Thursday, February 22, 2007

Shetland Tea Shawl progress

I started the Shetland Tea Shawl from A Gathering of Lace on the 3rd of February and I've made a good amount of progress! I've also been working on the Rose of England, the Egeblad doily, and my husband's sweater so I'm not making as much progress as I would if I could be monogamous with one project at a time.

I ran out of yarn last night, and I deliberately didn't wind up any of the other three hanks of yarn so I'd be forced to put it on waste yarn, pin it out, and measure it! Why in the world am I doing that? Because 1.) I want to see how big it's coming out, and 2.) if it's not as big as I want it to be, I need to know now so that I can order more yarn (and know how much to order).

Here it is without being pulled on and pinned out:

Right now, pinned out, its radius is 17" and its diameter is 34". So where does that leave me?

I'm not really sure. A very helpful member of the Lace Knitting forum group gave me some formulas for a circular shawl, so I'm not sure how relevant they are to a pi shawl.

What's the difference?

Well, a regular circular shawl has a somewhat regular rate of increases. That is, roughly (and I mean really roughly) every other round has eight increases in order to make it flat. With a pi shawl, each band has double the number of stitches in the previous band. So if you look at the picture above you can see a round of holes every so often--this is an increase round where the stitch count doubles. The variation in the width of the Horseshoe pattern is created by stretching the knitting, not from any increasing. Clear as mud?

So using Marianne's helpful numbers, if my first radius is 17", the next ball will yield a band approximately 6.97" or a shawl of 47.94" across. The third ball will yield a band 5.44" or make the shawl 58.82". A fourth ball will make a band 4.59" for a shawl that's 68" in diameter, which is getting closer to the size I need.

I want it bigger than that so that I can actually wear it--I'm not small around the shoulders by any stretch of the imagination.

I think the next thing to do is to figure out how many rounds I've done, then figure out if I can add another band of the Diamond Madeira, THEN add a wider edging. Or at least a different edging. The one on the original pattern isn't bad, but it's not one of my favorites either.

Then I've got to figure out how much MORE yarn I need to order. I'm guessing (and it's just a stab in the dark) that I'll need two or three more hanks. I'll probably order four more just to be safe. Hopefully the dye lots will be kind of close.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bernat Box Arrived

I'm so excited! My box from Bernat is finally here!

Under the cellophane wrap....
Look at all that wonderful stuff!

I can hear you asking yourself "hmm, what box is she talking about?" and this, dear friends, is the prize from a contest through the Caps with a Conscience campaign. I got the two DVDs (Crochet Stitches in Motion and Knitting Stitches in Motion) from Leisure Arts a few weeks ago, and enclosed with those was a letter informing me that I'd won the contest! The pathetic thing is that I'd totally forgotten there was a contest.

I'm so thrilled to have won though!

There's enough of the Haven yarn to make a sweater for me, and I think if I combine the three different colorways of Satin there'll be enough for another sweater for me. I'm so excited! The Boa yarn will probably become a few chemo hats for Caps for A Cure, and the baby yarn might become some booties for Newborns in Need.

There were also some booklets included in the basket, and I'll keep some and probably give the others away. We'll see! I have to look through them a few more times first.

I'm just so thrilled I had to share.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Spinning and Needle Check

I'm going to try to do a weekly needle check, hopefully to keep better track of my projects.

This week actually on the needles I have:

1. Egeblad doily from

yarn: Baroque crochet cotton, size 10
needles: 2.0 mm KnitPicks needles
started: Feb 13, 2007

2. Shetland Tea Shawl from A Gathering of Lace.

yarn: KnitPicks Shadow
needles: 2.0 mm bamboo needles
started: Feb 3, 2007

3. Rose of England shawl

yarn: from Elizabeth
needles: KnitPicks size 3?

I also have my Hanging Garden Stole OTN, but I'm not going to post a pic right now.

And now pictures of my most-recent spinning.

Here it is on the ball winder:

And this is part of what it left behind from winding it into a ball:

Really, that's from the wool, I promise! (It looks like beard hair, or "other" hair....)

And the finished hank, plied and set. It's NOT wearable wool--too itchy! It's a Karakul cross, and my mom calls it "rug yarn" because you'd only make something wearable out of it if you hated the person for whom you were making it. I'm going to send it to my mom and see if she can use it for her rug punching. Fitting, since it's one of the balls of wool that she got for me to practice spinning.

DD is home again from school for day #2 with a fever and general malaise, so I'm not getting a lot done. Two of the kids in her class are out with strep throat and there have been three confirmed cases of flu at her school, so I'd rather keep her home if she's run down.

I'm excited because tonight I'm going scrapbooking with a friend, Marci. I haven't been scrapbooking for almost three years, and it's kind of overwhelming to try to decide what to take. I'm so behind! Ryan's book stops at about 5 months, and he just turned 3.... I do most of my planning on the computer, then have the pictures printed out along with whatever digital elements I'm going to use. Then I put all that into a clear folder and take it with me to the store. It's so hard to not just buy things because I like them! I MUST restrict myself to buying only what I'll use for the layouts I have planned. Willpower! I must have willpower!

Wish me luck. :-)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How to move pix and still have them clickable

My sister was asking me how to make pictures clickable in Blogger after you've moved them.

At first I used to hand-enter some of the html code to make them clickable, but I've since discovered that it's much easier to cut and paste.

