Ubiquitous Sissy

No, that isn’t the project name, but I’m sure Sissy would like to think she’s ubiquitous… and she’s almost always a cooperative model.  Granted, she was sight-hunting (no, I’m not at all sure she realizes she’s a SCENT hound) at the time, but nevertheless, she stood still for the photo shoot.

August 2011 005

Project:  Solidarity Knitting  Why yes, I guess that is a crazy name, but I cast on for this project because several of us on Facebook rather pressured Kathy into knitting a “Kate Shawl” for the bride to be in her house.  So, it seemed only fair that at least a couple of us cast on… as a show of solidarity. 

photoPattern:  Well, since Kathy’s daughter made her request precious close to her bridal shower, Kathy got to choose the pattern.  We went with Ubiquitous Kate.   (Get it?  Kate shawl knock-offs have been everywhere this summer.)  It was fine for a free pattern, which is to say I had to email gMarie for clarification.  If you’re on Ravelry, gMarie’s notes are spot-on, and I copied them into my own comments there as well.

To be clear, I used Chart A, which is to say I did the pattern on the knit side and then purled on my resting rows.  I also did the full ruffle, not to be confused with the extreme ruffle.  That just means I did the ruffle all the way around, as written.

Yarn:  Knitpicks Gloss in Guava.  I wanted pink… not necessarily PANK, not coral, not… guava.  Still, I like the color, and the yarn was okay.  It was a bit splitty at times and the silk in it definitely wasn’t the silky-smooth kind of silk, but considering what it cost me, I have no complaints.  I also had almost no yarn left after six skeins.

August 2011 002

Needles:  I did the body on my Addi Clicks, #4 tips with the longest cable in the standard pack.  I then used two Knitpicks Options #4s to pick up each side’s stitches for the ruffles.  I don’t understand why my KPO wood tips had one side that just wouldn’t stay tightened.  I like the KPO interchangeables just fine, but sometimes you get what you pay for; they do seem to have a quality control problem (and in full disclosure, Knitpicks is AWESOME about sending replacements, even out of warranty… which to me implies they know they have a problem but it’s cheaper to send parts than to FIX it).

Verdict:  It wasn’t as painful as I feared it would be.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done a 1300 yd. project, and I’m not sure I’ve ever done one that size in fingering yarn.  I never once considered poking my eyes out instead of finishing the ruffle, so I never had to regret doing the full ruffle, but no, I don’t think I’ll knit this precise one again.

Advertisements

Lace ‘n Loot

Anitas Grace Shawl

Anita's Grace Shawl

Actually, we’ll start with the loot.  Grace, the  sweet, speedy, wonder lace knitter, has added one of her glorious shawlettes to the prize pool.  (NOT the shawl pictured above – that’s just so you can see her lovely lace!) Thank you, Grace for your continued generosity! 

Glass jewels by TG Designs

Glass jewels by TG Designs

But wait!  There’s more!  Christina donated another special prize.   T G Designs is another pair of talented sisters cranking out beautiful, functional art.  In fact, I have my earrings in at the moment…  The pendant will feature a gold bail, so add your own gold necklace, and you’ll have a snazzy fall look!

I think that covers all of the prizes now.  You’ll have to peruse a few posts to find everything, but wowza!   I really do have some talented, generous friends.  And in the spirit of full disclosure, the vendor/donors are also eligible to win prizes other than their own.    There’s plenty here for non-knitters, so rest assured, I’ll assign prizes according to your interests, with a lot of help from Excel and the random  number generator.

Now, how ’bout that finished object report?

This is the shawl I made for Hope and her parents.   No, it’s not pink, as I’m sure Hope will note, but the Knight lobbied hard for a not too light (for easier care) and not too girly (out of respect for the dad, who would hunker down under a baby pink wrap to make his daughter happy) wrap, so… 

Pattern:  Homespun Shawl is a VERY simple feather and fan stole/rectangle.  It’s just four simple rows, and while I don’t memorize patterns as quickly as some, truly, one look was all it took for this one.  It’s as straight-forward as they come, and I think it would be a great first lace project, as long as you have the will to slog through miles of the same four rows. 

