Saturday, February 25, 2006

Olympic Knitting done

With a scant 14 hours and 43 minutes remaining, I've finished my Olympic knitting project!
I just bound off and wove in the ends on the last finger of my fingerless glove. That's right, one glove. Please, no Michael Jackson jokes--I WILL make a second one.

My original Knitting Olympics project was an Aran-Weight Victorian Lace shawl, but pneumonia got in the way. Once I *finally* placed my order for the yarn and realized that it just simply wasn't going to happen, I revised me expectations downward. Considerably. I looked at the time left in the Olympics, looked at what I had in my stash (since the KnitPicks order wasn't made early enough to get anything done with what I'd ordered), and decided that a realistic--but challenging--goal would be to get one fingerless glove designed and made by the deadline.

A while back I'd seen a fingerless glove with a cable on the back take shape on beadlizard's blog and decided that I had to do something similar. Mine ended up with a braid up the back, which isn't as eye-catching as the wonderfully intricate cable on Beadlizard's mitts, but I'm fine with that.

Now I just need to make the other one. Sans notes, as I didn't write much down as I went....

The yarn is the luscious Merino Style from KnitPicks, in Hollyberry. I used about 7/8ths of a skein for this glove, although if it wasn't as late as it is I'd pull out the postal scale and the yarn ball band and give you a more exact amount. But I'm tired, so I won't. :-) I used size 3 metal double point needles. Yeah, I knit loosely.

The other project I made was something quite a bit less mentally taxing:

It's a multidirectional scarf based on Iris Schreier's Modular Knits book--I didn't have the book, and I didn't want to wait to get the pattern from the list, so I struck out on my own. I think it turned out pretty well. This is for my sister-in-law, Heather, who requested "a weird brown scarf." I took that to mean a "not your ordinary garter stitch scarf" and I hope she likes it.

The yarn is an older Patons Canadiana Bouclé that I had in my stash. I used almost a whole skein. I was getting a little nervous as I don't think this yarn is available any more, and since it's more than 3 years old I wouldn't stand a chance of a dye lot being the same anyway. I do have a little ball left though, which I'll save for scrapbooking embellishment. I used US size 7 straights for this one.

It should be arriving at my sister-in-law's post office box any day now, as I shipped it Wednesday morning and it just has to go to Nevada. I'm eager to hear what she thinks, as I just told her I'd make something and send it to her--she has no idea it's coming or what it is. It should be fun. :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

web site down

I finally had enough with my web site hosting service and decided to change. I *thought* I had all of it, but of course I didn't. Grrrr.

I somehow managed to NOT save my Free Stuff page on my site, which has the free patterns--in the column to the right--on it. So it'll take me a day or two to get that back up. In the meantime, if you want a copy either 1.) be patient or 2.) email me with which one you want (there are two--Anemone neck gaiter and Fir Cone 3/4 Shawl) and I'll email the pdf file(s) to you (kat @, removing the spaces).

Sorry about that. I'm not terribly pleased with myself, as I thought I had all of it saved.

I got the files back up, although you can't get to them except through the blog. I have NO idea what I'm doing wrong with my web site, but I'm giving up for the night and going to bed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Neck warmer pics, at last

I'm rather ashamed that it's taken me this long to post pictures of this project, but everything finally came together at the right time this morning (DD at school, DS napping, good light, camera batteries charged, etc).

I used Bernat's Disco yarn, in "Mr. Brown" although I think it's more of a coppery color, and size 8 bamboo dpns. It took almost every bit of three skeins. Thanks to Rori, Lee Ann, Dayna, and Naomi for the yarn!! The first skein was one that was free from Mary Maxim, and I couldn't find the same dye lot around here--it would've been reaaaaally obvious. So thanks to the generosity of those three wonderful women, I now have enough yarn left to do trim on a hat if I can find a wool or wool-blend yarn to coordinate with it. Wouldn't that just be luscious??

With the flash on, showing the sparklies in the yarn.

With natural light, the sparklies kind of blend in.

This shows the shape of the neck warmer. One end feeds through the loop (the narrow section) of the other side and it stays exactly where you want it.

Thanks to Sharon Stanger for the pattern!

This was my "mindless knitting" project for the last month or so, worked on in 20-minute increments a few nights a week. This is the same pattern as the blue neck warmer I made for my grandmother for Christmas, just with a longer plain section in the middle because the Disco yarn is bulkier. I do have to admit that I feel a little bit like a movie star when I wear this one, even if it is just to take DD to school. :-)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olympic Dropout!

