Saturday, March 31, 2012

Isis Necklace

I decided that I needed a better name for this necklace than "Amethyst & Gold", do you think the Goddess Isis would be offended if I named it for her?  It is definitely regal, and seems to have an Egyptian feel to me, and Amethyst is one of the gemstones sacred to her.  The necklace isn't quite finished, I still need to add the clasp, but I don't have any suitable clasps in my stash, so I ordered some.

Project Name:  Sleek in Silver by Hatsumi Oshitani, October/November 2011 issue of Beadwork Magazine

Materials (Beadcats stock #):
KO Thread in purple
2-11-748-90 - size 11 seed beads clear-lined with cool purple
2-08-840-18 - size 8 seed beads gold opaque w/ colorful metallic irid
T-55-840-18 - TILA dark gold opaque w/ rose metallic irid
Faceted Amethyst drops

Le Petit Prince - Mystery Shawl - Clue 3

Clue 3 was in my inbox yesterday morning and I finished it up last night but it was too dark for a decent photo.  You can see where I started the second skein.  I did not do any transition rows.  In this photo the transition appears more dramatic than I think it will look when the entire shawl is done.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Amethyst & Gold

I have been wanting to make this necklace ever since I saw it on the cover of the October/November 2011 issue of Beadwork Magazine.  Shortly after the issue came out I spotted the faceted amethyst drops and I knew I had one of the key components of my necklace.  So after I finished up the Edelweiss Necklace I started on it.  Because of the nature of beadwork, I try not to have more than one beading project going at a time.  The construction is a modification of St. Petersburg stitch using the new two-holed beads know as TILA beads.  The project in the magazine is called Sleek in Silver and is by Hatsumi Oshitani.

Materials (Beadcats stock #):
KO Thread in purple
2-11-748-90 - size 11 seed beads clear-lined with cool purple
2-08-840-18 - size 8 seed beads gold opaque w/ colorful metallic irid
T-55-840-18 - TILA dark gold opaque w/ rose metallic irid

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Edelweiss Necklace - Finished

I took a break from knitting today and finished up this necklace.  I had started it a couple of weeks ago, but then had to put it on hold while I awaited delivery of some finer Soft Flex.  This is the Edelweiss Necklace by Melinda Barta in the October/November 2009 issue of Beadwork Magazine.  You might recall that I used the flower element in my Dragon Scale Necklace.  To assemble the necklace I threaded a piece of Soft Flex (0.014 in 925 Sterling Silver) through the herringbone section and then threaded a flower at either end.  On the side with all of the flowers I attached the magnetic clasp.  On the other side I strung 18 pearls.  I then made the six flowers that form the central spine.  I found it easier to thread the pearl onto the Soft Flex before I beaded the flower.  The pattern calls for creating a ladder of delicas and then joining it to form a circle, beading the flower and then placing the finished flower onto the pearl.  Instead I did brick stitch around the pearl and then beaded the flower on the pearl.  Here is a picture of the strand before embellishing.
And here is a picture of the back-side so you can see how I spaced the flowers with delicas.
Then it was just a matter of making more flowers and figuring out the layout.  Threading the Soft Flex through the herringbone section was a little tricky, and it would have been easier if I had done the herringbone around the Soft Flex to begin with, but obviously I was successful, with a little patience and finesse.  I like the fact that the necklace is not suspended on the herringbone section, it seems to lay better.

Pearls, about 8mm in diameter

Size 11 Delicas (Beadcats Stock #s):
4-11-463-91 clear-lined w/ rich yellow, irid
4-11-583-14 cool dk green opaque metallic
4-11-127-02 flesh pink transparent luster
Size 14 seed beads:
2-14-127-02 medium pink transparent luster
2-14-463-92 clear-lined w/ rich yellow, luster

And here you can see the power of the Beadcats stock numbering system.  The first digit represents the bead type, so 4 is Delicas, and 2 is seed bead, the next two digits are the size, the next three numbers are the color, and you can see how easy it is to match colors across bead types, and the last two numbers are the glass type and the surface finish.  You can read all about their stock numbering system on their web site.  At this point I have quite a stash, so I often don't buy beads for a project, I just make do with what I have on hand.  It does mean that I sometimes have to be a little more creative in my bead selection, and I often hit on color combinations I might not have otherwise.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Knitterati Mystery 2 - Clue 2

The second clue for the Knitterati Mystery also came out today.  I was the first to post a finished picture of this clue as well.  I also found the mystery question in the clue and already answered it - correctly, I believe.  Honestly, she makes it pretty easy.  The cable design is lovely, and the stitch definition of the Serenity 20 is wonderful.  I even cast on the socks, although I could only find 2, 2.5mm needles, so I am knitting one sock at a time.  Some folks are doing the cables without a cable needle, but not me.  I may knit lace without stitch markers or life lines, but I use a cable needle with cables.  I have a U-shaped one that I slip around the pinky of my left hand when I'm not using it.  Keeps it out of the way, but conveniently located.

