Sunday, November 28, 2010

Damson & Squirreling Away For The Future

Winter slow-down has overtaken me. I'm only knitting short projects that don't make you crazy, mixing cookie dough and planning for next years potential projects. See above a small shawl called "Damson" from the book "Whimsical Little Knits 2" by Ysolda Teague. The yarn is a 2 ply hand spun I made from one of my Verb Fiber Club selections in Targee in the "Sweet Tart" colorway. I would not usually think of knitting this type of shawlette except the hand spun yarn I produced had sections that I knew would end up being stripes once knit. This is an interesting way of using up a small amount of fiber and breaking up the stripes at the same time. The pin is a vintage "faux ivory" (some kind of plastic) carved rose which looks sweet with it. Of course, I'd never wear this thing but it is cute.

Below that is more fiber from A Verb For Keeping Warm for me to spin. The green skeins "Parrotlette" in merino/silk are actually more green, below that is another Fiber Club shipment with Yak, Silk, and Merino "The Best Bite", 3 skeins of Gaia laceweight and some Verb fiber in Orange that I can't remember the name of but just had to have. It's not like I'm going to run out of yarn of fiber in the near future but I just could not help myself! There is more but I will have to put that in another post.

Lastly here are two books. The new lace book by Margarete Stove "Wrapped In Lace", I bought for her amazing knowledge and techniques rather than the patterns. The patterns are nice but as I looked at them I kept thinking there were too many "blank" spaces that I would have to fill with lace motifs. For me, less is not more. Still, I'm never sorry to have one of her books in my knitting library because there is always something interesting in them that helps me down the line.

The second book is an aberration on my part. It's called, "Selbuvotter" . It's not lace and I'm not into mittens or gloves but this is a flat out wonderful book that I had to have. Every once in awhile I have to have something but I don't know why. It may take weeks, months or even years before the reason reveals itself but it always does. So I will drool over this book and some day something may "click" and I will have a new obsession .

I will try to post again before the end of the year if I finish my current lace project.Until then I hope everyone is healthy, happy and with those they love this Holiday season :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vinca Shawl/Helix Scarf (Pre Turkey Easy Knitting)

The days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas can be stressful. All the shopping, cooking, co-ordinating with family makes the end of the year the perfect time to haul out easy projects and at least one "No Brainer" project. The Vinca Shawl by Miriam Felton is a nice little project that has interesting construction, lovely drape and looks good in many different types of yarn. This pattern can purchased as a single project on Ravelry and is also published along with other patterns in a book called Twist & Knit (also available as a digital publication). While it is not difficult to knit, it looks really unique. Knit on a good sized US 4 needle the knitting goes quickly. I used 2 skeins of Gaia Lace by the Sanguine Gryphon in the "Little Round Top" colorway (420 yds/skein) . It's a soft and warm 40/60 Cashmere/Silk and is more green than my pictures show. While I had heard of the Sanguine Gryphon, I had never seen any in person before. It's not usually a weight of yarn I would consider but when I saw it at Verb I decided to give it a try. This is my second project with the Gaia and I really like how it looks and feels.

Just a mention that the folks at A Verb For Keeping Warm have moved to a wonderful new store space.

A Verb For Keeping Warm
6328 San Pablo Ave x Alcatraz
Oakland, 94608

The shop is large, has lots of space for classes or for people to just sit to knit, spin or work on other projects. They now have fabric as well as carrying a few other fiber/yarn lines. They will continue their usual classes in spinning, knitting, dyeing, weaving etc. but will also have classes on Quilting.

The second project is called the Helix Scarf. It's a simple pattern that is a free download off of the Spin-Off Magazine Web site. It's a very simple project that is easy to tote around and the knitting sequence is easy to remember. I used less than half of my ball of hand spun yarn made from the Verb Essential Luxury fiber club selection, "Tour de Fleece 1010 The Pyrenees 50/50 Cashmere /Merino. Two ounces spun into a 2 ply lace weight yarn. I got 818.4 yards from that. I knit the scarf on US 0 needles and I have enough for a second scarf :-) For those who are interested, Spin-Off is asking people to spin/knit the scarf as a project and to submit specs and samples in order for them to include it in a future magazine. I'm not going to do that but others may still be interested.

