Sunday, December 31, 2006

Nupps Ahoy! (Swallowtail Shawl)

Ever since the cold weather and the holidays set in, I've had difficulty motivating myself to knit. I also have a head-cold so I'm coughing, snotting and just not as sharp as might normally be. The good thing is that I'm off until Tuesday so I have a rare opportunity to just sit and knit, providing I can stay awake long enough while doped up on codeine cough syrup to do anything. I've been working on the edge to Mountain Pines and have started on the third side, but this is hardly inspirational. I can knit the edge for the shawl because my poor querulous mind can just manage it without loosing track. There are some brave knitters out there who have resumed their knitting already. I know that Jason had the blahs for awhile but is back hard at work on his Lotus Blossom Shawl for his mother at his blog site. ( Missalicefaye never stopped knitting at all and just finished her Unst Stole in beautiful cobweb weight Shetland.( Though I have several projects going ,I want a short project that will give instant gratification. Something to kick-start my knitting. I have started the Swallowtail Shawl as you can see above. I'm using some old lace weight yarn I bought from Crystal Palace a long time ago and then never used. It's not a big shawl and it gives me an opportunity to try out "nupps" which I've never really done. Now I know Alice has already knit this shawl and warned that these nupps are difficult. Purling 5 together will give my pointy new Knit Picks needles a good work-out. I will make sure to do the yarn-overs loosely in order to have the best chance in purling through that many stitches.

I must go now and drug myself into insensibility. Good evening to all.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Siren Song of Koigu (Or How I Spent My Christmas Gift Certificate)

Everyone knows about Koigu. Beautiful hand-painted yarns that try to lure you into buying them in spite of their fairly high price tag. You say to yourself as you look at the pretty little skeins (and I do mean little), "They just can't be worth this kind of money. I mean, come-on, it's just merino wool from Canada!" You try to convince yourself that you can live without their subtle shadings, their soft hand, their unique colors . You hear tiny little yarn voices calling out to you from the shelves, "Me! Buy Me!" begging you to take them home because they instinctively know you are sporting your yearly head-cold and your resistance is low this day. They even try flattery, claiming that only you can do them justice by knitting them into a shawl so lovely that others will stop you in the street to comment on their yarny magnificence. Usually you are able to step away from the Koigu with a sigh and move on to more reasonably priced yarns. You congratulate yourself on your practicality and economy in dealing with your only real vice, knitting. Then someone gives you a gift certificate for Christmas and all bets are off.
As soon as I opened the envelope containing the gift certificate to "Imagiknit" in San Francisco I knew I was a goner. In an entire shop filled to the gills with yarn, the first thought that popped into my mind was was "Koigu, I could buy some Koigu!" Of course I could have bought that Koigu long ago. It's not like I can't afford it, but somehow, getting a gift certificate gives you permission to splurge, to be be extravagant. That gift certificate helped to defray the cost of my beautiful Koigu (see above). I'm thinking either the "Flower Basket" lace shawl or the "Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl". I will have to give it some thought. Since I'm still suffering with some kind of walking, snotting crud that I caught at work, I'm only able to knit the edging for Mountain Pines. Anything more challenging will come out poorly I'm sure. Still, one can dream of better days!
Happy New Year to All!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Knit and bake and knit and bake

So I'm still doing the edge for Mountain Pines. I have rounded the corner and I'm working on the second side. I just pinned it out a little to see what it looks like with the edge. I'm also assisting my sister in baking more holiday cookies and quick breads. See "Ginger Cookies" from the "Stars Dessert Cookbook". These are the only ginger cookies I like to eat and they are very addicting! Very buttery, crunchy and chewy. We also baked "Joan's Pumpkin Loaf" from "Maida Heatter's New Book Of Great Desserts". Moist with raisins or dates (Your choice, we use raisins) as well as either walnuts or pecans (We used pecans this year). It only tastes better the longer it sits there so it"s a great make ahead treat. We gave cookies to our co-workers, some of our friends and to our Veterinarian's office. Between baking and knitting, there is also reading my backlog of paperback's. I love paranormal romances and Sci Fi. What can I say. Reality is very harsh sometimes. I appreciate being somewhere else mentally from time to time. Right now I'm reading "Sunshine" by Robin McKinley and it is extraordinarily engaging. The female lead is reluctantly heroic, living in a world where vampires and other creatures are now commonly acknowledged. Soon vampires will outnumber humans in numbers and the balance of power may be shifting. Sunshine can work magic, though she has not been trained in magic due to her mothers divorce from her magically talented father. She is abducted by a gang of vampires, ostensibly to break the will of a vampire prisoner who has chosen not to kill or torture humans while taking the blood he needs. He's old and very powerful, hence his rivals desire to break him. They tether Sunshine and the vampire, Constantine with leg chains and leave them together, hoping he will lose control. Instead, they show one another compassion and form an alliance to escape with Sunshine using powers she never tried to tap before. There is much more to the book and it's an enjoyable read as Sunshine and Constantine find that they now have a bond that goes beyond their initial crisis as they battle the evil vampire who would have them both dead. It's such a good book that I wish there were more than just the one, but Robin McKinley does not really write series, she writes stand-alone novels. I am, however, grateful for the one book. It's a keeper! Well, back to the cookies! Have a nice evening and hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Xmas Diversion

