Monday, August 31, 2009

Perhaps Less Successful

But first, here are a couple more photos of the Dianna2 shawl, which John-Francis took at the yarn shop. I have a brighter one, but selected the wrong photo. I have to go cook, so no time to re-load. But doesn't it look nice?

And here it is artistically styled to look fashion-fresh! Ohh la la. Underneath it is a sweater I knitted one of in red back in 2006, but in black it's hard to see.

Here is my less successful item. This is Andromeda in Koi after almost two charts of the pattern. As you can see, even stretched out it's hard to find the pattern among the colors. I suspected this would happen. I also think the original pattern used two laceweight yarns held together, so it came out fairly large. I think this one won't be very big. But that's OK. I think it will make a cute shoulder shawl worn with a crisp white shirt, so I won't worry about the pattern. It's going fast, so I should have time to try something else with the remaining laceweight! Maybe a garter-stitch lace stole from Victorian Lace today with two strands held together. That might blend the colors even more. I'll give it a try.

And here's a bit of eye candy. Andrea from the yarn shop spent a month in Oregon and while there bought a lot of yarn, but none for herself. She brought it back and resold it to people here. That is a way to get stuff you can't find locally! I was the last person to get offered anything, so there wasn't much choice. Luckily I liked this one a lot. It is Royale Hare yarn in colorway Muirwoods Moss. Bright greens and subdued blue/green. It's merino and has that tight twist I enjoy in sock yarn. I also bought a pattern, Lacewing from KnitSpot. It has a horizontally knit border that looked fun.

Well, must go make dinner, since my lovely spouse is home. Yes, I DO sometimes do something other than knit and type!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Worth the Effort, I Think

I do think this project was well worth the time and effort involved in making it. Here's Dianna 2's "glamour" shot, waving in the breeze on the redbud tree in my front yard. The original photo of the shawl the pattern designer made (Ravelry link) was like this, so I kind of re-created it.
This shot shows the border a bit better. I sure like this little border pattern. The giant holes made by the quadruple YOs just look cool to me! And if you click on the photo below, you can see how the beads on the points shine in the light. The border really ties all the colors in the yarn together, so I am pleased as punch with it.

In this photo you can see that, not only am I growing out my hair, but I put a picot hem on the top edge. I tried the i-cord edging (which I really would have preferred) but it was too tight, even when I used a larger needle. So, instead I picked up 3 stitches per every two slip stitches on the top border, and knit 4 rows of stockinette, then did K3, YO, K2tog for a row, followed by 4 rows of stockinette. I folded the edge on the YO row, then sewed down the live stitches on the wrong side, so it is nice and stretchy, but looks finished
It's quite big, and I think even after the blocking "relaxes" a little, it will be long enough to actually keep my arms warm if I wear it in chilly rooms, etc. That is why I made it 18 repeats long. I wanted to be actually warm, and the other one I made was still a bit short for me. I sure enjoyed twirling around with this shawl. Whee.

I am still twirling here, which is why it is a little blurry. I wish I could have gotten images of it flashing in the light. It really looks cool in light.

I thought I'd also share a photo of the shawl blocking. I got a second set of blocking mats from KnitPicks, and it looks like they will handle most any shawl I'd make--this is about as big as I will ever go, I hope! I used pins at the top edge, giving a slight scalloping. On the sides I threaded blocking wires through each point, and that gave a nice, straight edge. This shot makes it clear that the edging covered exactly one repeat of the yarn, which is pretty neat!

Now that Dianna 2 is done, I am knitting something else. Still another shawl. I did start Andromeda with my Koi lace yarn. I started it on a long bus ride to a high school football game last night and as of today I am into chart 2 of the pattern. The yarn is quite colorful, but I think the patterning will come through. We will see. I hope to take some pictures tomorrow and share them with you.

I am resting this evening after that long ride with the high school band students, so more knitting will happen. I hope this post made some sense--I sure am tired! I even had to leave the yarn shop this afternoon because I felt like I was going to fall asleep in a room full of chatting, laughing, hard-knitting people. I'll have to share this week a photo of the yarn my friend Andrea brought back from Oregon that I bought from her (she brought a whole bunch of indie dyer and other unique yarns back from her trip and sold it, and some patterns, to her friends!).

