Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some Blocking Required

Two days.  That's all the time that is needed.  OK -make that two days of only fiddling with yarn and sticks, but it is possible to complete Grace Akhrem's Seaweed Scarf in two days.  Well if you don't count the time to wet block this edge into some manner of niceness, it can be done.  (You can find all manner of Grace's patterns on Ravelry, your local LYS or online.)

 Oh, yes, some blocking is required.  This is straight off the needles.  Much curling mess - rather like Seaweed!  No one will ever say that the pattern is inappropriately names.  The pattern cover photo naturally shows the small (as in very small - but more later) scarfette in a lovely green so as to drive home the name seaweed.

Naturally, I found a soft coral sport weight from Louet in the stash and used it to make my first Seaweed Scarf.  The very thought of seaweed around the neck sounds just a bit "icky" and strangely suffocating to me.  But soft coral about the face sounds so very glow enhancing!  Yes, me thinks it better to be swathed in soft coral than to be choked by seaweed.  

The pattern has a single spine down the center.  A slipped stitch garter edge keeps the outer neck wrapping stitches nice and flat so that really, in all honesty, it is only the bottom edge that will require serious blocking to control the flow of the seaweed.  

Two options are offered within the pattern.  Counts for both worsted and sport weight are offered so all the math is already done.  


As written, this is a small scarfette.  Too small for me, I think.  Even if the blocking results in some growth, I still think it will be small.  Testing the fit about my own neck has me thinking that some closure is required so that constant and continual adjustment and fiddling can be avoided.   HMMM.  I am still thinking through this and hoping that the blocking solves my major concern about length. 

Do know that this version is made with sport weight and I followed the instructions to the exact row and stitch count.  Please do not mis-read these words.  The pattern is fine.  The result is fun and flirty.  The beginning is unique and adds new skill to the repertoire.  The bind off is not typical.  I'll probably make this again - just because it is a quick knit.  But,  the math to add another twenty-four rows to the stockinette section is already hand written on the pattern and more yardage will be acquired before commencing on version two.

 The edge is quite fun.  I love a "look" that is easy to memorize and does not require constant pattern reading just to make it through.  Here you get a feel for how the blocking will turn out.  

All in all, a nice quick fun knit with just enough thinking at the cast on, edging and bind off to keep the mind happy.  A good movie knit. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scouting Mission

It is a tough task, but someone has to do it.  Today, a car full of opinionated knitters (with honor and respect to EZ and no thought of plagiarism)  are off to scout out locations for a yarn crawl & lunch.  The goal is a nice bus excursion in early 2011 that will meld the members of two guilds for one fun filled day near a soCal beach town.

I have a seat in the car as I already have thoughts on where I want that bus to go!
I am just going along for the ride and the occasional sarcastic remark.  Our scouting for the eventual yarn crawl is the ground work for another persons great idea.  But, we are helping her out - not just scouting locations, but also fretting timing, group sizes, traffic patterns and all the nitty gritty that goes into planning an event.

Take a few moments to thank the person that organizes the group(s) in which you participate.  Be it a local Stitch & B* group, a formal guild, a coffee klatch, book club, church gathering, travel club or just the early morning walkers in your neighborhood.   We all have that someone in our lives who we and others rally around.  That person who has an internal vision of something positive and enjoys spreading that feeling of connectedness amongst others.

Say Thank You to someone today.  You will both be blessed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Frills and Furbelows

Well, Cha Cha to you.  Look at this wonderment of frills and furbelows.  You are beholding  half of a scarf made from Trendsetter Yarns Cha-Cha.  Not so much a yarn as a ribbon edging with a thread connected along  the top, Cha-Cha might be relegated by some to the occasional flash of excitement on an otherwise plain bit of work.  

Nay!  Not necessary.  
I first saw a scarf made entirely from this ruffle making stuff a few weeks ago and bought a skein on the spot and signed up for a class.   Hints are needed to smooth out the usage of the stuff, but it is not as delicate as might first appear.  

