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.