Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What Would You Do?

If something called Dream In Color "Baby Lace" landed in your mailbox, along with silver lined beads? If you suddenly realized that, if your design IS accepted, you'll have to knit like the wind but you have no pattern? You swatch. With your vague idea and an arsenal of needle sizes as you try to find the right combination to work with your "not quite lace, not quite fingering" yarn.

Edited to add: Great news! Just found out this afternoon that the designs have been accepted for publication! Whoot! I'd happy dance if I could!

Lace and Beads
The color is called, "In Vino Veritas" or loosely translated from the Latin, "In wine, there is truth." Despite my attempts to remove stray bits of cat hair, some found its way into the photo. Ignore those. Instead, enjoy the subtle shadings of the yarn which run from plum to merlot with a bit of claret for body.

The beads are from Beadworks. In the 100 gram vial, they look sort of rainbow-flavored and, frankly, I was a bit disappointed - that is, until I started to place them in pattern using the crochet hook method. I do like this method of beading, mostly because you don't wear out the yarn by sliding beads along the length of it and you don't have to know what you need in advance. Much more advantageous for "sketching" with your knitting, which is how I spent my weekend.

What's on your needles?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Faggoting and Beehive Lace

WTP Beehive laceWell, finally! The fifth time was the charm with this particular Walker Treasury pattern.

As you might recall, I had a heckuva time trying to get this just right. I tried knitting this swatch in three different weights of yarn (lace, sport, worsted). The "bee" pattern and vertical faggoting emerged best with sport weight yarn.

Yarn: Lana Grossa Lambswool
Needles: Addi Lace, size 4 US
Gauge: 6 sts per inch stockinette
Book: A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, "Lace," page 188

This may be my last swatch for a while, but it's not too late for you to join in the April Sweeps contest, now underway over at the Walker Treasury Project. Great giveaways for various categories including photography, most completed swatches, new participant postings - even for commenting!

For my part, I've gone back to the Forest Canopy Shawl. The signpost may read "Slow Knitter At Work" but there is definitely progress.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Happiness Is...

Beautiful friends, tasty grub and fine yarn.

I broke my Monday routine and did not go to physical therapy, choosing instead to meet up with three knitting buds and one knitting bud mum. Tehemina (KnitDDS) picked me up around lunchtime and we headed to that mecca of Indian goodness in Chicago, Devon Avenue.

On the weekends, Devon is a driver's nightmare, with clogged traffic, jaywalkers and signals-optional motorists aplenty. Midday Monday? Another story altogether and frankly the best time to shop for a sari, pick up some dal (lentils), or just soak in the scented atmosphere of this multi-ethnic 'hood. Today, we were here for the food.

After a brief wait, we were joined by Alyssa (Knit Mongrel), Suni (Knit Masala) and T's mom (a machine knitter sans blog). T is 6 weeks away from giving birth to her first child, so I tried to come up with a fitting gift for a knitting mother-to-be.

Baby Blanket starter kitI call it "Blanket Seeds": eight balls of RYC Cashsoft and a quilt-like center starter blanket. You might recognize the 6 panels of the blanket as the swatches I did for the Walker Treasury Project (Moss Stitch Rib, Waterfall, Flying Wings, Traveling Rib, Puff Mock Cable).

I single crocheted each swatch in Claudia Handpaint's "Blue Terracotta", then whip stitched each together with the blue Cashsoft. Lastly, I added a puff stitch border to the entire piece.

This 6-sectioned center panel is large enough to be used as a car seat cover initially, with the plan for knitting Mom to add to it as the baby grows.

Suni and AlyssaAfter inhaling some dee-lish southern Indian food, Alyssa, Suni and I head into the danger zone, also known as a local yarn store.

Behold stitchers in their natural habitat. See the excitement on their faces as they cuddle up to their fibery kill.

Louet Gems custom dye yarnAnd what did I buy? Three skeins of custom dyed Louet Gems (in "Browns") right off of the display for their new DIY dye kit. I saw the yarn, went looking for it elsewhere in the store and was told that it was one-of-a-kind.

"Will you sell it to me?"

Oh yes, my friends. It was a good day.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

When The Going Gets Tough...

...do you knit it or quit it?

This chapter of my 3-swatch contribution to the Walker Treasury Project opened with a bang! I was able to make quick work of the first two:

WTP swatchesTraveling Rib Pattern (Book 1, p. 281) and Flying Wings Pattern (Book 1, p. 286)

I should have known that the cocky assuredness I felt as I launched into the hell that would be come Swatch Number Three would most certainly bite me in the hind quarters. Oh, yes, and quite smartly too.

Swatch Number Three, also known as Faggoting and Beehive Lace Pattern (Book 1, p. 188) is an ostensibly simple 4-row repeat of YOs, SSKs and K2TOGs with a few knit and purl stitches pulling it all together. Nothing outside my realm of knitting competency. According to the black and white photo next to the pattern, this lace should resemble bees lined vertically in neat little rows.

While there currently exists no photographic evidence, I clearly saw the bees in my four(!) attempts at creating this swatch. What I could not discern were the lines of openwork faggoting! I tried this pattern using laceweight Zephyr, fingering weight lambswool, sportweight wool and worsted weight cotton blend. Nothing! At least nothing that I would deign to show publicly.

I've now cast on for attempt number five, and I'm asking you, "Would you knit it or quit it?"


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Because The People Demanded It

Me in green Mia shrugYou ask and I answer in as comfortable a way as possible for me: partial body shot only, so as to show the combination of the Mia shrug with the silk chiffon dress.

You have to take my word for it when I tell you that my makeup was flawless and my Heidi-style braids were smooth and neat. The jewelry, made for me by Stylish Girl, was a perfect match with its semi-precious stones of green and brown.

This shot was taken a couple of days ago, but I held off on showing it until I could complete the modifications to add the seamless, circular knitting option to the Mia pattern.

What's on the needles at the moment? More swatches for the Walker Treasury Project. I have a couple of months to complete them, which dovetails perfectly with my on again / off again knitting capabilities. Besides that, I get a chance to knit a few rows, learn a new stitch and move on.

Knitting repertoire enhancement, stash diving and instant gratification - all in one!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Swatch Out!

Walker swatch trioJust recently, I came across a community-based project to enhance the usefulness of one of the major tools in the knitter's arsenal: Barbara G. Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns (books 1-4).

As you probably know, the swatches in these invaluable books are shown in black and white. The goal of The Walker Treasury project is to show them larger, more detailed and in color. This is a huge undertaking since there are over 5,000 patterns documented in Walker's books. That's why I decided to make some small contribution to the effort with the three swatches shown above (top to bottom): Embossed Moss Stitch Ribbing, Puff Rib, Waterfall Pattern.

Check out the Flickr group or sign up to knit your own piece of the Walker Treasury.