V is for…

V is for…  really is the project name.

Pattern:  Multnomah – direct link to the pdf file.    If you’ve never done feather and fan before, make sure you read the “editing” tab on the Ravelry project page, or see Robin’s notes .    I would type out the necessary changes here, but I’ve given you two awesome resources that are a click away…  Other than following those “clarifications” I made no modifications to the pattern.

Yarn:  Swoon!   If you haven’t knitted with Kathy‘s Gypsyknits BFL Superwash Fingering, you’re missing out.  I have to admit that I let this yarn marinate for a good while, but when it turned up as my January personal brown bag stash sock club offering, Barbara suggested that we have a knit-along with our Gypsyknits yarns…

Oh… and the colorway is Victorian Tea. 

Needles:  Addi Turbo Lace 40″, US size #4.  Most wonderful needles in the whole wide world.

Verdict:  I’m well-pleased.  I still don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but it’s a nice little shawlette, and it used almost a whole skein of yarn from my stash.

Now, the weekend and the last 2.5 rows and bind-off of Citron await.  The Knight and his band of merry men are busy with their shed-raising (although my girlfriends and I voted last night and decided that the little house is far too large to be called a shed – but what do we know?) and more tree work this weekend. 

I’ll slip away tomorrow for a bit of scrapbooking and/or card making, and that’s about as exciting as it gets this weekend.  How ’bout you?  Will you have sunshine and warm temperatures?  Hmmm…  I think I’ll add some walks and dog baths to the agenda too.

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!

Wrap-up…

… of Shawl Talk.

Is it really stolen if I was behind the camera?

Is it really stolen if I was behind the camera?

This is Anita and her flat bottom showing off the Beach Glass shawl that Grace gave her.  Of course, if we all had bottoms like that, the triangle and its point would be a moot point, but since we don’t, it seems that most of us wear triangle shawls with confidence and let the points fall where they may.  Still others of you wear small triangles as “shawlettes”, bunched up around your neck, peeking out of a winter coat.

 

2-08  Princess Lace Wrap gifted to Nichole

2-08 Princess Lace Wrap gifted to Nichole

It seems the stole, aka: rectangular shawl, is considered the most functional shape though.  I know I’m itching to knit another one.  They’re easy to toss around shoulders, and where you flop those ends is up to you.  I know stoles are what I think of when I think of the ultimate evening/formal wrap, with the ends floating gracefully off my elbows.  (Not that I’m ever particularly graceful, but it’s a vision, okay?!)

12-07, from a swap pal!

12-07, from a swap pal!

Circles and squares got some mentions too, but I think for me, a lot of the lace gets “muddled” when you fold it over to make it a more useful shape.  I still want to knit at least one of each shape, and as I type, Gretchen and I have that generous gift of a Hemlock Ring around us. 

My Fredfoot 11-08

My "Fredfoot" 11-08

Then, there are the unique shapes, such as Bigfoot  in Wrapped in Comfort.  I love the way this shawl fits, and stays in place.  If you haven’t given this construction a look, you’re missing out.  I happen to know that the designer had many of the same concerns about and desires in a shawl shape that we have, and she was skilled enough to make a shape that works!

Now, I’m going to wind up with a few lists.  All links are Ravelry links.  I think everyone who knits and reads my blog has a Ravelry account, and if not, you’re aware that I think you’re missing the boat.  The first is of my personal favorites when it comes to shawls:

Designers:

Alison Jeppson Hyde – see above.  Love the shape, but she also rates each pattern so you can pick something that won’t make you battwhackey as you knit.

Anne Hanson – While I insist she puts forth the clearest instructions in the shawl world, you don’t always know what you’re getting into with her lace just by looking at a photo!  She doesn’t swear by resting rows, so definitely buy and read the pattern through and through before you begin.

Susan Lawrence – Another of the lace design queens!  Her patterns are also straightforward, and she does seem to believe in resting rows, most of the time. 

Renee Leverington –  Beautiful stuff, truly, but unless you’re an ambitious beginner… scratch that.  She’s not beginner material, unless you’re ambitious and willing to use a lifeline.    Oh – and you’d better like to read charts, which I do!

