Monday, July 30, 2012

Luxe Crochet Block Throw

And here is the second Blooming Beauty block sewn into place.  This is a quick shot taken on the floor of the living room with the flash.  I started the last of the Luxe block kits that I have and have pulled out the Tinsel Toes blocks and matched yarn to patterns.

January 2011: Cameo Flower
August 2011: Tangled Threads
April 2011: Blooming Beauty
All designs by Melinda Miller
Yarn:  Luxe by The Unique Sheep
Hook:  2.75mm (C)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Knitterati Mystery 4 - Clue 2

The second clue to the 4th Knitterati Mystery finally came out Saturday afternoon.  It is all scrunched up right now because I didn't feel like putting it on a longer needle.  I will probably do that with the next clue, depending on that clue.  So far now it has been a pretty easy knit (actually pretty boring), just stockinette with increases at the edges of every row and periodic yarn over increase rows creating a crescent shaped shawl.  It is a good basic construction technique that can be used as a base for a variety of different shawls.  Interestingly enough it is a similar construction to my 3rd Camp Loopy project, the Whippoorwill Shawl.  The colors are even similar.  Weird how that happens sometimes.

Project:  Knitterati Mystery #4 by Janel Laidman
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Squooshy in Calla
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Blooming Beauty - Block 2

After finishing up the other block I decided to go ahead and crochet this one.  Being so close to catching up on the Luxe blocks has inspired me to do more.  I even pulled out my zip-lock bag of the Tinsel Toes blocks.  Of course I was so excited to get the other Blooming Beauty block sewn into my throw that I forgot that I usually take a photo of the two blocks together.  Oh well.

The second clue to the 4th Knitterati Mystery finally came out yesterday afternoon with no word on why it didn't come out on Friday.  In fact the boards have been rather quiet.  Maybe everyone is watching the Olympics.  I'm not a sports fan, so I don't usually watch the games.

Pattern:  Blooming Beauty by Melinda Miller
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Spring Pink and Light Bark
Hook:  2.75mm (C)

Luxe Crochet Block Throw

And here is the Blooming Beauty Block sewn into place.  I have already started the second block for this set and I have one more set of blocks in Luxe and then I will be caught up with this throw and can start on one of the other fibers.

The blocks are:
January 2011: Cameo Flower
August 2011: Tangled Threads
April 2011: Blooming Beauty
All designed by Melinda Miller
Yarn:  Luxe by The Unique Sheep
Hook:  2.75mm (C)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blooming Beauty - Block 1

This is the April 2011 Crochet Block of the Month from the Unique Sheep Club.  I did modify the pattern a little by switching between the two colors several times.  In the original pattern the central motif is one color, and the rest of the block is the other color, but I got bored crocheting with the same color.  I started this on July 10 and have been working on it off and on, but this morning I decided that I wanted to finish it.

Actually, this morning I just wanted to finish something, anything.  I have plenty of works in progress.  The third clue for the Spirit of Guernsey Shawl is out and I am about 25% done with that.  All four clues are out for the Triffid Shawl but I have only just started the third clue.  The 3rd Camp Loopy project kicked off yesterday so I cast on that project this morning.  The one thing that hasn't come out on schedule is the second clue to the 4th Knitterati Mystery, which has me a little bit concerned, especially because there is no chatter about it.  Very strange.

Pattern:  Bloom Beauty by Melinda Miller
Yarn:  Luxe by The Unique Sheep in Spring Pink and Light Bark
Hook:  2.75mm (C)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart C

I finished up Chart C for the second time last night, and frogged the whole thing this morning.  I just wasn't happy with the way it was coming out.  I think I need to go up a needle size because my fabric is pretty dense and I wasn't using much yarn.  I'm going to give it a rest for a while and come back to it later when I can approach it  fresh.  It isn't as if I don't have plenty of other projects to work on.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guernsey Mystery Shawl - Clue 2