My final measurements, without any real blocking, were 19″ x 53″, right in line with what’s listed on the pattern.

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky.  My only complaint is that the yarn doesn’t have a colorway name on it.  (Don’t bother telling me if there’s a website that lists the numbers and gives an actual name; it’s one of my hang-ups.  I’d like my yarn to have a colorway name, not a number, right there on the band.)  It’s a shame it’s so pricey, because it’s a great machine wash, dry flat yarn.  Thank goodness for Little Knits and their sales, because that’s where all of my Debbie Bliss yarn has come from. 

I’m calling the colorway Mermaid, because Hope likes mermaids.  Take that DB and your nameless ball bands!  I used 8 balls, with just enough of the last one left over to save for repairs.

Needles:  Knitpicks Options, US #11, 24″ cord, metal tips.  No failure here, I’m happy to say.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but maybe I’ve finally gotten all of the early edition cords that come apart out of my kit.

Crab stitch border

Crab stitch border

Hook:  “What?!” you say?  Yep.  Lookie!  I successfully crab stitched on both short ends.  I might go back and do that on Fredfoot too, since the bottom edge rolls just the tiniest bit…

Anyway, if you don’t know by now, I use nothing but Boye hooks, and this was size J.

The crab stitch is also called reverse single crochet.   While I learned it at a Guild meeting this summer, I did find a nice You Tube video to refresh my memory.  I think that if you can single crochet, you can do this lovely, twistedropelooking edge.

Verdict:  Oh yeah.  I’ll be cranking out more of these, especially if I can find more of this Cashmerino Chunky on sale.   It’s a great prayer shawl, because I don’t think I swore once while I was knitting it, or even while I was crab stitchin’.  There’s nothing but love, hope and prayers in there, aside from the ever-present dog hair that is my signature touch to everything that comes from my hands, heart and home.

Colonnade Parade

Before we dive into the finished object report and my weekend plans, I need to send out some good wishes to a couple of packs!  Please take a moment to send a healing thought  to Sunny and her pack.   Sunny had surgery on her paw yesterday and they’re waiting on test results with a scary prognosis. 

Sweet Morgan, stole from Sue's blog

Sweet Morgan, stole from Sue's blog

Also, Sue and her gang have a lot going on right now, and that’s not even including Fudge’s big day, one week from today!   A lot of little things can add up to big stress, so wish them well too.

On the look-out for good news about our friends

On the look-out for good news about our friends

As if doggy health issues and tests (of all sorts) aren’t enough, Jessi got the scare of a lifetime yesterday too.  I was never so happy to get home and snuggle with the fur-girls as I was last night.

I’m tired of pretending I’m going to block Colonnade.   I’m pretty content about how it looks right there, so done is done.

Pattern:  When the newest Knitty went up, this was the one pattern I just couldn’t resist.   Anita and I bought yarn for Colonnades together.  There was one simple error in the pattern which doesn’t seem to have been corrected on Knitty yet; you need to do 16 total repeats of Section 1 to have the required number of stitches.  You also want to end with a wrong side row so you’re ready to start Section 2 with a right side row.

Yarn:  Berroco Peruvia.  Meh.  I’m not crazy about the yarn.  Can’t really say why, but it was a little fuzzy, a little like kniting with roving, and just generally didn’t move me.  I also don’t think that I really care for the two-color thing going on, but I do love the two heather hues I selected!

Needles:  US #10 Knitpick Options with the metal tips.

Verdict:  I like it better on Sissy than on me.  The shape isn’t so bad, so maybe I’d like it better in a single colorway.  Maybe I’ll try another one, but while it was a very quick, fun knit, there are so many patterns out there…  This one heads to the to be gifted pile!

