Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lacy Crochet Shawl

Eva's Shawl - Crochet Lace
bellamoden kid mohair and silk lace (Pretty In Pink) + Malabrigo lace merino (Floral)
The pattern is called Eva's Shawl by milobo. Always fun to see how others have done this project on Ravelry.

I've stayed fairly true to the directions, though I've simplified them a bit for my taste, as they are written using UK terms such as treble crochet which in the US is really a double. I've also rewritten the eyelet row since I kept getting caught up in the weeds of growing frustration: "But what does that mean? That doesn't make sense!"

At which point, I put the pattern aside and started crocheting with my instinct instead of my logic. I find that I really rather like this pattern much better that way. I'll share more details of the modifications at the end of this project.

By the way, I am keeping up with my exercise regimen (treadmill, sit-stands, balance) like a good rehab patient. Thanks for the encouragement. Happy weekend, all!

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Friday, June 20, 2008


I was just cruising along on the Moderne baby blanket, absolutely determined to hit the finish line this weekend. Sometimes, in a rush to complete a project, you consciously or unconsciously overlook things that are less than quality. "Oh, I can block that into shape. It won't be a problem." You know what they say about denial.

It's just that, after nearly 3 inches of this crap, I couldn't let it go any longer. No amount of squishing, stretching or looking at it sideways would change the facts. The stitches had to be undone. Thankfully, I had a willing helper.

Tangled Up In Pink
"Let's see what happens when I grab this..." - Nikita
Seeing his antics as I ripped out my early morning work made the undo much less painful. I'd rather lose a couple of hours work than hand over a gift, knowing that it was less than my best.

By the way, I was only 4 inches from finishing the blanket.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Something New

Yes, I am well aware that my projects-in-progress bags and basket overfloweth. After reading your advice on how to best manage that situation, in the end I decided to not view it as a problem in need of resolution. Call it the chumps way out, but I can't let the very thing that brought me joy become a burden. That would make me want to avoid it altogether which, to my mind, is most undesirable.

Instead of trying to manage it or corral it, I've hit upon setting small, achievable goals. That new car smell; the feeling of accomplishment - something that is often overlooked as a motivator. I didn't even have to search for perfect project. The answer landed in my mailbox just the other day in the form of these adorable pom-pom peds tennis socks. A love match, of that there can be no doubt!

Pom Pom Ped tennis sock
Louet Gems Opal (sportweight) in grape and willow
Something else to lift the spirits? A fresh haircut and a hot manicure. The purple-black color you see above is called Black Cherry Chutney, part of OPI's India collection. I have six more colors to try out and I can't wait. So, what's your flay-va? That link takes you to the OPI studio where you can try on all of their current colors to see what's right for you.

I must really be feeling the purples lately. When I came across beadaholique's 'Purple Passion' seed bead mix, I absolutely fell in love:

Purple beads with manicured nail
It seems whenever seasons change, we crave change right along with it. So what's new with you lately?

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Weak Excuse

Linen Stitch sock cuffWhat do a partial Monkey number 2, the beginning of another sock and about 5 inches of a red raglan cropped sweater all have in common?

They all spell a weak excuse for at least two weeks worth of knitting. Sure, I started new projects despite my protestations on too many WIPs which, by the way, I totally appreciated your thoughts on getting those under control. Then I decided it was less about "too many" and more about feeling listless about the whole creative process. Starting anew has really become a symptom of my attempt to feel the rush again. It takes more and more to feel less and less and it makes me sad and somewhat disconnected from you. Will you still embrace me as one of your own, even if I don't produce?

Cropped Red Sweater
I no longer look lovingly in my overstuffed yarn closet and think, "Shawl, sweater, socks, socks, socks, coat, jacket, felted bag." I see too much yarn and too much work to get to the end result. My mojo is not just on vacation. It's in a flipping coma or something.

I was reminded very recently that bodies at rest tend to stay at rest; that they need deliberate action to get into (and stay in) motion. Sometimes, one needs to go through the motions to get moving again. I suppose that's what this knitting represents. My "going through the motions" of calculate, cast on, knit! Do I feel inspired yet? No, but I'll keep hacking away at it for now. Just a warning though: this kind of glacial pace equals goods that won't be ready until the next ice age.

