Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Ten whole days without touching yarn.  That's a painful confession.  It has been a long dry spell with nothing to show for it.  Should you be wondering what is happening, these days have been filled with inspirational moments from nature.  I have just returned from a visit to Alaska and remain eternally in awe at the beauty of nature when mankind stands off to the side an allows her to just be.

Blue glacial ice.  Stunning blue so perfect that no photo can ever capture the beauty.  

Green foliage.  Verdant and so many tints, shades and tones that the word "green" is insufficient.

Pattern against solid.  Shapes, dots and unusual markings distinguishing one whale from the next, one salmon from a million.  

Majesty in motion.  Bald eagles skimming over the waters only to zoom up and find a perch from which to scan the world.

Quiet.  Yes, quiet moments when humanity shuts up and let's nature speak her song.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Is There A Model In The Yard?

Please and thrilled only scratch the surface.  As much as I love the South Bay Shawlette, and as many of those that I have made, this might just top the joyous high of pulling the blocking pins!

Get thee a Lazy Katy pattern - it is the best $5.00 you will spend this year.  Go ahead and support a home artist.  If we all order just one pattern we will be on the way to solving the world economic woes.  

A picture is worth a thousand words - pretend that I wrote three thousand totally outstanding words.


Friday, August 19, 2011

The Big Picture

Here she is.  Lazy Katy mid pinning.

She blocks beautifully.

The Zauberball shades are soothing.

Love her.

She wants to go on vacation.

Perhaps I shall take her on a cruise so that many may admire her.

Not Missing - Just Busy

Ten whole days since last I paused long enough to put fingers to the keyboard.  So much has happened and all of it is good.  In and amongst other things (like red beverage bags) an entire swath of beauty came off the needles today.

This is Lazy Katy by Birgit Freyer, which can be purchased through her Ravely shop.  Of course you are looking at the unblocked version which is here just to show you why I love this pattern so much.   Lots and lots of straight knitting with strategically worked increases and Voila!  Curves appear.    Oh, come on.  You know that geometry is all over yarn work so just smile and say, "look at that!"

For the most part, the pattern is so repetitive that boredom sets in.  Then comes the lace, which as it turns out is a non threatening  twelve rows of which six are just purling back to the beginning.  

Lace does tend to get away from the YOs.  Even after all these years, a life line is my friend.  Since this was the first time that I made the pattern, I put in a line through every purl row of the lace.  Quick, easy and it saves my sanity.

If you are not familiar with using a life line in knitting, there are many resources online including this one here. 

The thing about lace is that it grows.  A lot.  Even with the stockinette portion being the majority of this shawl, it increases significantly when blocked.

Unblocked, this Lazy Katy was about 29 inches across.  Maybe it is really a shawlette rather than a true shawl.  Or a scarf.  That is possible also. 

The blocking process brought the width across the curve out to approximately 38 - 39 inches.  Ten  inches just because it got wet.   I like that.  It makes me feel as though I knit a whole lot more than I did.

If you are wondering:
Zauberball; used maybe 2/3 of it; lots left over.
Worked on Size 9 (5.5 mm) Addi Turbo.
Crochet bind off worked on a 5.5 hook.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Brain In High Gear

Yesterday I waxed poetic on all things alchemy.   Today, another shameless advertisement for a superb yarn that I discovered about two years ago

Get thee over to Artfibers in San Francisco!  Or at least check out the offerings here on the web.   Rox rocks via this great yarn and fabulous store.  I first discovered Artfibers yarns at a yarn tasting and very recently told you about my current project via this post.    It is sad, but true, that the current tunic on the hook is using up the very last of the Artfibers in my stash.   Oh - - the horror.    Luckily for moi, I managed to tag along on a trip to the foggy golden bay with the single purpose of riding that elevator up to the light filled third floor space that is Artfibers.   No stranger has ever entered the store.  There is always time for a calm and unrushed visit.  

This is not your typical LYS.  This is a focused airy display of only the yarns produced for one label.  And get this!  You may purchase your yarn undyed or dyed.  And, even more of a miracle all yarns are available to the yard (meter)!  Can you believe it.   Give it a try.  Go to the store, place an order online or call up and ask.   If you want 514 yards of Brie, that is what you pay for and that is what you get.  Not sure how much you need.  Well, the website has a handy dandy calculator for figuring out the yardage needed for your planned project.  (use the link for Brie and play with the calculator)    If you are at the store, they will figure it out for you and even custom design a pattern for your measurements while you wait!   Life just does not get any easier than Artfibers customer service.