Working with this  is a bit fiddly at first, but by picking across a row, it is possible to create all manner of added dimension.  Imagine this stuff  as embellishment on the top of a felted purse!  But why stop at restraint and modest usage when full bedecking is an option.  This is an instance when more is definitely more and maybe not quite enough.
Due to the "one way ruffling" this scarf is worked in two pieces and then joined in the middle.  This will result in mirror image ruffles that go down on both ends. 

Here is the stuff in very poor light.  Do notice that the bottom cast on edge has a natural flare.  I love the impact of this stuff.  It looks like massive amounts of effort and brain power are required.  But, in all honesty, all that is required is one skein and a few hours of work.

Next week, class continues and we will learn the trick involved in joining the two ends so that the seam is hidden amongst the frills.

A video from Barry Klein, he of Trendsetter Yarns, can be had on YouTube here.  Check it out and get your Cha-Cha on!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Off The Needles

The Vest With A Twist from Easy Cable Knits for all seasons by Andra Knight-Bowman is done!  And off the needles.  And on the body.

It looks like this.  I thoroughly enjoyed the making of this one as the construction is uniquely fun.

The body is knit side to side which results in a cable running across the upper body right were I enjoy the illusion of slightly more bigness.  And there is subtle vertical patterning that runs vertically so as to make me think that height is my friend.

The yarn, should you be interested is Berroco Blackstone Tweed.  This is a yummy wool, mohair, angora blend that feels wonderful for the making.  And it feels wonderful on a fall day.  Of course fall here is running 66 degrees, thus the simple neckline with crab stitch edging.

Because the body of this pattern is worked side to side, sleeves are picked up and worked down to what ever length the end user desires.  Yep, the pattern is a vest with the option to add sleeves. 
I absolutely adore the illusion that the sleeves are but a continuation of the upper body.  It looks grand!  

One note on the pattern is rather important*
*Garments knitted from side to side will lengthen over time.

At first I panicked that the completed garment was too short.  Way to short even for me.  But after blocking and hanging over night, the length is well within my tolerance level, and happy times are restored.

It has been a while, but Bert wants to say "Hello"  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Odds Are With Us

Walking down the aisle of an airplane to discover someone already sitting in my assigned seat is not my favorite way to start a flight.  Even when that flight is at the end of a trip and home is on the horizon.  There is that awkward conversation of:

"Excuse me.  Have we been assigned the same seat?"

Person frantically checks boarding pass whilst I do the same.  Those numbers and letters are tricky sometimes.

"Oops.  Sorry about that.  Looks like I am the A seat by the window."

And the sweet gracious middle seat holder offers to slide over so that we all just shift and I am the last one in.  

OK - dodged another social situation due to women who have manners.  I was feeling so happy that my thoughts were expressed out loud for all to hear.  Sometimes this is not a good thing, but imagine my delight at the response to my muttered "OK, time to get out the knitting (insert sigh of relaxation)"  And my row neighbor, she of the A seat now the B seat, replied, "How did you know I knit?!"  And she reached down to bring up her stash busting ribbed scarf.

Oh happy day!  A knit mate for the next three hours.  We shared scarf admiration.   She was busy making one scarf out of the remains of two hats.  And I was making yet another no brain K2Tog scarf destined to be dyed later. 

The photo is dark, but I just want to show that real people - aka yarn lovers -  utilize that under seat storage for the balls of yarn when doing color work in a cramped space.   Naturally, my new knitting buddy and I enjoyed sharing limited work space whilst  expressing admiration for different knitting styles.  She learned from family in India about the same time I was learning from a book in Louisiana.  And you know what?  Knit is knit is knit. 

So there we are, enjoying the flight, when we glanced to the right to the far side of the plane wondering why someone was not dropping the shade and a rather eye blinding glare was entering the whole space.  

Look here.  Counted cross stitch by the light of the sky!  On our row, just across the aisle.

Now I ask you.  What are the odds?  One row.  Six seats.  Two knitters and one cross stitcher.

If math serves me correct that is 50%  hand art,  non battery, non energy hogging productive activity.  The sample size of six might be small, but we are taking over this whole green technology thing! 

