Archive for the ‘lace/shawls’ Category

done and done

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

flightNewark04_25

isn’t that a sight? this was the beautiful view from my window as we took off from newark last tuesday evening on my way home from ottawa. just look at that streak of sky with the last of the sunset—gorgeous.

before i get into the nitty gritty of my week, i just want to give a shoutout on a few upcoming events for the next two weeks:

i will be teaching this weekend (april 30 and may 1) at the miami valley knitting guild in dayton, OH. this is a great opportunity to take sweater fitness or a finishing class (or both!). they are hosting a meet and greet on friday evening that is open to all (a small fee is required at the door); erica betz and i will be taking along a popup shop of yarn and patterns that will be available throughout the weekend.

our spring ensemble collection will be coming next week!

and then NEXT weekend (may 7 and 8) we are heading for the maryland sheep and wool show, where we will have a booth in the center aisle of the main building. if you plan to be there, please stop by to fondle our yarns and say hello; we would love to show you around! all of our spring ensemble pieces will be available for viewing, along with patterns and yarns to knit them.

signups for the pairings club open to all on sunday may 1—just six days left for currently enrolled clubbies to take advantage of their discount on full membership or extra yarn upgrade (you can use your discount twice as long as you do it before may 1).

mayApple04_25

back home, the weather has been steadily warming by the day and even the nights are temperate for the most part (except of course on the day of our cleveland photo shoot; more on that later).

fritillaria04_25

adorable little plants (may apple and fritillaria) are popping out for their once-a-year show; it’s important to notice them now because they won’t be back til next year.

fiddlehead04_25

i just love taking little breaks to look around the yard—plants like the may apple and hosta show visible growth in just a few hours. if you don’t take notice today, they will be all grown up by tomorrow.

of course it’s not at all the case that i have hours upon hours to play in the yard, haha—when i got back from my trip i hit the ground running toward the next goal, which is getting our spring ensemble published and my blue shawl blocked and out in the mail.

STshawl04_15

you might remember that just before i left, i decided it was done, but that i hadn’t cast off. i left it home while i was away and got right to work on the bind off the night i returned.

pothosSTfabricA04_25

then blocking. it is a larger shawl—25 to 29 inches along the center back before blocking—and about 34 inches once it’s relaxed and stretched. but super light and airy; it won’t weigh you down at that size.

pothosSTdetail04_25

the fabric is just lovely—plenty of gloss to highlight those shifting stitches in the large leaves. that’s what a nice measure of silk will do for you! this sample is knit in spirit trail nona, a 2-ply merino/silk/cashmere blend in a heavier laceweight. i’ve used the aquarius colorway for mine.

pothosST04_25

i love how it looks against the dark charcoal of our counter top. it would be beautiful with a dark dress as well. because well, my counter top is unlikely to go out dancing any time soon.

pothos125_72dpi

this shawl would be really pretty in silver or white as well as a wedding shawl, maybe in cabécou lace or chebris lace.

pothos077_72dpi

the top of it would look stunning over a bare shouldered dress and the bottom frames the bodice beautifully around the waist and lower back.

pothos147_72dpi

and totally scarfable too for everyday looks!

pothosBNWprogressA04_25

while the blue shawl dried, i knit late, late into the night to complete my second sample in better breakfast fingering yarn.

pothosBNWprogress04_25

the knitting goes pretty quickly because while it looks elaborate, it is actually very straightforward and does not involve a lot of fancy stitchwork. AND the WS rows are all in purl (except the edging which is garter). i know you like that.

since i was just starting the hem at the point that i blocked the blue sample, i had time to make a couple of very minor adjustments to the pattern.

pothosBNWotn04_25

i started this shawl last friday (4/15) on my way to ottawa and i finished it this past friday morning (4/22). there were even a couple of days that i didn’t work on it. the hardest thing about it was picking a name—i went through about a dozen options that were already in use multiple times on ravelry. finally, erica betz suggested pothos and miracle of miracles, there was only one other (sock) pattern using that word. so i jumped on that one.