Perhaps by then, Nikita will have warmed up to me interrupting his precious nap.
Can't you see I'm sleeping?  Away with you!
Away with you and your camera!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wanted: The Will To Finish What I Start

I know some people who say that any more than two or three works in progress (WIPs) would drive them completely around the bend. Before starting one more item, those things would either be finished or frogged. Would that I were so disciplined. Witness the following items in varying states of incompleteness:

Forgotten knit and crochet projects
There are two single socks, the beginning of a cotton blanket, two sweaters, one hat, two scarves and the tip of a Clapotis. How did things get so out of hand? The bigger question for me is, how do I regain some control over this startitis run amok? It feels so overwhelming at this point that I've sunk into a kind of inertia. In my mind, knitting has become something akin to crossing the Sahara on foot. All that lies ahead is more sand.

I've tried the "Let's Make A Deal" approach, as in finish just one thing before casting on the latest pretty that caught your eye. A small thing like a sock will do. Another approach? Limit the number of needles and you limit the number of projects that can linger simultaneously. Right. This turned out to be bad idea that was easily overcome simply by buying many more needles.

I'm coming clean with this because maybe, just maybe, somewhere on the Internets someone can corral this project magpie and help her to clean up her act. I want my mojo back!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Loops Over Loops

At its most basic, that's all knitting really is, isn't it? Loops over loops. Only when we apply these under-over-through actions to the loops in a consistent, uniform way do we begin to see the loops build upon one another into a cohesive fabric.

This is something that has fascinated me of late. Just how differently designing for knitting varies from creating patterns for sewing which you then apply to fabric. Of course, there are similarities of terminology, measurement and fit. But with knitting, you are simultaneously creating the fabric and the garment with all the requisite constraints of sizing and fit. Pretty freaking cool if you ask me. All from something as simple as loops over loops.

Velvet Grapes Hat & Scarf
What To Do?
I delayed posting the finished Foliage hat in Malabrigo's Velvet Grapes worsted because I just couldn't decide on what to do with the 1.5 skeins of yarn I had left. The hat is a quick knit, even for me, taking only 4 days from start to finish. I hesitated on making a scarf since the temps are starting to hint at Spring in the Midwest. But I'm like, "Heck. It's wool. I'll need a scarf at some point."

After the flipping through Ravelry, a couple of books and a giant box of patterns, I dipped into the Knitty archive once again and cast on for Argosy. It sort of looks like entrelac or modular knitting but it's really just loops over loops, turned counter-clockwise 45 degrees. No diamonds. No leaves. Just a little ol' patterned stockinette and garter that fascinates my visual mind.

"No Knitting For You!"
If it's not one thing, it's another. There will be a slight break in the fiber action, so please forgive me. For reasons of either medication or stress, my hands have broken out in a kind of rash. The topical treatment consists of cortisone cream and cotton gloves and avoiding wool and doing the dishes until the symptoms subside. The only part I like is not doing the dishes. Here's wishing you a relaxing weekend!

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Noro, My Love

WIP: Noro Silk Garden Cardigan
Just think. Twenty skeins of Noro Silk Garden (color 224) have been sitting in my stash ever since Stitches Midwest 2006. I seem to recall elbowing my way past a gaggle of stitchers looking for a half-price bargain in two giant bins of Noro. When I came up for air, I had two 10-packs of this yarn that I'd heard about but never touched. Once I finally did feel one of the skeins, I was left thinking, "All that effort, for this rough, veg matter laden yarn?"

So it sat for a year and a half while I toyed with other, softer fibers. Then came the cold, snowy one-two punch of January winter and, along with it, a bright idea for a warm, simple cardigan. Top, down raglan with long sleeves. Something I could wrap around my shoulders when I didn't feel like increasing my monthly donation to ComEd.

I changed my mind about the yarn as it began to form fabric. It seemed to soften in a way that was not at all apparent on the skein. My Noro had found its special purpose.

