Recently in Shawls Category

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2007-NOV-20-shoalwater

This is the Shoalwater Shawl... I'm thinking that this has been on the needles for a long, long, long time. I know the rows are now endless. And... it's bigger than I'd like, but I kept going... unsure if the edging would work out if I stopped earlier. So... this week... I've had the opportunity to work on it a bit. In close to an hour and a half the other day while I sat somewhere, I worked two rows... just two. Only two more to go, and the edging begins. So, the end is in sight!

The yarn was a gift from my mom a few years back (for this pattern). So, I was making this for me, but she saw it when she was here visiting, and she loves it... mostly because it is so big. But... given that... I'm working on finishing it up.

We'll see.

Diamond Fantasy Shawl

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Cara at January One for filling me in on the wonders of the DFS pattern. After reading a message she sent me in response to my questions about it, I realized I'd been too hasty in looking at the pattern and looked at it wrongly. For the most part, the wrong-side row is a rest row. So, I was wrong in thinking that it was also "patterned" (it's just patterned a bit at the edges to create the knitted-as-you-go-border). So, I'm looking forward to giving this a try. It's one of several things I've lined up for knitting over the next few months, much of the "list" is, of course, holiday knitting. But, it is that time of year, believe it or not!

Long Time...

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A long time, I know... and yet there has been a good bit of knitting going on... especially knitting in Koigu... and stash enhancing when it comes to Koigu. It's the one yarn these days I can't resist if I'm faced with a yarn store... it's the one yarn that I buy and don't feel guilty about the amount of yarn already in the basement and the dwindling finances I have since I've been working less. So, lots of Koigu.

But, what drags me to the blog this morning is a question about lace... I know some of you have worked on Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy shawl... how hard is it? I was looking at the pattern, and it's the first lace I've considered that doesn't have a "break" row (or several). It has lace (patterning) on both right and wrong side rows.... rather than simply a garter or purl row back across the wrong side. Is it incredibly complicated? I was a bit overwhelmed contemplating a pattern with no "rest" row... because those "rest" rows are the ones I can do when the kids are milling around or when I just have a few minutes. But, it's a pattern I love and was getting ready to start... so, general feedback and words of wisdom requested!!! (I'm off to leave questions on a few sites where I know the shawl has appeared, too...)

Winding Roads

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llama

We're back from a brief (but longer than we planned) road trip to Mendocino (coastal Northern CA). Here's what I learned:

  1. If you are not sure whether or not your kids are prone to carsickness, assume they are.

  2. If you think it might be a good idea to take the scenic route even though you know it might be longer and curvier, think again.

  3. If you are priding yourself on packing really lightly for an overnight, go back and add in an extra outfit for every member of the family and two for any members under two and under.

  4. If it sounds like fun to take a detour to visit a lighthouse along the way, make sure you read the sign carefully so that you realize the lighthouse is 21 miles down the road and not 2.1 miles away.

  5. Packing a handknit shawl is a good thing. Whether you wear it out as you stroll around or in over your pajamas in the evening, you'll feel "right" in your shawl. (I took my Flower Basket Shawl along, which hasn't gotten much use, and I loved having it with me. It just had the right "feel" for the getaway.)

  6. Take more LEGOs than you think you’ll need/want. If you’re taking pods, take a bunch!

  7. If it can be closed, it probably will be. (Okay, that's just our luck, probably not a rule of life!)

We had a good time, and it was nice to simply "be away" in a beautiful inn replete with their very own llamas, organic gardens, and tea trees in bloom. But, we did have quite the (carsick) trip getting there. And, the area was besieged by rains over the last three days. It poured the whole time we were there. Just poured.

I had debated about what knitting to take - and we were just going for one night. I swatched a yarn my Secret Pal gave me last year to see if I can get gauge for socks from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road. I keep wanting to make socks from that book, but the gauge always seems looser than the kinds of sock yarn I have. So, I did a swatch, but I ended up out of time and didn’t even get it measured and sorted out in the final rushed hours before we left.

I also considered taking a skein of Koigu from my coveted Koigu stash and making myself a Ninja Ropes hat (see free pattern link in list at right). I made the boys’ theirs last year, and it’s a hat I just love. They’ve worn them often, and every time I put one of them on them, I think what a pretty hat. So, while making myself one wasn’t on my original list of things to make for this year, I really do think I might have to have one sooner rather than later. It’s a great-weight basic hat--and I can't resist Koigu colors. In fact, while I have a bunch of Koigu stashed away, I'm guilty of holding onto it waiting for the perfect project, so I haven't used much of what I've bought. I do have a sweater in mind for some of it, and another Charlotte would be obvious, as well as a second set of fingerless mitts (which is on this year's list). So, I considered taking a skein and casting on my own Ninja Ropes hat, but I kept thinking “this is silly. I’m only going to be gone overnight. How much knitting will I really do? Do I need to start something new just because I’m on a trip?”

So, I talked myself out of starting something new.

