Tuesday, January 30, 2007


It's late Tuesday night after a couple of intense days working away on the dissertation. At times I'm so tired I'm delirious. That's a problem when I decided I need a break from it all so I pick up my knitting! If I work with any speed I make mistakes and end up tinking, so mostly I just knit slowly. And I look at the charts more often than usual. Not often enough mind you as I just finished knitting a few repeats on Hidcote where I reversed my k2tog & ssk sts. Fortunately it was in a place where the change really didn't adversely affect the lace so I didn't tink. I dislike tinking ssk sts, but I *despise* tinking sssk with a fervent hatred reserved only for the vilest of things. Yup, it's that awful. The good news is I'm on the last row of Chart 8. Only 2 more charts left to go and this cow has the barn in sight--both for the shawl and for the dissertation. YeeHaw!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Long and Short of Things

My time to knit has been quite short this week as I have been submerged in the research for my dissertation. But as I mentioned in yesterday's post knitting on the Hidcote Garden Shawl has been a bit frustrating because the stitches are so crowded on the needles. I despise knitting in a crowd! LOL So after working on my research into the wee hours of the morning last night, I was a bit brain-dead when I woke up this morning (it *was* still morning, but not by much). I grabbed my Diet Coke and the shawl and resumed knitting where I left off last night on row 5 of Chart 8. After 3 or 4 repeats I realized I was adding double yos in between the ssk and k2tog sts. where, of course, they didn't belong. Shame on me for not looking at the chart to verify the pattern before starting to knit! I decided double yos were a lot of extra yarn, so I grabbed a 16" circular and slipped my way back to where I started and proceeding to drop the yos and pull up the slack. I knit a couple more repeats when I realized I was decreasing a lot and not adding enough sts to compensate. Yes, only then did I *look* at the chart and realize that I was omitting the 2 single yos in each repeat. Can you say wake up!!! So I frog back a second time (no easy task in the crowd) and fix the mistakes.

Once the evil row 5 is finished, correctly, I start the hunt to find my 24" Addis. I can't find them, but I did find my 32" 4s in the Shetland Tea Shawl which has been languishing in a basket while I knit Hidcote. Oh duh! No wonder my stitches are so crowded--I'm using a 24" needle! Talk about senselessly clueless, I had no idea I was working with a short needle. So the STS got put on a big long lifeline until I can go back and finish the edging and Hidcote got a chance to stretch out a show off for the camera as I transitioned between the 2 Addis. Talk about feeling stupid!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Not much time to knit this week

Well, I'm into the thick of my research and progressing ever so slowly towards the completion of my doctoral dissertation. I had 2 research interviews this week, one of which took all afternoon and 3 days worth of energy. Add a university workshop on "what you need to know about formatting your dissertation so we will accept it and let you outta here" and the usual Tuesday research group meeting and what to do you get? Not much time for knitting this week. Not that I'm complaining mind you, because all knitting and no research isn't a fun way to live either. Been there (cuz' I was too sick to do much other than knit, bead, or tat), done that!

Nevertheless, it wasn't knitting abstinence either. Especially since I the flu closed the schools in Cookeville on Thursday and Friday and Aunt Kristina and the Grandparents got to entertain 2 kids for 2 days while Mommy and Daddy were working and doing their on school stuff. let's face it, it's pretty darn hard for me to focus on writing and transcribing audiotapes with Victoria bouncing in and out of my bedroom announcing "let's do something fun!" Sometimes fun requires my active, constant involvement and other times it's just supervision and access to the "stuff" like the boxes and drawers full of jewelry, hats, and scarves. Aunt Kristina has lots of pretty things ;-) I got a fair amount of knitting done on the Hidcote shawl while Victoria played dress-up. All I had to do was gush appropriately once the costume changes had been made. Easy! Every time she wants to dig in to the fun stuff I just remind myself to enjoy it while Victoria is still young enough to find such things pleasurable. At 7 I still have a little girl for a few more years and I'm gonna enjoy every minute of it.