So, what’s on tap for your weekend?  The firehouse is having an open house tomorrow from 11-3, so if you’re local, stop by.  There will be things for kids to do and demonstrations for kids of all ages to watch… 

Other than that, I’ll be knitting all weekend on a special project, and snuggling with the fur-girls.  I’ll spin too, I’m sure.  I have a bobbin full of plied yarn that wants to be set free, so I’m going to tend to that, no matter what!

Ruff-Ruffles

Happy Monday!  We’re having a beautiful fall day here in my neck of the woods.  I spent the entire weekend at Haddon Woods, knitting a cowl fit for a princess.

That’s my Ruff-Ruffles cowl.  Somehow, Sis knew it was hers from the jump.  Even though it was a pleasant 70-something degrees outside yesterday, Sissy wore her new “necklace” with pride, and even got cranky when I removed it and put it on Gretchie.

I dont think I should be wearing this...

I don't think I should be wearing this...

Pattern:  Ruffles Cowl.   I followed the pattern to the letter, but clearly, I have more ruffles than the one shown with the pattern.   I had a grand total of 672 stitches to bind off, and since there were a lot of yarn overs (every other stitch!), I opted to practice my new knit backwards picot bind off, since a picot bind off was recommended. 

Off the needles, un-folded shot

Off the needles, un-folded shot

I did use Version 2, to give Sis a little more length in the ribbed section, as she won’t wear coats in the winter, but will wear a cowl.  Given the yardage range the designer gives and the VERY ruffled look of my cowl, I think the last K1, YO repeat will take you closer to 240-250 yards of yarn.

Most accurate color shot on *THIS* monitor...

Most accurate color shot on *THIS* monitor...

Yarn:  I can’t say enough about Sissy’s yarn.  Jessi really captured the colors perfectly, and it knitted up perfectly.   In case you haven’t read my blog in the past month, this is Springvalley Yarn’s Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy colorway, in a DK weight.  A portion of the profits for the sale of this and the Gretchen colorway goes to the ASPCA.

Needles:  My Knitpick Options, metal tip, size #8, 24″ cord.  It was literally all I could do to fit those 600++ stitches on this cord, yet it was WAY too long for the stockinette section.  Why doesn’t KPO offer a shorter cord?  (And no, I don’t care to buy the fixed in a shorter length.  Come on Hiya Hiya interchangeables! )

See the wet hair on Gretchen's head? Sis wanted her cowl back!

Verdict:  Without the cowl in my hands, I can’t count rows and figure out whether I screwed up or whether version 2 just doesn’t have a photo on the pattern page.  Either way, I’m delighted with the final results.  Jessi and Sissy are happy too, so it’s a VERY successful knit, regardless!

***ETA! – I must note that the delightful, responsive designer has changed the pattern to note that 250 yards is recommended…  Since Sis adores her Ruff-Ruffle, I’m apt to make another for her.

Never fear, Gretchie fans.  Her dress is underway, and I’ll be buying “jewels” for the neckline today.  Look for her in her Springvalley-Haddon Woods designer frock later this week, along with a Colonnade FO report once that is blocked.  However, since several of you are knitting Colonnades, please see my project notes or Yarndemon’s for an error in the originally released version of the  pattern…  The designer is aware of it, so I’m sure a correction will show up soon.

Noria

It’s Friday and it’s raining.   Those things both make me very happy.   I’m looking forward to a restful weekend with my new friend, Allegra.  Between her powers and the rain, I think my allergies will be back under control again in another day or so.

Meet Noria.  She’s my latest pride and joy. 

Pattern:  Gaia, available as a free Ravelry downl0ad.  (Honestly, if you’re not on Ravelry, just sign up, if for no other reason that to Rav-stalk and dowload free patterns.)  I didn’t make a single modification, other than to knit on and on, to make the most of my pretty yarn. 

My new skill was the picot knit backwards bind-off.  Knitting backwards is easy, and I’m looking forward to trying it again.  I might have to cast on for another entrelac project just so I can give it a whirl.  It’s a softer, rounder picot, although I suspect I could have blocked each point for a sharper look.

