Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Disaster Averted

Last night I decided that the 6 repeats I had done would make my scarf the perfect size once blocked. I began the I-cord cast off and all was going well. I had most of the stitches on the left, long circular needle and I was doing the 3 stitches of the cast off with a double point needle. That left the tail of the circular needle dangling. *Cue ominous, horror music.*

As I was knitting I came to the end of the working yarn and needed to pull more off the cone. I lifted my arms and knitting to pull the yarn from the cone and IT happened. Aack.

I had somehow gotten the end of the circular tucked under my butt. When I lifted up on the knitting the circular needle pulled out of about a third of the stitches! You could have heard my gasp all the way to Vancouver I think. While evaluating the gravity of this situation, keep in mind that I am working with BLACK, laceweight, BOUCLE that is as unforgiving as can be. After a moment to let the dizziness pass I grabbed all the stitches that I could see, knowing full well that I was missing many, if not most, of the yarn overs. Thankfully this is a pattern where most of the yarn overs only ladder down one row. As I did the cast off I picked up yarn overs where ever it looked like they should be.

As far as I could tell at that point, it was okay. The nature of this black boucle is such that mistakes are hard to see. That could be a good thing, but I was concerned that I could have missed a stitch or two and would only find out about it when the severe blocking was done.

Turns out my fears were warranted. Under the pressure of the blocking two different sections let go, both involving double decreases. Here for you viewing horror is one of them.

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I found some black sewing thread and did the best I could, first catching the stitches and then pulling and prodding them into a semblance of what they should have been. The repair is visible, but not horribly so. In the picture below the repair is along the top edge between the 16 and 17 inch marks on the tape measure.

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The good news is that it lies in the section that drapes the back of the neck and it can't be seen in the folds of the scarf while it is being worn.

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I like the way the green beads twinkle in and out of view like stars in a night sky.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Five Repeats Done

I'm now starting the sixth, and possibly the last, repeat of the second chart of the Diamond Fantasy Scarf.

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It's hard to know if it will be big enough at that stage or not. The laceweight boucle I am using does not have a lot of give. It feels like it might have a high percentage of cotton. If it doesn't stretch much during the blocking I may have to do more repeats.

I haven't knit much on this in the past few days. I've been doing a little weaving instead. A picture of that in the coming days.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Not-A-Shawl Socks

I'm calling these the "Not-A-Shawl" Socks because I made them with the Fleece Artist Merino yarn that I bought intending to make the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. The yarn was beautiful, I loved the colors, but it just did not want to become a shawl. It insisted on being knit into socks. Nice, soft, wonderfully fitting and colorful socks, but definitely not a shawl.

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I used a "figure 8 cast on" and knit these toe-up using the heel instructions from "Basic Toe-To-Cuff Sock" by Jackie of Heart Strings Fiber Arts. I've always used a Peasant Heel because it's simpler and works especially well with self-patterning yarns (prevents the self patterning yarn's striping sequence from being broken by the heel shaping), but I do believe this traditional turned heel fits better.

The shawl/scarf is coming along nicely in the alternate yarn, a black baby boucle of unknown fiber content.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Lace Smoke Ring

As promised, the picture of the completed "Smoke Ring With Lace Edging".

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This was a very easy knit. Once past the edging and onto the main portion it was almost as effortless as plain stockinette stitch. The pattern calls for 3" of stockinette at each end of the smoke ring, but I decided to knit the lace pattern throughout.

The "Alpaca Cloud" by KnitPicks was a delight to work with and even nicer to wear. SO soft and as light as a puff of.....well....SMOKE! I still have some of the ball left and will eventually use it to knit up gauge swatches for other projects. I LOVE this yarn and will definitely be using it again. Great price too. I only wish KnitPicks carried it in bolder colors. I'd like a vibrant red or deep maroon. Perhaps a rich royal blue or an elegant black as well.