Instead, I took my Shoalwater Shawl (taking a break from Kiri). It was a good choice, and it was nice to pick it back up and knock out a few rows. It’s a much denser shawl than Kiri, so I’ve actually worked far more rows on this shawl (far more) and still have a bunch to go (somewhere around 80). Given that there are 350+ stitches on the needles now, the rows are slow going, but it’s a rhythmic pattern, and each row flows along nicely. I got in a bunch of knitting (surprisingly) in between stopping the little one from opening and closing all the doors and drawers in the suite and after building a set of LEGO pod creations. I sat by the fire the first night and knitted (and wore my shawl), and it felt so peaceful.

Then we decided to stay and extra night, so there was more time to knit, and I did sort of wish I’d brought that skein of Koigu! I’m such a sentimental sap. I love having associations of “place” with my knitting. The only other time we were in Mendocino (at this same Inn), I made one of my favorite Rowan hats. It’s a bulky pink seed stitch hat from Kim Hargreaves, and I love it. Every time I wear it, I flash back on that first stay at the Inn (it’s a place that holds special significance for our family), and it’s nice. I like my knitting being tied to milestones and moments in my life. So, I sort of wish I’d had yarn with me to work on a Ninja Ropes hat for myself.

But, I didn’t.

green hat

I was glad, however, that I’d thought to take along a hat. We hadn’t planned on the winter storm (rain) and the drop in temperatures, but expecting general coolness and windiness by the coast, I’d tossed the two-tone green hat I made last December into my bag (along with my Koigu fingerless mits). I don’t think I ever showed this hat off. I used leftover yarn from my Ribby Cardi. The hat is a “bit” big (and a tad tall—I wear it folded up a little), so the gauge obviously wasn’t perfect for the pattern, but I think it turned out beautifully.

The pattern is “Make It Mosaic Hats” by Ellyn Wheeler from Creative Knitting Magazine (November 2005). Mom had the magazine when she was here last fall, and I thought it was a cool hat, and I really loved the look of the fair isle-esque diamond patterning. It’s actually a slip stitch pattern, so it’s very easy to work, and it has a wonderful Celtic resonance to it. The picture in the magazine shows up much more distinctly than mine. The two greens I used are so tonally close, I guess, that I got a very subtle effect, but I really like it.

We got back home a day later than planned, and I dutifully picked up Kiri again last night. I will finish the 10th repeat tonight. I’m not sure how to “tell” how big it really is unless I string it onto a string and lay it out. I hate to have to do that because I find it really painstaking to get a shawl back on the needles off of a string. But, I might do it just to see if it really will be big enough this way or not. I’d go for the 11th repeat, but I’d really be kicking myself later if I ended up without enough yarn left for the edging!

Kiri A-Comin'

Well, I've been in here working at my computer all night tonight rather than knitting, but I figured I should post a last update on Kiri before the Olympics end. As expected, I'm not done. I guess I could have been, but a few projects have been in my way this week, and since we're hitting the road, Kiri will just have to be finished after the final medals are awarded -- which means I'm not taking it with me. I'm taking something - but not Kiri. It is going well though. I've really settled into the pattern finally. You know that moment when you're knitting lace and suddenly you "see" some connection to the rows before and the pattern starts to become clear. Well, it's not really a moment. Instead, it's a nanosecond of recognition that floats in and out of my consciousness repeatedly for a long time before it really hits me that the "click" has happened. I think it's this click that is for me part of the magic of lace knitting. No matter how I might struggle with a pattern. No matter how many times I unknit. No matter how much I rail... eventually, it clicks, and it's magic.

The "click" finally happened with Kiri recently in that I suddenly saw the relationship between the single knit between the yarnovers in each repeat and how the lined up with a single knit column in the rows before. I guess I should have noticed it earlier on, but I think I was focusing so intently on each row that I wasn't really "reading" the rows before and looking at how the rows were feeding together. At any rate, knowing the single knit lines up with the column gives me a good visual every 12 stitches of whether or not my placement and count was working out, which is nice because of the problem with using markers with Kiri. (I'm sitll using some, but sort of haphazardly now... just enough to give me some order across a row, but not marking every repeat.)

I'm through the 9th repeat now. I'm hoping to finish 10 and then determine if it will be big enough to do the edging or if I need to try and find another ball of this colorway to do the 12 listed in the pattern. I'm hoping if 10 looks good that I'll have enough to finish the edging. It feels a bit like a potshot trying to guess "where" to stop in order to have enough to finish up. But, I'm thinking 10 might work. We'll see. No new picture. It looks the same as the steering wheel shot from last weekend... just bigger.

Almost in the Trash

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kiri
kiri draped over steering wheel as I knit beachside

When I was younger (it seems to me like 12-ish), I can remember sewing myself a pair of shorts - or trying to. It seems to me I was trying to derive a patchwork effect using a bright green fabric and a brightly-colored large polka-dot fabric. In my head, I can still see those fabrics. They were very bright, and they've taken on a garish cast in my head. But, this was the early 80's, so it's probably not that out of place. The shorts were simple in construction with an elastic waist, but I was a novice sewer, and I ran into trouble somewhere along the line, got frustrated, and threw them in the trash (or at least threatened to as I stomped away from the machine). I don't remember the specifics of the day, but I know my Grandmother patiently went and got them (either from the trash or the sewing table, wherever they really had ended up), and patiently fixed them for me and got me back on track. Somehow her "patience" in that moment has always stuck with me. I don't have the best memory (which is why I record and write down as much as I can of what's happening day to day - I'm old enough now to be seriously saddened by how little I "recall" when I look back of things I once thought would stick with me forever), but the gist of those shorts... the bright green and the dots... my frustration... my throwing them aside... and Grandma retrieving them and fixing them has stuck with me.