Le Petit Prince - Mystery Shawl - Clue 2

Clues for The Unique Sheep Mystery KALs always come out early on Fridays, although usually I don't get a chance to knit them until I get home from work.  But today I didn't go to work.  They have been doing a security drill all week and they only wanted essential people on base today.  Of course, they couldn't actually tell us not to work because that would be illegal, nor could they actually close the base and send us home on Administrative leave because that would have been illegal as well due to the fact that the event was planned (as opposed to a weather emergency).  The funny thing is that VDOT put up signs warning motorists of the drill and possible back ups this past week, but I don't think there have been any.  They even put up a temporary traffic camera.  I think a lot of people just took the week off (like my husband) to avoid dealing with it.  Taking today off not only gave me the opportunity to be the first to post the finished clue on Ravelry, it also gives me a two day weekend as I have to fly to California on Sunday for work.  At least I will earn some travel comp time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Forever Shawl - Chart B

I finally got back to this project and finished up Chart B last night.  Once I got going with the pattern it was pretty easy and fun.  The yarn is Pelusa Lace by Zen Yarn Garden in Scarlet Letter.  This is the February Light & Dark Lace Club offering.  The April sign ups are already open.  This time around Ruth Greenwald is dyeing the yarn, which is available at her Etsy site.  I went with the green.  I was going to go with the blue, but the green kept catching my eye.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Le Petit Prince - Mystery Shawl - Clue 1

I actually started knitting this Friday morning before I went to work, but I didn't get it finished until Saturday morning, and didn't get photos until this morning.  This is the latest Unique Sheep mystery KAL.  The design is once more by Janine Le Cras and is based upon Le Petit Prince.  I picked Love Spoken Here, on Luxe for my color way, but replaced the clear silver lined beads with hot pink ones.

Knitterati Mystery 2 - Clue 1

The second club shipment of Janel Laidman's Knitterati Sock Club came this past Thursday, and the patterns came out on Friday.  I had a long day Friday, even ended up staying late to finish up some work, but came home excited to start the next mystery.  Appropriately enough (you know, St. Patrick's Day), the color of the club yarn is Emerald Forest and the suggested color for the mystery knit was also green.  Fortunately I had some Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in Emerald Ice in my stash, so I pulled it out, wound it into a ball and cast on.

Pattern:  Knitterati2.1
Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 (70% Superwash Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon - 400 yds, 100 g) in Emerald Ice

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My first custom color - Blue Dahlia

About a month ago, The Unique Sheep announced a new pattern and kit, Dahlia, a modular shawlette.  I immediately thought of the film noir, The Blue Dahlia, and knew that I wanted a custom color.  I found some pictures on line and sent them to Laura and Kelly with my request.  Laura responded, we went back and forth a few times, and here it is - my first custom color:  Blue Dahlia.  Laura had to tone the colors down from the pictures that I sent her in order to make them work together in only three skeins, as well as work for the pattern, but she captured the essence that I was after and I am looking forward to knitting the shawlette.  I am hoping that she will also experiment with a 6 skein gradiance set, amped back up to the intensity of the photos that I sent her, I think it would be just stunning and I even have a shawl design percolating in my brain for such a colorway.

Boreal Socks - Finished!

Woohoo!  I kept to my schedule and finished my second sock tonight.  And just in time, too.  My next club shipment arrived today and the next club pattern is released tomorrow.

The pattern is Boreal, by Janel Laidman, 2012 Knitterati Sock Club.
The sock is Hazel Knits entice (70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon), in Iceland.  I used 83 grams.
Needles, US 1, 2.25mm
Construction:  Toe Up

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Boreal Socks - 1 down, 1 to go

I've been keeping to my schedule of 1 repeat of the chart every evening and tonight I finished one of my socks.  I have one more repeat to go, and my other sock will be finished tomorrow, just in time for the next pattern release on Friday.

I spent the day hanging out on a M1 Tank, talking to Marines and checking out a new gun mount for my job as a system safety engineer, and I finished a sock tonight.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sea Monster Bead Necklace

I'm not sure what to call this necklace.  Is the focal bead some kind of strange sea monster?  Or perhaps an alien artifact?  Or even an alien insect.  I finished it up last night and I am pretty happy with how it came out.  I wanted to try and pick up the cool spirals in the main body that you can really only see in strong daylight, and I think I have done that with the spiral bead rope mimicking the spiral design.  I went for the teal and the yellow and left out the white.  For a clasp I used a vintage button that I bought at Bead & Button.  One year there were two very nice young ladies in the booth next to ours selling vintage buttons as well as reproductions of vintage buttons.
10 grams - 3.4 mm  Japanese Drops - Beadcats stock # D-34-579-90, aqua-green transparent lined with tan
8 grams - size 11 beads - Beadcats stock # 2-11-443-90, clear lined with light yellow
2 grams - size 11 beads - Beadcats stock # 2-11-690-75, turquoise green silver-lined semi-gloss
Technique:  spiral rope

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Boreal Socks - 1 down, 2 to go !?

Hah!  I thought the title of this post would throw you.  I am referring not to completed socks, but to completed repeats of the chart in the leg.  So, strictly speaking, it really should be 2 down and 4 to go, because I am doing 3 repeats of the chart for each sock.  I want to finish these by Friday, so my plan is to knit one repeat of the chart every day, which should have me finishing up Thursday.

