Saturday, December 29, 2007

Stash Enhancement and the International Shawl (4 blind women and an elephant)

Not that I need more yarn in my stash, but sometimes you just have to break down and give in to the need to have your very own version of a "Lace Yarn Store" in your home in order to adequately "Shop" from your stash for projects that catch your fancy. Other times, people just feed your addiction without realizing that you are a yarn/fiber junkie. The lovely Alpaca with a Twist "Fino" is yarn that was given to me by Millie. She let me have it when she realized she did not really fancy it for the project she had in mind. I love it and it is a great stash addition since I don't have that much in black. The Whisper is a nice merino lace weight I got at ImagiKnit in San Francisco while waiting for a friend to get a pattern. Those LYS are lethal to the pocketbook because there is no such thing as "just looking". Yes, I know it's variegated. I'm thinking something very simple to make best use of the colors shifting. Something as a break to my other projects. The cone of yarn is from ColourMart and is a 3/45 Cashmere/Silk. The color is "Japanese Maple" and it's the perfect shade of red. I just bid on E-Bay for a Niebling pattern that I want to knit in this.

Last, but not least, I got a message on Ravelry from Queer Joe asking if I had ever considered knitting with yarn from Black Bunny. Well, of course I had but had never been fortunate enough to get my hands on any of her lace weight yarns. She is consistently sold-out on her Etsy site and she also never had quite enough yardage for me in a single color-way. Joe, being the smart man he is, suggested I place an order for the color/fiber content and yardage I wanted. It was really easy and Carol at Black Bunny graciously dyed me 2 skeins of superfine alpaca in "Teal" 2,480 yds/8 ounces/skein. I am in heaven! She has such a lovely eye for the colors.

So which comes first? Chicken or Egg? When you have the yarn does it inspire you to knit a particular pattern or does the pattern come first? For me, it's more like the stars align and you suddenly have a project. Well folks, that is why I am now knitting the "International Shawl" (working title). This is a concept that was germinated over the holidays by 4 knitters with too much time on their hands :-) The gang consists of fleegle, yorksett, missalicefay and me . I can't recall who started it. It was either fleegle or yorksett, but the idea is that we all knit a shawl using lace patterns from 4 different countries/sources. E-mails flew fast and thick and so far, we sort of agreed to a Niebling center from book 2 of the "Knitted Lace Designs of the Modern Mode" books Naoko Ichida (German or Japanese depending on your view), a band of Myrtle Leaf lace from "Victorian Lace Today" by Jane Sowerby (English/British) and then we get to figure it out from there on our own from perhaps Estonian and Russian lace.

So it is that I took my beautiful Black Bunny superfine alpaca lace weight yarn and started the center for the International shawl. I have a B&W picture of the center from the book and a shot of my progress so far (row 52) I have ordered the Estonian lace book that I don't own and it will be mailed to me very soon. There is a nice blog "Estonian Lace Project" that has samples of the lace from that book knit up so people can see them in case you'd like to take a look. I'm checking out my copy of "The Gossamer Webs Design Collection" by Galina Khmeleva for ideas for the "Russian" lace.

So it's back to juggling projects for the terminally menopausal at Casa de las lacefreak. But then, that's what makes it so much fun :-)

Happy New Years to Everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Legends Blocked (Another one bites the dust!)

This project was started because I joined "Spun Stitches" a Spin/Knit-a-long in June 2007. I used my single treadle Schacht wheel to spin fiber from Lisa Souza. One single in BFL and one in Merino both in her "Petroglyph" colorway, then plied them on my sisters Majacraft Rose using the lace flyer with the large core bobbins. I did this because I wanted something a little bit stronger than just plied merino. I ended up with a lace weight yarn at approx. 36 WPI that was really quite soft and had good strength. I then knit "Legends of the Shetland Seas" by Hazel Carter using 2.5 mm needles with a modified edging and finished blocking it today :-) I really do like how it came out this time. Now I can continue working on the edge for the Sampler Stole. I know I can't finish it before the end of the year, but I can at least make some headway. I can't justify starting anything new until that one is done. I have even put aside my pretty Princess edging (yes, more edging) until that one is done. So, in the nick of time, I have finished one more thing before the end of 2007. You have all been very patient and supportive and I want to wish everyone out there a Happy Holiday and a Wonderful New Year! See you all in 2008!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Legends of the Shetland Seas Edging (Can she finish one more thing before Christmas?)

