Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On and off the needles

Been a bit quiet lately - but there are lots of things on the needles to report

I started the Lady of the Forest Shawl last Wednesday - wanted something easy to knit while attending the Downtown Knit Collective meeting. It starts at the lower back point with very simple shaping (increasing at the edges and decreasing at the centre) - all in garter stitch

The DKC speaker was Kirk Dunn who is knitting a series of stained glass windows and he brought the 1st one to show us. WOW !!! Take Kaffe Fasset and add in an incredibly ambitious knitter with a fabulous idea and what do you get - an amazing representation of religious symbols with some history thrown in for good luck. The "window" is 5 ft wide and 9 feet tall and I wish I had some phtos of it - I tried googling to find something but alas - nothing out there - yet.

Imagine - the hours and hours of knitting to make something of this size. Is it heaven? or is it hell?

Any way - back to the Lady - she is done - I finished it on Tuesday and just have to block it - it seems small in its unblocked state so I believe I will be stretching it out a lot to make it the size I want (and the relative size of the picture - generous and nice and long!) .

Mine is knit in Moss Silk Stream and it took 1 whole and about 1/3rd of the 2nd skein

I like it!

Also (still) on the needles:

The neverending Super 10 Paprika Vine Lace top (almost done - about half way through the armhole (4th time lucky - after frogging and re-frogging)

Mitred square top with a v-neck in Hand Maiden Rumple in the most glorious colours of rust and taupe and a hint of blue

I am alternating the colours and the blue comes from the skeins on the bottom - they look rather more silvery here but it is a silvery sky blue that really makes the rest of the colours sing.

The bottom is slightly flared and the mitred squares run horizontally - and the drape of this fine silk boucle is fabulous - not usually my type of yarn but the colours are prefect for a pair of pants I just bought.

And last but not least a pair of socks in a new hand dyed yarn that I am sampling - simple faux cable in greens with a hint of blue. Stay tuned on that one - I like the yarn and I think I will be getting some in for the Fall.

Happy knitting everyone - a happy Canada Day and 4th of July to all in Canada and the USA

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Lace knitting and Herbert Niebling

A new yahoo group has been started to attempt to get a large enough voice to persuade Burda to repulcish the fabulously gorgeous lace knitting of Herbert Niebling

Magazines and booklets with Nieblings designs are grabbing huge amounts on eBay - with anything that contains Lyra leading the bunch.

There is a lovely organic feel to his designs with a leaf growing from a curvy branch topped off by a pretty border.

Now I am not saying that I want to adorn my whole house with doilies and knitted tabel cloths but my eye want to see this sort of organic lace and my hands want to knit it. Imagine a shawl (probably not a white one - not sure I want to wear a doily either) in this sort of sinuous lace.


Here are some sites to see what I mean - pure eye candy! Thanks to Nurhanne for putting this together - awe inspiring

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ever have one of those days?

Actually 2 or 3 of those days - when the knitting just isn't clicking along smoothly?

I am working out a pattern for a lacey shawl and started off with a bang - everything was going along smoothly and then I hit a snag (not at all a nice thing when there is Zephyr in the picture). I have an idea of what I want to do next and have been working out versions of how to do it but none of them are coming out to my satisfaction.

So I put it away for the evening and pulled out the Paprika cotton top to see if I could finish it up- just a few more inches to go and it would be done

Well no!

Ripped it out again - back to the arnholes since I realized it was:
1: too short
2: the armholes were too wide and the straps too narrow

So back to add a couple of inches more to the body and then started the armhole shaping again - this time using a different template. Took a good hard loook at it again and am still not happy with the armhole shaping. It is going to be sleeveless so I want it to be cut in a bit but not too much and it is still too much I think. So back into the knitting cupboard it goes again until I can find a shaping I like - not too deep, not too cut in, not too wide, not too narrow.

As they say - back to the drawing board

Have a great weekend everyone! I am going on a garden tour tomorrow - Through the Garden Gate - on Toronto Island sponsored by the Toronto Botanical Garden. The forecast is for 33C (i.e. too hot) but it should be a bit coooler on the Island

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Weekend Work

Well not really work since it is so enjoyable.

I have finished the Diamond Fantasy Shawl - 1 version anyway - the Blue Faced Leicester one - or at least I have completed the knitting which came abruptly to an end when I almost ran out of yarn (about 3 metres left). Now to block it and actually show you how lovely it is!

The other version - the one in Silken - is still on the needles waiting for me to wind another skein of silken - this one is going to be a stunner!

All of this was done to a background of Battlestar Galactica - from the mini-series right on through to the end of season 2.0.

Now that's a lot of TV watching and a lot of knitting that went on! What could be better!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Yummy bookiness

I am determined not to buy too many books for the store that my kids have to carry to shows and complain about their heaviness - but I broke down and bought a couple to sample to see if they were worth carrying.

I bought:

Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature - this is GORGEOUS and is based on some wonderful shapes - hexagons, single and double spirals, fractals etc and has some really beautiful designs in it. It is a beautifully laid out and phtographed book (hard cover with a dust jacket - there goes the book collector in me talking again!) and is definitely worth a closer look - even for its 41.95 CDN price. At least 1 blogger has had some trouble with errors in the patterns so do look for errata before you dive in.

