Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finding Inspiration

For the last little while, it has felt as though my muse moseyed on out of my sphere.  Oh, I flipped through magazines, joined the Pinterest boards, cooked mashed cauliflower (a huge hit that shall be repeated) and ate a few cookies too many.   Life was just - plain life.

It turns out that Madame Muse had moseyed on down to Louisiana where I caught up with her.

 A gifted artisan created this porch railing and screen with branches.  It is a thing of beauty that uses hefty tree trunks as the posts and fills in with smaller branches.  Yes, some lucky homeowner gets to enjoy this art every day.

There seems to be a trend toward blue homes.  This more traditional Victorian porch is smack dab in the middle of town. 

As I look at the branches of the crepe myrtle (photo foreground), it appears that perhaps that same smoothness was used in the porch above. 

There is something grand about a tree.  Especially the live oaks of my youth.  Live oaks sprawl above you and invite daydreams.  Or, in this instance, an easy lunch at the Tabasco plant at Avery Island.  Next time you are anywhere near Louisiana, stop by this piece of heaven and relax. 

Yes, trees are indeed grand.  They bear the scars of Mother Nature and keep on growing.  It is imperfect perfection, such as this, to which my muse led me. 

A moment of wonder.

A moment of solitude.

A pause in life - away from life - where peace can be felt.

A moment of wonder.

Struggling to understand how Mama Cat managed to sneak in unseen and birth her babies under the bed in which I slept.

Madame Muse, once again you have led me back to my place.   I am me once again.  Thank you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So Cool Cowl

Finally, the first project from the lace weight of Miss Ebony Rose is completed.  'Tis a cowl.  I am not really a cowl girl - pun intended and humbly offered - but this seemed like the perfect outcome for something that was too wide to be a scarf.

A seam, strategically and appropriately placed so as to turn straight knitting into a circle and voila!  Instant cowl.  Due to the very stretchy nature of the fabric, the bind off was worked so loose as to appear sloppy and then the edges were crocheted together with one chain stitch in between the each garment stitch.  It is loose enough no to impact the final result.

This one is all about the undyed natural color of Miss Ebony Rose's offering and the stitch.  The cowl is converted from the Mysterious Lace Reversible Scarf pattern which is free (as in FREE) from Misti Alpaca and easily found on Ravelry or here at the website.

A simple repetitive stitch with a placement twist on "increase one, decrease one, repeat across"  offers a lovely and quite feminine lace look with out the need for fiddly row counting and chart reading.

HUGE HINT:  don't drop a stitch.  Enough said.

The final size is large enough to double and still slip over my head.  It makes for a very warm neck.  This in spite of the very holey fabric.

And it is large enough to slide down around the shoulders without stretching too much.

Although the cowl is still not my thing, I love the stitch pattern.  And I do have one more hank of Ebony Rose's lace weight so perhaps I'll work up a narrow scarf.  After all, too much of a good thing is sometimes just enough.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Soup Shawl

Oh, glorious day!  The thrill of completing a project typically brings about that whole blocking thing.  And this girl has been on a blocking binge lately. 

I might have to name this Soup Shawl.  You know when you've eaten roast three nights in a row and there are still a few good slices left that no one wants to eat?  That makes you stop and think of all those who have food security issues and so you chop up the left over roast and the last potato and look for a few carrots or turnips or anything hidden in the fridge and turn it all into soup.

Well, that is the story of this (yet again) Southbay Shawlette which is now my Soup Shawl.  I thought for sure that the remaining alpaca sport from this project could be something that would look different and not be just the same old thing again.  Now it is the same old shawl I've crocheted several times - but at least it isn't a vest.

The pins came out last night and this morning I awoke to this sight:
the Soup Shawl fits my office chair perfectly!  Gotta love it.

By the way.  There is still yarn left over!  So, after making soup, what is next?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spreading Wings

The first Wingspan is dry and ready to fly.  