Witness this.  I walked in hoping that Ming in this fantabulous Color #8 was available and that there was enough to make another FLS, which I once made and sold right off of my back.  Score!  Three cones were in the bin.  Cone #1 had 594 yards which is not quite enough.  No worries as Rox immediately wound off 156 yards which adds up to exactly 700 yards.  How is that for service? 

What else caught my fancy?  What has put my brain in high gear?

Casanova.  50% Tussah Silk, 30% Mulberry Silk & 12% Superkid Mohair in a colorway that looks like it was designed solely for my pleasure.  This is something that will definitely be tucked away whilst my brain works up the courage to design a lacy shell for wearing with a suit.  I'm thinking beads and glitz and champagne!

Check out this.  Undyed 100% Yak.  You absolutely must read about Yaqui on this page.

Right now I have no idea what this will become.  It is going to take some brain power for sure.  I want to use every inch of the 619 yards that I purchased.   Because this felts so wonderfully, that might enter into the equation. 

Thoughts?  Suggestions?   I am open to your input.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Twisted Stitches

This past weekend included a bit of travel.  Let me confess right up front that I have a fear of running out of power and being no where near an electric plug.  So, often I rely on personal power and a ball of yarn to keep me entertained.  It always works!

This is a scarf made with Alchemy Silken Straw.    If your local favorite yarn store does not carry Alchemy yarns, you must encourage, beg and plead to get this stuff in stock.  Beautiful shades in beautiful fiber make for beautiful results.  

The garter stitch scarf is no pattern other than random sections of twenty stitches interrupted by a row of twisted drop stitches.

What's that you say?  You are not familiar with a twisted drop stitch.  How sad.  One simple maneuver adds a bit of interest to what otherwise would be just short lengths of yarn.

A very easy to understand video of the twisted drop stitch can be had here

Essentially all that you do is:
*  insert needle as if to knit
*  wrap yarn around BOTH needles and then
*  wrap yarn around back (working) needle and
*  complete the knit stitch

This leaves only one loop on the right needle per stitch rather than all of the wraps that result when working a plain drop stitch.  Now, don't get confused with a dropped stitch  - either on purpose or by accident - as that is something else entirely.

So, anyway, the twisted drop stitch adds a twist into each length.  Brilliant name, don't you agree?  The stitch drops down in an elongated manner and it has a twist.  Such a concept.

Perhaps you ponder why I am incorporating the stitch into this simple scarf.  Well, it looks nice and I only have one skein of the precious Silken Straw.   Often, when making a scarf to be wrapped about the neck casually but abundantly, length matters.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Same Thing, Different Result

Last year several posts were devoted to the quick, fabulous South Bay Shawlette from Lion Brand.  I made several and delighted in each.  That same stitch pattern is also used to crochet the New Lace Tunic from the same source.  

I'm making the tunic with the yarn from yesterday's post.  Having made the stitches before, it is almost too easy to create a rectangle.  The tunic, as it turns out, is just two rectangles seamed appropriately to create the effect.   The rows are churning out quickly and one hour of work produces as much lace as does twice that time spent on a new pattern.  

There just might be something to this whole repetition thing.  The brain is in balance and all cylinders are firing!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Art + Fiber = Artfibers

For quite some time, this cone of yarn was the first thing that greeted me when I opened the door to the yarn stash closet.  I absolutely adore the stuff.

This was purchased at a yarn tasting party and the color way is more muted than normal for me.  But each of the tones is so "me" that I had to have it.  I waited and waited and lost patience.  So much so that I started talking to the cone and stopped waiting for it to speak to me.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?'

"What are your strengths?"

"What thrills your soul?"

"When you envision happiness, what does it look like?"



Or forever hold your peace!"

Finally, we were able to communicate, this yarn and I.   We have decided to join forces and become a lacy tunic.  Such a shock.  Imagine it, please.  Fingering yarn wanting to be a bit of open air patterning about the body.  Hey, at least we are now communicating on the same wave length and united in a common goal.

This is from Artfibers and as I recall, it is Carezza.  Feels fabulous to work, now that the ding dang cone of yarn has come out from its resting place and decided to play nice with me! 

I digress with repressed aggression and beg your pardon, dear reader.

We are actually getting along fine, this yarn and I.  We meet by the window in the afternoon light and play happily while sweet jungle screams punctuate the air.

Bert says 'Ello!