Yeah, I know it's not lace. It's what I'm doing instead of my lace at the moment. If you want the recipe, link out to "Jane's Reality" (see my side-bar for the link). It's really very tasty. I have been working on the edge for Mountain Pines and added a few more rows to Fir Cone. Not enough to post a picture though. Tomorrow I will start to pick-back the 3 or 4 rows needed to fix the Peacock Feathers Shawl. Once I do, I know I can finish it up before Stitches West in Feb. Same for Mountain Pines. My reward will be to wear one of them to Stitches. Vanity, thy name is Jane! I smell like sugar at the moment. Must Shower!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Endless Edge

During the holidays I've only really been doing a little knitting. I'm almost done with one side of the Mountain Pines edging and I've added a few rows to the Fir Cone Shawl. I'm reading my backlog of books (see sidebar for new element to the old blog) and baking for the holidays. I'm going to have to take pictures of some of these things and post recipe's but I will do that on my other blog, Jane's Reality since it's not lace. Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holidays Taking All My Time (very little knitting of lace)

For those wondering if I'm doing any knitting at all, I have to say, not very much. I'm doing the edge for Mountain Pines as you can see. I'm mostly finishing my shopping, starting the baking and packaging book markers that will go to family members and friends as part of the gifts. This is the time to do for others rather than just a focus on my own pleasures. All the scarves for JS are done now, the gift baskets just have to be wrapped in plastic for the adult niece and nephews. There is a little on-line shopping still going on and I've left the dreaded trip to "Toys R Us" for the very last. The nice thing is that Thanksgiving will be at my sister-in-laws, sisters home this year. Millie will cook the turkey and we show up with our knitting along with our contribution to the food. This year my sister and I will bring pumpkin pie, turkey gravy (My sister is known as the 'Gravy Queen') and stuffing consisting of 3 types of bread, sausage, apple, chestnuts, etc. Very tasty and great with the from-scratch gravy my sister makes. It's an all-day affair and we watch video's and knit while the turkey cooks! Our hostess is very gracious and just remodeled her kitchen so it is now the Uber Kitchen for cooking. I can hardly wait to see it. I know it's beautiful because, along with being a highly talented woman, Millie has impeccable taste. I hope to do a lot more of the edging on this day.
I've also been writing a little for NaNoWriMo but it's not even close to 50,000 words which I guess they consider novel length. It's amusing in it's way but War and Peace it's not. I will finish it but not in the month of November! I'm almost done with Chapter 2 and will post that chapter on the link if I get it done in time.
Have a Wonderful Turkey Day!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nanowrimo and Mountain Pines Shawl (Lace and Writing)

So here it is. The Mountain Pines border. You asked for it, you got it. I wish it was a bit more impressive, but my photography skills don't show the pretty green color of this shawl. I will try to take a good picture once the shawl has been dressed. Things always look better in daylight and shawls never show to advantage until they have been washed/stretched. This is only the second shawl I've completed from yarn that I spun myself. It's not always as consistent as manufactured laceweight yarn, but it has a lot of character. This is not all of the fiber in this color that I have, by the way. I have now decided that I will spin more of this for a future shawl. I have not decided who will get this but I have acid-free paper I got at a quilting shop and I will wrap it up until i decide. The pattern calls for a narrow Vandyke edge (12 row repeat). I was thinking of changing it, but then it might be over-kill at this point. Once this shawl is done, there happens to be a second pattern in the same booklet called "Boundary Waters". It is a square shawl knit in one piece from the center and Is also very pretty. I happen to have some pretty blue yarn that I spun.....Well you get the idea. Since it appears that these patterns are no longer available from "Two Old Bags", (patterns were published under the name 'Wool You Order') I think it would be nice to have both of them. I'll dig up my blue yarn and make a swatch!

On a different note, I have joined National Novel Writing Month. I learned about this from the Akamai Knitter as well as from the blog of an author I like to read, Lilith Saintcrow. You have the opportunity to write a novel in the month of November. I believe the goal is 50,000 words. You can also do this by bloging that number of words I believe ( I'm going to try to write something though I doubt I will make it to 50,000 words. You can read a preliminary excerpt here.( It may be changed as I go along.

Until you are better paid.