Notes for the next one (which is so close to the cast on action that the yarn is snuggling the needles at this very moment):

*  Eight sections, per the pattern, is enough for my small size
*  More sections, requiring more yardage, will wrap about the neck/shoulder area grandly
*  Four rows across top is sufficient for all
*  Bind off LOOSELY  (never hurts to repeat that advice)
*  For a deeper shawl, simply case on more stitches, or use the sock weight counts for a DK yarn
*  Block triangles into perfect right angle sections or into a curve - Knitters Choice!
*  Make several as your friends will get that "look" in their eye the first time you wear Wingspan

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Keep The Knowledge Coming

One thing I truly enjoy about making a personal commitment to joining groups is the education that is freely passed along.  This is especially true amongst those who love fiber.  This week brought a wonderful presentation by the Davies family from A Simpler Time Alpacas & Mill.   You guessed it.  They raise alpacas.

Owing to the location of the meeting, which was smack dab in the middle of a city, none of the creatures made an appearance.  Well, not in the flesh.  But they were there on screen and in spirit.

 There was yarn available for stash building.  You'll note that some of it was dyed.  But much was natural in all the fabulous shades that are alpaca.

Science has never held a great fascination for me, but the easy description that was given concerning microns and softness began to make sense.  Sheep vs. alpaca vs llama vs etc.  I feel a bit more knowledgeable.  Not proficient.  Just able to  to listen with some background and nod at all the right times.

This was a popular table.  Those yarn cakes in the back were put up at the mill from the neck/leg fiber and best used for felting. 

One of the hot items available was a bit too much of an oxymoron to tempt me.  But others swarmed the display and were stockpiling grandchild gifts! 

What was the hit of the day? 

What really caused yarnies to part with a pence or two?

Paca Bears. 

These were the last few available for adoption. 

If you are ever down near El Cajon - or just want a wonderful weekend trek, go visit A Simpler Time.  Give the Davies family a holler (check the website link above for contact info) and enjoy a day of learning, loving and enjoying the sweetness of alpaca. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fast Progress

Fast progress is being made on the fast project.   This is Wingspan which can be had on Ravelry here.   As you can see, this version is worked on a #4 with sock yarn.   A quick look through the stash turned up this Zauberball in the black, grey and cream colorway.

Any sock yarn would work, depending on the effect that is desired.  The pattern includes suggestions for changing yarn weight.  The concept is so simple - just a series of right triangles - that all manner of manipulations are possible and still the final impact will be wearable.

My goal is to complete this in the next few days and immediately cast on again - in a different yarn!   Because each incarnation will be unique, no boredom is expected. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

To The Point

In the past few days, three - that is a big THREE - projects came off the needles.  As in finished.  To be sure there is still a bit of blocking to be done, but with the turn in the weather from hot sunshine to cold wind, I have lost all inclination to block a cotton short sleeve pullover.  Today a wool shawl is firmly settled about my shoulders.

Having both a big project and a fast project going at the same time fits my work style best.  So, with all those empty needles hanging about in the stash closet, the work bag and the coffee table, it was time to start several new things.  Without elaboration, I offer for your amusement the following:

Here is the big project.  It is lace, has multiple charts and is worked on a #4 needle.  This one will take quite a while, especially one of the charts.  I just might have to lock myself in a padded room away from people & pets to get through that  upcoming section.

At least the beginning is underway.  Now don't go thinking that this is a huge of size project.  It is big only in that it will take a long time due to the chart work required to give life to this scarf.   My head needs a challenge right now and this is it.

This is the fast project.  A series of right triangles also worked on a #4 needle.  This one will take almost no time at all, even though the pattern asks for eight triangles.  Mindless work.  

I do love geometry applied to yarn and this one fits the bill perfectly.  It can be knitted on in public whilst carrying on a conversation and very little can go awry.  My head needs a break from the challenge of the lace. (see big project above)

The real point here is that I have more than one #4 Addi lace point.  I love these needles and use them even when not working lace.  Needle stash - - ahh!