After knitting almost to the shoulders, I toyed around with the collar - just to cut the boredom at bit. Should it be plain old ribbed or something more exotic with pattern and multiple colors? I picked up stitches at least four times, trying a variety of things. I came back to earth and settled on ribbing with iridescent beads and the slightest of ruffled edging. Not too little, not too much. I think even Goldilocks would be pleased.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thirty Stitches

Knit Textures
Blue Sky Alpacas' Organic Cotton (l-r: Bone, Espresso, Willow, Sage)

Thirty stitches. That's how many I cast onto my size 9 (US) straights. Thirty stitches. If you do the math, that means I've got quite a few possibilities for texture and pattern blocks to make up my scrummy organic cotton throw. So far, I've combined 5 (bone), 6 (willow and sage) and 15 (espresso) stitch patterns. Believe it or not, I've got my eye on a 30 stitch leaf motif that should be quite striking.

Originally, my plan was to create four squares since I settled on four colors of yarn, which is, by the way, some of the most deliciously soft, plump cotton I've ever tried. You may have read about it like I did at Knit and Tonic. Wendy showed a basket full of the sportweight version of this yarn, whereas I opted for the plumper worsted weight. I kid you not. This is the softest, most pet-worthy cotton yarn I've ever touched. No "rough and ready" business here.

Ah, but I digress. I was at "four squares, four colors." As I looked through various stitch dictionaries, I realized just how foolish I was to limit myself - especially after doodling with a few different stitch-number scenarios and hitting on 30 as "just right!" I've picked out eight patterns and will assign each color one of two options. That should provide enough textural diversity and, along with the approximately 1200 yards of yarn, quite a patchwork of 16" x 8" strips: soft enough and varied enough to make for an interesting knit.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Change In The Weather

I looked out my window and got the shock of my life. I saw near white-out conditions, with winds whipping gusts of up to 50 miles per hour. All this instead of a little rain. That's all it was earlier. Rain and 50 degrees (F). The last time the winter winds went haywire, my 9-foot patio umbrella snapped in half and the outdoor furniture started moving down toward the back gate. Good thing I still have cozy knits on my mind.

Raglan Cardigan
The start of a top-down raglan cardigan in Noro Silk Garden, color 224 (disc.)

Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton
Organic cottons from Blue Sky Alpacas, destined to be a textured knit throw

In the quick update department, I've got one Monkey done and I've started on number two. A new yarn, Fiesta Boomerang in the color "Sedona", is all wound up and waiting to be knit into Lisa Dykstra's "Sedona" socks. I thought the synchronicity was too perfect to pass up.

In Other News
Some of you know the details of my spinal fusion and how I tried to wait until artificial discs were available. Reading this New York Times article makes me glad I didn't. The article implies that some of the glowing reports of success may have been tainted by surgeons with a financial interest in the devices. In addition, research results may have been cherry-picked so that failures were under-represented.

My replacement discs came from bone harvested from my hip. It still hurts on occasion, but at least I didn't risk rejection or rupture of synthetic materials in my spine. Thank goodness for small favors?

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

What Hath Project Runway Wrought?

I was perfectly positioned on my (once) cream colored work bench (leg propped up, two pillows behind my back), quietly knitting away with some nondescript TV background noise to keep the machine humming. During a channel change break, I somehow landed right in the middle of a mini-marathon of all the current season episodes of Project Runway. Next to Law and Order, Project Runway is wonderful television to knit by. See what a few hours of mindlessly entertaining television can do?

Refrigerator Monkey avec Chewy Monkey
My handsome assistant, Changito, dangles the nearly completed Monkey from the side of the refrigerator. Cheeky monkey. This terrific V-shaped heel turns out to be a perfect fit for me.

Chewy Monkey - heel detail
I'm so glad to have found Chewy Spaghetti yarn. I really enjoy the liveliness of the colors and the twist of the fibers. This sport weight clay, light blue, mocha, chocolate and cream combo is called "Simpatico". You'd probably laugh if you saw me stop every so often to give the yarn cake a little squeeze. I'm a weirdo.