I was most delighted when Victoria popped in Thursday morning and announced that she wanted to learn how to knit. YES!!! I've just been waiting for her to be interested. I told her we would do it while she was here. I prepped Thursday night by grabbing a pair of size 8 bamboo needles and some Wool-ease and knitting a few short rows to get her started. I decided after trying to teach some high school girls last year that starting with casting-on isn't the best way to go. Last night Victoria was ready for her first lesson. I showed her 3-4 stitches, knit another 3-4 with her, and then she was on her own. She successfully knit several more stitches before becoming distracted by something else. Not bad for a 1st lesson with a lively-minded creative child. Give me a couple more years of maturity and I'll have her addicted too!

Just a quick progress report on the Hidcote Shawl. I finished chart 7 and this morning and have started in on chart 8. I was knitting along last night thinking how well I was doing and how I had made no mistakes in this shawl. Then as I started to knit the last RSR I realized that I had knit 2 additional yos into every repeat on the previous RSR. I had jinxed myself! There was no way I was going to haul out close to 900 sts so I studied my options and decided I would just compensate by knitting a decrease, either a k2tog or ssk, in the offending position on the current row. That would return my stitch count back to normal and would not be very obvious in terms of the design. One would have to know I had made a mistake to find it because I was consistent across the entire row. So much for perfection. Chart 8 is short and I may get it done this weekend. That leaves only 2 charts left to go.

My only challenge now is that the rows are so long my 32" needle is getting mighty crowded. I could break down and order a 40" needle, but it would be at least a week before it arrives and I don't want to be held up waiting. Or I could buy another 32" and use 2 needles like they were regular straights. If I did that I wouldn't have to wait because I could go to Jinka's and buy it. I do seem to use size 4 needles a lot for lace so I don't think it would be a waste. But then again Addi-turbos are expensive and I want to try the new KnitPicks Options needles. Oh decisions!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Smart. Very Smart.

Some people are smart. Very smart. Like the kind soul who decided to put together a blog page listing all the knitting KALs, swaps and exchanges for the year so those of us who may not be quite as in the know can just go to one place and find a ready made group of friends to knit a project with. Of course I won't remember where the master blog listing is located 2 days from now, so I did a little smart thinking of my own and saved it all here for future reference. That is if I have any time to knit something new. All my smart thinking is being swallowed up by my research project at present. I was just going over my timeline this afternoon and I feel overwhelmed by just how much work I have left to do. Yikes! But I was good today and got a nice amount done so I can knit and watch the Tennessee Lady Vols play Duke in basketball tonight. i just didn't have the energy to go to the game in person, so sitting at home and knitting as I watch (and cheer, and scream) will just have to do. Smart. Very smart!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Sabbath is a Day of Rest

Today is Sunday. And being the very faithful Latter-Day Saint that I am I took advantage of the Sabbath Day as a Day of Rest. I slept late, I took a long nap after Church, and I rested from my labors on the Gansey Pillow. It was miserably cold and rainy today and my body hurt like holy toledo! My neck was especially unhappy, making it difficult for me to concentrate on the talks in church (one of which was a very nice discourse on keeping the Sabbath Day holy). I didn't stay for Sunday School as I was in far too much pain.

After dinner I picked up my knitting and starting working on the Hidcote Garden Shawl again. I had let it languish a bit while enjoying my gansey adventure, but decided to pick it up again after noticing that my forearms were hurting more than usual after a gansey knitting session. Perhaps the tighter knitting required for ganseys is more demanding physically than the looser knitting lace prefers? Whatever the reason, it was a good choice to switch. I've finished 6 of the 10 charts in Hidcote and I'm already several rows into chart 7. Even though the rows are quite long (300+ st) the diamond motif in this center section is pretty fast knitting as lace goes. I just need to finish this chart and I'll be ready to move on to the final lace pattern which resembles stems of lavender in bloom. A couple of my Hidcote garden KAL partners finished their shawls this weekend and they started in January! Wow that's fast, focused knitting. Hidcote is a huge shawl so knitting it in 19 or 20 days is seriously impressive.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are bamboo.Warm, cozy, and thoughtful, you take your time and enjoy how things feel, smell, and taste. You love the craft and beauty of traditional things, and you value the comfort and experience of knitting as much as the results. But while you are reveling in your warm cozies, don't get stuck. Warm is wonderful, but so is the whole wide world!
Take this quiz!

