Friday, September 30, 2011

Out Of Space

Three weeks after casting on, the Bono Kimono was laying out on an old beach towel.  Friends are amazed and darn near astonished at the speed put into this project.   I don't know why they are so in awe.  Have we not, each one of us, at some point in our yarn history managed the impossible to meet a deadline?  This is/was one of those times.  

Goal + mind set + finish line = Done!

Well, that and two weekends of watching football from the comfy sofa in order to mentally survive the unending garter.  

You might not want to enlarge the photo as this one was taken early on in the smoothing and straightening process.  Many a wiggle is still in the stitching.  But, if you do happen to enlarge the photo, you will discover:
  •  a bright green stitch marker indicating the possibility of a dropped stitch that needed a bit of weaving to make hold whilst disappearing into the garter ribs.
  • ends that are not woven in due to wanting to have the cotton setting its mind to a comfortable gauge before weaving in the straggles.
I did not modify the patter....much.  I made it a length that barely skims the top of my hip line.  This resulted in sleeves that are definitely 3/4 length.  It is important to note that the design of this open front kimono is not meant to close.  No, it does not slip off the shoulders, but the front edges do not meet/touch.  It is a light cover up perfect for this in between season or  over air conditioned restaurants. 

Bono Kimono from Loops here.
Schaefer Yarn Laurel  which your LYS can order for you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


This past weekend, I listened to a shop owner wax poetic on the absolute superiority of steam blocking vs wet blocking of garments.  Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion.  Even when that opinion is that "if a garment is steam blocked the way I am telling you it will never, for the life of the garment, revert back to uneven stitches or to the preblocked stitch gauge." 

And I have an opinion as well.  Here is why I like to soak the daylights out of my stuff.

Because soaking the daylights out of the yarn also soaks the excess dye out of the garment!  Imagine, if you will, wearing the future kimono jacket over a lovely white shirt.  Guess where that excess dye is going to end up?   Yep, transferred to the white, that's where.

Look at what was left in the basin!  That is not egg dye waiting for a spring holiday.  This is photo evidence of why I wet block almost everything.  Steam is good for generating power and treating the very delicate yarns or for massaging a seam into releasing puckers, etc.  But, with so many indie yarn dying out there giving us the shade and colorways we demand, I feel that I should do my part and get the last of the color released from the fiber before my new white shirt is tainted by berry shades.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Football Knitting

OK, this knitting project really is not football related.  No team colors are involved and it is not a scarf that can be waved maniacally about the head whilst screaming in a stadium.  The only reason this is football knitting is because it is a whole heap of mindless knitting that can easily be accomplished when kicking back on a Sunday afternoon to watch the Saints romp up and down the field.

Right now, it does not look like much and you are most assuredly underwhelmed.  If you've a mind to investigate:

Pattern is Bono Kimono which can be had here via Loops Knitting

Yarn is Laurel for Schaefer Yarns in the Sinrock Mary colorway.

Not much else can be said at this point.  Just a whole bunch of garter stitching that keeps growing and growing and growing, but still measures seventeen inches.   I hate when that happens.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Falling In Love

Last week, I finished another project.  Yeah for me!  The Lace Tunic is now ready for the color palette change that takes place at this time of year.

The thing about seaming lace is that great moments of concentration are required.  Here you see the front and back lining up side by side.  The markers are my attempt to perfectly match the rows of lace and ensure that the seam does not go askew.  It takes a bit of smoothing, even post blocking, to massage the lace into mirror image holes and stitches.

It is so worth the extra time it takes to slowly, stitch by stitch and row by row, sew up the seams.  For me, it works best to do this type of seaming with the project mostly flat and that usually involves the dining table.  A vital last step involves removing all remnants of wool dust before eating!

Here she is.  I am in love with the big shawl collar and how casual it looks.  Having studied the fashions currently being displayed about the mall stores, it is possible that I'll add a leather belt when wearing this one.    Yesterday afternoon, it was ninety-three degrees hot.  Thus, the tank top as an underpinning.

But when the temps drop, I'll gradually shift to 3/4 sleeves and then a turtleneck long sleeve top for underneath. 

It feels good to finish a "big" project rather and another scarf or gift bag.  A true sense of accomplishment and giddiness.   Too bad you missed the site of me patting my self on the back for a job well done.  I did my happy dance!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Decision Is Possible

The Straw Girl scarf is completed, blocked and worn in public.  It is a fine accessory and not too strangling hot to wear in this late summer/early autumn weather.  Quite enjoyable in the evenings!

I like the length.  You will note in the photo that it wraps and dangles appropriately for my body length.  The ends are a bit fiddly when they encounter the seat belt.  Practically strangled myself the first time I buckled up!  But a mere flip of the trailing ends and I could breathe again.

So, what did I decide about the ends?

I decided that the squared-off ends were just not working.  The pretty graphic beads worked best, but the weight of them had me concerned.  So, and you may click the photo to see it larger and then return to finish reading, I crocheted flowers and used the beads as the centers.

The flowers have dimension with two levels of petals and I used two flowers on each end so that the whole scarf has no right or wrong side.  Before sewing on the flowers & bead centers, I gathered the scarf ends tightly and that gave a "mass" into which the stitching would hold firm.  All of the sewing ends were left long and knotted up under the flowers to be tendrils. 