Monday, October 30, 2006

You Know What I Like! (birthday gifts)

I'm at that age where I pretty much buy whatever I want for myself within reason. After all. I don't really like to wait for anything and I don't see why I should have to. That said, my friends and family really do know what I like. It's not the money, it's the thoughtfulness. See above some of the very wonderful things I got for my birthday. I particularly like the dog headed knitting needles (US 9-10) , the pretty bag for small knitting projects (from France no less), the radical rick-rack as well as the novel tape measures. All from my friend, Louise (that bastion of Basque-ness). She's been collecting these things over the whole year for me. You really cannot ask for a more thoughtful friend than that. The needle set from Knit-Picks is just one of the many many gifts I received from my sister. I can't say I lack for needles. I thought I had every size and every length until she got these for me with the additional/optional longer length cables so I have 45" and 60" cables. Day-am! I am a very lucky woman. It almost makes aging bearable:-) . The dishcloths and Ray Charles album (along with a nice Starbucks commuter mug not show and Starbucks Giftcard) are from my friend Cindy and her daughter BJ in Seattle and the Motown, well that was something I got for myself along with a large number of paperback "trash" novels I will put in the stockpile of books "to be read". Did I mention I hate to run out of either knitting or reading material?

Now don't think I haven't been knitting. I have, just not a heck of a lot of lace. I have only one more scarf to knit for JS and my servitude will be done. I have only 6 more rows to knit and the boarder for Mountain Pines will be done and I can begin knitting on the edging. That will take awhile since it takes 832 stitches to go all around the shawl. I screwed up the Peacock Feathers Shawl again and have to pick-back 3 or 4 rows so you won't be seeing that one for awhile. The WRS, is on hold so far. I may start back onto this eventually but it's a very slow knit for me. The Fircone Shawl is a no-brainer and I'm knitting this whenever I get bored with other shawls. It hardly counts. It's the "Holiday Slow-Down" where knitters go into semi-hibernation and go bake or cook or some such thing until spring. Darn those holidays! :-)

Until later!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Spider Queen Wanna-be's (Just beat me with a big stick why don't you?)

Yes, I know. Missalicefaye has already pointed out that I'm already doing a shawl with pretty darned fine yarn. But the navy yarn has both cashmere (65%) and silk (35%) and it is called the Spider Queen after all. Please see the swatch for the
second candidate for that particular shawl. The size is not much smaller on US 2 than the white cashmere (US 3) if you don't count the extra boarder stitches I added just because this is a swatch. Besides. The center panel of Spider Queen is easier than the WRS. No, really! So even if the yarn is thin, it will not be so painful to knit. Yes, I think this is the yarn I want to use. Now all I have to do is decide on color. In this weight and fiber content, I have 4 cones (see above). I'm leaning towards the Blue since it's a nice dark color and I haven't been knitting dark in any of the other shawls. I think it would be a nice change of pace. Still, no new shawl until I finish another one. That won't be happening for awhile because I have to knit a mans scarf out of Lion Brand "Wool-Ease" yarn for my friend JS. Of course, I could swatch "Heere Be Dragone". Swatches don't count you know. I think a heavier yarn is better for the definition of this pattern. Missalicefaye is using a Zepher for hers. Always a good choice if you ask me. Maybe I could ply my singles of purple cashmere for it? That is one thing I would not really do again, buy the singles in cashmere. I'd buy 2 or 3 ply only because the singles are not very strong in that fiber. In order to use this yarn, I now have to ply the singles. First I have to spin them onto bobbins and put in additional twist, then ply the singles from the bobbins. If I had bought singles that were designated for weaving, I wonder if it would still be necessary to add more twist or if I could have just plied directly from the cones (yarn for weaving already has extra twist for strength). Anyway, something I won't do again.

I must go knit that scarf now. Please let this be the last one JS. I'm begging here!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Screen Test for Spider Queen (Not all yarn is created equal)

Cashmere is really soft, really pretty. However, not all cashmere is created equal. I'm ready for my close-up Mr. De Mille. I went ahead and swatched the center panel of "Spider Queen". The white yarn is 100% cashmere knit on US 3 (this is what the pattern asks for for Spider Queen). I purchased it as singles from ColourMartUK on E-bay and plied it myself. The black background is the unwashed pin-out. The mill end cashmere has "oil" on it to facilitate its use in manufacturing and it has to be washed in order to "bloom". The blue background is the cashmere swatch washed out. It's much more fluffy and gives the knitting a more substantial (read not ethereal) look. While very very lovely against the skin, it is not going to make it as Spider Queen. Not when the "legend" attached to this shawl is all about how fine a thread that darned Fairy could spin! The blue Shetland Fern swatch is the 65% cashmere and 35% silk yarn. Also from ColourMartUK, knit on US 2. Pretty, a little fluffy but still light and airy. I'd have a smaller shawl (I didn't like this one on US 3) and it is not as soft to the touch. I have a few other yarns to look at before I have to decide. I'm not done with any of the other shawls yet so I have time.

