i had a whole bunch of stuff to show . . .

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in lace/shawls, projects, Uncategorized

hmm. i’m a little cranky towards my new camera right now. not completely, but a little. i really didn’t have time to shilly-shally around today, y’know?
i just looked at the results of my picture-taking this morning and discovered it is mostly dreck.

i got in some blocking shots while the coffee cooked, in that blue light of the morning. a couple of those actually came out pretty well.
but then i went outside in the brighter light to photograph man lace progress and all sorts of things. you know, i can usually depend on the light in the yard to be great for photos. but not today; or at least, not with this camera. all those shots came out so blurry i can’t even use them.
well, except for the ones of the finished camSox, lurking in the wilds of my crazy garden bed

even this shot looks a little lackluster to me, color-wise. i’m having trouble getting the lighting right with this new machine. i’ll keep working at it—i’m sure it’s just some little setting that remains a mystery at the moment. this camera has a lot more settings to adjust than the old one did. i don’t mind—it’s just going to take a while to learn them all.

in the meantime, it does do detail. on a rather serious scale, too—look at this

that strikes me as being very, very sharp. and this

i happen to be completely smitten with this particular angle of the shawl at the moment. it’s sooo . . . delicate and at the same time soo shapely—kinda like a dancer’s leg, y’know? debbie was in love with the surface of it when she saw it sunday, and worried that the ridges made by the decreases would disappear with blocking. so this next shot is for her peace of mind.

doesn’t it look like a cashmere field? preliminarily, the statistics go something like this:
preblocking it was approximately 72 inches wide across the top and 34 inches long at the center. that was sunday night

i soaked it for about an hour in warm water, at which point it was completely malleable, and the water had just the slightest tinge of blue, in case you wondered about this yarn bleeding.
i pinned it out easily without needing to pull it much to measure 84 inches across the top and 38 inches down the center.

since the fabric is very soft and fine, i had to work with it a little extra to get the lines to lay straight; i think in the pattern i will recommend one needle size smaller than i used to get just a little tighter knit. i will also take out two repeats of the pattern, as i think this shawl might be bigger than some people would like. it can always be made bigger by increasing needle size and yarn weight a bit.

now here is where i feel a little frustrated! yesterday was my day to be at the shop all day and i got a ton of knitting done! besides finishing the camoSox, i knit some more length on to my starlight evening wrap. and then i came home and got started on the man lace and put a few inches on to that too! in addition, the other night i cast on for sox with the briar rose wine-colored yarn i showed a few days back. i decided to knit the cuffs in a waterfall lace pattern. but do i have pictures of any of that! no!

it’s not entirely the camera’s fault, believe me. i really did not have much time today to look at what i had taken early on, so it was dark before i discovered how bad the shots looked.
oh well—there’s always tomorrow; i’m going to need something to talk about. and maybe, i will even get david to take a few modeling shots with the shawl by then.

more good weekend

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in lace/shawls, projects, Uncategorized

. . . than you can shake a stick at.

first of all, yesterday was a GLORIOUS fall day out there. temperature is in the mid-60s, quite windy, the sky a brilliant blue (for a change), and the leaves appear to be changing color by the minute. we had a great bike ride last evening, racing the dark to get home. and it was still early when we got in.
boy oh boy, i hope we have this kind of weather for rhinebeck! (i know it will probably rain at least part of the time—it always does—but one can hope, and i am an optimist at heart).

it was a perfect day for trying out the new camera . . . the one i didn’t think we needed, but now i could be glad about having. i think i mentioned that david is a techophile. i just have to make a mere mention of wishing an appliance had a better feature or other, and he is online, searching for the latest and greatest. and me—i hate changing instruments, at least at first, even when it’s good for me. he’s been talking about me getting a new camera for quite a while, ever since he saw how much i use it on the blog. i, of course, could go on using the old camera til it died—i have no clue that it is not good enough for the job, except i wished it worked better for closeups (that was before i discovered the macro lens; duh).

well, over the summer the (4-year-old) camera DID start dying—shutting itself off just cuz it felt like it, doing weird flashy things, and then finally, not saving pictures (arrgggh). and david pretty much insisted that we upgrade, probably due to my complaining. so friday, this arrived on our doorstep.

