Friday, November 29, 2013

Crimson Lake - Body Done!

I have been working pretty steadily on this sweater and finished up the armhole and shoulder shaping Wednesday night.  I blocked it prior to picking up stitches for the ribbing around the neck opening.  I have already started a sleeve.  Knitting this sweater a second time has allowed me to write my notes up a little more thoroughly.  I always make notes while I'm working a project, but I don't usually write them that clearly and they aren't always easy to interpret a second time around.  This time I actually took the time to put them on my Ravelry project page, usually they are only kept on Post-It note pad sheets and stuck on pattern pages or in pattern books.

Pattern:  Ladies Sweater - 1838 from Moments No. 005
Yarn:  SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino
Needles:  US 2.5 (3.0 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bigger on the Inside - Vortex Lace Done

Oh look, it is a scaly blue snake digesting its lunch.  This is the Time Vortex Lace section of the Bigger on the Inside shawl by Kate Atherley.  I am making it for a friend of mine who is a major Dr. Who fan.  I am using The Unique Sheep Pashmi in the color Doctor Blue.  And here it is blocking.  I love the transformation that blocking performs on lace.
The lace section is knit from point to point and then stitches are picked up along the bottom edge to knit the rest of the shawl.  That is why I decided to block it.  It is just so much easier to pick up stitches after blocking.  The lace pattern is pretty easy to memorize, although I couldn't knit this and watch the Graham Norton show last weekend.

Pattern:  Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley, published in Knitty, Issue 39, Spring-Summer 2012
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Pashmi in Doctor Blue
Needle:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Brachyura - Finished!

The garter stitch body was a quick and easy knit.  I did not bother wrapping stitches when I did my turns, I never do when working short rows in garter stitch.  I did not do a stretchy lace bind off but instead opted for a regular bind off using a US size 6 (4 mm) needle to give the shawl more of a crescent shape, which I prefer.

So, after finishing up this shawl I pulled out the first Zodiac Club offering - Taurus.
The colors are good - a lovely blend from spring into fall, but the pattern...well, the pattern just didn't appeal to me.  The construction is certainly intriguing, but the lace pattern didn't look complex enough to hold my interest long enough to finish the shawl.
So I went looking for another pattern to knit.  The yarn is a generous 1500 yards, so I had a lot to choose from, and a base that I have never used before - Green Sheep Fingering, 100% superfine merino wool.  In the end I picked a lacy cardigan by Bergere of France.  I love their patterns.  The good news is that I could get the pattern, and for free.  The catch?  The pattern is in French.  I did take a year or two in high school, but that was a long time ago.  The pattern is 343 - Cardigan Ajoure.  So along with the fun of translation, I also have to figure out how I want to use the gradiance yarn.  But first, I need to knit a project for a friend of mine.  Fortunately it also uses Unique Sheep yarn, so I will be able to get my fix.

Pattern:  Brachyura by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Moonshine (lace edge) and Stardust (body)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm) lace edge, US 4 (3.5 mm) body, US 6 (4 mm) bind off

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Brachyura - Lace Edge Finished!

Actually, the entire shawl is finished, and is upstairs blocking, but it is too dark to get a picture.  All week long I have been chipping away at the lace edge and this morning I finished up the last two repeats.  I will confess that it was getting a bit boring.  That is my only complaint about patterns like these where you're repeating the same lace motif over and over.  They are lace, so I have to pay attention, but they are boring, so my attention wanders.  It works best if I have something to watch or listen to while working on them.

Pattern:  Brachyura by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Moonshine (lace edge) and Stardust (body)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm) lace edge, US 4 (3.5 mm) body

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beaded Flowers

I took a break from knitting today and decided to do a little bead work.  This is a kit from Beadcats called Festive Flower that I've had in my stash for a couple of years.  Of course I modified it.  It was intended to be a pin, but I had some filigree that provided a perfect base for it.  I've always been fascinated by the chains of office that I've seen in paintings from Tudor England and I've wanted to make a variation on them with beaded flowers mounted on filigree.  As a prototype I am pretty happy with it, although I need to work on the construction technique a little.
I also want to play with the colors.  The colors that came with the kit don't really show off the structure.  I'll also have to buy some more filigree.  I only have two pieces of this particular design.  I bought a bunch of filigree at Bead & Button one year just to have a variety in my stash.

