Archive for July, 2012

twig and leaf

Monday, July 30th, 2012

now here is a shawl that delivers plenty of drama for a rather small (and very fun) investment of time. not only it is engaging to knit, but the final result is definitely more than the sum of its parts.

and if that weren’t enough, it practically produced its own photo shoot, requiring very little in the way of direction.

not that the average knitter needs a shawl to do that, but good to know it’s more than just a pretty face, especially if you like to travel light.

the pattern includes three sizes; i know we like that. shown above is the medium size and below is the petite size, which makes a great scarf, but is also wide and deep enough to throw over the shoulders for a little extra warmth.

i like this size a lot—it’s the sort of go-to piece that i grab when i travel because it has a variety of uses. i can wear it as a scarf or shawlette

with a dress or with a t-shirt and jeans. it packs away easily in a bag or suitcase and looks great no matter how long i’m on the road. what’s not to love??

this one, knit by my dear friend jocelyn, is destined for the briar rose booth (see it at a wool show near you!), but after seeing these photos, i think i must knit one for myself to keep, maybe in a different color.

i liked knitting it too much to pass up the chance to do it over. and if laceweight is not your thing, then try something else—chris asked agnes to knit one of these in a much heavier yarn for a large, cozy version with twice the drama. hopefully, agnes will post that soon or see it in the briar rose booth

one of the nicest extras about this piece is that it’s knit with a heavier lace yarn, so that you get all the wonderful silky sheerness and light while still working on a reasonably-sized needle

i don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a real plus. with my schedule, it’s awfully helpful if my knitting projects move along at a nice clip.

speaking of the yarn, these samples are knit up in the gorgeous briar rose stella, a merino/silk blend. looks like chris has a bunch of this black watch colorway dyed up, too.

and i know she also dyed up some of her bella merino lace (which is interchangeable), in the same colorway for those who prefer pure wool. and can i just say, we got three of these shawls from a single skein, with yarn to spare—it’s a bargain.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the knitspot pattern shop. or purchase the pattern in our ravelry pattern shop.

hmmm, in what color should i knit it next?

if you’re wondering about the fab scarob brooch i’ve fastened it with here, you can purchase it from one of my favorite metalsmiths—perl grey. click here and scroll sideways til you see it.

as for me, i am always grateful to the wonderful collaborating artists that i get to work with. my friend chris at briar rose is always coming up with incredible new yarns to lay her colors upon and we are so lucky to know her, aren’t we?

and then there are women like jocelyn and agnes, who don’t hesitate for a moment, but jump right in almost at the swatching stage to volunteer their time to test knitting. it boggles the mind how fast they go and all for the love of a new adventure. thank you both so much for your inspiration.

david pulled out all the stops for this photo shoot and wow, the guy knows exactly what he’s doing, doesn’t he?? someone whose initials are ANNE should knit him some socks or something . . .

 

the local terrain

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

oh me, better late than never, i guess; these are words i rarely use, but today, they are fitting. somehow, this whole day yesterday just slid away with nothing getting done on time.

except my haircut first thing this morning—that, at least went smoothly. i’ve been trying to get this blog post up ever since i got home yesterday, but to no avail. oh well, chalk it up to a jam-packed week.

so let’s just start where we find ourselves—as you can see i’ve completed my twig and leaf sample (yay!), though not in time to release the pattern today yesterday (boo!).

jocelyn’s sample arrived last week and has been sitting here patiently waiting to be photographed, but since i had a shot at including two of the three sizes, i decided to go for it.

the fabric blocked out beautifully; the briar rose stella merino/silk lace couldn’t be more breathtaking. the final fabric feels like liquid in my hands and is lovely against my skin. chris wants everyone to know that she has also dyed up some bella merino lace in this same deep blue/green colorway, which is an equal match in weight and diameter for the stella, though it will have more bounce.

we’ve scheduled a photo shoot over the weekend, just me and david (gotta put the new haircut through its paces!), so we’re on track for a monday release as far as i can see. yay!

i love how it’s shaped like a smile—i purposely used a firm bindoff for my sample, to encourage the top edge to curve, but if i had used a looser, more relaxed one, it would be straighter, more like a scarf. you can do either one; i like the curved option because it stays put on my narrow shoulders, but if i knit the smallest size to use for a scarf, i’ll probably go with a straighter shape.

