Thursday, May 24, 2012

Color My World

This week brings much color into the knitting.  This isn't exactly "my" colorway, but this year I am determined to branch out and try shades and hues that go beyond jade, teal and merlot.

As you can see, this is a very simple top down raglan.  The construction is just a platform for the unique color flow that is Noro.

This one is at the boring part - the body of stockinette broken with the thrill of garter at the front edges.

Knit on - even if the only thrill is waiting for the next color.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Stitch By Any Other Name

Thirty-eight years ago, Mama & I made an afghan.  I was going away to college dorm life and needed something decorative and warm.  She made the granny squares and I made squares for the afghan using the Afghan stitch.  At the time, this struck me as quite clever.

Thankfully, Mama sewed the whole thing together and, if I recall correctly, I did the edging.   Time has taken a toll on the afghan.  The seams are giving way; there is proof that Red Heart eventually breaks down.  But still, I keep the threads that we worked.  I hang on to our joint project.  A weak seam, a broken thread, a smell of decades past. . . this is our history - Mama and I.

Fast forward to this week and the Afghan stitch is still part of my repertoire,  only now it is known as TSS or Tunisian Simple Stitch.  To refresh my skills and add to my own personal stitch knowledge, I signed up for an online class.  Check out Craftsy for a huge selection of learn at your own pace classes.  Craftsy lets you learn from the masters! 

Tunisian Crochet with Jennifer Hansen, of Stitch Diva Studios fame, is a fabulous class.  What I love most about this online video it the ability to adapt the excellent teaching to my style of learning.  Stop.  Rewind.  Take a video note.  Move faster.  Move slower.   Come back next week or next month.  I've bought the course and it is mine for as long as I need it.  

Look at my new Tunisian Crochet square.  It is a spa cloth.  I love the mix of stitches.  Yes, I had first learned the TSS in that afghan from the 1970s.  Somewhere along the line, I played around with the TKS (Tunisian Knit Stitch).  But never ever had I gotten to all the other possibilities such as the TRS (Tunisian Reverse Stitch).  I am enthralled.  

When life calms down a bit and my mind quits vacillating on "four different colors of DK weight yarn"  I will start the fantabulous multi-garment from the class.  

Are you excited yet?  Click on over and check out the super Craftsy classes, workshops and patterns.  I'm glad I did.

Friday, May 18, 2012

French Scarf for Francois

Thanks to an easy kit from Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, I have a new scarf.  Well, actually Ellene Warren gets heaps of credit for her easy to accomplish French Scarf.  And, being a Francois, I do love my French Scarf.

This is a clever little plan where two different yarn types - in the exact same color way - are alternated into a breezy shawl.  I am here to tell you that mohair in both boucle and barely there lace weight work well together.  Don't get started on the "It makes me itch.  It's too scratchy" train of thought.  Depending on the phase of the moon or some other such mystical event, I too occasionally feel the mohair where it slides across the back of my neck. 

But, it turns out that for the most part, I wear clothes on my upper body (lower body too,  should you be wondering) and thus there is always a layer of something tolerable between me and a potential itch.  And by golly, I'll wear the stuff until my skin breaks out in whelps so severe that my demise is on the horizon.  That's how much I love this stuff.

Now, please know that if such severe reactions are your personal lot in life, don't go making this scarf out of mohair yarns!  Protect your self.  The same impact can be had from more skin friendly fibers. 

I love the way that the two rows of boucle appear to be suspended in air.  What is happening is that three rows of the kid mohair are worked on the same gargantuan needles and create the space between.  Having both weights of yarn dyed in the exact same color way (Charlotte's Verdigris) is the real beauty here. 

I tried to get a close up of the magic - but it is fuzzy.  You'll be patient about that.  I'm a yarn artist, not a photographic genius.

As much as I adore this French Scarf, it might be destined for life as a gift.  My heart wants to keep it; my soul wants to cherish a friend.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Mountain of Success

The mountain is scaled - Multnomah is complete.  Yes, I am a few years late in the trend, however with such a timeless pattern, late is never late.  Before I  get all wrapped up in success, a few specifics:

Pattern: link is above and available through Ravelry if you prefer.

Yarn:  Araucania Yarns, Lonco Multy in Color 4005 (blue, yellow gold and resulting brown & green)

Needle:  US 4

There are many blogs and chat threads available to assist with this pattern.  The dreaded Feather & Fan seems to be the major culprit that causes difficulty.  Well, that and the fact that the pattern for the F&F section is written very well for the first repeat but lacks clear specifics on maintaining placed markers as the work progresses.

