all I remember. There's a Schaeffer product that is the same blend that the LYS sells for $96 a skein (big skeins).

Why did I make this? I was teaching a top-down sweater class and did not want to make another plain one (here's a link to the previous one) even though the Silk Garden one is lovely. So, I put in a hole pattern I saw in Vogue Knitting on a totally different sweater, then made up an interesting (to me) neckline. Since I knew there was not enough yarn to make the whole sweater, I added a leaf insertion from an old lace book I had (found it in Knitting on the Edge, too). As you can see I also did a different pattern on the bottom and arms. Whee.

I do like top-down knitting. I hate seams, even though I am finally good at mattress stitching after over 40 years of knitting!