I've been working on my "Legends of the Shetland Seas" stole since this is close to being done. I'm also going to work on the Sampler Stole edge as well even though I'm not fond of those color shift in that one. The colors in the "Legends" stole are a little bit smoother. Everything else is going to wait since I'd really like to be done with these two before the end of the year if possible. It's really tough to get the pictures to show the color of this shawl since most of the time I'm shooting with flash at night, having used the daylight hours for the actual knitting. I figure I'd try to finish these two since everyone has been very patient with how long it takes me to actually complete a project. End of year eye-candy would be a nice way to finish off 2007 if possible. I'm almost done with shopping and wrapping gifts but way behind in trying to bake anything. There's a kind of interesting project shaping up for next year, but I will wait to post about it when it's a little better defined. Until then, if you don't hear from me for a few weeks it's because I'm swamped for the holidays as I imagine you all might be as well. I remind myself to have fun while I'm running off to buy more butter and sugar and I hope you all remember to enjoy yourselves as well as the year runs down. I promise to post the Legends of the Shetland Seas stole once it's done. See you guys in a few weeks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Winter Slow Down (Row 73 of Salmon Queen)

Short post since my knitting is suffering the usual "Winter Slow Down" as I run around shopping and preparing for holiday baking. I have 26 points on the edge for the Princess, I'm on row 73 of the Salmon Queen doily a you can see above. I have a close shot of the "crossed stitches" that you see in lots of the Niebling patterns that he looks like he puts in for texture. I continue to slowly put more edging on the Sampler Stole. I decided to leave in the abrupt color changes in the edge since it I have no desire to have to weave in multiple ends and anyone who gets this yarn might as well see that this is something it does. I spend more time planning next years projects rather than starting new ones. I have plenty to work on in the mean time :-) Good Evening and Good Knitting!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving/Knitting (Why does that shawl smell like turkey?)

Yeah, I know it's not a picture of lace but it is what has been taking up time today. My sister and I have been enlisted to do Thanksgiving for our little neices since our sister-in-law is out of the country for her job this week, and this is one of two large pans of dressing.When you have to help out at Thanksgiving, it's not always about you and the lace knitting. People expect turkey, dressing, pies. You get the idea. Still, it is possible to slip in a little bit of knitting while ordering Xmas presents on-line and running out to get that last minute bag of sugar or flour. I'm slowly getting there with the Princess edge (20 points), the Sampler Stole edge crawls along and has those annoying color transitions I suspected would happen (I'm going to leave them however because it's for the folks at Yarn Place) and I have started the other end of the Legends Stole. Not working on Salmon Queen right now. That's for after Thanksgiving I think. For those who noticed that the Peacock Shawl has gone missing from my pictures, I took some good advice from Laritza and asked someone on Ravelry who liked the shawl if she wanted to have it to finish. It is now on it's way to Australia. I'm very happy about that and now can concentrate on my remaining projects without that albatross around my neck!
As I type this, apple pies are in the oven, pumpkin pies are next, and the year just rushes towards it's demise without pause. Time for me to slow down a bit and try to enjoy the holidays. My knitting always slows a little this time of year and it gives me a chance to think about next years projects. I wonder if you have noticed, as I have started to notice, that my taste in lace projects has been changing? It's going to be interesting next year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2007

You Can't Knit Just One Niebling ("Lachskonigin" AKA "Salmon Queen" Doily)