I've changed a couple of small things in this flawless, oft-knit pattern: I did 5 repeats instead of 6 on the leg and I've gone with a stockinette instead of patterned instep. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, the heavier weight of the yarn might tend to make a patterned sock feel even thicker inside shoes, and second, I'm concerned about the yardage.

The sport weight put-up is 4 ounces, or approximately 250 yards. I weighed the remaining yarn after turning the heel and it seems I should have enough to squeeze out 2 socks. Sadly, I do not have petite feet and, in this case, my digital scale is my great, good friend.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

The Siberian Express Cometh!

If you live anywhere in the midsection of North America, you'd best pull out all your woolly gear and bundle up, because the frigid cold winds of the Siberian Express are here.

ice on tree budI heard them whistle into Chicago last night as my neighbor's giant wheeled trash cans were tossed about his yard. I heard them in the branches of large trees as they scraped against the side of our glass building. And I thought about the two scarves sitting on my work bench that remain in the WIP pile, and I cried, "Why aren't I a faster knitter?"

Thanks to pain meds, I was able to complete one miserable 32 row repeat of the ZigZag scarf. Hopefully, with some caffeine for fuel and the howling winds at the door, I can make some serious headway. Too bad it's not in time for the deep-freeze. Best advice? Cuddle up with someone warm!

By the way, I can't thank you enough for your enthusiastic support of the efforts of me and my collaborator in design, Rebecca. I also need to give a special shout-out to Monica, who has agreed to be my hands for the finished submission. See, none of us do this alone for which I am most grateful.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Do, Or Do Not.

"Do, Or Do Not. There is no 'try.'" -- Jedi Master Yoda

Sure, Yoda. I live in the real world where sometimes "try" is all you have and failure is a strong possibility. What am I talking about? Exhibit One, your Honor:

Almost Garter - Unfinished
I will not finish this gift of the Almost Garter scarf before Monday. For some reason, maybe concern for my recovery and lack of understanding, my caretaker-to-be has forbidden me to knit. I was read the recovery riot act last weekend. I love my mother, but she baffles me. I must comply for a few weeks, though, because I need her help. She once told me that even a good friend of hers calls her "The Warden."

Exhibit Two? I lost at least one friend through inattention or carelessness; possibly both. Here again, I tried but apparently - inadvertently - did not try my best. This loss does not make me happy. It does, however, make me realize that there are things I need to be mindful of, especially when it comes to other people's feelings. By the way, please do not rush to my defense. We all fall down sometimes.

There is hope for the neckwarmer, though. The brown leather buttons arrived earlier this week so it seems possible - no, likely - that I'll get this one in under the knitting ban wire!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ode to Stockinette

Boring. Uninspired. Mindless. Oh, the ubiquity! This is oft your lot, my dear stockinette; much maligned, nay, overlooked I think might be a better way to put it. In reality, you should be hailed as the maker of quick work. As rest for weary eyes. As Zen for the fingers.

Stockinette in the round was the only way I could go from concept ("Oh, I should make a hoodie!") to over 75% complete on said project within days.

WIP: Jack's Birthday Hoodie
That uplifting feeling of accomplishment cannot be overstated - especially since it just dawned on me this week that it is holiday knitting time! I want to keep things manageable so I don't succumb to the self-imposed pressure of not keeping up. For now, I'll put aside all thoughts of "me" knits (Juliet, Anise, Honeybee Stole) and turn my hands toward making a couple of pairs of socks, a simple black scarf, two hats and the Tree Bark neckwarmer.

Does that seem like a long list? Maybe not, if you consider that my friend Stockinette will feature prominently in at least half of them. It may not be exciting or challenging but I don't need that shock to the system every time I pick up my needles. Sometimes, it's just about the soothing motion and controlled tension of yarn through fingers and loop over loop.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A New Leaf

It's OK that things sometimes spin out of control, as long as you can find the way forward at some point. I've picked myself up. I got back on the horse that threw me. Now I ask you, how many mixed metaphors does it take to make a point? I've turned over a new leaf this week.

