Thursday, March 31, 2011

Every Which Way

Well, Wrap Me Up and call me ready for blocking!  The scarf is done. 

The movement of shades of Noro brings such delight to me.  I don't need massive bright color changes to energize or make happy times.  The interplay of texture, stitchery shades and beads of this swath sets me heart a twitter.

Wrap Me Up - either the shawl or scarf version - would make a superb knit along for any group looking for project to inspire.  This pattern would also make a great class for the knitter ready to move into intermediate work.  

This is a better view of the texture that wanders throughout the pattern.  Each motif is a star, but no single motif stands out as the dominate focus.  

Now the difficult decision is upon me.   Once blocked, is this a wearable art piece OR is it a piece of art to be hung upon the wall?

I am undecided.  What say you?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Like Spring Bursting Forth

It looks just like Spring on my desk top  Little bundles and loops of color appeared as if overnight.  And these flowers are named, in no particular order,  Oasis Mink,  Mirage Gin Blue, Avarice Indigo, Avarice Morph Blue,  Avarice Hand Paint 49, 29 & 74 and the every hopeful Jazz Wasabi.

Once again, Twisted Sisters, whom we all know are not sisters but are somewhat twisted,  held a little sale at the warehouse.  What else could get a vehicle full of women on the road before 8:00 am on a Saturday morning? 

Jazz is perhaps my favorite of these yarns and I have a project almost finished out of the stuff.  But, as you read above, I was smitten by Avarice and now have a huge amount of the stuff.  Why, given that I live in a desert that rarely dips below "chilly" do I fall for the alpaca?    Why?  Why?  Why? 

No plans for any of these purchases.  But it is mine - all mine!  

PS - am thinking that it is soon time to add instructions for the stash distribution to the family trust.  Only the worthy shall inherit the alpaca! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Little Addition

Get It Done!   Be crazy for finish-itis!   No More UFOs!

My mantra for the past week is yielding results.  First, it was the Thank You Shawl.  And by the way - that one blocked and was dry within a few hours.   Talk about immediate satisfaction.  I was feeling it, for sure.

Number two that finally - as in finally - finished is a cotton t-shirt for moi.    It was this bit of lace that caught my eye.  I had to do it - but not in the silk yarn of the pattern.  

Specifics:  Baby's Breath Tee from Lacy Little Knits by Iris Schreier.  A link to the book is here and elsewhere if you care to do your own search.    

My version is in Pure Pima from Berroco.  The shades available in this cotton are just the thing we all need for summer.    

Baby's Breath Tee is enhanced with the addition of a mohair blend inset at the neckline - - this in the same lace pattern of the lower edge and sleeves.   A really wonderful study in how the same stitches take on a totally new feel when the yarn is changed. 

I love the contradiction of these two different effects.  Although, there is some angst that the delicate wisps might prove too delicate in the connection to the cotton.  That is a mighty precarious transition right at the bind off of the mohair.

The crochet scallops around the neckline are my own little add to the pattern.    When I tried on the finished tee, something was missing.  Oh - it fit.  It was the pattern.  But it looked incomplete when it lay around my neck.

So, there was a little addition.   And another UFO bites the dust.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Size Fits All

The stealth shawl is winging - or trucking - its way to a lovely person.  

This is another South Bay Shawlette from Lion Brand patterns.  The yarn is Deborah Norville Serenity Sock in the Picasso Marble color way.  This particular yarn has 25% bamboo to go along with the wool and nylon.

I am becoming a fan of yarns that have a touch of bamboo added.  There is something about the drape.  When applied to the neck area the bamboo addition actually has drape.  And I like that greatly.

It is highly possible, that in the future, almost all of my shawls will be crochet.  So fast and quick!  These I can whip out in a week or less.  Knit shawls take time.  Lots of time.  To be sure knitting one out of a fantabulous silk or cashmere is more cost effective than using the good stuff with a crochet hook.   But this was an instance where I wanted to thank a particularly thoughtful and giving individual and thank her quickly.  So, crochet it was!

By the way, the particular color way has a very denim shade along with green and orange.  Don't shiver or gasp!   It is beautiful and will be smashing with jeans or as flair over a white shirt.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This is a stealth project, so not much can be said.

Sock yarn - but not socks.

One size fits all.

Shoulder pain is hampering any attempt at progress.

'Tis a slow week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Here I am, Paddy!

Paddy.  That shall be the name of this much over sized cowl.  

Look at that curling edge.  Clearly, Paddy has not engaged in his steam bath yet.   It will take place - this I guarantee.

In the meanwhile, please note that the three hundred-ish stitches worked in the round on a US 11 sure does produce a mighty loop.   In this photo, I wear Paddy with one twist in the humongous loop so that Paddy is doubled.  Worn thus,  the cowl will slip inside of a jacket (if needed) and still fluff about the neck for wind protection and warmth generation.

Consider this option for wearing.  Should a sudden storm arise and blast a winter chill suddenly appear adding one more twist to the loop results in an extremely warm neck fitting cowl that still has room to pull up and protect the coiffure!

