Saturday, December 31, 2011

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Charts C & D - Repeat Once

After my false start I have completed Charts C and D, twice, correctly, no problems with rows 61M or 63.  All that is left are Charts E and F.  Chart E is almost a duplicate of Chart D, only 8 rows, but more of those Estonian Lilies, which are beautiful, but kind of tedious to knit with all those increases.  Chart F is very similar to Chart A, and will presumably produce the beautiful leaf edge that will be such a pain to pin out.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Charts C & D - Correct!

Amazing how much better things work out when you follow the directions ;-).  Fortunately I only had to reknit the last row of Chart C and Chart D is only 8 rows.  I did have one heart stopping moment when I was knitting row 63.  I got to the center stitch and seemed to be off by 3 stitches.  Then I realized that I had done my 3 into 9 set instead of k3tog and everything was okay.  I am glad that I ripped back, my stitch count would have been way off if I hadn't and that would have totally messed up the amazing leaf border, which is one of the most beautiful things about this shawl, even if it will be a royal pain to pin out.  But it will be so worth it.  I also like the way the colors are pooling better on the corrected version.

Let's Try This Again...

Okay, so I'm an idiot and obviously need to learn to read directions more thoroughly.  I got back to row 61M and still had issues with that row and row 63 and I just couldn't understand what was going on, so I went back to the directions and looked them over again and said "oh"...or maybe that should be "doh!"  At first I thought about forging ahead with my variation, but it really didn't take me long to decide to rip back and redo it.  Yes, rip back, without lifelines, 32 rows.  I've done this sort of thing before and I've gotten pretty good at it, although I don't think I would try it with a pure silk yarn, but with a nice wool or wool silk blend it isn't that hard, even if it is a little scary.  I just pull out the needles and start frogging.  I stop one row before the row that I want to start with, and that last row I pull out a stitch at a time, while picking up the live stitches on my needle.  The toughest thing about this particular row were all the S2kp stitches that I had to undo.  But now I am already to begin again.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Chart D

Well, I don't know what the deal is with row 61 (the last row of Chart C), but despite all my efforts I ended up with extra stitches in row 63.  Fortunately they occurred around the center stitch, so I improvised and it all worked out okay.  Row 63 isn't a very difficult row, but it contains a bunch of increases to create the Estonian Lilies.  I actually had to go over my knitting working from the center stitch out making sure that everything was symmetrical.  Whatever happened in those two rows, I didn't have any trouble with the rest of Chart D.  After I pinned it out for the photo I checked the symmetry of Charts C and D and everything looks good.  Now I get to repeat Charts C and D, so I will get another crack at rows 61 and 63.

You can get a pretty good sense of the color transition in this photo.  I think it looks good, I may never do another set of transitions rows with a gradiance set again.  I find that thought rather liberating.  I guess I am lazy about some things, and color changes are one of those things.

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Chart C

Chart C was a bit of a challenge.  I actually had to refer to the written directions and use markers (gasp!  I hardly ever use markers with lace, they just seem to get in my way).  I am still not sure that I did the last row correctly, about a third of the way through the row my brain locked up and I had to get out my novelty frog magnet to help me keep my place in the chart.

I tried an experiment with this project.  As I mentioned, the yarn is a gradiance set and it is recommended that you do a series of transition rows between the skeins, and I have done that on the other three shawls that I have knit using gradiance sets.  But this lace pattern is taking up most of my brain power and I just didn't want to deal with the transition rows, so I decided to see if the yarn would do all the work for me.  I knit until I was almost at the end of the first skein and then I grabbed the second skein and started with a length that matched the color of the first skein and started knitting.  And I am happy to say that the colors are transitioning beautifully.

