Friday, January 25, 2013

Ruffle and Ruche

  The Critron is finally complete and will soon have a sister named Citron.  The most exciting part is that I have broken the curse of the color way repetition and branched out - sort of.

The beads in the photo are from the stash and would really pop on the solid color knit work.  Alas, me thinks them too heavy for the lace merino/silk blend.  You should be here to see me toss the ball of green and feel the weight as it delicately settles back in my palm like a spring leaf wafting down to the fresh grass.   Then I toss the ball of yarn with the beads wrapped around it.  Just a few beads (basic size 6 that I use so often) makes the yarn plunk down like a bag of rocks at a gem show.

So, there is a choice to be made.  Forgo the beads  - which don't exist in the pattern - or go shopping for smaller beads - which many have successfully incorporated according to Ravelry posts.

I have only one week to get this ruffle and ruche design knitted and blocked.  Both shawls are needed as samples to entice  good folk to join in a K/CAL* at Riverside Knitting Guild.

*Knit/Crochet A-Long

Friday, January 18, 2013

Remembering the Past

Not too many years ago, I took a class from Beth Brown-Reinsel in which I learned to cast on with two colors.  I'd almost forgotten about the technique even though I see my work weekly.  As it turns out, I personally do not have much use for wool wrist warmers.  Neck warmth is what I need most often.  But that is another story.

Back to the two color cast on and why I see it all the time, but forget that I know how to do it.

It turns out that the wrist warmer fits a favorite water bottle perfectly!  This is bottle, suitable adorned, is my constant companion at knit groups.

So why do I forget about the techniques displayed in the fab sample of color work?

When the need arose, it finally clicked in.  I will confess that I had to get out my class notes (valuable stuff) and do a refresher.  And that, dear reader, is how this hat came to be.

A little bit of green in the cast on and then blocks of green marching about the hat. 

Always remember, and don't ever forget, we know more than we do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Very Deep Rut

There sat I.  Joyously reaching into the big bag of projects looking hoping for an hour of yarn-ness. 

The first project I picked up was the blocked fabric to make a clutch purse.  Working on the clutch meant cutting lining, matching edges, and actually sewing.  Well, since I did not feel like getting out the sewing machine and making a lining, it went back into the pile. 

Next thing out was the crochet shawl.  All neatly bagged with hooks, pattern and yarn.  I even remembered exactly where I was in the pattern.  More importantly, I've now increased to an "H" hook, so each row goes a little quicker.  Alas, no excitement to be found in yet another couple of SC rows.

Finally, I pulled out the current KAL interpretation.  This will be my second Coquille.  It is looking great and does have a stained glass look.  It was at this point that I realized why not one of the three current projects is providing excitement.

Obviously, I am stuck in a very deep color rut.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Clickety Clack

Clickety clack - faster than you can k2tog a few times and voila!
 A little beaded scarf is completed.  This is Frieda, a crescent shape designed by Marian Nelson.    Alternating bands of garter and stockinette work up quickly.  As in very fast.  The two lower garter bands are beaded predictably, so even that does not take much time.

 The beads add just enough control and weight to prevent curling or wavy tendency.  The beads might not show up well in the photos.  They match the marvelous Koigu shades. 

Up close and personal, the beads add just enough subtle bling - is there such a thing - to enhance this scarf.

This one is destined for a special Valentine's date.  It was a joy to make, needed no pins for the blocking and really might want to stay in my collection rather than getting adopted by a new owner.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lobster Claws & Crochet

You are wondering what lobster claws have to do with crochet.  To be sure, eating lobster whilst crocheting would be a messy experience filled with buttery soaked fiber that no amount of soaking and gentle washing could make useful again.  Move your thoughts away from the table and feast on these lobster claws.

 Crochet stitch markers made with a lobster claw clasp!  These little babies were a gift to myself.  To me from me.  Because I deserve them.  If you don't crochet, fret not.  Stitch markers come in all manner and style of usefulness.  These just happen to be made by a local entrepreneur Peggy. She will be at Stitches West 2013 organizing a stitch marker swap so you might run into her there.

Did you notice that the markers are actually hook sizes?  Check out this next photo to see how they are used.

When you are ready to stop working for a while, grab the marker that corresponds to the hook size you are using on your project.  Open the lobster claw clasp and grab that last loop.  Put away the hook.  Just pull it out.  The working loop remains safe in the clasp and you don't even have to remember what size hook you are using.  It is right there on the cute little bead.

I love these!  Especially on this particular shawl where the hook size changes three times during the making.  

It is all in having the right tool at the right time.  And this time, thanks to the little lobster claws, I've got it right!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Scalloping Along

The first Coquille is completed.  "First", because already a new one is swimming about my thoughts waiting to be cast on.  And the term "already" relates to this post where things looked grim. 

This shawl is a quick and easy knit.  As the name suggests, ridges end with a scalloped detail provided by short row gussets.  The shawl is worked on two different size needles which produces an open feel without any lace work - or life lines - required.

I still have not decided how best to block the thing.  If the gussets are blocked open and wide, I need more pins.  If left soft and rumply I really don't need to block it at all.

The Zauberball plays rather nicely with the vertical stripes.  Long color repeats are the secret for this pattern. 

However, the next one that I see in my mind does not leave the color repeats to chance.  I'm hoping to control for color and wind up with a more stained glass effect.

The KAL for which this was done is not over until March.  Plenty of time. . . .

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stone Soup Of A Post

It had to be.  The ESSS KAL is now scheduled to do a Short Row refresher after the meeting this month.  Although no knitting on the shawl as occurred since last year, I remain ahead of the game.  Naturally, I will attend the session with the hope of picking up a new tip or trick, spend more time amongst knitterly types and scope out the competition find out who else is in the KAL.  It should be fun.

That time between December 24 and January 1 is a gift.  There is something about everyone you encounter - whether they celebrate or not - that is just light and almost care free.  Oh, sure.  Trials still sneak in and daily struggles remain.  But in those final days of any year it feels different.  As though we all harken back the hope of innocence, the faith in a better future and the joy of anticipating something new. 

The mystical week (see paragraph above and actually read how it means) included much time for  yarn work.  Two projects held my attention.  I managed to cast on for the sleeves of the cardigan and work through six colors.  The cardigan is not a UFO.  It's just that I don't need it completed for a bit.  So it sits and waits its turn. 

Knitting sleeves is not the most exciting thing in the world.  To break up the monotony, a bit of crochet has been added to the mix.  Aziza is a lace weight Tencel yarn that is turning out to be a Critron shawlette.  It is very slow going.  It is very striking.  It is going to be a "best ever" traveling accessory.

This weekend brings on the opportunity to pitch a program idea to a group.  If they like the idea and can agree on specifics, it is probable that I'll find myself with four short weeks to finish two projects.  Such a possibility both immobilizes my innards and sends an adrenaline rush to my fingers. 

Speaking of immobilized innards, Daisy needs to get here quick.  I'll let her out of the kitchen so that she can take down all the Christmas decorations.