Must go knit a man's scarf now.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Update (just to prove I actually do make some progress)

Yes, I know the shot of Peacock Feathers Shawl is blurry and you can't see what I've done, but I did not feel like taking it off the needles to pin it out. I am done with chart 6 and will begin chart 7. For those in the know, that means that I'm done with the small feathers in this shawl and will be starting the big feathers. Now, this shawl is knit with a yarn other than the one suggested on needles somewhat smaller than used in the original. This means a smaller shawl. Should I just go ahead and let it be smaller, or should I add either more small feathers or an additional row of large feathers? Should I really finish it off with crochet, and in that way learn a new craft since I don't know how to crochet, or should I choose another way to finish it? I kind of have something different in mind to do for the edge other than crochet, but I'm not sure if it will be a good idea or just weird. If I do something strange for the edge, I can always take it off if it really stinks. Anyone want to chime in with an opinion? Remember, I'm not artistic, just lucky when something comes out nice. Oh yeah, Mountain Pines is half-way through the boarder. What I thought was the "trees" was not the tree part. Still have not reached those darn trees but "almost" there. As for the "Fir Cone 3/4 Square Shawl", I've done 5 out of the 13 repeats of the pattern and it's dope-slap easy. A nice change from "agony" knitting. Now what, you ask, is that scarf doing on this "all lace all the time" blog? Let's just say I'm helping out a friend in need. For the details of the interruption in my knitting of lace, you can check my other site "Jane's Reality"( The closer it gets to the holidays, the more interruptions there will be in lace knitting I fear.

This is not to say that there are not tempting activity's out there on the internet. There is a nice group that is taking it's cue from the book "Twisted Sisters" and they are spinning/dyeing in order to make knitted garments. They call themselves Twisted Knitters ( It's awfully tempting but I have not sufficient time! I have the dreaded "Commitment-itis", fear of committing to a project for fear of inability to finish in time. Ah well... I'm off to knit on my very loud, very furry scarf.

That's all for now!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Old Dog....(New trick)

It's a wonderful thing, the internet. There is always someone who has information and is generous enough to want to share with others needing a hand-up with a knitting project. I've been wanting to make some of those doily patterns I have into shawls but needed to learn how to do a specific technique that I've never used before. I went in search of how-to information about the crochet cast-on for the center of a doily and found this site with a wonderful pictorial instruction of the technique. What you see in this picture is the end result, stitches that can be transferred to double pointed needles so circular knitting can begin. The information was posted on Bagatell's blog-site at, ( and is very helpful to those of use who are more visual in our learning. For the full set of instructions, go to:(

I have also started a very nice simple-minded pattern for a relief shawl. Its called "Fir Cone 3/4 Square Shawl" and can be found for free at, ( under the "Free Stuff" heading. The pattern is by Kate LeFevre and is one of those shawls that starts at the back of your neck and knits downward in the form of 3 triangles. You end up with a shawl that doesn't have a point hanging down your backside.

I'm knitting mine with Zepher (charcoal color, 50% merino wool, 50% tussah silk, US 4 Addi Turbo Needles) that I purchased while on vacation one year in Seattle. I love to buy yarn or patterns for knitting while on vacation. That way I can remember the great time I had while I'm knitting it, even if it was years later. I guess I'd call that a form of "tactile memory", only not in the traditional sense :-) This is alot of fun to knit, is growing by leaps and bounds on size US 4 compared to what I've been doing and only takes the one ball of yarn. It had better really only take one ball since I have no others and that trip was alot of years ago.

I know I was going to have my sister buy me knitting stuff for my birthday, but instead I'm getting a small "flat screen" TV for my bedroom. This might sound a little odd, but it's really a "good thing" as Martha Stewart would say. I like to watch/hear stuff my sister does not enjoy while I knit and this will make it possible for me to do it without bugging her or using my laptop computer to play DVD's. This means I can knit, have my computer on to catch up on knitting blogs, and have a DVD on at the same time. If I really want sensory over-load I can mute the TV and have a pod-cast on or the stereo on as well. Whew! None of this happens while knitting WRS however. When I knit that, I may only have music. I can't take the distraction.

It's now time to take me and my "monkey mind" off to other chores! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

One down (4 to go)

So I finished a shawl, but it's one of the" no-brainer", ones so I'm not sure it counts for very much in the way of completion. I think I have to replace it with another very simple shawl rather than a more challenging project. After all, not all the things you knit should threaten to give you an aneurysm everytime you go to pick it up! It doesn't justify starting, say, the Spider Queen. I will have to go through my pattern library and look for something suitable. Now I don't photograph well, but the close-up has about the right colors of this shawl. The yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. ( ). It's called Rio, is 100% rayon and the colorway is Lagoon (800 yds/8 oz). The pattern is "Simply Garter" , designer Judy Pascal for Contemporary Concepts. It drapes nicely but I really can't say I'd do this shawl again. For the time it took I think I'd rather be knitting something with a pattern in it.

WRS is currently stalled. I've been trying to finish Peacock Feathers Shawl and Mountain Pines first so I can stop looking at them. I also will need them for Christmas very likely as it is September ladies and gentlemen. I confess to swatching Spider Queen with some of my Cashmere/Silk at the suggestion of missalicefaye. What can I say? When she's right, she's right. Anyone who has not been to her site really should go have a look. Yes, I know. She has some really beautiful things done and she's working on the "Unst Shawl" by Sharon Miller. And I complain about the WRS! I shall bite my tongue from here on out. Which reminds me. On the Yahoo Group for those working with Sharon Miller patterns, they are saying that she has another book coming out soon. There are no pre-orders as yet, but I await the next book with great interest. Not that I will likely knit anything from it, but I do love to look at all the wonderful things I might do.