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What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.http://marniemaclean.com
Take this quiz!

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Froggy went a Fishing

Here onn Good Old Rocky Top Froggy went a courtin' to bring his Lass a handknit gansey pillow, but halfway there he fell into the Frog Pond and had to be fished out! What did froggy learn?

1. You can't knit the top half of the 1st gansey pillow pattern by simply repeating the written pattern once more while maintaining the continuity of the center section. Following this direction will result in the hearts and triangles landing in strange places. OK. So I reckon that one simply continues each section at the same spacing interval established previously (4 rows between triangles and 6 rows between hearts). That shouldn't be hard, right? I just need to read my knitting as I do when knitting lace and forget about the chart which would be inaccurate. So I put the chart away and knit on into the night. Guess what I learned next?

2. It takes more concentration to accurately knit 3 distinct patterns which repeat at different intervals than I have late at night (esp. after being mind-numbingly sick for several days). About 10 or 12 rows into the upper half I realize I started knitting the triangle 1 row too soon and I added extra rows to the heart so it doesn't match all the other hearts. Things do not look good. I toss the knitting aside and go to sleep.

3. I did have enough sense to wait until this morning before frogging back all those rows and picking up those squirrelly k/p/k stitches. I retrieved the chart from it's notebook and did some cross-eyed counting before starting the upper half of the pillow again. Let's not talk about all the twisty yarn piled up on the bed.

4. Gansey knitting resumes. I knit a few rows, starting the triangle on the correct row and putting the proper number of stitches in the heart. I pause to admire my work when what!!! Oh noooo! I messed up the moss st. border on one edge about 3 rows back. I guess it's back to the frog pond. Poor froggy!

5. BTW, I ditched the stitch markers at the half way point of the pillow. The good news is I managed to successfully keep all the patterns in their proper columns so at least that worked :-)

I think frogs and moss and ponds get along pretty well. Hopefully everything will get better soon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Swatching Silk

Last night I was drooling over the new listings of silk yarns over at ColourMart. To make matters worse Richard posted his intentions to take the prices up again shortly to adjust for the increasing costs of shipping and the decreasing value of the USD. So I'm debating if I should buy some more silk now and I realize I haven't even knitted anything from the silk I do have. OK, so it's time to do some swatching.

Following the example of our fearless Gansey w/s leader I decide to make something useful out of the experience. Something small, a little lacy, something that would tell me more about how I could use this lucious fiber. Well, I been doing a fair amount of scripture study lately and wishing I had a few more bookmarks to help keep my place while I'm chasing cross-references. Bookmarks! That's it! Small, useful, I can use any stitch I want. Perfect! So I pulled out a book of stitch patterns (darn, I had to give the BWT back to the library last week) and started thumbing through. I sort of knew I wanted to do a simple horseshoe pattern, and I didn't find anything else better (Gotta buy my own set of BWT books).

I had Richard wind 3 strands of the 2/28 laceweight silk together on this cone of Bonbon pink. I used 2.75mm needles and cast on 17 sts. I knit 4 rows in moss st. before starting the pattern. The borders are 3 sts, also knit in moss st (k1, p1, k1 on all sides) which I continued all the way to the tip of the bookmark. I knit 2 rows of St. st. before proceeding with the horseshoe lace. After seven repeats of the lace, I continued working in St. st making a Cdd every right side row until there was only 1 st left on the needle. A few t-pins and some steam and I had a nice little bookmark. Final measurements are 7.5 x 2" excluding the tail (hence the row gauge is 8.5 st/in).

