Knitting Has Occurred

Yes, people, I have been knitting, and what follows is a round-up of my most recent FOs and WiP.

A hat I knitted to match a pair of fingerless mitts I made last fall. The picture captures the color of the yarn pretty closely. Yes, the yarn is my very own handspun, the fiber being Falkland dyed by Dana of Unwind Yarn in the coloway Flirt.

Here’s that hat along side the mitts. The yarn is more reddish than pink. The pattern is Woodside Mitts by Paula McKeever. It’s a lot of fun to knit and is very stretchy.

I started the hat not knowing whether I had enough yarn left to finish it. I just kept knitting until I was out of yarn. I had a little mini-skein set aside for the pompon. Originally I was going to just graft the ends together, but I decided when I was nearly finished to do a few rounds of crown decreases. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down how I did the decreases, but it turned out way better than I was expecting.

Another project knitted from Unwind Yarns fiber, Falkland in the colorway Viola, that I spun. These are the Nalu Mitts, and I made them for one of my nieces. I need to get them in the mail. I came down with the crud shortly after I finished them and am only just now starting to feel human again.

This is closer to the real-life color, but still not quite there. The pattern looks complicated, but it really isn’t. The only tricky part is working the seed stitch on the outside “curve” but in all honesty, even that isn’t particularly tricky. I love this pattern, but since the mitt is mostly stocking stitch, which isn’t very stretchy, it’s best to make these just a little on the snug side so that they don’t droop and bunch up.

Here’s a close-up shot of a strand of the yarn on top of the knitted fabric. This yarn is a 2×2 cabled yarn which, when unknitted, looks like a chain. But when it is knitted up, it looks like the 4-ply yarn it is. The color in this picture is pretty close to the RL color, too. If you can picture something in between this picture and the one above it, you’ve got it.

For those not in the know, a cabled yarn is a yarn that consists of two or more plied yarns that have been plied together. A 2×2 cabled yarn is made by plying 2 singles together to make a 2-ply yarn, then plying two strands of the 2-ply yarn together to make a cabled 4-ply yarn. For this yarn, I spun the singles Z-twist (clockwise), plied them together S-twist (counter-clockwise), then plied the 2-ply together Z-twist (clockwise). This makes a very round yarn that has great stitch definition and is a lot of fun to knit.

I currently have only one project OTN and I plan to stay monogamous until this project is completed because it’s a baby blanket for a baby who has already made her appearance. I was a little late getting this project started, so I would like to get it done as quickly as I can.

The baby blanket, which is being knitted in the round using Knit Picks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock yarn. The turquoise bit is the Rosemarie’s Belly Button Start. (I linked to the URL for the BBS, but I don’t think the link works anymore.)

The pattern is a MMario design called Templeton, and I plan to finished the blanket with a knitted-on edging from a baby blanket pattern called Star Light Star Bright by Anna Dillenberg Rachap. I got the inspiration for combining these two patterns from a fellow Raveler, suespins. I love to peruse the finished projects of patterns I plan to knit.

I have been practicing a left-handed knitting technique commonly referred to as Portuguese-style knitting on the baby blanket, and I have rapidly become very comfortable with this style of knitting. It is especially handy for doing stranded colorwork which is why I wanted to learn to do it. I currently do stranded colorwork two-handed, throwing with my right hand (English/American) and picking with my left (Continental). This works well and is comfortable for me, but I have tension issues because my tensioning when knitting Continental is rubbish. With Portuguese-style knitting, my tension is remarkably even and consistent, and because you can purl rather than knit (and the purl side is the side that faces the knitter), there’s far less chance of having floats that are too tight or too loose. I wish I had known about this technique for colorwork a long time ago.

I’ve been doing some spinning, and even a little experimenting with different drive systems, but I haven’t been keeping very good records. I haven’t even recorded my last couple of projects on Ravelry. Bad spinner. Bad! But I will do my best to reconstruct what I did and I’ll share my finished skeins soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Long Time Coming

So, I am finally getting around to posting pictures of some of the knitting I have been doing. These pictures are a shawl I knitted from handspun. The fiber is Wensleydale from Spunky Eclectic in the color way Island Dreams that I spun into a 2-ply laceweight yarn; the shawl was knitted from two strand of the yarn held together. The pattern is the Campside Shawl by Alicia Plummer and was started a little over a year ago as part of a KAL in the Spunky group on Ravelry. The shawl knitting was interrupted by some baby blanket knitting, and it took me a while to get back to it. All the pictures of the shawl are before blocking, so you really cannot get a good idea of how lovely this pattern is.

