Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Yarn Has Spoken

yarn 002

This is one skein of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in color #24. It is a deep barn red.

I'm a big fan of wool and silk mixes (hence my love for Zephyr.) That's what drew me to this yarn at the Shabby Sheep in Dallas TX. What I don't know is why the heck I only bought one skein. It's 185 yards, what can you do with 185 yards of fingering weight yarn?

The yarn has spoken many months later and it wants to be fingerless mittens.

I may have to make them a tad shorter, but that's OK. The friend I want to make them for is petite so it should work out perfectly. One of the SOWs (Sisters of the Wool - my knitting group) made a pair with medium weight Socks that Rock yarn and they are fabulous. She made her's really long because she could. I'm going to have to wing it.

I know Susan cast on 60 for her sock weight yarn. I will probably go 60 as well since this yarn is fingering weight.

In the meantime, my sister's Christmas gift is progressing. I'm 3/4 of the way there. But that intarsia is for the birds.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

19 FO's - Wow!

I decided to count up the projects I've finished this year and came up with 19 finished objects. I had no idea. I'm glad I started blogging because I might have forgotten some of them. The size of the projects range from a hat to a full on lace shawl that took six months to create.

  1. Peacock Shawl - it took six months to create
  2. Swallowtail shawl - it took 2 months to create
  3. Robyn’s felted clogs
  4. John’s felted clogs
  5. Felted cat bed
  6. Tabitha’s baby kimono - Mason-Dixon Knitting
  7. Nate’s baby kimono - Mason-Dixon Knitting
  8. Ballband Warshrag - Mason-Dixon Knitting
  9. Juana’s felted clogs
  10. Josey’s felted clogs
  11. Denim hat
  12. Pink cotton candy hat
  13. Yellow hat
  14. Yellow variegated hat
  15. 2nd yellow variegated hat
  16. cream hat
  17. Knitty Branching out - my first lace project
  18. Autumn Flashes socks
  19. green sweater

Without a doubt, the Peacock shawl is my crowning achievement. As a general rule, close enough is good enough for me. I'm like my Aunt Peggy in that way. But when it came to the Peacock shawl and the Swallowtail shawl, if it wasn't right, I frogged it. I'm sure there are mistakes, but I did not leave them behind intentionally.

Now the clogs on the other hand, if I was a stitch off, well, it will come out in the wash.

2007 is going to be "The Year of the Socks" or maybe it will be "The Year of the Stash". Flashing back over my blog, I realize I have a lot of sock yarn stash (at least 4 pairs). If I don't buy any yarn for 6 months, I have plenty of projects to work on, but that's another blog entry.

I currently have one project on the needles. That means I will finish the year with at least 20 finished objects - wahoo.

I need to start a pair of socks and leave them in the car. Yesterday I had a flat tire, fortunately I was in the Wal-mart parking lot, but I was done shopping when I realized it so I just sat and waited and waited and waited. I could have been a ways along if only I'd had a pair of socks with me. Note to self, even if they were on double points (I'm a magic loop convert) it would have beat the heck out of sitting there.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Swallowtail Shawl is Finished!

swallowtail shawl finished

And I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I blocked it this morning and I just cannot say enough about how much blocking changes the look of lace. I wish I had taken a picture before blocking.

I decided to substitute beads for nupps (I hate the nupps) and I'm really happy with the results. It may not look exactly like the lily of valley, but the beads glisten.

swallowtail shawl close-up

Earlier I had mentioned I might have liked it better if the beads were matte, but now I'm glad they aren't. Since I was going nuppless, I'm glad I went all the way the opposite direction.

swallow tail shawl outside

I just like this picture so I'm adding it.

I used Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in Sunlight. It took less then one skein. In fact, I have 10 grams leftover, so it wasn't even close. I didn't add any extra repeats and it finished at 50" wide by 25" long.

I like the size, it's not too big. It's about the size of a large scarf. Fairly easy to wear and it does keep my shoulders warm. I plan to wear it to our Christmas party.

I have nothing on the needles at this very minute although I have plenty to knit. So I'll be casting on a new project tonight and maybe another tomorrow for some variety.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Brown Felted Bag

It's Saturday morning, too early to tackle any knitting, but I feel like doing something - so I'll blog. Since I don't have anything new with my current stuff, I went into the archives and found pictures of my brown felted bag. This was my first felted project and my first project knitted in the round - the date on the pictures is 4/23/2005.

felted brown purse 007 low res

There are things I really like about the bag and a few things I learned. The kitty gives perspective of the size in the picture above. Jaspers is a pretty big cat and this is a deep bag. Unfortunately since it happened so long ago, I don't remember how much yarn I used. But I know it's cascade 220. And I still today love the mottled color of brown.

felted brown purse 002 low res

The furry stuff I bought at Hobby Lobby or Michael's. It not only has the fur, but various brown and tan nubbies. I guess because of the location on the bag, and the felting power of the Cascade, there are no problems with the furry area not felting.

felted brown purse 008 low res

And man is that thing thick. The wall of the bag measures somewhere between 3/8" and 1/2" thick. Now, the strap is probably the one thing I don't like. Over the last year and a half it's gone from 36" long to - oh - 48" -50". It's a garter stitch strap that stretches like crazy. There's been talk of adding a leather strap that goes under the bottom of the bag and comes up the sides to give the bottom some stability and to alleviate the stretchy strap syndrome. I think if I was going to carry it as a purse I would do that. As a project bag, it's OK as it is.

Wow, the flashback was kind of fun, I've come a long way baby.

