Archive for July, 2007

a rockin’ saturday . . .

Monday, July 16th, 2007

well. you said you wanted the bee shawl and i guess you weren’t kidding.
anne and i are just flabbergasted at the response to our project—thank you everyone for your warm wishes for its success and the fabulous number of orders we have received. what a high.

i spent a lot of time this weekend printing patterns to send to anne, but i took a break on saturday to work in the garden too.

nothing calms me quite like hauling rocks, and i had been meaning for some time to work on the edging for the asparagus bed. and do some weeding, ahem. everything is producing now and it’s a wonder

crawling around under the leaves to find hidden treasure is like being underwater a bit. saturday night i made ciambotta with squash, tomatoes, and peppers from the garden. mmmm. next time, we’ll have lots of these to add to it.

i can’t get over how many eggplant we’re getting. you can accomplish a lot with a little help from your friends.

and i got some knitting done, too. the orchid lace mitts are really coming along nicely—i think they will be just what i imagined

the orchid lace lies along the side so that the glove has an asymmetrical design. i’m just starting the thumb gusset, for which i hope the chevron lace can be repeated. of course it will all look a little more elegant when it’s done and blocked. i love the snug fit and the lightweight fabric. the fearless fibers merino has an unspeakably delicate quality that i wanted for this project.

and speaking of deb’s yarn, she’s having a sock club, too. the theme is “the seven deadly sins” . . now who could resist that? i’ll be designing a sock for the last shipment of yarn to go out for the month of november. can you guess which sin i am?

and i have now four (i think) socks on the needles. two of them i am holding back on showing (for now at least) because i’m hoping that they’ll turn out to be designs that i will submit somewhere.

i’m still cranking away on the ones for the yarn4socks (october) club. i just can’t decide yet about the placement of the lace for the final design, and i’ve only tested one heel.

here’s cookie’s heel, which i used the baudelaire pattern to construct.

when i got it done, i was sure i had screwed it up . . .it just doesn’t look right when it’s laying there, or hanging from the needle either. finally, last night i put it on a piece of scrap yarn and tried it on.

well, it’s just like stacey and clinton always say—you have to try it on. seriously, looking at it on the needle, i would neve have thought this heel would fit me well, since i have a rather narrow heel. but it fits a LOT better than i thought it would, though for aesthetic reasons, i think it could be a bit narrower on the bottom side.

tonight i’m going to try wendy’s heel on the other sock. i’ve heard good things, so i’m pretty psyched.

i do like the lace pattern swirling around the leg though . . . it has quite a bias to it so i’m just letting it twirl.

the openwork of the lace is working well with the striping in the yarn too (this is the longER colorway; the other sock is in the longEST colorway).

one thing that i thought would be a problem is how the striping behaves once the heel is done. there’s no way around it that i know of to get the shading to work really well after the detour for the heel, besides splicing.

i figure that if someone wants to splice it, that’s fine, but i don’t think i will write it into the pattern, because if i splice the yarn to look nice on the front of the ankle, it will be off on the back. meanwhile, the lace pattern does a pretty good job of distracting me from the all that.

i am going to be SO busy these next few months . . . i have a number of design commitments to fulfill. some of them i’ll be able to show you and some of them not—to my great regret, because we have SO much fun with all that.

ok, one last lovely outdoor shot to end today (i think i hear david fixing food in the kitchen—FOOD, snort, snort!)

isn’t the coloration on this lily amazing?

bee fields

Friday, July 13th, 2007

—for all beekeepers, who live by the seasons with their bees

The beating of small wings,
thousands fanning together,
a whirlwind of silky air
is the music playing in your ears,
your hearts and souls,

The miracle of something as simple,
as complex as honey,
defying definition,

A sweet reminder that we are just human,
and some things are still beyond our understanding.

—from Nectar Flow, by Kirsten Shoshanna Traynor, 2003

Bee Fields Shawl
shown here in Wooly Wonka Fibers custom-dyed laceweight merino, colorway,
Tupelo Gold. kit available starting sunday, july 15
this project was knit on needles crafted by ed and wanda jenkins