Progress report. I'm on row 67 of the Mountain Pines boarder (it goes to 99 rows then the edging is added). On Peacock Feathers Shawl I'm on row 167 (still in chart 6) with 4 more pattern rows before I end up with chart 7. WRS I'm still only half-way up the second repeat (where I stopped to concentrate on the other shawls). I plan to work on the Shetland Circular Shawl once I finish MP and PFS. I want all of them off the needles and gone so I can do some new things along with WRS which will be the perpetual challenge to my knitting tolerance for the next year. Thank the Lord that there is no time limit for WRS.

For those interested in doily patterns, missalicefaye put me onto a site, Yarn Over Lace, ( ) that has lots of nice patterns that have been translated into English. I plan to try one or two, but as shawls, not as doily's. I know there is a cast-on for the center ring but I've never done it. I believe it involves crochet, hence my limited experience in this area. Guess I'll have to learn something new :-)
I'm off to look at easy patterns right now (simple things for simple minds). Good evening to all!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Heere Be Dragone (Like I don't have enough to do)

Buying a pattern is not the same as knitting it. Honest! This very beautiful and clever pattern is by Sharon Winsauer, better known as the "Mistress of Knitting Pain" ( .

Yes, it's the infamous "Heere Be Dragone" pattern. It costs $12.00 and if you are within the USA there is no shipping or handling fee. If you are in Canada, it is $2.00 and it is $6.00 in Australia. She accepts personal checks (US only please) as well as Pay Pal, Master Card or Visa. If you mail an order into her and are using a credit card, she will need your Name, Phone number, Address on credit card account if it is different than your mailing address, Credit Card number, Expiration date as well as the 3 digit security code from the back of the credit card. You can contact her at Aurora Alpacas, 11020 N. Watson Rd. Bath, MI 48808 (517-641-6479). I just cut to the chase and sent her a check for the $12.00 and received my pattern very promptly I might add. Sharon also has some other very nifty patterns and she included her catalogue with my order. I'm providing this information because I just know others will want to make this shawl and if you go to her site like I did, you will not find any link to order this or her other patterns. Yes my pretties, you would then be forced, as I was, to contact her by e-mail for specifics. So there!

This pattern is 15 pages long, not including the pretty picture on the front which you see above. She has to print this picture to prove that it is possible to knit this shawl. Just beat me with a big stick someone. It would be less painful than it will be to knit this shawl. Sigh. Of course I have to finish a shawl before I can start this one. Same for Spider Queen. All the same, there is plenty of preliminary work to be done.

First will come the reading of the pattern to see if my feeble mind can comprehend it's slithering greatness. Then the quest for the right yarn shall begin throughout the kingdom of "Stash" well into the outer kingdom of "Retail Therapy" if no champion worthy to take up arms against this monster can be found locally. God help us!

I have joined the Yahoo Group KAL for this one too, though it will be awhile before I can start.

Short post today. I must pick back 4 rows of the Peacock. I dropped a stitch and it ran back 4 rows. Silk pretty, dropped stitches BAD!

Flirting with carpal tunnel, yours truly!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Joined a KAL for Peacock Feathers Shawl (maybe this will give me incentive!)

Sometimes it's nice to be able to knit along with others, but not really have to "get together". I just don't have time to get in a car and go somewhere to knit with others. I commute during the week so I thought I'd give the KAL at Yahool for the Peacock Feathers Shawl a try. I've never participated in a KAL before. The Wedding Ring Shawl can hardly count as it will take a year to finish (I'm half-way through the second repeat of the center panel). What I found is a nice group of people who are all interested in at least this one thing we share. I'm afraid no men have yet joined this group but I bet there will be some eventually. Of course, I had already started my shawl, many on the group have not yet begun, but it is actually encouraging me to keep up the knitting on it and not lose interest. I am now up to row 150 of the pattern. See above a pin-out of the work in progress. I had to transfer the work to longer circulars to pin this out but it was worth it for you to see it. Of course, I have at least one or two "Homer Simpson" fixes ie not perfectly done but, "Good Enough!" Since I'm using US 3 needles rather than US 4, it may be somewhat smaller but that's alright by me. I'm still working away on other projects and shawls but I will post those later. "Mountain Pine's" is still closer to completion than "The Peacock Feathers Shawl", but it also has a Vandyke edge that must be added at the end, and that always feels like an eternity to do. I may change the edging to something else of course, just so my shawl will not be exactly like everyone else's who has made this pattern.

Just so we are clear that I'm nuts. I have sent away for a new pattern that I saw on Criminy Jickets blog ( . It's called the "Heere Be Dragone" pattern. Yes, it is a triangle shawl with a dragon knit into it. I have a neice who loves dragons. You know where this is going of course. The only question now is what yarn to use so the dragon will show up nicely, and will this cause me to finally lose all of my remaining hair? Oh well. This means I must finish at least TWO shawls. One so I can do the Spider Queen and another so I can do the Dragone. Very little spinning will be happening because I must use every spare moment to knit!