(just look at that starlight wrap, reaching out to get her tentacles around this thing—and right in front of camoSox, too. she’s a troublemaker, mark my words . . .). so yesterday i tried it out and failed miserably, not realizing that . . . um, that it did not have a memory card installed.

so this morning i tried again, and managed to get a few shots squeezed off. it’s obvious that i will need time to “become one” with this camera, just like the other one. it’s good to know that i am not alone in my learning curve.

on saturday i swatched almost all day for the man lace shawl. yes! we can now officially call it a shawl, because david called it a shawl the other day. when he was telling me what a good pattern it would make to sell during the pre-christmas season. and i quote:
“because . . . you know . . . everyone will want one.”
how cute is that?? he’s just a marketing whiz, that one . . .


so, anyway. i spent quite a bit of time swatching to find the right stitch. there are many, many stitches we both liked in the book, but i knew they would not all work with the yarn—it’s a very hi-contrast tweed, so the speckling will obscure a lot of patterns. we very much liked this one

and decided that a smoother yarn would play up the simple elegance of this stitch better, so we are saving it for the next manShawl (yes! there will be a next one, hopefully in DK cashmere).

i kinda knew david would like this next stitch the best, even though he did waver between it and the one above.

i could tell that the deep cushy texture would knit up nice and cozy in this yarn and that he would fall for it (he likes cozy). you can’t tell in this shot, but there are lots of holes! in fact, i found another version of the same stitch in another book, which enlarges the repeat by two stitches and two rows, so that it is even hole-ier, and he said he wanted the bigger one.

now, about the border. i know the (seemingly) best idea would be to put a nice plain garter stitch border on it. my instinct tells me that ANYTHING with an irregular edge of any kind would be considered gurly-with-pink-swirlies, but i saw this sawtooth garter stitch border in one of my books that looked actually quite menacing, so i may take a second look at that.

just a peek i mean. really.

i’m supposed to be working . . .

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in lace/shawls, projects, Uncategorized

at least, i think i’m supposed to be working. well, and if i don’t want to be under the gun all week like i was last week, i should be working. but man, i just don’t feel like it!

i received a stack of revisions friday at 7 pm that went something like: “edits to such-and-such project are on the server for you”. does that mean i need to have them done by tomorrow? monday is my day to teach so i am gone all day, and generally, i work over the weekend to get caught up ahead of time.

but i worked in overdrive all week long trying to make a deadline with brand new material and a team that was behind. i had a knot in my stomach AND my head the whole time. it’s possible that i am contributing to my own nervous tension by blowing the importance of my contributions way out of proportion (hahaha!—ya think??). but then, i am always catching important errors that would go unnoticed otherwise, and my co-workers are ALWAYS leaning on me to solve problems that arise. so it’s hard to tell anymore whether i’m just driving myself crazy, or whether my job IS really insane. thank GOD i don’t work in the office . . .

anyway, what i meant to say was that i had really looked forward to having two whole days over the weekend to just do crazy stuff like swatch for man lace (above) and finish my shawl and maybe ride my bike. and guess what? once i started doing THOSE things, i did not even want to look at the computer. the knot inside my head is almost gone, too.

of course, that means i did not answer many emails yesterday. my apologies—and so many people wrote to say so many nice things about the shawl in progress, and to give advice. thank you. so, it’s after noon on sunday and i’m not sure if i should have those revisions back tomorrow or not—hmm, what to do . . .

i know, let’s not think about that right now—let’s look at some knitting!

i started off the weekend by working on the shawl and resolving the issues i had with the point. i think this looks like what i had in my head—delicate, with nothing weird going on that would distract one from seeing the whole shawl.

i decided after all, to rip back and end the body of the piece with the last spade shape. a few extra decreases there gave the point a nice slope that is not too pointy and eliminated some extra edge stitches that were there. that brought the edging together at the center, and i worked one more repeat while decreasing in the center a few times to draw it in.

after the last row of edging bind-off (the row that makes it saw-toothed), i grafted the remaining stitches together instead of binding off. i think the whole thing makes a good solution, and does not draw attention away from the spades.

you might wonder why i am putting so much time into finishing this piece (wait, wait—you haven’t seen me agonize over the top edging yet . . .). i mean, after all, it’s almost done—let’s get on with it already (we won’t talk about trying to prolong the cashmere experience)!

