A WIP

More alphabet soup, this time a WIP, a Work In Progress, the Blue Teardrops Beaded Scarf. I included a 12-inch ruler in the picture so that you can see how far I’ve progressed, and how far I have to go.

Blue Teardrops Beaded Scarf in progress

Blue Teardrops Beaded Scarf in progress

The yarn is Jaggerspun Zephyr laceweight, a wool/silk blend; the beads are Miyuki 8/0 round seed beads in silver lined sapphire; the pattern is Jackie E-S’s Beaded Lace Scarf.

Blue Teardrops And Pink Fuzz

As the Stanley Cup playoffs progress, so my knitting projects progress. After getting their asses kicked in three straight games, and behaving very poorly in game 3, my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins did some ass-kicking of their own in game 4 against the Philadelphia F%^ers, defeating their cross-state rival 10-3. It was a very satisfying victory for many reasons. First of all, it keeps the Pens alive in their run for The Cup. Although it is improbable that the Pens will be able to win the next three games, it is by no means impossible. Secondly, the Pens brought their A game, something that has been missing in action for several weeks. If the Pens can continue to play at that level, they have an excellent chance to win the series. Make no mistake, Philly has a very skilled hockey team; but the Pens at their best will beat the F%^ers at their best every single time.

On the knitting front, I’ve been working some on the Blue Teardrops Scarf.

Blue Teardrops Scarf

Blue Teardrops Scarf

I undid the provisional cast-on and finished it with a sewn cast-off, and I like the results.

Blue Teardrops Scarf cast-on edge

cast-on edge

It looks neat and polished, and it’s very stretchy. I’ll use the same cast-off for the other end, and both ends will match. BTW, aren’t the 8/0 beads nice and sparkly?

I also started two new, mindless projects–scarves for Comfort Scarves- Southwestern Pennsylvania. When sorting through my yarn stash during the Spring cleaning frenzy, I uncovered a half dozen or so balls of Lion Brand Jiffy, a bulky faux fuzzy mohair yarn, in cotton candy pink. When Barb of Comfort Scarves put out a call on Ravelry for more scarves due, sadly, to an increased need–meaning that incidents of domestic violence have increased–I though of the Jiffy I had bought many years ago to use for baby blankets that was now sitting in a storage bin in my garage. I dug it out, found some simple, lacy scarf patterns on Ravelry, and cast on.

Lacy Rib Scarf

Lacy Rib Scarf

The Lacy Rib Scarf is a simple two-row pattern worked on 20 stitches (multiple of 4):

Row 1  *k2, yo, k2tog tbl

Row 1  *p2, yo, p2tog

Dropped Stitch Scarf

Dropped Stitch Scarf

The Dropped Stitch Scarf is worked from side to side in garter stitch. I cast on 250 stitches because I’m getting approximately 4 stitches per inch with this yarn on US size 10 needles, and 250 stitches should give me a scarf that is between 60 and 62 inches in length.  The pattern is a simple four-row repeat:

Rows 1&2  knit

Row 3  *k1, yo* ending with k1

Row 4  *k1, drop the yo* ending with k1

Repeat these 4 rows until the scarf is the desired width, ending with row 2.

Yes, it’s that simply.

I don’t know how many more of these scarves I’ll complete in the next few weeks because knitting with acrylic yarn is not my favorite thing to do. Acrylic is very ungiving and working with it makes my hands and wrists hurt. But I will persevere and finish at least two of these scarves and get them in the mail to Barb. If a woman in crisis can find comfort in something I have knitted for her, a little bit of hand and wrist pain is a small price to pay. Her pain is something I cannot fathom, and if I can give her hope by doing this small thing, how can I not do it?

Keep On Knitting

I apologize for neglecting you, dear reader, for so long. It isn’t that I haven’t been doing lots of knitting. I have. But I’ve been doing other stuff as well, and while that doesn’t interfere with my knitting, it has distracted me from doing my duty to all my loyal readers, all three of you. LOL

“What have you been doing, Pinkoknitter, that could keep you from updating us on your knitting?” you might ask. First of all, I’ve been watching a lot of hockey. A lot. Which means I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. I also have been doing some  pleasure reading, and that cuts into computer time. And, last but not least, I have been very busy with Spring clean-up, albeit mostly in a supervisory role.

Last things first–the Spring clean-up. My better half decided it was time to convert the boy’s bedroom into a guest room. The boy moved out nearly 6 years ago, so this project was long overdue. We talked about it a lot, but just never got around to doing it because we knew it was going to be a big job. Just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, cleaning out a childhood bedroom begins with unpacking a closet that still held baby toys. Many plastic storage bins and many hours later, the DH had the closet cleaned out and reorganized. We threw very little away; most of the stuff from the closet is now stored in the shed, although some of it is still in the closet. But now it is nicely and neatly organized.