In a couple of weeks there will be a fashion show at the shop, and everyone will share all their projects, mostly lace shawls. A couple of the people have REALLY done a lot of projects, so that will be fun. I hope to have photos! I should be more awake.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Momento of Fame

That crafty inventor of the Yarn Caddy 3000 and Tidy Tote, John Francis, has quickly attained his goal of knitting superstardom, by getting a big long feature on his knitting on the Pagewood Farms blog. There are some of his wonderful photos of his lace knitting (including lovely images of his table runner in their yarn), but also, one of me. So, I think I am almost famous. Seriously, though, nice photos. And he sure is thrilled to get his moment of fame! It reminds me of when I got that big award from the small nonprofit--felt famous for a while!

And it is some lovely sock yarn made by nice people! Check out the blog. And if you are local and want some of it, it's available at Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe!

No other knitting news--I started a second sock and am continuing with the Dianna border. I am frustrated that my big new computer has some sort of horrible issue that allows it to connect to the Internet, but not receive email or display websites. So, I have been knitting away those frustrations.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some Fine Looking Knitting

You haven't heard from me in a long time, or perhaps just a week, which I am not sure whether it's a long time or not. I admit a lot of the reason is that I was busy with getting the college boy settled and working my little buns off, but another reason is that I was knitting away! And look, here is the result--Dianna2 with all its squares complete and over half of a lace border applied!

I debated what to do with the edges of this. I really don't like them unfinished. I decided a modest lace border would look good on the sides, but I think I will go with the i-cord edging on the flat side, because without it, the stockinette tries so hard to curl up. I will be able to block the points of the lace and the i-cord edging very nicely, I think.

The border you see before is from Epstein's Knitting on the Edge book. The illustration did not do this simple pattern justice at all! You could not see the lovely fagoting nor the very cool extra-large holes in the points. They are made with four yarn overs, so you know those are big holes! The little extra touch of beads in the points adds just enough sparkle to tie the edging in with the rest of the shawl.

I am pleased with this so far, and predict it will be pretty spectacular when blocked. I am also glad that I added the edging, since someone else made the Dianna shawl in the same darn yarn I did! Mine's a lot bigger. I hope it really gets bigger with blocking, though, because even with 17 rows, it isn't very big. I need it to cover my arms to keep me warm in air conditioned rooms, ya see.

So, what is this gorgeous thing? It's the sock that I finished today. I had a lot of time to knit at work this week, watching my little projects churn through their publishing process. I started to get excited when I saw how much fun the patterning was on the heel, then when I started on the foot I was totally thrilled with how the slip stitching turned consistent, and the black spiraled up.

See how it starts out gray, then ends up red? Cool. the foot looks fine (I will show it more when I do the other sock, no doubt), but the leg really shines. I sure hope the other sock ends up the same. I like how the slip stitching in the heel continues up the leg, and I also kept it going in the ribbing (there are 10 rows of K1P1 ribbing at the top, so the edge won't curl.

I have to say I love the yarn, though because it has cashmere in it, there isn't too much. I hope I didn't make the legs too long (they are just 5 inches, though). To remind you, the yarn is Handmaiden Casbah in Loopiefied, and the pattern is based on Wendy Johnson's basic toe-up slip-stitch heel sock, with a K1 P3 slip stitch pattern.

I'll try to post more this week, since I am thinking of all sorts of things, just haven't had time to type them. I may do a test knit for my friend Jodie, too, which will be fun. The only bad thing is I won't be able to show it to you! Wah!

All rightee, I need to go read other people's blogs now! Think of me as high school starts, which means knitting on the school bus will commence again on Friday (a LONG bus ride).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shawl Idea

In the comments, Emily (TelmaQ) said she had a shawl in mind that would look good with my Koi yarn. But, she forgot to paste it in. She sent it to me, though, and she is RIGHT! It's a shawl called Andromeda, and it looks like waves, so it fits a water theme, but it is clean-lined and should work with the Koi! And it's by Miriam Felton, whose shawls I have done (and um, not done, since I still haven't finished Juno Regina). So, thanks for the fine suggestion, Emily!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Clearly Koi!

