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Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Little More Spinning

When I'm not knitting on Mindy's Christmas Stole, I've been spinning some more of the Corridale roving (Beach from Kendig Cottage-mine doesn't have any of the shell pink color that's shown on the website). I'm almost finished with the second bobbin of singles. (I have 12 ounces total of this colorway and I'll spin 4 bobbins of singles before I ply.) I don't have any definite plans for this yarn, I guess I'm just spinning it for the sake of spinning, and having some color. My original plan was to make it two ply yarn and just let the colors fall where they wanted, but a tiny voice in my head has been suggesting Navajo plying to keep the colors separate. I don't know yet if I'll listen to the tiny voice or not - this is not the voice in my head that I HAVE to listen to or I end up regretting it - that's a completely different voice. This is more the little Hmm, That's Not A Bad Idea voice. Yes, I have more than one voice in my head, don't you?

We picked up Finn last night and he's being really good. We haven't had to put an E Collar on him yet since the couple of times he's tried to lick at himself, he's quit when I told him to, "Leave It." I hope he doesn't get more persistent about it when he feels better because the E Collar we have was Bear's from when he was a full sized, 80 pound Golden (Finn now weighs 48 pounds, by the way.) I don't want to go buy a smaller sized E Collar because he'll out grow it pretty quickly so the vet tech and I discussed ways to adapt Bear's big collar to Finn's slightly smaller head and neck. Let's just say that duck tape might be involved - you know, to make it really classy! That will teach him to pick at himself. Right now though, he's just taking it easy and sleeping a lot. (When we brought him home, he smelled different and Ramius thought we had a different dog. Let's just say the cat wasn't very happy with any of us last night.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Finn Update

Just wanted to let everyone know, the vet just called and Finn is out of surgery and everything went well. We'll be picking him up this evening.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mindy's Stole, Part 4

I have gotten quite a bit done on Mindy's Stole this week. Yesterday I charted out the transition from basketweave to the cherry blossoms, which will be at the center of the stole. I have 24 more rows until I start this new chart - yes, I'm almost to the halfway point! From prior experience with other stoles, I know that around 500 rows will get me the length of stole I'm shooting for after blocking (70 inches or so), so all I had to do was count rows, figure out about where I needed to start the center section and then I'll switch over to the cherry blossom pattern (not charted yet). I really like the basketweave pattern and what you see above easily stretches out to 30 inches. Of course there's no law that says an entire stole couldn't be knit with this pattern without switching over to the blossom section. (The whole stole could also be knit with the blossom section, so theoretically this pattern could be knitted three different ways - don't worry, I'll explain how to do all three ways when I write up the pattern.) I'm feeling better about the possibilities of finishing this before Christmas now that I can see the halfway point coming up.

I'm thinking about using this basket weave pattern for the center square of a Shetland style shawl - I think it would be interesting enough, yet not detract from fancier borders. (Just a random thought bouncing around in my head for now though.)

I realized that it had been a while since Ramius had been on the blog, so this morning, I woke him up for a photo shoot. I usually take my blog pictures right before I blog in the morning which is, unfortunately, right about the time Ramius is taking his first morning nap. Finn, on the other hand is awake and peppy and ready to go, so its easier to get pictures of him. After getting several pictures of sleepy, angry cat, I got this rather smug and arrogant one which really cracks me up. He wants you all to know that despite recent setbacks in his living situation ("Why didn't they get a goldfish instead of a golden retriever?") he is still in charge around here.

Finally, I won't be blogging tomorrow morning, I'll be taking Finn to the vet's - its time for him to be neutered. Hopefully everything will go well and he will have a routine surgery with no complications, but if you think about it, I know we'd all appreciate a prayer and your good thoughts. Thanks.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Order and Chaos - in Action

I promised some shots of this sweater being worn, so here it is! I have worn Order and Chaos every day since I finished sewing it up (Thanksgiving) and I just love it. Here it is hanging open.
But it can also be wrapped up tight so its snuggly warm. (This really is a nice, snuggly sweater, not too bulky or warm but just the right amount of cuddly. I know that sounds crazy, but you all know what I mean.) I could pin it shut, but I haven't yet.
Here's the sweater playing with Finn. Ramius was unavailable for this photo shoot due to his demanding sleep schedule. The sweater also got to see Casino Royale this weekend and definitely thinks that Daniel Craig could give Sean Connery a run for his money as the yummiest Bond ever. I agree with the sweater.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Finished Sweater!