Vyvyan Neel – My Argosy love affair couldn’t exist without her.  Another great beginner lace/wrap designer.  (And she has a basset hound…)

I also have to give a shout out to Grace, Chrissy Gardiner, Sivia Harding, Miriam Felton and Ilga Leja

You can Rav-stalk my queue and faves to figure out what patterns I love, so I won’t bother with THAT list.  I can tell you that the webzines, Knitty and Twist Collective, are great places to find freebies from some of the top shawl designers.

Now, since not all of you Rav-stalk each other, here are some of your favorite patterns, by shape:

Triangle:

Triangular Prayer Shawl

Adamas

LovinComfort

Diamond Fantasy

Princess Shawl

 

Rectangle/stole:

Clapotis and its variations

Hypotenuse

Ulmus Rectangle

Vine Stitch Wrap

Hanami

Lily of the Valley

 

Other:

Nina’s Ann Arbor Shawl

Colonnade

Truly Tasha

Girasole

Damson

Interestingly, many of you listed triangles as favorites, despite saying you prefer to wear rectangles.  I like knitting triangles too, but I’ve only kept my Tofuchief thus far. 

A washed-out photo of the Tofuchief

A washed-out photo of the Tofuchief

Thanks again to each of you who took the time to tell me about your favorite wraps.  Just so you know, I’ve ordered yarn for a DK version of Ulmus Rectangle (because I like wraps better than coats), and I’ve selected the Half Square in TrinityStitch for the project I was in search of when I started this contest.  However, the next lace project on my heart will be Stolen Moments for a very special family facing a crisis.  You can see THIS thread for more information and updates.  I will NOT be blogging about this, as it is not my crisis, and this blog is rather public.

Now, to sew up Gretchie’s dress so you can have an FO report and cute photos soon!

Whatcha’ think?

I need some advice, input and help.  What I really need is a visit from Stacy London, but PLEASE don’t REALLY send them, because I know how to dress to impress…  I just need the motivation more often.

The Knight and Fred, 8-2007

The Knight and Fred, 8-2007

Going on 13 years with an indoor basset hound has a lot to do with it.  While this photo is from work, and the Knight is in work clothes, the same positions are assumed at home.  There’s dog hair everywhere, slobber and goobers on pants, etc.

Yesterday afternoon, when Gretchen fell into the hot tub, the hemlock ring was wrapped around her, after she came out of the body sheet towel that was first called into service.   (She’s fine; we’d never had the hot tub cover open since she came to live with us, and the Knight was right there to scoop her out, and a lesson was learned… she won’t venture past the top step anytime soon!)

January 2008

January 2008

Baby Sissy was tucked in under my favorite shawl (by Grace  – today’s her birthday, so pop over and wish her a great one!).  My point here is, I USE my handknits, and since my dogs are very much a part of my life, they use them too, in a sense.

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, all of the above plays into my decisions when I am choosing a pattern for a wrap for me.  THAT part is not open for debate, and if it offends you that I don’t shield my knits from my dogs…  I won’t apologize.  I also make the same considerations when I knit for friends with small children.  Nothing with too many delicate yarn overs for little fingers to get caught in, baby blankets are made to be machine wash and dry, etc.

Toy sheep with Sharpie-drawn face

Toy sheep with Sharpie-drawn face

So, the point of this whole post is that while I’m very comfortable dropping a shawl of any shape around my shoulders, I don’t know how to wear them in public.  I’d like to wear them more, because shawls are my favorite project right now, and I have several that deserve to be seen outside of the house.

What shape do you like best, and why? 

Where do you wear your knitted wraps?  Please be specific.  I paint a broad stroke with my attire, and while my daily look is what Stacy would probably call high school casual (jeans and a decent shirt), I also do cocktail and black tie several times a year, with everything in between too.

HOW do you wear them?  With a shawl pin?  Tied?  Flapping in the breeze?  Some other stylin’ method?

The chair doesnt have THAT body part...

