Monday, June 29, 2009

Seams To Me It Is Awkward

Last week brought so much fun working with the Seduce and Bonsai from Berroco that updating a blog was the last thing on my little mind. Last week, it was all about the different texture resulting from working the two yarns on the same size needle, even though deep in my heart I would not work Seduce on #7s. But, as I predicted, it all came out in the wash.

Yesterday it was time to seam the slippery mass. Seams on this particular pattern are a bit awkward as each is some angle - be it as true a 45 degree slant as stockinette can produce or some slight variation due to casting on or binding off. While the pattern instruction state to sew the pieces together, I decided to slip stitch it all. Why? Because I like a good slip stitched seam. When you have (deleted terms) years of experience with crochet, it becomes your 'old reliable' standby solution for sticky - or slippery - situations.

But, I am getting too far ahead. Back at the beginning, aka blocking, a trusty towel appeared. If you have read about my blocking experiences in prior posts, you know that I am partial to using a sort of rough cotton towel to hold my blocking where I put it. No exception on this project. BUT - and here you will see my occasional brilliance - I pinned the dry pieced in situ on the towel. When both the front and back were of equal measurement, only then was the whole thing sprayed to dampness and left in a cool dark place to dry. Hey, if cool and dark works for wine, it should work for yarn. Right?

And then the seams. Angles each and every one. And yes, I am discounting the side seams because I didn't get that far. One option would have been to unpin two blocked shapes and hold them in the hands to slip stitch for outside seams. Oh, did I forget to tell you all seams are done on the outside? Well, now you know. But that towel was doing such a fine job of holding each shape in place, that I seamed the pieces while they lay flat and still in place. A bit awkward - but a stool, a nice big kitchen counter and a huge glass of lemonade did the trick.

I am happy with the result.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Playing Around With Texture

As though the Autumn vest was not enough, last week was devoted to starting on another interplay of texture. A new project has me working with the same color but in two different textures. I am still in a geometry inspired mode, but this time it is all about shapes.

See this? On the left is an unblocked shape worked in Berroco Seduce. And on the right, practically the same shade worked in Berroco Bonsai. Both are on a good old size 7. Very different results as far as the fabric goes. But quite compatible and complimentary as far as the side by side look goes.

Go ahead and click on the photo to enlarge and have a look. The Seduce slides through the fingers screaming for a smaller diameter of stick, but it really needs to be worked as though it is a worsted weight. At first, I was certain that I was being Seduced to failure. Surely this was not going to work out. But, after getting a bit of length to drape off the needle, and giving a bit of a wiggle, the most amazing thing occurred. Ripples - yeah, nigh on to waves - of movement brought a dance of shadow and light to my eyes. This looks great. Transparent to be sure. But great.

Here it is (pardon the color, wanted to show the light shining through) in all of its Seductive transparent glory. Would that I could show the ripple in the breeze motion. Very impressive.

The Seduce is quite slippery. Started out using a favorite metal circular and had to transfer to bamboo for a bit of drag. If you are thinking that my stitches are terribly uneven, you are thinking rightly. On the knit row it is possible to be quite tidy and even tensioned. Little soldier loops line up across bamboo like cadets on graduation day. But then comes the purl. Something happens on the way back and there is a slip sliding of each and every little loop that brings the word "wonky" to the forefront of the mind.

I am, naturally, hoping that it all comes out in the wash. And should it not, should the random wonky appearance continue to the wearing stage, I shall be content. The drape, the ripple, the flow has seduced me and I am caught in its web.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For All The World To See

The Autumn vest is hung up for all to see. Such a simple thing, but it means the world to me. I showed the completed vest to a friend and she asked to display it at her shop on the new display wall. I tried to play it low key; I appeared calm. But inside I was shaking with excitement.

I wanted my friend to see the completed project for two specific reasons. First, I purchased the pattern at her shop. Many stores here in soCal are partial to Colleen Davis designs. Second, one particular yarn that is in the vest and originally purchased at my friend's store did not sell well and ended up on the sale wall. More than a year later, a few balls are still sitting in a dark bin even thought the price cut is severe. I don't know why it isn't selling. Works up great, looks wonderful, and holds a stitch just fine.

And no, the name of the unsellable on sale yarn will not be disclosed. Can't have you jumping to any conclusions. Just know that a sale bin of yarn is filled with superb bargains!