Until I have more to show or more to say, Good Evening Friends!

Monday, September 04, 2006

3 Day Weekends (where did the time go?)

I didn't really knit that much this weekend in spite of the 3 day holiday. I spent part of it with the family and I just can't knit well when I'm around others. It's too distracting. I've been making an effort to work on the "Mountain Pines" shawl however. I really want to finish it so I can work on "The Spider Queen". I know, I know. The deals knitter/spinners make with themselves are often baroque and without real meaning to anyone but ourselves. I really must finish a shawl so I can start another shawl? What kind of whacked logic is that? Still that's the deal. I can swatch "Spider Queen" but not really knit it until I finish something. The yarn I spun for MP does not show to advantage in these flash shots. When It's done, I'll try to get an outdoors shot that shows the subtle nature of the colors. While I look at this shawl with a critical eye, I can see some parts of the yarn that are thinner than they should be, fatter than they should be in some locations. When I was younger this would have driven me crazy but now that I've exceeded the "half century" mark, I think I can live with the irregularity. I'm up to row 47 of the border (it's 99 rows total, then you knit on an edge) and I'm about to start the "Pine Trees" that are in the border of this pattern. It's silly to get off on that aspect of the knitting I know, but I get a kick out of seeing the motifs take shape.

I'm working on the second repeat of the WRS center panel and it's still something I can knit for only 1-4 rows before having to stop and do something else. It may be the fact that the row of stitches is quite long and each row of pattern itself is also quite long. This pattern differentiates between decreases that are left and right leaning decreases (darned dyslexia) so it takes me more time to read/knit each decrease stitch. In contrast I was swatching "Spider Queen" and it does a standard K2 tog for all decreases. Knitting this is very easy as a result. If anyone is considering making a Shetland Shawl, I'd suggest doing Hazel Carter's patterns first before trying Sharon Millers as a starting point because of this aspect of the knitting. Just my opinion of course! I check in on the Yahoo Group for knitters making Sharon Miller patterns and some of the others on that group suggested I just do K2 tog for all the decreases if it's that big a deal for me. Since the yarn I'm using is so fine, it might not be very noticeable that I'm doing left or right slanting decreases but it's hard to change what I'm doing now that I've started out one way.

Just a mention here about perspective. Once you start knitting with Gossamer weight yarn, all the other laceweight looks and feels like you are knitting with rope. I Swatched Spider Queen with some Zepher I had around the house using a US 3 needle. I just couldn't get into it at that weight. "Spider Queen" implies use of a pretty darned fine yarn. I will go through the stash and examine what I have for candidates.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Circular Shawl from Doily Pattern Part Deux (Are we channeling someone?)

For those still interested in making a circular shawl from a doily pattern I have a couple more suggestions. You can, of course, do what Meg Swanson did for that circular shawl she made in "A Gathering of Lace" . That would be the "Spanish Peacock Shawl". She made it on really big needles, about size US 10, added additional repeats of the pattern and finished with a lace edge from Barbara Abbey's "Knitted Lace". If you got the most recent Knit Picks Catalogue (Fall 2006) which I got today, the one with the black and white sweater and portable magnetic board on the front, you will see on page 44 that there are several circular shawls that were adapted from patterns published by Gloria Penning. I pulled out my copies and found the "Rona" pattern in my copy of "Danish Lace Treasures" which featured the work of Anna Marie Jensen and was published by Gloria Penning. The original was done with # 30 cotton and with US 0 needles and ended up 33 inches in diam. The doily had 153 rows ending with a crochet edge. The version in Knit Picks looks very much like the original but, according to the ad, is now knit on size US 5 and ends up 52" in diam using "Alpaca Cloud".

These shawls are circular, not more than 360 degrees, so block out flat. Very pretty. Check out that Knit Picks catalogue!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Circular Shawl from Doily Pattern (Actually, more than 360 degrees)

There has been interest in how to make a circular shawl from a doily pattern. There is an article from the Spring '95 Knitter's Magazine on how to do this if you want to go to the source material. The article is by JoAnne Besold and is titled "More than Circular". She took a doily pattern and used larger and larger diameter needles to make the shawl bigger. The result is a nice circular shawl that ends up being more than 360 degrees in circumference. As a result, it actually stays put on your shoulders. I've made several in the past and they really did stay on my friends shoulders without always falling off. Especially if made in a cotton or linen.

How To

Select a doily pattern that is at least 75 rows long (90 rows is better) or one that was originally 18" to 20" in diameter. You will need about 1,000 yards of laceweight yarn for an elbow length shawl and aprox. 1,500 yards for a 62" diameter shawl. (She showed examples of "Snowflake" from Gloria Penning's Knitted Heirloom Lace II to which she added an additional lace edging, also knit "Snow-on-the-Mountain, a Coats and Clark pattern and added beads to the points at the ends)

Cast on with a size US 5 needle. Work a 3 inch radius in the pattern.
Change to US 6 needle. Work until 1/3 of the doily pattern is done.
Change to US 8 needle. Work another 1/3 of the doily pattern.
Change to size US 10 or 10.5 needle and finish the pattern.