pothosBNWblocking04_25

this baby went right into a hot bath as soon as it was off the needles and i blocked it that afternoon. we wanted to use it for our photo shoot on saturday. good thing our BNW yarns dry quickly!

this time i blocked the hem scallops a little differently, but you could do it either way; for pointy leaves, use pins only on the hem (no wires) and stretch out the flower ‘petals’ into points (see blue sample above).

pothos356_72dpi

i am always surprised at how light and drapey the fabric of this fingering yarn is—i knit this shawl on needles two sizes bigger because of the change in yarn weight, but it blocked out to about the same size. that’s because the BBF has more body and bounce, while the silky lace yarn does not, so the blue shawl relaxed a lot more.

pothos334_72dpi

the BBF version is a bit warmer but still airy—it doesn’t feel heavy although it looks much more substantial.

pothos331_72dpi

i think this one would be pretty over a dark coat or dress—but it also looks great with some of our hemp skirts and tops—that warm waffle shade is perfect for spring and summer.

pothos349_72dpi

and a great bathrobe shawl for those summer mornings when you want to hit the deck first thing with your coffee.

photosSaturdayA04_25

done just in the nick of time, this baby got packed into the car early saturday morning for ride to cleveland and some urban exploring. we had a list of sites to visit, starting with lakewood park, which is on lake erie.

photosSaturdayB04_25

considering the warmth of the previous week, it was laughably windy and cold—literally too gusty to photograph some of our lighter pieces. we did get some excellent shots of our slightly heavier garments and lots of shawl pics, haha, since all we wanted the whole time was to bundle up in warm layers. this feather light stole in chebris lace felt scrumptious when i could get it to stay put.

observatoryJ04_25

the next stop on our photo safari was the abandoned observatory of the case school of science—a wonderful old building in the center of town that is completely open and accessible.

observatory04_25

adorned with many original features, it is far less creepy than you’d think.

observatoryA04_25

we all admired this zodiac floor piece, which while completely available has remained in place. i think it’s awesome that no one has selfishly stolen it, despite obvious attempts. it’s nice that it’s still there for all to share and appreciate.

observatoryE04_25

the observatory tower is somewhat intact as well, though much of it is open to the light

observatoryD04_25

which makes an interesting photography space.

observatoryI04_25

i couldn’t resist a selfie.

observatoryG04_25

just wait til you see how we featured this honey doorway in some of our photos.

observatoryH04_25

we couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition of this urban landscape with the natural one outdoors, just coming into leaf with bright spring greens.

and what’s that i see on the balcony railing?

observatoryC04_25

clearly, someone else thinks like we do.

ottawa

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

ottawaElephant04_19

many thanks to the ottawa knitting guild for hosting me this past weekend; what a treat to visit the capitol of canada.

ottawaClass04_19

our weekend was jam-packed with classes on everything from yarn to technique to sweater fitness—a really well-rounded program.

ottawaClassA04_19

everyone worked very hard (i am constantly awestruck with the diligence of knitters who take three full days of classes), but i think we all came away with lots to work on and think about.

i meant to take lots more photos during classes, but i also like to talk a lot, haha, so i did not pick up my phone camera often enough to accomplish that.

ottawaJellyFish04_19

i didn’t have a lot of free time to get scout out a variety of neighborhoods to show you on this trip, but on sunday i took a long walk after class, beginning with the museum of nature which was right outside my hotel. the old building looks like a castle but has a few modern additions, like this glass case attached to the side which houses a giant jellyfish!

ottawaDinosaur04_19

currently they are working on an exploration garden out front to which i did not have access, but around back i met a dinosaur in the small park.

ottawaCanalWalkC04_19

it was such a gorgeous, mild afternoon that lots of people were out as i followed the road down to the canal and across into old ottawa east.

ottawaCOldTownEast04_19

the streets near the university just on the other side looked very charming but they are doing so much road work along that way that i soon decided to head back toward the canal for my walk.