Materials (numbers are Beadcats stock numbers):
Seed beads
2-14-234-71:  Size 14/0 dark red silver-lined irid
2-11-225-71:  Size 11/0 bright red silver-lined irid
2-08-228-71: Size 8/0 red silver-lined irid
2-06-228-71:  Size 6/0 red silver-lined irid
Pressed glass
N-LA-840-01:  pressed glass leaves, dk topaz transparent
L·X1·839·00:  topaz transparent Radiolara

Brachyura - Seven Repeats Done

The pattern calls for 15 repeats so, I am almost half way done with the lace edging.  I felt a bit like Penelope last week because I kept ripping back my first repeat.  Part of the problem was the yarn overs on the top edge.  I always have issues with yarn overs when you are going from a purl stitch to a knit stitch or vice versa.  When going from a knit stitch to a purl stitch the yarn overs always come out larger than when going from a purl stitch to a knit stitch.  You can see the Zodiac symbol marching along, and the wave motif on the bottom edge.  When I'm done with the lace edge I'll pick up stitches along the top edge and knit the body.

Pattern:  Brachyura by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Moonshine (lace edge) and Stardust (body)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm) lace edge, US 4 (3.5 mm) body

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tiger, Tiger

I bought these polymer clay beads my very first year working for my sister at Bead & Button.  That would have been 2002.  It has been sitting in one of my project boxes all that time.  I dug it out this morning thinking that I would do something else with it - Chinese knots - but then discovered that I had strung this and decided to go with it.  As for the name of the piece - I've always loved the poem and the beads just seemed evocative of tigers in the jungle.

There was a short story in an Isaac Asimov Science Fiction magazine that I read years ago that was inspired by taking the poem by William Blake (Tiger, Tiger) translating it into Sanskrit, running it backwards and translating it back out to English - I think that was the order of operations.  The result was quite...transcendental...and actually made more sense to me than the original poem.  The story was pretty good too.  Bright, bright burning tiger.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Brachyura - One repeat done

This is the second offering in The Unique Sheep's Zodiac Shawl Club - Cancer.  The shawl name is Brachyura, which is the order that crabs belong to.  I really like the colors that the designer worked her shawl in - gold for the lace edge and a blue/gold mix for the body of the shawl.

The construction of this shawl is a bit different.  The part that I am knitting now is actually the lace edging.  Once I am done with 15 repeats I will bind off and then with a second color pick up stitches along the left edge and knit the body.  It took me several tries before I got the start looking the way I liked, as well as the left edge.  The instructions call for slipping the first stitch with the yarn in back on every row.  On right side rows I slip the stitch with the yarn in back, but on wrong side rows I slip the stitch with the yarn in front.  I think the "yarn in back" should be interpreted as "yarn on the wrong side of the work".  Once again I am using my Knit Companion App on my iPad.  It is great when you are working lace charts.

I know this violates my recent knitting monogamy, but I need a more complex project in addition to my simpler one.  I had actually wound the yarn up for this project while I was working the sleeves of Goldenrod, planning on working it next, but then I needed something simple to knit while reading documents at work so I cast on Crimson Lake.  But I still really wanted to work on this shawl because I love working with Unique Sheep yarns and find myself missing them when I don't have a project using them on my needles.  I am beginning to suspect that Laura and Kelly are yarn faeries and that they enchant their yarns.  It is a spell I am happy to be under.

Pattern:  Brachyura by Trish vanKuyk
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Moonshine (lace edge) and Stardust (body)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm) lace edge, US 4 (3.5 mm) body

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Goldenrod - Finished!

Here it is, finally finished, and it fits perfectly.  I finished the second sleeve in two days (over the weekend) blocked it Sunday evening and sewed it in Monday evening and snapped this picture this morning before heading off to work (it is too dark when I get home to get any pictures during the week).  Hopefully my second one (Crimson Lake) will go a little bit faster.  The major modification that I did to the pattern was knit everything in the round - body and sleeves.  When I was working the decreases for the shaping on the neckline, armholes and tops of the sleeves I did ssk and k2tog 2 stitches in from the edge to give that nice line.  You can see it here in the neck shaping and catch a glimpse of it as well on the sleeve.  I'm planning on wearing it to work tomorrow (I am finally meeting my program manager).