  • pattern price: $8.00US (ohio residents please add $.48 sales tax)
  • payment method: please visit our pattern shop!
  • Suggested Yarns: Wooly Wonka Fibers merino laceweight, Fearless Fibers merino laceweight or cashmere laceweight, Knitting Notions merino laceweight, Briar Rose Sea Pearl, Handmaiden Mini Maiden or 2-ply silk/cashmere, Jaggerspun Zephyr, or any laceweight yarn having 160 to 190 yards per ounce.
  • Notes: A triangle shawl in two sizes featuring multiple stitch patterns. The triangle is worked from the neck edge outward; the top edge is self-trimmed. Using thinner or heavier yarn than suggested, and different needles will produce a variation in size that remains proportionate with the original dimensions—use petite size for heavier yarns.
  • unblocked dimensions: (approx): petite = 26�?L at center point and 60 “W across top edge
    tall = 28�?L at center point and 65 “W across top edge
    blocked dimensions: petite = 31�?L at center point and 72 “W across top edge
    tall = 35�?L at center point and 78 “W across top edge
  • yarn requirements: petite = 900 yds of laceweight yarn / tall = 1100 yds of laceweight yarn
  • Gauge: unblocked: 26 sts and 36 rows = 4�? in stockinette. (fabric will be relaxed)
  • Needles: size 5US (3.75mm) 24�? circular and 32�? circular
    needles designed for lace knitting, with very tapered points are highly recommended
    DPN needles in same size for grafting edges are helpful, but optional

patterns will be emailed in PDF format once payment is confirmed or eCheck has cleared; please contact patternsATknitspotDOTcom for information about wholesale orders, or payment without a paypal account.

a HUGE thank-you to anne, who took an idea from my head and made the color of summer for me, and to vanessa and lilith who watched my back, nitpicked the pattern, and created beautiful proofs that it works. my good friend kris (blogless), who plays the harp, dances, and graciously models the piece with delight. thanks too, to debbie in maine (blogless), who always sends me beautiful poems for these pieces that say just the right thing.

UPDATES patterns will include all corrections up to the date of pattern purchase

7/19/07
in the set-up section, row 2 does not have a beginning bracket. row 2 should read:
R2 (RS): BO2, k1, yo, sl1 k2tog psso, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, SM, [yo, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, SM], k1, repeat between brackets, k2, yo, k2tog, yo, sl1 k2tog psso, yo, k1, CO2

please don’t scare the dyer

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

i think anne is a little blown away you guys.
i’m know when we first set out on our collaboration, neither of us, in our wildest dreams, imagined the force that would become the Bee Shawl.
we thought we would do a cool project together and sell some kits and patterns.

the first hint that it could be Big was the day i posted swatch-o-rama, and people started asking about, and preordering, the kit before i even set my needles to the actual shawl yarn.

(the absoluteness of your faith in me just launches my boat).

so, back to anne. there has been a small amount of confusion about the kit’s availability, because it isn’t posted in her store yet, but NEVER FEAR!

this kit is being offered as her kit of the month for august.
in it will be plenty of yarn to knit the largest-size shawl, and a copy of the pattern.
anne always posts her kit of the month 2 weeks early, so that people who put in early orders can get free shipping. with this kit, she also took preorders, because well, there were preoderERS (hee-hee—you invented yourselves—you guys ROCK!).
people who preorder do not see the kit—they are ordering based on what they’ve seen here at knitspot, and they just let her know they want one.

SOO, here’s the deal. the kit is not sold out. the kit goes up for sale to the general shopping public on sunday, july 15th. you can preorder one by going to anne’s website and using the contact form in the sidebar to send her a nice note.

all orders will be filled in the order they are received, and anne has stockpiled all sorts of convenient meals for the next few weeks so she can concentrate on dyeing bee yarn.

as far as i know, anne intends to keep the kit on her site for as long as orders come in, so there is little danger of NOT getting one if you want one (anne, correct me if this is wrong . . . and i apologize ahead of time if you are still dyeing that yellow-green yarn into the next decade and simultaneously not speaking to me any more . . . hehehe.)

OK, let’s talk about something else . . . cara finished a gorgeous moth shawl this week and her post brings up an issue that many shawl knitters are familiar with.

(cue in ominous music)
the Too-Tight Bindoff

binding off nicely can be rough enough, but facing an edge with 500+ stitches and the instructions to “bind off loosely” can be downright hateful if you know you have never achieved “loose” and “bindoff” in the same time warp.

i’m sure you’ve tried using a bigger needle. heh. i’ve done that too, and all i get is bigger stitches that are too tight.

i don’t like those bigger stitches either—to me they always look messy and lacking in tension.
here are my two tricks for binding off. they never fail me and i am always able to stretch my shawls as much as i need to.

i make david do it.

just kidding. ok, for real, here are my two bindoff tricks:

first of all, on all my bindoffs, i use an elastic method i learned years ago from a vogue knitting article:
knit 2 sts onto the RH needle, but don’t completely pull the second stitch off the LH needle.

bindoff on the RH needle as usual,

keeping that second st on the LH needle the whole time

and after you pull the bindoff over the RH needle tip, THEN pull the remainder of the second st off the LH needle.

this creates a beautiful castoff edge on all garments, and i don’t find i need to use a larger needle. this edge still has a stretching limit so it is great for sweaters and any other article where the edge needs to be stable, but not tight.

