Monday, April 28, 2008

Bits & pieces.....odds and ends?

In spite of casting on for not one, but TWO new shawls and making substantial progress on at least one of those.....I've actually done a good bit more in the last week. Just a few of those things......

I managed to do some more housecleaning and clearing out to storage this past weekend. Plus more moved out of the old storage and into the new. The storage consolidation project progresses.....and the weather might finally be starting to cooperate again to move things along more briskly. Not to mention that as things progress my motivation to have it done increases. That and I'm super antsy to get my loom moved into the back room so I can finally do some weaving again. I have a couple of weaving projects that are just begging to be made ;-).

I added a few more rows - several actually - to Peacock. She's getting to be quite respectably sized! This picture is actually from today! - I'm about done with the second type of feathers and moving on towards the third. I did put her on a 47" needle yesterday morning. Good for the pic but I'm switching back to 24" circs - that extra cable is just annoying however much it might make it easier to see a bigger view for pictures!

My Branching Out scarf gained some new repeats - enough to add another 5% to the completion status. Ok, I guess I should say I added them since they did not mysteriously appear. No pixie dust for the knitting.

Faroese grew a little......about what I'd call 1 %. This one and Branching Out are a bit of a shock - size 10 and 8 needles respectively. I say shock because it's a bit of a jump between 2.5 or 3mm on up to 5mm+!

.....and of course Isis #1 grew quite a lot and #2 grew a little, hehehe.

Then there's that Mystery Lace KAL. Hmmmmm, what do I say about that one? The sheer volume of mail & time for that is just silly considering the topics. Things turned into quite a mess. Honestly, I think it started with over sensitivity, stress, etc and reacting badly to things that likely were not meant as they were taken. Miscommunication at it's best - er, worst? The designer was also trying to do too much - answering every question over and over again instead of referring people to prior posts or letting experienced folks help. Just a big mess and many folks, especially the designer got pretty worked up about some things. So.......she's closing the group and opening a new one for those who want to pay $10 to participate. Well.......she seems like a nice lady who is going through some bad times. But ..... I think I will pass for a huge mixture of reasons. of today I have even finally done some more updates on project entries (see below)......

Another one!?!? about two?

Well.......last weekend I was either very bad or having a really good time, depending on how you want to look at things. It continues, too. Saturday I cast on for yet ANOTHER project. But oh what a fun project...... The Veil of Isis from Bad Cat Designs has been on my upcoming project list for a few months now. I'd studied the charts......and actually at first had a little trouble wrapping my head around quite how they fit together. I had, in fact, finally concluded it was one that would come together when I had it on the needles. I think it would have......but as it happened, it clicked for me a little sooner. I had even joined the yahoo group created by the designer. I had put it off long enough in spite of the urge to try it quite some time ago. So I cast on. I must say, I normally am, at worst, mildly annoyed at the fiddly process of a circular beginning. I love knitting in the round outwards, it's just the starts can be awkward. Normally. This one was downright painful for some reason.....but only the beginning. Once I had it going, oh what a joy to knit! I am actually approaching the end of my third repeat out of 5-6 (roughly). It just flows and is very addictive to knit. I'd have thought the beads would slow me down more since I haven't used them before. They did at first but I think I'm getting the hang of them ;-).

I'm using clear, silver-lined beads and another Colourmart yarn - big shock, right? hehehe. This one is a white 2/28, 50/50 Cashmere/Cotton. It runs about 7000 yards per pound. White, in spite of the colorful, gorgeous yarns that arrived on my doorstep that same Saturday in luscious bright, pretty spring/summer colors. But white it was to be for another option for the October wedding.'s what it's looking like so far......a bit hard to see the full picture at this stage. Actually this is what it looked like 4 days ago - it's grown a nice bit since then.

But.....I kept thinking about the pictures on the designer's web site.....and looking at them and the design....and there were those colors....... Now, I could have asked Andrea my very simple question. She seems very nice indeed and I'm sure she would be happy to answer. That's even one of the reasons for the Yahoo ask and answer. But......if I had done that than what excuse would I have had to cast on a SECOND Veil of Isis in a lovely mint green color of the most exquisitely soft cashmere/silk blend you could ever hope to knit with? One that, even still in spinning oil as it is, coming straight off the cone, frankly makes other yarns - even soft ones - feel rough? Well, that would just never do ;-). This one didn't even give me a hint of trouble with the circular beginning!