I've thrown countless projects down in frustration - and amid tears - through the years and in various creative mediums. In knitting, M and Mom make fun of me often for how many times I take things out and do them again. In knitting, generally, it doesn't bother me that much to unknit something or pull it off the needles to correct a problem spotted only several rows later. There have, of course, been projects though where repeated problems have left me close to tears.

Kiri hasn't brought me to tears, but the other day, I did come very close to just tossing it aside and saying "forget it." Since I started it, time and time again I'd think things were going along smoothly only to find, after the fact, that something had gone wrong. I've read that Rowan KSH isn't easy to unknit. Neither is the Crystal Palace Kid Merino. It's sticky. It doesn't want to be undone. Still, I've undone more rows than I care to admit of Kiri (no more than 2 rows at a time though).

After running into a few problems with count early on, I pulled out markers to mark the stitch repeat sections. I like using markers with lace, especially since I often to have to put my knitting down multiple times before completing a row ("Mama, can you get me some milk? Mama, can you get Spencer off of me? Mama,can you hand me that? Mama I need...). Markers are my friend.

But not with Kiri.

The first time after I added the markers in, I was really thrown when I got to the next right side row, and the count appeared to be off. While the pattern notes that you should use markers if you want to (and don't use them if you don't want to), it doesn't note that the position of the marker moves each right side row. So, I hadn't done anything wrong, it was the nature of the pattern. But it took me a while to realize that. I suspected the markers moved, but I kept counting the 12-stitch repeat and seeing 12 stitches, so it didn't click. I now (finally) realize that because of the way the stitches before and after the repeats (at each end, in other words) function, the repeat section is moving over with each right side row. But gee, it would have helped me a lot if that had been noted. It just wasn't obvious enough to me, I guess because two of the three shawls I've made have been marker-friendly despite beginning and end-of-row increases.

So, I did hit a point the other morning where I almost threw Kiri aside and gave up on the project, especially because even though I don’t feel like I’ll finish with the Olympics, I am feeling a bit “driven” by the project (because of the Knitting Olympics) and haven’t been switching on and off between it and another project the way I normally might. So, having had trouble at almost every sitting when I’ve been knitting (late) at night (and sleepy-eyed), I sat down the other day in the morning with my first cup of (decaf) coffee and thought to knit a few rows while the boys played. Almost instantly, I ran into trouble. Not sure what had gone wrong, I took a whole row out, and still it looked wrong. Every time I counted, I seemed to be short - on each side of the center marker.

I was really, really frustrated. I got up and did a few things around the house, debating in my head whether or not I should just scrap the project... really seriously considering it. After all, the shawl has moved from exciting to just another knit, and a particularly unforgiving one, at that. I’m not “loving” the yarn as much as I thought I might (though I think it's just a passing thing). The magic of starting a new project has waned. As the rows get longer and longer, and as some nights I feel like I’ve spent more time painstakingly unknitting this hairy sticky mess of yarn than making forward progress, the spark of enchantment has surely dulled.

But, I’m not 12 anymore. I don’t give up easily. I sat back down and pulled the pattern out of my bag again, looking in vain (I thought) at the simple chart of the final right side row of the repeat. I’d looked at it several times as I recounted before, but this time, my error jumped out at me. I’m so used to the decreases at the beginning and end of each row and before and after the middle stitch, that I wasn’t even realizing that on that final row of the repeat, you do not decrease. There’s just the yarnover and then six stitches. As I realized that’s what I’d been doing wrong (and counting wrongly) on the row, I realized/remembered/recalled (as if in a knit-induced daze of denial) that I’d had the same problem a few nights before (and made the same mistake).

This time, I think I’ve learned. I’ve got it.

Row 9 of the repeat will no longer cause troubles. I will not forget.

And so Kiri has been coming along. Despite the fact that I’m not “loving” it at the moment, every time M sees it, she comments on how beautiful the yarn is working up. She’s not a shawl person, so it’s not a hint. She just thinks it’s pretty. It’s actually light as a cloud, too. It’s almost disconcerting to see this bit of fluff that hangs from the bottom of the needles. It’s just this airy, hazey, puff of green and red yarn. It has no weight to it. It’s fuzzy. It’s mohairy. Will it really turn out to be something wearable? I’ve never had anything this light before. My Charlotted (which will always be my true love) has good weight to it. Even my Flower Basket Shawl has substance to it. But Kiri? It’s weightless.

It’s going smoothly now though. I think I somehow turned a corner with the pattern. I don’t think I’ll mess up on that row anymore, and now that I understand that the markers move, I’m just shifting them around as I get to them, and then on that final row, I take them all off and add them all in anew on the first right-side row of the next repeat. It feels a bit tedious, but as the rows get longer, especially, having the markers there gives me some peace of mind.