I ended up knitting this clue twice.  It didn't help that I started knitting it Friday after spending 10 hours in a Critical Design Review for the program that I am working on.  I completely screwed up the first row of the chart and didn't realize it until I started on the third row and things were not lining up correctly.  So I put it aside and worked on the Knitterati Mystery Shawl instead.  On Saturday I picked this back up again, tinked back to fix my mistakes and was doing fine until I was almost done with the third repeat and I realized that I had missed a yarn over some rows back.  At first I tried to do some lace surgery to fix my mistake, but with the way that the pattern shifts the section that I had to unravel just kept getting bigger and bigger, so I decided to just rip back.  Of course, I don't use lifelines, but on circular shawls it is usually pretty easy to slip a needle into the increase row (the one with all of the yarn overs), then you just pull out the other needles and start frogging.  The beauty of this technique is that the start of the row is automatically revealed when you get to the increase row.  I had to shift the stitches around when I got there, but that was easy.

Crafts are how I decompress and unwind from the stresses of work, they are meditative and help me center myself again after all of the demands of the work week.  I am highly empathic and an introvert (although I play an extrovert at work) and really need the quiet time at home to recharge.  My husband is the same way so our weekends tend to be quiet retreats.  It does mean that we don't have much of a social life, but neither one of us really feels much like socializing on the weekends.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Knitterati Mystery 4

The long wait is over.  The latest Knitterati Club shipment has gone out and the pattern was sent out yesterday.  I haven't received my club yarn yet, but I have already started the mystery shawl.  Once again I have picked a Zen Yarn Garden yarn.  This is the Art Walk Sock Club offering for January 2012, the yarn is Squooshy (80/20 sw merino/nylon, 420 yds/4 oz) and the colorway is called Calla and is based on a painting of the same name by Yuan Mu.

Triffid Mystery Shawl - Clue 2

I have been slowly but steadily working on my Triffid Shawl and I finished Clue 2 this past Thursday.  I am still a clue behind.  I am sitting in my living room and there is a bird taking a bath in the rain on the rail of our deck.  He looks like a wren, with colors reminiscent of my my Little Wing Shawl.  It is a nice gentle rain.  I love listening to the rain on the roof.

The Triffid pattern is intriguing.  It took me a little experimenting to figure out how to do the right and left cables without using a cable needle and without having to leave a loop hanging, which I just can't bring myself to do.  My method is still a little fiddly, but not too bad, mostly you have to be careful not to split the yarn, and you definitely need pointy needles.  I love my Addi Lace.

To do the right cable without a cable needle:   insert the right needle into the two stitches as if you are going to do a k2tog and slide them off the left needle.   Insert the left needle into the 2 stitches that are now on the right needle from left to right and slip the two stitches  back onto the left needle.   The order of the two stitches has now been reversed.  Note that the orientation of the stitches on the needle has also been switched; to avoid twisting the stitch knit into what is now the back loop.

To do the left cable without a cable needle:   slip the two stitches one at a time to the right needle as if you are a doing a ssk.   Insert the left needle into the two stitches from right to left and slip the stitches back onto the left needle.   The stitches have been reversed, but this time the orientation of the stitches did not get reversed so knit into the front loop as usual.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spirit of Guernsey - Clue 1

I finally cast on the latest Unique Sheep Mystery Knit Along this afternoon - Spirit of Guernsey.  This is not the yarn that I ordered for the project.  This is.
This is the November colorway in Ling.  I have never knit with Ling before.  It is 70% superwash merino and 30% cultivated silk, but it is a very firm yarn, reminding me more of pure silk.  I spent a frustrating afternoon on Friday trying to cast on with this yarn, and somehow managed to lose one of my size 3 double point needles.  It has simply vanished.  I have no idea how or where, but I cannot find it.  It didn't take me long to decide that for circular shawls I will stick with Eos.  Fortunately I happened to have some Eos in my stash.  This lovely colorway - Erin's Dream.  I have way more than I need - 6 skeins instead of 4, but I didn't realize that until I had cast on and finished the first clue, and I really don't feel like starting over again.  I still need to buy beads, but I am going to wait until we get to a clue that has beads to decide on a color. 
The curious thing is that Eos is a 50/50 blend of Merino and Tussah silk, but somehow it is more forgiving and easier to work with in tricky circular cast-ons than the Ling, and while I know that I could do the cast on in the Ling (I have done it with pure silk), I just don't need to work that hard.  I work hard enough in my day job.  The Ling I have ear-marked for a second In Dreams shawl.  I even have beads picked out.  I'm thinking of calling it Summer Dreams.