Pattern:  Ladies Sweater - 1838 from Moments No. 005
Yarn:  SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino
Needles:  US 2.5 (3.0 mm) and US 4 (3.5 mm)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fred Update

Fred is doing well and has pretty much integrated himself into our household.  Here he is curled up on the daybed right next to my spot.  This is the first time he has done this, although he has been seeking more attention lately.  We've been taking him outside, which he really enjoys, and he has proven himself so trust worthy that we even let him out on his own.  Mostly he likes to sit on the deck and enjoy the sights and smells of the outdoor world, but sometimes he likes to take a walk around the house.  This afternoon he sat in a sunbeam for a while.
And last weekend (the first time we let him stay out on his own) he took a bath in the sun (that's a leaf next to his bum).
He is a very fluffy kitty.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Crimson Lake - Cast On

The photo does not do justice to the rich red color of this yarn.  I was originally going to call this sweater Scarlet, but that color just didn't seem rich enough.  Years ago I had a red color pencil in my collection and the color name on the side of the pencil was Crimson Lake.  It was a wonderful red.  A college friend of mine even wrote a poem about that color, which she wrote out in beautiful calligraphy.  We were into calligraphy back then, and Dungeons and Dragons.  I know that this violates my monogamous knitting habit that I have been practicing, but I really needed some simple knitting to put in my work bag, which has not had any knitting in it since I finished the body of Goldenrod.  I knew that I would be doing some document reading this week, and I really find that document reading goes so much better if I have some mindless knitting in my hands.

This is the same design as Goldenrod.

Pattern:  Ladies Sweater - 1838 from Moments No. 005
Yarn:  SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino
Needles:  US 2.5 (3.0 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm)

Goldenrod - One Sleeve Done

It seemed to take me forever to finish the first sleeve.  The lace pattern was easily memorized and I even took the sleeve with me when we went to Charlottesville last Sunday to watch Amy dance.  I even pulled it out a couple of times at dinner afterwards.  When it came to the decreases for the shoulder cap I improvised the adjustment of the lace pattern and had to rip back twice when I decided that I had made the wrong choice.

I did make some modifications to the sleeve.  I knit it in the round, which did pose some challenges when it came time to block it.  I also did not do any shaping of the sleeve until I reached the shoulder cap.  The pattern calls for decreases and increases in the lower half of the sleeve but I really did not want to mess with that because of the all over lace pattern.  The pattern called for casting on 50 stitches, which I did.  I did not join for knitting in the round right away - I worked 7 rows of garter (as called for by the pattern), and then did the increase row.  When figuring out the number of stitches to increase I took two things into consideration - how many stitches I needed to end up with (87), and the number of stitches in each repeat of the lace pattern (8).  I decided to go for 88 stitches (10 repeats of the lace pattern), which meant that I had to increase 38 stitches.  That is a lot of stitches.  I used my iPad App Knit Evenly Calculator by JAKRO SOFT LLC.  It is invaluable when you have to do increases, it will even step you through each increase, which is wonderful, because you know how easy it is to lose your place when you are doing a lot of increases.  To join the cuff I used the tail from my cast on and just did a couple of single crochets.

I was not able to get a really good picture of the sleeve blocking, this was the best that I could do.
I ran blocking wires up the side so I could spread it out and open up the lace pattern, but this left me with two pointy bumps near the bottom.  I'll spray those to get rid of the them when I spray the shoulder seam.  I was worried about the length of the sleeve and the shoulder cap so before I cut the yarn I pinned the sleeve into the body (and was happy when it went together perfectly with no bunching and no gapping) and then very carefully tried it on.  Sewing the sleeve was pretty straight forward.  I turned the body inside out, put the sleeve inside the body and pinned the sleeve to the armhole with the right sides together.  When sewing set-in sleeves I like to start at the top and work down one side and then the other.

Pattern:  Ladies Sweater - 1838 from Moments No. 005
Yarn:  SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino
Needles:  US 2.5 (3.0 mm) and US 4 (3.5 mm)