Your adorable little boy will be turning 3 years old and you invite neighbors and friends to celebrate. What would you expect one of those crafty neighbors to do, now that the chill is on hereabouts? Knit a hoodie, of course, based on a free Lion Brand pattern (registration required). I've converted it to knitting in the round, though. Methinks Rocky would like a piece of the Fearless Fibers worsted weight wool and mohair in "Stormy Night". Naughty boy!

WIP: Jack's Birthday Hoodie
If you were in Chicago this past weekend, you may have had the opportunity to stop by YarnCon, our first-ever local indie dyers, spinners and crafters convention. I finally got the chance to see my friend Lisa Mendez's hand spun and dyed yarns in the wild. Naturally, one or two came home with me, and I just couldn't resist the urge to turn this artfully painted green-to-deepest chocolate brown merino goodness into something equally full of texture.

That is why "before"

Handspun and dyed yarn
is fast becoming "after."

Tree bark swatch
Lisa's vision was that this yarn resemble the color and texture of tree bark. I think she knocked it out of the park!


Speaking of handpainted goodies, bellamoden is having a sale, today only! Rebecca is one of the new dyers for The Loopy Ewe, so get her yarn while you can at this price.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Just So Random

You know how we casually toss off the phrase, "stuff happens?" Today's post is all about small things and random encounters as I skip across the Web.

The first "small things" belong to my neighbor's newborn baby boy. Even though it took approximately 3 weeks off and on to knit the earflap hat with matching socks, I'm sure he'll graduate in no time to bigger and better things - in probably less than 3 weeks time!

Jaeger merino baby items
Two- color hat and socks made from Jaeger Matchmaker Merino

Here's another way to get small: Nikon's small world and the obvious companion piece, The Micropolitan Museum. There are so many interesting - and usually unseen - parts of the world around us. All we need is a little help in opening our eyes to them.

A word, if you please. Where do you go for your fix? You might find a new source or two in "A Logophiles Delight!"

Quilters already know about fitting small squares inside larger squares. See how commonly understood principles of logic and design meet harmoniously in "Layers of Meaning."

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Knitting Wasteland

There is the faint, haunting whistle of dust and emptiness; the antiseptic sweet aroma of mothballs and cedar. Mohair fluff mixed with cat fur form giant fiber tumbleweeds that huddle in quiet corners. Sad projects, begun with such promise, litter the landscape in various states of undone-ness. This is the knitting wasteland and it is not a pretty place.

I manage to knit a few rows here and there before my right shoulder resident, Madame SLAP tear, bites back. A baby sock. An accidental toddler sock that was supposed to be a baby sock (I had Addi gauge issues). An emerging second sleeve for Fantine. A promising start on the Honeybee Stole slumps to last place on the WIP parade. Too bad there's nothing consistently working. I've got plans and yarn, baby!

This charcoal Cascade 128 for Juliet:
Cascade 128 charcoal grey yarn

Two sportweight skeins of Claudia's Handpainted in Peppermint Mocha acquired from The Loopy Ewe for a buttoned neckwarmer I have in mind:
Peppermint Mocha
Two flavors of Malabrigo (Loro Barranquero and Burgundy) with nothing in mind beyond some heavy petting. Come to momma, precious...
Malabrigo Yarns Burgundy and Loro Barranquero

In the other news this week, my copy of Rowan NewShapes arrived. How you wound me, my beloved cover girl, Anise, for I cannot begin to begin you in either capability or good conscience.

Naturally, all these schemes are on hold - only to be played out in my rich knitting fantasies, where shoulders don't scream, fingers do not tire and the yarn (oh, the yarn) is soft, plentiful and wonderfully organized. A girls gotta dream.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

And Ah-One!

Fantine - right sleeveYep. It has been a week since we last saw our lovely ice blue Fantine in-the-making. I'll keep it brief as my right shoulder has been muy problematic (hence, spotty knitting), but this 50's inspired cropped top has grown to her full length of 19 inches as measured from the center back to the waist band.

The reason behind the post title reference to the signature Lawrence Welk "And Ah-One"? My girl has one sleeve down and one to go before the large blue buttons are added to finish this retro look.

Once my tweaked version of Fantine is complete, I'll be sure to visually and verbally detail all the modifications, including yarn substitution, length and yoke stitch changes.