Just a short post since this is, for me, a three day weekend. Did I mention that I can't knit just one lace project at a time? Some get finished sooner than others and some, like the Peacock Shawl, are destined to never be finished by me (maybe someone else will get this project). However, this never stopped me from casting on more lace. See above the start of "Lachskonigin" also known as "Salmon Queen" for some reason. It's another Niebling doily that I bought from doilyhead and you can see a picture on her Flicker Site here . I did the center on US 0000 and then switched to US 000 ( I have ordered circulars in US 0000 and even smaller but they have not arrived yet). I'm using my favorite thread Flora #50. Too bad they stopped making that size of Flora but I have been stashing it so I have enough there to keep me going for a long time.
Also, what do you all do about those large chart inserts in the Anna and Burda magazines? I started buying those old magazines on E-Bay and some of the inserts are "crispy" with age. Now, I'm not collecting magazines for their value as antiques. These are not "first editions" folks. I buy them because many of those darned Niebling patterns have yet to be re-published and I want to knit them! But I was concerned that I would just plain not be able to read the patterns in some of these old magazines or they would just crumble when I went to go Xerox them in the future, they are that old. So what did I do? I scanned them and then cut and pasted them together. I then used plastic laminating sheets on top of these scans to preserve the print. You get a huge sheet and I roll them up until I need them. You can see from the last picture that I also will cut out a pattern and label them when I want to use them. I can stick highlighter tape on these patterns and I can save them for later as well. I keep them in a large, flat, cheap art portfolio. I could just scan them and save them to a disc I guess but I always did like to be able to flip through pages and patterns with my hands. Old dog getting older here :-)
Good Evening and Good Knitting!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Princess Shawl Re-issue (Madness. Sheer Madness)

My yarn selection for the Princess Shawl has arrived (sound of jumping up and down). ColourMart 3/45 Cashmere Silk in deep lavender. Knitting on 2.00 mm (US 0) needles, I'm working on the edging. I have to make 85 points. It's a whole lot easier to knit with this yarn than what I choose for the WRS and much more of a pleasure. I have also finished one end of the "Legends of the Shetland Seas" stole as you can see above. Now for the other end and then, you guessed it, more edging. I'm not even going to bother to post the Sampler Stole edge until I finish one side. All this knitting is really quite nice, but I am still longing for another Niebling project. Does that mean I'm an addict? Maybe just a small doily....I must go knit now!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Swatching for the "Princess Shawl" (What do you mean I don't have enough yardage?)

The Princess Shawl pattern is being mailed to me and so I am trying to anticipate what I might use to knit this shawl. I went to the Heirloom Knitting Site to check out yarn recommendations and yardage only to end up a little confused. The yardages and needle sizes are all over the map. Now I'm trying to use my stash for this and it matters to me that I don't run out of yarn for this shawl because some of the yarn is no longer available. If I run out of one of those, I'm up the creek so to speak. Hence my trepidation.

Above I have a few swatches from my stash. In the top picture on the left hand side you have Lacis Tussah Silk 60/2 knit on US 000 (cone holds 5,600 yards). Pleasant to knit, a little "sticky" rather than slick, nice drape. Goes over the joins of my Addi Turbo needles very nicely and it's strong. If I ran out, it is still available. Downside, not very soft :-( My sister liked this one the best. On the right I have ColourMart 50/50 Cashmere/Silk from ColourMart 3/84 NM 4,600 yards on this cone. It feels amazing, knits nicely, has a lovely halo and also goes over the joins without any problem. Downside. If I run out of yarn, there is no more in this color to be had :-( Both these yarns are reasonable in cost.