Kiri Update

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kiri

I am working on Kiri, and it's coming along. I really like the way the pattern is written. She notes that she's been influenced by Evelyn Clark's FiberTrends patterns, and since I'm concurrently working on Shoalwater, I can immediately see what she means, and I like it. I like Shoalwater for the same reasons. I especially love the ease of the way the charts are written to make the repeat after the center stitch really easy to pick up and follow. I think she's done a great job visually with the charts, too. The bits of extra space between sections (rather than just darker lines marking the repeat area) gives my brain the space to easily glance down, see where I am, and get going. It may be just me, but I find this the easiest chart to follow, visually, that I've ever used.

I'm liking the Crystal Palace Kid Merino yarn, as well, and it's working up beautifully - the color changes are very fast, so I'm getting nice all-over variegation rather than anything blocky or splotchy, which is great. The colorway, admittedly, doesn't have a Spring-time feel to it, the way Mommio's great green does. But we get enough fog and gray here in the city that I'm sure I'll it'll be perfect many days, especially since our summer months are often our chilliest.

The yarn is different than Rowan Kid Silk Haze, and I sort of wish I'd sprung for KSH last fall. I remember that day though that I decided to go with the Kid Merino partly because I was drawn to the color - and I thought they were really similar yarns - and I was buying several other things. At first touch they are. But, the CP is not a Mohair/Silk blend. It's a blend of Mohair, Merino, and Nylon. I haven't seen the KSH up close since starting this to get a sense of how different that makes the yarn in appearance and feel. But, it's okay. This is going to come out nicely. I'm hoping not to need a third ball (although if I do, I hope they still have the colorway), but I'm not sure how to gauge how far to go before I start the edging to ensure I don't run out. (I saw Mommio is considering only using 2, as well, and that's good for me because she'll finish before me, and I'll use her wisdom and hindsight as a guide!).

A Start to Kiri

(Somehow this didn't publish when it should have. I'd stacked up a few, and it didn't go. Oops! So, I did start, Mommio!)

February 12, 2006 3:31 Beachside

Well, I went home yesterday, excited by my new plan to start a Scottish-inspired Kiri. I didn’t get “right to it” though. Today was our (now) 5-year-old’s birthday, and there was still much to be done. As bedtime (for the boys) rolled near, I made a quick attempt to find my pattern, but I didn’t turn it up in any of the stacks I checked. (You have to realize, there are stacks and stacks of papers, printouts, clippings, artwork, writing, puzzles, and more tucked into every bookcase, every crevice, every corner, and on every shelf.) So, I ended up re-printing. Luckily, as I reprinted (from my download from last year), I added in urls and uploaded my blog entry from yesterday. In doing so, I noticed that the Kiri pattern was updated in January (a problem with the edging was corrected). So, it was fortunate, I guess, that I didn’t easily find my pattern and get started. This way, I ended up getting the correct version, and that’s what I sat down with a few hours later.

I went ahead and worked on my sock for a while first, feeling proud of myself for sticking with it despite the excitement of starting something new. I didn’t finish, however. I have maybe 10 more rows of the toe decreases to do. But, I put it aside thinking that while the little one slept, I should get Kiri cast on – especially since I don’t think I’m the “best” provisional caster-onner in the world. I’m sure there’s some trick to it I’ve missed. It does work, I’ll admit, but it never works the “same” for me – it’s not repeatable. Last night, for some reason, I couldn’t get the chain “unzipped” when it was time to remove the waste yarn and knit in the other side of the chain. I had to one by one undo the stitches for some reason. Eventually, I got the requisite number of stitches, and I’m off. I did several rows of the first chart just to get started and get a feel for the yarn and the pattern. I felt like I was knitting really, really slowly. I’m not sure if that was something about working with the yarn, or if it was just the time of day. I’m looking forward to finishing up the sock tonight and getting through the first chart.

(Oh, and I should say, I'm not assuming I'll finish this before the end of the Olympics. Again, I'm not an official athlete here. Instead, I've started the project, and I'll be knitting on it while I watch. But I'm not going to feel crazy or pressured! It'll still, someday, feel sentimental [and tied to history] to have worked on it during a major international event.)

Giving In...

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kid merino

February 11, 2:34 PST, Beachside

I’m sitting here in the car beachside. Truth is, I’ve been here every day for the last several weeks. The only way I’ve discovered to get the little one to sleep without nursing is to drive him around, so we’ve settled into a routine during the day. Four days a week, we drop his brother off at preschool, and the little one gets to play for a while. Then, I coax him out with promises of found treasure (dried leaves on the sidewalk) on the way to the car (alternately, I carry him out screaming because he’d much rather stay at school), and we settle into the car for the afternoon. Some days, we stop in at Starbucks for a (decaf, non-fat) vanilla latte and a scone. Lemon, pumpkin, vanilla even maple oat… he’s actually grown very fond of scones and always wants a “bite” and then “more bite” and then “more.” I hear it all the way to the beach – or until he finally succumbs to sleep, uneaten bite of scone in hand. The last week, it’s been so unbelievably warm and beautiful here that we’ve bypassed the coffee stop, heading straight to the beach, giant bottle of Propel in tow. (He loves Propel, too, so we share that on non-coffee days.)