well, when i first worked in the fashion business as a young stitcher, about 97 years ago, someone said to me “finishing is two-thirds of the job, and requires 90 percent of your expertise”. and over the course of my adult life, i have found that to be a guiding rule on so many levels, that is has become, more or less, a truth.

i am a huge fan of finishing work—and every week i learn some new way to apply the principles of the fine finish to some life situation as well as some knitting or stitching dilemma. hey—all this mucking about in wool has GOT to have fringe benefits, eh?

so where was i? oh yes, the top edging. after i finished out the point to my satisfaction i managed to get the provisional cast-on out, and the stitches back on the needle before i turned in friday night. i even did a few repeats of the tinier picot edging i had chosen (everyone pretty much agreed that was the right thing—i gotta go with consensus)

and at 3 am, the verdict was—crap!

not totally, but more or less—not what i was loooking for. i liked the stitch, and the placement. the problem—scale.

too loose and too big—it was rivalling the size of the oak leaf edging and that was bad because it made is seem as if they should match, but did not. i wanted that stitch, but daintier. so i took out the row i had knit off with the size 7 needles i used for the shawl body, and reknit that with a smaller needle. then i experimented with several sizes of DPNs for knitting the edging on with, and settled on a size 5 (down from the original size 7).
and i got this:

now this i like. the proportions seem right all around.
i went to town on that saturday night and got about 80-percent through the top edge. just a little bit to go and i’ll be done! debbie is coming over for a while to knit today, and i can finish it while we gab. i might even get to block it tonite.

my heart just started pounding—i love blocking. and, i am a nut.

all night casino

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last night i practically RAN away from the computer at the end of my work day. my brain felt like it had a fist squeezing it, for sure. i just wanted to get my hands on my knittting and finish my spades shawl. i had gotten quite far along on it this week

this is where i was at the end of wednesday, and i sorely wished i could get through the shawl tip by the end of thursday. i’d then still have the top edging to take care of, which could amount to a couple of nights work, especially since i have not completely decided on what that finish ought to be . . .

i’ve been listening to the night watch read by juanita mcmahon, who has a deeply throaty, slow way of reading that i find perfectly dreamy. i’d love to hear her read W.G. Sebald . . .
the book is intrigueingly (sp?) worked backwards, so the time-space continuum is suspended and i rely on the characters more than the history to get the story.

listening to it is a drastic change-up from my work environment this week, and the perfect companion for getting into a knitting trance. by 9 pm, i was ensconced in my chair and working away. i thought i could finish the shawl, but i didn’t.
so you get soft, juicy, knit porn instead of FO. (oh, boo-hoo, i know yer cryin’ about that one)

i know i’ve been waxing on and on about this project and how delightful the yarn is and how much i love working on it. and when i went to take progress pictures early this morning, while the light was still a bit grey, i found i couldn’t stop—i was treating the shawl as if it were a live model!
here is it sprawled out in all its glory on the fur rug

and here is where i caught myself just stroking the surface with my eyes, looking for yet another angle to show off the softness that redefines softness

i worked all the way through til about 3:30 am, but i had to stop because i kept falling asleep! i was trying to resolve the point, and realized i could not think straight any more, so i left it for tonight

i’m thinking i might rip it back just a few rows to the end of that last spade shape—i can’t decide if i like that lacy tracery at the tip, or if i want a solid ending to contrast with the edging.
hmm—oh! you need a closer look—well i happen to have one right here!

see what i mean? and then, how to end the edging? it shouldn’t be hard to figure out how to have two nice oak leafs like siamese twins, mirroring each other there. whether i can get them to lay right is another matter of course. as we know, the devil is in the details . . .

and about that top edge. i can’t decide if i should use the same oak-leaf edging along the top, or something tiny and dainty like this one:

should the top edge match the rest, or not??

i’ve been doing some other knitting this week too, though NOT on the starlight evening wrap.
instead, i got halfway down the foot of the second camoSock the other night in class

now, for those who might be keeping track, i have been keeping up my intention of restocking the sock stash in my closet. the shelf where i keep the finished, but not yet gifted socks was empty in february. and now, it looks like this

when these are done, i will have just one pair of socks on the needles! so i wound some yarn off to get ready for casting on a couple of new pairs. some briar rose sock yarn (the wine)

and some of the new fearless fibers merino sock (the gray). smoke and wine—i love it.

the tweed awaits my swatching endeavor. sigh. i just want all knitting, all the time
is that so much to ask?