Postscript:  Well, I just finished going back over that last row in Chart C and I definitely made a mistake, but I believe it is because there is a mistake in the chart.  After the two sets of stitches that are gray, there is a motif that the chart indicates should be knitted twice, but when I did that I actually ran out of stitches, and if I leave out that second repeat, everything works out.  It only affect the second half of the row and the mistakes were easily fixed.  At first I was just marking where the mistakes were with slip on markers, but it wasn't just a matter of picking up a missed stitch, so I decided I needed to just fix them as I went along by slipping the stitches from one needle to the next until I got to a spot where there was a mistake, fixing it, and moving on.  We'll see how good I am when I start the next chart.

Three Quarter Time Shawl - Charts A & B

I saw this shawl on the Earth Faire web site and just fell in love with it, so I bought the kit.  The kit doesn't seem to be available right now, but the pattern is.  The yarn is The Unique Sheep Eos in Chocolate Roses, one of their gradiance colorways.  The shawl pattern comes in four sizes, small, medium, large and extra-large.  The kit comes with enough yarn to make the medium version.  The pattern is not for the inexperienced lace knitter, however.  There are multiple charts, and because of the different sizes there are multiple combinations of those charts.  To add to the complication, only the first half of each row is charted, you have to knit to to the end of the row (which is really the middle of the pattern row) and then reverse direction to get the other half of the pattern row, and remember to reverse some of the stitches as appropriate.

This was another project that I cast on in early December (the 5th, according to my project page).  I think I had a fit of new project-itis at the beginning of the month, but then it took a back seat to some other projects and I finally picked it back up yesterday.  I would not advise working on this one in fits and starts, unless you take really good notes on where you are at, it is just too easy to lose the bubble on where you are and what you are doing.  Yesterday I finished Chart A (the top picture), and this morning I finished up Chart B (an easy one, the chart is only 8 rows).
You can see the beads better in the top picture (I used the flash), but this picture has more accurate colors.

Pattern - Three Quarter Time Shawl, beaded version, by Mary R. White

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wilhelmina Shawlette

I cast this on early in December (the 8th, according to my project page), but it took a back seat to a couple of other shawls.  I finally got back to it this past week.  The design is from a book published by The Cooperative Press of projects inspired by literary characters called What Would Madame Defarge Knit?.  This shawlette was designed by Chrissy Gardiner, and was inspired by Mina, the heroine of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula.  I made mine in Serendipitous Ewe Fate Fingering in Blood Thirsty.

And here a beauty shots of my latest shawls (I seem to be making a lot of them lately).
The Wilhelmina Shawlette

Arachne's Delight

The Jungle Book Shawl

The Christmas Shawl
I also have the Dickens colorway (red/green) for this shawl, now I just have to decide which color to start with.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Arachne's Delight - Finished

I am spending a quiet day at home knitting and watching all of the "Thin Man" movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy.  This is the October 2011 Light and Dark Lace Club Shawl.  The yarn is PennyRose Lili, a 100% merino lace weight in Toffee.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Azores Island Pullover - Body Done

A trip to Charlottesville, two trips to Aberdeen Proving Ground, reviewing documents at work and reading Alexander Dumas at home (The Three Musketeers) produced the body of my latest pullover.  The yarn is Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Azores Islands, the Color Cruise colorway for May.  Do you see what I mean about the colors?  They are a somewhat unusual combination that I would never have considered - purple, blue and red all go well enough together, but then they added that seafoam green.  And yet, somehow it works.

I wore my Casablanca Pullover to dinner last night.  We took the kids (both in college) to dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise.  The food was fine, but the service was extremely slow.  It took over an hour for our food to come out.  The waitress was very apologetic, even though we didn't get mean about it.  After the kids took off to do some shopping, the manager came out, apologized, and told us that he had comped our dinner.  All we paid for were our two beers and the appetizer.  The thing that I don't understand is why it was so slow, the place was not very busy.

So, this morning I was checking the stats on my blog (I like to see where the hits come from) and I had 89 hits from Russia, in one day.  Kind of weird, huh.  I know it is a big country, but I've never had that many hits in one day, let alone from one country.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Casablanca Pullover - Finished!

