Sunday, March 27, 2011

Snow ?!

This is the view that greeted me this morning.  Snow.  On March 27.  This may call for waffles.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Dreams Mystery Shawl - Clue 3

So, after a week of mindless knitting I spent most of today finishing up Clue 3 of the In Dreams Mystery Shawl.  So far this has been an incredibly fun knit.  It is not as hard as the Evenstar shawl, although I do wonder how it would look as a circular shawl instead of a half-circular shawl.  I like the wrong side rows, even with all the beads.  In fact I find them meditative, and a chance to check the pattern.  The beads give weight and drape to the shawl and I know it will be very sensual to wear.  I plan on completing it before Bead & Button, so I can wear it during the show.

Here is a close up of the pattern.

And here is a shot with my cat, Jasmine, surveying my work.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Morning Glory Pullover

I have been enjoying some mindless knitting this week.  I originally started this pullover as a top-down, but didn't get very far before I changed my mind and decided to knit it bottom up.  I started on the body last week.  I got a lot done on Sunday.  We went to Charlottesville to watch our daughter dance and I knit in the car on the way there, and during the performance, and most of the way home.  There was another Mom across the aisle from me who told me that she wished she could knit.  I told her it wasn't that hard.  I don't know why people defeat themselves without even trying.

This has been a very enjoyable knit, for a somewhat crazy week.  The yarn is wonderful, 70% Extrafine Merino, 15% Silk, 15% Cashmere.  A real joy to knit with, and fondle.  I love the colors, the way they are striping, and pooling just at the top of the sleeves.  I really like the cuffs with the purple and green chevrons in the ribbing.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In Dreams Mystery Shawl - Clue 2

Once I fixed my mistake, it didn't take me long to finish up clue 2.  Now I have two weeks to do two clues and then I will be all caught up.  Fortunately the beading diminishes in clue 3.  There are over 1000 beads in the shawl so far.  The first gradience transition takes place in clue 3.

Lace Surgery - In Dreams Mystery Shawl

So I was happily knitting along on Clue 2, feeling as though I had really gotten the hang of the pattern when I realized that the central spine of one the beaded repeats was no longer in the center.  So I stopped, and set the work aside until I had some quiet time, was well rested and was feeling up to tackling some lace surgery.  I did not invent this method, I found it on another blog (can't remember exactly where).  To perform lace surgery I used one of my blocking mats, some straight pins, two double point needles that are smaller than the needles I am working the lace on and a crochet hook.

The first thing I did was figure out the area that I needed to fix.  Then I unraveled those stitches, collecting the beads and pinning out each strand in order as I unraveled them.
Then I used the crochet hook to pull the strand through each stitch.  I left the new stitches on the crochet hook until I had completed them all, and then transferred them back to the needle.  The trickiest part was getting the beads back on, but only because things are a little tight and scrunched up as you work.
The lace pattern is very easy, and the work went quickly.
And then it was done!

As you work the stitches back in, use the other double point needle to even things out.  I was not too obsessed with getting things perfect, just close enough, figuring that any lingering unevenness will work out when I block the shawl.  So now I can go back to happily knitting, which is a good thing as I am now 2 clues behind.


My first toe up sock, and I am loving it!  This is Charleston from Janel Laidman's Art & Sole Sock Club.  I went a bit club crazy this year, but I think I have gotten that bug out of my system.  The yarn is Pigeon Roof Studios Siren Two Sock in Tomato Comfit (although I could not read the color name on the label - I got it off of one of the other projects on Ravelry).  It is 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% Nylon, and is wonderful to work with.  I have finished Chart 1 and am almost to the heel shaping.  I have already had to modify the pattern a little by not doing as many increases from the toe to the foot.  I have 4 less stitches than the small size in the pattern.

Galaxy Crochet Block

I finally finished one of the February Blocks from the Unique Sheep Crochet Block of the Month Club.  I actually started this block back in February but the center motif was pretty challenging for me so it took me a little while to get it right.  The double crochet for the rest of the block was pretty easy, and I finally have figured out how to join the rounds.  I have been pretty much just figuring this stuff out on my own by looking at the instructions and pictures of the finished block.  I have crochet books, but the only one that I have been consulting with any regularity is the Crocheter's Companion by Nancy Brown, and I am using that primarily as a stitch guide.

The yarn for this block is Pashmi, 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% nylon.  It is very nice yarn, but I found it had a tendency to split when I was crocheting, so my tension on this block is a little looser than on my January block.  Fortunately I have no intention of trying to use them in the same finished piece as they have different fiber contents.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Citrine Socks

This is the first shipment of the Jewelbox Lace Club.  A Renee Leverington of Goddess Knits club.  The theme is jewels, hence the Citrine.  This is my first pair of socks with beads.  They look very pretty, but feel a little odd.  If I had them to do over, I would make the cuffs longer.  I have noticed this before with Renee's sock patterns, the cuffs are not very long.  This usually works well on me, because I have muscular calves, and I have had problems with socks being too tight, but on this sock I would have liked a little more length in the cuff.  Still, they fit well enough, and my kitchener stitch skills are steadily improving.  The yarn is nice to work with, and I have a fair bit left over.  I love the color.

Pattern:  Citrine Socks
Yarn:  Decadently Divine Decadent Sock Light (463 yds, 100 gr) in Citrine
Designer:  Renee Leverington, Goddess Knits
Needle Size:  US 1.5 (2.5 mm)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celtic Cross-Stitch - One Chart Done

I've been focusing on my cross-stitch project lately and finished one of the four charts this morning.  I really enjoy the detail work and I find that it has the same effect on me that beading does - I don't seem to get tired while working on it and find myself staying up way too late.  The most challenging part is the Celtic knot-work in the central portion.  At first I tried working it row-by-row, the same way I knit lace, but that resulted in long floats across the back of the work, which looks ugly and isn't a good plan anyway.  So then I did the black first, which provided a nice outline for the rest of the colors.  Sometimes I would work several rows at once in order to avoid the long floats.  When I started filling in with the other colors I verified my stitching as I went along.  I found a couple of mistakes - stitches that I had missed, but that was all.  Now, on to the next chart.