The next step was to move the furniture out of the room and get the walls ready for a new coat of paint. I helped a little with the furniture, which required doing some rearranging in another bedroom because some of the furniture from the boy’s room was destined for another room. The DH cleaned the cobwebs and patched holes and primed and painted. Then I stepped in and cleaned the carpet, which was installed in 1982. And voilà! The room looked fresh and new.

Furniture came next. We replaced the single bed that had been in the room with a brand new double bed, moved in a dresser and a night stand from other bedrooms, put new knobs on the closet doors, added a couple of lamps and a chair, and topped it off with a brand new comforter.

Guest Room

Siobhan thinks the room is hers.

While we were at it, I reorganized my yarn closet.

Yarn closet not full

not full

Yarn closet full

full

And we both worked on the walk-in closet. The DH also reorganized garage storage, so now we have a nice, neat garage with a place for everything and everything in its place.

In spite of all the Spring clean-up, I’ve managed to find plenty of time to knit. I finished two pairs of socks, a pair in Knit Picks Stroll in Cork for the DH, knitted cuff down in a simple 2 x 2 ribbing,

Simple Ribbed Socks

Simple Ribbed Socks

and a pair of toe-up socks in Plymouth Happy Feet in a horrible colorway that knits up to look like camo, so I dressed them up by adding some Miyuki Gold Iris Metallic 8/0 round seed beads.

Gold Iris Socks

I simply cannot capture the color and sparkle of these beads with my camera, but they are lovely. They really catch the light and glimmer like colored sequins.

I also finished another lace shawl, Calico Cat’s Paw, based on the Cat’s Paw Square Shawl in Martha Waterman’s book Traditional Lace Shawls. I call it Calico Cat’s Paw because the colors I used, Jaggerspun Zephyr in Copper and Black, remind me of my beloved and dearly missed calico cat, Loretta. Yeah, I know the shawl isn’t truly calico because there is no white, but humor me, please. 🙂

Calico Cat's Paw shawl

the shawl unblocked

Naturally I just had to make a few changes to the pattern. First off, after I had knitted a few repeats of the Cat’s Paw pattern, I realized that the pattern in the book didn’t yield the same results as the shawl pictured. So I started over again and changed the pattern to match the picture.

Calico Cat's Paw Shawl center

I also did extra repeats of the Old Shell pattern so that my shawl would be large enough, adding a second repeat of the color change rounds. I then finished the shawl off by knitting a row of eyelets, then adding a knitted-on edging.

Calico Cat's Paw Shawl

shawl edging

I prefer a knitted-on edging to crocheted loops and the Brand Iron edging from Heirloom Knitting works very well with the undulations of Old Shell. I actually tried a lot of different edgings before settling on Brand Iron.

The shawl dressed out to about 57 inches square. I could have stretched it harder and made it at least 3 inches bigger, but I don’t have enough blocking squares to made a blocking surface larger than 60 inches square (including the tabs). I really must buy some more.

Calico Cat's Paw Shawl

finished shawl stretched out to dry

Here’s something you won’t hear me say very often. I currently have only one project OTN, a lovely beaded lace scarf designed by Jackie E-S of HeartStrings FiberArts, and knitted in white Jaggerspun Zephyr, one of my favorite lace-weight yarns, using 8/0 Miyuki round seed beads in silver-lined sapphire. I call it Blue Teardrops because the lace motifs, when dressed out, are shaped like teardrops and the beads are, well, blue. 🙂

Blue Teardrops Scarf

Blue Teardrops Scarf

When I started this project, I thought it was going to be fiddly. I had to string the beads on the yarn before casting on, something I don’t like to do, and placing the beads involves reseating stitches and purling through the back loop, but once I got started, I discovered it wasn’t fiddly at all. Jackie’s designs are outstanding. She puts a lot of thought into them and doesn’t just feed a stitch pattern into a computer program like all too many so-called designers do nowadays. With all the planning Jackie puts into her designs, they are well worth the modest price she charges, and that is why I have several of her patterns in my queue.

I plan to cast on a new project tonight—another pair of socks for the DH in Knit Picks Stroll in rich shades of brown called Kindling Tonal. I think this yarn calls out for my favorite stitch pattern for socks, Shadow Rib. These socks will make good mindless knitting for watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. I also have a few other projects planned, but I shall save them for later. TTFN.

Pink Fuzzies

Years ago I belonged to a computer knitting group that occasionally had a drawing to give away items in its “treasure chest.” These items were things that members of the list donated and consisted of yarn left over from projects, yarn the knitter decided she would never use, various knitting tools, etc. All in all it was a pretty nice treasure chest.

