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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pretty Quiet Around Here

Not much to post about today. I've been working on Christmas knitting and doing some designing, but I can't post any of it. I'll be baking pies today for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I probably won't be back this week to blog. I hope everyone has a lovely week and weekend. If you're celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow - Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cherry Blossom Shawl, Done!

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I finished the Cherry Blossom Shawl this weekend, and got it all blocked. It's just gorgeous and I love it! After briefly considering a more elegant photo shoot, I decided to go with the tried and true Pink Lemon Twist model, Finn. He's always happy to help out and since he's never modeled a circular shawl (because this is the first one I've ever knit), it was exciting for him too. I tried to get him to turn around so you could see the back view of the shawl, but Finn was having none of that - either we photograph him from the front, or not at all.

The pattern is the Cherry Blossom Shawl that originally ran in IK back in 2002, but is now available as an individual pattern - either from IK directly, or from the designer. I believe it's available in downloadable form as well as a hard copy. I used Shibui Knits Silk Cloud in Blossom as my yarn (4 skeins) and knit it on US Size 6's (4.0 mm). The lace is very easy to work, it just takes some time to get around the longer rounds at the end. I had no problem knitting it while I was watching TV.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Because it's Friday...

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...I give you two dogs on a rock.
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On a lovely November morning.
Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Fluffy Pink Squid of Doom Gets an Edging

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I've started working the edging on the Cherry Blossom Shawl which both binds off the shawl, and finishes the edge nicely. If you've never done a knitted on lace edging, I'll explain it. After knitting the main section of the shawl, I have a giant circle of live stitches on the needles. If I were to try to bind them off in the traditional way I would never be able to get it loose enough for the lace to stretch during the blocking and it would look terrible. Fortunately, some long ago lace knitter figured out that if you add a decorative lace edging perpendicular to the live stitches, you can work one stitch of the edging with one of the live stitches from main part of the shawl and fasten off these main stitches without an actual bind off. Attaching lace to lace and live stitches to live stitches allows everything to stretch properly in the all important blocking phase. If you're looking for a design that uses this edging technique to finish off a shawl, in addition to the Cherry Blossom Shawl, my own designs Leda's Dream, Scheherazade, Moon Dance, and Atlantis all use this technique. There are other designs that use this technique as well, of course, but this will give you a sample.

At this point, I'm about 1/4 of the way around the shawl (assuming I'm doing the math right) and I'm estimating that I have about 6 hours, give or take to finish the edging up. The edging stitch pattern is easy to memorize and is working pretty quickly. The more I do on the edging, the less it looks like a Fluffy Pink Squid of Doom!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cassidy

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I am loving this design! The cabling is zipping right along and I'm doing increases after the waist shaping. You can see a little bit of the side shaping in this photo, which should make this hoodie fit nicely. The back measures 12 inches right now and I've just finished my first ball of yarn. Despite the shaping and the cabling going on, I don't find this too involved to work on it while I'm watching TV. I don't think I'd recommend this for a first sweater (try the Basic Chic Hoodie if you're looking for a hoodie for your first sweater), but it's not a difficult one to knit. I am also loving the color of this yarn (which is probably why I bought it in the first place). It's funny how that happens!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Fluffy Pink Squid of Doom is Eating Ramius!

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OK, that's not actually happening at all. Ramius is fine. This is an "action shot" of my lap while I was working on the Cherry Blossom shawl and Ramius was sitting in my lap, under the shawl. Didn't mean to frighten you.

Know what I did this weekend? I finished the round and round knitting of the shawl! Now I just have to do the edging (all the way around) and I'm done! I'm a little more than halfway into my third ball of Shibui Knits Silk Cloud and knowing how edgings can eat yarn like it's going out of style, I think the four balls that were called for in the pattern will be just right. I know I'll have some left over, but I'm pretty sure I will have to use part of that fourth ball. (Just to clarify, the pattern calls for 4 balls of Silk Cloud. If you're using KSH, you'll need 5 balls of that as it's slightly heavier weight and has a bit less yardage per ball as the Silk Cloud.)