So here's how:
  1. In "compose" mode, add your picture or pictures. Don't worry about where they are, just get them into your post.

  2. Now that you've got your pictures, go over to "edit Html" in the upper corner of the window where you're entering your post text. Click on that, and your picture(s) will each be there, but unrecognizable in all the gibberish. The thing to look for is <> at the beginning and < /a> at the end of each picture. Note: there are no spaces between the letters--I had to do that to get it to show up. Highlight all that stuff and then use control+x to cut the text.

  3. Move the cursor to where you want your picture to be. [You're still in the "edit Html" mode, not "compose" mode.] Control+v will paste the text, then you can go back to "compose" mode and see your pictures, moved to where you want them.

HTH! (Hope that helps!)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Spinning, Again

Last night I set the twist on my most-current spinning effort and I'm thrilled with my progress!

Here's a pic with the second skein, made of a mix of spindle- and wheel-spun singles (top hank) and the wool I spun yesterday (bottom hank). Quite an improvement, if I do say so! I was trying not to over-spin the singles at first, but then I realized that they did need to be overspun a bit so that they'd ply nicely. (Thanks for confirming that, Karen!) You can see my "trivet" underneath the hanks.

I'm thinking about saving the hanks I've done and making a yoked-neck sweater, using the handspun yarn at the yoke. Once I get better at spinning (and get a lot more fiber!) I'll attempt to make enough for the body of the sweater. I'll dye the yarn, I just haven't figured out what color(s) yet.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Spinning Away Merrily

I've been having a really good time with my new spinning wheel. I spun up the remainder of the wool my sister gave me, then took the singles that I made on the drop spindle my sister loaned me (thanks Karen!!) and plied them together on my wheel. That first bit of spinning was quite lumpy, but I managed to knit it up into something I'm going to use as a trivet. It's very tight and thick, which I did on purpose. I'm quite happy with it!

I used US 9 needles, and the yarn goes from super-bulky-ish to sport-ish in places. It would be much more obvious if I'd used bigger needles, but I wanted a really firm, thick fabric.

Here are some shots of what the yarn looked like after I plied it. Don't laugh too hard!!

My mom sent me some wool from a friend of hers, which I showed pics of in an earlier post. Last week I spun up the Cotswold 4oz ball and today I did the Romney 4 oz ball. I like the Romney better than the Cotswold because it's easier for me to spin right now. The Cotswold had little lumpy things (yeah, real technical term there--maybe some more experienced person could help?) and has a neat halo, but I had an easier time getting more even singles from the Romney. I also put more spin in the Romney and it plied a lot better.

I realized, as I was finishing up my second bobbin of plied yarn, that I needed a niddy noddy. I knew I'd seen instructions for a PVC pipe one on the 'net, so after a brief search I found this. After a quick trip to the hardware store, I had a new niddy noddy! It's already gotten quite a bit of use. I did end up making the upright column about 15" long though, since the 18" length made a hank that was 82" and I wanted a 72" hank instead--that way each wrap is two yards, which makes it much easier on me when I'm trying to figure out yardage.

Today I was trying to ply my freshly-spun Romney singles and decided to come up with a different lazy Kate than the one that came with my wheel. My son isn't very happy with me because "HEY, Mommy, you ruined my box!!" Keep in mind that he has about 6 boxes, and I really didn't think he's miss one. Turns out I was wrong about him missing the box, but it's the perfect size for my bobbins. I don't use straights very often any more anyway.

Now I just need to knit up something from my freshly-spun (and set) yarn if I could just figure out what! I'm tempted to dye it so that it stripes a bit, but I'm having trouble deciding on a color. I really wish I'd dyed the roving before I spun it but it's in sliver form so that would have been difficult. It was nice because I didn't have to pre-draft, but next time I'm going to dye before I spin.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

On Monday I posted about how I'd lost my newly-made charm bracelet.

Today I stopped by the post office and asked if anyone had turned in a charm bracelet. The very nice man who was helping me checked in a couple of spots and found it!!! I'm so happy!

Here's a picture again since I'm talking about it:

I'm so thrilled that I got it back! I'm going to replace the magnetic clasp with a toggle clasp AND put a safety chain on it just to be paranoid.

Angel Pearls finished

I blocked my Angel Pearls scarf night before last, and today we had a little photo session.

Warning: gratuitous lace photos follow.

I was able to get nine repeats of the second chart, so it's a little shorter than called for in the pattern. I could have gone down a needle size and probably gotten ten repeats, but that's all right. The original pattern actually called for 11 repeats but the yarn I used didn't have as much yardage.

  • Pattern: Sivia Harding's Angel Pearls scarf
  • Yarn: Kidsilk Night, color Ballerina
  • Needles: bamboo (no-name brand) in US 2/3.0mm
  • Beads: Miyuki 8/0 Transparent Pale Pink AB
  • Started: Jan 17, 2007
  • Finished: Jan 31, 2007

This was a fun knit--just enough going on to keep my attention, but not so overwhelming that I couldn't knit with other things going on.

When I was shopping for beads I couldn't find any in 6/0s, the size called for in the pattern, so I got 8s. Next time I'll wait and find 6s--the 8s got lost in the yarn. An LBS (local bead shop, The Beadles) has just moved into a much larger space and she got lots more seed beads in 6s and 8s, so I'm going to be very happy.