I'm doing a little spinning now and some other odds and ends of projects as the year comes to a close. I hope everyone out there is healthy, safe and happy! Good Knitting!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple Pleasures (Easy Lace Projects)

I'm taking a break from more involved lace to do a little bit of easy knitting. A while back, I spun a lace weight yarn from Pigeonroof Studio roving in the "Green Ocean" colorway. I bought it at A Verb For Keeping Warm because the colors looked so fantastic. It is a superfine baby alpaca/merino. I have to admit that I did not do a great job spinning it. It sat around in my stash for ages because I had no idea what I could do with it. Then one rainy day I decided to get it out and knit another Miralda Shawl from Nancy Bushes book on Estonian lace. I think it really came out pretty well considering I had no clue how it would look. I actually like it better than the first Miralda shawl I knit in a more semi-solid color. The second shawl is another one of those pretty little Elisa Shawlette's by Tiziana Sammuri on Ravelry in Gaia Lace which is a cashmere silk from the Sanguine Gryphon which I also bought at Verb. Sorry the pictures are not that great but I'm still trying to learn how to use my new camera. It has more talent than I do I'm afraid :-)
I will be doing small projects and spinning during the Winter because that's about all my tiny mind can handle over the Holidays but I hope to post progress as I go along. Good Evening and Good Knitting!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Small Projects (Some are faster than others)

Just a short post so I can show a few shots of Goldregen draped on a form. As you can see, even though there were quite a few rows to this one, it ended up a small scarf because of the needle and thread size. Still, not everyone wants to wear a full shawl and perhaps the small size will make it more tempting to wear. This one took two years to finally complete but not every small lace project I make needs to be so labor intensive.

I have another co-worker leaving but only had a small amount of time to make something for her (promotion rather than retiring). so I knit the Elisa Shawlette by Tiziana Sammuri (her shop name on Ravelry). Knit on US 3 with Suri Elegance yarn in the Misty Morning colorway, it took only 3-4 days of casual knitting to complete and makes a lovely elongated semi-circular scarf that is easy to wear with a suit or casually with jeans wrapped about the shoulders or neck. I have no drape shots of this piece as I have already given it away, but I plan to knit it again so I will get shots then :-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Goldregen Fini (UFO no more)

Goldregen by Herbert Niebling. I used Habu indigo dyed silk thread purchased during Stitches West many years ago. US 0000 for the first half, US 000 up until the edge blooms and then US 00 with crochet cast-off. Approx. 36 inches across, it makes for a nice little scarf sized Niebling. This is a two year old UFO that is now done at last.

I was knitting along on this project without a care in the world when I had "needle failure" where the needle and cable parted ways. The repair of all the dropped stitches was so traumatic that I didn't want to even look at this after I fixed it. That's all history now. It's so pretty that I am looking for another good Niebling to knit using this thread. I know it sounds like crazy talk but I have two nieces who are finally interested in having something I knit. I can't make one and then not have one for the other niece so I will search my patterns for something that will be comparable yet different.

In the mean time, I still have other UFO's that I will be looking to finish while I'm knitting more Nieblings. Life is good!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

30 More Rows (My Lace Went To Mexico And All I Got Was This Lousy Tee Shirt)

Lest you think I never work on my UFO's (some of them so old that I am ashamed to even contemplate it) here are a few pictures of Goldregen. It took a vacation to a resort in Mexico and here are a few pictures to show where we were. Slippery slithery silk. It takes me much longer to knit this because of the utter terror of possibly dropping a stitch. Dropped stitches are bad. Very very bad. No dropping of stitches allowed so it takes FOREVER to go around this sucker one time.

Just 30 more rows.....

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pfingstrose (Something for "E")

Pfingstrose by Herbert Niebling. US 000 in the center and US 00 for the remainder using Filato Di Cantu # 30 thread. The pattern is wonderful to knit and the cloth is restrained yet elegant in my eyes. This is a gift for a co-worker who is known as "E". No first name. Just "E". He is set to retire in October to pursue his passion for writing.

One of the hazards of using "vintage" thread, is the fact that not all skeins match in color. Some are older and have taken on a light and lovely cream color, some remain stark white. Because I knit mostly at night, I could not see the color difference. I also blocked this at night against a black background and still did not catch it. It was not until I saw it in daylight that I could see the difference. The change to a more brilliant white starts just after I've begun the final set of edge leaves. At first I thought to rip it out and re-knit, but I'm going to leave it. I actually like the way it looks and in some lights the whole cloth looks to be a uniform color. If, after he sees it, "E" wants me to re-do the edge, I will do it but until then it's just "one of those odd knitting things" that sometimes happens to me.