The chair doesn't have THAT body part...

While we’re at it, let’s attack the basic triangular shawl with its yarn over increases making an arrow pointing right to the body part most of us LEAST want ANYTHING to point to…

What do you think about the triangle and the “bottom point”?

I happen to like the function of this style.  If the shawl is large enough,  I can tie the front ends in a couple of different ways, and I can walk dogs, wash dishes, knit and otherwise go about my life.  The dogs have never scoffed at the point that points to a place I don’t want to draw eyes to, but precious as they are, they’re not good fashion advisors.

While we’re at it, share your favorite shawl patterns with me.  I have a BIG contest coming next month/week/soon, but I’ve asked so much of you that I should offer something for your troubles, huh?

How ’bout a gift certificate to one of my favorite indie dyers for some sock shawl yarn?  If enough of you participate, I’ll give two certificates, one each to two favorite dyers.

You’ll get one entry for EACH of the questions you answer, because I asked a lot.   Keep in mind you don’t have to be a knitter to enter!   (Yeah, you probably won’t get an entry for the favorite pattern part, but…)

If more than ten of you answer ALL the questions, EVERYONE answering ALL the questions (with non-knitters who mention they don’t knit getting a buy on the fave pattern question) will be entered in a separate drawing for that second gift certficate.  The rest of you will have to duke it out for the original prize, okay?

I did highlight the questions, to make it easier.  No bonuses will be given for advertising this contest, but obviously, the more answers I get, the more prizes I’ll give.

Contest ends at 8am Eastern time (my time!) on Friday, October 2nd, which is both my favorite aunt and uncle’s anniversary and the anniversary of her father/my grandfather’s death.  Prizes will be awarded right here, whenever I get around to blogging on Friday, assuming I’ve worked out the prize details with the two friends I’m blind-siding.

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!

Hot Green

Project:  Lily Cloth

Pattern:  Muguets Cloth, scroll down on the left, but I hear some of you have trouble with the website.  I really liked this.  It was an easy knit, and reminded me of the Lily of the Valley that grew against the house of my childhood.  (And the French name reminded me of Mugsy, which is always a good thing.)

Yarn:  Sugar ‘n Cream’s Hot Green.   It is very vivid, but I like it!  The yarn isn’t my favorite cotton; it’s hard on my hands, but it was worth it for this hue.

Needles:  Crystal Palace bamboo #6.  I like them a lot.

Verdict:  Will likely make more of this pretty cloth.

I hope you like “hot green” too, because there’s more!

That’s my Tofuchief

Pattern:  Silk Kerchief.   A quick and easy shawlette or triangular scarf, written for Noro yarn.  It’s a great travel project, as it’s all garter stitch with a few yarn overs every other row, and a color change every two rows.  My version blocked to 51 inches wide rather than the 30-something in the pattern, but this was mostly knitted at the firehouse, so I just kept going and going and wondering how wide it had gotten…

Yarns:  Tofutsies, in a “hot green” and a variegated pink.  I chose the colors because they’re bright, happy and they won’t show dirt too easily.  I went with Tofutsies because it’s machine wash and dry, plus it’s a great blend of wool, soy and chitin, so it will serve me well through all four seasons at the office.  The colors above are pretty accurate.

Needles:  Knitpick Options, Harmony tips, USA #3 for everything but the bind-off.  I used a #5 for that, to give a nice, stretchy edge.

Verdict:  It was intended to be a utilitarian shoulder and/or neck warmer, and that it will be.  Visually, I don’t find plain garter stitch shawls too appealing, but it will be perfect for the job I had in mind when I started the project.

I’m thinking about finally getting around to my first ballband cloth next, but I’m also eager to try the lizard ridge cloth.   Actually, by cast on, bind off math, I’m now three patterns to the good, right?  So I could cast on for both of those AND something else…

Waiting on those humans...

Waiting on those humans...

We have a family reunion this weekend, and that’s about it.  Otherwise, we’ll be at home with the fur-girls, making up for all the time we didn’t spend with them this week.

What’s on your agenda?