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Kitty Cat of Legend

While Ramius is fabulous and very well known to those who've purchased my patterns, there is another cat in my life who has been important to me since I was a very tiny toddler. As I've mentioned before, Mom and Dad have moved into the area, and of course all of their stuff has moved with them. This means that all of my stuff that I had left at their house, for safe keeping in this case, has come here as well, and as it gets found and unpacked, it gets sent over to my house.

Yesterday, one of my two very bestest friends when I was growing up came home. I had left him at Mom and Dad's house because I knew Mickael and I would be moving around a lot, and he was just safer there, but now he's back home with me and back on the bed where he belongs. Who is this friend? I'd like to introduce you to Pink Kitty!
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Pink Kitty has had a rough life, as happens with most toys that are loved this way. (Caleb has a bear that's had more cosmetic surgery than Cher.) He's stained from all of his adventures and he's taken some injuries from those adventures too. He's been mended until there wasn't anything left to mend and then Mom gave him the iron on bandage you see across his middle. He still has the toasty smell the iron left when that was applied. He also has a gash just above the bandage that I've got to figure out how to repair - there's not much actual fabric around it. He might get a scarf/neck brace type thing. At one point, Mom found a new "Pink Kitty" and tried to swap them out, but this counterfeit impostor was hard where Pink Kitty was soft and he didn't smell right. Definitely no iron-on-bandage-toasty-smell on his tummy. The fake "Pink Kitty" was rightly tossed in with my other stuffed animals and ignored. The real Pink Kitty kept right on tagging along with me on my adventures until he became too delicate to do so. Now he's home, and while he's still too delicate for doing anything other than sitting on the freshly made bed, he's happy to be here.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering who my other bestest friend was when I was little? It was my belly button.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ramius Thursday

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Instead of showing you the pathetic little bit I've done on the Fluffy Pink Squid of Doom since you last saw it (sorry Cherry Blossom Shawl, that's just too good of a name for you), and that I haven't even picked up Cassidy, I give you Ramius! Ramius did help me work on the little bit of shawl I did last night, but eventually it made him feel twitchy and anyone who's ever tried to knit with a twitchy cat in their lap will understand why I put the shawl away. Ramius is very happy that he has the house back to himself - even if he has to share it with Silly Finn. He'll be even happier later today when Silly Finn gets a bath! (Finn hates baths, but desperately needs one and today is the day.) Nothing like a sad, wet, doggy to really make your day special!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It Begins

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You guys overwhelmingly voted for me to do Cassidy, so here it goes!

This is the back and as you can see I've just started the actual cabling portion of it. I decided to add a couple of inches to the length and I'm also starting out at the 38 inch size. I'm going to decrease to the stitch count for the 36 inch size at the waist and then I'll work the top part and the sleeves to the 36 inch size. This will make it fit me better than if I just choose one size or the other. The only other mod I know I'll make at this point will be to lengthen the arms. I always have to lengthen the arms though so this really isn't a mod.

At the moment, Cassidy and the Cherry Blossom Shawl (AKA Fluffy Pink Squid of Doom) are the only things I have on the needles that I can show you. Everything else is Christmas knitting and must be kept hidden. This means that you'll probably get to see a lot of those two for a little while.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beware the Fluffy Pink Squid of Doom!

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I would totally see a movie with that title - just to see the Fluffy Pink Squid of Doom! Sounds scary! OK, the Cherry Blossom Shawl is moving along, without the doom part, but you have to admit that in the picture, it looks like a legless squid, or a tentacle-less jelly fish. I apologize for the undersea creature pose, but it's not easy photographing anything this big on circular needles and there aren't very many choices you can make in posing a circular shawl. This pose at least sort of shows off the lace patterns. Kind of.

I've just finished the 10th repeat of the last pattern before the edging so I've only got 2 more to go. That's just 16 rounds of almost 400 stitches each before I start the edging! I might actually finish this project this year.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Juno

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After over a year (due to no fault of it's own), Juno is finished! No one was around to help me with modeled pictures of it when I finished it and being a black cardi, I really wanted pictures before the sun went down.