on shawls, especially those with scalloped edges, i use the same bindoff technique, and add in yarnover bindoffs (YOBO) every few stitches where the edge curves outward. a YOBO is performed on the RH needle as follows: wrap the yarn around the RH needle

and pull the previous stitch over it.

it makes a kind of chain stitch in between two knit bindoffs which allow them to spread apart. this works very nicely for me, and i haven’t it used it on an edge yet that didn’t have enough give in the end. on very lacy edges that have points, you can even add multiple YOBOs.

when i bind off a shawl edge, i always try out what i think is the right tension and number of YOBOs on one scallop, or about 6 inches of edge. then i pause and stretch it to see how elastic it is. it should stretch a LOT, and not feel like it has a limit (within reason).

you can also use a crochet bindoff, and add chain stitches in between the ege stitches on the outward curves. this is recommended in mariane kinzel’s lace books. i haven’t had as much patience or success as i should with using the crochet hook, and i suspect this method looks best when used with cotton thread or very fine wool. i’m a very experienced crocheter, but i am all thumbs when using the hook with knitting needles, so this is my least favorite method.

i have only this wee bit of knitting that’s new. i finished my summer fun socks in class yesterday and then when i came home i worked on the orchid lace mitts. for about 30 minutes, and then i crashed.
i so didn’t even see the end of the bike race. david saved it for me though and we’ll watch the rest tonight and i’ll knit lots.

that’s a promise. because tonight i have a secret weapon against tiredness

from my pal bloglessKim in SD. she even sent some for david. mmmm

the afterglow

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

you know how once in a while some small gadgety thing comes along that solves an annoying issue, and you just want to tell everyone about it?

i am totally in love.

high-capacity document sleeves have stolen my heart.

first of all they arrived on time; who doesn’t love that??
and high-quality, too—a nice weight, good-looking . . . not at all cheap.

later, there was none of the usual wresting around to find a good entry strategy—those extra-long docs slid in smooth as silk.
and after? they just lay there, nice and flat, looking not-at-all mussed.
ok, maybe it was all over a little quicker than i’m used to, but i can get over that. there are benefits.

ahem. yes, well.

that’s 60 bee patterns going out to anne so she can start shipping kits in a few days’ time. way to go pre-orderers. i think you might even have scared her a little (but in a good way).

yesterday we did a photo shoot at my friend kris’s farm where she gracefully modeled the shawl against several gorgeous backdrops—a strong breeze adding some lift to the piece. can’t wait to show them to you friday . . .

so, le Tour has begun and i realized the other day i had not planned out my usual UFO to finish with it. it has become a tradition for me to work steadily on a languishing project as we watch each stage, night after night.

although i have a couple of sweaters on the needles that i really ought to finish up, i think i will stick to getting all these sock designs and the mitts done. i now have four new small projects on the needles to make a dent in and that would be a great goal for the next two-and-a-half weeks, which is how much longer the race will last.

the stripey socks are chugging along, though i only have one semi-decent picture to show. i waited til too late and could only take pix under my ott light.

this is the one where the pattern begins halfway down the foot at the instep and twists up and around the leg from there. i’m going to be doing gusset heels on these, and on this one i’m trying wendy’s version.

i know i’m arriving late to the toe-up gusset heel party, but now i’m ready to jump on the bandwagon. i just don’t do toe-up socks that often, plus, there is the lazy factor. sometimes i don’t feel like getting up in the middle of a good knitting session to look for instructions and i just fall back on doing what i already know. sue me.
i am kinda tired of the short-row heel not staying on my foot very well, though, so i’m finally getting my act together and trying the new way.

on the other sock, with the alternate pattern placement, i’m going to try cookie A’s method that she used in the baudelaire sock. feel free to barrage me with links to YOUR favorite toe-up gussets; i’m all eyes . . .

oooohh! speaking of cookieA, you know what? next june, she and me and miriam felton and susan lawrence are all going to teach at a retreat in Big Sur. how cool is that??

jackie hutcherson is organizing a five-day getaway called lace in the woods

and check it out: for this event, i’ll be working with anne again on another wonderful shawl design which will be the focus of my workshop sessions there (don’t you love it? as we panic about getting this year’s piece organized and on its way we are already conniving about next year’s . . .). we’ll cover a bit of design and a lot of lace knitting, and i am SO looking forward to it.

and blogless kim has already signed up—we are way too excited.
we are already planning which chocolate to pack. in fact, we could make this a chocolate summit. the pinnacle of our year of taste-testing chocolate.

huh, you laugh. we have BOTH lost weight since we started our testing.

guess what i saw yesterday??

and yes, it’s in my garden. last year the first picking was on july 16, which i thought was early then, and we are ahead of that.

and finally . . . we have babies

ok, david just went upstairs to turn on the races, so i better get moving; i don’t want to miss any of it.