Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lyra, Row 111 (Vacation Knitting)

Back from Tahoe where the water is so blue I wish I had some lace weight yarn the same beautiful color. When I wasn't sitting by watching my friend Louise gamble, I did a little knitting. Louise spent 3 straight hours playing roulette one day, I spent the same amount of time knitting on Lyra. I had fun in my own way though I think the staff cleaning the rooms thought I was nuts. I stopped at row 111 because it was time to come home and I need the next size needle once I get to row 113. The pattern as well as people who have knit this lace before me suggest that a larger needle is needed or this work will not lie the way it should once blocked. I'm on US 2 now and will go up a size. I'm loving how it looks and now I will get to work on the "flower" as well as the outer leaves for the shawl. I plan to make it round rather than the square shown in the magazine since that is one of the options. It won't be a huge shawl. Maybe 48 inches across if I'm lucky. It ends with a crochet cast-off. Oh joy. You all know how much I loath crochet. Still, it is turning out pretty so I guess it is worth it. :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lyra, Row 72 (Nieblings Are Addictive)

Yeah, I know. It's a bunch of leaves, but they are pretty leaves! This is up to row 72 of Lyra and I'm really enjoying this pattern. I've received quite a few really helpful e-mails from people who have already made Lyra as well as from people who will be making her too! I stuck this on a longer needle so I could get a picture but as I go on it may not be so easy to get a shot. Interestingly I heard from the lady who sold me the pattern and she felt kind of bad about what I paid for it. Let me just say for the record I am GRATEFUL to have this pattern and I feel fortunate to be able to knit this lace. I have no problem with what I pay for my pastimes. I'm afraid I have neglected other lace projects in favor of this one. I just can't stop knitting it for some reason. I love how each row is different from the next, I love how I can see the pattern emerge and I really like that I get a break with a plain knit row in between pattern rows because I can check my knitting during that row and correct my mistakes before they get out of hand! I am still knitting the edging for Boundary Waters and have 2 sides left to go. I will be gone to Tahoe for 5 days with my friend, Louise so Lyra and Boundary Waters will go with me. WRS will not be going with me. I feel a little guilty I'm not working on it right now but I just don't feel like knitting that one in this heat. Maybe a little later. Good Evening!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Closet Femme (Who would want a doily?)

I finished my doily last night and let me just say that doing crochet for the first time to cast off was NOT fun. I will not be taking up that particular craft in the near future. You can see the doily here blocked last night. I washed it in Soak, then pinned it out as you can see. I did not use starch or sizing and when I went to un-pin the doily it was not really holding shape well so I steam-blocked it. The doily now looks as if it is holding up pretty well but it still does not have that crisp look which I would like. I have this fear that putting in starch will degrade the threads or attract bugs. I brought it this morning for my good friend, Louise to look at. She does a lot of hand work and her sister used to make extravagant and beautiful doily's. Only a few of those survived and she attributes it to the use of starch. So I asked her what else I could do. Maybe you all know about this technique but I'd never heard of it. Most likely because I've never made a doily before. She said I could "wax" it. You take an ironing board, cover it with cloth to protect it, and either sandwich the doily between wax paper or else use wax paper only on the back of the doily, cover that with additional press cloth and then use the heat of the iron to lightly touch the doily as to melt the wax. You are not to press hard you understand. You are not trying to iron the work, just melt the wax. She says women used to also wax their veils on those small hats to keep the veils stiff and off their faces. I was going to give that a try with this doily but when I got to work this morning, one of the women I work with, someone I would never have guessed was a "closet femme", admired it and so off it went with her. I will be making a second one with a slightly different color center for Louise in the same pattern. Maybe then I can try the "wax" trick. Still working on Boundary Water edge but at least something is finished. It's so small, I can't count it to start a new project. Once Boundary Waters is done I will start "Heere Be Dragone" in black. Yes, I said black since it's for my niece Jessie and she is a young teen and so is "goth lite"rather than a true heavy metal goth. Got to go knit now. Good evening and Good knitting!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Edging Alone Is Not Enough (Relief From Tedium)

