Archive for November, 2007

that little scarf

Friday, November 30th, 2007

you asked for it . . . and you named it too.
the first “little nothing”, a small, sweet scarf to
dress up just about any neckline, or give as a gift.
one stitch all the way through.

That Little Scarf
shown here in K1C2 Richesse et Soie (now discontinued), colorway, Butterscotch
works with any soft fingering weight yarn.

to purchase pattern or view complete materials and project information,
please view this product in the knitspot pattern shop.

little nothings

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

lace is everywhere.
these ghostly leaf shadows left behind by wet, molding oak leaves are not only beautiful, but the kind of imprint my brain obsesses over when i think about lace scarves.

a little while back i was rattling on here about doing a series of “little nothings”—lace scarves that look as if they could be torn from the remaining good parts of a lace curtain or coverlet, with almost-raggedy edges, and knit in the lightest of fabrics.

sometimes these sorts of ideas vanish quickly and i never think about them again, but this one sticks, and actually, has been nagging at me. not only that, but forces from outside myself are feeding it. first, deb from fearless fibers wrote and suggested that a new yarn she is dying might be perfect for one.

it’s a beautiful alpaca laceweight that is really, really soft. and um, she just happens to have it in a colorway called green thumb, would i like to sample it?

hehehe. would i.
(the reverie color also tugged my heartstrings, but in the end, green thumb won out). if you love a fine laceweight, this is a beautiful example—it’s not cobweb, but it certainly is lightweight and will knit up into something positively gossamer.
it would be perfect for a sheer scarf.

and then, when we did our photoshoot for irtfa’a, and i did not have a turtleneck in off-white, i grabbed a little scarf at the last minute to wrap around my neck.

(really, i was just trying to hide the fact that i’d gotten mascara on my old cream wool undershirt)
and i couldn’t believe how many inquiries i received about that little nothing.

about six or seven years ago, when i still worked in a corporate office and commuted daily by train or bus, i bought an extremely expensive black cashmere coat. in the city, i needed something long and warm for walking to the train (over a mile away) or waiting for the bus (let’s face it; could be an hour some days).

(since moving to ohio, i’ve only had a few occasions to wear this beautiful coat; mostly to funerals, but i know it will last a lifetime)

anyway, i was pretty proud of this purchase and i wanted a little scarf to show off the neckline. i had 2 balls of K1C2 richesse in butterscotch burning a hole in my stash. not only that, but the yarn was an exact match for a little leather purse i also owned (so sad—i actually have a very nice work wardrobe, but no place to wear it).

so i knit the cashmere/merino/silk yumminess up in a stitch i had always dreamed of using

recognize it? i remember i had to restart it several times because i flirted with a few edgings, then finally decided the best thing was to just knit it in the one stitch and let the edges do what they will.

and the payoff was exactly what i wanted . . a little rustic, a little raggedy, and plenty of contrast to the smooth, rich black fabric of the coat.

and its simple; i just grab it when i need a little extra something at my neck and i’m good. no draping or elaborate wrapping, no long ends—it’s small enough that i could tuck it into my purse or pocket if i don’t need it, and light enough to wear inside a cardigan in place of a blouse.

so i’m going to type up a pattern for it and this will be the first in the little nothings series.
this is the kind of project i used knit while commuting; always a good conversation starter with seatmates. since i don’t commute that way any more, this kind of knitting has fallen by the wayside, but i think it’s time to revisit it.

now that my instinct is prodded though, all i can think about are these scarves. i have so may single skeins of lace- and fingering-weight yarn that would be perfect. or, if not single skeins, amounts that cannot be knit into anything more substantial.

perfect for necklines or to keep the draft off or for a nice little gift, they will make good on-the-go projects if one is tired of socks. once the two wraps are done and off my desk, i think i will start on this series; they won’t be priority pieces by any means—just a nice little side activity, and you’ll see a finished one with a pattern now and again.

yesterday, the post office dropped off a big box of mail and packages that had been held while we were away. there were five packages in it for me—five.

this must be the season when dyers everywhere are exploring new fibers and experimenting with additions for their lines. and wow—there are some great new offerings.

deb’s (above) is just one among several that have arrived from our wonderful dyeing friends.

anne has something really special right now, too. an incredibly soft artisan yarn spun just for her by her local mill, in 90/10 cormo/angora.

just look at that chubby, squooshy stuff. the texture is awesome; being millspun in small quantities from anne’s own fiber blend gives it an almost-handspun feel.
it comes in both laceweight and sportweight; the colorways pictured are: left, laceweight in wasatch; and right, sportweight in red rock.