I finished up Order and Chaos yesterday after I popped the turkey in the oven! I gave it a quick steam blocking and then spent the rest of the day wearing it. I'm just loving it. It totally works for what I had hoped - as an easy layer to toss on around the house when I get chilly and it looks so much better than the huge, ratty hoodie I had been wearing (think bag lady chic). I will have Mickael take a picture of me wearing it later, but right now I'm still running around with crazy hair and pajamas, so no picture right now.

All the details if you care: Order and Chaos from Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. Knit in Knitpicks Sierra Mist. (Mist is the colorway. This is still cracking me up.) I knit the smallest size which is a 40 inch finished chest size I think. I modified a couple of things from the pattern though. I added back neck shaping (the pattern has the back neck straight across) and instead of doing sleeve increases on the RS (which would have been in Reverse Stockinette Stitch), I did the increases on the WS in Stockinette Stitch because I was too lazy to look up how to increase in purl stitches. This really was a pretty fast project. Bulky yarn works up quickly. I love how cuddly the sweater is - its just the right weight to really snuggle into. At this point I don't think I'm going to add a button to the front, I like the way it hangs without one, and if I get really cold I can always close the sweater with a pin.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mindy's Stole, Part 3

Today we realize two things: Number One - there's going to be a lot of looking at the same thing for a while as I knit the basketweave end, and Number Two - at the rate I'm knitting, this might be done for next Christmas. You can see the diagonal lines a bit better this week, but it looks really bad right now. (Note to Mindy and anyone else who hasn't knit lace: All lace knitting looks horrible before its blocked - this is normal and to be expected.) So, in order to give you a reason to come to the blog, I give you Gratuitous Canine Eye Candy!
He had just woken up when I got this picture and his ear is wrong side out. Lately, any sign of the camera has been his signal to jump around like a nutcase so I haven't gotten any good pictures of him - just some really scary closeups of his mouth as he tries to get the camera. We have made some major headway in his evening behavior lately. I decided that since he has two ways to tell us he needs to go outside, I would only respond to the one I like - going downstairs and sitting on the landing until I see him, before he goes all the way down to the back door. I would ignore the rude one - jumping around and barking at me - and see how long it would take for him to use Plan B. I realized when I did this that I might be using the carpet cleaner a bit while he figures out why Mommy is ignoring him, but I hoped that he would be smart enough to figure it out pretty quickly. Ignoring him paid off. The first time I did it, I could tell that he was a little confused and he tried jumping around and barking even more. I kept ignoring him. He had to sit down to think about that one. Then he went to the stairs and started down. I immediately followed him and told him what a good doggy he was! He tried the barking thing a couple of more times, but for the most part now he's just heading to the stairs if he really has to go. Its so much nicer than being barked at! He hasn't had an accident in the house with the changes we've made either. He seems to have figured out that he can hold it most of the evening until its time to go to bed, so he just plays or naps and I've actually gotten some knitting done lately. I think that since he likes to be with us, he really only wants to start downstairs by himself when he really has to go to the bathroom.

Monday, November 20, 2006

And Now, For Something Completely Different...

I spun some color this weekend! This is the Beach colorway in Corriedale wool from Kendig Cottage. I have about 12 ounces of it and while I have no idea what I'll use it for, I decided to go ahead and start spinning it. This is 1/4 of it and it spun up very quickly. I'm trying to spin this with very little twist so that it stays fluffy. I'm shooting for somewhere around sport weight as a finished yarn. (Obviously, I'm not worried about spinning a specific size of yarn here - I'm just letting the wool tell me what size it wants to be and I'm concentrating more on keeping it fluffy.) It's definitely what I needed after spinning all of the Merino and Kid Mohair! I did get that all washed and now its got some bounce to it (it was just smushed on the bobbins), but I haven't gotten another picture of it yet - its been dark around here and I need more light to get a good picture. I also got the front band done on Order and Chaos, but I haven't gotten it sewn together yet. I need to spread it out a bit to sew it together and certain people (Finn, ahem) seem to think its a place to roll around and chase his tail on. Maybe I can get some done after walkies today, when he passes out.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Almost there...