I finished this up this weekend, taking a break from lace knitting and enjoying the soothing rhythms of simple knitting.  I will confess that this colorway does not really remind me of Casablanca, but I do like the colors.  Honestly, I haven't really found any of the Color Cruise colorways to be that evocative of the places that they are supposed to represent, unlike the Flower of the Month colorways.  And wait till you see the Azores Islands Pullover.  It has a very unusual combination of colors that I wasn't sure about at first, but which is growing on my as I knit.

Yarn - Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Casablanca, 3 skeins
Pattern - Top Down Raglan from SweaterWizard
Needles - US 5, 6

I have also been busy organizing my studio.  I have been taking photos of the pattern envelopes of my sewing patterns with my iPad so I can leaf through the pictures when I want to find something to sew.  I have made it through my collection of Vogue and McCalls patterns, and am on the Simplicity patterns.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Arachne's Delight - Charts C

I finally got back to this shawl and finished up Chart C.  I have done two repeats of the border already.  I did make some modifications to the pattern.  I completed the final repeat of the motif, which gave me 402 stitches.  I only increased to 408 stitches, rather than 432 as called for in the pattern.  This will give me 17 repeats of the border pattern to each triangle, rather than 18.

This past year knitting has pretty much consumed my crafting time, but I have decided that I need to make time for the other crafts that I enjoy:  sewing, beading, weaving, crochet.  I may even tackle spinning next year.  So look for other types of projects next year.  I also plan to spend more time reading the resources that I have been accumulating, so expect to see some book reviews in the future.  I am not sure where all of this will lead, but I feel a need to make some changes in my life.  I have also been organizing my studio.  My yarn stash is almost completely cataloged and put up in plastic bins.  There is the inevitable overflow, and I don't have the latest acquisitions cataloged, but it is mostly done.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Jungle Book Shawlette - Finished!

The pattern had a slight asymmetry deliberately introduced to give the pattern a more organic feel.  An effect that I really like on the gradiance sets and the semi-solid colors, but with the dramatic color changes of my yarn it just wasn't working, so I adjusted the pattern to make it symmetrical.  I also went down to a size 5 needle, which gave me a slightly tighter gauge than called for and a slightly smaller shawlette, although it is still 54" across.  The colorway is Fall Goddess on Luxe by the Unique Sheep and I used a little less than 1 skein (400 yards).

I think that this colorway really demonstrates the necessity of matching yarn types and colors with patterns.  I had originally bought this yarn for the Phoenix and the Carpet shawl, but once I started knitting with it I just wasn't happy with the way it was turning out, because it just wasn't coming together the way it should.  So I put the shawl aside for a while until a different colorway spoke to me - the Golden Mustard.  Meanwhile, Fall Goddess sat in my basket feeling a little abandoned, knowing that it could become a beautiful shawl, if only the right pattern came along.  Fortunately one did and I am extremely happy with the way the shawl turned out.  I loved knitting it and watching the colors change and pool and play off of each other.

Of course, the yarn itself is important as well.  If you don't enjoy handling the yarn, it just isn't going to be that much fun to knit with. I love knitting with Luxe.  It has a nice twist to it, so it has great stitch definition and once it is blocked it develops a wonderful hand, soft and drapey, but not limp.  It is one of my favorite fingering weight yarns.  Personally, I feel that if you aren't enjoying the knitting, you shouldn't do it.  Life is too short and there are too many beautiful yarns and wonderful patterns out there to spend time working on something that you don't love.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tangled Threads - Crochet Block

This weekend I pulled out my Crochet blocks.  I am way behind, I have only crocheted up 3 of the 12 block sets that I have received.  I was actually keeping up at the beginning of the year, but fell behind some time in April.  So this morning I organized the kits that I have received by fiber type.  The plan is to work each fiber type and start assembling them into something, blankets, pillows, whatever strikes my fancy.  Right now I am working on the ones in Luxe.  This block is Tangled Threads by Melinda Miller, and was the August block.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Carol Shawlette - Finished!