again, the laceweight will be a wonderful choice for a little wisp of a neck thing.

ok, i think we need a little break from the yarn to cool down a bit. let’s look at what came from rachel. she and joe recently arrived home from a month in israel, and rachel brought me a few gifts from there

chocolate and spices . . . . how much do we love her? and of course, something sheepy. that little varmint was created by an artist in the market where rachel shopped; maybe it’s not exactly anatomically correct, but it’s cute.

the chocolate is divine BTW, and the spices are ones i don’t have but they smell extraordinary and i can’t wait to try them. i’m thinking indian food, though i know rachel uses them for soups and such.

i think i mentioned a while back too that the next big shawl project, which i will start in a couple of weeks will be a shawl with snow motifs . . . sort-of like the snow on cedars mitts, but more and bigger, and hopefully, with an interesting twist (if i can work that out; testing will be needed).

the yarn for it is from michelle at the sweet sheep wool shoppe, who has been playing with several dye options for “snow” yarn.

i love this one

doesn’t it look just like a snowscape at dusk? or the inside of a snowbank?

i can’t wait to see what it does in swatches—i have a good feeling about how it will streak. and working with this pale yarn in the dead light of the darkest months will be a real pleasure.
(michelle also has great yarns at her site for all sorts of lovely gift knitting; i am not allowing myself to delve too deeply over there, but if i needed something? that’s one place i would search.)

this last ball of wonderfulness is a gift from chris so that i can knit a sweater. it’s the newest fiber addition to her incredible line of yarns. it’s 100 percent BFL (blue-faced leicester) and it is offered in three weights.

here we have (i think) DK weight which is called Glory Days, in a custom colorway that chris dyed with colors of my choice.

gimme plum, baby.
and anything else that “goes”. there is lots of yardage here, and the fiber takes dye with an intensity that reminds me of her Abundance yarn. yet another gorgeous single-breed yarn in her collection.

the bulky version will be called Robusta, and there is a worsted singles called Pilgrim, so look for these soon at the briar rose site.

now tomorrow we need to have a serious talk about . . .AHHHGGHH . . . christmas knitting.
you would be correct in assuming that, since i haven’t mentioned holiday knitting at all, i haven’t started any.
so, as usual, i am way behind.

in the meantime remember:

chocolate is good for you.

knitting royale

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

when we arrived home sunday this is what remained of that glorious gold foliage which served as the backdrop for our photo shoot just 7 days earlier.

it’s just like the theater . . . once the scenery is gone and the house has emptied, you wonder if you really saw what you saw.

i have so much to talk about that i already know i can’t fit it all in one post. i wanted to write yesterday, but i had classes, a server breakdown (can i just say one more time that joe is a genius AND my hero?), orders to print, and loads of office-ey tasks to catch up on (i’d rather be talking about knitting, but such is life).
even my knitting was stalled yesterday for the most part, though i did get some done late last night.

we had a great trip east—i didn’t take nearly enough pictures, but maybe next time i’ll feel more comfortable with that. i especially wanted to share a beautiful old cemetery that we visited on friday, where much of my extended family is buried. but it was bitter cold, so we just tended the graves we came to visit and did not walk around much.

albany is a very old city—in fact, the first dutch settlement in america, during the early 1600s. this cemetery was opened in the mid-1800s, but graves from an even older burial ground downtown were moved to this spot at that time. so it’s very cool; when you enter the long, iron-fenced drive, between rows of tall trees, the first lots near the entrance have the oldest stones and monuments. various paths wind into the deep, narrow property, and up the hillside.
it’s sooo beautiful. some time i will get photos there.

so, let’s start with simurgh, shall we?
i am all done with the first half of my stole.

it’s looking good, but i have some decisions to make. the test knitters and i are all knitting different versions, some not even in the pattern (hey—change is good). jocelyn is knitting the straight petite size in the geisha yarn, colorway, shadow (same yarn as me). hers is coming out a little narrower than i thought (which makes me nervous), but it’s not blocked yet, and silk grows a lot, so we are waiting to see what the finished size will be.

it’s a good question though: how petite do you like a petite size to be in length and width? i mean, if i’m going to offer sizes they should be right—right?? is 21 inches too wide for petite, or 18 inches too narrow? and what about the length? tall people should vote too; i am all ears . . .

i am knitting the tall width and the petite length (i know—i can’t even follow my own pattern as written). but i’m doing it for a reason.
oh. no—i’m doing it for two reasons.

