Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl

On my recent train ride from Los Angeles to Seattle, I finished knitting the Swallowtail Shawl (mine is more of a scarf size) as a gift for a former boss. It was in lieu of another shawl I had started last year but never finished.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn A. Clark
Pattern from: Interweave Knits, Fall 2006
Wool used: Misti Alpaca Lace, Sea Mist color. I used about one skein (50 grams, 437 yards) single strand.
Where purchased: Knit Cafe in Los Angeles, CA
Needles: Addi Turbo circular, U.S. 4
Started: September 2006
Completed: November 2006
For whom: A former boss
What I learned: Knitting five stitches together can be a bit tricky with the blunt Addi needles.

Shawl point—

Shawl body—

Shawl edge—

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nether garments

My latest project is knitting some nether garments from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac using Rygja wool I bought at a thrift store.

Following the "Washing" instructions on this Recycling Yarn page, I soaked the hanks of wool in hot water and shampoo.

When the water cooled off, I rinsed the hanks in Eucalan Woolwash and hung them out to dry and, hopefully, lose some of the rancid lanolin smell.

Then I wound one of the hanks into a ball and started knitting to find out the gauge. I'm getting 5 stitches to the inch on size 5 U.S. (3.75mm).

And I've started knitting. Here's the first ankle. I'm not worrying too much about the irregularities of my knitting as these are long underwear. (I probably won't wear them under a housedress with boots, EZ style!) The wool is quite rough, and I'm hoping blocking will help even out the stitches somewhat.

I've started increasing up the back seam for the calf and knee shaping. It's tricky trying to increase the way EZ recommends. But I should figure it out before I finish.

This is my knitting project for a two-day train ride. Hopefully, I'll have nether garments well on their way to being completed by the time I reach Seattle!

P.S. There is an EZ knit-along, Zimmermania, that is currently quite active.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Knitting books II

Shelf 1: Small items—toys and doll clothes, collections of small items, socks, mittens, hats, bags, furnishings; collections of generally larger items (mainly sweaters)

Shelf 2 right: Children and infants, "knit lit," crocheting

Knitting books I

Shelf 1: How-to; Elizabeth Zimmerman; pattern stitch and motifs, including afghans; garment construction and general patterns; knitted fabric techniques (e.g., color work); finishing

Shelf 2: Knitted lace and scarf/shawl patterns; Scandinavian knitting; Fair Isle; Aran, including Starmore books; traditional British

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Beach socks

I started a pair of socks on my recent trip to Hawaii. I ripped out the first attempt because size one needles were too large. I found a pair of size 0s at The Needlework Shop in Lahaina, Maui, and started again.

I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock wool in Aslan (beige, lilac, light blues), which I won in a drawing at the former Knitty Gritty.

The pattern is from Wendy Johnson: her toe-up feather and fan sock pattern (.pdf).

Sock has been knit while on Maui beaches, in the condo, and in the airport. The first attempt on too-large needles kept me occupied on the flight over.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blocked Flower Basket shawl

If you have good neighbors (like I do), living in a duplex can be a handy thing—for example, if you need someone to model your freshly blocked Flower Basket Shawl.

I would have liked to make it a couple repeats larger, but I had a deadline, so I hope this size will work.

Details in two previous posts.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

It's blocking

I picked up a 40 x 60 inch piece of foam board, which, of course, did not fit in my car. So I had to put it in the trunk, and then, of course, I didn't have anything to tie down the trunk. So I found a large plastic sack stuffed away, ripped it open, managed to feed it through the latch on the top of the trunk and tie it to the matching latch on the inside of the trunk.

I drove home with the trunk more or less open, but at least the plastic tie held it somewhat, and I was able to take side streets.

The colors ran quite a bit when I soaked the shawl, even with vinegar. Then I rolled it in towels and laid it out on the foam board.

I've never made a shawl before, so I now see the advantage of buying blocking wires to keep the straight edge of the shawl straight. As a substitute, I thread dental floss through the eyelets along the top edge using a double-pointed needle that also has an eye on one end and pulled it tight. Then I tried to pin the edge without making too many bumps. The scalloped edges are easier, although it's difficult to stop re-pinning to make the scallops as symmetrical as possible. I was still re-pinning after I took this picture.

