Thursday, November 27, 2014

Watership Down II - Halfway through the second border

Last week I frogged the Rosebud cape that I was knitting and while I was waiting for my Snow Queen yarn to arrive I picked this one back up and got back to work on the border.  I wasn't really happy with how the Rosebud Cape was turning out, although I did enjoy working with the Marici Lace.  I think I'm going to knit Nightblossoms, from Romi's Pins and Lace Club 2014, with the yarn instead.

I didn't get a great deal of knitting in over the weekend as we had to do some yard work - raking leaves and trimming bushes - but I did manage to get past the half-way point on the second and final border.  And then my Snow Queen yarn arrived on Monday with my Christmas Club shipment and I dove into my test knit.  The yarn is just gorgeous - Dusk on the Fjord on Marici Fingering - and I have lots of beads.  Lots and lots of beads.
And I'm going to use lots and lots of beads with this one.  There are already beads in the pattern, and a lovely pattern it is too, but it just cries out for more.  Lots more.  This is the first time that a pattern has really spoken to me in that way and it is very exciting.  And that's all I can say about it, except that this is my first time knitting with Marici fingering and I love it.  Bye now.

Pattern:  Watership Down by Janine le Cras
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Eos in Moulin Huet
Needle:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rosebud Cape - Chart 2 Done

I've been working on this as well, off and on, and finally finished up Chart 2 last night.  I'm going to skip Chart 3 - not crazy about cables in lace, especially with a pure silk yarn.  Fortunately it should be pretty straightforward to match up Charts 2 and 4.  I'm also going to repeat Chart 4, working it two times instead of one, and I'll probably do the same with Chart 5.  This should make the shawl more of a Pi shawl.  That was one of the things that threw me with this pattern - you're doubling stitches between charts until you complete Chart 4, but the number of rows in each chart do not follow the traditional doubling that you would see with a Pi shawl.

Pattern:  Rosebuds A-Flying by Heatherly Walker modified to be a cape
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Marici Lace in Rosebud
Needle:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Boho Blue Necklace

I decided to take a little break from knitting and do a little bead work.  This is from the Learning Center on the Artbeads web site.  It is the Boho Blue Necklace, I guess I've been in a blue mood lately - color-wise anyway  The instructions are explicit on the first strand, with the large oval gemstones, but on the other two strands they tell you to "randomly string" various elements.  I hate that.  I cannot do random.  Here is a list of components pulled from the project page.  I used Soft Flex to string the beads on.

Dakota Stones Lapis Lazuli 4mm Round Bead Strand (R0186, qty 1)
Dakota Stones Blue Apatite 6mm Faceted Roundel Bead Strand (R0440, qty 1)
Dakota Stones Blue Apatite 4mm Round Bead Strand (R0437, qty 1)
Blue Daisy Jasper 15x20mm Drum Bead Strand (R2351, qty 1)
JBB Antique Brass-Plated Brass Flower Bush Hollow Round Bead (BEAD-0387, qty 3)
Czech Glass 15x12mm Multi-Colored with Picasso Finish Oval Bird Bead Strand (BEADS-0422, qty 1)
Czech Glass 8mm Opaline Green Blue with Picasso Finish Faceted Round Bead (15pc Pack) (BEADS-0197, qty 1)
JBB 4.9mm Antique Brass-Plated Pewter Daisy Spacer (BEAD-1372, qty 33)
TierraCast Brass Oxide Pewter 3mm Faceted Heishi Spacer (BRO-0422, qty 21)
11x7.5mm Antique Brass-Plated Textured and Plain Link Chain By the Foot (BTF-0602, qty 1)
JBB Antique Vintage Brass-Plated Pewter 3 Petal Leaf Toggle Clasp (PBA-TOG004, qty 1)
8mm Antique Brass-Plated Open Jump Ring (BBA-OJR08, qty 4)
5.5mm Antique Brass-Plated 21 Gauge Open Jump Ring (BBA-OJR06-A, qty 6)
14K/20 Gold-Filled 2x2mm Crimp Tube (GF-CRM2, qty 6)
14K/20 Gold-Filled 2.5mm Crimp Cover (find-0022, qty 6)

Liken III - Finished

I finished this up last week, on Armistice Day, which everyone knows now as Veteran's Day.  It is one of the few holidays that doesn't move around.  It is always on the 11th of November, commemorating the end of World War I at the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, dubbed the war to end all wars by H. G. Wells.  He had written a book in the summer of 1914 called "The World Set Free" in which he imagined a world war, as well as the atomic bomb.  When the way broke out he was horrified and wrote a pamphlet titled "The War to End All Wars".  It became a national slogan.  And why are red poppies  associated with that war?  Because they were one of the first plants that grew back on those war torn fields - covering the devastation with fields of red flowers.