By the way, I gave in to temptation and ordered the Rowan book, NewShapes, as well. You know, the one with "Anise" on the cover? Since I have 16 balls of Polar left, I figured I had to do something useful with it, no?


Friday, August 31, 2007

Big (Needle) Love

First off, thank you so much for your supportive comments on my selection of Briar Rose "Celebration" for the Honeybee Stole. Thankfully, we have a world of beauty at our fingertips when it comes to fiber choices.

I do have to admit that, for the past few days, I've been smitten with something that is partly not from nature. Rowan's discontinued yarn, Polar, actually contains 10% acrylic. Maybe it sounds swanker in French: acrylique! No matter, because Polar feels like whipped buttah as it slips over my ebony size 11 US Holz and Stein circulars to create Fantine:

Fantine - Mandarin Collar
What you see pictured above is the beginning of the 3/4 sleeve Mandarin collar version. For us girls with the "girls", there are notes on where to add short-row shaping for a better fit. While the big needles and the bulky yarn make for a welcome respite from size 1 US fingering weight socks or "pay attention to the chart" lace, I find that I have to fill in the gaps in the pattern instructions and schematics.

The lovely texture on the yoke was actually a happy accident of inconsistent pattern writing. I checked the company website and there are no errata posted for this pattern. I will have to take a page from my mother's operating manual and write a letter - or in my case, send an email - with suggestions for improvement.

I know others have knit this sweater. What were your experiences?


Saturday, August 25, 2007


honey bee graphicLet's see how long can I extend this device: there are scores of people besotted with Anne Hanson's beguiling Bee Fields Shawl or the rectangular presentation of the Honeybee Stole. Whether they're actively participating in the knitalong or keeping a watchful eye on the action from the sidelines, the Bees are swarming all around.

From what I've observed, many of those knitting either the stole or the shawl have opted for (at most) fingering weight yarn to maintain the light, airy feel of the finished product. I debated doing the same, even after purchasing the DK-weight Briar Rose Fibers "Celebration". I knit up a couple of swatches in the merino / bamboo blend and in a finer weight Handmaiden SeaSilk for comparison.

After mulling it over, I went with the Briar Rose for a couple of reasons: 1) the wool content will allow for better blocking options and 2) I just like the more rustic, autumnal look of the emerging stole. Granted, I'm only 20 rows into the Beehive section, but what do you think? You start to see a beautiful texture emerge.

Begin a Honeybee Stole
(First 20 rows of Beehive section with provisional cast on)
While I take my time on this, I am pondering what to do with 2 bags of Ice Blue Rowan Polar Wool in stash. Anyone have any thoughts on French Girl's "Fantine" or "Anise" from the cover of Rowan's Fall design pamphlet, NewShapes? I'm really drawn to both of them for some reason.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

We're Halfway There

I must say that working with this nearly 50-50 blend of Great Adirondack Yarn Company silk and bamboo has been heavenly and really tough to put down. So tough in fact that I have completely abandoned all other WIPs to knit, purl and yarnover my way through this interestingly constructed wrap in record time. Since I'm just about to join the second skein to complete the last half of my half-twist Möbius Lace Wrap, I thought I'd share my status as of one week in:

Möbius Lace Wrap
Here it sits: 430 stitches per row, 8,600 stitches thus far, coiled around a 47-inch size 6 US Addi lace needle. You see that I've pointed out the cast on tail? That's because Möbius knits are constructed from the center out towards the ends simultaneously. Unless you do it (or you're very visually oriented) it is hard to imagine. It's also mind-boggling to think that, conceptually, you're knitting in two directions at once, though given the nature of Möbius, there really is only one side.

Who's afraid of a mixing up a little math with their knits? Not I.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

I, Möbius

One day, during a visit to my local purveyor of yarn, I came across a beautiful top the owner had on display. "That's the Lacy Shoulder Wrap from Cat Bordhi's Treasury of Magical Knitting," she said.