If your pattern will allow it, and if you want the shawl longer, add a knit lace edging to the shawl either with the US 10 or larger needle.

Wash/block (I actually did not block flat because mine was more than 360 degrees. I folded the shawl in half and then blocked it more like in a crescent shape).

If you have a pattern you like, but it is not enough rows, it is suggested that you might knit "relief" rounds into the pattern to lengthen the pattern
Purl one round, Knit 3 rounds, (YO K2tog) for 1 round, Knit 3 rounds, Purl 1 round, Knit one round.

That is essentially it. If you don't already have any doily patterns, there are a lot of nice ones available. Gloria Penning has some very pretty one's at her site at ( You could also check out some of the free pattern sites as well.

That's it for now. Good Luck with it if you decide to give it a try! Let me know how it works out.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Not bad for a Mill End (Cashmere/Silk from ColourMart)

Not bad. Not bad at all. See above the Cashmere/Silk I purchased from ColourMart on E-Bay. (see sidebar for link). If you go to the site and click the Cashmere/Silk, you will see that there are still 4 colors left (White sold out). There is about 5,000 yards of yarn on each cone and it's very reasonable considering the cost at other retail shops for something comparable. This was knit on US 1 needles then washed/blocked. It holds it's shape well and once the "oil" was washed off, it still had a shine with a nice "halo" of cashmere. You can look above and compare it to the previous swatches of Cordonet crochet cotton, Shetland Cobweb and Silk I knit before and see that it's soft like the Shetland Cobweb but , in natural light, still has the sheen of the silk without that "crispy" quality that I was not fond of in the 100% silk. What did I wash it in you ask. You already know. I used shampoo because it's what I had around. This is not expensive stuff but I promise to use something better to wash it with if I knit a shawl with it.

I finished a baby sweater. Still have to sew buttons onto it before I can post it to "Janes Reality". Why even tell you I finished this since it's not lace? Because, I promised not to start another lace shawl until I finished something. Well, I finished something! Actually, I have to finish a shawl before I can start another shawl, but it makes for less clutter to have completed something. I've got this thing where I am loath to finish a project. I get real close then sometimes I stop knitting. If anyone else has this problem let me know. What do you do to give yourself incentive? Now that the baby sweater is done, I just have to finish the Mountain Pines shawl (it's the closest to being finished of the shawls.) My reward for finishing that shawl and this baby sweater is that I get to make "The Spider Queen" shawl! I must ask missalicefay what type of yarn she used on her's. It asks for US 3 needles. I tried swatching a gossamer yarn with the US 3 and it did not look good to me. It looked too spindly. I have some 2 ply cashmere, I have some cream colored Zepher. Heck, if it comes to that I have stuff from all over I could be using.(see past post for examples of "stash" of laceweight I have stock piled) Anyone have any suggestions? My own hand-spun yarn is not ready yet. I have a heck of a lot of spinning to do before I can use that for anything.

Now, my birthday is in the fall and my sister is willing to buy me whatever I might like to have in the way of knitting/spinning stuff. I will not have her buy me yarn or fiber because I have tons of that already so I'm looking at patterns, knitting software and knitting books. Now this is not to say that I don't have a lot of patterns and books. I do, but since I have so much darned yarn it is not unreasonable to want a few more patterns. I'm eyeing that "Victorian Lace" book but I really need to see it first to see if it is worth the money. There are two very nice patterns at Sharon Millers Heirloom Knitting site (see side bar) # 1 the "Unst Bridal Shawl" and #12 the "Spring Shawl" that I will ask for. I'd love to make them and since the "Princess Shawl" pattern will not be re-issued until possibly next year, these would be nice to do in the mean time. So many patterns, so little time! I just picked up "Legends of the Shetland Seas" from Blackberry Ridge by Hazel Carter ,as well as "Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl" by Sivia Harding Knit Design and the 'Shetland Lace Patterned Faroses Shawl" from Heartstrings (see sidebar for link). These are not as massive as the "Wedding Ring Shawl" and will be nice to knit as relief. If anyone has any patterns to suggest (I may be buying "Violets by the Sea" as well), let me know.