Then he snoozes for an hour or so peacefully in the car, and I work. I’m actually really self-directed, focused, and disciplined. It made me perfect when I worked full time from home as a writer and freelance developer. I’m not one prone to “playing” when I should be working. Unfortunately, that mentality has hung around during these years where I’ve been mostly a stay-at-home mom. I still find it hard to “play” during the day. When I have free time (nanoseconds here and there), I still “work” even though the “work” isn’t necessarily paying. It makes for a bit of craziness in my head. Probably, if I could just let myself relax and knit or do something trivial during those moments of freedom, I’d be a more peaceful person, but my brain is always “on.”

Except on weekends. On weekends, I tend to leave my computer in the backpack and pull out some knitting or a book and take advantage of the hour or so at the beach.

When we first started this nap routine, and yes, I know it’s sad that we have to resort to this, but weaning is not going well at all, and this works… At any rate, when we first started, I found myself constantly frustrated with the laptop I’m using (remember, my prized and coveted LifeBook suffered a bad fall last year that I’ll never recover from). It would die in less than an hour regardless of how much life it claimed to have, and that “hour” seemed to get progressively shorter. So frustrating. I ranted. I raved. And then one day, I ranted for the millionth time that I really needed to get some kind of car charger for it. “You can get one at Best Buy or Radio Shack or somewhere,” M said, as if I’d never complained before about the sucky laptop battery. I had assumed I’d have to special order such a charger. It never occurred to me it’d be so EASY to solve my problem.

A stop at Best Buy later, and I was all set.

When I was working full time in high tech, I spent the majority of my writing energies covering the mobile market. I wrote about “nomadic” computing and developing technologies targeting people who really were working on the go. I wasn’t one of those people. Today, to some extent, I am. I have to laugh at myself. I sit here beachside, glancing up every now and again to watch the waves crashing in, see the barge on the horizon, watch the parasailers (is that what you call the ones who use a surfboard attached to a parachute-like thing?), and marvel at the constantly moving, twirling, whirling mesmerizing ribbon kites, and then I’m back to work again. I’ve got my laptop plugged into one cigarette outlet and my iPod in the other. I’m all set.

It’s wonderful. I feel like I’m “sitting” a lot, but I have to admit it’s wonderful. I mentioned our daily beach trips to a friend recently. She took one look at me, smiled, and said, “You have a beautiful office.”

It’s a perspective I love, and I’ve really latched onto it.

So, here I sit. Today, I grabbed a Tulley’s latte (not nearly as good as my normal Starbuck’s; disappointing), and I’m listening to Cast-On #10 #11. I’ve been listening to these for a few weeks. I think I missed bits and pieces of them on days when I’ve been really deep in concentration working on a new puzzle-oriented publication I’m getting ready to launch (if you have kids aged 4-10 and would like to be added to a mailing list for more information, email me), so I want to listen to them again at some point, but I’m really hooked. Brenda Dane has a wonderful podcast voice. That’s I think the real magic of what she’s doing. You can listen to her. She’s soothing. Compelling. Suave. Mellow.

Overall, the show is great, and I’m sure many of you have been listening. Here are a few thoughts… I’ve never been an NPR listener, but I have the feeling this is like NPR for knitters, and it’s simply great fun. It’s great to knit and be able to listen to someone talking “about” knitting in between the musical bits. I love, love, love, the musical intro to the “Today’s Sweater” segment. It’s just great. I love that segment, too. The pod-safe music tends to be really good/interesting. I was surprised one day to hear her on the one hand urge listeners to try out some of the many other knit/craft-related podcasts while at the same time sort of publically ridicule one of the podcasters (suggesting she sit back from the mic a bit to avoid bad “p” noise). It just seemed she could have sent that feedback privately rather than on air. The comment seemed b*tchy and felt too competitive. The essay on “Pulling a Geographic” (episode 6) is one I really want to listen to again. I know I only caught parts of it, but it really hit me hard and pulled at my heartstrings. It was so raw. So poignant. So brave to put it out there. So powerful. If you haven’t listened to it, do so. I loved the guest essay about knitters taking over the world. When it started, I was skeptical, but by the end, I was marveling at the writer’s wit and political savvy. It was great. I love the “If you’re cold, put on a sweater; that’s what they are for” tagline. But, okay, the one thing that drives me most crazy and makes me feel conflicted about Cast-On despite my compulsion to listen to it, is that Brenda isn’t a blog-reader. Shouldn’t she be?