I really think I'm going to have to drop out of the Knitting Olympics. When it started I couldn't knit--brain wasn't working--so now that it IS working (more or less) it's waaaay too late to start anything. Not only that, but I just barely ordered the yarn yesterday for the Aran-Weight Victorian Lace Shawl, which was going to be my Olympic project. The yarn probably won't even be here before the closing ceremonies, but that's what I get for not ordering the yarn before I got sick. Not that I'd stand a CHANCE of finishing something like that before the closing ceremonies at this point.

I thought about joining the UFOlympics, but the rules state you have to declare your projects *before* the opening ceremonies. Sigh.

So now the question is, do I change my current project, started *today,* as my Olympic project? I seem to be extremely challenged by finishing things lately, so that might just be it. What's my current project? I started a modular-kind-of scarf for my sister-in-law using yarn I had in my fiber art stash. Not my knitting stash--this was originally purchased for making those thread scarves using wash-away stabilizer. Since it's sat in a bag for three years, it's fair game. I might get my act together enough to post pictures tomorrow. On second thought, it's not that challenging and I'm almost halfway through judging by they yarn left on the skein.

Another project I need to make is a pair of wrist/hand warmers for myself. I have the yarn (Merino Style by KnitPicks in hollyberry) and the idea, and it would definitely be a challenge to get ONE done by the closing ceremonies. Thoughts? Opinions? Guidance? Please?

I've got a few too many projects going right now:
1.) Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl, although my goal for finishing it is September 1 (to be able to enter it in the fair) and it's a very long-term project for me;
2.) Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding which I started February 2, before I got sick;
3.) Christmas stockings for my little ones, one of which is about 40% finished and the other is more like 25% finished. Not that Christmas is around the corner, but it sure does manage to sneak up on me every year;
4.) Heather's scarf, which I started today. I should be able to finish it tomorrow or the next day, as it's going really quickly;
5.) My Non-Henley sweater, which I need to rip almost all the way back to the beginning; and
6.) Kiddy Print shawl, which needs another skein of yarn. I've been too sick to go get more, so it's languishing in my son's room (where I often have need of mindless knitting).

That's not too bad, but I don't like having so many unfinished knitting projects. I have waaaay too many quilting UFOs to get into that many knitting UFOs.

So now I made a huge KnitPicks order, and I've got yarn coming for the Aran-Weight Victorian Lace Shawl (see button on sidebar), the pattern for the Hanging Garden Lace Stole and yarn in the dark blue Alpaca Cloud, 6 skeins of Alpaca Cloud in Sunlight since I couldn't decide on a color and it dyes so wonderfully, a bunch of dye-your-own yarns in fingering and lace weight, and a color card for Shine yarn.

That's more than enough to keep me busy for a while. Then there's the absolutely luscious yarn I traded for with Helle (Helle, I got the last items today and they're going to get mailed tomorrow if I can make it), and one of the patterns my aunt sent is absolutely calling to me to make it NOW. I really feel like I have to finish at least my Diamond Fantasy Shawl before I start another large-scale project like that though. I think it would threaten my sanity to have TWO large, complex lace projects going at once. I'm so envious of the people who've already finished their Frost Flower and Leaves from the KAL. I'm still plugging away at about 23%....

Now if I was a really smart person, I'd go to bed RIGHT NOW. But then there's laundry, and dishes, and toys on the living room floor....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pneumonia and knitting

I haven't done much knitting yesterday or today--I've been either coughing too hard or too stoned on cough medicine to knit. Turns out I have pneumonia, which explains why I couldn't breathe last night or today. Thank goodness for modern medicine! I'm at least kind of functioning now, even if everything is taking me about 12x longer because I'm having to be very deliberate about everything. The cough medicine has codeine (sp?) in it, so you can imagine how long this little post is taking me.

But I did manage to get some pics PhotoShopped that I'd taken last week:

While I can't quite get the color right in the pictures, I've had a good time with this shawl. It's my "mindless knitting" project and I actually used up the rest of that ball of yarn Friday, I think. The yarn is Kiddy Print in color "6" and I'm using size 15 needles. I've decided that I really don't like using large needles, but I like the fabric I'm getting. It's kind of hard to see in the bottom picture but it's knitted in six wedges, so it's 3/4 of a circle. It's got a garter-stitch band that blends in with the shawl after the neckline, but the neck needed something and I like starting that way.