I was intrigued but put off purchasing the book until I'd moved a few WIPs into the finished column. I still have a couple of socks on the needles but really long to do something different, so now is the time for another kind of knitting! I know I'm absolutely late to the party when it comes to the single edge that is möbius, but as a confessed geek, I still find it pretty amazing. I just wish I hadn't wasted the money on that "Magical" book.

Ms. Bordhi rather chattily (and confusingly) explains the difference between a 180 degree twist and a 360 degree twist - surprisingly never calling it that either! I read the magic cast on directions (complete with tiny pictures) at least 4 times but couldn't make heads nor tails of what she was really saying. So I took my troubles to Google and that lead me to Planet Shoup.

Plain and simple, I instantly visualized the half-twist and knit up a sample. I know it worked because I was able to run my finger along the single edge of infinity:

Moebius sample

Alright, so maybe it wasn't a complete waste. I do have the pattern I wanted and the yarn I'm going to use is absolutely sumptuous. It's called Bamboo Silk from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company in the color "Very Berry":

Moebius wrap
Admittedly, there are worse things going on in the world than having needlessly spent money on a book. I'm off to count my blessings now, mkay?

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Woman On The Edge

Oh yes, gentle folk. I am but 7 rows from bind off of my Forest Canopy Shawl and I could not be happier! I'm in the midst of creating the pointy edge rows prior to calling it a day for this simple, but long-in-the-knitting triangular shawl.

I'd let a couple of other things jump the WIP line and, before you know it, I'd lost that lovin' feeling that I had in the beginning of the project. It had become monotonous as the rows got longer and longer. In the past week or so, I decided it was time to put up or shut up and finish the darn thing, especially since my mom's birthday is coming up in exactly 2 weeks and I never have anything finished in time for her. Guess what she gets this year!

After a soak and a stint on the blocking board and wires, we will have achieved finished lace shawl. This I solemnly vow because I need to move on to some serious baby knitting and new sock designs.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

The Dance of the Stitches

Forest Canopy Shawl - detail
I wrap and knit or purl, then back;
My needles swift and sure.
The loops and YOs and K2TOGs;
The pattern coming clear.

My confidence is rising fast;
The end it seems so near.
But don't misread the knitting, lass
'Cause ripping will ensue.

A cautionary tale I tell,
Perhaps because it's true.
One stitch up. Three-hundred back.
The tink could hit you, too.

I did this latest Dance of the Stitches with my Forest Canopy Shawl. I'm sure you know how it goes.

Weeks had passed since I'd picked up the shawl and, silly me, I didn't have any notes as to where I'd left off. I tried reading the knitting and reconciling it with the pattern - at 3 a.m. I figured a bout of insomnia shouldn't go to waste, right? So, I knit by the light of my craft lamp and watched whatever is on television in the wee hours.

Wrong move! I didn't notice that I'd resumed knitting at the wrong place in the pattern until 300 stitches had passed. Something was very wrong because there were no lacy bits where there should've been; no leaves emerging from the knitted fabric. First came the un-knitting, stitch by stitch and then the outright rip as my ire rose.

Now, Forest Canopy and I and engaged in a slow, sedate waltz. Boring, but necessary.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Batter Up!

Thank you, thank you for all the lovely compliments on the Mona socks! Now that the pressure of completing my Sockapalooza 4 contribution is off, I've decided to start a new pair - this time using Dream In Color (DIC) "Smooshy" sock yarn and a pattern designed specifically for DIC by an online acquaintance, Monica Nappe!

I was so excited when I read on Monica and Lynette's blog that she was designing socks for some of my favorite yarn. As soon as they became available online through Knitter's Palette, you know I had to lend my support and pick up a couple. Naturally, I (of the extensive stash) already had the yarn.

Sleepwalker Socks
The pattern, Sleepwalker Socks, features a braid-like leaf motif on the leg and along the top of the instep. For these, I'll be using Smooshy in the Beach Fog colorway which I think looks so summery!

Since there is no timeline on these, I'll work on them whenever I want a break from Forest Canopy. Nope. I haven't forgotten my triangular shawl. It's actually what's next in the non-sock category. This time I think I'll avoid any predictions on when it might be finished. Am I trying to manage expectations? Nah, just planning on working at my own pace.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Weather Report

Today, look for occasional knitting following a 4-day dry spell. Expect continued spotty work to eventually give way to mostly sunny skies and finished objects over the next 10 days.