This is 783 yards of cabled Merino and Kid Mohair (2, 2 plies cabled together). I still have to reply the second, tiny skein, but it will definitely put me over the 800 yard mark for the total 8 ounces of fiber I started with. Right now it measures at 24 wpi and I'm pretty amazed at how consistent it is. I don't think I've ever spun something this consistent before. I have a sneaky suspicion that when I wash the skeins, the merino will relax and puff up a bit and the mohair should bloom - so the finished yarn will probably be thicker. Its got a very soft feel to it, but its a bit lifeless right now. I think that's because its been on bobbins for so long and once its washed I'm really thinking it will perk up quite a bit. At the moment, I feel like I've just about climbed a huge mountain with this stuff and while I'm happy that I did it and proud of what I did, I also feel a bit breathless and woozy when I do the math. (I think I spun around 3200 yards of singles, but I'm not caffeinated yet so that might now be right). I'm going to go lie down a bit before I finish the second skein - I'll have another picture next week so you can see what the yarn does after a nice bath!

Oh, Christine, NO - just back away from the monitor. ;)

UPDATE: I finished spinning the small skein and I ended up with 840 yards total! I'm pretty proud of this yarn.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Can I get a "Woo" and a "Hoo?"


I realize that its a terrible picture, (its dark and rainy here today) but I finished the sleeves for Order and Chaos! I've got to do some repinning before I block them - I just pinned them out quickly so I could get a picture, and then all I have to do is sew the whole sweater together and do the front and neck band. I've now moved my goal for finishing this sweater to Sunday. I'll do the neck band while the sleeves block and then finish sewing it all together and steam block the band if it needs it. When I first started knitting I thought blocking was a silly waste of time that got in the way of finishing up a project. I changed my mind after knitting something in cotton for the first time. Then, when I realized how much better the pieces went together and how much quicker the sewing up was, I realized I was wrong. Now I almost always block the pieces of a sweater before sewing them up.

Cindy of the comments yesterday suggested that don't let Finn play when we take him outside and that was actually something that we were doing (the vet suggested that we only go outside to do his business when we were potty training him, so he would know what outside was for). I've also learned that when I take him out and he starts playing tug of war with his leash, he isn't going to do anything, so we go right back inside. Yesterday afternoon was actually pretty good - for some reason he stayed awake most of the afternoon (he usually sleeps after our big walk) so by the time evening rolled around he curled up on his throw pillow (we'll be getting him a dog bed for Christmas) and fell asleep. That's how I finished up the sleeves. He's got a funny little smile right now - he's been getting his big dog teeth lately (he's been getting them for about 3 or 4 weeks now - I've never seen a dog take this long to get his teeth in. Our previous Golden, Bear, cut his big dog teeth in about 4 days - all of them.) He finally lost his upper canines and you can just barely see the tips of the big dog canines, but he still has baby canines in his lower jaw. I think these are his last baby teeth, but they look so tiny compared to his big dog teeth!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Order and Chaos - Still Knitting on Really Big Needles


As you can see, I've gotten a bit farther on the sleeves for Order and Chaos. I've only got about 5 or 6 inches to go (I think - I didn't measure this morning when I got the picture) and only 3 more increases left. Once I finish these, they're off to block and I can sew the fronts and back together at the shoulders and work the neckband. I would love to have this sweater done by Thanksgiving and I think I probably can, if certain blonde puppy type people will let me work on it. Finn is definitely a teenager now - in every sense of the word. His latest trick is to bark at me every 10 minutes in the evening after Caleb goes to bed. Finn has two different ways to tell us he needs to go to the bathroom: if I'm standing up and doing stuff, he will start downstairs and wait at the landing until I see him before he goes all the way down and sits by the door (I love this one), the other way he tells us he needs to go out is if I'm sitting down he barks at me and jumps at me and makes a nuisance of himself (not so fond of this technique). It used to be that in the evening he would go out just after Caleb goes to sleep, then Finn would make a nest and either sleep or chew on a toy until he got sleepy and then go to sleep. Now he wants to go outside every 10 minutes. He doesn't have to go to the bathroom everytime, he just wants to play with his leash, eat leaves, bark at the neighbors, and try to turn me into a frozen Mom-cicle. He's figured out (like Caleb has) that when you say you have to go to the bathroom, we're pretty much going to let you go. No one wants to clean up after him, so we give him the benefit of the doubt. Do any dog people have suggestions or is this just part of the joy of teenage dogs? How much longer will he be a teenage dog? Will it quit after he's neutered? If this is going to last for 2 more years, please lie to me and tell me it will be over soon.