Today, she mentioned that her Kiri shawl (already started) is her project for the Knitting Olympics. I had to laugh to myself. Mommio is knitting Kiri, too, and I had been thinking just today while I sat here in the car knitting a few rows on my second Jaywalker (working to finish them up by 2/14 for the knitalong deadline), that I should just throw it all to the wind and start Kiri (although, darnit, I hate to feel like a Mommio-shadow! Mommio knits SO much and so beautifully and often knits things I’m considering making “someday.”). I bought Crystal Palace Kid Merino yarn last fall when Mom was here with Kiri in mind. I was using a gift certificate, and I saw the yarn – which is comparable to the Kid Silk Haze - and thought of Kiri. I wasn’t sure offhand how much yarn I needed though, so I only bought two skeins. Turns out the pattern uses three. I’m not sure that I won’t need more, and that’s partly why I’m tempted to start it, even though otherwise I would NOT start a new shawl until I finish my Shoalwater. But, part of me says that if I go ahead and work on it now, then if I don’t have enough, I stand a good chance of being able to pick up another skein. If I wait too long, I might have trouble finding more of this colorway. And, the colorway is perfect for the Knitting Olympics because it feels very Scottish/Irish to me (and that’s something that has real resonance to me). It’s a soft green and rose blend that calls to mind tartan plaids. It may not have that feeling at all when it’s worked up, but every time I look at it, that’s what I think about, and I know that’s why I bought it. So, while I’d been really clear that I was NOT going to participate in the Knitting Olympics, I think I’m typing myself into them here. I wasn’t going to participate – even though I was going to loudly cheer many of you on! – simply because the reality is I don’t have time to set a crazy goal for myself that I know I can’t meet. There’s just too much going on here and probably won’t be nearly as much knitting time as I’d like. So, I was going to let the Olympics go on around me and just be a spectator. I’d even decided that instead of joining and starting something new, I’d instead make it my Olympics goal to “finish” a specific project I have on the needles and that is on the top of my list to finish sooner rather than later this year.

Last night, as we watched opening ceremonies (and scratched our heads at the really odd music selection, feeling someone had bought one of those 3-CD collections of disco from a late-night infomercial, and yes, we’d been talking about it when Bob Costas made a similar comment, making us really crack up at YMCA came on – of course, it was nice that “Freedom” was playing when the USA team made their entrance), I worked diligently on my Jaywalker. I’m very close to finished, and I was feeling proud of myself for working on that while we watched, and while I helped Matthew work on yet another LEGO “pod” creation next to me on the couch. (Pods rock. We have all 13 that have come out so far, and they are great fun.) Okay, so if I go home and am able to lay my hands on the Kiri pattern (I know I can print it out, but darn it, I think I’ve printed it twice – yes, “organize” the office and the slew of things I print/clip/stash to save was on my resolutions list for the year), then I’m going to cast on tonight. So, I won’t be formally participating… a) I didn’t sign up b) I didn’t cast on last night when the torch was lit.

But, in my heart, I may be in the fray. Hope you don’t mind, Mommio!

(I’m listening to Cast-On #9 now because in #10 #11 she referenced some “issue” surrounding a comment about Stitch N Bitch in her essay in #9, and I know that I must have missed it. I recognize everything I’m hearing so far, so I’m thinking maybe I had to stop listening to that episode before it was over. At any rate, right now she’s talking about the Knitting Olympics as a form of knitting solidarity. And in #10 #11, she referenced the number of knitters on Team Wales (LOVE the dragon flag image; actually, we HAVE that Wales flag) being somewhere more than 150, I think. Cool. I’m sort of jealous of her pulling a geographic and moving to Wales!)


(*Update: Ahaha, I figured it out. I was listening to #11 today. Somehow I don’t have #10 on my iPod yet. So I missed that one. Hence my confusion over the comment I didn’t hear! Relistening to #9, however, gave me a good opportunity to again here the featured song by DaVinci’s Notebook - Enormous P**** - Can’t type it here or I’ll be even more inundated with blog spam! At any rate, I have, have, have to find a way to get the MP3 of that so I can send it to my brother!)

A Rippling Shoalwater

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shawl
My first gift of Christmas was the Shoalwater Shawl pattern from FiberTrends and four skeins of KnitPicks Gossamer lace weight yarn - all presented in a wonderful clear tote with pink trim. I have a total weakness for bags. Big bags, little bags, zipper bags. I love them all. Not purses, but bags to put "stuff" in. I don't know if it's genetic from my mom or environmental from watching my mom's similar obsession with bags, but I was thrilled to see the clear bag. She's had a set of clear bags for a while (with black trim). That she found me and M bags with pink and lime trim is just awesome. (Later, we got coordinating clear small bags for notions in our stockings.)

Back to the shawl... It's a pattern I've liked for a long time. It's always shown in a wonderful variegated blue (which looks to be a heavier weight - and the pattern is written for four yarn weights). Every time I see that photo, it makes me think of Maine and the ocean (in Maine; yes, I live in SF and go sit by the ocean a few times a week, but the ocean in Maine has a differenent resonance for me). I got started on the shawl right away. I admit I had to cast on a few times to get it picked up properly, but once started, the pattern has been a breeze. It is a bit daunting that in the lace weight I'm going to end up with 400+ stitches in each row. But, that reality is balanced by the fact that three out of every four rows are basically just knit. All of the lace patterning happens in the first of the four rows (with the exception of four yarnovers on the other right side row of the four). Pretty straightforward, and the large repeat in the lace is easily memorizable. Not that I don't have to still look on every fourth row to see what to do with all the stitches before and after the lace panel. I do. But still, in my experience of lace, this is a really straightforward pattern. I love how the yarn is looking. The colors are playing out nicely, and even though you can't see it all stretched out in the photo here, you still get a sense of the rippling starting to happen. Love, love, love it! The colors are so beautiful and rich. I can't wait to see how this turns out. It's actually my first project with lace weight yarn, too, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it feels and how weighty it is (or isn't). (I did try and start something last year in lace weight Shimmer, but once I ripped it out, I never cast on anything else.)

