Posted on 45 CommentsPosted in patterns

years ago, a hand-painted pasta bowl seized my attention in a shop window. the simple chevron pattern that circled the rim was, for me, riveting in its stark simplicity. so much so that somehow, before i could regain my senses, my weekly grocery money was in the hands of the shop owner. she explained that the pattern was named trevi and its use dated back to the etruscan age at least, popular in ceramic and tile work since that time.

the day i saw this stitch pattern in a book, i experienced a similar reaction—i just had to work with it. when the right yarn came into my hands, i knew just what do—marry them.

shown here, petite size shawl in hand maiden sea silk, colorway, pewter. kit available for pre-order from one planet yarn and fiber

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

the nickel and copper shawl pins shown on this page were created by my friend romi; you can see many more lovely examples in her online shop. pieces from her elements collection are particularly perfect for this shawl, because they are so lightweight.

lis and jodi at one planet yarn and fiber provided the gorgeous sea silk yarn for this shawl
rachel squeezed in the proofreading of the pattern on her long journey home this week—many thanks rachel!
karolyn sped though her test knit at the speed of light—i really hope i get to meet her when i go west this summer!
and much love to david who understands so well how we want to see.

miscellany day

Posted on 35 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

let’s just start with cake. we celebrated anne c’s birthday in class on monday and i baked this old recipe that my mom clipped from parade magazine in 1963 or so. it was a childhood favorite—dense chocolate cake with a ribbon of cheesecake filling snaking through it. so i thought i’d try it (now that we have a working oven again . . . after four months without it, it’s a wonder i even remember how to bake).

ok, paint me officially gobsmacked—for the fun of it, i googled the recipe (because there will be requests); i didn’t think it would be around after 45 years, but it came right up and there you have it: fabulous fudge ribbon cake. go get ’em.

this recipe has all the same ingredients as mine but a few of the amounts are different; looks like their cake is proportioned for a different-sized pan.

anyway, where was i going with that? well, it’s been a couple of days of various and sundry small projects, with no real advances on the big projects i have underway.

one planet yarn and fiber has put up a listing to pre-order a kit for the trevi shawl in choice of two kit sizes.

the weather has been very dreary so we still haven’t done modeling shots of it, but soon. meanwhile, i played with it on the dress form the other day and got some wonderful photos in the early morning light. karolyn sped through her test knit so fast it left my head spinning and i’m just waiting for rachel to sign off on the pattern (she’s traveling this week; it might be a few days). maybe we should try for those pictures today . . .

i really missed my spinning buddies on sunday, so i’m excited about our make-up class tonight. i needed to dig up something new to spin so i indulged in some stash diving this morning (whoa—i have way too much fiber for the amount of spinning i’m able to do right now)

this gorgeous alpaca fiber produced by island alpaca company on martha’s vineyard was gifted to me by my friend debby, who purchased it while she was on vacation last year. she’s not a spinner, but she chose extremely well. it’s been marinating up there for way too long and that’s been on my mind, so up it comes out of the depths. i’m not sure how i’ll spin it yet—it deserves to be a laceweight, since the micron count is so fine but i’m in the mood to spin something heavier . . . i’m waffling about which way to go.

speaking of beautiful fiber, chris at briar rose has begun dyeing cormo and sent me a couple of sample bumps in that delicious new gold colorway

it’s not listed in her shop yet but i think she’ll have it at upcoming festivals and it’ll be in her store as soon as she has a quantity of it that she can offer large-scale. i’ll save this for now—maybe it’ll be next in line.

all day last friday and again yesterday, i worked on updating class notes and preparing for loopy’s spring fling which i’m excited to be heading for next week. really, there is almost nothing photo-worthy in that except that i had to knit up some new samples pieces to go with the updated class projects

which is how i spent my evening last night. i’m teaching beginning and advanced lace knitting and we are diving in with hands-on sampler projects that we’ll start in the classroom.

(the little, little shawl cracks me up. just big enough for a doll, with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. it’d be horrifying except that we all know at least one little girl that would not let it out of her sight.)
it’s been really good to get through some of these tasks—now my slate is cleared to get back to some intense knitting and project work for a few days.

i spent the entirety of monday evening on my sweater recycling project but it was worth it. i snipped off all the fir trim from my blue lace cardi, picked up the live stitches and knit narrow garter borders all around (to match the existing button bands).

now the buttons (which i always loved) really show up as the feature they are meant to be. i’m going to get plenty of use out of this sweater, i think. it’s plenty dressy for what i need and yet, i’ll feel comfortable wearing it with khakis or jeans.

