Saturday, May 28, 2011

Charleston Socks - Finished!

My first pair of toe-up socks.  I love the construction technique - minimal finishing - and the fit is perfect.  This is the first pattern of Janel Laidman's Art & Sole Sock Club for 2011.  I already have the second shipment, and the third will be on its way soon.  I went a bit sock club crazy this year.  Not only did I join Janel's club, but I also joined Cookie A's club and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club.  I also joined the Zen Yarn Garden Art Walk Sock Club that sends me a skein of hand painted sock yarn each month inspired by a work of art.  And let's not even talk about all of the sock knitting books that I have bought...
The pattern is Charleston by Janel Laidman, the yarn is Pigeonroof Studios Siren Two (80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon) in tomato comfit.

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Dreams Mystery Shawl - Finished

Do something once, and it may look like a mistake, do the same thing twice, and it becomes a design feature.  I finished up the shawl this evening.  I had to get a little creative towards the end.  The skein changes for the folks using 4 skein gradience sets were wrong, and if we followed them blindly we ended up running short.  I will confess that I wasn't really thinking about my yarn usage, or the correctness of the placement of the color changes while I was knitting, I was mostly just enjoying the lace pattern.  I realized that I was in trouble after I had switched to my last skein, which was actually skein 1 of the set (I had started with skein 4).  The skeins for the Eleanora set are:  1 - mostly purple, 2 - purple with blue, 3 - blue with purple, 4 - mostly blue.  I ordered an extra skein, but couldn't wait, so I decided to improvise.  I switched back to skein 3, which I had quite a bit of, and then switched back to skein 2 before returning to skein 1.  The effect of all of that switching was a fairly broad blue stripe, which you can see at the base of the last set of leaves.  When I ordered the extra skein I put a note in that I wouldn't mind if the colors were darkened up a bit.  When I received my extra skein it frankly looked more like skein 3 (a mix of blue and purple) rather than skein 1 (mostly purple) but darker.  It all worked out though.  As I neared the final rows of the shawl I switched to my extra skein, resulting in the darker blue strip along the edge, which nicely balanced the light blue stripe.

I really like the darkened colors, and if I ever order another set of Eleanora, I will request that the whole set be darkened.

Project Details:  In Dreams Shawl, designed by Susan Pandorf of A Few Stitches Short as part of her Lord of the Rings series knit in The Unique Sheep Eos in Eleanora.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More stash cataloging

Not only did I finish two works in progress this weekend, but I also cataloged some more of my yarn stash.  Here is one section done.  Underneath the yarn stash you will see part of our library.  I have a lot of books.  Before I started buying yarn, and fabric, and beads, I bought books.  These are the non-fiction books, cataloged and shelved according to the Library of Congress system.  The "shelves" are actually book boxes.  If you look closely you can see that they are stacked to maximize the amount of shelf space.  I used to have a lot of book shelves to hold all of my books, but moving (which I did with startling regularity) was a real pain.  Then, when I was in graduate school at Ball State (just two hours from my parents) my Mom suggested that I turn all of my bookshelves into book boxes, and build more.  So that is what my Dad and I did.  We put together something like 140 book boxes over a long weekend, including the staining.  The boxes are just that, boxes, with backs, and removable fronts.  When stacked they form book shelves, take them apart, pack them with books and put the lids on and they become book boxes, all ready to be loaded onto the moving van, turning my library into a moveable feast.  I have three more sections just like this one in my studio and the photo only shows the top half of the books.  The boxes are stacked five high.  Yeah, we have a lot of books...

And yes, that is my warping board hanging from paint stirrers that are being held down by the yarn boxes.  It is easy to take down if I need to get at the books behind it, and it is out of the way, and yet still easy to use.  That is part of the castle of my loom in the far right of the photo.

And here is a beauty shot of the Diadem shawl.  I used the flash to get a better contrast on the lace pattern, but the colors still came out pretty accurate.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Diadem - Finished

I finished up my Diadem shawl this morning.  It was a fun and easy knit.  The yarn, like all of Roxanne's yarns, is a real dream to knit with.  Now on to the next unfinished project...

Pattern - Diadem, Light and Dark Lace Club, April
Designer - Ruth Greenwald (Pennyrose Yarns)
Dyer - Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden
Yarn - Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk in Verde Oliva (80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Silk)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Diadem - Clue 4

I finished up Clue 4 this afternoon.  This shawl has been a pretty easy and fun knit.  All I have to do now is the border.  I am on a bit of a finishing kick, and want to see how many projects I can get done before I start something new.  The next Light & Dark Lace Club will start in June.  I already have the yarn.

Prudence Vest

I started this project on April 26.  I was getting close to finishing the Clematis Pullover and needed another easy knit for my everyday bag.  I was also going on travel the first week in May and needed a good airplane project.  The pattern is from Berroco's Free Pattern Pure Merino Collection 1.  This booklet has 10 patterns knit in Berroco's Pure Merino.  There were two variations of this vest, one with cables, and this one, which is labeled Prudence Easy.  I bought the yarn at Elann.  I have been shopping at Elann for a while now.  You can sign up to get snips or mini-skeins of yarn.  The snips mailings have all the colorways of the featured yarns for that mailing taped to a card.  The mini-skeins mailings have, as the name implies, mini-skeins (one each) of the featured yarns.  The other cool thing about the snips and mini-skein mailings is that when you purchase the subscription you get an equivalent amount in vouchers for the store.  They also give you loyalty credits.  The yarns are sold at a great discount, but sometimes the available colors are limited.  Often they have free pattern offers with the yarn, which is how I got the pattern booklet that I used for this project.  The emails they send out to announce the featured yarns are very nicely put together, and make ordering so easy.