I guess I could get out my dyes and play.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Change Of Plans

I've scrapped the idea of using the Fleece Artist Handpainted Merino for my Diamond Fantasy Shawl. Yes, the stuff I went all the way to White Rock to buy. It (the beautiful blue and green skein) informs me that it really doesn't want to be a scarf or shawl. "Much too heavy." it says. "Too much variation in the color for the lace pattern to ever show through.", it adds. Says it wants to be a beautiful and comfy pair of socks instead. Who am I to be seen arguing with a skein of wool? I've dutifully cast on for both socks and they are now ready to have the heels turned. I knit on them during a drive to Langley on Sunday and I blissfully knit 'round and 'round while listening to a recorded book on Monday. Both the socks and the recorded book are coming along nicely. Photos of the finished "I-Don't-Want-To-Be-A-Shawl" Socks will likely be up in the next week or so.

Do not think that I have neglected the Diamond Fantasy Shawl Knit-Along though. While the original yarn was being fussy and "difficult" I went to my stash, pulled out an unidentified cone of laceweight boucle and gave it a test run.

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The mystery yarn, picked up at Value Village for $2 some time ago, survived a sample knitting and blocking episode and, if all goes well, will become a beaded version of the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. It's tricky working with this yarn. The boucle makes mistakes very hard to pick out.

Look for a picture of the finished Smoke Ring with Lace Edging on Thursday. It's finished, blocked, and ready to wear. I've even photographed it. know the ol' adage....don't put all your photos in one post.....or somethin'.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Beaded Hand Warmers

These were finished a week or more ago. They were meant to be a gift for a friend but I messed them up in the washing/blocking stage and so must knit her another set.

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The pattern is "Fine Filigree Fingerlings" by Jackie of Heartstrings Fiber Arts.

The beads are my own addition. They looked lovely and all was going well until I did the final washing and blocking. After washing the handwarmers were still very wet so, to speed the drying, I put them through the high speed spin cycle of my washing machine (with the water turned off). Normally this works just fine for my handknits and even for raw fleece that has been washed. I wasn't thinking about the beads though.

As my machine prepares to spin it tumbles a few times. It also tumbles a few turns at the end of the spin cycle. I guess this was just enough bashing about to knock some of the finish off the "antique gold" beads. The handwarmers still look okay, in fact quite nice I think, but I will not give something flawed away as a gift. So I'll keep this pair. I have enough of the handspun mohair/wool left to make another pair.....some day.

For now I am working on the Smoke Ring With Lace Edging, (another HeartStrings pattern) which I posted about earlier. Then it's on to the Diamond Fantasy Scarf for the knit-a-long.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Here's the finished Lug-A-Mug done on the guild's group warp. I had originally intended to add a scattering of bead to the woven portion, but decided against it. They seemed to detract from the interesting texture of the weaving. The shiny beads seemed incompatible with the matte surface of the weaving.

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The bag is designed to safely carry a mug to meetings so that we cut down on the Styrofoam cups being dumped in landfills.

I altered the pattern by adding a piece of plastic canvas between the handwoven exterior and the broadcloth lining. I like the way it makes the sides stand up and be less sack-like. It should help protect the mug as well.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Bit Of A Drive

I've been swept up by the latest knitalong being talked about on various knitting related Yahoo groups. It's the one doing the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. I'm usually immune to knitalongs, preferring to do my own thing at my own pace, but this one has really caught my eye so I might as well play along.

I like to support local yarn stores whenever I can, and tried in vain to find both the pattern and an appropriate yarn in my own home town. Today my husband and I drove all the way to Knitopia in White Rock to buy this:

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It's a skein of Fleece Artist Handpainted Merino. I LOVE the colors in this one!

And here it is all balled up and ready to be knit:

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I think winding a handpainted yarn into balls gives you a better idea of how the colors will look in the finished item.

Join me over at Sivia Harding Knits if you like. The knitalong doesn't officially begin until the 15th, although I believe some are starting right away. I myself plan to finish up the "Smoke Ring With Lace Edging" first. I don't like to have a lot of projects going at one time.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lace Edging

A new project begun.

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This is the beginning of "Smoke Ring With Lace Edging" by Jackie of Heart Strings Fiber Arts. I'm using Knit Picks "Alpaca Cloud" (100% baby alpaca) in the color "smoke".