I knitted three extra repeats of the main pattern for ten repeats total. The Flower Basket shawl is still slightly smaller than the dimensions suggested. It will be more of a scarf/shawl than a shawl to wrap up in. The dimensions are about 55 inches across the top edge and just over 26 inches from the top edge to the bottom point.

More pictures when the shawl is dry!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Unblocked Flower Basket shawl

For the past few weeks I've been working on a Flower Basket shawl for my former boss and colleague. Today was her last day at work, but I just finished knitting the shawl around mid-night last night. So it still needs to be washed and blocked. I gave it to her anyway at her good-bye picnic and then took it back so I could block it.

Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl, by Evelyn A. Clark
Pattern from: Interweave Knits, Fall 2004
Wool used: Cherry Tree Hill Glitter Alpaca, Martha's Vineyard colorway. I used about one and three-quarters skeins (50 grams, 222 yards each) single strand.
Where purchased: Unwind in Burbank, CA
Needles: Clover bamboo circular, U.S. 5
Started: Mid-May 2006
Completed: Mid-June 2006

I like the bumpy texture of the back of the shawl, again, unblocked.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Lacy Scarf

Originally posted March 4, 2005.

My mum's belated birthday gift arrived in the mail today [edit: that is, my gift to her—her gifts to me are never belated!], so here are some pictures.

Pattern: Vine Lace Scarf
Pattern from: "A Trio of Lacy Scarves" pamphlet by Catherine Vardy, Fireweed Originals. Purchased for $0.25 at a sadly now-closed thrift shop that had a wonderful section of linens and handicraft items.
Wool used: Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca (I think; I've temporarily misplaced the label) in the Northern Lights colorway.
Where purchased: Skein in Pasadena, CA, with the counsel of Larry.
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo double-pointed U.S. 7 (4.5 mm)
Started: September 2004
Completed: February 2005
For whom: My mother's birthday gift
What I learned: How to knit with lace-weight wool on large needles. With only 58 stitches cast on, the 8" bamboo double-points were a definite advantage over the 14" needles.
Blocking method: Washed the scarf in cool (or maybe warm) water with a touch of Woolite. I should have added vinegar to stabilize the colors, which did run a bit. After rinsing, I rolled the scarf in towels to absorb the excess water, and then pinned out the scarf taut on a towel laid over the carpet.

[Updated 3/5/05]

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In the package by the front door

A used copy of Classic British Knits: 40 Traditional Patterns from England, Scotland and Ireland by Madeline Weston, for considerably less than currently listed on Amazon.com.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Projects Update

Although you wouldn't know it by the frequency of my posts here, I have been knitting. I was hoping to show a picture of my completed Evening in Eden / Blackberry Ridge stole that I finished knitting almost two weeks ago, but I haven't had a chance to block it yet.

So here it is in its unblocked glory. The fence between my neighbors' house and mine is just rough enough that it acts as light Velcro or—an older technology—as flannel for flannel graph pictures and holds woolen knitting in place. The side of the stole is not really that crooked—I was in a rush to take the photo before the sun set and the wood kept catching the wool.

I need to clear enough space on my bedroom floor to pin out the stole (which is five feet in length unblocked). The rest of the house is my cats' domain and, hence, not suitable for laying out woolen items on the floor.

Now I'm working on the Atherton jacket from Jean Frost Jackets. I've finished the back, and this is the left front. I have just cast off for the sleeve shaping.

Here's a detail of the slip-stitch pattern in a combination of linen and mohair yarns.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dad's socks II

The socks are finished (except for weaving in the ends), and I did run out of the Trekking wool. So I undid the first sock from the toe and joined the wool to the second sock. I would undo a few rows on the first sock and then knit a few rows on the second sock until the two socks were at the same place. Then I joined the black wool and finished knitting each sock separately.

Which meant I had to use Kitchener stitch again to finish the toes. Schurch has a clear explanation in her socks book on page 24. However, on the first sock I was not doing the "as if to knit" correctly. I was "knitting" into the back of the stitch on the back row instead of the front of the stitch. The second sock is better, although still not perfect. Maybe next time....

