Thursday, December 30, 2010

Calla Lilly Pullover - Finished

I finished up my third Flower of the Month pullover.  No more in the offing for now.  I was going to make pullovers from the Ballet yarn, but it makes my hands itch when I knit with it so I stopped working on the Morning Glory Pullover and have put the other Ballet yarn that I have in my stash up for trade or sell.  The fact that the yarn was making my hands itch has me worried, though.  It is a combination of superfine Alpaca and Tencel.  Now, I work with Tencel in my weaving, so I don't think I'm allergic to that, but that means that I may have an allergy to Alpaca, which I find a little odd, as I have knitted with it before with no ill effect.  So maybe it is just this Alpaca.  Who knows.  As long as I don't develop an allergy to wool.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rivendell Smoke Ring - Chart One

Last year, at about this time, Susan Pandorf of Sunflower Designs announced a grand project - three years of knitting inspired by The Lord of the Rings.  She kicked it off with the Evenstar Mystery Shawl, a truly spectacular circular shawl design, and has been releasing the patterns that went with the first book (The Fellowship of the Ring) throughout this past year.  This is one of those patterns.  I must confess that this is only the second design by Susan that I have actually started knitting, even though I have a number of them in my pattern library.  I'm not sure why they have not shot up to the top of my queue, they are amazing.  As I knit I am in awe of her design skills and creativity.  I think that perhaps I was a bit intimidated after knitting Evenstar, which was a non-trivial task, but so worth the effort.  I think that I shall be knitting more of her designs this year.

This is also my first time knitting with Twisted Fiber Arts Yarn.  The yarn that I am using for Rivendell is Muse, 50% Silk, 50% Merino.  The yarn design is called Evolution, as you can see from the picture it is an evolution of color from one end of the skein to the other - there are no repeats.  The colorway is called Unconditional.  The yarn itself is wonderful to knit with, soft, shiny (thanks to the silk) and it knits up beautifully with great stitch definition.  I have a few skeins of their yarn in my stash, including a double skein that I bought for another of the Fellowship patterns - the Goldberry shawl.  That one has also moved up to the top of my queue.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Calla Lilly Pullover - Body Done

I am having a lot of fun with my Flower of the Month pullovers.  This is my Calla Lily Pullover, the July Flower of the Month colorway from Fiesta Yarns.  I really like the colors, they are not as electric as the Tiger Lilly colors, and blue and purple are two of my favorite colors.  I also really like the top-down raglan design, easy knitting, and virtually no finishing.

Winter Mystery Shawl 2010 - Clue 3 Done

I finished up Clue 3 this morning.  It was a quick and easy knit, not much actual lace work, not many beads, dead simple lace pattern.  I really like this yarn.  I'm going to have to make something with the leftovers, maybe some fingerless mittens, which I think would be very elegant and warm, or a cowl.  I have recently become a convert to the cowl.  They are great when you don't want to wear a scarf but you still need some extra warmth around your neck.  The beads show up well in this photo.  They are white - Beadcats stock number 2-06-012-36 white opal matte irid.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Mystery Shawl 2010 - Clue 2 Done

I spent the day watching John Wayne films on Turner Classic Movies and knitting Clue 2 of the Winter Mystery Shawl 2010.  This is another Goddess Knits design.  The yarn is a real joy to work with (a blend of Cashmere and Merino) and I love the color.  This is going to work up into a very elegant shawl, that will also be cozy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tiger Lily Pullover - Finished!

I finished this up tonight.  I have gone back and forth on this one, and even considered re-knitting it and trying to get the colors to pool in a more coherent fashion, but in the end I decided to let it be, as the Beatles said.  Some things just have to be free to express themselves as they are.  It is pretty wild and crazy, but there is an order there, there are patterns in the waves that remind me of interference patterns - maybe if we adjust the rabbit ears...This is the May Flower of the Month colorway from Fiesta Yarns, Tiger Lily.  The yarn is Boomerang, Aran weight, 100% Merino.