Project Updates

I finished the herringbone stitch section of my Edelweiss Necklace last weekend and started making the flowers.  The plan is to have several different colors of flower petals.  Right now I am waiting for a delivery of some finer gauge Soft Flex so I can start assembling.
Last night I pulled this project out.  I bought this focal bead a couple of years ago.  I like the colors, but I'm not sure if the design does justice to the focal bead.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Boreal Socks - Footies!

After finishing up my Tart Berries & Honey shawl I turned my attention to my languishing Boreal socks.  Although Bruce thinks my toe pockets are adorable, they are not exactly practical.  I also need to get these finished because the next shipment goes out next week.  So, I have successfully turned the heel with short rows.  I did not do the shadow wraps that everyone was raving about.  I tried them but I was getting holes, so I went back to the old wrap and turn, and got no holes.  Go figure.  I do like the shadow wrap technique, however, it is very cool, and I think it would be very good for shaping clothing (shoulders, darts, necklines...) so I am sure it will be getting used in the future.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tart Berries & Honey - Beauty Shots

I took advantage of the sun to get some beauty shots of Tart Berries & Honey.  I really love how this shawl came out.  It is light and drapey and the colors are just so luscious.  Sometimes the design is the star, and sometimes it is the yarn.  This time it is definitely the yarn.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tart Berries & Honey - Finished!

I called this shawl Tart Berries & Honey because Tart Berries & Gold Mustard just didn't sound very appetizing.  I had two reasons for knitting this shawl, one was to use up some beautiful yarn in a way that would show it off, the other was to test my theory that you don't have to do the transition rows when switching from one skein to the next of a gradiance colorway.

When I started knitting with the gradiance colorways I did not set out to challenge the accepted practice, but by nature I am an optimizer and I am always trying to figure out the best way to do things, and that means you cannot be afraid to challenge accepted practice.  It is not easy to do, and I still have to remind myself to not just follow instructions or tradition without at least thinking about it.  So maybe there is some Buddhism in there too, in the form of mindfulness, knowing what you are doing and why you are doing it.  I first started questioning the transition rows when I noticed that they actually introduced discontinuities in the color transitions because it was impossible to match the colors of the two skeins when you switched them in the transition.  Sure, you could match that first switch, but any subsequent matches were pure luck, unless you were willing to cut your yarn, and there were enough ends to weave in already without adding any more.  The more I thought about it, the more strongly I felt that, given the unique dyeing technique that is used, you could just let the yarn do all of the work for you.

So, here is my test case.  I knit the Through the Looking Glass Shawl with transition rows, and Tart Berries & Honey without.  Same colorway, different techniques.  Why yes, I do have a science background.
Are the color transitions in Tart Berries & Honey more orderly and less stripey?  Yes, I think they are, but both are beautiful.  So, in the end I guess it all comes down to preference.

The yarn is Luxe, by The Unique Sheep, in Tart Berries and Gold Mustard.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Project Updates

I spent most of last week working on this shawl, which I am calling Tart Berries & Honey.  It uses up the rest of the Tart Berries gradiance colorway that I had left over from my Through the Looking Glass shawl.  For the border I grabbed the leftovers from my Golden Phoenix.  I am almost halfway through the border.  The yarn is Luxe, by The Unique Sheep.

I also finally cast on the latest offering from the Light and Dark Lace Club, the Forever shawl by Ruth Greenwald.  It is knit in Pelusa Lace from Zen Yarn Garden in the Scarlet Letter colorway.  I can only work on this one when I have really good natural light, even my Ott light by my knitting spot doesn't quite cut it by itself.  I am not sure why, but on this one I have trouble reading my lace.  I am thinking it is a combination of the dark color and the texture of the yarn, which is kind of curly.  I am about halfway through the first clue.  The knitting is pretty easy, and I like the wider edging and central spine.  The second clue has already come out, but this group is pretty easy going, so I don't feel any pressure to finish this clue quickly.  I am thinking about adding some beads to the second clue.

I have also been working on my Lorna Suzanne cardigan.  I have about 6 inches of the body done.  The yarn is Superwash Worsted by Zen Yarn Garden in Midnight Plum.  It looks very purple in this picture, but it can look very much like dark red plums.  It really shows the berries in the lace motif, and I love the slight variegation of the color.  I am using my new Addi Lace clicks with the longer needles and I love them.  I have a set of the original Addi Lace Clicks, but the fact that the needles were shorter than the standard length that I am used to bothered me, and they feel a bit awkward when I use them.  I am planning on using the shorter needles when I join the sleeves to the body, though.  I think they will make it easier to knit those first couple of rows where it is a bit tight getting around the sleeves.

Yesterday afternoon and evening I pulled out my beads and worked on this project, which I started a long, long time ago (last year sometime?).  The project is the Edelweiss Necklace by Melinda Barta, in the October/November 2009 edition of Beadwork Magazine.  When I picked this back up again yesterday I had about 2 inches of the herringbone, now I have about 8 inches.