I was going to go to the Tuesday night Sit N Stitch and get another ball of yarn but not only do I have pneumonia and I'm not leaving the house unless I MUST, but Rachelle of Two Sticks and String, from whom I got the original yarn, is ill with the flu. Ick!

Reverse progress was made on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, so I decided I'd be better off putting it down and walking away.

Now I'm going to bed with the hope that I'll actually be able to sleep for the first time in four nights....

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Good knitting but crappy day

For some reason my children have decided to push all my buttons and test my limits today. They can probably tell that I'm feeling terrible (cough, head congestion, tired, etc.) and that they might be able to get away with more than usual. Nope. What it really means is that they get away with LESS because I'm already ticked off and not feeling well. Between the kids and people trying to push the boundaries on my newly-created ChartingLace group, it's been an interesting day.

However, I do have some knitting to show.

This is the start of my Diamond Fantasy Shawl from Sivia Harding.

I'm using yarn from KnitPicks, their Color Your Own merino (which is my favorite yarn at the moment) that I dyed using ProChem dyes, on Crystal Palace size US 5 needles.

I've just finished the first time through the second chart. Her chart is very interesting; she hasn't followed convention and made the chart so that the RIGHT side is always on the chart, but instead she's made it so that the WORKING side is always on the chart. So you're still following one row from right to left, then the next from left to right, but you do the stitch exactly as shown. So if you see a purl symbol, you make a purl. Normally if you're on a wrong side row and you see a purl, you'd knit, so that the PURL would be on the right side. Not so in these charts, and in a lot of ways it's easier. It would've been nice to have a note of that somewhere in the pattern though.

I also just finished blocking my Flared Lace Smoke Ring from Heartstrings and I think it turned out beautifully!

It's kind of dark yarn for seeing the lace pattern, so here's a detail shot with a piece of paper between the layers:

The yarn is from Furlana Yarns, and is a woolen spun lace weight merino/possum/silk. My wonderful sister gave it to me for Christmas. I ended up doubling it, and while I didn't do as many repeats as called for in the pattern it's still a very good-sized smoke ring. I've got probably 1/3 of the yarn left on each of the two balls.

I knitted it on US 5 needles from Crystal Palace.

This was a fun knit, and you can't even tell that I messed up pretty badly on one round of the motif. Woo hoo! This was NOT a good item to knit late at night when I wasn't paying attention and was too lazy, uh stubborn to rip, but after I got about 1/3 of the way through I had the pattern memorized and it started to really flow.

Oh yes, and here's my boy modeling my smoke ring:

He's quite the funny little guy--I had tried it on to admire it and he wanted me to take it off and put it on HIM. What a cutie! The bruise btw is from where his big sister rammed her large trike into him while he was on his big-wheel, knocking him over, because she "wanted to see what would happen." She found out that what happened was a lot of crying and a big old time out. Sigh. How did we ever survive childhood? How did our parents keep from killing us?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A few months ago I'd asked my wonderful Aunt Louise, who lives in Germany, to keep an eye out for any lace knitting magazines or patterns. Today I got a package from her:

I've been in shock since I opened it--these are things that just aren't available here in the states, and if they are they are VERY expensive!

I know you're dying for a closer look, so here you go:

This book is ALL about Lily of the Valley lace patterns and has some really neat designs in it; everything from sweaters to home dec stuff to gloves. It's quite amazing!! It's all in German (although one page, the symbols page, is also in English!) but one of the great things about knitting is that you don't always have to be able to read the pattern in its original language.

This one is quite large--almost 9" x 13", and it's got a 16-page booklet of a TON of amazing tablecloth/doily designs, which are charted out on 3 VERY large fold-outs.

The book on the right is all filet crochet, and it has some really neat curtains in it. One of these days I'll actually make one for my kitchen! My kitchen/eating area has a grape theme, and one of the patterns in there is grapes. Kismet!

The item on the left actually had TWO patterns in it, shown here:

I'm just so excited about all these wonderful patterns!!

I'll probably never make a tablecloth (you know how that kind of statement always comes back to bite you later...) but these patterns are GORGEOUS knitted up using lace- or fingering-weight yarns as shawls.....