A close-up picture of the upper edge of the shawl. I spun each bump of the yarn from end to end and somehow all the colors lined up in a way that resulted in some very nice, subtle striping.

The colors in this picture are more saturated than in real life. The first picture is closer to the actual colors. But in this picture you can see the center “spine” of the triangular shawl. The bottom edge of the shawl is a few rows of garter stitch. When I block the shawl, the edge will no longer roll. Fingers crossed.

Once again, the color is off, but you can see the shape of the shawl. It looks like the tips are going to curve, so the shawl should fit very nicely.

Once I have blocked the shawl, I will post more pictures of it. I don’t know how much use it will get because Wensleydale is a bit on the scratchy side, and since I doubled the yarn, it’s going to be a very warm shawl. But even if I don’t wear it much, it was a lot of fun to knit.

Fiesta Time!

Finally, finally, I’m posting pictures of my finished Fiesta Paisley Lace Shawl. Well, mostly finished. I still haven’t woven in the ends.

It looks pretty draped over the chair.

 

Let’s get in a little closer.

 

It’s pretty on the floor, too.

Did you notice? No, you aren’t seeing things. The shawl is blocked as a rectangle, not a square. That’s because I’m an old lady with arthritis who can no longer crawl around on the floor. I had to arrange the blocking squares on the double bed in the spare room.

It’s good to have a feline helper. Siobhan thinks I knit everything just for her.

 

My shawl was knitted to a generous size, and in order to make it square, it would have had to be wider than the bed. So it ended up being longer than it is wide. But it still looks pretty good as a rectangle.

Did you notice the bottom edge? Take a closer look. Can you see it? Here’s a picture of the top edge for comparison.

The top edge of the shawl while it is blocking

If you still don’t see it, count the paisleys on the bottom edge, then on the top edge. Notice that some are facing right, and some are facing left. Do you see it now? Yep, that’s right. On the bottom edge, I have 8 right-facing paisleys and 6 left-facing paisleys instead of 7 of each. ::sigh::  As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, it’s always something.

Bonus picture! Here’s a corner close-up shot.

The day after I washed it and pinned it out on the blocking board, my back decided to play tricks on me, and I was laid up for quite a few days. So Fiesta spent a lot of time on the blocking board and was definitely thoroughly dry when she was unpinned. I’m glad we didn’t need to use the guest bed for anyone but the kitty.

Paisley

During the Winter Olympics, I knitted an Age of Steam and Brass Kerchief from a lovely gradient handspun yarn. When I started the project, I didn’t realize it would be such a fast knit, so I found myself needing to start another project. Good sense would have led me to knitting a pair of fingerless mitts or finishing a sock I already have OTN, but no one ever accused me of using good sense.

Instead, I decided to knit a lace shawl. I need another lace shawl like I need a hole in my head, but there’s little I love in my knitting life than knitting a lace shawl. And I knew just the pattern. Way back when, in the Spring of 2005, I set aside this issue of Interweave Knits because I wanted to knit this darling little shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark. It’s called the Paisley Lace Shawl, and it has a border of paisley lace. I love paisley. I love lace. I love this shawl pattern.

Evelyn A. Clark’s Paisley Lace Shawl

So I dug around in my yarn closet and found some lovely Knit Picks Gloss lace weight in a beautiful brownish-red called Fiesta. Gloss is a heavy lace weight yarn in a wool/silk blend, so it is soft and it drapes beautifully. And the silk gives it just a hint of sheen. I had four 440-yard skeins, and the shawl calls for 1,125 yards of Zephyr, another beautiful wool/silk lace yarn, so I knew I would have plenty of yarn.

I cast on using 4 mm needles and went to town. The shawl pattern calls for it to be knitted in garter stitch, but I don’t like lace knitted in garter stitch unless the yarn is very fine. Gloss is a pretty heavy lace weight, so I decided to knit the shawl in stocking stitch. That was my first pattern modification.