the fit could be a little bit better—while the waist shaping is just right, the armholes are a bit long, making it feel big in that area. and it’s just a little long in the body, too (not as noticeable). but who knows, once i have a shirt on underneath, it might not be wrong. for this piece i moved the waist shaping from the side seams to the spot where princess seams would be

and worked the patterning so it flowed in and out nicely—it happened to work out well with this lace rib motif, but i might not do it this way with another pattern

i can’t remember my reasoning exactly for this choice—partly to get a nice womanly, hourglass shape, but also i remember that i’d made a couple of sweaters previous to this with disappointing side seam shaping—either it didn’t hit at the right spot or it looked odd when it flared over the hip; i’ve since realized that for me, less side seam shaping is actually the answer to that, but i do like the solution of moving the shaping over when possible—it’s adds lots of nice curve under the bust and works well to balance the narrowness of my shoulders, preventing the creasing i sometimes get in the shoulder-to-bust transition.

every garment teaches me something about the next garment, and to some extent, every garment is a reaction to the previous one—know what i mean? my evolution through different design and fit choices is chronicled right there is my sweater collection. i admit i am a fit junkie—years of doing custom tailoring taught me to pay microscopic attention to the details of shaping. and sometimes that even works in my favor, heh.

it doesn’t guarantee that every experiment will be a success—in fact, it pretty much assures me that there will be failures. one of the difficult things about designing in knitting is that you are creating a fabric as you go; you can’t undo the seams, reshape the pieces just a little, and put it back together again. you have to unravel it, too, thus losing the outlines you created in the first place.

but it’s interesting—once you know (and feel impulsive cocky confident enough) to act on your work and to experiment for different results, it’s really hard not to do it. it can become a fatal flaw. so sometimes we live with imperfections, knowing that next time we can correct them—knowing that they taught us something and that moving forward is better than getting bogged down where we are. it’s wonderful, right?

berry berry busy

Posted on 30 CommentsPosted in designing, projects

the strawberry plants beginning to forge their way through their winter blanket of mulch.
the fortitude is admirable.

deb has added her new cashmere yarn to the fearless fibers etsy shop—a range of fresh colors in laceweight and sport/DK. the first group carries names of women that begin with the letter ‘A’—the blend of dark blues and grays that captured my heart is named anne (squee!). we’ll do a neckwarmer with this later in the summer (if i can keep my hands off of it long enough).

when mary at the knitting zone heard i hadn’t tried HiyaHiya needles, she sent me some to try

they arrived today so i haven’t had a chance to test drive them, but they appear to be very nice. the steel ones are quite lightweight (love that) and the bamboo ones seem smooth and sturdy, with a close, tight grain, unlike some other bamboo needles i’ve tried. i chose size 4 (3.5 mm) because that’s a size i use often for mitts and knit-on edgings.

i promised sweater progress and that’s what i have to share today.

on saturday night i knit up the left front of the blue version of the red cardi (this is why we need an actual name), then cast on for the back section.

i think i’m going to wear this sweater a lot—the fit is a bit better than the red one and it will go with tons of things in my drawers and closet.

i decided on a name for it, too—are you ready?
it was kinda tough; i wanted something that referred to the corrugated texture of the fabric and also relayed that pretty, womanly feeling you get from a piece that makes you feel “dressed”, no matter what you pair it with.

so i decided on ondulé, which is the french word for undulated—womanly, right?

last night i worked on the back section some more

i’m almost to the waist. soon, i’ll be halfway done; i can’t get over how fast this is knitting up. but i’m glad—i have lots to get done in the next few months.

because today is monday, i worked on my gray sweater in class this morning and got the neck completed and lots of ends woven in. this sweater is shaping up nicely, too—now that some edges are finished, it’s looking a little spiffier. during the afternoon class i started one of the sleeves but didn’t get far—we talk too much in that class (but we have a lot of fun). and we had cake. i think this evening i’ll relax and get a few inches knit on that.

i think i mentioned the other day that, much as i like this gray version of the sweater (which also needs a name), i’m going to have to reknit it if for publication in a yarn that is currently available. chris sent me this gorgeous batch of her legend sport/DK. i haven’t knit with legend yet, but i have the feeling i’m about to fall hard for it. this rich gold colorway is incredible; i have an old much-loved gansey in a similar color but nothing remotely new so i’m psyched.

i’m going to swatch for this sweater with it and compare the results to the swatch i did last week in fourth of july, then decide (the one i don’t use will become something else).

ok, now i’m going to tell you about another project where i’m sorta making a mess in order to get to a better end. i made this lace-ribbed sweater about four years ago in a plain blue and to dress it up i added a narrow edge of fur trim.

feel free to drop to the floor an roll about laughing—i’ll wait . . . . .

i agree it was an unfortunate choice. it made the sweater so dressy that i never wore it and then it went out of style very, very quickly. but i can really use a sweater of this weight. and i think this color will look good with brown and gray trousers and tweeds and a few other things in my closet (including some jewelry i don’t get to wear much).

it cannot be pulled out in the normal way—the yarn simply can’t be ripped. but i can snip the base of the fur stitch-by-stitch and release it

it sounds tedious but the work actually goes very quickly—in a few hours time i’ll be able to save and use a sweater that was languishing in my drawer. less time than knitting a new one, eh?