This pattern has a strong and very pronounced center spine.  While the pattern might be missing a few hints, it is easy to read the stitches and place the YOs appropriately.  This part gave me no angst.

Ah!  But the dreaded F&F is another story.  I will admit to you, fair knitter, that this simple pattern always causes my hands to shake, my needles to TINK, and my mouth to be bad. 

Do I insert a life line?  NO. 
Do I insert markers at each eighteen stitch repeat?  NO. 
Do I do anything to help avoid problems?  NO. 

Miss Lenora goes on faith, a wing and a prayer - all the while trusting that she can fix anything or fudge her way through.  It is a bad habit.  I admit it.  You, however, should do the whole life line, markers, work slowly and count thing. 

To celebrate successfully getting through the F&F lace part, I tried a new-to-me bind off.  It is one of the K2tog BOs that claims to be very stretchy and give enough wiggle room to allow blocking out the lace without going up a gazillion needle sizes trying to bind off loosely.  Know what I mean?  The BO can be learned here.  I used Version B should you wish to give it a try.

Actually, you should give Multnomah a try. It is a wonderful mountain of a project.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Venue of Inspiration

Into each life a little serendipity must fall.  Such was my lot at the end of last week when there was an unexpected venue change.  Although short (less than 24 hours) I had the opportunity to experience cool mountain lake knitting. 
What can I say about bliss?  

 Beautiful crisp blue - sky,  lake and yarn.  

How best to describe the impact of "something different" on the yarn psyche?  
 The verdant green of the forest rising and falling with the thrust of the mountain and the undulating stitches.   

Do I describe how long the inspiration lasts?  
A pause in the rush of time. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Between Knitting

This month is turning out to be a series of fun adventures broken up by short periods of calm.  And it appears that the only time I have for yarn work is in between the adventures during those short periods.  I even missed my favorite Monday knitting group. 

So, you are wondering why Bert is the first thing you see in this post.  Simply stated, I am finding that sitting near the beast (his jungle scream has been particularly loud and demanding lately) keeps him calm and gives me a comfy place to try to get a little knitting done.

This is Multnomah,  which can be had free here.   It is an extremely easy piece of work.  Except for one thing.  It involves the ageless feather and fan pattern which is never my favorite to work.  Mind you, I love the final result.  But something happens to my fingers as they manipulate the sticks and string to K2tog and YO in the appropriate places.

It is inevitable that on every non important row, something will go amiss which causes the important working row (that being the K2tog & YO work) to be missing a stitch or two.  Thus I am forced to check each and every stitch in the prior row to find that one little mishap that make the whole thing go awry.  Sometimes it turns out that a YO was missed way below.  Sometimes it turns out that six does not mean seven nor does it mean five.  Sometimes it is impossible to figure out what when wrong where and how to insert/delete an extra stitch so as to fool the eye into thinking that nothing is wrong.  Sometimes it is. . . .

Is my frustration showing?  Don't fret.  When this one is done, I'll be please as punch.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

COBO Sparkles

After much interruption due to travel, celebrations and daily life, COBO is completed.  COBO was first introduced to you in this post.  New information is added to the pattern now that it is completed.


Suggested Yarn:  1 50 gr ball Crystal Palace Yarns Sausalito.  Sample is color #8107
Needle:  US 4 - 3.5mm.  A nice sharp/lace point is beneficial
Beads:  110 - 120  beads to match yarn
Crochet Hook (optional) for adding beads

Option 1:  String beads on yarn.  This will require constantly sliding beads along yarn which can be cumbersome.
Option 2:  Using a crochet hook that will fit through hole in beads, beads will be added as the project is worked.  Check YouTube for video instruction if you need a refresher on how to add beads with a crochet hook.

Cast On 24 stitches
R 1  *Place bead, Bind Off 12 stitches,  knit to the end  (bead will be at end of fringe)
R 2   Knit 12, Cast On 12 stitches.
R 3   Bind Off 12 stitches, knit to the end
R 4   Knit 12, Cast On 12 stitches.
Repeat these 4 Rows.  Bead is placed at end of every 2nd fringe.

Last Row: When scarf is desired length, or there is only one bead remaining, it is time to Bind Off thusly:  *Place bead, Bind Off all stitches.

Weave in all ends.  Voila!