I have two fine and fun things to show you today, both of which I am quite excited about. So excited that I am blogging even though I am really tired of typing today!

First, you see some very pretty yarn. This is my special, made just for me, yarn that Ray at Knitivity made for me. It's two skeins of his DuraLace yarn, and one skein of his Down Home Socks yarn. They were dyed at the same time, so they match perfectly. Do click on the close-up to see what it looks like. These are a weird combo of colors, but I just love them together!

Here is what inspired the colorway, a t-shirt that my husband got me from Threadless, our favorite shirt source. Isn't it a cool image? The colors are very saturated and smooshy. I love fish, especially Koi. Ray did a great job on this yarn, and I am not just saying it because he has become my friend over the past couple of years--this is very pretty yarn, not too intense, not too pastel. Delicious.

I know I am going to make some wonderful socks out of the sock yarn, but I am thinking hard about what lace project to make with the laceweight. I saw a fairly simple rectangular stole in Victorian Lace Today that someone made, that has a fancy edge. Maybe that will not get overwhelmed by all the colors...we'll see. Mostly I am just carrying the yarn around with me and swooning. Thanks, Ray!

Next you see where I currently am on the Dianna2 shawl. Check out those needles! I got some of the new KnitPicks clear ones! They are called Zephyr and the name fits. I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I like them. Why, you ask?

1. They are not too slippery, not too grippy. They will be great for lace, I predict.
2. They bend a little. It makes doing difficult stitches easier, somehow.
3. They are very pointy. I like pointy needles. Again, makes lace stuff easy.
4. I love this: they are SILENT. It makes NO noise to knit with them. It's eerie!
5. They are INVISIBLE. Clear, even. I love how the other side of the yarn looks through the needle, and how yarn looks through it. Just plain fun.

These don't go smaller than size 4, but that's fine. I really like the wooden ones for socks. If you can do it, get yourself a pair of these in your favorite size, and give them a try. You might like them, too. I honestly didn't think I'd be as fond of these needles as I am. Usually I don't like plastic much, but this is pretty and feels good.

I need to get a bit of knitting in this evening, so I will sign off. But, I just had to show you my new toys!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Beading Fun and A New Sock

Just so you will know that I always have my knitting with me, here's a photo of me and my husband, Lee, sitting on a couch waiting for a meeting at church. Note that I have Dianna2 in my lap. I've gotten a lot of it done today, thanks to a very long meeting!

I told you that I took a beading class yesterday, and here's the bracelet I made. I felt compelled to finish it last night, so I had to find decent light in the kitchen, and beaded away while listening to Beccano, Tuba Boy and friends playing Dungeons and Dragons. They were gracious about my parental presence.

The bracelet is a simple peyote stitch, using two beads at a time, except that the blue beads in the main part are larger triangular beads. They add a really neat sparkle. The border are silver-lined blue beads (size 15) and it was fun putting them on. I think I did a pretty good job for my first project. I learned how to start a new thread, how to put on the clasp, and how to securely end the beading project, so I think I can do another one. Maybe on Tuesday I will have time to start the yellow and black one for Southwestern University.

I got a bunch of beads and supplies, but not any more clasps, so hopefully I will be able to pick some up some one evening, though it's a busy week coming up. I have patterns for a couple of variants on these bracelets, so I can have fun with them. And now maybe I can move on and try more projects, when I am not knitting, which of course is MUCH more important.

Speaking of which, here's my newest sock:

The yarn is Handmaiden Casbah, which has some cashmere in it, and is a sort of thick fingering weight. The colorway is Loopiefied, which is a tribute to, I think, last year's Loopy Ewe anniversary (I didn't get this year's package, but happy third anniversary to them!). The pattern is one I used in a sock quite a few years ago. I have not put that one on Ravelry, but I do like it. It's 3 purls then a knit, which is slipped every other row. I like how it breaks up the patterning. There are only 375 yards in this yarn, so I will make the socks fairly short. and since they are toe up, it won't be too hard to adjust the ending if I have to.

I'm concentrating my knitting on the Dianna2 shawl, though. I am on row 15, and plan to make it 17 rows long, which should take me partially into my third skein. Then I will figure out whether I want to do the i-cord edging or the small pointed edging I found. I may try both.