PS  If you want the K2Tog pattern, look to the left sidebar for link to my public page.  All my free patterns are there for the using.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Designer Hand Knits

Designer Hands Knits is officially and Grandly Opened!  You might recall that Linda retired and closed my beloved Knit 'N Stitch.  And with the large open retail space available, the dynamic Nancy decided to move her store into the vacated space.

After a few weeks of "making it her own" and finding the perfect location for each yarn, sample and gadget during a soft opening, Nancy was ready for the Grand Opening.  And it was grand.  Totally packed with shoppers, tasty food and beverage and - the real kicker - discounts for all. 

On top of all that Nancy offered, many labels that you know sent fantastic samples for gifting. 

A highlight of the day was this marvel. 

This is a cake!  Completely edible and absolutely amazing.  C-A-K-E.

I think that every camera in attendance snapped multiple photos of the cake.  There was definitely much Oooh-ing and AAhh-ing and jaw dropping.

And just to further prove that this is indeed a yarn store, look past the cake and check out the color organized special yarns and drool inducing books available for the purchasing.  Did I mention the word "discount?"

If you have a hankering to visit Riverside, check out Nancy's new location.  She will even let you fondle the merchandise.

6730 Brockton Ave (in the Arcade)
Riverside, CA 92506-3814

Maybe I'll see you there!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Awe and Wonder

Yesterday the gift looked like this.

This morning - only one more row to go!

An interesting thing has happened in the making of this gift.  Actually, the amazement is what has not happened.  Nothing has gone awry.  Absolutely nothing.

Oh, sure yours truly has occasionally stopped to count rows, stitches or spaces at major points along the way.   But each time the counting occurs the number reached actually matches the number that should be reached.  Nothing is wrong.  

I choose to have faith that, because this is a surprise gift for someone who will truly be surprised,  the crochet goddess is guiding each movement of the hook - each yarn over - each chain space and thus paving an easy path to completion.  There can be no other explanation.

Because I am not perfect, I accept that I can not produce perfection.  Every thing I undertake has room for improvement.  I do not dwell in the land of "coulda, shoulda."  It is simply that I enjoy the making.  Flaws and all.  But this one shawl is working out perfectly.

Yes, one more row and this gift will be finished.  And I am dwelling in the land of guidance from above - be she the crochet goddess or other. . . .

Awe and wonder.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Plate Runneth Over With Random Activity

Life is too busy to allow much time for putting thoughts down on this electronic paper.  Random bullet points are all that time permits:

A friend admired the completed Magnificent Mantle, so a new one is on the hook.  It will be gifted to the admirer.
 Same pattern, same yarn, same hook.  However, given her height relative to my lack there of, I am thinking that increasing the size slightly is appropriate.

Riverside City Police were grateful for the guild donation of Precious Pals.  Turns out, that if one looks over the entire cast of characters, it is possible to fine a bear dressed in purple and a bear dressed in gold so as to mimic a favorite LA team.

 But, I am southern - Louisiana Cajun southern and I prefer to think of this selection of purple and gold as leaning more toward LSU than the Lakers.  

Geaux Tigers!!

It rained.  In Riverside and environs.  In October!  Look at all the happy people dancing on the lawn.....Bother me tomorrow......

So many Aestlight shawls to admire!  This was a fun activity.  If your group has not looked over the possibilities, give it a whirl.  Discussing options and adaptations was quite fun.

 If you have worked this pattern, you know that it features a knit border that hits the point in a split manner - more like a swallow tail.  One intrepid knitter offset the border such that the point of the motif fell exactly in line with the point of the shawl.  Another played with yarn and gauge to make a much larger shawl suitable for wrapping up in.  And the colors!  Oh, my what unique colorations are used by free thinking knitters.

After staring at eight words of inspiration, I finally wrote an article that was due on October 1st.  In keeping that the whole southern background and point of view, I am partial to doing things on "Scarlett Time"

Oh, and lest I forget, there is this final tidbit.  Laundry is done for the week - almost.