Now for the commentary--- The silk was incredibly smooth and soft to the touch, but once knitted it had good body and a nice drape. The 2.75mm (US2)needles yielded a firm enough texture for a very nice summer garment. One could easily go up to as much as a 3.5mm (US4) for a lace shawl or stole, or even a 4mm needle (US6) if you wanted a very lacy effect. The 3 strands of silk seemed to be similar to a #10 crochet cotton (maybe just a tad bigger) or a laceweight wool (like KnitPicks Shadow). Of course there is no stretch or spring to the silk so that has to come from the knitting, and there's no halo either, hence my judgement to use a smaller needle size than I would use for a comparable wool or mohair fiber.

And lastly,the confession--- I admit to a bit of envy for those of my Colourmart friends who own fine gauge knitting machines. Oh how I wish I could whip out a few short sleeve tops to live in out of this delicious silk! It would knit relatively fast on a machine. Using US2 or 3 needles, well, not so fast :-(((

PS. I didn't wash my bookmark so I can't speak to that aspect of the yarn. Other than that, it definitely a 2 thumbs up from here in on old Rocky Top :-)

PPS. Click on ColourMart on the sidebar to find Richard's website (where the best deals are).
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gansey Education Continues

So my gansey knitting education continues today with a few more insights. I am now up to row 36 on the 1st pillow pattern and here's what I've figured out today:

1. Crushed raspberry frangipani yarn really does look quite smashing once knitted up. Smashing...did you get it.... LOL (boo hiss, moan groan). Ok, I need humor because I've had an awful day so forgive my feeble attempts.

2. Frangipani yarn doesn't seem nearly so scratchy once you get going knitting it. The feel of the pillow top isn't at all unpleasant. So another reason to not pass judgment on a yarn by what you see and feel in the ball and wait until you've tried it. I'm still not knitting a sweater out of it for myself, though.

3. Black dots that don't look at all interesting on paper can surprise you. I wasn't at all impressed with the 2-row stairstep sequence in the center of the pillow. It was one of the reasons why I intended to knit the other pillow first. But hey, once knitted this pattern looks amazing! I love the texture. The bottom line, a) you can't trust the chart to tell you the truth about a stitch pattern and b) ya gotta swatch it first before passing judgment on a stitch pattern--you might just be surprised!

4. I really dislike k1, p1 knitting. I avoid 1x1 ribbing and have never done moss stitch because I hate the constant manipulations required for throwers to do k1, p1 knitting. But golly gee, moss stitch sure is superb way to knit borders. Nice texture, no curling, maintains its width without the sucking in of ribbing. Moss stitch is cool! I'm getting better/faster at knitting k1, p1 sequences and will no longer look away from a pattern because it is done in moss (seed) stitch.

And one last observation which is independent of ganseys, knitting is wonderfully soothing when it's cold and yucky outside and you're having a really sucky day. A warm fireplace, a good movie, and a lap dog also help :-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reelin' Me in a Gansey

I'm reelin' me in a gansey! "Reeling" you ask? Why yes, because reeling in is what you do to fish after you've hooked them and fish because the guys that did the reeling in the UK were the ones who wore Ganseys. Gansey Sweaters (Jumpers) that is. And I'm getting quite an education participating in Liz Lovick's Gansey Workshop on the EZasPi Forum. The above scan is of my second class project, a pillow comprised of stitch patterns used in Gansey sweaters. I am using the authentic, from the UK, spun from pure new wool, 5ply Frangipani Yarn and 3.25mm needles for my pillow. Here's what I've learned thus far:

1. Black dots on the pattern are the bumps on the right/front/public side of the knitting. The bumps are made using purl stitches--but only if you are knitting on the front side. You have to make a knit stitch on the back side to get the bumps to show up in the right place on the right side. Got it? Oh, and you have to be adept at reading from right-to-left and from left-to-right because a pillow is knit flat and you don't want your bumps to end up on the wrong half/side of the pillow. Now I'm sure you've got it!