There, two posts in two days! If you don't hear from me for a while, remember my work is busy and I have a bunch of other meetings this week, plus getting ready for Tuba Boy to go to college!

PS: I forgot to add that pretty soon my custom yarn from Ray at Knitivity will be arriving. So I will have to blog to show you that! It's sock and laceweight in colors to match my cool Koi t-shirt, and from the preview I saw before it was skeined up, it's going to be beautiful!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Skipping 'cause Hopscotch is done

Isn't this a lovely thing? It's a close-up of the stitching on my Hopscotch socks, which I started back in May, but languished while I was making the Lady Jane vest, the Aeolian shawl and the Dianna sisters. Luckily, I had some time at work where I had to wait on tedious file publishing and uploadings to occur, so I had time to work on the second sock last week.

And yay, I finished it. My fine son Beccano took pictures of it, which look fine in PhotoShop but have a distinctly bluish tinge when uploaded. Oh well, as we know, I am not a graphics person. Very good with words, editing and vocal talent, though.

Interesting how they pooled differently, huh. I did the heel in some relative of the eye of partridge, and it's OK but not so great. I do love the slip-stitch pattern, though, and will use it again. I just have to remember to go up in needle size! These were done on size 2 (the smaller size 2, 2.75 cm). And to remind you, the yarn is Lorna's Laces in the Gone Fishin' colorway. The skeins varied slightly, with one a little more vibrant in the orange than the other, but not enough to cause a problem. I really think it is a fun colorway--very different. Actually, I adore these socks. I predict they will be among my favorites. I can't believe I took so long to finish them!
Of course, I started a new pair of socks. I never go a moment without socks on the needles. I will have photos of them later in the week, so I will leave them a mystery for now. Oooh, mystery.

Dianna 2 is moving along. Work has been rather intense so it isn't zooming, but progress is being made. I am going to be slowed down by another thing, too.

This afternoon Deana and I took a beading class at the Sea of Beads shop. It was a simple peyote stitch bracelet. It's fun, and now, with some instruction, I know what I am doing on it. I'm making one in green and blue, in a double stitch. Photos of that will come, too. The bracelet will be a great thing to wear to football games, since it's Beccano's school colors. I also got beads to make one in Tuba Boy's new college colors, which are yellow and black. (Sniff, my boy starts college next weekend.)

I bought a bunch of beads, mostly because there was a sale where tubes were a dollar each rather than nearly four dollars. I got beads to make the one Deana made, which has bugle beads and teeny weeny delicas in it, too. I don't think beading will replace knitting, but it's a fun alternative.

Elsewise, all is well. I had some nice times at the yarn shop, and it was good to relax with friends after a hard week at work. Things are not bad at all! Just keep your fingers crossed that they make my job permanent!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Lull

It's been a little quiet here, because while I have stuff to say, I am too tired and sinus-y to type it. I am sure that will pass! Here's a photo of my pansy Tidy Tote that John-Francis made me. You'd never know it was a cat litter container at heart!

I'm getting in the groove for a much more intense work environment than I've had in a couple of years (other than the 3 month job from you know where). So I get too tired to type in the evenings.

And this weekend I knitted a lot, when I didn't have a major sinus issue. The shawl is to where it takes a day to do a row, but it's up to row 13! The colors are really balancing nicely. It will just be a while before it is done!

I have had to sit and wait while files are loading or compiling a bit lately, so my poor Hopscotch sock actually grew. I do need to finish that thing up! I'm halfway down the foot, so the end is in sight.

If you have not seen the fall 2009 issue of Interweave Knits and are a fan of cables, I encourage you to give it a look (here's the link to the preview). There are a couple of really nice cabled projects, as well as some rustic lace ones. I definitely want to make the one with the slanting cables, Slanting Gretel. I also enjoyed the articles on yarn making in the US and the features on American yarns. It's nice to know we still have some, while at the same time appreciating the yarns I can get from all over the world!

The fall Vogue Knitting also came, and while I didn't get overly excited, there were a couple of things I liked.

Nothing witty or funny to say today. My head hurts too much. Maybe I'll be more lively later!