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!