do you want to see a little preview on my dress form?
ha ha, do i really need to ask?? ok, here goes

the pattern has three sizes; we knit the two smallest ones. above is my medium size sample and below is jocelyn’s petite size.

i will probably knit another in this size, since it’s one i’d use much more often than a shawl.

you can see jocelyn’s sample draped on the chair in the background and then here it is in the next photo as well

i can even show you a comparison shot (i may be late, but at least i’m organized)

these photos also highlight another aspect of lace knitting that’s hard to explain—differences between knitters and our choices. while jocelyn’s stitchwork is very much the same as mine in appearance, i seem to have a different hand in blocking than she does. this could be for a variety of reasons—personal taste, tools (such as the use of blocking wires), and space. anyway, it looks like i’ve stretched my fabric a heck of a lot more than she did; mine is more sheer and less dense than hers, as well as larger in size than the difference in rows would normally account for.

i love this about lace knitting—that within reason, i can mold and manipulate my finished piece to my liking and to suit the properties of the yarn i use. you can do this with solid knit fabrics too, but not to the same extent and normally, the finished product does not rely on being intentionally distorted as a necessary final step, the way a lace shawl does.

alright now, let’s tear ourselves away from the shawl so that we have something left to look at on monday, shawl we? hmmmm, what in the world could possibly be distracting enough to do the job properly??

oh, i got it . . . .

PEEPS!

haha, i thought a cuteness detour would do the trick.
these are not our chicks—i was at helena and kris’s house the other night and when i walked in, what did i see in the kitchen but a bin of peeps under a lamp. their older chickens are not laying well, so they are refreshing the flock with a few young additions.

i love the serious intent on the face of the one staring right into the camera, front and left—she was simply entranced by it

omg, i could have watched them for hours; lucky me, a heavy downpour outside kept me there an extra half hour, during which we sipped tea and watched the chicks play. i love that the black and white one has just a single wing feather on each side, hee-hee!

at home, we are picking from the garden every day now for our suppers. most days, it is some kind of quick stir fry with whatever variety of vegetables we’ve picked that day. i’m not freezing heavily yet except for greens, but those days are coming.

the other night, we had some of everything—squash, hot peppers, eggplant, onion, garlic, pepper, green beans, tomatoes, and a few baby carrots left from the bag of veggies erica sent in the car as a snack.

i even had some garlic scapes in the vegetable bin from may that were, amazingly, still good (bottom right). so i chopped it all up

stir-fried it in coconut oil

then added some red curry paste, soy sauce, and shrimp, folding in a big handful of basil just before serving over rice noodles.

chopping took about half an hour and the cook time was about ten minutes. it’s equally good over rice instead of noodles; it’s also good by itself without a starch. mmm, the flavors are beyond description—so fresh they make your mouth tingle, literally.

we are finally getting some rain here and there—not that much, but some, thank goodness. the garden seems happy despite the drought, but it’s nice not to have to water so often . . .

well, i’ve come to the end of what i have to offer today; i’ll be back in a couple of days with a new pattern and in the post after that, i’ll announce the winner of the book giveaway.

happy weekend!

starting and stopping

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

ooooh, i got a new book in the mail a couple of weeks back and i think it’s one you’re going to like—a delicious cornucopia of cast ons and bind offs by master knitter and teacher, leslie ann bestor.

cast on, bind off (story press) has an amazing array of starts and stops for virtually any type of knitted edge you are after. the concept alone is handy enough to make me buy one, but then the are are a number of additional features that make this a solid investment for any knitter.

i love the spiral binding that allows the book to lay flat while i’m working. i’m much more likely to use such a book when i need to look up and practice a technique, since i’ll be able to follow along more easily. it’s also small enough to pack along in a knitting tote, another plus

i love the way it’s organized too—techniques are divided into groups according to type and there is a reference page that tells you which bind off or cast on will work best for what type of project. love!

i can’t show you photos from inside the book as i usually would, but i will vouch for the way the material is presented; each technique has its own spread and introduction, with photo of right side and wrong side appearance, a list of appropriate applications, and tips for making it perfect. then follows a series of photographs with step by step instructions for executing the maneuver. where applicable, more than one set of instructions is included (as with the knitted cast on).

