lace, lace, and more lace

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

the tomatoes are starting to ripen, mmm.
i picked these four perfect little ovals yesterday to eat in a salad; they should be delectable by this evening. i can hardly stand to keep them so long without eating them, but it’s nice to share with david too, hehe.

i also picked my third big batch of green beans, which i put up in the freezer for winter, when we’ll really appreciate them. i’m surprised by how many green beans we’re getting from that little ten-foot row; i think we’ll have one more decent picking before they are exhausted. definitely good incentive for doing a second planting. it’s a little late, but if i do it this weekend, there might be time to grow some nice beans by the end of august (they supposedly love hot weather).

other than that, i haven’t been out in the garden much this week. there’s not a lot to do except pick things for dinner and wait for more produce to come in quantities for freezing (oh i have a feeling i will rue that statement eventually).

so i’ve been able to do quite a bit of knitting, which is good—i’ve got a bunch of projects that need to get done, including another bit of secret knitting. and today, as it happens, it is all lace, all the time—lace in all stages of planning and completion.

are you excited??
let’s get on with it then.

i made a concentrated effort over the last few days to get my blue scarf done and last night, while knitting at beckie’s, i finished it. first thing this morning, into the bath it went, after which i blocked it

up til now, it’s sorta just been a blue scarf, but wow—isn’t it so different when it’s stretched? though i know we’ve always loved the gorgeous colorway, it’s been hard before now to see very much detail in the fabric, so a good stretching has made a dramatic transformation.

this is knit in 50/50 merino/silk lace from enchanted knoll farm, colorway queen mermaid.

both ends stretched to make nice hem points, one end different from the other, but equally delicate and pretty.

i was going to name this something completely different, but now that it’s blocking, i like the idea of calling it “mermaid’s tale”. i usually shy away from names that are so closely related to a colorway, but in this case, the shapes within the lace force my eyes to see swishing tails and water bubbles everywhere, as if a school of the mythical creatures is passing by. so i think that’s the direction i’ll go too, haha.

once it’s dry (that won’t take long) we’ll take some nice pictures so i can release the pattern on friday.

you know, i keep saying that the baby blanket is progressing slowly, and it feels as if i’ve just started the outer border pattern, but suddenly i’ve got sixteen rows done and that area is starting to look like something that i like a LOT.

i was a little concerned about this part of the blanket because much as i wanted to use this staggered “stem” motif, it did not bowl me over in the swatching stage; it just didn’t have the same nice stitch definition or oomph that the rosebuds had.

but i was determined to use it because i’ve always liked it so much and i’m afraid i won’t have another opportunity—that is, i’m afraid i’ll never put together a composition in which it fits so well thematically (does everyone go through this or what?).

anyway, i took a chance that when knitted in the round, the texture would tighten up that extra little bit that makes the difference. and i’m over-the-moon that it has.

in fact the whole thing has taken on a new life with the addition of the border, i think. it really adds that much-needed hit of texture i was hoping for, with its bits of garter stitch here and there and its lively zig-zag motion. and for me, it’s really working with the corner panels. one more repeat (sixteen rows) to knit of this pattern and then it’s on to the edging.

uh—yeah, which i haven’t picked out quite yet, haha. i have some ideas. it is really helpful to see the final section taking shape to make the decision though; i’m glad i waited and didn’t get married to something that wouldn’t work.

and can we just talk about the continued good cheer that the colorway brings to my late evening knitting? it’s the irresistible fearless fibers MCN luxury in colorway chastity—so soft to the touch and so happy, like having a real baby to hold (but without the diapers and drool, haha)

(just kidding; i love babies. i even like changing diapers—really.)

what i really need to do is get a pattern pulled together so karolyn can get started on her test knit in the meadow colorway—i can’t wait to see that one; i think it’s going to be different, but equally beautiful knit up in these motifs. pattern writing is top of my agenda for today, as soon as i finish writing this post.

oh, and ps: i need to think of a name for this blanket, too. i was tossing around the idea of “bed of roses”, but i’m open to ideas, short and sweet, thanks!

i know a lot of readers are anxious to see more of the firefly shawlette and i’ve got that too—isn’t it amazing how everything suddenly is pulling together?

i’m at the end of the top section of eyelet stars and am now ready to launch into the hem section of lace fireflies. tonight’s the night!

