Monday, April 20, 2009

FO: Kauni Shawl

It's been a productive week! I finished my Kauni shawl in the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning and took it off the blocking mat this morning.

Pattern: Eliina Shawl, with a modified edging
Needles: Size 6 addi lace
Yarn: Kauni Effektgarn in EQ from the LYS
Final dimensions: 63" across the top, 30.5" down the center line
Mods: Shortened up the lace edging out of necessity - see details below.

I spent a great deal of time searching for the right pattern for this yarn. Ravelry was really handy, as I could see what other people made with this and similar long color repeat yarn. I decided that it had to be very simple because the long color changes distract from any patterning, but I wanted something with a little bit of interest. So I settled on the Eliina pattern, which fit the criteria.

This yarn is very pretty. It's not a soft wool, so I won't be wearing it as scarf. I did come across one spot when the yarn was knotted together, but otherwise I found it to be pretty reliable. I used the entire ball of yarn. There was less than 3 grams left (which is as low as my postal scale will measure - the yarn didn't even register on it. Two pennies is .1 ounce) - not even enough for another full row.

And now: Lots of photos.
Curly and unblocked:
Rainbow Stole unblocked
After the magic of blocking:
Rainbow Stole
Rainbow Stole
Rainbow Stole
Various detail shots:
Rainbow Stole
Rainbow Stole detail
Rainbow Stole
I could see that I was running out of yarn, so the edging is much shorter than it is in the pattern. I only did three repeats of the double eyelets and then moved straight to the decreases. I had to fudge the edges and center because of this, but I made some educated guesses and it worked out alright. I ended up omitting several rows of the edging, and did the final triple decrease where the leaf edging comes to a point as part of the crocheted bind off. I also decreased the number of chain stitches from 9 to 6 to save yarn. This is how much was left when all was said and done:
Leftover yarn from Rainbow Shawl

Bonus crazy cat lady: For some reason this kind of scratchy wool seems to drive my cat crazy. Because, you know, house cats are the natural predators of sheep. I let her roll around on it as it was blocking.
Cat in motion
Cat loves her foot

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Strolling down memory lane

I spent about three hours last night putting old knitting projects into Ravelry. Since I organized my flickr sets last week into knitting by year (starting in late 2005, when I joined flickr), I noticed that a lot of projects weren't in Ravelry. Like my first sweater, or my early socks.

So I started filling in the gaps. I omitted a lot of hats and scarves, but I think I added like 20-25 projects. Phew!

There's my hooded shawl (which I never wear since the colors are terrible, even if it is the softest yarn ever):
shawl, hood up

My Eris sweater is now in Ravelry (I think it needs a good reblocking though): Eris collar detail

And some silly little projects like the pocketbook slippers I gave my mom one year:
x-mas 004

I ended up logging into my old photobucket account, my livejournal scrapbook (which I had pretty much forgotten) and searching my harddrive for photos from years past. My old knitting blog was very helpful; I'd made posts with everything finished in 2005 and 2006. I guess I was just waiting for Ravelry to come into my life. The whole project was like a scavenger hunt. It was interesting to see how I've grown as a knitter; I shuddered to remember the Tempting I made out of Caron Simply Soft...

Today I'm firmly planted in the present. My Kauni shawl is blocking (yay for finishing projects in quick succession!), I've washed a couple of winter sweaters to store away, and my yarn is setting its twist outside in the sun. Busy day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FO: Simurgh Stole

It is done! My Simurgh Stole is complete. The specs:

Yarn: Hana from ArtFibers in San Francisco. 100% silk yarn
Needles: Knitpicks options, sizes 4 and 5
Cast on: January 25th, 2009
Finished blocking: April 16th, 2009
Notes: Made the petite version.
Simurgh Stole
This yarn is beautiful, although it appears to be discontinued. I bought it while in San Francisco at a conference. Definitely a splurge yarn. It is extremely, extremely soft. The color is a silver grey with darker and lighter areas. It looks like steel in the shade (above), but like silver in the sun (below).
Simurgh Stole
I liked the pattern, although there were some things I did not enjoy. There's a lot of yarn overing into a purl stitch, mirrored by yos into knits, so it was annoying to try and balance the two. I ended up taking the advice of another lace knitter to just pull the yarn forward over the needle and not do a wrap and a half, like I usually do. Pulling the yarn forward means that you have to untwist the stitch on the next row, but it makes the yos more even. For some reason, I HATED doing the edging on the first half, but it completely flew by on the second half. Using interchangeable needles was handy for the edging.
Simurgh Stole
Since this stole is knit from the center out, you do a provisional cast on to begin with and then pick up from the provisional cast on to do the second half. I find that very challenging. I may have moaned about it earlier on this blog. But I think, in the end, it looks pretty good. Not a perfect center, but not horrible.
Simurgh Stole
Even though I knit the smaller size of the stole, it's still pretty big. At least six feet. I'm about 5'6", for reference.
Simurgh Stole
I think that, because this is 100% silk and a bit heavier yarn, the blocking isn't going to hold very well. I can see it beginning to stretch out of shape already. Blocking wires were a blessing for this piece, by the way; I can't imagine pining out all those many tiny points of the edging. Well, I suppose I could, but I don't want to.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with this piece. I can wear it as a large scarf or as a stole, and I think I even have enough yarn left over for a cowl or something. Which is fantastic, because this yarn is so soft I want to have it next to my skin as much as possible.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rant ahead

Photo borrowed without permission of Interweave Knits

What is there, a war against button bands? I see so many adorable cardigans and they're all secured by a single button at the neck, or maybe two or three buttons on the top half, with the bottom part swinging free in the breeze. What is that all about? I like my cardigans to be sweaters with options, not something which is going to flop around and annoy me all day long. I have shawls for flopping around. Below I present to you some cardigans guilty of button miserliness.