Hello I must be Going!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm not always Sisyphus (progress does get made from time to time)

The Circular Shetland Shawl from "A Gathering of Lace" has forced me to become a clone of Sisyphus. I have to re-knit the "Madeira Lace" section over again. Sigh! Still, a lot of my other projects have been coming along better. The Peacock Shawl is up to row 127 but is too crunched up on the needles to take a picture of right now. The Mountain Pines is up to row 35 of the boarder pattern and is looking pretty good. Last, but not least, I have finally completed one full repeat of the WRS! Now to do it 5 more times and then end with rows 1-40 for the center. I've been checking out different sites and there are a number of people working with this pattern. Some of this knitters are really going flat out and knitting up a storm while some others are more my speed. Quite a few are using the Silk which I could not manage to knit well with. I'm not giving up on that silk, just not using it for the WRS. I tested my merino singles that I was spinning to see if they would hold up to knitting by themselves. Nix, Nope, Nein. It's not bad, but not strong enough to knit on it's own. I will end up plying it into a nice lace weight yarn. So will I give it up? Hah! I have been checking out sites to buy shetland wool:)

I did take a break in order to catch up on some reading. I'm savoring the latest book by one of my very favorite authors, Lilith Saintcrow. It's the second book in her urban fantasy series with Necromancer, Dante Valentine, "Dead Man Rising". Dante is not just armed on the cover, she has a whip,gun and a sword and she knows how to use them darn it! Don't piss her off! Just love it! I also picked up a nice new edition of selected poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay. It's part of the "American Poets Project". I love her work, always have. I even have a few very lovely first editions of her published poetry. This way I feed both my violent and gentle sides!

Have a wonderful evening!

The "Old Yeller" option (my sisters cure for big mistakes)

There are times where a piece of knitting must be extensively frogged back or ditched entirely because of terminal FUBAR. My sister recently referred to this as the "Old Yeller" option or her less politically correct comment of "Sometimes you just have to shoot the horse." Yes, we are mixing metaphors, but what the heck, it's my blog! I had started the Shetland Circular Shawl from "A Gathering of Lace" months ago and stopped. Why? Because there was his honking huge error that I found about 1/3 of the way down the almost finished shawl. Usually I just bite the bullet and rip, but I was trying to do the limbo and "fix" it. Needless to say, I couldn't repair it. So there it sat on the needles, moldering away until a midnight hot-flash had me up and ripping it. Sorry Old Yeller. These comments may be too harsh for all of the lace knitters out there, but this is a part of knitting. Some Homer Simpson mistakes may stay, the rest must go.

Sleep Deprived but Happier!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Turtle and the Hare (slow and steady goes The Wedding Ring Shawl)

Yeah yeah. So I'm slow. Blah Blah Blah. I'll still have a shawl at the end! Now let me be totally, brutally honest. This shawl has mistakes in it. Of course, I didn't show any of those in the photograph :) These mistakes are "Homer Simpson" mistakes. "Good Enough!" As my friend Louise would say "A man on horseback's not gonna see them!" The person who will receive this shawl will not only not care that there are mistakes, she will not even know they are there. I will know where they are and will point out every last one of them to her when the time comes but she, bless her soul, will not care one whit. In fact, she will cherish the mistakes because I made them. Go figure. Since this is the very first Sharon Miller pattern I will ever have made, I don't really mind a few mistakes. And it's the first piece of "knitted lace" (ie. pattern every row) I've ever made as well , so there has been a learning curve. Now these are not huge mistakes. Those types of mistakes I made early on and I threw out those first efforts. These I can live with. I hope by the time I finish this one, I will be able to buy the pattern for the "Princess Shawl" which should, I believe, be re-issued in 2007, and do it justice. That's another one I really want to make!

Has anyone out there used a knitting software program called "Stitch & Motif Maker"? I've been looking at it because I want to mess around with lace pattern combinations. If anyone has had experience with that program please do tell! Inquiring minds want to know! It would be nice to be able to make up a few things on my own and then post them if they turn out. If anyone knows of a better design program, let me know!

Must go read now. Yeah I know I should be knitting ,but a change of pace every once in awhile is refreshing and I usually knit better after a little break!

Good Evening all!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Catch-Up (knitting lull)

When I was on vacation I did not knit. That is not to say I did not buy yarn however. Before I left for the lovely city of Seattle, I went on line and purchased at obscenely low prices, two cones of lace weight yarn. The Pink is a 2 ply Cashmere and the White is a 60/40 blend of Cashmere and Silk. You can see scale on the dimes (left pink/right white). They are quite nice though you can't really see the character of the yarn until you wash off the "oil" they use on it to make it easier for their Mill's to handle. These again are "Mill Ends" and I think they are not a bad alternative to more expensive lace weight yarns . Most especially for a lace knitting freak like me! They also sell other weights of yarn for knitting or for weaving. ( . I will put this link in my side-bar because I really like it for bargain yarn. They are very nice, deliver in a timely fashion and the goods are as advertised. Be aware however, you must really study the information that describes the yarns so you have a good idea as to how fine the yarn is, how many plys if any, and if it is for knitting or was originally manufactured for weaving. The yarns for weaving are more tightly spun so will twist more. This may not be a big issue for those who are making shawls using the tightly spun cobweb weight yarns and are accustomed to the over-twist issue. The merino yarn I purchased while visiting my friend, Jerry on Bainbridge Island. I got this instead of the "Kid Silk Haze" that was beside it because I liked the color. And also, see a shot of the wheels my sister and I have at home. I'm posting these because poor Jason had to search my other site to see them. As often happens, knitters become spinners and visa versa. Jason has it bad for spinning right now. He will soon learn, as have all of us, that it only feeds the knitting addiction :)

Now I must be knitting!