All in all, this airplane knit has turned out well.  The random placement of the twisted drop stitches plays well with my asymmetrical leanings, no underside makes fussing with it unnecessary, and the beaded flower ends add just enough weight to help the ends hang perfectly.

Friday, September 9, 2011

More Options To Consider

The decision matrix is getting quite complex.  There are new options to consider for embellishing the airplane scarf.
Option 4 is beads that wow me.  Totally forgot that I even owned these and that makes it more special.  Love the graphics of the beads with the twisted drop stitch in the scarf.  The weight of the beads don't add up like those other beads in the earlier option (see yesterday's post).  HMM - strong contender.

Option 5 solves the weight issue.  These fake pearls weigh very little, but they look rather lady-ish.  Don't get me wrong.  I wear pearls quite often.   But the fake looking pearls on the quality silk of the scarf is offensive and shall not happen.   This option was tossed out almost as soon as I took the photo.  

Option 6 is really out of the box thinking.  Stitch markers!  Yep, these custom made stitch markers from my buddy Joan are just the thing.  They look fabulous on the stitches.

So - six options so far and # 4 & #6 are at the head of the pack in my mind's eye.  But, if I use the stitch markers to embellish the scarf, what am I going to use on the raglan sweater to keep a nice straight increase line?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Applause please.  Something is actually past the bind off stage.  Past the soak stage.  Past the blocking stage.  All the way past dry!  But, alas, it is not finished.  The "airplane" scarf was long enough for me, so it came off the needles and went through the typical post knit, make it pretty stage.  And then I looked at that swath of silk and though BLAH!

Embellishment required. 

Option 1 is beads that are already strung for another project but can easily come off the black and go onto the teal.  Fairly basic and frankly - uninspired.

Option 2 is different beads.  Hey, maybe the problem is those beads in #1 are too small and offer nothing other than color contrast.  How about a fringe made of these left overs.  Hard to see in the photo, but these beads look "printed" all around.  Kinda heavy though when you add up enough beads to fringe both ends.  And noisy.  I think that these would "clank" rather than "tink".  Not so good.

Option 3 gets me out of a jam.  This is a necklace that I have a love/hate relationship with.  Love the wood beads that dangle, hate the way it wraps around my neck like a choker - - literally a choking feeling.   I could take the necklace apart and put the dangles on the scarf in an asymmetrical manner and feel quite the artist.  Very asymmetrical because no matter how many times I count the dangling bits, the number never changes and I want something on both ends of the scarf and there aren't enough bits to make it equal and then I'd have to figure out a way to string the beads from the necklace to look similar to the dangling bits and it would just string out and cause frustration and all that jazz.

Clearly, I need more options.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Slowly And Surely

Well, the work continues on the lace tunic that began last month.  Frankly, the crochet work required to make this is not a month worth of Sundays.  Travel (I simply must stop using that as an excuse), pain and pure laziness have caused this to drag on longer than necessary.

But when the temps stay above 100 degrees, it is difficult to get excited about autumnal shades and warm wool.  Slowly and surely it is getting done.  Thanks in large part to the amount of labor put to hook during the Labor Day weekend.

Please do notice how I am concentrating on ticking off the rows of this side to ensure that it exactly matches the other side.  Back in my free wheeling days when I could return to a project after months of ignoring it, pick up the pattern mid row and know exactly what to do, I never did put little marks on paper and pray that I remembered at the end of each row to put the friggin' mark on the piece of paper and get it in the right spot/row so as to.......!  [rant complete - please return to casual reading pace]   Alas, the youthful days of perfect memory are gone.  Thus, the constant ticking off of rows on almost every project.  

So, the row count and pattern repeating from front to back shall be perfectly matched.  Unfortunately, due to the pain in the working shoulder, these stitches are just a tad looser.  Each row a tad looser somehow multiplies to a noticeable difference once lots of rows are worked.   HMMM.   It is going to take some fancy thinking to block that out!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maybe Not

Now that my arm is feeling better and the muscle does not cause me to make strange facial expression whilst uttering the un-utterable, yarn work is progressing.  Witness the completed pieces of the TSS fingerless mitts.  

Let's just acknowledge that this photo is the underside, which is kinda cool in a funky way, but it gives a good glimpse into just how curly these pieces are.  Seaming is definitely required.

What I like about these finished pieces is the sturdy fabric.  So, I am thinking that maybe these are not mitts but rather they are the beginnings of a new travel pouch.  My old standby little packing bag is on its last legs.  About the only thing left that is not fraying on it are the snaps.

The right side of the TSS fabric looks mighty fine.  There is a funky, almost but not quite, plaid look on this side.  The curled wrong side is more stripe like.  Because of the wonky plaid vibe, I am really thinking that these should become a nice little travel bag.  Just big enough to hold the ID, valued paperwork (folded of course), phone,  keys and color for the lips.  I rarely have pockets safe enough for the valuables, so I depend on simple functional light weight accessory pouches when encountering TSA and the new empty pocket rule or running towards the next flight.

And this fall, I do have several excursions on the schedule.

So - - initially intended to be fingerless mitts for sitting on the patio during the chill of desert winter.  But maybe not.  Maybe a new travel bag.

I think that the many days of being barely functional due to the muscle mishap has left my brain in a fog.  I'll save the decision process for the moment that I feel like seaming.