Prelude to the Holidays

Trees are for eating, yes?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sure you all know what’s going on — Gift Knitting. I can’t show you most of it, but I can show you my mother’s scarf. The one that she asked for, determined the color for, etc., so the one that she knows she’s getting.

Mom's Scarf

The pattern is the Red Herring Scarf (Rav link) at CogKnition, and the yarn is Cascade Lana D’oro, a super soft blend of wool and alpaca. I’ve used one skein already and it’s about 26″.

I can also share with you pictures of my Print o’ the Wave Stole, which is in hibernation until Gift Knitting has been finished.

Print o' the Wave stole

I’m really kind of sad about not being able to work on it anymore for the time being, because I’m almost half way done with the body, but it will be there waiting for me when I’m done with gift knitting.

Finally, I did some spinning!

Handspun

That’s Gherkin’s Bucket‘s Unfurling Cream Superwash merino roving. It’s about 65 yards, give or take, it ranges from heavy fingering to bulky weight, it’s lumpy and inconsistent and I kind of love it because it’s all mine.

What are you working on now?

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Winter and lace

Ahh, winter. While I am big fan of you (at least right now, given that this is my first “real” winter), I am not a fan of your insistence that the sun should go away at 4:30 PM. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely pro-sun. It has it’s purposes, but so does the night and the moon. However, the limited amount of time in which to photograph anything (knitting projects, packages of fiber, tutorials, etc.) is really starting to irk. I can only take photographs on the weekends, when I’m not running errands or cleaning, or during my lunch breaks at work. The second option is not favorable, as I like to take my time and get things set up and have a “homey” feel, which is difficult to do in an office workspace or a busy downtown street.

All of this is to say that I still don’t have a tutorial ready, I still don’t have photos of the shawl I’m working on, and I still don’t have photos of the lovely fiber I received as part of the I Love the 80s yarn and fiber club. Or the yarn that I was spinning over the weekend. Because I was running errands and then I got a much-needed cleaning bug and by the time I realized that I hadn’t taken any photos, it was 4:45 and practically dark. This is just a bit ridiculous.

Excuses out of the way, let’s talk about lace and lace knitting. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to be talking about lace–open, airy, lightweight and fluttering–in the same post as winter, but consider this. My Ishbel, knit in a wool-silk blend of fingering weight yarn, with it’s lace repeat towards the edges, has become one of my go-to scarves for the season. Lace knitting, at least in scarves and shawls and shawlettes, is actually great for winter, because of all of the attributes I listed earlier (okay, maybe fluttering isn’t quite so beneficial to anything). A thin shawl, knit in laceweight yarn with an open, airy repeat, can be folded or scrunched up and wrapped around the neck without adding a ton of bulk and making it difficult to turn your head and look around. I’m not the only one with lace on the brain right now, as brainylady recently posted a blog all about small shawls, which are perfect introductory pieces for lace knitting.

Now, lace knitting can seem rather daunting, but many patterns are actually fairly simple. If you can knit, purl, yarn over, and knit stitches together, you can knit lace. For example, I’m currently working on Eunny Jang’s Print o’ the Wave stole. This piece looks complicated and in some ways it is, but in other ways it isn’t.

KnowmeO’s Print o’ the Wave on Ravelry

A simple 12-row repeat made up of everything I mentioned before–knits, yarn overs, and knitting stitches together on the right side, purling back on the wrong side. The potentially daunting parts are the cast-on (provisional) and edging.

Tillora’s version on Ravelry

The provisional cast-on allows you to have mirrored repeats, each heading out towards the ends of the shawl. Knit one section, knit the other section, and graft together the live stitches from the cast on. You could, of course, just skip that and have all the repeats going in one direction. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The edgings are knit onto the body of the shawl, rather than worked as you go, but again, that’s nothing to be afraid of. The charts are easy to read and Eunny’s directions are simple and clear.

Part of the fun of knitting lace is using laceweight yarn (if that’s the route you go, obviously). I’m knitting my stole in Tri’Coterie’s Merino-Tencel laceweight.

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This is the perfect kind of yarn for lace knitting. It’s light and airy, has a subtle sheen (thanks to the tencel) and is incredibly soft (thanks to the merino). The color is deeply saturated throughout the yarn and works into a nice patterning within the stole itself (I’d show you pictures, but see rant above). This project takes about 800 yds of laceweight, and this laceweight skein clocks in around 880 yds, so I’ll have just a little bit left over to use for an edging on something else, rather than a whole bunch left over that’s not quite enough for a whole project.

I promise I’ll have pictures of my own Print o’ the Wave soon, but in the meantime, what lace patterns have caught your eye?