Isis 2 - I don't think I can call it "revisited" since I'm still working on the first one! This one has clear, rainbow coated (AB) beads:

I'm enjoying the yarn and the great pattern. I'm working on this one a good bit less......but I'm happy to have started it ;-).

A note about the yarn for's a 3/45 - 65/35 cashmere/silk blend (about 7500 yards per pound). I love it but frankly, I'd have done a little better in terms of patience and time to have reversed these. The cash/cotton is a much firmer yarn. The cash/silk is a bit prone to splitting and not one I would knit without watching. It's so soft & fine you can hardly feel it on the needles!

Excuse me.....I need to go pet my knitting, oh, I mean knit now ;-)........

Branching Out Scarf

A nice, simple pattern I decided would be a quick and easy knit to test out some beautiful 100% baby camel yarn. I was going fast on it until I got sidetracked - and ran out of the first ball of yarn. But I've past that point now and a repeat here and another there will see this done long before I'm able to use it considering the weather here these days!

The pattern is from It's not likely I'll post too many more pics for this one - probably a final one or two when it's done and dressed but the pattern is all what you see here so it only gets longer. Yummy yarn though :-).

Faroese Shawl

This one is just a nice big, warm hug for myself ;-). It's also a really simple would be done if I didn't keep getting distracted by all these other things.

The pattern is from A Gathering of Lace and the yarn I'm using is Ellen Cashmere - a nice DK weight cashmere blend in a deep navy blue. It will be big and cozy. I like this book; there are several things in it I'd like to make....

I need a new picture for this one, too - it's grown a goodly bit since taking this!

Friday, April 18, 2008

More progress on Peacock

A little closer to where I really am in the least where I was on 4/13 ;-).....the Christmas placemat was handy for a good contrasting surface. A bit out of season but.....the contrast worked, lol.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

White Peacock Feathers

I bought this pattern at the end of February and may make it in a second color as well. But I liked the idea of all white peacock feathers. And yes, if you didn't already know, there really is such a thing as a pure white (not albino) peacock! Have a look....

The pattern (Fiddlesticks Knitting) was purchased from The Needle Arts Book Shop.

The yarn is perfect for the project.....exactly what I had wanted and not the easiest thing to find! I'm using a white 50/50 cashmere/viscose 2/28 yarn from Colourmart. There are several things that make this yarn special. The cashmere is an obvious one, hehehe. It's not actually a blend, one ply is cashmere and the other is the viscose, giving a shine to it but more subtle than having the blend. It's still in spinning oil so on top of the usual "squished lace" effect, you won't get the full picture of how it will look, except for the swatch. When washed, it blooms beautifully. And, as usual for lace, it takes "dressing" to really get the full effect of the pattern.

This might turn out to be a wedding shawl - hence the white yarn. But I love the effect with this particular yarn in any case so maybe my sister will like another option better and I can keep it, hehehe.

I started this one March 15 with this swatch:

Well hmmmm - I have a picture of that somewhere - will add it later.

Early progress......

You can see I was playing with lifelines here - got rid of them though, they were getting on my nerves a lot more than they were helping ;-).

More recent progress:

Redwood Memories Socks

Nothing fancy with these - I just wanted a simple pair for an easy "on the go" project plus I was playing with some new techniques, especially with my short row heels so I just went for a very basic p1,k4,p1 pattern. Knit toe up, two at a time, two circular needles.

Pretty far along......and actually on a handwoven towel that was handy because it needs hemming to finish it off ;-). The colors didn't show up terribly well in the lighting I was in though. Will have to try for some proper daylight with the finished photo(s).

I like short row heels but I have had some troubles with having holes on one side and wanted to find a way to correct it other than just sewing it together when done! For those interested in such things I tried Priscilla Gibson-Roberts short-row heel technique this time (that adds yarn overs per end stitch instead of wrap stitches) but it still wasn't fixing the problem. My answer? Instead of just doing a K3tog to consolidate the extra purl-side stitches into the proper number in the second half of the heel, I tried a slip 2, k1, pass the two slipped stitches over. It works ;-).

Started: 2/20/2008
Finished: 3/31/2008
Project Name: - Redwood Memories Socks
Yarn used: Knit Picks 100% Merino Fingering weight; Redwood Memories
Yarn source: Knit Picks
Needles: Size 2, circular (2, 24")
Gauge: 8.5 stitches/inch & 10.5 rows/inch
Size: Women's med/large
Pattern name/source: My own, basic
Other notes, including techniques used: Two at once, toe up, two circular needles. Short row heels - worked out new technique (new to me, somebody else has probably done it before)

Picture of completed socks coming soon.......