Frequency of repeats this afternoon should reach a high of around 2 to 3 rounds per hour, slowing to zero by nightfall. Stray knitting remains a possibility overnight, barring sleep event.

Sockapalooza 4 "Mona" sock, first 24-row repeat complete; 1.5 additional repeats needed to finish the leg.

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl, about 50% complete (per pattern)

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Friday, March 30, 2007

How Green Is My Shrug

It may be a gray Chicago day outside,

Chicago skybut something green and wonderful is growing inside!

Mia in progressI'm more than half-way done with the Dream In Color "Happy Forest" version of Mia (PDF) and I couldn't be happier with it! Unlike the original, I knit the ribbed sleeve portion in the round, then switched to knitting the lace flat. There's another key difference and that is the yarn I've chosen for this version. I must say that the elasticity of this superwash merino makes the fit of this tube shrug much more secure.

I also plan on doing something a little different with the finish edging but those details will be revealed once she is complete. Just so you know, I'm taking notes so that I can update the pattern with the circular knitting option. Don't know why I didn't think of it before except to say that, since I learned how to knit socks, my concept of what you can do with circular knitting has changed the way I approach design of things that don't really require seaming.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Just 15 Inches

Nikita in my lapCuriosity is often a trait associated with cats, and rightly so, as anyone who's spent any length of time with felines can attest. Mister "up close and personal" Nikita here was quite intent on finding answers to the mystery of my latest bout of furious knitting -- thus the decision to hop into my lap for a look-see.

I'd been hurtling headlong toward the toe of Sock Hop number two when yesterday I realized 1) it was March already and 2) my neighbor turns 11 on Tuesday. Good night! What could I make quickly that would meet with pre-teen approval? Say hello to my little friends: Manos del Uruguay and Malabrigo. The Manos just arrived the day before and the Malabrigo had been (shamefully) marinating in a suitcase for the past year or more. Together, they make a perfect pairing for a felted mini-messenger bag:

Manos and MalabrigoJust 15 inches to go before that hot bubble bath.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

All The Pretty Little Horses

"Lullaby and goodnight.
Go to sleep my little baby;
When you wake,
you'll have cake,
and all the pretty little horses. "

When I was a little girl, I used to think about horses quite a lot. I drew them. I sought out toy ones and stuffed ones. I even dreamed I was a golden palomino who would run, play and fly. I'm sure Freud would have a field day with all the pretty little horses.

Nowadays my distraction of choice is yarn and the pretty things I came make from it. While cruising my RSS hangouts, I came across something so wonderfully textured and visually captivating that had to start one myself. It is the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts - a book I had but a pattern I'd ignored. At first I resisted, knowing full well that I already had two socks in progress along with a sweater and tweedy jacket. Once I clicked through Ashley's site to the Flickr group and saw the other Chevrons in the works, my resolve melted into a colorful puddle of goo.

LMKG Chevron ScarfI spent Thursday night clawing through stash to find complementary sock-weight yarns and woke Friday morning to cast on with Scout's "Harlot's Mums" and Dani's "Dragonfly". My first thought was to pair a handpaint with a nearly solid but I thought, "Ah. That's so safe." Since the pattern called for two painted yarns, I dug deeper to find color similarities (purples, greens) and tonal differences (yellows, blues) that would work together. It's not a pat little pattern that's emerging but I like the undulating colors nonetheless.

Chic Knits RibbyIn the past week, I finally ripped out the swatch I did for ChicKnits Ribby Pulli, and cast on 216 stitches to get the short sleeve version underway. The original plan was to do long sleeves but by the time I'm done, we'll be into warmer weather. Hey, at least I'm honest about it. At this point, the sweater is mostly ribbing but it's starting to take shape.

Rocky paws in shoesFinally, I thought I'd share my latest shoe purchase with you. As you can see, Rocky beat me to the punch by trying them on for size as soon as I took them out of the box.

Share and share alike, I 'spose.

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