On a completely non dog related topic, someone asked if I would give difficulty ratings to my patterns so that newer lace knitters would know what to expect. I'm going to mess around with the Patterns For Sale page and I need to get my Mom a Patterns For Sale page too, so I'll try to figure out a difficulty rating for them when I do that. In the meantime, I would say that Scheherazade and Moon Dance are the easiest patterns and Leda's Dream is a little more difficult, but its not too hard either. Does this help?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mindy's Stole, Part 2

Houston, we have Cast On! In the last week I have made some decisions, done some charting, and actually cast on and gotten started knitting. I decided that I did like the idea of a traditional design kind of morphing into the Cherry Blossom petals part of the stole - but I decided not to use a traditional knitting pattern. I used a traditional Sashiko pattern and charted it for knitting. The design I chose is a basket weave design and I chose this one for a couple of reasons. I wanted a geometric design with strong angles to balance the more random and organic look I am wanting for the petals. Basketweave designs are found all over the world and I thought the interweaving elements of the motif would play along with the idea of the Cherry Trees being given as a gift of friendship from Tokyo to Washington, DC.*

I sat down and charted the design out and since I know that making a chart from something in your head is something that some of you are interested in, I'll go into more details about how I do this. I like to work with a paper and pencil because personally, working directly on the computer tends to get in the way of my creativity. (I have noticed that since I started blogging, I'm better at thinking creatively while on the computer than I used to be, but for designing, I'm more Old School.) I use graph paper to draw the design on. I'm comfortable using knitter's graph paper or regular graph paper, but knitter's graph paper will give you a more accurate idea of the scale of the design. Here is a link for custom sized knitter's graph paper you can print out - just enter your gauge over 4 inches/10 cm squared and it will draw it for you. I usually only chart the right side of the design since all of my designs so far (and my lace knitting, so far) are purled on the wrong side. You do have to keep in mind that the actual design will be twice as tall as it looks on the graph paper if you only chart RS rows. If you're working a particularly intricate design, you might want to chart all the rows. I begin by drawing in all of the Yarn Overs - I chart them as O's, since that is how they'll look. One thing you have to watch with YO's is that while you can stack them vertically, you can't put them one right after another horizontally - two YO's right next to each other form a Double YO, not two separate, decorative holes. In designing this motif, I knew what it should look like in my head, but didn't have a definite idea of where the repeats would fall so I charted the design over about 3/4 of the paper. Once I had the design drawn in - several repeats each direction, then I took a pencil and drew lines around the repeat areas. I figured out where I wanted the bottom of the pattern to fall at the bottom edge of the stole and drew a line across this, then I figured out where the design should fall at both the left and right edges (as its knitted) and drew a line in both places. I found the top of the repeat (in this case 16 right side rows make up the repeat - 32 rows total) and drew a line there. Then, with the part of the chart I would actually be using defined, I could figure out where the horizontal repeats would fall and figure out how many extra stitches I would need to get all the way to the second edge in the pattern. This chart is a repeat of 16 stitches + 9 stitches wide. Once I had all these lines on the page that was mostly full of the YO design, I started adding decreases - since the actual working part of the charts was defined, I only had to figure decreases for that part - not the whole page. Each YO has a decrease, either right slanting, left slanting, or a double decrease. You can use the directions of the decreases to further define your pattern. One thing to keep in mind when adding decreases is that if you only add one type of decrease (say, K2tog) over the whole design - you will get biasing. You have to balance K2tog's with SSK's to prevent biasing. I don't worry about counting to make sure there's an equal number, I just make sure they are both used. This basketweave design has strong diagonal elements and I used decreases to strengthen these lines. If you're completely lost here, grab some graph paper, draw a simple geometric design of YO's and work through the charting, finding repeats, and adding decreases - its easier to do than explain. Once I had the chart fully drawn out, with YO's, decreases, and repeats all defined, I went into the spreadsheet program on my computer and charted it. You have to mess around with column width and row height to get a grid, but then you can just add your symbols to the squares, run a column of row numbers up the right side and draw some dark lines to define the repeats. Then I copy and paste the chart into a word processor program, print it up and I've got a working chart. I could of course knit from my hand drawn chart and I do when I'm knitting something for myself and not writing a pattern. I plan to turn this stole design into a pattern so I wanted to get the chart into the computer and knit from the actual chart that will appear in the pattern so I could double check it for accuracy.