Ha - finish what you say?

Well......tomorrow is the release of the first clue in the MysteryLace KAL. In my last post I had mentioned I hoped to finish one or more projects...... go ahead and laugh all over again ;-). Good thing I decided I wasn't going to stress over it since, yep, you're right, no way have I completed another project since then. Heck, I've barely had time to add a row here or there of any sort since last weekend. Maybe one or two on the "real" projects...maybe. I did manage a couple of swatches for this KAL though so that's something, right?

I've decided to go with doubling up on some white 2/33 59% cashmere/41% cotton from Colourmart. It may take a little getting used to for knitting up and be a little on the "thicker" side ('s all perspective, even at the equivalent of 450 yds per 50gm ball, lol) but I think it will be soft, warm and very nice. It also will be something that will, as planned, work for one of the options for the upcoming wedding for my sister in October. I say getting used to because when knitting it together, not only am I knitting from two different cones (yes, I could wind it off but....I have reasons to prefer not to ;-)), but the knitting actually looks......oh how shall I describe it? Stringy? Not terribly cohesive? But.....that's one of the most fun things about lace and even just using this yarn. This swatch looked pretty dicey......when first knit. But then I washed it. I threw it in the dryer (yes really!).....and then I did it again. And only THEN did I actually soak it once more and block it out. And oh the difference it makes! The lumpy, bumpy, stringy mess became well defined patterns. The "stringy" separate strands.....well if you KNOW and you really search for the signs, you can tell I used two strands. Might not even be able to do that if I washed it another time or two. It bloomed and came together quite well. My only hesitation was that it's not quite as open & lacy as I was originally picturing. But I think that for this project, based on what little I actually know about it......this will work better than something too open........and I can always change my mind if it's not coming together!

So stayed tuned.......tomorrow we add another project to the list.......will I manage to keep up with the group? Will it be as fun as I'm anticipating? I'm sure this and more will be answered in the coming weeks ;-).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How time flies!

Well if I could just sort out my new, strange problems with loading my pictures from the camera to the computer, I could actually post details about all these projects!

Mostly I just haven't had any time to mess with it; it's been extremely busy on all fronts. Work got more than a little crazy and home is always pretty busy. Well, ok, I could have worked on it but......there are all these projects I keep working on ;-). Ah well, at least I'm not bored!

I have been keeping the status bars fairly current - it's rather nice to see them moving along. I am probably going to start another pair of socks and/or restart a shawl I keep trying to make for my daughter. It doesn't have a name, I'm trying to semi-duplicate a shawl I made a few years ago where I just kind of "threw" together a pattern as I went. It worked out great notes. I've learned better since then but in the mean time this will be the third or fourth time starting over on this thing! I remember how much yarn I used.......but I keep missing on the needle size. Either that or my knitting gauge has changed significantly since then! Which is actually possible. If I could just get it properly on track it will go quickly though - and be one of those "any time, anywhere" projects. Which is often what my socks are ;-). Most of the other projects I'm working on are a bit more difficult to work on while visiting or with lots of picking up/putting down on the fly. The Faroese shawl is the closest and it's gotten a bit large for carting around too much. And it's moving along with another 10% or so added to it this weekend. I'm hoping to finish at least one project before this new Mystery Lace knit along (KAL) starts next Friday......

If I do, great. I'm not going to stress over it though ;-). I also need to take time out somewhere and see about swatching for this KAL. I haven't picked my yarn officially yet! I've thought about some options though. Often for lace I won't swatch but it does depend on a number of things......and for this one I think I will. Because I would like to make it just a little larger......and the swatch info is available now to help folks get ready.

The designer did say she thought it could be used very nicely as a wedding shawl......and with my sister getting married in October.......well options are nice ;-). She's still deciding what she wants and that's ok. But I can make this in white and dye it later if I want to.......unless she decides it's perfect for her wedding. Either way, I'm making it.

Sakari is now 18 weeks old and weighs over 47 lbs! She's really sweet but has been going through a bit of a phase where she is also a bit contrary! "Loose leash? huh, you want me to what? I don't know what you mean......" But, in spite of that, she's actually just about got "right paw, left paw" down as two separate commands. Which is in addition to her sit, down (lay down), come, etc. Plus she does high five VERY well and we're still working on improving "crawl" and roll over. She WAS doing roll-over really well but suddenly decided that's in the "huh, what" category. This too, shall pass with patience ;-).

More to come......