speaking of night, isn’t the colorway wonderfully nocturnal?
this is the über luxe penelope silk/merino yarn from spirit trail fiberworks in colorway falcon’s eye. i’ve enjoyed every single second of knitting with it and will be awfully sad when it’s over (but i’m sure i have a remedy somewhere in my yarn closet, haha).
i can’t help but see a moonlit sky streaked by thin clouds and golden flashes of starlight.

i remember watching this sort of sky during autumn nights while growing up in the hudson valley; under a sky like this, i could clearly see where the sleepy hollow legends sprang from.

i’ve been strategizing to use as much of my 437-yard skein as i can. right now, i’ve used 2 ounces and i have 1.6 ounces remaining. i’ve knit 96 rows and i’ll be adding 32 MORE rows (one-third more) to the outer perimeter. i’m waffling about whether i have enough to add another half-repeat of the body pattern. i know that some of you already have a spreadsheet all set up for this sort of calculation, while i myself am not so savvy about using them for knitting (i love them actually, and i used them extensively in another life, but i already have so much math stuffed into my head that thinking about putting one together now sends me to the sofa for a lie-down).

so if you are one of those wonderful people, could you let me know your thoughts?

ETA: i’m such an idiot (and lazy, too!). i had a shawl calculator (look in the side bar) right there in my “shawls” pattern folder all along. according to this handy spreadsheet, if i took a chance and worked another half-repeat of the body because the yarn ball just “feels big enough” (a total of 140 rows), i’d be 47% finished with 53% left to go: .53 x 3.6 (original ounces of yarn) = 1.9 ounces.

if i stick to the number of rows i originally planned (128), i am 56% finished and i will need 1.58 ounces to finish: .44 (the amount to go) x 3.6 (the original yarn weight).

i have 1.6 ounces. so i think i’ll just continue as planned and start my hem now. even then i’m taking a chance, but i can cannibalize my swatch if i have to.

my big swatch is in a mini timeout. again.

i worked on it like crazy all weekend long—and i double-emphasize the crazy—and after ripping out this one section for the third time, finally realized that what we really needed was for me to put it down and and go find something else to do (like finish my damn scarf or cook a meal or get outside for bike ride).

i’m refreshed now and ready to tackle it again—it just needs a little tweaking really. most of it is pretty lovely and i’m very happy, but i was overthinking the last motif WAY too much. and at the same time, i was anxiously rushing to finish and block it to see what i had. not a good combination.

now that i’ve had a deep breath, i can approach the rest of it more calmly, i think (i do get awfully wound up from swatching and composing).

ok now, i said something about needing to put a pattern together and i think i’d like to get on with my work day. you have a happy midweek and i’ll see you next time.

28 thoughts on “lace, lace, and more lace

  1. Oh, I think the stars look like fireflies already, blinking away in the night. That will be really gorgeous when it’s done.

    Sometimes a time-out is just the ticket for lace! Unfortunately I don’t usually think of that till I’ve driven myself crazy.

    Mermaid’s Tail is exactly right – beautiful!

  2. I just can’t keep up with all the wonderful designs you have been producing lately. Especially as I want to knit a second sprossling for myself and there are several older patterns that I’ve been meaning to make.

    But that ‘big swatch’ project looks like it will be something special, so I may be tempted by another new shawl project soon!

  3. I am one of the spreadsheet people. If you have Excel, when I get home I can send you a copy of a snippet of my Maplewing spreadsheet with instructions for how to modify it for a different increase rate. The hardest part for me was studying the charts to determine the stitch count at the end of each row, but I don’t imagine you’d have that problem!

  4. I can’t wait for the new scarf pattern!!!! I opened my mailbox today and there was a package of Stricken Smitten yarn waiting…have never ordered any before, no preconceived idea of what to knit with it and guess what color I got? Yes, “The Mermaid’s Tale”!!!!! It was meant to be! I will be stalking your website waiting on the pattern release. Beautiful!

  5. The mermaid tails in the lace scarf remind me of the old Tom Hanks/Darryl Hannah movie, “Splash”. That might be a fun name for the scarf — all those tails splashing in the beautiful blue ocean-colored lace. I can’t wait to see what the big swatch wants to be.

  6. I am half way through “Cradle me” and so looking forward to this next baby pattern. Also the Firefly will be a lovely gift for my SIL who is in Madison WI and enjoys the fireflies in the summer. She was sure to point them out on my recent visit.