My second modification was to make the shawl bigger. The center of the shawl is knitted in a simple eyelet pattern that is easy to memorize and quick to knit. But the finished shawl is rather small. I wanted a larger shawl, so I did a little math and knitted three more repeats of the eyelet chart. I knew I had plenty of yarn, so I didn’t hesitate to knit the shawl bigger. And three more repeats gave me the proper number of stitches to add one more repeat of each paisley pattern in the border. The only fudging I had to do was add one extra stitch at both the beginning and end of the paisley border pattern. I could have decreased two stitches when knitting the last round of eyelet border to make the stitch count identical to the chart, but I just remembered to knit 3 instead of 2 at the beginning and end of each quarter.

Anyway, in no time I had finished the center of the shawl. The pattern was totally autopilot knitting and perfect for TV knitting. I dove right into knitting the paisley border, and while the pattern is a little too complex to be totally memorized, it was pretty simple to knit. I just had to refer to the chart briefly at the beginning of each round to make sure I knew what I was doing for that round.

The big challenge came when it was time to bind off the shawl, and this is where I made the third modification. In the pattern, a simple picot bind off is used. I did this bind off once on another shawl and I hated it. I really dislike doing it, and I really dislike the way it looks. If I had been running short of yarn, I would have done a crochet-loop bind off.

But I still had one full skein and about a third of another skein left, so I decided to do a knitted-on edging. I cobbled together an edging that had the eyelet chart pattern in it, but after knitting it on one quarter of the shawl, I didn’t like the way it looked. The place where the edging stitches were joined with the border stitches really stood out like a sore thumb, and the eyelets seemed out of place, even though the entire center of the shawl has the same eyelets.

So I ripped it out and went back to the drawing board. I poured though various books and finally decided on one of my go-to edgings, Ocean Waves. I think the curvy bits reflect the curves of the paisley pattern. And the place where the edge stitches connect with the border stitches blends in much better than the first pattern I tried.

My enlarged version of the Paisley Lace Shawl with a knitted-on edging on the first quarter

I have one quarter completed and have a pretty good start on the second quarter. I haven’t gotten enough of the edging done to be able to do a dry-stretch of the shawl, but I think it’s going to look pretty darned good, don’t you?

A close-up shot of the corner

The Queen Is Dead; Long Live The Queen!

Get ready. Wait for it. Wait for it.

The Spider Queen Shawl stretched to dry

I stretched her hard enough that I had to use a couple of paperweights to keep the blocking boards from buckling, and she’s about 53 inches square. When I unpin her and she relaxes a little, she’ll probably lose an inch or two, but, still, she’s a nice size for a square shawl.

Here’s a closer look at the center. The difference in the color is due to some of the shawl being over the carpet while the rest is over the blocking boards.

The Spider Queen center close up

She no longer looks like something my cat horked up.

Here’s a close up of one of the corners. I’m very pleased with how my corner attachment technique turned out.

The Spider Queen Shawl corner

Oh, and here’s a picture of my newest project, a Clapotis scarf knitting in my very own handspun, Cool Madras BFL from Corgi Hill Farm.

Cool Madras Clapotis Scarf

I’m using a 4mm Aero circular and it’s knitting up really quickly. The pattern is very simple and easy to memorize, and the yarn is heavenly. I can’t believe I made the yarn myself. 🙂

A Weekend of Knitting And Football

So, the mighty Mountaineers of West Virginia University beat the Maryland Terps on Saturday. And on Sunday, my beloved Buffalo Bills managed to win over the hapless Pumpkin Heads Cleveland Browns. But, sadly, the Stillers managed to give away their game to the Raiders.

All that football means a lot of knitting, and a lot of knitting means that the knitting is done.

The Spider Queen knitted but not blocked

I used six balls of Jamieson & Smith Cobweb with just a little to spare.

I hope to dress The Spider Queen later this week. I can hardly wait to see her stretched out in all her glory.

After finishing the arachnid on Saturday, I went to work on the Show-Off Stranded sock #2.

As you can see, the heel has been turned, the gussets worked, and the foot is progressing nicely. There is no stranded knitting whatsoever in this pattern, so I really don’t get the name. The pattern really should be called the Show-Off Passed-Over Socks because the pattern consists of doing a yarnover, knitting two stitches, and passing the yarnover over the two stitches that were just knitted. 🙂

Time for a new project. Maybe I’ll knit up some of my handspun.