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!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blocking Boundary Waters Shawl (Size Matters)

I did say that I was going to post on using the lovely Shawl Frame that my brother, Herman, so kindly made for me. He's really a great brother. He knows I'm a bit dyslexic so he marked all the parts to the frame so I would know which parts went on top, which on the bottom and what parts were assembled for the left and right sides of the frame. Still, as I put it together, I realized that I'm not as tall as the frame is once it is standing up on it's feet. This is where you learn that size really does matter! Hence, I had to lean the frame against some furniture so I could reach the top pins to put my shawl up. I used crochet cotton and pulled it through the top points of the shawl edging. I did two sides on one bit of string, the other two on another bit of string because I was concerned that I would not have enough cotton to arrange the shawl on the frame as the frame looked so much larger than I thought the shawl would block out to. When I do this again I think I will use a separate string for each side. It would make adjusting it easier I think. A word to the wise. Beware of knots. They will cut through your edging point if you are not careful. I was not careful enough and had to do a repair while the shawl was on the frame. You live, you learn. A man on horseback won't see it and I think the frame works pretty darned well. Things to be aware of if you have someone make one of these for you.

  • You are better off having it lean against a wall or furniture so you can hang your shawl unless you are taller than I am (5'6" and shrinking).

  • Watch out for knots if you have to add more string or it may cut your edging.

  • Set aside a good amount of time to do this because you have to fiddle with the string to get the shawl points even. (A ruler is handy to have for this)

  • Have a spray bottle of water handy if the shawl starts to dry before you get done.

Are there enough advantages to make it worth your while to have one of these? I think if you are really really particular about your blocking,(Who, me?) it might be something you want. If you are running out of floor space, again like me, because the shawls just keep getting bigger and bigger, then a frame is a good idea. If you like to hit the thing with steam to set it then this is a big advantage if all you have is a hand-held steamer like me. If the cartilage in your knees is giving out and blocking a shawl while crawling around on the floor is killing you, this might be a nice tool to have. Once the shawl is on there, it does dry fast. An added bonus, it just looks neat. Down side. The blood may drain out of your arms as you reach up to fiddle with all the shawl points. Things tend to dry out if you take too long so you have to spray. You still have to build the frame (unless you have someone around who will do it for you) and have space to store it, and I don't think it takes less time to get the shawl blocked this way. In fact, it may have taken longer because of all my fiddling.

Picture #1 is the one my brother took of the frame once he had built it. The second picture just shows that the frame is leaning against my TV cabinet for support so I can begin hanging my shawl on it. I just stood inside the frame and hung the top row first. The next picture is the shawl being washed. The ball of cotton you see there is actually the spare cotton after I threaded the shawl points in preparation to blocking. I used rubber bands to keep the balls tight and to keep the balls from tangling. The next shot is the shawl on the frame but still leaning on the furniture and the one after that is the frame standing and the shawl drying. After that it's just shots of the shawl after I cut it away from the frame once it dried.

Re-Cap. Dyed the yarn on Superbowl Sunday Feb 4th 2007 using White Crystal Palace Lace Weight Yarn I had stashed and acid dyes. I laid the damp skein on Saran Wrap and used squeeze bottles of dye, wrapped it up and steamed it in a crock-pot. Knit using US 6 needles the edging was mind numbing to knit. Still, it's pretty and looks really good on that frame:-) Happy Knitting to you all!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Frosted Fern" Row 80 (AKA "Oakie Dokie" on the knit-along)

Just a few pictures of Frosted Fern. I'm on row 80 using Cebelia 30 and US 0 needles. I want to get this done so I can concentrate on the Sampler Stole edging. I did not like the way that the edging is supposed to go on so I ripped out the two inches of it and I will just put it on the way that Sharon Miller suggests. Lots less bother and I'm not wedded to following instructions :-) I will be taking up the "Wedding Ring Shawl"again as well and possibly start swatching again for the "Princess Shawl" that is being re-issued in November. Since I tend to slow down in the Winter with the holidays I will concentrate on finishing rather than beginning lots of stuff. At least that's the plan. Good evening!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Boundary Waters Shawl (All I need is a little dry weather)