OK, so now that the chart is ready to go, all I have to do is decide how wide to make the stole and then I can get started. I know from the experience of knitting and designing the other stoles that I want to shoot for around 100 stitches wide. This number gives a nice width for a stole when its worked in laceweight yarn. Remember how the repeat is 16 stitches + 9 stitches for this design? If I work 5 repeats of the design I have 89 stitches (5 x 16 = 80 + 9 = 89). That gets me pretty close, but I also have to add some edging stitches. I like to use garter stitch at the edges - its simple, makes a nice edge, doesn't roll, and its used pretty traditionally for shawls and stoles. If I add 3 stitches to each side I have 95 stitches (3 + 89 + 3 = 95). Remember how 2007 is the 95th year of the National Cherry Blossom Festival? Cool, huh!* So I'm ready to cast on, I just have to decide what kind of edging I want for this end of the stole. I've decided to make the design asymmetrical and I have a pretty good idea of what I want to use to finish the cherry blossom petals end of the stole - it goes along with the organic, petals blowing in the wind, softness of the delicate blooms and all that (I'm not ready to share what I'm thinking yet, just know that there is a plan). I have to balance that end with what I use at this first end. I need something simple that works with the basketweave design, but it has to have as much visual weight as the second end will have or the stole will look lopsided. I liked the idea of a simple, wide band of garter stitch - it works nicely with the side edges, it works with the geometry of the basket weave design, and its stretchy - but garter stitch alone wouldn't balance the second end. I emailed Mindy and got approval for - BEADS! If you look very carefully at the cast on edge of the stole above you can just barely see beads. They are clear with silver lining and they look like individual raindrops at the edge of the stole. I actually cast on with beads (don't worry, I'll give full directions in the pattern) so they would be at the bottom edge and I love the way they look. Its just enough sparkle to make this end of the stole interesting, but it doesn't distract from the rest of the design. As I was working the cast on edge, I was reminded of Fortuny gowns. Very small beads were added to the lower edges of his garments to give the extremely lightweight silk a bit of body and weight, making them hang on the body properly. While the alpaca yarn I'm using has plenty of drape, the beads are adding just enough weight to drop the work away from the needles as I knit. Anyone who has knit a shawl before knows that the first few rows are the hardest, when the work is too lightweight to drape and sits very close to the needles.

*I was an Art History major in College and as anyone who has taken even a basic class in Art History can tell you, the BS runs thick through the discipline. While I'm sure that some symbolism was used by artists as they composed their works, if everything that Art Historians found symbolic was part of the conscious decision making process by every artist, all creativity would have been stifled pretty quickly. Because of this background, however, any time I can tie things together symbolically in a design, (the woven pattern of the basket weave symbolizing the weaving together of friendship of two nations, the 95 cast on stitches symbolizing each year of the National Cherry Blossom Festival) I do. It appeals to the deep streak of BS that I've always had and only developed even deeper in college.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Miracle Monday

I finished the first plying of the second set of singles! Now all I have to do is let them wait a few days and re-ply these two bobbins together and I will have cabled yarn. Yipppeee! One of the bobbins of two ply is obviously more full than the other one so when I run out of the first bobbin, I'll wind the rest of the second off on my ball winder and finish the cabling with the two ends of the one ball. That will give me one large skein and a small skein, but its not hard to join skeins in knitting. I'm so excited about being almost done with this. Finn is even excited about it, but then he's pretty much excited about anything and is very much in love with my bobbin box that I use as a Lazy Kate. It gets lots of kisses while I'm plying. I was originally planning on knitting a pair of socks (or two) with this yarn - I started with 8 ounces of fiber. I'm thinking about gloves now though. I really want to knit a pair of gloves and this cabled yarn should really hold up well. Of course, once I get the yarn finished and washed, it might tell me what it wants to be, too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Solace


When it's cold and windy outside, when you need a little bit of time for yourself, or you just want to curl up with a book, a cup of tea and your cat, Solace is the wrap you'll reach for. Large, lacy, and luxurious, this stole knits up quickly in worsted or aran weight yarn. Simple lace patterns are easy to memorize and a great way to learn to "read" your knitting. If you can work yarn overs and decreases, you'll be able to knit this pattern. Finished size is 32 inches wide by 72 inches long, but both width and length are easily adjustible to your own preferences.

Requires 1200 yards of Worsted or Aran weight yarn.

$6.00

Please note that Georgina Bow Creations Patterns are separate from Pink Lemon Twist Patterns and the shopping carts cannot be combined. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this might cause.