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Details: The pattern is Juno by Amanda Crawford from the Rowan Book 40. The yarn is Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in the Darkside colorway (I just love that color name!) I used 8 balls of yarn and made the 35 1/2 inch finished size. I added some length to the sweater so it hits more at mid-hip length. I took out the shaping on the body since the entire body is 2x2 rib. (I am of the opinion that there isn't much out there that's stretchier than 2x2 rib - maybe a slinky.) I also didn't put a button hole in the collar because I knew I'd rather pin the crossed collar ends. It also seemed to me that this would make the collar lie better, since I'd be pinning it after putting it on instead of trying to figure out the exact perfect place for a button while I was making it. (Yeah, it gives me adjustability for push-up bra days.)

Just in case anyone is curious, the pin is from R.E. Piland, purchased at MDS&W a couple years ago.

I love the way it fits and as soon as it cools off around here, I'll be able to wear it! (Hello, January!) Have a great weekend! It looks like Cassidy is your preference so I'll get started on it soon. For those of you that loved the other two, don't worry, I'll do them later.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Choices, Choices, Choices

Now that I'm seaming and finishing up Juno, I've been trying to pick my next cardigan project. I did some stash diving and I have three possiblities, so I thought I'd let you guys choose since you're going to be the ones who read about it anyway. So, take a look, check out the yarns and the patterns (I'll try to give both Ravelry links and non - Ravelry links for each pattern - for those of you not on Ravelry), and leave a comment in the comments section (really the best place for comments when you get right down to it). Whichever potential project gets the most comments will be cast on next!

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Project One - Coraline in Mojito Love in an Ice Blue Mist. (Coraline Rav link / Coraline Free Range Internet Link)

This yarn is something I handspun from three different batches of fiber that were similar colorwise. I finished it at the end of 2007 or so. The yarn is not solid, but shades between lighter and darker tones of the pale blue green and is a 3 ply. I may or may not put the buttons where they are in the pattern. If I change the button placement, I'll put them lower, right about bust level.

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Project Two - CeCe in Berry Merino. (CeCe Rav link / CeCe Free Range Internet Link)

This is also hand spun yarn from a merino color blend made by Ohio Valley Natural Fibers. I spun this right after I finished the Mojito Love fiber, so it was finished in early 2008. It's a 3 ply, heathered yarn. I would make the version with the 3/4 length sleeves.

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Project Three - Cassidy in Jaeger Shetland Aran. (Cassidy Rav link / Cassidy Free Range Internet Link)

This yarn is a non-released color of a discontinued yarn so I've been hoarding it for ages. It's a gorgeous Robin's Egg blue (a little more blue than Mojito Love) and it is a solid yarn. The Cassidy design is the type of thing that's a classic in my wardrobe and I do need a hoodie in this color. The solid will make the cables pop and texture should show up well.

So, take a look at the yarns, take a look at the patterns and leave a comment!

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

No, I didn't lose it.

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I know it's been ages since I did anything on the Cherry Blossom Shawl, but here it is! I got back to work on it yesterday and I'm halfway through the eighth repeat on the last pattern before the edging. I have to do a total of 12 repeats of this pattern, so I'm almost 2/3 of the way done with it. I also started the third ball of Shibui Silk Cloud (colorway is Blossom) yesterday. I'm not entirely sure yet, because the edging will probably eat yarn like a ravenous beast, but I think I might be able to finish this on just the three balls of yarn.

Now that I've pulled the project out again, I'd really like to get it finished up. As I've said before, it's not a difficult project and it does just fine as a TV watching project.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Guess what this means?

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Do you know what this is? It's the collar to Juno blocking!

Do you know what this means? It means I'm finished knitting on Juno!

All I have to do is sew it up and add buttons and I have a finished cardi. I can't wait to get this done. It really feels like I've been working on it forever, and I guess since I started it over a year ago and moved across the country while I was working on it, I maybe have been working on it forever.

As soon as the collar finishes blocking (dries), I can get finishing! I've already got a couple of things picked out for my next sweater, but I'll show you another day just to keep you in suspense.

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