This pattern was written for Noro sock yarn(s).  No two will ever look the same, as the knitter decides when to make the change.  It’s nearly mindless, but has enough variety to keep it interesting.

Yarn:  Noro Silk Garden Sock.  I finally found this yarn’s zenith.  I don’t care to make socks with it, because it does have that Noro thick-thin thing going on, but in this shawl, it was great.

Needles:  US #5 circs.  I started with the Addi 24″, but had to switch to the Knitpicks Options (metal tips) and the 40″ cord.  I STRONGLY prefer the KPO pointy tips.  I’m glad I did start this project on the Addis though, because now I know I don’t need to invest in the Addi Interchangeables; I’ll wait on the Hiya Hiya version.  Using them back-to-back on the same project really drove that point home!

Verdict:  I have two more skeins of Noro Silk Garden sock, so there’s a chance I might do another of these.  It’s still a fairly small shawl, but I think it is going to live with a fairly small woman, so that will work out just fine.

So, what will you be doing this weekend?  I know there’s a Jane Slicer-Smith series of workshops in town this weekend.  I never signed up because I suspected my back wouldn’t be up to sitting all weekend, but I hope those of you who are attending have a great time!

FFF-smWhat about next weekend?  Who is coming to the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier next weekend?  I’m going to be there on Saturday, as is AnnDianne of Creatively Dyed will be there as a vendor for the whole thing.  AmyWendy?  Who else?

Will enough of us be there at the same time to plan our own little meet and greet?

Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

Atlantis Found!

Happy Monday!  To heck with Fridays; I think the world would be a better place if I was off EVERY Monday.  I like this, staying in bed and hanging out with the girls before starting my day.  Do you like a long weekend that begins early (on Friday) or ends late (on Tuesday?) 

Back last spring, Jessi sold some of her beautiful handspun in her (no longer open) Etsy shop. 

Atlantis superwash merino

Atlantis superwash merino

Atlantis came to live with me, and has been waiting for the perfect project.  I’m giving a little moebius program at our next guild meeting, and needed a simple sample.  Simple and beautiful handspun go well together, so…

Project:  Atlantis Merino Lace Cowl

Pattern:  Cat Bordhi’s Moebius Cowl.  Ravelry says it’s in A Treasury of Magical Knitting, but if you can find it in there, will you give me the page number?  I just used the free version online because danged if I saw it in my copy of the book. 

I did make a few changes.  I love lace and was concerned that I didn’t have enough yarn to follow the pattern as written, so I only did 8 repeats of the main “chevron” section, and then did four repeats of the lace.  Because I used worsted weight yarn, it’s really more of a shoulder-warmer than a cowl as I think of them – something warm around the neck.

I STRONGLY recommend Cat Bordhi’s YouTube video for the cast-on.  I’ve tried at least three variations of moebius cast-ons, and this is by far the fastest and easiest. 

And yes, that’s what I’ll be demonstrating for the guild program too. 

Yarn:  Alabama Fiber Dreams Atlantis Superwash Merino handspun in a light-worsted to heavy worsted weight.  Really, Noro yarns have more variation in thick-thin than this did.  I was also pleasantly surprised by the gentle self-striping action going on. 

(Why yes, that blur on the right IS Diva Sissy checking on the thing I’d had in my lap.)

I haven’t blocked this yet, and don’t know if I will.  It “bloomed” tremendously just playing with it after it came off the needles.  I think if I soak and block it, it could very well be more of a wrap.

Needles:  For perhaps the last time ever, my Knitpick Options failed me.  The darned cord came out of the metal part where it attaches to the tip AGAIN.  Yes, KP will replace it if I fuss, but frankly, this is at least the third time it’s happened on a LARGE lace project, and when one has to scramble to pick up (and fix countless dropped stitches) dozens of stitches because a needle failed, I lose faith and interest, regardless of how good a warranty might be.

Oh – size 10.5 US, Harmony tips.