Today, on a whim, I went back just to see if my vest was still on display. There it is, in all its autumnal glory, on display next to a the blue striped vest knit by Colleen Davis herself. Such an honor. I almost don't know how to feel - other than shaking even more from the thrill of it all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cat-cident or Finding A Needle In A Carpet

There has been a cat-cident here. Now you must understand that Snowy (Snowball, aka Mr. Kitty) is nineteen and does enjoy a well placed nap. Mostly he sleeps on the current work in progress unless there is acrylic involved. Then he eschews the whole work space until a more suitable 'mattress' appears.

Well, I was busy adding beads to the scarf and set the whole thing down so as to give my back a rest. Little beading needle, beads and fringe neatly piled on a plastic bag rather put back in the bag and zipped securely from little paws. Snowy has never liked sleeping on plastic. Why would anyone, human or otherwise, curl up for hours on plastic? I thought all was safe. What could possible happen when beading needle, beads and fringe is left alone for ten minutes?

OH. Fringe. Yep, fringe. And a cat. Even a nineteen year old cat will ignore the yucky plastic resting place and delight in fringe. Seems that in order to lay on top of fringe and bat it about whilst occasionally chewing on the ends, one must first remove the little beading needle and beads by whacking them out of the way with such force that the whole lot is flung to the carpet in a wide arc that should be traceable, but alas, makes the final resting place of the beading needle impossible to predict.

That was my last beading needle. Oh, well. The economy needs a boost. Want to take bets that I can walk out of the store with only one little pack of needles?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tiny Sparkles In The Sand

The knitting of the Nereides scarf is done. Yes, another project is checked off the To Do List and all that remains is adding the sparkle. See that tangle of fringe? Beads must be added. I have begun the labor, but the beads barely show up in the photo.

It was a tough decision on exactly how to do the beading. One option would be to follow the thinking that teaches The More, The Merrier! Because, well, often enough is not quite enough. Another option would be to be exact in placement and have a plan so that every twelve inches strand has exactly the same number of beads knotted at exactly the same points.

But where is the fun in that? Hard to believe, but I have chosen to err on the side of subtlety. Only four or five or six little beads knotted onto random strands - like tiny sparkles glinting in the sand. Were you here and running your hands over the scarf, you would agree with me that in this particular instance, less is definitely a whole lot more.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Knit Block, Block Block

There is nothing like completing two wearable items in less than one week to induce a feeling of supremacy. I am practically Goddess-like in my accomplishments of late. Now, just admitting that two (at minimum) yarn based items are laying around waiting to be finished is not also an admission that there were, prior to weaving in ends, too many UFOs here in yarn land. It is simply that I was trying to keep up with knitterly friends who confess to juggling six, seven, yeah even ten works in progress. Such a tidbit of information is, to a competitive soul, akin to throwing down the gauntlet right in the middle of the stash.

Clearly not my fault for having so much unfinished work. I was trying to compete by increasing the amount of items I can juggle at any one time. And do you know what I discovered? I am a fine juggler. Excellent at tossing a few rounds here and then reaching out to whip out rows over there. Each work contained in bag or basket or even wedged between the pages of a book. I am amazing.

Want to know what else I discovered? I don't like juggling. Truth be told - - I hate it. I kept feeling like a tease. A flake. Yes, I'll say it. A fickle female who could not and would not commit. Commitment to one - and only one - project at a time makes me happy. This jumping around and juggling something different every day is too exhausting and is not conducive to a calm demeanor. Not at all. And I do so love calmness.

So, today found me furiously finishing yet another former UFO. It is "Autumn" from Colleen Davis' Vest Collection. All yarns came from the stash. Nothing purchased as project specific except for the buttons. Here are the buttons. These are really smooth wood that bring out the best of the browns in all of the various yarns. Can buttons be sentimental? I purchased these three at a LYS that has now closed up shop due to the economy. Looking at the buttons makes me a bit misty eyed as the shop was the very one that started me on knitting socks.

And here the completed vest during the blocking. Note the blocks of color worked in intarsia. It is a simple plan that repeats the same configuration color blocks for the fronts and back. Bring out the crochet hook for a sturdy edging!

Now, you should think about this southland in which I live. It will only get hotter over the next several months. Cool mornings already are giving way to heat sweats in the afternoon and the mercury will soon climb above 100 F. But come next November - Lenora has a warm vest!