Friday, March 30, 2007

My Sisters Lace Project (Stitches West Lace Infection)

My sister knits socks as a rule. It's not that she can't knit anything else. It's just fun to knit socks. I imagine the allure of a short but satisfying project in many unique and colorful yarns that provides immediate gratification must appeal to lots of people. Not everyone is as masochistic as those who knit interminable lace projects. However, there is always the odd infection of lace that happens. This one was not due to my knitting of lace but due to our recent trip to Stitches West where my sister picked a pattern for a lace shrug. The pattern is from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farms. The Illuminated Oriels Shrug. Designed by Zuzanna Woods and purchased at Stitches West from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farms. If you link out to the site however, you won't find that pattern. They do have nice yarns and colorways but we did not buy yarn there for this shrug. Instead, this is knit by my sister out of yarn I spun last year. Fiber was "Tiger Eye" from Three Bags Full purchased at Carolina Homespun. Spun on my single treadle Schacht wheel at 19-20 WPI in a color I usually don't gravitate to. I think I was bored with my usual colors and broke out with this. There are nice yellow slubs in the yarn that you really can't see in these pictures. This section is the back of the shrug. Stitches are picked up along both sides and knit outwards so that the design is at a 90 degree angle to the back for the sleeves. It's turning out nicely so far. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pick-up Stitches (Round and Round We Go)

Well, I caught a little natural light at the tail end of the day today since I didn't get caught too badly in the commute so I was able to pick-up the stitches for The Wedding Ring Shawl. As you can see, it will require me to do the limbo to show you border shots because it now looks like a cheesecloth bag for straining jelly. I did manage to transfer it to longer circular needles (Inox once again). I've actually gotten used to using the Inox and if I buy those Knit Picks needles or the new Addi Lace needles, I will try them out on something else in gossamer weight first. I also gave you a shot of the work on top of the enlarged version of the border chart that I made. I obscured the pattern on purpose because I don't think I'm allowed to show the pattern on my blog. Color me fearful of copy write infringement. Anyway, did I mention my vision has never been great? Do the words "coke bottle bottom lenses" mean anything to you? These days I pay many many dollars for high-tech super thin lenses so they are not as heavy to wear and look a lot less unattractive, but that doesn't make my eye-sight any better. I attached the blown-up pattern to cardboard and then covered the pattern with SelfSeal Repositionable laminating sheets of plastic so I can use my very large post-it notes under each line without having the print come off. Now for phase 2 for The Wedding Ring Shawl, the border. I'm actually looking forward to it but there are no mistakes allowed because having to pick back thousands of stitches to fix it is just not an option. This is going to be slow and I can only knit it when fully awake. That may mean less week-night knitting and more weekend knitting after a good nights sleep. We shall see. Also above I have some photos of my Flower Basket Shawl which I transferred to my very pretty and lovely to use glass knitting needles from Sheila & Michael Ernst. I have 4 more pattern repeats before I can start the edge for that shawl and I'm really enjoying these needles. At first, I was a little concerned I would snap them since I am a little up-tight with knitting at times, but I managed to lighten-up on my strangle-hold on my knitting and now they work really well. The join between the needle and the clear plastic tubing they use for the cable section has the same issue as the Inox needles. For both, you have to ease the stitches over the slight bump, but in the weight of yarn I'm using, it's not really an issue (Koigu). The pointy needle tips more than make up for any slight inconvenience I may have experienced with the join.
Good Knitting!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Boundary Waters Shawl (A Short Intermission)

Just a quick post so you can see what I knit when I need a break from the Wedding Ring Shawl. US 6 needles. Even with the variegated yarn I really can't complain. Up to row 115 (464 stitches so far). Someone mentioned that they had not seen this or Mountain Pines knit up. I think it's because it's a pretty old pattern. There is one site from 2003 "Color Joy" that shows a finished Boundary Waters shawl. But that's the only example I've found so far. I looked at the edge of the WRS so I can figure out how hard it will be to pick up all those stitches and I think I will need an afternoon of uninterrupted peace and quiet to manage it. We shall see! I have been remiss in checking or posting at the Heirloom Knitting site or Shawl Knitters site so I did short posts there. Just not enough time to do it all I fear. I hope I won't make you all wait for posts as long as the last time. Good Evening !