Thanks, Mom!

(I have more to thank her for, too, but I'll report on that later.)

59 Days!??!

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How did this happen? One day I was feeling smug that I was ahead of my knitting for the holidays, and then all of a sudden, there are only 2 months until Christmas, and I've got nothing finished and not even everything started. Yikes.

But it's not even Halloween. And yet, that's really the problem. I start thinking about Christmas way ahead, but a small voice keeps saying, "it's not even Halloween." It seems somehow wrong to do "too" much Christmas stuff "before" Halloween. Then, without warning, Halloween is here, with the Holiday season rushing in behind it.

I've actually got things to show and things that are finished and things that are in the works. Clearly, I'm very behind in my blogging. I hate that, but things have been busy. With the little one, and the bigger little one, and the start of the flurry of the "great Kindergarten search" for next year, and my mom coming out for a visit, time to blog has been scant. Slowly, I'll catch up here (and reading your blogs). For today, I'll just show two pictures of the Flower Basket Shawl. I finished it a while back, but as has become typical of 2005 for me, there's been a long lag in getting a photo up on the site!

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Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl, Interweave Knits Fall 2004
Author: Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Golden Siam from Artfibers in San Francisco

In Sock Yarn, No Less

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Wow. I just saw the Yarn Harlot's photos of this lace shawl by Sivia Harding. Isn't it beautiful! And it uses just one 100 gram skein of sock yarn. Can you believe it? I bet it would be a great Koigu pattern, too.

I'm still trying to find something perfect for the two skeins of lace weight Shimmer I have (after finally frogging the Rosebuds and Climbing Roses).

A few scarves have caught my attention lately, too.

First the Kureyon Mistake Rib scarf. It's a pattern that's in Last Minute Gifts, but there's also a free version online, Childs Rainbow Striped Scarf. You can see photos here, and here, and here.

Isn't it pretty? I've got some random Kureyon. I've always thought it a bit scratchy feeling, so I've never used it. I even gave some of what I'd bought away. I have a bit left, but I'm not sure I have coordinating colors. I'm thinking I might try one color of it offset by some chenille (solid) from my stash. Wouldn't be quite the same effect, but could be cool. Or, maybe I'll mix the two colorways I have and just see what happens! In poking around, I've been amazed by the way Kureyon works up in terms of color, so I'm itching to give it a try.

Here's another cool Kureyon scarf from SavannahChic.

This scarf caught my eye, too, so much so that I've put in a reserve for Shadow Knitting at the library so I can take a closer look. (I ran into some additional information here.)

Looking around just now, I spotted the Short Row Rib scarf here. (Reminds me of the Multidirectional Scarf. I haven't made one, but my mom made me an awesome one.)

Ribby Progress and Holiday Thoughts

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Theres not a whole lot to report on this end. Im feeling like I have a lot on the needles, and a number of projects lined up just waiting to get started. I did finish the right front of my Ribby Cardi over the weekend. I was feeling really proud about my progress until I realized that Im actually only halfway done (Ive finished the fronts and one sleeve). Then it felt like there was so much more to do. A classic glass half empty scenario! But, on my to do list over the weekend, I had slated finish the front and then work 10 rows on my Clapotis and 10 rows on my sock. Yes, I have a Clapotis on the needles that I havent fessed up to. I started another one while my mom was here. Im using a Rayon Chenille I bought years ago on Ebay from Barbara Lundy Stone (Ive checked, and she doesnt seem to be selling there anymore). Its a beautiful ball of yarn. Originally, I thought it would be cool to have a silky rayon Clapotis. It's been a long time since I bought it, and I didnt recognize that it was a chenille until I started working with it. I thought it was a silky rayon, but it's clear that it's a chenille when you're using it. Im a little concerned that the stitches wont drop well in chenille, but I am not far enough along to tell yet. Its a thin yarn, so Im working it on a size 5 needle. Im hoping it ends up more scarf-like than my first one did. I am toying with making it smaller than the pattern calls for (doing less of section 2), but I cant decide for sure. So, I did my 10 rows (maybe a few more) on it, and then I cast on for the back of my Ribby Cardi. (Sorry, the socks didnt get their 10 rows! Trust me, thats not the only thing on my list I didnt do.)

I am narrowing in on a few of the items for my holiday knitting. I think I know one thing for sure I want to make for my mom. I went ahead and ordered some yarn that Ill need for it. If the colors are all I hope they will be, Ill probably get started on it sooner rather than later. Its a project Id like for myself, too, but I think it will be perfect for her, so Im hoping it turns out well.