Diminishing Ribs Cardigan: No button band.

Coraline: One third buttons.

Moch Cardi: One third buttons.

February Lady Sweater: One third buttons.

Amelia: One third buttons with full button band.

Kingscot: One half buttons with full button band.

Sitcom Chic: Single closure.

Swing Swing: Single closure.

Mr. Greenjeans: Single button on full button band.

Ophicleide cardigan: One fifth buttons and NO SLEEVES! (I don't get non-vest sleeveless sweaters, I just don't.)

Now, I like all of these sweaters, I really do. I pulled them all from my Ravelry queue. But I would need to add buttons to all of them. Which, because this is knitting, should be straight forward enough to do. But seriously, I'm beginning to think there's a conspiracy out there against the button and zipper industry. ...or maybe against me. *glances around wildly and hides behind the cat*

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mmm kauni

I am loving the way my Kauni Shawl is knitting up. The color changes are gorgeous; I love watching the yarn transition from one color to the next.
Eliina Shawl in Kauni
Unfortunately, there's not a great deal more to be said about it. It's all stockinette and yarn overs for a good while longer. Three pattern repeats, at least. I am nearing the end of my Simurgh stole though! I've finished the body and need to do the last bit of knit on edging. 165 or so annoying little rows. I haven't started on that part yet. Here's a photo of crumply, pre blocked, incomplete lace:
Simurgh stole in Hana silk

A little while ago, Marnie posted a video of herself spinning. Now that I've been bitten by the spinning bug, I asked Daniel to film me spinning. Here's a short video of me making yarn:

I'm actually finished with that yarn, although I haven't done the finishing. What I have finished is reading Spinning in the Old Way which has a lot of good information. I'm a little too set in my ways, a little too cantankerous, to relearn to spin in a different way, so I think it's a good thing that I seem to be doing most things okay. But definitely a resource I'm glad to have.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

5th of the month project status post

- Eliina Shawl: Active. My brainless knitting project, excellent for action films and subtitles. I've done 5 of 10 repeats of the body pattern, which does not mean I'm half done, oh no no.
- Simurgh Stole: Active. Halfway through the second motif on the second half of the shawl. The end is in sight.
- Sondermuster Darmstadt socks: On the table. Not quite active, but ready to be picked up at my whim. Little more than toe stubs at this point. Doing two at a time, toe up.
- Diamonds and Triangles Stole from Victorian Lace Today: Drowsy. In the project bag, and comes out when the whim hits (which is rarely). I'm almost all the way done with attaching the edging on the first long side. It saw some knitting action in the past month, but not in the several months before that.
- Frosted Ferns doily: Dormant. Possibly in the frog pond. There are just too many other things I'd rather do that make a doily on size 0 needles.
- Selbu Mittens from Folk Mittens: Dormant. I knit one in the fall and got no joy from it. I should probably finish the second one to prove it can be done, but... meh.

- Cranberry Merino: Mostly done! Just a little bit left to spin, then we'll see if I did better at spinning a single than with the first spindlefull.

- Sweater? With the black yarn I got yesterday I've been plotting a sweater. I'm thinking the Mirabella Cardigan, but with longer sleeves and minus the ridiculous collar.
- Sweater vest? I have 10 hanks of Elsbeth Lavold Silky tweed in a brilliant blue that want to be...something. Maybe Honeycomb?
- New shawl project? Not until two of the three current shawl projects are finished.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Signs of spring

It's cracked 60 around here today, and it's beginning to feel like spring. I started a shawl out of the coveted Kauni EQ the other day. I looked all over Ravelry, seeing what kind of shawls were best for the long color repeats of this rainbow yarn. I decided it need to be very simple. Eventually, I choose the Eliina Shawl, because it's knit from the top down, with simple yo details, and some interest at the bottom. And so far, I'm loving it! The yo rows create this barrier which divides up the color repeats pretty nicely.
Kauni Shawl

Another sign of spring? Spring sale at the Dancing Ewe. Lots of nice yarn at 75% off. I picked up 12 hanks of Lana d'Oro in black - enough for a sweater, and less than $15. (Have I mentioned that I love a bargain?) I also got suckered into picking up three balls of Bollicina, a 65% cashmere, 35% silk blend, in a gorgeous burgundy which completely failed to photograph. It was 75% off and oh so soft.
Lana d'oro

I've also tackled a long needed project: I reorganized my knitting pictures in Flickr. I've been using flickr for 4 years now, and had no coherent organization method. But now I do! Hooray! Knitting and spinning by year, and a massive set for photos of yarn, past and present. Should be much more manageable.