Pattern:  Spirit of Guernsey by Janine le Cras
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Eos in Erin's Dream
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Raspberry Mocha Pullover - Finished!

Finished today, my second project for Camp Loopy 2012, and the gallery on The Loopy Ewe web site hasn't even been set up yet.

Pattern:  Top-Down Raglan, from Sweater Wizard software
Yarn:  Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Raspberry Mocha, 3 skeins
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm) and US 6 (4 mm)

Tea Rose Shawlette - Charts A & B

Yesterday I was on the second to last wrong side row on Chart D when I came up a stitch short at the center spine.  I checked my work and could not find my mistake.  I have found this shawl a bit of a frustrating knit because of the lace stitching on the wrong side rows.  I wasn't happy with the way my yarn overs were turning out and I didn't like the switching between knit and purl stitches with yarn overs on the wrong side rows.  I just felt like I was fighting with the knitting and that is not a good place to be.  So, I took a deep breath and frogged back to the beginning of Chart B.  I picked up my stitches, adjusted my method of doing the yarn overs on the wrong side and tried Chart B again.  But I still felt that I was fighting with the knitting, especially when I was doing the ssk stitch on the right side rows.  After a couple of rows I frogged the entire thing, re-wound my cake and put the project in a time out while I finished the first sleeve of my Raspberry Mocha Pullover and started the second.

Last night I pulled out the pattern again and pondered it, then I fired up my Knit Visualizer charting program and tackled charts B and D.  For Chart B I replaced the sl1 k2tog psso with sl1 p2tog psso.  It does change the look of the clue, as you can see from my photo of my original Chart B.  You lose the lattice effect, but you still have the rose buds, and I no longer felt like I was fighting with the knitting, the lace pattern flowed, the knitting was easy and that is how I like lace to be.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart C

Last night I decided that I needed to finish some of my works in progress so I pulled my Tea Rose Shawlette out of my unfinished pile.  There is a subtle variegation in the pink of this yarn, which you can just make out in the photo.  Chart C is an easy one and a lot of fun to knit, but now I have 20 rows of Chart D to knit, which has lace patterning on both right and wrong sides.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Luxe Crochet Block Throw

I have finally started assembling blocks from The Unique Sheep Crochet Block of the Month Club into a throw!  I decided that I would make a different throw for each fiber type.  This is the start of the Luxe throw.  The two block designs are Cameo Flowers from January 2011, which was the very first set of blocks that I made, and Tangled Threads from August 2011.  I decided to do an invisible weave join, which seems to be analogous to the mattress stitch in knitting.  It was very easy and quick.  I did another round of single crochet on the Cameo Flowers blocks to get the stitch count on the edges to match the stitch count on the edges of the Tangled Threads blocks.  This actually worked out really well, because the Cameo Flower blocks were a little smaller than the Tangled Threads blocks.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Raspberry Mocha Pullover - Body Done

I spent most of the 4th working on this, and finished up the body this evening (as evidenced by the darkness beyond the window in the background, and the poor lighting).  Even with my knitting mojo at a low this is an easy knit and still enjoyable.  Plus, I have a deadline as this is the second Camp Loopy project - 800 yards and must have a color from my country's flag.  Easy.

Yarn:  Fiesta Yarns Boomerang in Raspberry Mocha
Pattern:  Top down raglan from Sweater Wizard software
Needles:  US 5 (3.75 mm) and US 6 (4 mm)

Rose Bolero

Part of the reason my knitting mojo has been a bit low is the fact that I had some unhappy yarn.  This yarn.  When I tried this top on it felt absolutely wonderful against the skin, but I really started to worry about how well it would wear.  The yarn just seems fragile to me, easily snagged and frayed.  Also, being silk, the top was a bit lifeless.  This week it occurred to me that the yarn might be better suited to being crocheted rather than knitted, so I did some searching on Ravelry and found a cute bolero from DROPS Design.  Last night I did a swatch, and now I have three rows.
The yarn is happy, and so am I.