A) i want to see if indeed the petite size should be wider. and
B) i want to see if one skein of geisha will still be enough to make the petite size if it’s wider (the tall size will certainly require a second skein).

so i split my yarn in half and started the first stole half with the slightly smaller ball. now i’m done and i can see that indeed, i can knit half the stole with half a skein of geisha

and still have some left over. hehe. ok, not much.
which means you’d better knit REALLY close to my gauge, or tighter, to make a similar hybrid.
but you could do it.

we’ll see when the final blocking is done whether i will need to adjust the width in the pattern.

meanwhile, rachael has been quietly and diligently working away on another version of the stole. she is knitting the tall size with the laci merino yarn in thraven on a smaller needle. my prediction was that if you prefer laci, you could knit a petite stole using the tall instructions and the lighter yarn. you know, just to give you options.
however, what rachael is finding is that her stole is somewhere in between . . not as big as the tall would be in geisha, but not as small as the petite in geisha. interesting; doesn’t meet my predictions, but all good info for those who looove substituting yarn.

i still adore with the edging, both knitting it and looking at it . . . and it’s even longer in geisha.
i want to block this first half to see what i end up with, but i also want to get it right back on the needles and knit to the finish so we can do another full photo shoot with it.

maybe i’ll just pin block and snap a few pix. i dunno.

and check this out, dudes—remember my good friend nan, who test knit irtfa’a (her first faroese shawl)?
i swear, this is true: she cast off the last bit of edging and do you know what she did then?
she cast on for a second irtfa’a, because she liked making the first one so much.

of course, i also feel a bit of a tug to cast on for another faroese. hmmm, we’ll see. i have to dig through my goodie box and see what yarn in the queue needs to be used shown off.

(oh wow. the mail carrier just dropped off the mail they were holding at the post office when we were gone. hmm. after telling rachel that 80 percent of our packages are for david, today i see that 100 percent are for me. and they are all soft and squishy, except for the books. looks like tomorrow we should all bring drool rags.)

now, let’s talk about some more knitting in progress (seriosuly, there is so much to talk about; i hope i have time to blog every day this week.).
the geese wrap is also getting very close to half-done. in fact i can tell you the name: oh! canada.

it makes great car knitting both going and coming, and i found it also makes a great piece to take along to class. i can pretty much knit it without looking, and it feels so good i don’t want to put it down.

that photo is for jessica—she’ll know why . . .

and now for something really special. i told you i was working a bee sock right? in response to a special request from our lovely friend kim from the woolen rabbit.

kim has a beautiful new hi-twist merino sock yarn and she sent me some in her tupelo gold colorway with a plea to create a bee sock.

now, if you’ve not been feeling your usual queen bee mojo lately, and are in need a little pick-me-up; you know, something to wear with those peter fox mules, when you need a dose of “specialness”, then i think i might have the sock for you.

i know they’re ornate, but don’t they appeal to that teeny weeny little liberace streak we all have somewhere inside us (he had peter fox mules; i’m sure of it)?

i never really intended to go this route with them, but i was foundering around for a cohesive sock design (it’s harder than you think to morph a shawl into a sock), and i finally just started. i decided the socks could design themselves, and you know what? they are.

it’s a little creepy if you think about it too long, so just . . . don’t.

ok, and secondly (as if being queen weren’t enough), if you like a little touch of gold on your ba-a-ad queenly self—as in 24k-jewelry-gold, then this is the color for you.
do these socks not look like they are carved from a hunk of the stuff?

let’s take a peek at the back of the heel (i know kim is wriggling in her seat right now and i don’t want to make her wait any longer.

now, you wouldn’t have to add bees all the way down to the heel as i did here (but you would if you were answering to your inner liberace . . . or queen bee).

and i have a name for this one too—it just occurred to me this morning.
since the bee is the symbol of royalty, let’s call them marie antoinette.
(she didn’t have peter fox mules—she invented them).

acorn stash sock

Monday, November 26th, 2007

want to work some squirrel voodoo to keep those greedy rascals in their places?

knit these acorns round and round,
squirrels will spin upon the ground,
with helpless little feet a-prancin’
and greedy, grabby hands a-dancin’.

knit in rounds to keep them busy
til they fall down tired and dizzy.
no more to hide your wool away,
or dig your bulbs as if to play.

you know . . . if we all do it, it might work (wink!).

Acorn Stash Sock
shown here in Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Sock Yarn, colorway greed.
kit available here.

to purchase pattern only, or for more pattern information, please view this product in the knitspot pattern shop.

thank you to angeluna, who knit the pattern to test and critique it; she did a bang-up job. and of course, many thanks to my friend deb, of fearless fibers, the genius behind the color, and a generous soul in all ways.