Vogue Stitchionary Book 2 - Cables - a follow up to the fabulous 1st book , this one isn't quite as exciting - lots of lovely cables but only a few that made my heart pound. This will form part of my book library and no doubt be called upon now and then:

The new Vogue Shawls book (part of Knitting on the Go series) is on back order but pics I have seen look good!

I also bought Janet Szabo's new Aran Sweater Design and the latest reprint of Barbara Walker's Mosaic Knitting but haven't really had time to look into them enough to comment yet.

Knitting continues on the Vine Lace top - almost to the division for the armholes - just hanging it overnight to get a proper length - am just on to the 3rd skein of Super 10. I hope to be finished by the end of the weekend and will photograph it and post.

Have a great weekend everyone! I plan to dye and knit and garden and take parcels to the post office - I know - it is all just too exciting!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Progress and dyeing

Progress is being made on my Vine Lace top - almost finished the first skein (Super 10 skeins are 125g and 230m or 252yds) and am on the 2nd decrease for the flare panels (the purls)

Easy knitting and a simple 4 row lace pattern that I might actually be able to wear this summer!

All day, while working and now knitting and blog reading I have been watching the BBC's D-Day Clockwatch. It updates the events as they happened on D-Day every 15 minutes in great detail - amazing what went on on that Longest Day 62 years ago. My father was in one of the follow up groups that went over (from England to France) in July of 1944. He was with the South Alberta Regiment and was a tank commander. I will tell you more about his story one day.

Sunday was another dyeing day and I did some sock yarn and 2 different lace yarns - Cormo and Merino. The Merino was more of a challenge as it is much finer and many many yards per skein (1260). I am fairly pleased with the results so far and am happy to be learning a little more each session.

Here is the sock - BRIGHT!

and the Cormo Lace:

Chocolate Cherries



And the Merino Lace:

Chocolate Cherries

All were great fun - mixing the colours is my favourite part I think - getting a good range of tones and shades is an art and with good notes, I am finding that I can reproduce them - always a good thing.

More knitting and some more blog reading to do. Knit on!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Just do the math!

What a difference a day makes - math becomes possible - the correct number of stitiches and repeats get worked out and things get started on the right foot ummh needle

It doesn't look like much yet but the first section is 396 stitches (yes anyone with a calculator would tell you that (11+7 ) x 22 = 396).

Off to play a Mozart Mass with a gorgeous choir in a fantastically beautiful church ( on a rather wet and cold day - but who cares when there is Mozart to be heard!).

Knitting resumes when I come back down to earth

Thing(s) not to do on a Friday

Number 1 thing not to do on a Friday is try to start (actually re-start) a lace top that flares at the bottom.

My take along project on last year's trip to TNNA (trade show for yarn retailers) in Columbus OH and to my cousin's in Evans, CO was a Butterfly Cotton Vine Lace top in a gorgeous slightly brick red (colour might be Paprika). I knit and knit and knit and made very little progress. It then sat and sat and sat until this evening when I decided to get it out of its dark corner and look at it to see why it was such a slow knit.

I knit off half a round and stretched it out to see how big it was and realized that I must have badly miscalculated when I figured out the flaring at the botton since it was wide enought to fit 2 of me (no mean feat!). So out it came

I hadn't like the way I had treated the flare anyway so just as well - I did a K1P1 and thought it might look better as either plain stocking stitch or even better reverse stocking stitch.

I did a swatch. I should probably say that again. I DID A SWATCH! I never do swatches (bad knitter bad!) but since I had screwed up the last version so badly thought I had better check again.

So pencil and paper in had, I re-figured placement of the lace panels and the flares and did the math and started the cast on (216 st - I am knitting this in the round). That seemed not too bad.

First round - not enough stitches to complete my 10 lace panel stitch and 7 flare stitch so I ripped out a couple at the end and fudged it to make it come out right.

Five rounds in and a double check to make sure I got it right this time.

WRONG! Goofed up the repeats and had only 6 each front and back and 1 each side


Pencil and paper again - forgot I was doing 10 repeats on each of the front and back and 1 for a panel at the sides - so recalculated and this time came up with a rather larger number - 3oo and something.

Cast on and on and on and on (BTW - a little tip - to avoid having to count and recount I put a marker at every 50 cast on stitches) and on and on

Whoops again - got the wrong number of flares in there

I must be tired - math is usually not this much of a challenge!


Bagged it up and put it all back in its dark corner to be worked on again with a less math challenged brain.

Let this be a lesson to me! Don't try to start something on a Friday evening after a long week!

On a good note though - my Diamand Fantasy Shawls are coming along nicely - almost finished 1 skein of the Silken and think I will definitely break out another one - this is going to be one gorgeous shawl! I am tag teaming the 2 versions but got a little further on the Silken one since it is so nice to work on - 4 repeats done on it and 3 on the BFL version.

More knitting on the weekend - maybe some dyeing on Sunday. Have a good one!