One month, I was one of the winners. I was instructed to look at the inventory of items in the chest, choose which item I wanted, and e-mail my choice to the person in charge of the treasure chest. When I looked in the virtual chest, I saw that there was a ball of Rowan Kid Silk Haze, known to many knitters as “Crack Silk Haze” because knitting with it is so addictive. I had never even seen Kid Silk Haze in person, let alone knit with it, so you can imagine my excitement. Here was my opportunity to try one of the most talked about yarns in the history of knitting without having to shell out the big bucks for it! To say I was keen to try it is a gross understatement.

Needless to say, I chose the KSH, but added that if it was no longer available–after all, there were two other winners who were also choosing–my second choice was the light pink Filatura Di Crosa Kid Mohair. When my package arrived, I was a little disappointed that it didn’t contain the KSH. But it did contain three balls of very soft, light pink, fuzzy mohair. I had no idea what I would do with the mohair, but one of the beauties of nice yarn is that it doesn’t go bad, as long as you store it properly. I knew that the knitting goddesses would inspire me when the time was right, so I happily added the Kid Mohair to my yarn stash.

The Kid Mohair had marinated in my stash for quite while I remained uninspired. Then I bought some nice pink Jade Sapphire cashmere to make a pair of mittens, and I just knew the mittens would be perfect if I knitted them using a strand of the cashmere and a strand of the mohair. Nice, soft, fuzzy mittens resulted. But I still had over 2.5 balls of Kid Mohair stashed away. It was time to wait for more inspiration.

You never know when or from where knitting inspiration will come. Fast forward to December, 2011 and my bead-buying frenzy. Picture a tube of Miyuki 8/0 round seed beads in pink-lined crystal. “Oh, wouldn’t these beads look lovely worked into a nice, lacy scarf?” the knitter in me thought as I looked at the tube of beads. “And I have just the perfect yarn to go with these lovely pink beads.” Yes, the pink Kid Mohair had finally found its purpose in life.

I dug through my stash and found the fuzzy pink mohair, got the beads out of their storage box, then went through my pattern notebooks to find the lace scarf leaflet, Lacy Accents from Fiber Trends, that had the perfect pattern.

The leaflet has three lovely lace scarf designs by Bev Galeskas, and one of them, Simple Elegance, was exactly what I had in mind. I went to work and knitted and knitted and knitted. The pattern is a very simple one, and because it is garter stitch, it is totally reversible. I attached each bead with the crochet hook method, which means I didn’t have to pre-string hundreds of beads and push them along fuzzy mohair. That would have been a terrible PITA.

The result is a totally reversible soft and fuzzy scarf …

with very subtle beaded accents.

I’m very impressed with the quality of Miyuki beads. There was only one unusable bead in the entire tube.

One of these days I’m going to buy some Kid Silk Haze and see what all the fuss is about. I swear.

Sometimes Simple Is Best

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid! Those are words that are close to my heart. I like things simple. So when the DH requested a pair of hand knitted socks in tan or brown, I bought some simple yarn and chose a simple pattern. I cast on 80 stitches and started working cuff down in 2 x 2 ribbing. This makes a sock leg that is nice and stretchy and that stays up. It’s also totally mindless without being totally boring, not that a sock can ever be boring. Well, hardly ever, anyway. So the Simple Ribbed Socks in Knit Picks Stroll in Cork are well under way. Sock #1 has reached heel flap stage.

Simple Ribbed Sock

But I am not a monogamous knitter by any stretch of the imagination. Among the other projects I have OTN is another pair of socks. I call these socks Gold Iris Socks because I’m embellishing them with size 8/0 round glass seed beads in a color called gold iris. The yarn, Plymouth Happy Feet in a color that knits up to resemble camo (YUCK!), really needed something to prettify it, and these beads are just the ticket. Unfortunately, I cannot capture all the color and sparkle the beads contain with my limited (and by limited I mean non-existent) photography skills. This is about the best I can do,

so you will just have to take my word for it that these beads are gorgeous and add a touch of beauty to some rather drab yarn.

The Gold Iris Socks are knitted toe-up,

Gold Iris Sock with beaded cuff

which you probably already figured out from looking at the picture. The guiding pattern is the “Mix-and-Match Rib Sock Recipe” from Chrissy Gardiner’s book, Toe Up!  I started with Judy’s Magic Cast On, worked a shaped “round” toe à la Gardiner’s book, then started doing the cable rib. But I am working the cable by knitting into the second stitch, knitting into the first stitch, then dropping the stitches off the left-hand needle. This is much quicker than using a cable needle and gives a very nice looking cable. When I reached the leg, I started adding beads. I threaded a bunch of beads onto the yarn and I have been placing them on alternate cable columns in place of the cable according to this chart:

Blank square = knit

– = purl

● = place bead

// // = work cable

The bead placement mimics the cable twist and makes the socks much more interesting.

I have grown to enjoy working with beads and have several beaded projects on the drawing board. Some of them involve lace! So stay tuned for more beaded splendor.