FO: Christmas Lace Triangle Shawl

 

Nothing like a shock of red on a snowy morning

This project was started out of my finger’s need to make lace. After making so many mittens and hats during the fall, I wanted to make something beautiful and a bit frivolous.  I actually used the suggested yarn for this project, but I still went up a needle size due to my overwhelmingly tight knitting.

 

I love the flower motif in the center

 

One person's shawl is another bear's blanket

 

Details

Project Name: Christmas Lace Triangle Shawl

Pattern: Chalice Triangle Shawl by Mary White, part of the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program

Recipient: Not sure, I will probably wear it, but it may end up in “The Box”

Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Lace (70% merino, 30% silk) in Fiesta

Modifications:

  • None – I thought about making it larger than the pattern suggests, however I decided it was time to move on.

New Skills:

  • Crochet bind off – I had avoided using it on my Haruni shawl, however having a full set of Boye Crochet Hooks make the process far more enjoyable and had a nice effect.
  • Circular shawl making – Not so much a skill as a new “thing”.  I quite like the lack of purling.

Feedback: It was nice to get back to lace work (my first lace shawl since summer), I really quite enjoy making them, however I have yet to figure out how to wear a lace shawl.  Also, I found the charts somewhat less than intuitive and the decision to use (sl 1 k1 psso) rather than a (ssk) somewhat annoying.  If I were to remake it, I would probably use a ssk instead, mostly because I like it more.

Re-Knit?:  Probably not, however, I might use some of the construction techniques to make something of my own design.

Up close you can see how the silk makes the yarn really shiny.

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On Frogging and Moving Forward

As a knitter I spend far too much time trying to match up the right yarn with the right pattern.  After investing so much time in picking the yarn, picking the pattern and then knitting it is tough to admit you made the wrong choice.

I had been working on my Stardust Mitts for months, starting way back in November I had picked out the Ailbe Pattern from the Winter 2009 Knitty (which is the same issue my Winter Moustache Cowl had come from).  I love this pattern, the delicate cabling, the use of sock yarn, it seemed just perfect.  I chose to use the absolutely stunning Handmaiden Bess in Stardust for the project.  I swatched, and I counted, and I cast on with size 1 (2.25mm) needles, ready to go.

The Cuff

Then things got challenging.  The tiny needles, combined with the frequent cabling made this project feel more and more like a dead weight around my neck.  I dropped them for a while over Christmas, more enamored by my spinning wheel and a lace project to be bothered by these mittens. Finally, as part of my New Years Plans I decided to take them back up.  After almost two more weeks of fighting and knitting I made it past the thumb gusset only to discover that it was too big!  All that swatching it was too big.

So I spent two or three days deciding what I wanted to do, do I tear back to the cuff (which fit great and rejigger the number of stitches to make a smaller palm, or do I forge on and convince myself that they aren’t too big or do I frog them completely and find a new project for the yarn and remake the mitts in the summer with Mal Sock (as the pattern calls for) in the correct size.

In the end I decided to frog.

The Last Look

For those of you who are not fully intergrated in to the ridiculous lingo of knitting, frogging is to tear back a section of knitting. Or rather to ripit, ribbit, out.  I generally don’t frog, I rarely use lifelines, and I am terrible at finding all my stitches, I am much more likely to tink (knit spelled backwards) which is to un-knit each stitch until I am back where the error was made.  I can correct the error and move forward again.  Tinking is best if you only have a little ways to go, but if you are like me and don’t use lifelines (I never remember to put the damn things in) it is the “easiest” way to fix a mistake. I am so adept at tinking at this point I can tink almost as fast as I can knit (well not really, but I am a great tinker).

So, with the decision made to frog, I decided rather than ending up with my usual tangeled mess, I would use my niddy-noddy and re-skein the ball and then frog directly on to the niddy-noddy. This system managed to get the mitten frogged and the yarn skeined the easiest yet.

So fare the well my stardust mitts, you were beautiful, but with your superwash merino and your 12% cashmere content you were never never truly destined for my hands, you need to be around my neck.  And to that end I have found you a new pattern, a Twisted Rib Neckwarmer (Ravelry Link).