Just a short post so that you know I'm still out here knitting the less exciting stuff. Yes, I'd rather be knitting on my doily since it's a Niebling, no I did not cast on another big project, yes I will have to finish the edging on the Sampler Stole and finish my Legends of the Shetland Seas before I will be able to try to cast-on a big project. I also will try to change the needles on my WRS to see if that makes it more enticing to knit on. Wish me luck with that! In the mean time, I have finally finished the edging for the Boundary Waters Shawl! Hip Hip Hooray! Now if it would only stop raining I would try to block it. Actually, since I have a shawl frame I may go ahead and block it anyway since it will take up very little room while standing and should dry pretty quickly. Above are just shots of it un-blocked. Not very appealing in this state I must say. I will get shots to you once it's on the frame so you can get a report on how that goes for me. I've never used a shawl frame before and I'm curious to see how hard it will be to get the shawl on it.
Since I'm now trying to keep a few of my shawls rather than giving them all away, I find that I don't have many shawl pins to speak of. I saw quite a few at the Knitting and Crochet Show and at Stitches this year, but nothing that really stuck me. However, I did find a nice Shawl Pin on E-Bay. It is a laminated Birch wood tinted with a nice lavender color which I was able to purchase from "WOODbyC" . It goes nicely with my Lyra shawl:-)
As I no longer try to keep up a craft blog, I will, from time to time, post a few things that are not lace related, but it will be seldom I promise. I just find this interesting as I do not knit socks and rely on my sister to produce them for me. This is a shot of my sister, Mays current project. She is old-school and knits her socks on double points but at the Knitting and Crochet show she picked up a package with videos, needles and yarn to learn to knit socks with two circular needles. She also has the new book by Cat Bordhi on the same subject. The Bordhi book uses stitch markers that have the alphabet printed on them to help with the initial instructions on knitting with two circulars and so I bought some for my sister on E-Bay at "Hide and Sheep" . They come in different ring sizes to fit different sized knitting needles and they are very reasonable and work well. She says it's fun to knit with two needles and I must say she is making fast progress.
Until later my pretties! Good Knitting!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Frosted Fern (AKA "Oakie Dokie") Niebling Variation of "Oak"

While I force myself to do more of the Boundary Waters edging/torture, I have also taken time to do the Knit-along for the NieblingLaceKnitters Yahoo group. This is a free pattern titled "Frosted Fern" that is a variation of a larger Niebling Pattern called "Oak". I'm using Cebelia #30 with the center leaves knit on US 00 and then switched to US 0 circular needles. I would have stuck with US 00 if I had good needles, but the circulars I had in a "no name" brand in size 1.75 mm were so horrid that I flung them across the room and then into the trash. Did you know that Addi Turbo circular needles don't come in US 00? They jump from US 000 to US 0. I guess they don't care that I have a gap in my knitting needle collection now. I will have to go to Lacis and look and see if Inox has them in the size I want. You know something, as I write these words I just realized I never tried using my Addi Turbos on the WRS because I just assumed they would be too slick. Right about now, slick might be a really good thing. Hmm....... I think will have to finish Boundary Waters edging first. I'm so darned close to the end, if I stop and try the Turbos on WRS and it works better than the Inox, I will not finish the Boundary Waters Shawl, much less the edging for Sampler Stole (also in progress). Have a good evening and good knitting!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Herbert Niebling's "Lyra" (Who is that headless knitter?)

Pattern by Herbert Niebling, it's called "Lyra" and was obtained by buying a 20 year old Anna magazine on E-Bay. This is an English language publication originally printed for the market in the UK though you can also find publications in German as well. I started knitting my round shawl version of this doily pattern on 8/6/07 and finished 10/2/07 using 2.5 mm needles for the center and 2.75 mm for the outer leaves. I used 2/36 NM Cashmere/Silk from Colourmart in color "Polka Dot". This is a "mill-end" yarn on a cone with the manufacturing oil still on the yarn. I knit it that way and washed it out after the shawl was done. I did swatch and wash the sample to be sure of what needle I would use and what it would look like when it was done. Lots and lots of fun. I'm off to do more of the border for the Boundary Waters Shawl and for the Sampler Stole. I need to finish things before I start a big project, but I am knitting "Frosted Ferns" with the Niebling knit-a-long which appears to be a variation of a Niebling pattern called "Oak". It doesn't look remotely like "ferns" to me :-) I hope to post the finished Boundary Waters next and will give the shawl frame a try! Good Evening!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lyra (Blocking)

Just a few shots of Lyra blocked and drying. I didn't want to make you all wait until it was dry to get a look. I think I have to go out and buy another box of pins! I will try to get shots in day light once it's dry. It fluffed a bit, has a little shine now the oil is washed off. I used very hot water and Synthrapol to remove the oil. It is approx. 46 inches across at the widest point. I'll re-cap all the stats with the final pictures. Good Night To All.