To introduce her pattern, Georgina, mother of the Pink Lemon, will be hosting a Solace Knit Along. Come join in the fun. (Click Here)

To ask the designer a question, please email Georgina at georginabowcreationsATyahooDOTcom

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The Same Old Thing, Something New, and a Teaser For Tomorrow...

Yesterday morning was crazy around here so I didn't get a chance to blog. I didn't even get a chance to check my email until mid afternoon! (I wake up very slowly and I tend to combine waking up with checking email, blogging, and drinking enormous amounts of tea. This is why some posts are more coherant than others. Also, if I've ever replied to an email you sent, this is usually when it gets done, so if it doesn't make sense, now you know why.) Today will be a bit random, but if you'll stick with me until the end of the post, I think you'll decide its worth it.

First, above you can see the sleeves for Order and Chaos. I decided to just suck it up and knit them both on the circular needles. They are making me crazy, but seeing the finished fronts and back all blocked out helps me to push through.

Something New: by now you've probably already noticed the little Ram pin on the right sleeve. I got this yesterday. It's from Designs By Romi and if you haven't checked out her shawl pins, you're really missing out. Her pieces have been written up in Vogue Knitting and Knitty among other places and all the good things you hear about her workmanship and the quality of the pins is true. The Ram has a nice, sturdy feel to him, but he isn't so heavy that I would hesitate to use him on my shawls. The stick part of the pin is blunted and smoothed so it won't snag. It's also shaped a bit so it "settles" into the stitches of what ever you attach it to. I haven't had a chance to wear it yet, but I don't think its going to fall off or wiggle loose. If you've been debating whether or not to purchase a pin from Romi, quit debating, get over there and buy one - you won't be dissappointed. (By the way, I'm in no way affiliated with Romi, except that she's left comments on the blog before.)

Finally, I wanted to give a bit of a teaser for tomorrow! My Mom has written a knitting pattern, and since she is among the tragically blogless, I offered my own blog to get the word out. I'm not going to tell you anything about the pattern today, so be sure to come by tomorrow for all the details (and some feline eye candy). Its gorgeous!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mindy's Stole, Part 1

OK, so here's where I'm at with designing Mindy's Christmas Stole. I tend to design faster if I've got some kind of direction or theme, rather than just wandering aimlessly around and trying to put some thing together, so I've been thinking about the color (Peppermint Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud) and it reminds me of cherry blossoms. I Googled "Cherry Blossoms" and as luck would have it, 2007 is the 95th year of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. In 1912 Tokyo gave 3000 Cherry Trees to Washington, DC in a gesture of friendship. (I have to admit here that while I haven't looked it up yet, I'm a bit curious how 3000 cherry trees got here from Tokyo back in 1912. I mean they weren't sent FedEx Overnight.) If you've never seen cherry blossoms, its really amazing. They completely cover the trees with white or pale pink blooms. The flowers are so fragile that when the wind blows, they come off the trees and break apart, covering everything in delicate petals. Its wonderful to watch.

Now that I have an idea, I can start designing. I pulled out my Barbara G. Walker's (these are the greatest stitch dictionaries ever, if you only get one set, this is the one to get) and started looking. I will probably end up designing the stitch myself since I'm not really finding what I'm looking for in traditional lace patterns, but these are still very helpful because I can see what stitches work in what ways. I started playing around with charting a cherry blossom petal design, charted it six different ways and started knitting a swatch with some Alpaca Cloud leftover from Leda's Dream. Less than halfway through the swatch, I've decided that the petals are knitting up too big. At this point, I'm thinking of representing the clouds of petals using negative space, instead of actually depicting them as petals. I'm also playing with the idea of incorporating a traditional lace design that will somehow morph into the cherry blossoms. I'm definitely leaning towards an asymmetrical design, possibly with some Japanese influenced motifs. At this point in designing however, there's no telling what will make it into the final design and what won't.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Miracles Do Happen



Do you recognize this? You've only seen it as singles so far, but I've started the first plying on the Merino/Kid Mohair top. You're looking at most of bobbins 1 and 2, plied together with too much twist. I've been plying for about 4 hours and I probably have another hour before I finish these first two bobbins, then I'll do the first plying of bobbins 3 and 4. This is the yarn I'll be cabling and this is the first cabled yarn I've ever done. I was wondering why it was taking me so long to ply and then I checked the size of the WPI - its 40 WPI as a two ply! Now maybe I understand why it took so long to spin the singles! I should have pretty close to a fingering weight when I finish the yarn. I feel like I'm on the home stretch here and I can't wait to spin something with some colors in it. Helping me with the plying last night was Finn. He does a pretty good job of leaving the spinning wheel alone, but he does really like it. He likes to put the side of his nose against the drive wheel and feel the spokes on his whiskers. He likes to chew on a tennis ball on top of my feet while I'm spinning (I don't let him stay there), and he likes to kiss the singles as they come off the Lazy Kate. Maybe we should have named him Rumpelstiltskin.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fronts, Backs, and a Surprise!