The yarn is Berroco Pure Merino, an Aran weight, in Aubergine.  The pattern called for 11 balls for the smallest size, I used a little less than 9.  The directions are for knitting front and back separately, I modified it to knit in the round.  The pattern directions had only a single number for the stitches to be picked up around the neck and armholes, which really didn't make sense to me as the sizes go from 36" to 52".  Granted, the length only goes from 26" to 27.5", but still.  I picked up one stitch per row instead and just made sure that the number of stitches I ended up with was divisible by 4 so the k2, p2 ribbing would work. I did increase 2 stitches on the back of the neck and in the underarms.  I did not bind off any of those stitches, just put them on holders until they were needed.  I also did short row shaping for the shoulders, and a three needle bind-off.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Organizing the Yarn Stash!

Well, I have had a very productive weekend.  I have been cataloging my yarn stash.  This is my work area in my studio.  The hardware on the right side of the picture is the back end of my loom.  The white paper is for taking pictures on, and you can just see my Dell Mini in the top of the picture, resting on a brass stool that we brought back from Pakistan.  I sit on that stool when I am threading heddles on my loom.  To the left are two completed boxes, with an open box in the foreground that I have not yet started on, plus yarn scattered about waiting to be cataloged and stashed.  And here are some completed boxes.
Those are book shelves underneath, and part of my warping frame for weaving.  At one point I did consider trying to organize the yarn by weight, but that was too much effort.  Just knowing what I have and where I have it stashed will have to be enough.  It is all being cataloged on Ravelry.  If I know the project that I bought the yarn for I add that information to the notes.  The yellow note cards are numbered and identify the box.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In Dreams Mystery Shawl - Clue 6

I finished up Clue 6 this morning, and I am on my last skein of yarn.  There was finally some discussion this week about people running out of yarn on the last clue (clue 7) and that it was due to the 4 skein (4 oz) sets having only 1200 yards, but in fact they have 1260 yards, which is what the pattern called for.  The 6 skein (6 oz) sets have 1890 yards.  I think I would have been okay if the gradience transitions for the 4 skein sets had been correct.  I may still be okay, but I ordered an extra skein, just in case.  There was a great email that Susan posted from someone who did all of the math and showed that the gradience transitions were not correct.  Sigh. I know that determining transition spots is not an exact science because of the differences between knitters.  I guess I need to trust my own instincts more.

It will all work out and the shawl is absolutely gorgeous.  The only drag with ordering an extra skein is how long it will take to get to me, and the fact that it will delay my finishing the shawl, and I really wanted to wear it this year at Bead & Button.  If I do come up short I may use the leftover yarn that I have, transitioning back to the lighter colors, it all depends on how things work out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clematis Pullover - Finished

I actually finished this last weekend, but wanted to block before posting photos, and then I was on travel for work for the first half of the week, and then I had to get a photo op with my wonderful husband (who always says he can't take pictures because they come out blurry - and he got this one on the first try!).  So, finally, here is the finished pullover in Fiesta yarns Boomerang, in the Clematis colorway.  This is not one of the Flower of the Month colorways that I've been knitting this past year, but it is a flower, so I feel that it still qualifies.  I also have finally fine-tuned the top down pullover pattern for this yarn.  The fit is perfect and I used almost all of the 960 yards of yarn that I started with.  I did a knit 1, purl 1 rib on the collar, and a kitchener bind off, which I have never done before this sweater and which I will always use for ribbed collars from now on.

I have 3 skeins of Fiesta Boomerang in Poppy in my Loopy Ewe project bag and I have more colors waiting in the wings.  While Fiesta is no longer issuing their Flower of the Month colorways they are now issuing Ports of Call (and no one told me!).  I found out totally by accident and then had to scramble and totally blow my yarn budget for April to try to get the colorways that are already out.  Fortunately the Loopy Ewe had two of the colorways.  Lots more fun sweaters are in my future.  I will probably even re-knit the ones that I already have (Marigold, Tiger Lily and Calla Lily), just because my fine-tuned pattern fits so well and I really love the yarn.  It will be interesting to see how the striping/pooling changes...I still have to fine-tune the pattern for the Gracie DK weight Fiesta yarn and then I will re-knit those two as well (Orchid and Morning Glory).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Little Mermaid - Clue 1

I know, as if I need another lace project on the needles, but this is The Unique Sheep The Little Mermaid Knit Along.  Of course the last clue has already come out and I've already signed up for the next Unique Sheep Knit Along:  The Phoenix and the Carpet.  The Phoenix and the Carpet will be the fourth Unique Sheep Knit Along that I have signed up for, but The Mermaid is the first one that I hope to actually complete.  For this Knit Along I decided to be a bit bold in my yarn choice and went with the Bliss colorway in Ling.  I was really drawn to the jewel tones and thought that they were evocative of the iridescent scales of the mermaid's tail.  Ling is 70% Superfine Super Wash Merino, 30% Cultivated Silk.  The yarn is very firm, threadlike, with a nice sheen because of the silk.  Getting the shawl started was hard because the yarn is so fine, and a little slippery, but hopefully a good blocking will take care of most of the initial uneveness.  This is my first time knitting lace with a variagated yarn.  The colors do compete somewhat with the lace pattern and can make it trickier to read the lace, but I really love the colors.  I'll just have to see how the final shawl turns out.  Of course I am using beads, I always pick the bead option on The Unique Sheep Knit Alongs.