This week it seems that winter has finally settled in.  All October we had mild weather, but this week the temperatures have dipped.  Jasmine and I snuggle under the blanket on the daybed to stay warm.  She has reclaimed the space where Fred used to sleep.  The wooden box with the plaque in the background contains Fred's ashes.  I picked them up two weeks ago.

Pattern:  Liken by Sivia Harding, modified to be a circular cape
Yarn:  Abstract Fibers O'Keefe in Pearl, Smitten and Burnside Bridge
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Liken III - Charts B and C

I finished up 3 repeats of Chart B and Chart C this past week.  I was thinking about working 4 repeats of Chart B, as I had worked 4 repeats of Chart A but after doing the math it looked like that would leave me with very little margin and I really want to work a constrast bind off, probably with Color B, the variegated yarn.  I also don't want to be worrying about running out of yarn.  Knitting is supposed to be relaxing, not stressful.

I've worn my other Liken shawl several times, including with my Autumn Dress.  The shawl is warm and cuddly and so easy to wear.  I love it.  I may make more.  It is such a lovely design and it is so fun playing with colors, and I do have an awful lot of single skein sock yarns in my stash.

Pattern:  Liken by Sivia Harding, modified to be a circular cape
Yarn:  Abstract Fibers O'Keefe in Pearl, Smitten and Burnside Bridge
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Liken III - Charts A and B

This past Thursday I stayed home from work.  I felt like I was coming down with something and I have found that if I stay home and rest as soon as I feel something trying to get me I can usually kick it before it gets a hold of me.  My brain was pretty fuzzy so I spent the morning finishing up the frogging of my first Liken shawl.  Then I wound all of the balls of frogged yarn into skeins on my Niddy Noddy, soaked them and hung them up to dry.  Then I started knitting my third Liken shawl.  This time I am being more conscientious in my weighing of yarn and have my spreadsheet all set up so I can figure out how many repeats of the charts I can do.  The skeins for this shawl have 110 grams each, so I was able to work 4 repeats of Chart A.

For my first Liken I used Berry-Lined Light Topaz beads throughout, but I wasn't sure I would have enough for this one, so I am using two different colors of beads, Nebula on the cream sections and the Berry-Lined Light Topaz on the purple sections.

Pattern:  Liken by Sivia Harding, modified to be a circular cape
Yarn:  Abstract Fibers O'Keefe in Pearl, Smitten and Burnside Bridge
Needle:  US 4 (3.5 mm)

Oliver Twist

The final clue has gone out, so now I can reveal my Oliver Twist shawl.  This is my first time test knitting and it was a lot of fun.  I was very flattered and honored when I was asked if I wanted to test knit the pattern.  Before we even started knitting we looked over the pattern, finding the obvious errors and refining the directions.  Before I knit each clue I compared the charts with the written directions making notes on any errors I found.  I also weighed each skein before I started knitting and after each clue and after I had switched to the next skein.  I made a spreadsheet with stitch counts and calculated yarn usage and figured out where the skein switches should occur.  The yarn I picked is Jaded Jazzberry on Luxe.  This is one of the ABC club colors and had just been released to the public when I was picking my color.  I was really drawn to the jewel tones and the finished shawl is just gorgeous.  I also had a lot of fun with beads.  Ellen of Earthfaire always does a great job of picking out bead colors for The Unique Sheep Mystery Knit Alongs, but I had a lot of fun mixing and matching bead colors on this shawl.  I have a pretty decent stash of size 6 beads, and I had done an order of beads from Ellen a little bit before I started this test knit, so I had some really good colors to work with.  The one thing I did not have was enough to use the same bead color throughout the shawl.  So I had fun.

The pattern has a lot of nupps and I'm really not a fan of nupps.  I can knit them, and have, but I just don't like the way they look in a pattern, so I always replace them with beads.  When I replaced the 4 nupp diamonds with beads I used a contrasting bead color that matched the later skeins - Gold-Lined Cranberry.
When I got to the 9 nupp diamonds I switched to a bead color that matched the earlier skeins - Dragonfly.  Unfortunately I didn't have enough to do all of the 9 nupp diamonds in that color, so on the second set I replaced the center nupp with a Berry-Lined Light Topaz bead.
On the third set of 9 nupp diamonds I reversed the color scheme and used the Dragonfly bead in the center and the Berry-Lined Light Topaz beads for the rest of the diamond.  I also used the Berry-Lined Light Topaz beads for the beads that were actually called for in the pattern in the final clue.

I was already getting a little tired of mystery knit alongs, so I am happy that I will be test knitting them for the Unique Sheep.  The biggest reason I have gone off of the mystery knit alongs is that I like tweaking patterns and you just can't do that if you don't know the whole design.  Sometimes a shawl design will strongly suggest a certain colorway to me, or will seem to be perfect for turning into a cape (like the Mayan Garden shawl, or the Liken shawl), and it is a lot harder to see those things and make those design decisions if you are only getting a little piece at a time.

Pattern:  Oliver Twist by Janine le Cras
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Jaded Jazzberry
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)