Sunday, July 27, 2008

International Shawl Fini (Hard to give it away)

As promised, here are the pictures of the International Shawl now that it's off the blocking pins. To re-cap-
Yarn: Black Bunny Fibers superfine alpaca lace weight yarn custom dyed in a semi-solid teal color. Needles US 0 needles
Center pattern: "Chrysantheme" German Niebling pattern but in a Japanese knitting book, "Knitted Lace Designs OF The ‘Modern’ Mode" Book 2 by Naoko Ichida. (up to row 53)This book comes with a stitch key in English.
Border:I placed stitch markers in the corners and selected one stitch as a center corner stitch. I increased on the plain knit row on either side of this stitch to make the corners. As my stitches in the corners increased, I extended the patterns to fill in those spaces. No system. Just eye-balled it.
First set of leaves in the border : Estonian leaf pattern, page 49, chart # 114 from the book "Pitsilised Koekirjad" by Leili Reimann (as many times as you want to make the border as deep as you want with the understanding that there is one more border pattern to go) Stitch key in English available on the internet.
Second border pattern : Shetland Lace pattern, Madeira and Diamond Chart on page 90 of "Heirloom Knitting" by Sharon Miller (as much as you want until you like how it looks)
Edging: Danish edge pattern from a doily page 74 "Rosa" pattern from "Knitted Lace" by Sonja Esbensen and Anna Rasmussen. Unlike some edges, this one is knit directly on the needles with a crochet cast-off at the end to finish.
Pretty. I'm having a hard time giving it away but it's packed now and I'm off to the post office tomorrow. I have one more skein of this color yarn and I'm going to knit myself something I will keep this time! Just a few shots of what I've been spinning. The brightly colored ball of yarn is the Wensleydale fiber that I got from Black Bunny Fibers in colorway "Waltz". Looks like a Hawaiian snow cone. I'll have to think really hard what to do with this one. Below is the Polworth I got from "A Verb For Keeping Warm" in the colorway "Butterfly Wings". Once again not sure what to do with it but sometimes the best inspiration comes with things you've spun for yourself. Short post. Must Knit!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Half A Fleece Is Better Than None / Blocking The International Shawl

When my sister humored me in the 80's and we learned how to spin, our instructor had us spinning "in the grease". I swore then I would not ever spin with unprocessed fiber again and have been happy buying clean and lovely batts, roving, sliver. At least I was happy until I went to Lambtown for the first time in 2007. I was conservative, bought only a precious few ounces of baby alpaca which was very clean and still waiting for a special project to be spun. Then the devil dressed up as Lisa Souza walked up to my sister and me at Lambtown 2008 holding half a Cormo fleece with a staple length that had my jaw dropping. She was there as a civilian, just shopping for the best fiber she could find to feed her own addiction. "Where did you buy that!" I cried, lust in my heart. She pointed to "Cormo Sheep & Wool Farm's" booth where Sue Reuser (I think it was Sue) had beautiful fleeces stacked up so they could be seen, felt, coveted. She remarked how surprised she was that exposure on Ravelry had resulted in so many more people coming to the booth to look and to buy from her. If she only knew! I fondled the fleeces and picked up 3.52 lbs (half a fleece) of a Cormo Ewe with the unfortunate name of "Ho". "I just sold the other half of that fleece." she mentioned, writing up my receipt. "Did you sell it to Lisa Souza?" I asked. "Why yes!" she exclaimed. I should have known. Some of the fiber has a little dirt but I took a lock and washed it and the dirt came right out. I will spin this when I have a few days off in a row. I know just the project for it too :-) As usual, we had to stop at "Carolina Homespun" first where I picked up the yellow merino along with the merino/silk roving so I can ply. I also picked up a braid of chasing rainbow dyeworks "Morning Glory" colorway in a 80/20 merino cashmere and the companion silk in the same colorway to ply with. I also picked up an extra fat core bobbin for the Rose as well as a pretty Rosewood crochet hook. Even though I really don't crochet, I could not help myself. It's handmade and has a beautiful finish. I'm sure I can figure out something to do with it. I then made it over to A Verb for Keeping Warm and bought 6 ounces of Polworth locks that had been dyed in a colorway called"Butterfly Wings". Pretty pastels that I will flick card and spin up, more Indigo dyed BFL and two skeins of alpaca lace weight yarn (1,000 yards each) in "Vermillion" colorway. The tote bag was a bonus if you spent more than $50 at the booth. Not a problem. All told, Lambtown was fun even though there was not much lamb at the food concessions. It's a small show with volunteers trying to put it all together so I'm very grateful for all that effort they put into it. It's worth going as long as you keep your expectations reasonable.
Lastly, I have finally finished the International Shawl and here are the blocking shots. I used superfine alpaca lace to make this so I did not try to put it on the shawl frame since I think this yarn is not strong enough for that type of a blocking. I think it's pretty and will get shots to you all when it's dry. The woman who is getting this has already retired but I showed her the pictures of the shawl in progress. She is a gardener so she was really happy with the flowers, leaves etc. in the shawl.