ottawaCanalWalkB04_19

with evening approaching, there were just a few stragglers out running, walking, and biking; i know i should have taken the time to change into running gear and join them, but after standing on my feet all day, i thought a walk would suit me better.

ottawaCanalWalkA04_19

the sunset was warm, highlighting the wooded paths alongside the water, where i could enjoy some of the old houses and buildings across the street from a hidden angle.

ottawaCanalWalk04_19

i didn’t really know where i was going, haha, and because i didn’t recognize the correct bridge, i of course overshot the point where i had planned to turn.

no matter; what’s a couple of extra miles on such a pretty byway?

ottawaGlebe04_19

at least i managed to get back to a neighborhood on my planned route before it got dark. i was really happy to finally pop out into the glebe, where many possibilities for supper presented themselves.

i had hoped to do a little more sightseeing this morning, but when i saw the tsunami of email i’d been ignoring, i thought better of it and spent today getting on top of that.

shawlWaffleA04_19

while i haven’t had massive amounts of time to knit, i did make some decent progress on my second shawl sample in better breakfast fingering yarn—loving the waffle shade, which i’ve been dying to knit with.

shawlWaffle04_19

it’s as warm, squishy, and delicious as its name suggests!

well, there will be some extra knitting time today once i finish up this post—i have a bit of a wait in the lobby until it’s time to leave for the airport and then there will be knitting time on the plane. and with a good night’s sleep behind me, i won’t be tempted to doze off like i did on the trip up here, haha.

i had a lovely time here in ottawa; i highly recommend a stop if you are traveling this way; the architecture is gorgeous and the people are extremely friendly—plus, lots of wonderful knitters to meet.

looking forward to getting home and spending time with david. back to work tomorrow too so i’ll have more to tell you later this week.

ensemble mania

Friday, April 15th, 2016

costaTunic04_15

it’s crunch time around here as we pull within two weeks of our spring ensemble release and the last few samples are arriving at knitspot HQ. today’s featured design is a variation on the illas cíes pullover i showed you a couple of weeks ago—actually, it’s a marriage of that design and my beloved ivar cardigan, with benefits.

this gorgeous sample in our hempshaugh lace (in millet), was graciously knit for us by the incredible kristi. i am amazed at how substantial it feels, mmm.

costaTunicA04_15

this design—costa figueira—features the same openwork panel as illas cíes with the same placement as ivar. it also has the same dimensions, gauge, and shoulder line of ivar, but i’ve added body shaping next to the panels to feminize it a bit and add some structure to the summery fabric. you could wear this as a vest or by itself as a top; it’s lovely.

the pattern still includes a pullover version and an option to add sleeves, but there is another addition to this one, to fill a request from barb and cynthia (that’s me, the people pleaser).

now we can make it dress length to wear as a fall jumper. the added skirt is flared a bit at the princess lines and side seams. barb knit her sample in stone soup fingering yarn; i took some quick photos in our yard the other night but i promised her i wouldn’t show them on the blog (it was dark and windy, not the most flattering light). but she keeps saying “did i mention that I LOVE THIS??”

i guess she loves it. i promise i’ll post photos as soon as we have some nice ones—probably after the weekend. and then we’ll find out what cynthia thinks . . . gotta have approval from the board, you know . . .

curling291_72dpi

OH! i almost forgot to tell you about a cool and related thing that happened this week—staci perry of verypink.com published a new free video tutorial for my curling neckwarmer and mitts design and it’s a great production. if you know a newbie knitter who would like to make this design, i recommend telling them about this piece. and if you love the costa figueira vest i just showed you or  the illas cíes pullover design, but are afraid the stitch pattern is beyond you, it’s probably not, but this tutorial will give you a chance to practice and put your mind to rest.

zwickelA04_15

these delicious socks, knit in our ghillie sock yarn by general hogbuffer are the bavarian cream of the crop. they’ve got embossing to beat the band. the bossiest embossing!

zwickelB04_15

those ankle medallions are the bomb, haha. we’ve actually had them in house for a while, but today i gave them a hot sudsy bath and now they look positively sculptural.

lamaBag04_15

i just adore my new llama project bag, a gift from my dear friend kimkimkim. she knows what i like, haha. the funny thing is, i almost got her this exact same thing for her birthday last month, but then paused because i had a feeling she might have one already. and not three days later she sent me one (she bought us each one).

anyway, i’ve got something special inside. do you want to see??