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dad's socks

I finished the first of my dad's birthday/Christmas socks on Sunday (1/29). I'm using the instructions from Charlene Schurch's new, excellent book, Sensational Knitted Socks.

The instructions are very thorough and have charts for all different sizes. I'm using a very simple pattern, the first one in the book. Wool: Trekking XXL, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 100 grams/2 ½ oz, 420 m/459 yds; Color: # 111 (black, grey, and yellow flecks); Needles: 2 mm (U.S. 0).

One ball of wool should be enough, although I was a little unsure. So I had the attendant at the mail room at work weigh the completed sock and then the remaining wool. He said they weighed exactly the same, so I hope I'll have enough to finish. If not, I plan to undo the toe of the completed sock and finish both toes in black wool. (Color # 111 seems to be discontinued.)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Knitting in Norway

I have many favorite knitting sites I visit. Currently, they are stored in two Bookmarks' folders, Knitting Blogs and Knitting Blogs II, and each folder links to about 30 sites.

One of those sites is Helenes side, a knitting and craft site from Norway. Helene writes in both Norwegian and English and posts lots of pictures.

Helene's most recent project is making sheepskin rugs. She also has had some interesting posts on medieval/Viking craft fairs, camps, and re-enactment events.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pattern Books Online

I keep forgetting about the riches of Project Gutenberg. In the "old" days, the books were only available in plain text. But now many of them include illustrations, for example, Beeton's Book of Needlework by Mrs. Isabella Mary Beeton. There are some interesting Victorian knitting and crocheting patterns in it, given a bit of patience for downloading the book.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Knitting in Staggerford

From Jon Hassler's novel, Staggerford:
Lillian Kite began to knit. She was a constant knitter. She never sat down without taking up her needles. She had begun knitting seriously when her husband died—not after the funeral when time hung heavy on her hands, but immediately upon finding him dead. [...] She called the doctor and the minister and the undertaker, and she picked up her needles and a ball of yarn and she went to work at high speed. When one by one the doctor and the minister and the undertaker came to the front door, she did not rise from her chair but said merely, "He's in there," pointing at the bedroom with her right-hand needle. She had been knitting ever since. (pp. 57-58)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Log Cabin Socks

I just finished these (Christmas gift) socks yesterday. This is actually the first pair of socks I've completed.

Pattern: Log Cabin Socks, by Anne Woodbury
Pattern from:Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice, by Melanie Falick
Wool used: Cascade 220, 100% Superwash Wool. One 100 gram/3.5 oz/220 yard ball, plus part of another ball. Color 816 - steel grey.
Where purchased: Unraveled, Monrovia, California
Needles: Brittany wood 5-inch double-pointed U.S. size 4 (3.5 mm)
Size: Woman's - 48 stitches. The socks comfortably fit my size 9 (U.S.) feet. They are for my sister, who has size 8 1/2 but wider feet.

Started: Mid-December 2005
Finished: January 21, 2006
For whom: My sister, who asked for warm socks for Christmas.
What I learned: Knitting socks on size 4 needles is much faster than with size 0 or 1! How to do Kitchener stitch to cast off the socks. On the first sock, I think I wrapped the wool the wrong way, so the toe is a little pointy (on the right). But it doesn't look too bad, I hope, when the socks are being worn.

I like the cables that come all the way down the heel, so the socks can be worn with clogs.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Lace Hat, Striped Sock, Mountain Colors Scarf

Originally posted February 9, 2005.

Knitting Content!

I finally got a disposable camera of pictures and a roll of film developed today. (The pictures on the camera were almost a year old....) So, I'm eager to post some knitting pictures. (Click pictures for a closer view.) Full details will be posted later.

1) Lace Rib Watch Cap, from Hats On! by Charlene Schurch.

2) Self-striping sock, Wendy Johnson's Generic Toe-up Sock Pattern. (Yes, I still need to knit the second sock.)

3) A rather extravagent scarf, in Mountain Colors Wooly Feathers and Merino Ribbon using their Gypsy Scarf pattern in the Yellowstone colorway.