I'm feeling much better than I was. I didn't have anything to blog yesterday, I've spent the last couple days getting everything done around here that I let slide while I was feeling so miserable. Now I've got the house back under control, I feel like a person again, and I'm getting a bit of knitting done. As you can see above, I finished the fronts of the cardigan (Order and Chaos from Inspired Cable Knits). I've got them blocking with the back now and I plan to begin a sleeve today. I usually like to work both my sleeves at once, but with this bulky yarn (KnitPicks Sierra in the Mist colorway - that still cracks me up), I won't be able to fit both sleeves onto my needles at once. I could use a circular, but I really dislike using circulars if I can avoid it. If I'd just suck it up and use the circ, I could have the cardi finished faster, probably. Obviously, I need to make a decision today.

OK, I promised a surprise on the blog so here it is - actually, I think I'll start with the backstory. Last year for Christmas I knit Mindy (my Sister in Law) a stole. It was a simple stole knit in the Shetland Fern lace pattern (the same lace pattern in Birch and Kiri), with the edging from Kiri knit onto each end to make little points. I knit it in some of Handpaintedyarn.com's laceweight in a deep smokey violet color. I don't think Mindy had ever really had a wrap like this before and neither of us were sure how much she was going to wear it. She lives in Texas which isn't really known for its Cold Weather Wear Opportunties. Added to that Mindy is a pretty casual person. I'm not saying she's sloppy or a bad dresser, but unless she has to be dressed up for something, she tends to base her clothing choices around jeans. (I totally stand behind this philosophy and one day, when I have no knitting content, and no pictures of Finn and Ramius, I will delve headfirst into a discussion of my deep and passionate love affair with jeans. I want to be buried in them. That's all I will say about that, for now) So, when I planned her stole, I decided that she needed something simple that could be dressed up, because it is a lace stole, but not so fancy that she would hesitate to pair it with jeans or khakis or her everyday life. Well, apparently she has just loved it, she wears it everywhere and she even took it with her when she and my brother went to Italy. (Yes, my knitting gets to go better places than I do.) When I asked her if she wanted another one, in a different color, she suggested pink or red. So, since Christmas is closer than I really care to think about, I asked her if she minded if I blogged the design and knitting of her stole. She said that was fine with her and it will really save me time, not having to do secret Christmas knitting as well as blog fodder. So, the surprise is, starting on Tuesday, at least once a week, I will be blogging the design and knitting of Mindy's Christmas Stole 2006. I do plan on writing it up into a pattern which will be available for sale once its completed. There are a couple of reasons I think this will be amusing. Number One: The aforementioned fact that Christmas is coming faster than I think it will. (Now, before you get your hopes up, I don't think I will achieve the levels of Christmas Knitting Insanity, I mean Christmas Knitting Genius, that certain other knitbloggers do. Sorry.) Number Two: Below is the yarn I plan to use. KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud in the Peppermint colorway. Why will this be fun? Ramius has an Alpaca fetish! Let the games begin!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween and Leaf Socks

First of all, I hope everyone had a great Halloween! We took Darth Vader here to the Leesburg Halloween Parade and he had quite a haul of goodies by the end of the night. Yesterday was pretty warm, so I did go, and I'm glad I did. Its such a fun parade for everyone.

Here is the Leaf Sock I've been working on. This is the hand dyed yarn from my Knitters Tea Swap pal and isn't it gorgeous? I love how the greens and the oranges are swirling around each other. I'm doing a simple pattern on it - Waffle Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. Its pretty brainless, but right now brainless is about all I'm good for and as colorful as this yarn is, I don't want it competing with a complex pattern. I'm hoping that by tomorrow or so, I'll be ready to get back to my cabled cardi. I'll also have a surprise later this week - something new is coming! Don't eat too much candy today!