That’s a bamboo circ in a smaller size, because the only 10.5 circ I have is in my KP Options.  (I do have both metal and wood tips, but see above – I wasn’t giving KPO a chance to fail me again.)  You’ll also see some bamboo dpns that were called into service to save the mess.

(And look Jessi!  I did use the matching stitch marker – one of ’em, anyway.)

Verdict:  I love moebius knitting, loved the yarn, but I’m rather done with Knitpicks Options.  Sure, I could glue the cord back in, and might, for emergency uses, but I’ll be investing in FIXED circs, especially for moebius knitting.  I do find photographing this item difficult, but I think you get the idea.

End is actually below Gs nose, but...

End is actually below G's nose, but...

Gretchen is politely pointing at the the cast-on start.  I didn’t weave in ends, because (again) this will be a “teaching” sample, and I want everyone to see how a moebius comes together.

See the long tail, where the bind-off ended?

See the long tail, where the bind-off ended?

I need to get on with my day, but Gretchen also wants Alison to know she’s been on squirrel patrol this morning.  She doubled up on her rounds, since I’m home to let her in and out and in and … 

 

 

 

 

Wanna’ Know a Secret?

Back in February, I began making excuses for not knitting hiding behind a veil of secret knitting.  There’s more still happening that should be happening, but the BIG secret can be seen HERE.   For today anyway (well, since earlier this week to date), it can also be seen on the “front page” of Elann.com!

It’s not as pretty as their photos, but MJ was good enough to model it for me before I shipped it off.  I knew from Anita‘s experience last fall that it might be a while before I saw my work again.

Project:   Firsts Moebius Capelet

Pattern:  Candace Eisner Strick’s Moebius Capelet.  It cap1227398n be found a couple of different places, but Elann sent me the Spring/Summer 2006 Vogue.   The moebius cast-on is a little challenging per the pattern, but I found good ol’ Cat Bordhi on YouTube and suddenly, everything made sense.  After that wee moebius neckline, you switch to the bigger needles and the thing just flies off the needles.  That is, as long as you like the picot bind-off, which I simply adore.  

Yarn:  Elann’s own Soie Lin in Provencal Blue.   It’s a nice go-with-everthing shade, and I do hope my sample is returned in time for me to enjoy it a few times this summer, but I am going to use my store credit to order more for a yet to be determined project in garnet.  I also love chartreuse, but know that’s got too much yellow in it for me to wear near my face.

The yarn is a silk-linen blend, in case you aren’t great with French.   I hated knitting with pure linen a couple of summers ago, but since this is 70% silk, the linen merely keeps the yarn for slipping all over the needles.  It is splitty, but that doesn’t bother me much.

Needles:  I used my trusted Addi Turbo Lace #1 for the neck (I think…  not being able to use Ravelry’s project page created some memory lapses, but whatever the pattern called for, I used.) 

The body was done on a #6 circ, because gauge mattered and particularly with anything with a few yarnovers (aka: lace), I’m a loose knitter.  Can’t recall which needles, but I suspect it was the Knitpicks Options in one tip or the other.

Verdict:  A couple of you know I had the devil of a time getting started on this project, but once I figured it out, I really enjoyed everything about it, except that it was over too soon.  I’ll definitely use the yarn again, and I am teaching a workshop on moebius for my knitting guild.  I’d do the pattern again too, if the circumstances required it.

That brings us to the weekend.  There’s a baby shower I can’t get out of tomorrow, and I’m making a great, quick, practical pair of booties.  (Says the child-free one.  But I did thrust the first FO of the pair in the hands of a dad with a newborn and an older toddler, and he says they’re far better than socks, especially for the summer.  Because he was too polite to ask for a pair [or ten] for his baby, he’ll get at least a couple of pairs.)

That’s really it, I believe, but you can bet there will be some car shopping, unless I throw up my hands and quit.  I’ll post later about the Knight’s drive-by veto session last night.

What’s up for your last weekend of May?