piling it higher and deeper . . .

Posted on 39 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

the snow that is.
snow shawl is growing and i think today you can tell it’s bigger, so i snapped a photo. i’ve gotten through two levels of snowflake motifs and am moving on to the third next. then a band of crazy, allover snow blizzard, and after that we segue into the pine forest.

so far the charts are working like a dream; all that figuring and patience in placing the motifs has paid off with the knitting falling into place like clockwork.

i don’t have the blizzard chart figured out yet exactly, though, so i will need to spend some time on the computer with it to keep up with my knitting (i only have the next 32 rows in ironclad charts at the moment). ah, the suspense and intrigue.

it is very pleasant knitting too, which is why i have done more of that than i have computer work. it is great for evening knitting as the color is pale and i can see so clearly where i have been, what i am doing, and where i need to go.
and completely absorbing; i can do these motifs for hours and not notice the time passing.

that never stops me from sneaking in some crack knitting of course.
and i might have sneaked in enough to get the scarf finished.

and blocked. doesn’t judy’s arequipe yarn just make this piece?

it’s so dreamy. the tough part is choosing a color . . she has so many gorgeous ones.

i swear, i only worked on it late at night and only after putting in at least two hours of snowflake knitting (i know. as if that’s a real tough requirement) . . . .

ok, so i might have extended the late night knitting til 4am a couple of times.
like just last night.

but hey, at that point, i was NOT putting the pipe down.
and oh, those dyers love to aid and abet my addiction.

i dare you to tell me you could walk away from that. g’head—lemme see ya give it the cold shoulder.

anne suggested last week that the scarf pattern would morph very nicely into a stole. and i had been toying with the idea, but then she started playing the pusher.
“i have this artisan cormo/angora laceweight that is millspun just for me” she weedled.

when i said i had been thinking of an evening coastal sky colorway, she lept on it.
“i’ll do damson plum with variations—i’m running downstairs to the studio now to put some skeins on to soak. i’ll dye it today and send it out tomorrow.”

and, oh, i am weak. it is the perfect storm.
and just as i was putting the last pins in the scarf this morning, the mail carrier arrived. natch.
with the stuff.

uncanny, right? anne assures me this is normal for us.

i have some nice photos of the finished sweater which david just took; i need to edit them and i’ll post ’em tomorrow. maybe we’ll even get him to photograph the scarf . . . (i might have to lure him with eggplant parm, but it would be worth it.)

it’s all about the tangles we get into

Posted on 61 CommentsPosted in designing, projects

ok, a very quick post because i don’t have time for more today . . . i have classes and two deadlines i’m working on.
i finished my sweater and am throwing up a few blocking shots and a story. hope you like it.

i can’t start the story of the sweater without first telling the story of the yarn, and i think some of you will appreciate this one.

i basically started spinning with the help of some local friends and then was on my own to explore fibers and techniques (they spin one kind of fiber, one way, and that’s about it). one of these friends had “generously” given me a bunch of cotton, so of course, being a beginner, i thought that might be a good thing to explore first. on the wheel.


yeah, that didn’t work out so well, but i had this one-pound bundle of cotton, and the only other thing i had was about a pound of coopworth. and i wanted spin, dammit.

so i took out this old afro comb that i had in the bathroom, and spread out the roving in sheets. i laid tufts of the cotton on those and then sorta combed them into the sheets (OMG, i was so dumb! and lacking in tools; i didn’t even know enough to ask someone—that’s how much of a beginner i was.).

all of this took virtually forever, and though it certainly is one way of doing things, and may even appeal in its sheer doggedness to make a fiber experience happen, it is certainly NOT the recommended method for combing spinning fibers, or even desirable. they actually have these cool inventions called combs and carders that make this work a piece of cake and take a fraction of the time.

i just didn’t know that then. word.

i predrafted those bundles and spun them up into this yarn.

and actually, once i got the whole deal to the starting line, the spinning went very well, and the yarn washed up a treat. the only problem was that, by this point, it was pretty precious to me if you know what i mean.

so i promptly put it away until i found just the right project for it, taking it out of the cedar closet to pet and stare at once in a while.

till one day, i realized it just might work well for a project i’d had on my mind a lo-o-ong time.

doncha just love a big, juicy, weird cable?

i had this one bookmarked for, oh, about ten years in the BW3 book—no kidding; it was the first thing i saw when i opened the book for the first time, and i’ve been in love ever since.

it’s not an easy cable . . . its organic quality is derived mainly from the fact that in no way is it symmetrical—you cannot turn it around and see the same shapes either sideways or upside-down. so, it’s not very intuitive.