I have rounded one corner of the Boundary Waters Shawl, I have picked up three sides of the Sampler Stole and will begin that edging this weekend as well. I'm 8 rows away from finishing that doily even though I ran out of that color of tatting thread (I'm using white now) and I have no idea how to crochet so finishing that will be such fun and I break out into hives when I even think about picking up the Wedding Ring Shawl. How do you relive tedium? So many different ways. As long as it's fun because believe me, edging is not fun. Legends Shawl is on hold until I finish knitting edging but that does not stop me from blocking my sister-in-law's sisters first lace shawl. Millie bought beautiful yarn from "Toots LeBlanc & Co. at Stitches West. Its a Jacob/Alpaca/Mohair Fingering Weight yarn in a lovely dark grey and she knit it into this lovely shawl. The pattern is Field of Flowers by Evelyn Clark and I think she could have gone up several needle sizes because it turned out to be a really warm and sturdy shawl that took some muscle to block wet. Still, she said this was what she was after and who am I to second guess someone when what they knit comes out the way they want? And no, I did not use my shawl frame. I didn't want to risk pulling out any of the nails with this relatively "heavy in weight "shawl. It was worth all the effort though because it's really beautiful and she wants it to keep her shoulders warm this winter which it will do magnificently. Bravo to Millie on her first bit of lace!
And now to confess my sins. I bought a 20 year old magazine on E-Bay just to get this one pattern. It's called "Lyra" and quite a few people have knit this in a variety of yarns/threads/needle sizes. It's beautiful in all it's incarnations. This would be my first Niebling pattern and thank the Lord I got a magazine that is in English . Yes, I paid a lot for it. No I don't regret it. I'm way too old to wait for someone to publish the complete works of Herbert Niebling. Maybe I'm paranoid, but after I hit 50, I realized I don't have forever to indulge my passions and pursuits. My eyes, my hands, my brain, something is going to give out and I will be pissed that I never got to knit this bit of lace. The lovely woman I bought the magazine from even threw in a freebie. Another pattern for a Niebling tablecloth that I don't have. I am using a Cashmere/Silk yarn from ColourMartUK that will fluff a little and become a little bit more shiny once it is washed so the lace won't be as stringy as it looks right now. I'm using US 2 needles and this such an enjoyable pattern to knit that it actually makes me want to cry. It's heavenly to knit. I'm up to row 40 of a 170 row pattern and thank you Laritza, you were right. It's not nearly so difficult as knitting a Sharon Miller Pattern because every other row is a plain knit row. Apparantly, according to this magazine, the original was knit using ANCHOR-Coats Mercer Crochet Cotton no. 100 using 1.5 mm needles and was 60 x 60 cm or 23.5 x 23.5 inches. Mine, of course, will be larger. In addition to this, I decided that spinning is not the same as knitting and that I can spin with impunity without breaking my resolve not to start another knitting project. Yeah, right. Anyway, I have started spinning the lovely dark roving I bought at Lambtown in Dixon. I believe it is from a Shetland ewe and it almost spins itself it's so easy. It does not want to be a thin yarn but it will be a lace weight for a more substantial shawl. I actually have something in mind for it but I might re-consider once this is spun, plied and washed. This is a very clean batch with very little vegetable matter in it and what there is just falls away while I'm spinning. Really a pleasure. I will now do my penance and go knit more edging with the memory of knitting Lyra to sustain me :-) To all of you out there, have fun. that's what makes it worth while.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Edging, Edging, Edging (And A Little Something Else)

So, as the Borg would say, I have done "One of Four" sides of the Boundary Waters Shawl. Did I mention that doing edging is boring. So I took a break and did some of the Legends of the Shetland Seas stole. I was not going to post progress on the edging as I imagined it might be as boring to see it as it is to knit it , but missalicefaye says she enjoys the posts none the less so I go ahead with short posts. Enjoy!