Needless to say, I will bring my skeins out into the light to sort them for color before my next project with this thread but even this happenstance is not enough to put me off of using it. Yes, it's that good to work with.

I will be continuing to knit a UFO as well as casting on a few new projects. One of these projects is quite large and will take awhile to finish so I may be posting progress shots of that one. The others are so short that progress shots just don't feel necessary.

For those of you who want a laugh, you might want to go over to The Panopticon
for a little "spirited" humor about Herbert Niebling :-) Until the next post!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Federdolde Blocking (Yeah it's White. Shocking I know!)

Federdolde, US 00 needles, Filato Di Cantu # 30 thread. Just to show that I can knit on a little smaller needle when I want to! I love knitting with this thread so much that I don't even care that I'm knitting in White! It's very smooth with a nice little shine to it. Blocking went really well and the new camera appears to be working out even though I have to take low resolution pictures of this in order to post on the blog. I will be away for a little while so no dry shots until I get back but I had to post this before I got busy again :-)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Kirschbluten Dry (Isn't It Romantic)

A few pictures of Kirchbluten now that it's dry. The pictures still don't show the true nature of this green silk yarn. Think dappled sunlight as filtered through the leaves of a tree falling onto a green silk shawl. That is much more what it really looks like. It drapes very nicely and, as expected, is "more than circular". I am waiting for a replacement camera since I have to hit my current camera to make the screen come on. Not a good sign. Maybe the new camera will take better color pictures.

In the "Stash Enhancement" area, I recently went to a Hand Weavers Convention. Aside from fiber (which I will show you in a later post), I also got a few interesting and lovely things.

Below the shawl you see two skeins of a cotton thread. They were tossed into a little basket with other things but I still saw them like someone had lit them up with a beacon. One touch and I had to have them. In fact, "Thread Greed" gripped my soul and I could hear a little voice inside my head saying "Please Sir. Can I have some more?" Just call me Oliver Twist. Lucky for me the vendor had more back at home. I bought all she had in white.

The skeined thread is Filato Di Cantu #30. The thread is Egyptian cotton and is quite literally Heaven to knit with.I think it was mostly used in other types of lace making but I'm here to say it is perfection for lace knitting. I believe it used to be distributed by Coats but Asha at "Dyeing ART" (AKA Pastiche Inc.) picked these up in Italy from a place that was going out of business. Below the skeins are spools of Filato Di Cantuo in # 40 which I am hoarding.

I will only "Knit The Hits" so to speak, with these threads. What does that mean you ask? Herbert Niebling patterns or patterns from the Lacy Knitters Guild would make the cut for the Hit Parade in this case. Anything less would be a waste of this superb product. Besides, once it's gone, it's really all gone for me. It's not easy to come by.

Lastly, I picked up some tiny little shuttles and quills with a tiny little beater. What will I do with them? I have no clue but I had to have them. Below them is a Lucite handled slay hook for my Rigid Heddle loom that my sister bought me which has a nicely made hook. I hope it will make setting up my loom a little easier.

That's it for now! Hope you all are having a great weekend.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Mughetti Dry (Yeah, I forgot to post this one)

I just realized that I never did post any pictures of this shawl dry. I got back-logged with work and and forgot so here it is. Mughetti remained flat after it was blocked and did not snap back as I had feared. It has a fuzziness to it that you wouldn't expect to have with this fiber. Not the softest shawl in the world since it's in Wensleydale but still very interesting to knit with.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Kirschblüten (AKA "Cherry Blossom" ) Blocking

I know it's been awhile but work and life have been way too busy. Short post this time but I promise to do better next time.

This is the circular version of Kirschbluten that you can find in the White Ichida book. I used US 3 needles, 100% silk from "A Verb For Keeping Warm" in the "Shimmering" yarn, colorway Chartreuse's Sister. It is actually a lovely green color but I can't get my camera to register the real color. Though pretty, it may end up being a "more than circular" shawl since there are so many repeats of the border flowers that it may end up "ruffling rather than staying flat. I will post when dry. I have some other things I picked up recently that I will post next time but my camera is acting out and I may need to retire it and go get something else. Least you think I will never again knit on smaller needles, my next project is on US 00 needles and I am once again knitting on Goldregen (I will finish that one yet!) on US 000 so it will be a break from all the small shawls I've been knitting :-)