Next picture. All these were also knit on US 000 needles. On the left I have swatched Habu orgazine degummed silk which is indigo dyed (NS-18J, 21d/102 colour # 5) Strong, lovely to look at, great body not at all limp, blocked and stayed blocked, soft, shimmery, and not nearly enough of it for Princess Shawl. I'd have to buy about 3 thousand more yards if I want to do the Princess in this. Downside. drop a stitch and it wants to run away :-( On the right side you have ColourMart 65/35 cashmere/silk 2/60 NM and 5,000 yards on the cone.Pretty nice to knit though it wants to split a little, pretty colors, blocked OK. Downside. If I run out there is no more to be had. It's also kind of light in weight and sort of wants to stick to me with all that hair. :-( Maybe it would drape better if it was a large piece of knitting but all in all I'd rather knit with the ColourMart 3/84 instead for this project.

Last picture. I just put a swatch of Colourmart smooth silk. It's the one on the site from a french mill with 4 plies. It's too big and the wrong color for this project. It's out of the running but I put it next to the 2/60 cashmere/silk for you to see how much bigger it is from the others. That would look nice for something that requires sections of solid knitting to flesh out a motif, like a Niebling.

As for yardage estimates they vary with needles, what you select to knit with and are confusing to me to figure out if would have enough if I knit from the stash.

Original was knit with DMC Crochet Cotton # 70 on 2.25/UK13/US 0 or US 1. It says they used 13/20gm balls at 330m/20gm ball (4,290 meters or 4,692 yds). Based on this, you would think I'd need less yardage on smaller needles so I could use stuff from the stash. However, other estimates vary from 5,150 meters using Shetland Supreme 1 ply on 1.5mm/UK16/US 000 or US 0000. Using Gossamer Merino they suggest 4,800 meters on 2.00 or 2.25mm needles and for the Cashmere Silk (70/30) using 1.50mm needles you are supposed to get 5,800 meters of yarn.

So ultimately I'm still undecided but it's fun to swatch. If you want to see more swatches you could go over to fleegle and see what she's tried out :-) She gives lots of information and you really get to see that not all gossamer yarns are equal once they are knit up, in spite of their similar weights! By next post I hope to have done one end of the Legends of the Shetland Seas Shawl and have started the other end. It goes without saying that I am trying to avoid the edging for the Sampler Stole but I promise I will eventually finish it. For those wondering about the Peacock Shawl it's slated for de-construction this weekend. Why you ask? Because I cast-on something else this year if I get rid of it, that's why! Hmmmm. I wonder what that project might be? Good evening and good knitting!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Frosted Fern AKA "Oakie Dokie" Blocked (Is it my imagination or are the doilies getting bigger?)

Here it is. Frosted Fern (AKA "Oakie Dokie" for the Niebling Yahoo Group knit-along) is finished and I decided to give it a picot edge because my sister said that the original edge on the free pattern looked too much like "Rick-Rack". Center knit with US 00 and the rest on US 0 in Cebelia # 30 in a pretty shade of blue. It is a little dark pinned out because it's still wet. This 121 row doily is free on the internet and I have a link listed in my left side-bar under the "Stuff" section. Now I can concentrate on finishing the edge for the Sampler Stole, finish the Legends of the Shetland Seas and work more on the WRS. I did find US 00 needles at The Knitting Zone thanks to Fleegle and missalicefaye. They do have nicer joins so I bought some to transfer my WRS to and the stitches slide much easier on this. They should make working on it much nicer so now I think I could actually finish this shawl. I plan to work mostly on existing projects to try to finish them rather than start new ones. This is due to the fact that I tend to be so busy during the holidays that knitting tends to slow down what with baking etc. Of course, this assumes I don't get a florid case of "startitis"or something. Of course, I will be buying my copy of the "Princess Shawl" when it comes out next month but I think that this would be a great shawl to start the new year with. I did pick up a few more colorful shawl pins on E-Bay as you can see above.. I'm afraid I have a weakness for them though that green one starts to remind me of "Knit Picks" needles a little bit. Still, it looks good stuck into the "Boundary Waters" shawl and that's what counts!

One last comment about the Boundary Waters Shawl and Mountain Pines Shawl. The Two Old Bags have re-issued both patterns for those out there who wanted to have a copy. If you click on the hyper-link on their name, you will go there. Finis! Have a great evening!