other than that, it’s a heap of fun. so why did i wait so long to use it in a sweater? we-e-e-ll, it’s one of those very heavy compacted cables that is difficult to find yarn for; the gauge of the cable is so vastly different from the background fabric that nothing ever seemed right (and OH! did i swatch that thing—in numerous yarns).

now, of course, we have every yarn under the sun and then some to chose from, so it’s not so hard. including handspun, which is what i finally turned to.

mmm, yummy, and it worked. you can still see that the background fabric has a looser gauge than the cable, but the poofiness of this coopworth/cotton combo fills in the gaps and the irregularity of the handspun echoes the weird cable in a quirky way that i love.

i’m really happy with it . . i had it on last night once i got it off the needles and it fits well. the yarn in the one sleeve has a little more white in it, and the lower arm is just a tad tighter than i would like, but i’m hoping that the cable will relax enough with its soaking to feel better next time i have it on. i’m not ripping it back though; it’s not that bad.

the mock neck was interesting. since i knit the piece top-down and the cable ran the other way, but is not vertically symmetrical, when i picked up stitches to do the neck, i was a little flustered at first. i turned the chart upside-down to work the cable backwards, but it was hard to read. it took a few rounds to adjust. i still don’t really get why that was a struggle, but i’m sure not laying awake at night to figure it out (i save that for new designs . . .)

ok i really gotta run . . . maybe the thing will be dry by tomorrow and we can sweet-talk david into taking some modeling shots.

back away from the scarf, m’am

Posted on 20 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

i just want to say, in my own defense, that i DID work on other knitting last night.

ok, i didn’t really “cook” for dinner, and i didn’t finish my sweater, even though i am literally one inch away from the finish—the truth is, i did not even touch it (how twisted is that??).

and also in my own defense, when i showed the scarf and the blocked swatches to my class yesterday afternoon, they all but swooned right there in my so-called dining room (i even think i caught susie debating about putting the big swatch in her pocketbook, but then deciding not to).

it truly is to-die-for gorgeous fabric, and i don’t blame them a bit. or me.

it’s just that it would be ever so helpful if someone would lock the scarf up and only let it out when i have nothing else to do. because i am addicted—believe me, i know the signs.
for now i have it under control mostly—but just by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. i could go over the deep end, i really could. especially now that i am more than halfway to the finish. you know me—that is the point where the intense need to achieve glory see the final result kicks in big time for me.

(oh, and it doesn’t help that like five of you are perfectly willing to indulge in plotting the stole version with me, just as a hypothetical construct, just in case i do finish the scarf today, and am experiencing withdrawal effects. jeesh.)

yet, i did manage to work on the snow shawl for a few hours, which i find to be an equally compelling knit, though more calming maybe, since it is much less far along in proportion to its eventual finished size. and then, the sweet, calm color is so soothing.

i know.
it looks exactly the same as yesterday, right? it’s going to be that way for a while . .. these square shawls tend to have photographic growth spurts. one day it looks the same as the three previous days, and then the next it suddenly looks much bigger.

anyway, this is some of the nicest lace knitting i’ve experienced in a long time. it’s so easy to settle into and work with. i do have to keep an eye on the chart and always on what’s happened in the row before, but i find i can listen intently to a book or talk on the phone while knitting it and not have to block out anything to do the lace.

knitting it feels ike being inside on a snowy day . . . um, knitting. just right.

i worked on the lady cardigan sock for a while in classes yesterday, too

i got past the heel and about halfway down the gusset. i gotta get some inches going on though . . . or ruth anne (my student) is SO going to beat me. how embarrassing would that be? she’s making her cardigan socks with dream in color smooshy and it’s, well, smo-o-o-oshy. i like the way the yarn variegation works up in her sock.

speaking of ruth anne, i finally got on the bandwagon and ordered some harmony wood DPNs from knitpicks, based on how much i liked the ones she has. rachel has some too and she recommended them, but when i saw and felt them in person i was won over (though i haven’t used them yet).

they are nice and sturdy and have a tapered point that is not too sharp. the photos on the site show them to be very brightly colored (which worried me), but in person they are not. i have been a little disgruntled about the plymouth DPNs that i use a lot . . . the sets i have purchased more recently feel flimsy and get warped or bent very easily. my old sets are straight and rigid, even after a number of years, but the newer ones are just kinda junky, and i am really not that hard on my needles. since they are the same price, i’m hoping the harmony sets will be a good replacement. i also saw some bryson rosewood wood needles at yarnia that i’m going to try out—i heard they have a great feel, but smell weird . . that should be interesting.

i will be teaching a class at the library on saturday which is free to the public. we will be exploring short-row shaping by making the multi-directional scarf. pre-registration is required and participants will need to bring some materials. click here to find out more.
we did a learn-to-knit session in the summer that was great fun, and this scarf class will expand on those skills.

and lastly, debbieKnitter has started blogging again and it would be real neighborly of you to go over and say hello (hint: she has food pictures up today).