I know things get better after frogging.  I had some gorgeous Malabrigo Lace in Vermillion, I wanted to make it into the fantastic Butternut Scarf by Anne Hanson. I adore Anne’s patterns and I am avid reader of her blog, Knitspot, however the pattern and the yarn never “clicked” for me.  After nearly six months of agony, I decided to fully frog the pattern and start over, it felt great!

RIP Cherrywood Scarf

So I got to change my Cherrywood Scarf into my Grannie-bel Shawl, the Ishbel Shawl designed by Ysolda Teague, who also has a fantastic blog.

Hello Grannie-bel

I gave it to my grandmother for Christmas. It was so nice to see something I had caused me so much angst (ie. the Cherrywood Scarf) could be remade into something so nice.

I can only hope that my Stardust Mittens will be as happy in their second life as the Cherrywood Scarf is in its.

FO: Winter Moustache

Rocking a bear-stache?

Details

Project Name: Winter Moustache

Pattern: Incognito by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark in Knitty, Winter 2009, the Mellow Version

Recipient: A good friend, who enjoys wearing a mustache

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Lemongrass (MC), Copper (CC1) and Black (CC2)

Modifications:

  • Knit at a tighter gauge to help resist the Toronto winds, and as a result cast on an additional 16 stitches to come up with a medium size.
  • Made the “top ” cuff extra long to fully cover the duplicate stitch area, to give extra warmth and make it smoother.

New Skills:

  • Duplicate Stitch: It was a bit challenging to wrangle at first, but I got the hang of the stitch by the end.  I would certainly use this technique again if called for.
  • Sewing in a lining: Fairly straight forward, I just sorta did it (rather than doing research) and I would most certainly use this technique again.

Feedback: It was a fun, easy knit for a friend who I know will love it. Like all Knitty patterns, the pattern is interesting and desirable.

Re-Knit?:  Only if there is call to replace this one or make another upon request.

The always dignified bear-stache

On 2011 and Looking Forward

Happy New Year!

Melted Neapolitan (2-ply, Fingering Weight, 214 yds, 108g)

For the first time in years I was actually awake at midnight, not because I am an old fart, but the pragmatist in me feels that the new year will come with, or without me.

But for 2011, I celebrated with family and friends, food and drink, Wii games and board games. Good times were had by all.

The only downer going into 2011, is that the snow is nearly all gone.  Despite my reticence to enjoy the snow, this is what comes from three years in Texas, I am somewhat miffed to see it wash away in two days of solid rain. However, that horrible ice dam outside my window will be all gone and have a chance to reform for the rest of the crazy long winter we have in Ontario.

However, as it is New Year’s Day, I thought I might decide if I have any goals for the year.  I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions, particularly of the dramatic or sweeping sort, mostly because big changes are hard to manage and I dislike the feeling when I start to let them slide, not enough to restart the good habit, but just enough to make me feel crappy.

For 2011, I will:

Personal Life-

  • Work on being “active and happy” as a means of improving my mental and physical health
  • Continue to be involved in my local community
  • Find joy in  fibery activities
  • Enjoy the natural surroundings of eastern Georgian Bay

Fibery –

  • Don’t buy as much yarn as last year
  • Spin regularly and improve my spinning techniques
  • Try out dyeing so that I can cut down the cost of spinning
  • Improve the techniques I learned this year, including stranded colorwork, lace and cables
  • Learn new techniques, like intarsia, double knitting, and others I have not thought of yet.
  • Try out crochet, I love the idea of being as bi (tri?) craftual as possible, or just become the Capt. Jack Harkness of crafting.
  • And, make a pair of mittens a month, like so many self-imposed sock of the month clubs.
    – I haven’t picked the patterns yet, but the first two pairs to finish will probably be my current WIPs (which include cabling for one, and colorwork/doubleknit for the other).
    -I think that half the mittens will come from the Woodlands Mitten Kit from Knit Picks.  Which includes six charts for mittens and enough Palette yarn to make them.
  • Document my fibery activities (knitting, spinning, felting, dyeing?, crochet?) with better pictures and blog posts.

The Last of the 2010 WIPs

Is that enough?  I have big plans, but I must say that the rain and grey day we are having is helping to ensure that I get some first of the year knitting done.

Happy New Year from Parry Sound