Parallel Lines Winner!

Thanks to all of you who entered to win the yarn for the Parallel Lines scarf! I’m glad to hear there’s interest in the pattern and that so many people like it.

I’m super happy to announce that the winner of my first ever contest is none other than Ashpags! I’ll be sending the yarn your way very soon, my dear!

In other news, I’m hard at work on another pattern, with yet another one in development and a couple more still percolating in my brain. Oh, and I’m knitting a shawl that I need to photograph. And hopefully over the weekend I’ll be able to photograph the steps for the twisted stitch tutorial. And there’s that holiday crafting that I need to be figuring out and working on.

Sorry to leave you with a photoless post, but this is sort of a drive-by typing.

Random Number Generator results (sorry for the PDF, PCs don’t make screen capturing as easy as Macs)

Parallel Lines and a Contest

My first “real” design (“real” meaning “translated from my brain to the page”) saw it’s debut on Ravelry earlier this week. My Parallel Lines (PDF download; Rav link) scarf has been well-received (at least to my perception, being a first-time, no-name designer). I’m so happy that so many people are at least interested in an idea that started in my head and ended up a real project. This is a big deal to me, and I want to thank you for reading my blog and especially those of you who commented, favorited, or queued the pattern. I especially want to thank my test-knitter gals, Christy and Lois, and my friend Toni for helping me out with the photography. ::squishy hugs all around::

The idea for the pattern was born from a trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park in September, when all the aspens were in their seasonal glory. Shots of gold, amber, and sunshine yellow dotted the mountains that are usually covered in green. I immediately set to work on this scarf when I got home (which would have annoyed my parents who were visiting at the time if they hadn’t had football to distract themselves). The stitch pattern is a variation of one found in an Italian stitch guide–I say “variation” because I’m not sure I’m doing it exactly right, as Italian stitch guides (and apparently patterns themselves) can be a bit iffy. That information comes from one of the Italian knitting groups on Ravelry, it is not my own observation.

Paralle Lines Scarf

The slant to the pattern comes from Left Twisting stitches. If you’ve never worked with twisted stitches, a brief explanation: twisting stitches is very similar to doing an itty, bitty cable pattern, where you’re knitting stitches out of order. A left-twisting stitch has you knitting the second stitch on a needle through the back loop, and then knitting the first stitch on the needle through the back loop. A right-twisting stitch does the same, except you’re knitting through the front of the loops, not the backs. I’m thinking about doing a mini-tutorial about twisting stitches, complete with pictures, so let me know if anyone’s interested in that.

Parallel Lines Scarf

The title “Parallel Lines” was inspired by the Blondie album of the same name. I like to name my projects after musical influences–many of my projects share names with songs that I like at the moment or that seem to fit the project. And this disclosure leads me to some more news: the first ever Threadpanda contest!

Leave a comment to this post, telling me about a favorite album of yours. One from your childhood, one that you’ve listened to over and over to the point of wearing it out, whatever. No comments that only say “Hi.” The contest will be open until Friday, November 13, 2009, at which point I’ll use a magical Random Number Generator to determine a winner.

Can’t have a contest without a prize, right? The winner of the Parallel Lines contest will receive two skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, the same yarn I used to knit the scarf. (It’s aztec turquoise; I have a picture of it but I didn’t get a chance to upload it yet and I’m impatient. I’ll post it later.) Disclosure and disclaimer: Yarn was purchased at a LYS, as I am in no way, shape, or form affiliated with Brown Sheep or any of its distributors.

Please please please, let me know what you think about the pattern, if you have any questions, if you want to be entered into the contest, whatever. Knit on!

Baby Monkey Hat

Today marks one whole week since this little fellow came into the world and greeted his mom and dad, two of my best friends.

When I got the text that he had been born, I immediately knew that I had to make this hat (Rav link) for him, and I did. That night. In about 3 hours.

IMG_6170

To say this is a quick project is a bit of an understatement. It is crochet, which is faster than knitting, but man. I was not expecting to finish it the same day I started it. The pattern is really easy to follow, and the yarn I worked with is a dream. I’m sorely tempted to make myself an adult-sized hat.

Details
Pattern: Baby monkey hat
Yarn: Valley Yarns Lenox (camel) and Berocco Plush (white)
Hook: 5 mm (US H)
Modifications: not a one.

Lacking any wee ones handy, I had to improvise my modeled shot.

IMG_6175

COMING SOON: Free scarf pattern, with a contest to win yarn to make the scarf; the lace project of DOOM that is finally starting to go my way; panicking about the proximity of the holidays and the lack of fundage/knitting time. Sweet.