Yarn:  Fiesta Yarns La Luz in Rose
Pattern:  DROPS Design DROPS 126-8
Hook:  3.25 mm (D)

Tangled Threads Crochet Blocks - Finished!

My knitting mojo has been a bit low of late, so I took a break and decided to crochet the other block of my Tangled Threads set.  I crocheted the first block way back in December.  In between I had pulled my copy of Crocheting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti off of my shelf and picked up some left over yarn and a crochet hook and done some practicing.  I am happy to say that it paid off.  This block definitely went faster, even with having to rip back a couple of times because of mistakes.  It is also exactly 8 inches.
Here are the two blocks side by side.  The eagle-eyed observer will note that the first block (on the right) is a little smaller than the second block.  I haven't decided if it will be an issue yet or not.

Pattern:  Tangled Threads by Melinda Miller (part of The Unique Sheep Crochet Block of the Month Club)
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Golden Rod and Red Sorrel
Hook:  2.75 mm (C)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bead and Button 2012 - Swag on Display

When I finally started cruising the show floor, the first thing I spotted was this beauty, who now guards my kitchen (well, there was a hook in the ceiling already, and I wanted him somewhere he would not get broken).  I bought him from the Hand Blown Glass Company of the Wisconsin Dells.

My sister Virginia has been incorporating metal filigree into her pieces, so when I found a booth that had an excellent selection at reasonable prices I bought an assortment.

We had breakfast one morning with a delightful bead artist, Dolly Ahles, so I stopped by her booth and picked up this beautiful selection of flower buds.

I also had a nice visit with the lamp work artist Sage Holland, who is teaching one of the Master Classes next year.  The vases on either side are her work.  The one on the left is folded glass, a very ancient technique.  The wonderful flower in the middle is by Beau Anderson.

I also picked up a nice selection of clasps from Grains of Sand.

And the hardware for a purse from Victorian Purses by Sue.  I've been wanting to knit a beaded purse for quite some time.

And a random collection of pressed glass and a dragonfly clasp from Bokamo.  They have had the booth opposite us for a number of years now.  Remember those cool stones in my Celtic Infinity necklace and my Avatar necklace?  It turns out they are pressed glass.  I found some more this year.  Maybe this time I'll remember what they are and where I got them.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Triffid Shawl - Clue 1

This is the first Zen Butterfly Mystery Knit.  A collaboration of Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden and Meghan Jackson (aka Butterfly Knits).  The design of the shawl was inspired by the classic science fiction novel The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.  How could I resist?  The shawl is knit from the bottom edge up and the first clue was just the cast on, of 477 stitches (for the large size).  And no ordinary cast on.  This was some kind of picot cast on.  The pattern called for using a long tail cast on.  The recommended method to avoid running out of yarn was to work with both ends of the yarn cake.  Yeah.  That worked well.  So next I tried just pulling off a whole lot of yarn, hoping that I had enough that I wouldn't run out of yarn, cause who would want to go through this exercise more than once?  But the picots were fiddly, and I got tired of keeping my strands straight.  I almost gave up at that point and started pondering beads, but then I decided to just try a knitted cast on.  Easy peasy.  No turning the work, no getting confused by which strand was which.

Pattern:  Triffid Shawl by Meghan Jackson
Yarn:  Serenity 20 by Zen Yarn Garden
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm) for the cast on

Little Wing - Finished!

I finished this up yesterday afternoon.  I did not do the picot bind the pattern called for because I was running low of yarn, but I like the simple bind off better and it allowed me to block the points, which I think are more wing-like than the picots.

Pattern:  Little Wing by Janel Laidman, part of the Knitterati Sock Club
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Squooshy in Icarus, one of the Art Walk Sock Yarn Club shipments.
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)