Athena Fingerless Gloves - Cuff

This is another of the ZenGoddess Lace Club kits.  I think that this was actually the first shipment.  The colorway and the pattern were inspired by the Goddess Athena, one of my personal favorites.  The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Superwash Sock, 100% Superwash Merino, 2-ply tight twist fingering weight.  The colorway is amazing, with beautiful, subtle variations that the photo does not do justice to.  I actually had the first glove almost finished, but when I tried it on I realized that I would have to do a fair bit of customization to get a reasonable fit.  I have very slender wrists, but my hands are fairly broad.  So I took some measurements, noted the gauge, and ripped.  My first modification was to cast on only 52 stitches for the cuff, rather than 60.  Now that I have finished the cuff, I need to increase the number stitches.  I also am planning on starting the thumb gusset earlier than the pattern calls for.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Venus Cowl

Yet another ZenGoddess Lace Club Kit.  This one is a cowl, inspired by Venus, and knit in Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Sock - 80% superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon.  I added the beads.  I tried it on, it is soft and cozy, just what we need on these cold winter days.


This is another of the ZenGoddess Lace kits.  This one is a scarf, knit in Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 yarn.  The yarn is 70% superwash Merino, 20% Cashmere and 10% Nylon and is super soft and apparently sturdy enough to use for socks.  It would certainly make for luxurious footwear.  The inspiration for both the color-way and the pattern was the Goddess Isis.  I substituted pale yellow beads for the ones provided in the kit.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tiger Lily Pullover - Body Done

I finished up the body today.  The colors are wild, and fun.  It will be interesting to see how the color pools on the sleeves.

Winter Mystery Shawl 2010 - Clue 1 Done

Call me crazy.  Call me a lace and fiber addict.  I started another lace shawl this weekend.  This is the Winter Mystery Shawl 2010 from Goddess Knits and the first clue came out yesterday.  Frankly I couldn't resist casting on with this yarn.  It is scrumptious.  The yarn is from Spinning Bunny and is 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon.  The color is Velvet Merlot.  There are beads, but they are hard to spot in this photo.  It is rather gray outside today, so I had to use the flash.  It shows up the lace pattern very well, but not the beads.  I am using white opal matte irid (Beadcats stock no:  2-06-012-36).  They contrast nicely without being garish.  I think they look like pearls, or snow, on the deep burgundy yarn.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tiger Lily Pullover - Neck and Body Shaping Done

I finished up the shaping, and the back and forth knitting and have started on the body.  You can see how the yarn has started to pool.  This yarn is interesting because the color changes are not symmetrical, and they seem to have shorter runs than the Marigold colorway.

This is my easy knitting project, good for working on while reading on my Kindle (Sharpe's Triumph, by Bernard Cornwell), or watching TV that actually requires you to pay attention (like The Sandbaggers).

The Richard Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell are really good reads.  Great characters, well-written, well-plotted.  They have also been made into movies starring Sean Bean, which are also worth a look.  The Sandbaggers is a Brit series that I first watched many years ago on PBS.  I am happy to say that it stands up well to time and to a second viewing.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Miss Chatelaine - Year of Lace 2010 - 4 repeats done

I am almost half-way done with this shawl.  I have done 4 of the 9 repeats.  This is the first rectangular shawl that I have done.  An advantage that rectangular shawls have over triangular and circular shawls is that the rows stay the same length, rather than getting longer, and longer, and longer, and, well you get the idea.

The lace pattern is not as hard as it looks, and the yarn is dreamy to work with.  Very soft, and the variegation helps to alleviate the boredom of repeating the same chart 9 times.  This is my "easy" lace project for when my brain gets tired from working on the Fall Mystery Shawl, which is definitely harder.

Fall Mystery Shawl 2010 - Chart 2, repeat 1

I finished the first repeat of Chart 2, I have 4 more repeats to go.  This one is a bit harder than some of the other lace that I have done, mostly because the chart is crowded.  There is a lot going on in it.  It requires greater concentration - when I get distracted by someone talking to me I tend to lose my place and make mistakes.  Fortunately I have not made many mistakes and they have been very straightforward to fix - I catch them on the next right side row.  I really like the way the pattern is turning out.  The picture doesn't really do the beads justice, though.  The only drawback with this pattern is that I have to do the same chart 5 times, and, well, frankly, I am easily bored.  The upside is that the chart is getting pretty familiar to me already, and the key to this one is being able to read your knitting and the chart so you can keep track of where you are, and if you do get distracted you can find your place again without too much difficulty. Another factor making this shawl more challenging is the dark color of the yarn.  It is harder to see your stitches, which makes it harder to read your knitting.  Good lighting is the key here, and I have an Ott light where I sit when I knit.  All the beading really slows things down too, and breaks up the rhythm of the knitting.  But the beads do look really good, so it is worth it.