(BTW, my grandma’s cast on is not here, but that doesn’t surprise me; I’ve yet to see it included in ANY book on the subject)

there are several cast-ons i’ve been meaning to learn, but have been lazy about looking up and figuring out—now i have no excuse. i’m going to try for some practice on these in my next available free time. according to my calendar, that should be sometime in september, 2017.

seriously though, cast on, bind off is a great little book which i’ll be sure to keep handy. even if i don’t have time to practice and learn something new just for the heck of it this week, i know i will use it frequently.

and guess what? one of you can win a copy, too. if that sounds like a good deal, leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm EDST on saturday, july 28. you might also want to check out posts and book giveaways at the following stops on the blog tour:

7/9         Picnic Knits

7/9         Picnic Knits

7/10       Knit and Tonic

7/11       Zeneedle

7/12       Rambling Designs

7/13       Rambling Designs (pt. 2: Leslie Ann guest post)

7/14       Neo Knits

7/15       Knit & Nosh

7/16       Knitting at Large

7/17       Rebecca Danger

7/18       Lapdog Creations

7/19       Nutmeg Knitter

7/20       Yarnagogo

7/21       Weekend Knitter

7/22       knitgrrl

7/23       It’s a Purl, Man

7/24       Whip Up

7/25       Knitspot

7/26       Under the Humble Moon

7/27       Knitting Daily

7/28       Knitting School Dropout

7/29       Hugs for Your Head

7/30       The Knit Girllls

Stocking Cap for Baby Knitspot

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

The last four days Anne has been at my house and though we worked a lot, we also had a little time for play and a little sightseeing.

I got a lot done on Baby Knitspot’s stocking cap

while Anne kept busy in the kitchen making delish meals. She brought along all the amazing baby veggies she harvested from her garden

and turned them into a spicy Thai curry. It was so good we ate it twice!

We spent half the day Friday at the hospital and it was nice to have a buddy for all the wait time in between my appointments. Anne got a lot done on her Briar Rose Stella Twig and Leaf while I plugged along on my baby cap. Being the best boss ever she even recorded the baby’s ultrasound and threw it up on YouTube. I think she’s excited to be an auntie!

By Saturday we needed to replenish the fridge. so I thought Royal Oak Farmers Market would be the perfect solution. We found tons of goodies, grabbed some coffee and then settled back at my house for another productive work day. Our big focus for the weekend was planning the next club and we are so excited about the offerings. So much to look forward to!

We had all the best intentions of turning our morning haul into a yummy meal, but the evening got away from us. We felt a little guilty, but I had a solution. Pesto Pizza from Amici’s and a big salad! It hit the spot and we could stay focused on work. Well…until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.

Our last day we wrapped up our to do list and a made a little knitting progress. Sunday night Anne prepared a fabulous last supper of the weekend.

She chopped and chopped, while Buddy stood patiently waiting for any morsel to drop. Sometimes Anne would hand pick a Buddy-sized piece of veggie and hand it to him.

I think they’re best friends now!

Anne turned the veggies into an amazing vodka pasta and tossed it with spinach and black truffle gnocchi from the market.

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but my oh my was it scrumptious! A great reward for all the work we did all weekend.

This morning as Anne pulled out of the driveway she said, “next time I see you, you’ll be a mom!” Wow, how crazy is that?!

I spent the afternoon finishing up my cap. It was such a fun and easy knit!

I love the handspun look – such a vintage feel. I can’t decide if I want to add the optional tassel. Thoughts?

I have quite a bit of Briar Rose Polwarth left, so I was thinking I might make mittens or handsies to match.

Though I don’t have a baby to model it yet, I figured the cantaloupe would work.

Why not? Baby Knitspot is the size of this melon right now – 5.5 pounds.

Want to make a cap of your own? Well, Megan Leslie you can! You won a $10 gift certificate in the contest. Congrats!

Now that my cap is done, I REALLY need to get focused for the Ravellenic Games – Opening Ceremonies are Friday. Go Team Knitspot!