Once I felt confident that I had memorized the edge chart, it went very quickly.  What can I say?  I love the yarn, love the pattern, love the colors.  The yarn is Tinsel Toes, the pattern is Christmas Carol Shawlette, the 2011 Christmas Club, and the color is Tinsel, Tinsel.  This is the first time that I have knit with Tinsel Toes and I really like it.  The Tencel adds a nice sheen and I think the shawl will be both elegant and cozy, which is a hard to beat combination.

Casablanca Pullover - Body Done

I have been working away at this one between other projects.  This is my easy project, perfect for car rides and reading boring documents at work, both of which occurred in the past week.  I took some time out this morning to finish the ribbing and knit the neck band.  I'll get the first sleeve started and then go back to working on the border of my Christmas Carol Shawlette - I'm over half way done.

The yarn is Fiesta Boomerang in Casablanca, one of their Color Cruise 2012 colors, 3 skeins, size 5 and 6 needles, simple Top Down Raglan from Sweater Wizard Software.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Jungle Book Shawlette - Clues 1, 2 & 3 - Take 2

So Clue 3 came out yesterday and after dinner I dived eagerly in.  I had been reading the forum so I knew that there was some errata, and that the spines were not intended to line up with the spines from Clue 2.  But after I knit a few rows I knew that I wanted the symmetry so I decided to rip back.  But as I was contemplating the changes to the pattern I decided that I really wanted to go back and fix the asymmetries that existed in Clues 1 and 2 as well.  So I ripped back to the last increase row before Clue 1.  For those wondering, I did not have any life lines, I simply pulled the knitting off of my needles and started ripping back.  When I got to one row before the row I wanted to start knitting at again I tinked, putting each stitch back on the needles before pulling out the stitch from the row above.

But, before I started knitting Clue 1 again I had to make a slight modification to the chart.  You see, the pattern really wants to be knit over 41 stitches, not 40, so I added an extra stitch, resulting in a symmetric pattern.
So far, so good.  Then I got to the next increase row, but how many yarn overs did I need to do?  I knew that I needed to add another stitch to the chart to make it symmetric, but did I need one stitch or two in the knitting?  It turns out that I needed one stitch, so instead of my increase row being k3, (yo, k1), end yo, k3 it was k4, (yo, k1), end k3.  This gave me 81 stitches for the chart pattern.  And the result was that everything lined up beautifully.
Reknitting those two clues took me all evening, and this morning I tackled Clue 3.  Once again for my increase row I did k4, (yo, k1), end k3, giving me 161 stitches for the Clue 3 pattern.  In Clue 3 however, the extra stitch went at the beginning of the right side rows, instead of the end.  But once again everything worked out perfectly.
Now back to my Christmas Carol Shawlette.  I am about a quarter of the way through the knit on border.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Jungle Book Shawlette - Clue 2

As I was knitting the first row of Clue 2 I discovered that I had made a mistake on Clue 1.  Somehow I had ended up 2 stitches short.  Obviously I missed a couple of yarn overs, but I couldn't see where, so I frogged and started over.  This early in the game it is easier to just start over than it is to diagnose and fix.  I am enjoying the pooling and I think that this colorway is more suited to this kind of shape, where the row length changes, even if it is a step increase rather than a continuous increase, than to a fixed row length.

Yesterday afternoon and evening I worked on some simple knitting, another raglan pullover in Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in the Casablanca colorway, one of their Color Cruise 2012 colors.  There were too many interruptions to try to focus on lace, but today I will go back to my Christmas Carol Shawlette.  I am about to start Chart 4.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Carol Shawlette - Chart 3

I managed to squeeze some knitting in this morning before I had to start the cooking and finished up the two repeats of Chart 3.  I started the second skein on row 13 of the second repeat of the chart.  The turkey is in the oven, and the bread is toasted for the stuffing.  Pretty soon we will have to chop the celery and onions and peel the potatoes and get them all cooking for the stuffing.  I saute the celery and onions in butter (lots of butter), boil and mash the potatoes, cut the bread up into cubes and mix them all together along with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Yum.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Carol Shawlette - Chart 2

I was four rows into Chart 2 before I realized that I had forgotten to do the increase row.  Luckily there were only 46 stitches in each row to tink back.  That is what I get for trying to multitask.  But even with the false start I still managed to finish the second chart while I was watching King Solomon's Mines on TCM.  I had to use the flash to take this picture, which really brings out the gold in the yarn and almost makes it look metallic.