Posted on 31 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

(lace is everywhere; third in a series. guest toilet, 9 am sunday)

well, it got cold alright. the poor furnace turns on every 15 minutes it seems. i’m seeing frost everywhere but no snow.

stet that—i think i see some now

after a hiatus of a couple of days to take care of the server migration, some deadlines at the job, and some other technological developments (see below), i am back to work on the snow shawl.
and so far, so good. man—this yarn is soft (i thank michelle every few minutes for it).

that’s about the last you’ll see of a flat piece; i put it on circular needles soon afterward and from here on out, none of us will know what the heck it really looks like til it’s done (how’s that for livin’ on the edge??).

which is one of the reasons i swatched so extensively and got most of my charting done before beginning—so as to plan things (like the length) out before i find myself measuring around a pumpkin-shaped blob of knitted wool.

it is really fun to knit, i have to say. the stitches are simple, simple, simple—knits, YOs, and simple decreases. every other row is plain knit all around . . . a TRUE “rest” row. at least 90 percent of the shawl will be constructed this way. it’s possible i will use a stitch at the border that has YOs on every row, but i’m not positive.

and of course, the border itself, though not tricky and easily memorized, has a little more going on. but let’s face it, by then, we will be SO ready for a little challenge.

so i made that little hiatus sound totally innocent, didn’t i??
in truth, i was sort-of being very bad. because instead of buckling down to what i was supposed to be doing (snow shawl, my main project), i decided that it wouldn’t hurt a bit to cast on for the new little nothing. i would get the stitches on the needle and then it would be all set to take along to classes during the week.

yes, that’s what i’d do—just cast on, and ok, maybe knit a few rows, and then i would put it in a little carrier in my knitting bag.

ooops, that might be more than a few rows.
in fact, i wiled away my saturday evening on it.

but i had to write the pattern up to, and for that i needed research. i swear—when i swatched i totally forgot to measure the swatches before soaking, so i needed to knit a few repeats to figure out how long one should knit before stopping.
(this might not be a good place to brag about the fact that i estimated the number, and was going to be happy with that, then found out i had guessed right after all. hehe. but still, it’s good to be sure, right??)

i really love this scarf, you guys.

and the yarn—the pairing is just right for me. this stitch is a lot like like the one in hypoteneuse—a simple change to that pattern produces this much airier and more tilted texture.
and i love knitting this scarf the same way i love knitting hypoteneuse.

so much so, that i believe i’m going to take anne’s (not me, the other anne) suggestion, and do a stole pattern as well. i’ll enlarge the motif for that so as to keep it proportionate, but i think it will be crazy-beautiful in a sheer, floaty stole . . just a whisper of a thing. can’t you just see it?

(i made up for the day off BTW; i spent ALL of sunday on the snow shawl, and enjoyed it with equal relish.)

oooh, before i forget, i also wrote up the pattern for the baby socks and put it in the shop. it has two heel options, two toe closures, and includes seven sizes.

and you know how i have been chipping slowly away at that cabled sweater? it has been my late-night knitting for a couple of weeks now and each night i put in some work on it (unless i’m knitting on the scarf or the baby socks). well i am in the finishing stretch now

i finished the body up on friday evening and last night i picked up the stitches for the mock turtleneck. i couldn’t quite get it all done because it got late and i had classes this morning, but tonight is definitely the night.

it needs a good soaking to even out some of the shapes and open the cables a bit, but it should dry pretty quickly with the furnace running so often, and then i’ll put it on and take some pictures.
i am so pumped about getting this off the needles, that i am going to move the other sweater that’s been languishing (also for two years) right into that time slot and see if i can get it off the needles and into my drawer as well (whew, that was a mouthful).

so with all that knitting going on, why haven’t i posted in a few days?

well, we purchased a new computer for me, one that i will be able to take along when traveling and so forth, that is also powerful enough to handle all the software i need for work.

so tell me, if one buys a laptop, and this is what one needs to run it (according to the resident techno-geek)

is it still considered portable??

and forget about getting near my desk or my old computer—ha!
(see the weather station in the background . . . is it me, or is that thing jeering? yes, i definitely get the feeling that thing is enjoying my discomfort.)

i have every confidence that this situation is temporary, but sometimes, ya gotta wonder.
hopefully i will be all hooked up very VERY soon and we won’t miss any more opportunities to post because of all the wonderful technology we have now.

speaking of which, apparently bloglines is not picking up the feed for the new dns for this site . . i don’t really know if there is anything i can do about it, but if you DO know, and would share with me, i’d be grateful.

ok, it’s almost time for class; i’ll try to be back tomorrow.