and with that, i think i’ll wander off to see about the knitting. adios.

it’s too quiet without the wheels

Posted on 30 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

the tulips and daffodils are so dense this year, i wondered if they would all flower or if we’d just have lots of foliage. i still can’t figure out what made them grow in so plentifully—this is a first for us. we have good soil, but the ground all around the house is dense with roots; plants and bulbs tend to die out after a year or two. i always assumed they got choked by roots (and squirrels) interfering. last year we had an especially paltry number of flowers, but this year they are so thick with blooms that we feel especially lucky and our faith in our budding gardening skills is restored.

i was hoping to get a photo of these tulips opened up—they are the prettiest things, with pointy outer petals that curl back like eyelashes. however, it was a brisk 28 degrees this morning so they are staying shut for now. maybe by the time i’m done writing the sun will have coaxed them open.

my bleeding heart has tripled in size in the last week and also has lots of buds—again, i was worried after last year that we might lose it; we had just a single pathetic flower on it. but it’s looking strong with plenty of buds (and hopefully more to come).

it’s been a very quiet weekend with everyone celebrating the easter holiday. i miss my spinning class—we didn’t meet today, and it’s way too quiet without them, but we’ll make it up on wednesday evening.
david and i are enjoying a relaxing weekend alone at home together—lots of knitting for me and lots of carpentry for him. the weather is beautiful, if a little chilly.

on friday i moved trevi from the shorter circular needle to the longer one with five repeats of the body pattern done (ay, it looks so pathetic here). and still i hadn’t worked all the way through my first skein of yarn. i was able to start knitting by around 6 pm and managed to get the last two body repeats completed during the evening. then i worked late into the night on the edging.

the edge i’d been planning all along didn’t work out—it was too cluttery-looking and too much pattern. ok, it’s 1 am; now what? i tried a plain edge of four rows of garter—and that was better—but then i couldn’t get the bindoff to be as stretchy as i thought it should be (i tried everything).

i did like the plain edge though; the body pattern of this shawl is so rich and has so much movement that the cleanness of a straight, plain stitch really finished it nicely. hmmm.
since it was 3 am by that time, i decided to sleep on it and make a decision in the morning. while i was falling asleep i visualized a plain garter edge again, but this time, knit on sideways with a row of YOs to set it off—bingo.

i could totally see that working, especially since it would be an almost-exact match for the borders i’d been working alongside each row. i wanted to jump up and start it right away but i made myself go to sleep—my eyes needed a rest.

awake again at 8 am, i got up and went right to work on the finish (after making strong coffee of course). by noon, i was done and the shawl was soaking.

i don’t know what it is, but i have a serious attachment to this shawl. ever since i first saw the stitch pattern i wanted to knit it into a rich, silky something. then when i received this gorgeous sea silk yarn, in colors of liquid metals, i knew i had the right yarn.
i am very excited that it’s been realized.

i blocked it yesterday afternoon and was somewhat surprised (and pleased) to discover that it wants to curve along the top (i was expecting some curve, but not this much). this is partly due to the shape of the stitch pattern, but also an effect of the straight garter edgings. personally, this feature is a plus for me because it will help keep the shawl on my narrow shoulders and facilitate flipping the ends to the back. i made some effort to keep the side edges loose as i worked through it, but if i had made more, the top edge would be straighter.

you might be wondering why i ran on and on about a straight edge, and then blocked it with points. the answer is—i have no idea what makes my mind tick. i spent about an hour threading every row of the straight edge onto the wires, got the straight edge all pinned out, stepped back and pronounced: i love it!.

then i proceeded to pull the wires out and re-pin it this way. honestly, i have no idea why . . . maybe, just because i can?? i guess i thought: people like points; i’ll give ’em points. and i know i also thought: i can re-block it if i decide i don’t like it (and it might not hold as well as i imagined, so i might have to do that).

(what i really wanted was to do one side one way and one side the other, just to see. but then i would have to reblock it right away after taking some pictures. and i’m not sure i wanted to spend the time on that right now).

the good news is, it’s your choice—people who like points can have ’em, and people who prefer plain edges can have that, too. some people find points too girly or fussy, and i totally get that.

the shawl tips look so pretty. they will be lovely flipped over the shoulder or tied.

and now let’s step back for the money shot—by this time, the late afternoon sun was detting the piece to shimmering

today i’ll unpin it, finalize the pattern and send that off to the test knitters. i’m glad i didn’t send it earlier—the changes i made at the end were worth waiting for.

i’ll take a few pictures of it on the dress form today to send to one planet yarn and fiber so they can prepare a listing for the the kit they plan to offer in their shop.

here’s one last shot from this morning, when the sun wasn’t beaming directly on the shawl

i actually have sweater progress and yarn to share too, but i think i’ll save that for tomorrow—go enjoy your chocolate bunnies. it’s time for me to go call my mom.