Christmas Carol Shawlette - Chart 1

Of course, once I had finished Clue 1 of the Jungle Book I was restless for another Unique Sheep project so this morning before heading into work I cast on A Christmas Carol Shawlette, The Unique Sheep's Christmas Club this year.  The yarn is Tinsel Toes and this is my first time knitting with it.  I chose the Tinsel Tinsel colorway, which starts out with gold and goes to silver.
There was also a green and red colorway option, and having seen that shawl completed I wish I had gotten both!  Can you have too much Unique Sheep yarn?

The Jungle Book Shawlette - Clue 1

The first clue came out last Friday and this past weekend I cast on after knitting a couple of swatches (yes!  I actually swatched!) to determine the needle size that I wanted to use.  The pattern called for size 6, but I knit the last two shawls with this yarn (The Unique Sheep Luxe) on size 4 needles.  I ended up splitting the difference and went with size 5 needles.  When I signed up for this KAL I ordered Luxe in Sunflower, a wonderful yellow, but I swatched with Nature's Goddess, because I was lazy and it was already wound into balls.  And while I was swatching the yarn shyly asked if it could be the Jungle Book Shawlette, and so here it is.  But never fear, I have plans for the Sunflower colorway.

Pattern - Jungle Book Shawlette by Janine le Cras
Yarn - The Unique Sheep Luxe in Nature's Goddess
Needle - US 5 (3.5mm)

Beauty Shots

I finally got enough light to take some beauty shots of my last three shawls.  It also helps that I took the afternoon off.  So, without further ado - The Holden Shawlette:
Yarn - The Unique Sheep Verve, Old Farm House (November Sip 'n Stitch yarn)
Pattern - Holden Shawlette, by Mindy Wilkes

The first Fickle-Zen KAL:
Yarn - Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Lace II, Raspberry
Pattern - Fickle-Zen Mystery KAL #1 by Michelle Miller (aka Fickle Knitter)

And Through the Looking Glass:
Yarn - The Unique Sheep Luxe, Tart Berry
Pattern - Through the Looking Glass by Janine le Cras

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holden Shawlette

So last weekend I received this yarn as the first shipment in the latest Sip 'n Stitch Coffee Club by The Unique Sheep.  The yarn is Verve a Light Fingering Superwash Merino, in Old Farm House gradiance.  The pattern is the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes.  I thought that the pattern would show off the subtle colors of the yarn, and the stitch definition of the yarn would show off the pattern.  The pattern calls for repeating the lace motif 2 and a half times, but I repeated it 3 times.  The colors of the yarn actually reminds me of Agate.

I also bought myself an Espresso Machine and enjoyed my first cappuccino this morning made with the coffee that came with the club shipment.  Purists might take issue with me not using an Espresso or French Roast bean, but I just wanted to enjoy the flavor of the coffee, not send myself into orbit with a caffeine buzz.  I know that I could have used a French Press to make the coffee, but then I wouldn't have had the frothy milk, and I really like the frothy milk.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - Finished!