2. Frangipani yarn is spun differently from most yarns used over here "across the pond". One is "woolen" and the other "worsted" spun. Don't ask me which. It's very tight and *very* twisty. Like tatting cotton tight and twisty. So you have to pull out long lengths of yarn from the ball in order to give the fiber space to twist up on itself and then chill out again before you wrap it around your needles and knit those little bumps. In tatting when the thread is too twisty you just drop your shuttle and let it untwist itself by spinning around in the air. Trying to do this with knitting is not so easy. Hanging on to yarn up near the ball while letting a metal needle with a point and some fabric hanging from it spin in front of you is, well, potentially dangerous. At least when it's going on midnight and I'm in bed with the dog it's dangerous. I decided to leave this untwisting technique to my tatting. You just gotta learn to love the twist in the yarn and somehow, once it's knitted up, everything looks just fine.

3. Stitch markers are your friend. I generally avoid stitch markers as they are more of an annoyance than a help in my lace knitting. In Gansey knitting they are your friend. They help you keep the different stitch patterns in their proper place. And sometimes, in the plain sections, they allow you to just knit across to the next marker without counting like a crazy woman. This is a good thing. That is unless you think you're in a plain section when you really aren't. For that problem see #1 about the bumps.

4. If you are a blue blood with sensitive fingers, do not use Frangipani yarn. It is rough and scratchy. Not icky scratchy. Just scratchy in a rustic kind of way. But then it doesn't take much for this I-don't-have-a-clue-about-fleece-and-spinning-and-wool-except-that-
I-can-go-to-my-LYS-and-buy-something-all-ready-to-knit city slicker girl. While I am hopeful that a shampoo and conditioning treatment will help soften things a bit, I know this is not a fiber I want next to my skin no matter how cold it is outside. I will not knit a sweater from Frangipani. Oh, and a good hand lotion treatment before knitting sessions is helpful :-)

5. Do not decide to cast-on and start knitting a pillow at 11:00PM. You will grab the right yarn, the right needles, cast-on the right number of stitches, and start knitting the wrong pillow pattern. I really intended to knit the one with the anchors on it. You see I'm doing this doctoral dissertation on HOPE and the anchor is one of the symbols linked to HOPE and so I thought it would be timely to knit the pillow with the hearts (love or charity) and the anchors (HOPE) as a part of my adventure in learning. What I learned is to go to bed and turn off the lights and cast-on the next day when I'm awake and lucid.

6. It's a good thing I purchased 2 balls of Frangipani from Pat at the Yarn Barn so I have enough yarn to knit both pillows. Oh, and I also learned that the "Sea Spray" is a perfect shade of aqua blue and the "Crushed Raspberry" is a little dark for my taste. I'm glad I chose to buys 2 balls instead of 1 cone. Hmmm, maybe I should have tried the Herring Girls Pink. Next pillow, next one.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Orkney Oy!

If at first you don't succeed at knitting the Orkney gansey swatch correctly...Oy! I don't know why I managed to knit the 1st one using a stockinette ground instead of a garter stitch ground, but I did. But thanks to our fearless leader, Liz took a gander over here and saw the error of my ways :-)

This time I dug a little deeper in my stash and found a slightly fatter yarn to use. One of my follow EZasPi classmates had mentioned using Sinfonia cotton for her swatch and I knew I had a ball somewhere. I didn't find it the first go around but was successful tonight. This time I used US3 (3.25mm) needles and I found the knitting much easier. The larger gauge compensated for the inelastic fiber and the predominantly knit stitch use made this swatch a very fast knit. The block was 3" square which was right on target. I think I pass this time :-)
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Getting an Education