Paddy is an example of form following function.  Nothing fancy - no embellishments - just multiple twists of Misti Alpaca that will do the job when needed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Green And Happy Days

It is time to stretch the comfort of my familiar color palette and branch out.    Spring is upon us and even the perpetual green of southern California is taking on a brighter hue in the new growth showing about the garden.  Top that off  with yesterday's focus on Mardi Gras colors - those being green, gold & purple - and St. Paddy's day sneaking up, green is definitely on my mind.

And, it just so happens that a LYS is offering 25% discount on all green yarn.  I could not resist. Only two skeins of this Misti Alpaca were left in the store, so I grabbed, purchased and cast on.

Hopefully, when all is knit and done, this will be an over sized cowl that can be doubled up for extra warmth or pulled up like a hood. 

Three hundred stitches worked on a US 11 in the round.  Fairly boring to work, but the color and feel is so delicious that it will probably be done by Friday.

Then all I need is a freakish winter blizzard in this desert.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

756 - 756 = Celebration

Whew!  Done, finished, not blocked but shared with the Guild.  

The quick project of the week was turning straw into wearable art.  That's right.  Straw.  As in Silken Straw from Alchemy Yarns.    This is 100% silk and it does indeed resemble a flattened straw.  From the website: 

Gauge: 6 stitches = 1"
Recommended needle size: 4
Approx. yardage = 236 yards
Approx. weight = 40 grams

Forget that stuff about using a US 4 needle.  Because, when I purchased a dear skein at Common Threads, a complimentary pattern came my way.  And it specified two needle sizes - a US 2 and then increased to a US 8 to achieve this very unique Ruffle Scarf.  This is pure artsy art that will do nothing to keep the neck warm in a desert summer heat wave, but it will look might fine upon the neck and that is all that I need.  

The color above is more natural to the yarn - so ignore this shade, but notice how the scarf twists and turns and offers distraction from my aging neck.  Do not click on the photo so as to make larger - just look at the scarf and ignore the neck!

Please know that in these photos, no blocking has occurred.  I finished with the stitch # 756 of the bind off mere minutes before leaving for Saturday's Guild meeting - so this is what it looked like during Show & Share.  The very long ruffled and twisty tails are quite long (scarf length, don't you know), but in this photo, I've wound the length around and let the tails hang to the back.
The tails also look fine dangling and I am thinking that this will be just the right accessory for a plain white shirt as Spring springs upon us.

Which reminds me - one week before we spring ahead.   

But not before Mardi Gras!  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

378 x 2 = 756

One would hope that by this point in my life, I would know better.  Apparently, I don't know better.  Better than what?  Well, I don't know better than to cast on for a ruffle scarf that begins with three hundred seventy eight  (as in 378)  stitches and hope for smooth sailing.   

First, there was the casting on of those 378 stitches.  And I didn't even flinch - nailed it on the first try with "tail" left over.  I even managed to place markers in the correct locations so that parity with the pattern was achieved.  

Second, there was k1, p1 ribbing with short rows!  No flinching.  I understand short rows.  I understand ribbing.  I put the two together and it all worked out.  I did it.

And then.  And then, after succeeding two times on a US 2 needle, it happened.  

Quoth the pattern, "Change to size 8 needle, purl into front and back of each stitch closing w&ts  (those being from the short row ribbing section).     I know, deep down in the depths of my yarn soul, that the word "RUFFLE" in the name of the pattern probably was a huge hint that there was much increasing to be accomplished.  It is just that I have never equated the word "ruffle" with a dramatic chance in needle size whilst performing two purl stitches including the dreaded purl into the back and looking for wrapped stitches at the same time.  

The only rest I had in the process of moving from 378 stitches to the dreadful 756 stitches was a quick trip to the LYS to procure a size 8 needle with a longer cable and a pointy tip!  Blessings to shop owners who actually keep needles in stock for these panic inducing moments of ruffle madness.

And now, there are 756 stitches on the cable - give or take some percentage and who cares exactly how many because there is no way that I am going to take the time to count that and see what actually happened.

Don't even mention the future cast off.  I have blocked that thought and refuse to even think about it. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Knitterly Celebration

Margaret had a birthday.  She had the grace to have her birthday fall on a regular knit night.   Naturally, this calls for a bit of celebration. 

This is the birthday girl.  Our regular knit night now takes place at Kraemer's Koffee Bistro in Riverside.  If you are ever in the area (the Brockton Arcade) stop in and say hello to Jake, Ken and the gang.  One reason to frequent a local shop is the perks that come with familiarity.

We are all comfortable with our LYS and the occasional surprise discount or early pilfering through the new shipment.  Well, coffee shops work the same.  For the birthday party, we brought in our own pie and coffee cake - but Ken graciously brought out a pretty platter and a real cutting knife.   And he joined in the festivities with us.

So, exactly what does a Birthday Party at a local hang out look like when knitters are involved?

Occasionally, there was not much knitting.

Occasionally there was a lot of knitting.

There was admiring of progress.

And, if you will note the carton, there was a delivery of fresh eggs from the chickens - a regular event at knit night.

Near the end of the celebration, after our review of the Oscar telecast and the admiring of the new tile wall at Kraemer's,  Margaret spoke up and asked for help remembering the secret for grafting stitches.   That's what I love about knit night.  All manner of fun and free help when you are stuck.