I spent the last four days knitting Never Ending Borders (NEBs).  First was the Fickle-Zen Mystery shawl, which I knit in one day, and then there was this shawl, which took me a bit longer.  I will confess that I made a couple of unintentional design changes (otherwise known as mistakes) on this one, but it still all worked out okay. The color is Tart Berry, the yarn is Luxe by The Unique Sheep.  This is one of my favorite fingering weight yarns.  It has a fairly tight twist so it gives great stitch definition, and when you block it the yarn softens a little and you end up with this wonderfully soft, drapey shawl.  I love the colors and as I was knitting I thought that the last skein, which is dark blue and purple, would look wonderful in Marici and might be suitable for a shawl pattern that I have been eyeing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fickle-Zen Mystery KAL

I spent all of last week working on the first Fickle Knitter - Zen Yarn Garden collaboration, the first Fickle-Zen Knit Along.  Roxanne dyed the yarn and Michelle Miller designed the shawl.  The yarn is Serenity Lace II in Raspberry.  I used a size 5 needle, rather than than size 7 called for.  Now that the weather has turned colder I have become a real fan of small shawls, wearing them around the house and to work.  This was a quick and easy knit, and the border pattern is easily memorized.  I did modify the pattern slightly by working a knit 3 together on the right hand side, so it would be symmetrical with slip, knit two together, pass slipped stitch over on the left hand side.

I signed up for The Unique Sheep's Sip 'n Stitch Coffee Club this fall and received my first shipment this past Thursday.  A bag of coffee (whole bean), a coffee cup and, of course, yarn.
It makes me want to get one of those hutches that have the hooks for the coffee cups, and an espresso machine so I can really enjoy the flavor of the coffee.  I don't usually drink coffee, so when I do I tend to splurge.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Arachne's Delight - Charts A & B

So Friday I cast on the latest offering in the Light and Dark Lace Club.  For this one the yarn and pattern are both by Ruth of PennyRose Yarns.  I've never done a shawl of this shape before.  The pattern called for size 5 needles, but I went down to size 3.  I just can't knit yarn this fine on size 5 needles.  By the time I cast on the first two clues had come out, so I was able to work off of the combined chart.  The lace pattern is super easy.

I finished up the last row after we got back from a day in Charlottesville with the kids.  We finally got to meet the son's girlfriend.  We all went to the Veritas Vinyard for the tasting and tour.  I highly recommend doing the tour.  We even got to taste some wine in process from one of the fermenting tanks.  We liked the white wines, but weren't too impressed with the reds, they didn't really have much body.  The vinyard is located near Afton Mountain, and the countryside is just gorgeous.

My cat is curled up in her chair under her blanket.  I leave the chair set up for her, with the blanket in place (she gets perturbed if humans sit there, or if humans put things there).
And when she gets up and settles down, I pull the blanket down.
Creating a nice cave that gets warmed by her body heat.  I always figure she curls up there when the world gets to be too much.  I totally understand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - Clues 6 & 7

A couple of squidgy photos of Clue 6 and Clue 7.  More for the colors than for the pattern, as the pattern is the same as Clue 5.
I finished up both clues last weekend, but haven't felt much like doing anything this week.  I did start the border, but I've only knit one repeat.  I did make a mistake near the end of Clue 6, but I didn't discover it until I was near the end of Clue 7.  Hint, it didn't affect the pattern, just the stitches at the beginning and end of each row.  I was one stitch short at each end.  I didn't bother fixing the mistake, instead I repeated it in Clue 7.  As I've said before, do something once and it can be seen as a mistake, do it twice, and it is a design feature.  I had to do an extra row of stockinette stitch to get the right number of stitches for the border, which worked out okay because in the original pattern you end up with 2 stitches too many for the border.  Now that I am on the border, I no longer feel the need to be monogamous to this project, so I think I will cast on the most recent Light and Dark Lace Club shawl.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - Clues 4 & 5

I completed Clue 4 yesterday while watching The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn.  He must have been fun to know.  Not many men can pull off a role like that.  I just love knitting this pattern, with this yarn.  It is amazing, but Janine le Cras' designs actual make me a monogamous knitter.  The lace pattern isn't too complex, but it isn't boring knitting either.  It is just right.  I also knit most of Clue 5 last night.  While I was finishing Clue 5 this morning we heard a strange booming sound that seemed to be coming from the area of the chimney.  It sounded like someone or something banging on a piece of sheet metal.  Then we heard crows cawing.  After I finished the clue I went out onto the deck to take a look and there were two large crows on top of the chimney.  I don't know what they were trying to accomplish.
I think this is the first picture I've taken of this shawl in natural light.  There is even some sunlight in the upper right hand corner of the picture.  The next two clues are basically the same as Clue 5, which was a very easy clue, and then I will be on to Clue 8, the knit on border.  I need to find something to do with the leftover yarn, though, it is too pretty to let it sit languishing in the leftovers pile.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - Clues 2 & 3