Happy Sister at Lambtown 2008 (Different strokes for different folks)

I have a sister who taught me to knit. Her name is May. She can knit lace but does not really enjoy it. She can spin on a wheel but prefers spindles most of the time. She likes nice tools and a Happy Sister is a good thing if you live together and are both menopausal. We both went to Lambtown this weekend and made ourselves very very happy! Please see above yarn my sister bought there. The orange skein on the far left is 100% superwas merino from "A Verb for Keeping Warm" and is called "Sticky Monkey Flower". This is to be a baby sweater for one of our nieces who is expecting. The other two skeins are 60% linen and 40% SW merino in Hollyhock and Jade, also from Verb. She is thinking of making market bags. Clearly, no lace involved here but great projects none the less. Below the yarn you have a Kate made by Will Taylor May got at Carolina Homespun. We have a few Lazy Kate's but this one has clean lines, is compact and really appealed to her. Next are three spindles that my sister picked up, again at Carolina Homespun. She has a "thing" for Ken Ledbetter spindles and the first one has a Wengi finial Bubinga whorl, Maple shaft and a vintage button in the center. The second has a Purple heart finial, Maple Whorl, Purple Heart shaft , Mother of Pearl inlay and a vintage button center. Just below those is a Jenkins Turkish spindle of unknown wood type (no tag). What of the last two spindles you ask? These were not obtained at Lambtown. A few years ago my sister bought a Majacraft Rose wheel at the same time I bought a Lendrum. We have discovered over time that I prefer her Rose and she prefers my Lendrum. She swapped wheels with me and I decided to buy her a few spindles as a "Thank You" as her Rose was more costly than the Lendrum. Breaking away from the "Ken Ledbetter Obsession" my sister has, I picked up two Tom Forrester Spindles for her. The one with the trees is referred to as a "Pyro" because he burns the designs into it and is called "Orchard". The Whorl is Black Walnut and the shaft is Santa Maria. The second is a "Dervish" and I can't remember the wood. Both spin great and will keep my sister busy for a long time to come. I will get my own stuff in order and post my haul later :-)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saigon Scarf (Caw Caw Pretty Pretty!)

It's been awhile since I posted but I have at least finished one project. My inner Crow is happy to have finished "The Saigon Scarf" which is by Badcatdesigns . Very pretty pattern that is free on Ravelry . I used the hand spun 2 ply lace weight yarn I spun out of fiber from Spritely Goods (alpaca, merino, firestar and angelina, colorway Palo Verde) and this is the first time I've added beads with a crochet hook. Please forgive my crappy photos. The yarn is really a very vivid lime green but I just could not get shots that reflect the lovely color or sparkle in this yarn. For anyone looking for a nice lace project that is both interesting and fun, this might just be the one. Think Xmas gift. It's well within the reach of a lace knitter with a few easier projects under their belt and will not take too long to knit since it's a scarf rather than a stole. I love the designs from Badcatdesigns. Her instructions are very clear and the patterns leave lots of room for a knitter to make it their own in terms of yarn choices. There is a lot to be said for clean but flowing lines in a design and there is just enough variation in the patterns to make them interesting. I have also purchased the Hecate Stole and the Corfu Shawl from her and I'm going to go buy Mimosa as soon as I finish this post. I've spun a lot of fiber lately and though it's sometimes a challenge to find projects to use the finished product on, many of these patterns would look good with what I'm making up :-)

Just below the shots of The Saigon Scarf, I have a small amount of "birdseye" lace knit up on US 0. I'm using the 2 ply yarn made from the Madder dyed BFL from "A Verb for Keeping Warm" I am making a stole from a Japanese knitting book "Vintage Knitting in Tradition". There is a picture of it from my May 9th blog posting. It's on page 26 and the caption is "Cloches a travers les feuilles". I don't speak French so I went to Babelfish. What I got is "Bells through the sheets" WTF? My sister speculates it actually is more like "Bells in Layers" or "Layered Bells". Translation is very dicey at best. If anyone out there has a better guess pleases give us a hint :-) Since I'm in "Crow" mode, I went and bought two more shawl pins from Romi (Fascination with bright and shiny objects? Oui!) . The copper heart is a sentimental favorite but the "bobby pin" type shawl pin works really well with light weight lace. For a woman who almost never wears her shawls, I have a lot of pins LOL! Lastly, this is some lovely Wensleydale wool from Black Bunny Fibers . It's the second installment for the Team "B" fiber club members. This colorway is "Waltz". It's shinny and very strong, almost like Mohair with long staple but unlike Mohair, I don't have any allergy reaction to spinning it. Looking at it, I have no idea what to do with it in terms of lace. I could try to spin it and make it into something other than lace (Yeah, right!) or I can just give in and admit that whatever I make with it, that lace will always remind me of a snow cone at the circus. I have only 4 more rows before the crochet cast-off for the International Shawl so I hope to finish it off this week and will post pictures once it's done. For those of you in the Bay Area, this up-coming weekend is Lambtown in Dixon. We plan to go (big surprise) but I really don't need more fiber or yarn....... (to be continued)