Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Koi Rama - Chart 1 Done

As soon as Scorpius was off the needles and on the blocking mats I cast on Koi Rama.  This shawl is knit from the bottom up so you have to cast on a lot of stitches, and I am doing the large size, so I had to cast on even more.  My usual cast on is the long-tail cast on, but when I have to cast on 330 stitches I go for the knitted cast on.  The advantage of working shawls from the bottom up is that the rows keep getting shorter.

The pattern calls for casting on with US size 9 (5.5 mm) needles, but I didn't have a US size 9 with a long enough cable so I used a US size 8 (5.0 mm).  You then knit one row with the larger needles before switching to US size 6 (4.0 mm) and beginning the lace chart.  As you can see, I am actually using stitch markers to separate the repeats of the pattern, an unusual course of action for me, but this pattern is complex enough that I needed them.

There are suggested bead placements in the pattern, so of course I had to add beads.  Fortunately I had a good match in my extensive bead stash.  The recommended placement method is to pre-string them.  I have used this method before, but it really isn't my preferred method.  First, you have to string enough beads to get through your current cake of yarn.  The stringing is easy.  I use a Japanese Bead Threaders.  They don't tear up your fiber or your fingers the way that the Big Eye needles do.  Second, they don't stay put.  This pattern has you place them on the yarn overs.  I've done this before as well, and I always forget what to do with them when I work the next row.  For this pattern the yarn overs form pairs, so on the first yarn over I pushed the bead to the right side of the yarn over strand and on the second yarn over I pushed the bead to the left side of the yarn over strand.  They do tend to wander a bit while you're knitting the next couple of rows, but they are pretty easy to push back into the spot you want them to be.  When I started this cake of yarn I strung 100 beads, and it looks like I'll have a few to spare.  I'll collect the exact numbers for each yarn cake as I go.

The yarn is Tinsel Toes, from The Unique Sheep, in the color Pisces.  This was the yarn for the most recent Zodiac Club shipment, but the pattern really didn't excite me and the yarn really wanted to be made into Koi Rama.
It is a lovely gradiance set and I am starting with the darkest skein (on the left).

Pattern:  Koi Rama by Kitman Figueroa
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Tinsel Toes in Pisces
Needles:  US 8 (5.0 mm), US 6 (4.0 mm), US 4 (3.5 mm)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scorpius - Finished!

I finished this up yesterday.  I always have a hard time figuring out how to photograph lace shawls.  I see some folks take them outside and hang them in trees or on shrubs and all I can think about is the possibility of getting it dirty, or snagging it on vegetation.  I also like to use natural light, so my dress maker dummy stands near the window of the room that I use to store a lot of my knitting and also for blocking.  Of course, that means there are also random piles of knitting that can be seen around the edges of the bottom of the photos.
Figuring out how to style the shawls on the dummy can be a challenge sometimes.  I hit on the drape in the first picture a while ago, inspired by Grace Kelly in "To Catch a Thief", and I hit on the styling in the second picture this morning when I was trying to figure out how to take a picture that showed off the rest of the lace design.
And here is the blocking picture, just to give a sense of the overall look and how the colors pooled.  I must say, it reminds me a bit of argyle socks.

Project:  Scorpius by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Scorpio
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Scorpius - One side finished

I finished up the first side last night and have started working chart 2 on the second side.  This is where things start to get boring for me.  I've done all of these stitch patterns already and I just want to be done with the shawl.  The nice thing about this pattern is that it is a rectangular shawl, so the rows go pretty quickly, and they don't keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.  I am already thinking about my next project - another Kitman Figueroa shawl, Koi Rama - with the yarn for the Pisces shipment of the Zodiac Club.  The club pattern is pretty, but not quite my style, and the yarn really wants to be made into Koi Rama - which is a fish themed shawl, so it is still appropriate - and one should always listen to the yarn.

Project:  Scorpius by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Scorpio
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Scorpius - Charts 2 and 3 Done on one side

Once I finished up the center section I concentrated on working on one side.  I have quickly worked through Charts 2 (Papyrus Lace) and 3 (Baghdad Border) and am almost ready to start the 4th and final chart on this side.

Project:  Scorpius by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Scorpio
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scorpius - Baghdad Screen Chart (Chart 1) Done

I finished up this section of the shawl last night, but it was too dark to get a decent picture.  I started out in the center with Judy Becker's magic cast and have been working my way out from there.  On each side I worked rows 1-20 of the Baghdad Chart, then rows 9-20 three times, then rows 21-28.  I actually cropped the chart three times in my KnitCompanion App to correspond with the three steps, which made it so easy to remember what part I was working on.  I also finished each piece on both sides before continuing on to the next.  Given that I started in the middle of the skein and am working the same pattern in both directions, I find the difference in the color pooling between the two sides interesting.  The stitch count changes between this chart and the next, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the color pooling.

Project:  Scorpius by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Scorpio
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Monday, April 7, 2014


When I finished up the Mayan Garden Cape I thought about starting Peter Pan, but I really want to wait until the complete pattern comes out so I don't have to import all of the clues into KnitCompanion.  Then the latest shipment from the Zodiac Shawl Club came and I decided I really needed to work on those so I pulled out Scorpius.  This one presents a little bit of a challenge because of the construction (so does Peter Pan, but I have a plan for that one).  This is one of those shawls that is knit from the center out.  Well, not quite the center.  The first chart forms the center panel, and then you work charts 2, 3 and 4 before going back to the cast on edge (provisionally cast on) and work charts 2, 3 and 4 again.

My first issue with the construction is the fact that the yarn is variegated and if I just work the pattern as written the yarn colors may not look right - there might be an obvious break where I start the second part of the shawl.  The second issue with the construction is the provisional cast on.  I'm just not a fan of those, especially the ones where you use a crochet chain to pick up the stitches and then unravel the crochet chain to get the other side.  I learned on the Wavelettes shawl what a pain that can be.  Originally I thought I would just do a long tail cast on and pick up stitches from that for the other side.  I figured that with fingering weight yarn the ridge formed by the cast on wouldn't be too noticeable.  I even started the shawl out that way and worked a few rows of the pattern, and as I worked them a plan started to form.

I frogged that first start and took my scale and my cake of yarn downstairs to my studio and put the yarn cake on the scale and started winding another cake from it using my left hand to tension the yarn and my right hand to wind.  When I had wound off half of the cake I grabbed another US 4 needle out of my needle stash and headed back upstairs.  Then, starting in the middle of the skein and holding the two needles together I cast on 77 stitches using Judy Becker's magic cast on that was invented for toe up socks.  And then I started knitting.  I have knitted rows 1-20 of the first chart in both directions and now I'll knit rows 9-20 of the first chart 3 times on each side, instead of 6 times, finishing off with rows 21-28.  It will make the central motif a little bit bigger, but I have a very generous skein so I'm not worried about running out of yarn.  The picture is not the best - it has been a gray and rainy day.

Project:  Scorpius by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Scorpio
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Willow Cardigan - Finished!

I finished up the body almost a month ago, and then it sat until last weekend when I pulled it out and finished the neck band and sewed it to the body.  Once that was done I started on the sleeves.  I did top-down set in sleeves, and it always seems to take me a couple of tries before I get it right.  This is for throwing over a tank top when you just need a little extra warmth and don't feel like dealing with a shawl.

Pattern:  Tahki Stacy Charles Willow Cardigan
Yarn:  Tahki Stacy Charles Tandem in Ocean Deep
Needles:  US 7 (4.5 mm)