So classes are officially underway for the spring semester on Rocky Top and what am I doing? I'm getting an education, not in nursing, but in the fishing communities of Victorian England and Ganseys, the sweaters knitted and worn by those who live by and made their living from the sea. Fascinating! I got into this through my camaraderie with the knitty folks at EZasPi where Liz Lovick is leading an online workshop on Gansey Knitting. So instead of going to the University Bookstore and buying textbooks (Thank God I'm past that point) I went to the used bookstore to snoop through the knitting and craft books. And guess what? I hit the jackpot! I found the top 2 out-of-print (OOP) books Liz recommended for reading about Gansey Knitting. The 1st is Michael Pearson's Traditional Knitting: Aran, Fair Isle, and Fisher Ganseys (c 1984) and the other is The Complete Book of Traditional Guernsey and Jersey Knitting by Rae Compton (c 1985). And in keeping with my lace addiction I also came across a multi-technique lace book called The Gentle Arts which includes both knitting and tatting patterns among its many offerings. It's a good thing I don't need any more yarn for awhile since I just splurged on all these books. While the prices were more than reasonable they still add up and my trade-ins only defrayed a part of the outlay. The sacrifices one has to make for education!
You Belong in Spring

Optimistic, lively, and almost always happy with the world...
You can truly appreciate the blooming nature of spring.
Whether you're planting flowers or dyeing Easter eggs, spring is definitely your season!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gansey Pincushion

I'm participating in Liz Lovick's Gansey Workshop in the EZasPi group. The first class assignment was to practice gansey knitting charts and techniques by knitting two pattern "swatches" and turning them into a small pincushion. What a novel idea, making swatches into something useful! LOL

I've ordered some 5ply Frangipani yarn, the stuff used to knit authentic ganseys, but for this project I used yarn from my stash that was sufficient to meet the needs of the project--namely a very smooth, firm textured yarn in a fingering-sport weight. I used smooth baby pink DMC Senso which is about a fingering weight. I think this one is microfiber but I don't have the ball band any more so who knows? I used US2 (2.75mm) needles and the resulting fabric is firm but still pliable. I think I guessed correctly in my needle choice. I pinned out my blocks and steamed them before assmbling the pincushion. The diamond block measured 2.75" x 2.75" while the other block was 3.0" x 2.75." The diamond block called for 1 less row in the pattern so that, along with the top/bottom purl bands probably accounts for the difference in size.

This was an interesting exercise. My swatches passed the Liz test which requires they be examined from 6 feet away to see if the texture of the stitch pattern is clearly visible. If it is the yarn and needle choice was appropriate. If not, you get to try again. I like passing tests on the 1st attempt :-) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Florida Wins, Hell Freezes Over

I shoulda seen it coming. It was all my fault. I shoulda known better that to cheer for the University of Florida to win the NCAA championship game in football last night against Ohio State University. After all Hell would freeze over before an "I bleed orange" Univ. of Tennessee Volunteer fan would root for their arch enemy the Gators. And so it did. In the midst of record warm temperatures and daffodils about to bloom in East TN I woke up to SNOW on the ground! Yikes!!!! Snow.

I promise immediate repentance, Lord. I won't do it ever again. I'll never cheer for Florida again. Please take that cold stuff away, QUICK! And as luck would have it, I had to go out of the house this morning. In a semi-stuporous state I was rummaging through storage bins trying to dig out a very warm sweater to wear over a turtleneck. Add one of those nice Alpaca shawls I've been knitting all year and presto---no coat needed! The status of my winter coat supply is well, pitiful at best, but then who needs them around here? Not often enough to invest is a really nice, warm coat.

My morning panic over sweaters left me with knitters remorse for not having knit a few nice sweaters that fit properly and are constructed out of quality yarns. The only ones I've made were out of "fashion" chunky yarns from big box craft stores and knit on fat needles. My swatching was inadequate, the yarn to pattern combinations awful, and the resulting sweaters excessively short and wide. In a words, big knitters *don'ts*. The box of don't sweaters is what led me to stop knitting sweaters, but my knitting savvy has increased wonderfully as of late. I know better than to make the same mistakes I once did. No more crappy yarn. No more size 15 needles. (aka broomsticks). Maybe I'll knit a proper sweater in time for next year's cold weather. If we have any cold weather that is.....