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cheesecloth or Shawl? It's your call. (The Wedding Ring Shawl Center)

Actually, the cheesecloth is cleaner than the center of The Wedding Ring Shawl at the moment. It's amazing how dirty your hands get the yarn over months of handling it. Finally, the center is done. I'm not much with the digital camera so these are not the best pictures but here it is at last. Over-all I'm pleased with the center. Yes, it's not perfect. That makes it an accurate reflection of it's maker :-) I didn't want to over-stretch this so it only measures about 30 inches across at this time. I have no idea what it will block to. Knit on US 0 needles with cobweb weight Shetland singles from Lacis in Berkeley this shawl will definitely be "For show, not for blow" as my friend Louise would say. Unlike Mountain Pines, this is not a shawl I will be wearing to next years Stitches West even if I do finish it. I'm too frightened to catch it on something. This is the best it will look for awhile because once I pick up and start knitting the boarder, you will not be able to see much though I may be able to post sections like missalicefaye has done with her own Wedding Ring Shawl (you really have to go and look if you haven't been keeping up with her progress!)

Once again, I want to thank missalicefaye for knitting the Wedding Ring Shawl or I would never have picked mine back up after I stalled. You are a terrific inspiration! I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have been taking the time to blog about their own knitting experience and for everyone who has checked in with me and given me such wonderful encouragement and support. I love looking at all the beautiful work that you share and I've learned a great deal from everyone elses knitting. Now to pick up the edge stitches. I have enlarged the first chart for the border so I can see it well. I think I will go knit on Boundary Waters for a bit before I get back down to business with the WRS. It's coming out pretty too!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bitch and Moan (Progress Report)

Actually, it's not all bad. Earlier in the week, I said to my sister, "I'm afraid to say that I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel."I was close to fixing the rip in The Wedding Ring Shawl that I made on the weekend but didn't want to jinx it. "Yeah," she answered in her dry fashion."Because sometimes it's the light from an on-coming train!" Luckily, optimism won out. I have tinked back to row 27 of the center panel pattern and can now knit onward. Whew. While I picked back a few rows every night, I have to say that it was a relief to knit on some of the less taxing shawls. So, for a progress report.

  1. Peacock Feathers Shawl- No progress at all. I picked back to row 179 but it has sat there as an un-loved child all winter. I fear I resent it still and I am not as happy with the variegated yarn with this pattern as I had hoped. Maybe later.
  2. Shetland Tea Shawl- After frogging out the Madeira Lace (pattern was wrong) I am now slowly knitting a few rows when I get a chance. I'm at 574 stitches to get around the shawl and increasing. Much more fun when the pattern is correct!
  3. Flower Basket Shawl- I've done 12 repeats of the pattern and I could stop now and do the edge if I wanted a small shawl, but I have all those lovely balls of Koigu KPPM yarn and I will knit on to make the large version (17 repeats).
  4. The Wedding Ring Shawl- Once I finish this repeat (62 row repeat) I have to knit rows 1-40 then I can pick-up all around and start the border. I'm hoping to have some time this weekend to do a little work on it. It's fun to knit again now that the agony of picking back is through. I will try to post a picture of the center one last time before I start the border. I have no idea how big this shawl will be but I hope it's not too enormous. My niece is not all that big!
  5. Boundary Waters Shawl (see picture above). Up to row 98 and the beginning of the trees. There are currently 392 stitches on the needles and increasing. It's not bad even if I did the dye-job on the yarn myself. I hope the variegated colors are not too busy for this shawl. I think this is coming out better than the colors for Peacock Feathers.

That's all for the report for now. My only real bitching was all of the ripping I've had to do. However, Sheila E. remarked in my last post that the venerable Eugene Bugler told her "if you aren't ready to go back and repair your mistakes...don't knit lace." Who am I to argue?

Much Later!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Please Shoot Me Now (The Wedding Ring Shawl)

Sharon Miller advises you keep your WRS in a pillowcase to protect it while you are not working on it. I have done this every single time I have finished working on my shawl. Every time except last night when I put the work down to fetch something. I did not notice that my crochet hook had caught on part of the work. I picked it up to put it away and I heard a snap. Did you know it takes twice as long to pick back as it is to knit a row? I have to pick back 10 rows to get to the rip. You will not be hearing from me for awhile while I do penance for not following the rules. Did I try to do a Homer Simpson fix? Do bears pee in the woods? It only made a bad situation much much worse. Did I mention that picking back areas of work where you have screwed around trying to fix it takes three times as long? I really really love my little nieces. I cannot give one of them a shawl with a huge mistake in it. I just can't. Why not? Because they are worth the blood sweat and swearing that is now going on to fix this shawl. Besides. The lace, the yarn, the process of knitting. It's a little bit of who I am. If the shawl was for me, I'm not sure I'd fix it. I'm not sure I'd have knit it at all. But it's going to be around long after I'm gone. Something my nieces have to drag around to remind them of their crazy Aunt Jane. I look forward to getting back to you when I fix the error and make it to the end of the center panel. My reward will be to buy another Sharon Miller project pattern :-)