  7. It is really fun to follow along in the process of a designer. Really. And you do so much! It takes me FOREVER. ADD perhaps. It took me an hour to turn a heel . . .just because of all the other stuff that I kept “needing” to do.

    I will be the first one to download the firefly pattern. I work at a preschool in the “Firefly” room and can’t wait to knit this for my teaching partner!!!

  8. Anne, you have been super busy knitting. All of your projects are so beautiful and I love to hear the “behind the scenes” comments you come out with.

    Looking forward to your new pattern release. I can’t keep up with you, but it’s fun to try.

  9. I am so looking forward to the finished “bed of roses” blanket,” or whatever it ends up being called. How many skeins will it take? I fell in love with the color when you started the blanket and have been (sort of) patiently waiting ever since.
    I hope I have enough yarn.

  10. My tomatoes have started coming in too! I love fresh tomatoes, the one’s in the store I never buy anymore unless I have to.

    The lace is great! I love the blue colored shawl.

  11. Oops – I was going to leave a comment about the shawl calculator but went back to look at your post and saw you had found it. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks like a fabulous idea.

  12. Bed of roses is a good name for a blanket but I thought of a few suggestions: Rosy Posy, Darling Rosebuds (like Darling buds of May), Rose of my heart (Johnny Cash) or Rose of Tralee (song or festival).

    Love the mermaid shawl!

    Dawn

  13. Oh Anne that baby blanket is lovely – how about: “Bud of Roses” – to suggest the babyness of it!

    I know you didn’t ask but how about “School of Mermaids” for the shawl?

    WAITING (IMP)PATIENTLY TO SEE THE FIREFLY SHAWL!

  14. Love the Mermaid tail when I looked at the first swatch before I read the name I thought with the colour repeats it almost looked like little Angels and their open wings too! just beautiful. Must contain myself and finish some projects before I allow myself to start a new one.

    Always love reading your blog. Highlight of my day when a new one appears! Thank you so much!

  15. All beautiful projects! When I first began knitting in the late 70s-early 80s, I dreamed of knitting lace, but the supplies were so hard to come by, patterns even less so. I think this may be the best time in history to be a knitter!

    I’m really coveting those little grape tomatoes, though. Our only hope for little pop-em-in-yer-mouth ‘maters is the volunteers that sprung up in our garden from last year. Our so-called Sweet 100s have turned out to be all Romas…

  16. I can’t wait for the firefly shawlette finished pictures, and more importantly, the pattern release! It really is the most perfect marriage of yarn & pattern.
    p.s. Your tomato p*rn isn’t half bad either!

  17. So much beautiful lace! I really really love that mermaid colorway — mmm… And you are absolutely right, that border on the baby blanket is wonderful! Good luck with the pattern writing (I bet the tomatoes will help — surely lycopene is good for the brain?).

  18. Ooh, really looking forward to the mermaid scarf pattern coming out. It’s really spectacular. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got planned to the edging of the baby blanket!

  19. The Mermaid scarf is just to die for! I absolutely love the colorway and the tails.

    My very first little tomato is sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for me to get home to devour it. Must go to yoga after work first though. Hard to wait for that wonderful flavor.

    The number of your patterns that I must have just keeps increasing! Love getting to your blog to see what you’re working on.

  20. Anne..that scarf is breathtaking! and i’ve had really good luck with the green beans too…never considered replanting…thanks for the idea. I think i’ll do that!

  21. Rani and I will be squeezing through the “doorway” to the Knitspot pattern shop the moment firefly is released. It is another beauty, Anne! I know that I keep repeating myself, but you are one brilliant designer. BTW, les abeilles # 2 is on my needles…must keep happily busy whilst I wait!

  22. Sooo many lovelies!! 🙂

    I so love reading your blog this time of year and peering into what’s happening in your garden! We don’t even have little blips on our tomato plants yet, and there you are with harvest!! Green, green, green with envy!! 🙂

  23. I really like the little grey shawlette….dainty but has substance all at the same time. Very pretty.

    I have lots of green tomatoes, but nothing read yet…

  24. Finally, I know what to do with this little bag of handdyed green/blue mulberry silk I’ve had sitting in my stash for years. Might be a little more like a peacock’s tail than a mermaid’s but it should work…off to spinning club now!

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