STshawl04_15

i think my blue blob may actually be done, hooray. i had planned to add another tier to the hem with more mesh and then a border, but i i took it off the needles the other night to check something and wow, i really think enough is enough with this one—more would just be gaudy, no?

STshawlBorder04_15

the profusion of activity and foliage at the bottom is just what i had in mind; the movement in the stitch patterns is really enhanced by the sheen of the spirit trail nona that i’m knitting with (colorway aquarius—see it at maryland sheep and wool in a few weeks!).

and you know, it’s good to hold back a little at this point i think. i can save the rest of what i had planned for another shawl . . .

STshawlA04_15

actually after checking the thing i wasn’t sure about (whether the fabric was TOO ruffly to be able to block flat), i did put it back on the needles to begin the mesh of the next section. and i knit about eight or ten rows.

but i am totally fine with ripping back and then casting off, especially since i left my lifeline in place just at the right spot. so that’s what i’m going to do.

STshawlB04_15

after i get back from canada. which is where i’m going this weekend in a few hours, to do some workshops with the ottawa knitting guild. or maybe tonight; we’ll see how long i last after writing this (i have to leave for the airport in a couple of hours and i am nowhere near tired at the moment, haha).

my biggest problem with it right now is not ripping back, but what to name it—i’m at a loss. any ideas? it’s kind of tropical, but also very garden-y, so i don’t know.

BBfwaffle04_15

at any rate, i won’t be done yet with this project—i need to get started right away on a sample in our own yarn, so i’ve wound up a couple of skeins of better breakfast fingering yarn in the waffle shade (so warm and soft, so yummy!). this will give me a chance to test the pattern again fully, which will put my mind to rest. it should o pretty quickly, now that i made all the big mistakes with the first one—no reknitting of big sections this time. and much more compact for travel knitting .  . .

ok, i think that’s it for now. i will try to stop back over the weekend with some touristy pictures of ottawa. i’ve never been there, so it will be an adventure.

quick as a wink

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

snowSMorning04_03

i swear, this has been the snowiest week we’ve had all winter. which was kind of good, because i needed to hole up and get some serious knit on.

cheviSleeveBlocked04_03

those pretty sleeves i showed you in my last post needed to become a sweater, so i spent most of monday working out the written pattern. that involved a lot of calculating to maintain the sizing between the lacy and stockinette sections, as well as through the shaping.

but a day well spent—by late evening i was ready to cast on and get going.

since my sleeves worked out so well in terms of hitting the right gauge and size consistently, i decided to tackle the back piece next. i usually make this piece last because i use the smaller pieces to confirm my shaping, etc., but i wanted to make sure that the transitions between the lace and stockinette areas worked out correctly, so this time i knit the big piece first as it has the most variables.

cheviBackHem04_09

not only are there two larger areas of lace patterning, but there is body shaping AND short row shaping just above the back hem. any of those factors could result in some rewriting of the pattern if it wasn’t right; i felt it best to suss out any problems as early as possible.

i also needed to determine if i could realistically finish this sweater by the weekend—i thought if i could get the back done by sometime on wednesday and know that it was in good shape, i could finish the whole thing in time for a weekend photo shoot.

cheviButtons04_09

writing up the pattern reminded me that i needed to determine a button count and for that i would need to pick out buttons. luckily i had two options right in the house. one was my favorite flat shell buttons, which i use often. i wasn’t sure they would work, but actually, they are quite pretty. however, while digging further into my button box, i came across a set of jet black glass buttons i’d forgotten i had.