Hmmm... now to find the mosquito killers. We're gonna have a bumper crop of the little devils next summer. A girl can't win for losing..... Go Vols Go!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Here's Kiri--Again

I love the Kiri Shawl. It's an awesome pattern. It's lacy without being too lacy. It's easy enough to knit without being too complicated or too boring. Well that is unless you did what I did and add extra repeats to make a bigger shawl so that by the time you get there you are so sick of knitting little leaves that you are ready to scream. But then again that screaming may have been influenced by the fact that it was Christmas and I was trying to finish and I was hopelessly too far behind to get all my knitted presents finished in time for Santa to put them under the tree. But then again it didn't really matter because the presents were for my parents who knew what I was up to and didn't care if they were done by Dec. 25th. God Bless Mom & Dad!

So here's my second Kiri shawl which finally got it's lovely bubble bath and trip to the blocking bed. I had to wait until the last of the relatives departed so I could have the bed to use for blocking. I suspected the shawl would be too big to fit on the bed, which it was, but I fudged it anyway 'cause I wasn't up to crawling around on the floor waving T-pins and metal rods. Oh, the metal rods---this was my 1st time using blocking "wires" to block the straight edge of the shawl. These were aluminum welding rods I found at the little Ace Hardware Store in Dixie Lee Junction. Things sure have changed at Dixie Lee Junction from my high school days when DLJ was known only for the fireworks shop which was next door to the dilapidated drive-in movie theater which showed only XXX movies and was a frequent topic of discussion among the jocks and rednecks at good old Farragut High School. But I digress... The wires do make a terrific straight edge to the shawl but threading them is a little tricky, esp. since I had to use 5 of them to cover the wingspan of the shawl. But they do a much better job than running a long length of fishing line to block the top, so that's that. Oh, and the shawl is a heathered purple and not the blackish brown color that it looks like in the pictures. I have a crummy digital camera but the price was right (yup, free).

The final statistics:
1. Pattern: Kiri Shawl from All Tangled Up
2. Yarn: KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud, color-iris, 4 skeins knit double-stranded (used ~1550 yds.)
3. Needles: Addi-Turbos US 5 (3.75mm), 32" circulars
4. Finished dimensions: 40x80" (15 repeats, 16 leaf motifs along center line)

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year's Update

OK, so in my last post I updated that status quo of most of my knitting projects. This time I thought I'd update my blog and add those little things like KAL buttons and pictures of wips. You know, all the little things I've neglected for a few months plus all the new things I've jumped in on over the holidays. OK, so here's goes:

I bought the amazing new book by Jane Sowerby called Victorian Lace Today. The photography is enough to make this book a coffee table special and the updated Victorian era lace patterns make it a must-have for any lace knitters personal library. And when great books and patterns emerge, the online KALs of folks wanting to knit them together quickly follow. So the VLT KAL blog was one of my newest additions.

Not being the kind of soul who knits only one lace shawl project at a time (ROTFLOL)I also chimed in on a new KAL of folks knitting the Hidcote Garden Shawl designed by Miriam at mimknits.com. I bought the pattern back in November thinking I would knit it as a part of the Lacevember KAL. I knit on it for maybe 2 weeks before it got pushed aside in favor of Christmas knitting. So now I've picked it up again and am making good progress. I'm using ColourMart 2/28 laceweight cashmere in a pretty dusty aqua blue color and size 5 needles. I've finished the first section of lace and am into the diamonds (C6, r13).

OK. So that's what up with the lace along parties. But when that lace jumps ship from shawls and stoles and hits the ground you get...lacy socks. And that brings me to the next KAL-the Branched Fern Socks. A member of the Lace Knitters list, Rochelle Ribeiro designed this pattern for a contest. When she didn't win she turned her disappointment into joy by sharing her great pattern with friends online and started a KAL group. Way to go Rochelle! I haven't cast-on yet, but I plan to use some Regia Silk yarn for this one.

And then I detour from lace altogether and follow my fellow EZasPi friends in a workshop on Gansey Knitting led by the Brit Knit extraordinaire herself, Liz Lovick. This should be interesting since I know nothing about Ganseys, Guernsey's, or other Aran and Celtic knitting forms. I don't plan on knitting a Gansey sweater, but a small project incorporating the techniques will be sufficiently educational.