I had a couple of ideas of things to make for M., but her style has changed a lot over the last year, so I was trying to feel her out a bit recently and see what direction I should take. She knows Im making something. She, Mom, and I added an extra set of gifts to our holiday exchange last year (so that wed have some extras to parcel out in the pre-Christmas days), and the rule was that at least one of them had to be made. (This year, Ive altered that to be that one has to either be made or be to make since last year there was a bit of struggling on, ahem, Moms part, with the handmade rule. Besides, we all love to get stuff to do!)

At any rate, I was contemplating a few ideas for M., mostly in the scarf genre, and yes, a Harry Potter scarf was in the running since shes talked many times in the past about wanting one. I also was considering finishing her Clapotis. She started one in a wonderful cream silk and merino, but shes only done like 10 rows (and had to redo those more than once) and just isnt really into making it herself. But when I asked what she might like me to make, her response was, Id love it if you wanted to make me that cable sweater from the front of that British magazine.

And she was serious.

Its taken me at least two weeks to report that here on my blog because it took a while for me to pick up my jaw. I could see asking for a particular scarf, or a particular sock, or a hat, or even a felted bag, iPod cover, handwarmers, or something else accessory-like, even a shawl or wrap or stole. But a full sweater. A full cabled sweater. Yikes.

And, it bears noting that there is no precedent for the request. I've never made her a sweater before.

My own Must Have is still on my needles. My Ribby Cardi is in progress. I dont have a closet full of finished sweaters of my own.

But, I am considering it. Ive looked over the pattern, and because it uses a bulky yarn and relatively big needles, it could be a fairly quick knit despite the cables. We have the yarn, too. Its Rowan Chunky in a beautiful pink from her stash. Its one of the first yarns she ever bought, I think, from a wonderful man at a store that used to be in Union Square but that I think isnt there any longer. We think we have enough of the yarn. So, as a project, it seems doable even though Im worried its a big undertaking for a gift. Ive been sort of itching to swatch the yarn and give it a go or at least decide for sure if its a project I want (or am willing!) to commit to. But, Im trying to be good. I feel strongly that I need to finish my Ribby Cardi and maybe even my Must Have before I get something else big started. (Other than lace. I'm for sure ready to start something new, but I haven't honed in on what yet.) Besides, it is quickly approaching time to wear those sweaters. Heck, I had on a sweater and coat today, and Matthew wore a knit hat to school. Sorry to those of you enduring heat!

My biggest concern about it and the Ribby Cardi is the process of putting in the zipper. Ive never done that before. I am a little afraid of the process. From what Ive read, it works best to do it by hand, and Im having trouble believing I can get a zipper in by hand that will be really secure.

Many Faces Of...

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Not a lot of time for the real entry I'd like to write. I just printed what must be the zillionth copy of the auction brochure for next week's auction, and it's still not done.

I will say, quickly, that...

  • I'm not sure I'll be able to get My Charlotte done in time. The reality depresses me. It's just one little project. Why can't I find enough hours in the day to finish it? I just started the section that uses colors 3 and 4.

  • The other day, I joked about starting a sock for myself from Knitting on the Road and taking a break from the bee-stripe. Along those lines, I asked M. to measure my gauge on the bees since she had a t. measure at hand. She checked it, told me, and then asked, "is that what it's supposed to be?" "Doesn't matter," I replied. "I'm going to start something else and needed to know what my gauge was in that yarn." You should have seen the look on her face. Stricken. Just stricken at the thought that her poor sock would likely never have a mate if I started another pair. She's probably right. I sat and diligently did a few rows on the second bee-stripe the other night.

  • Got a real kick out of the "Many faces of Clapotis"!

Craziness

Craziness is happing all around me. Or, more accurately, I'm in the eye of a tornado of craziness. I watch it spinning around me with zillions of things to do swirling in the air. But, things should calm down soon.

Tomorrow Matthew turns 4. So we have a super (but small) "Knights" party planned replete with Knight's Kingdom Bingo (which I designed), pin the shield on the knight, a shield-making project (foam and foamcore), and so on. Should be fun, and I'll share some photos next week.

I also have a number of auction photos to show off.

But, for now, I wanted to take a second and show off Clapotis. It blocked easily - which was good since I had a fairly rough time blocking my first Charlotte's Web. It's amazing how big it got, and how "lacy" it feels now that it's done. The fabric just totally changed in the blocking process. I liked it before. I like it now. It's just different now!

Actually, it came out a good bit larger than the pattern calls for. My end measurements were 28" x 69". So, it really did end up being a shawl/wrap rather than a scarf, but that was perfect - especially for an auction item.

Here are some photos.

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I would totally make Clapotis again. It was a fun (if long in the middle) knit, and the end result is totally worth it. Even Megan wants one - which is saying a lot!

I do want to do mine out of something more along the lines of Lion and Lamb rather than 100% wool (which I used here from stash). I'm not rushing to start one right away though. But it's in my 2005 project list. If the months slip away, maybe one for Megan for next holiday season.

(For more Clapotis fun, check out the Yarn Harlot as she attempted to resist the pattern's seductive call (she has since succumbed). Many great links to other wonderful Clapotis artifacts here. And, I'm relieved to see that I'm definitely not the only one who had trouble/fun with the name!)

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