cheviButtonsA04_09

i really like these and i felt this sweater could use something a bit dressier (though it isn’t required).

i knit the hem lace section before turning in on monday night. tuesday was a busy day at the office, so i didn’t get to knit again til late in the day, but once i sat down to work, the pace picked up quite a bit.

cheviBackBodice04_09

i stayed up very late knitting on tuesday into wednesday morning—mostly because it was so much fun to watch the piece come off the needles—this design is much quieter in the front view, with all the impact in the back. when i got up on wednesday morning, i was nearly done.

cheviBackUnblocked04_09

by lunch time, i was ready to block it and see how my planning all worked out in reality. i’m knitting with our bare naked wools better breakfast fingering yarn in the poppy seed shade—the the photo just above is the most accurate representation of the color; it sometimes photographs as a much lighter gray, depending on the light.

cheviBlockingA04_09

the back pinned out very easily to the planned dimensions; i steamed blocked it to set the size and the fabric responded beautifully. i’ve noticed that the more recent batches of this yarn are really nice—our ohio mill is getting better and better as we work with them more. this particular batch has a near-perfect level of twist—enough to create a fabric that has some nice spongy bounce and body, but not so much that it neutralizes all the softness and drape of the fiber blend. it is slightly less fuzzy, but because of that it should resist pilling even better.

cheviBlocking04_09

i left the back pinned out to dry and immediately got started on one of the front pieces (seriously, i barely looked up form my knitting all week!). i don’t know why—maybe because they are just “half”?—but the fronts always knit up so fast for me. by the next evening, i had both fronts finished and was blocking those too.

i like to pin one of them out and steam it, then pin the second one right on top of the first. i do the same with the sleeves—it saves so much time and ensures that the book-matched pieces are exactly the same size and shape.

cheviPieces04_09

with all the pieces steam blocked, i gathered my tools and headed upstairs to watch TV while i started seaming. first, i completed the shoulder seams and steamed them to get ready to apply the button/neck bands.

cheviButtonBand04_09

the button/neck bands are narrow, but loo-o-o-oong; i think it took me almost as long to complete that part as it did to knit the fronts (or at least it felt that way). but finish them i did and after that it was a downhill coast through the seaming to the finish. by saturday morning i was done, just in time to go teach my class.

chevi869_72dpi

chevi864_72dpi

chevi872_72dpi

unfortunately, our overnight snow/slush/ice and a severe drop in temperatures caused our “spring” photo shoot to be postponed. arrrghhh.

that’s why i didn’t sew on the buttons yet—i decided that i may as well wash it first. but i took a few photos to share with you—i know the suspense was killing me, so i figured you might be anxious to see the results too.

cheviModeling04_09

i just love it—it’s light and airy and elegant; everything a spring sweater should be.  i have a very short list of notes for minor pattern tweaks and that’s it—off to the tech editor on monday.

cheviBWashed04_09

it’s drying now; the fabric “grew a lot” when it was wet but it was easy to reshape it to the right measurements. i’ve been turning and reshaping it every couple of hours to encourage  a bit more loft and density in the final fabric. i think i am going to love wearing this one (and barb is already hatching plans to knit one, too).

for this week coming i will concentrate on finishing up my shawl, hopefully to be off the needles before i leave for my teaching trip in ottawa at the end of the week (all classes are full, yay!).

i am often asked when i will be teaching in the midwest and ta-DA—i will be teaching again at the end of this month at the miami knitters guild near dayton, ohio—there are plenty of spots left for anyone in the region who would like to attend (you don’t have to be guild member to sign up). i will be teaching sweater fitness and finishing—a great combination for any knitter. check out the class offerings and sign up information here—hope to see you then!

ok then, i’ll be back in a couple of days with an update on my shawl; this time i promise i won’t fall down the rabbit hole, haha; i’m staying right here til it stops snowing and warms up.