My knitting friends will remember that as a new knitter (who didn't really have any knitting friends when I started) I didn't know about winding skeins of yarn with a ballwinder (and store owner didn't offer). I was knitting this bag from the middle and the end of an unwound skein and it was the biggest mess you have every seen. I survived, though, and am now a better knitter for it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What Does This Want to Be?

robyn's clogs 005

OK, that's a trick question, because I already have plans for this motley collection of yarn. And I'm not stressed about how things will turn out because I know the recipient of this gift is adventuresome when it comes to trying new things. Regardless of the end result, she will appreciate the effort. But I have a feeling it's going to turn out great.

The swallowtail is still hovering. I did a row last night only to discover I'd dropped a stitch (I've never done that and not caught it at that moment. Not because I'm a great knitter, but because I'm petrified of this happening.) and now I have to figure out how to fix it. I have days when I'm in the mood for that kind of heavy lifting and then there are days when I have to just put it down. Last night I just put it down.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Robyn's Clogs Finished

Yup, I got'em done. Finished them up watching the Cowboy game on Sunday. It was very, very close (the knitting not the game) on some colors and on one I didn't make it.

arobyn's clogs 044

I was casting off the cuff of the second clog using dark pink and less than half way around (note the number of stitches left on the needle) I realized I wasn't going to make it. So I finished with the light pink. I figure with the felting it will all come out in the wash.

robyn's clogs 011

Since I didn't have any of the dark pink left, when I knitted the bottom sole on I had to use the light pink so there is a rim of light pink. I'm going to call it decorative edging. On the upside, I'd left enough from my long tail cast-on of the dark pink to sew up the center of the sole without getting decorative.

The bottom sole is solid dark pink. Because I only had one skein of the dark pink, I mixed pinks for the inside soles. You can see that in the picture below. It's light and medium pink for the first 5 rows and medium and dark pink for the last 2 rows. I'm really curious to see how that turns out.

arobyn's clogs 046

You can also see in this picture the unfelted medium women's clog is 16" long. And 9" across.

arobyn's clogs 048

I really like the colors. Very girly. And what girl doesn't want to feel girly?

I finally found my clogs. It got cold enough I had to dig through a couple of boxes. I found them in the oddest place, but found them just the same. When the boys came home from hunting last weekend, I greeted them wearing my fuzzy clogs. DS#2 said, "Did you make those shoes?" And I proudly answered, "Yes, I did." He's thirteen in 2 days so when I say he gave me that look you'll know what I mean. I bet if I made him a pair he would wear them though.

Not this year. I have one more pair. And they are going to be the funnest of all.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Robyn's Clogs

I'm still working on the swallowtail shawl and making great progress, but I feel a little guilty about not working on birthday and Christmas projects. So I worked on my SIL's birthday clogs last night.

robyn's clogs 005

This is the yarn I have set a side. The light and medium pink are Cascade 220. The dark pink is Patons Merino. The cream is Knitpicks dye-your-own.

I like the dark pink for the soles, but I only have one skein of 220 yards. According to the instructions it should take 400 yarns. So I thought I would kool-dye a skein of the knitpicks to use on the innersole.

robyn's clogs 015

Unfortunately the kool-aid pink is more salmon and not as cool a pink as the pinks I already have. On one hand, I plan to mix the dyed yarn with either the dark pink or the medium pink so it might look fine once it's felted and it's going on the inside sole. On the other hand, once it's felted there's no taking it back.

I'm not sure what I'll do now. I have enough of the light pink to mix on the inside. I could save the salmon for another project. I like out it turned out, just not for this project.

I'm actually very interested to see how the kool-aid dyed yarn looks when it's knit up and when it's felted.

robyn's clogs 009

Here's picture of my hand after the dyeing process. It still looks like that today. Looks like I need to buy some gloves.

robyn's clogs 010

Here's the hand-dyed skein hanging to dry. Again, I like it, just not for this particular project.

A quick review on the Paton's yarn. It felts wonderfully. I did test swatch of the Cascade and the Paton's together and the Paton's turned out much nicer than the Cascade.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Now I'm Cooking with Gas

swallowtail 003a

It's really hard to see. I've taken several, several pictures and it just isn't coming through, but for what it's worth here it is. This is the swallowtail shawl from the Fall Interweave Knits. I spent a couple of weeks messing with the nupps. I hate the nupps. I was not enjoying knitting the shawl so it sat a lot. Finally I decided I had to frog back to the beginning of the nupp section and start over. Thank goodness for lifelines. There are five in the picture above, overkill to some, but I knit lace with no trepidation.

I really wasn't looking forward to frogging because it had taken me so long to get to the point where I was. Little did I know it was the nupps. When I frogged, I was on row 9 of lily of the valley chart one. That was Saturday evening, as of last night (Wednesday) I was on row eleven of chart two lily of the valley and not looking back. I'm cooking with gas baby.

I'm using clear beads for the nupps and I like it just fine. I kind of wish the beads were matte rather than shiny, but I'm knitting from stash so it's OK.

As some of my knit group members were finishing their first swallowtail they were talking about knitting another, and I've read of several people online wanting to do a second. When I was working on the nupps I couldn't image wanting to do another, but now I have to agree. The shawl really goes pretty fast and I would consider another. I think it would make a great gift.

Several people in my knitting group have done the swallowtail using a heavier yarn. For example Jeri used Knitpicks Gloss which is 70% merino and 30% silk. Their website lists it as a fingering weight. More details of how much yarn she used and how she adjusted the pattern are available on her blog. See Sept. 30th for yarn details and October 5th for a picture of the beautiful, blocked shawl. She wears it to knit night and it looks fabulous. If I do another, I would consider using this yarn as well.

Angela knit hers using 3 skeins of silky wool. She also added extra repeats to the pattern. She doesn't have a blog so there are no pictures. But it is beautiful.

That's all for now. Let lacevember begin.