I finished up Clue 2 last night but didn't feel like posting because I had a major allergy attack and was all stuffed up.  Since the chemo triggered menopause began I periodically have these massive allergy attacks, for no apparent reason.  Actually, the first year or so after the chemo I didn't have any problems at all with allergies, but then something changed.  Every day is something of an adventure where my hormones are concerned.  It is amazing the amount of influence they have over our bodies and our brains.  At this point I just roll with it, and treasure the good days (which thankfully seem to be coming more often and lasting longer)..

This morning I finished up Clue 3.  This was a short clue whose primary purpose (I think) was to transition to the next gradiance skein. This is the second shawl that I am knitting with a gradiance colorway (the first was the In Dreams shawl) and I love them.  Which reminds me, I still have a ten percent off discount code to use at The Unique Sheep...
This clue has nupps or beads, depending upon your preference.  Personally, I am not a big fan of nupps so I went the bead route.  I wasn't sure about the bead color at first.  These beads came with the Gold Mustard yarn that I had originally purchased for this shawl and I wasn't sure they were going to go with the Tart Berry, but the bead color is Berry-lined Light Topaz, so I was hopeful.  When I first started adding the beads I wasn't sure I was going to like them with the light pink and I even tinked back and did a row with nupps, but then when I was purling back on the wrong side and got to the first nupp I remembered why I really hate nupps.  So I tinked back and put the beads in and now that I have finished the clue I think they will work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - Clue 1 - Take 2

So I was happily knitting away on this shawl with the Autumn for Anna colorway when the yarn informed me that it really didn't want to be an Alice in Wonderland themed shawl.  It wanted to be something fall-like.  Then, when I was looking at colors for the Jungle Book KAL I spotted the Tart Berry colorway and just fell in love (we will not go in to how many colorways on The Unique Sheep that I have fallen in love with).  My yarn came this past weekend just as I was finishing up my Golden Phoenix shawl so I happily cast on and finished clue 1 today.

And speaking of my Golden Phoenix, it blocked up so wonderfully.  The shawl is soft and drapey and the beads on the ends give it a wonderful swag.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tools of the Trade - The search for a new knitting bag

Almost two years ago I purchased a Namaste Hermosa Knitting Bag, and it has served me well but it is starting to show its age.  The first thing that I noticed was the side sagging.
You will notice that the sagging occurs where the side pockets are attached and is due, no doubt, to the weight of the contents of those side pockets.  The other thing that I noticed was wear on the handles.
I do love the capacious nature of this knitting bag, but I don't really like the fact that it was basically just one big pocket inside, other than a couple of little side pockets.  I also don't like the length of the handles.  I used to carry this bag over my shoulder, but lately have been carrying it in my hand, and I am not tall enough to keep it from occasionally brushing the ground.  So, the search began.  I am currently trying out a bag from Sherpani.  A Moda Sport Tote Bag.

It is definitely smaller than the Hermosa (but what wouldn't be).  And it has lots of pockets.  There are 6 just on the outside.  That front quilted section is divided into two pockets, and there are two water bottle pockets, one on each end, and the zippered pocket that has a built in key lanyard.  Plus there is a large pocket on the back.  And the handle strap length is adjustable.
Inside there are more pockets.  Small pockets for cell phone and other small incidentals, plus a large zippered pocket, and two more water bottle pockets on the ends.  And the whole thing can be zipped closed, something the Hermosa didn't do.
I am still figuring out how to pack it, but so far it has been working okay.