Archive for January, 2009

Finished Object: Lettuce Leaf Shawl





Cast On: November 10, 2008

Finished: January 26, 2009

Pattern: Leaf Shawl from Evelyn A. Clark's Knitting Lace Triangles, a resource I recommend highly. (Rav link)

: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Lettuce, almost all of five skeins

Needle: Addi Turbo Size 7 circular needle, 24" and 40" length

Mods: I did 16 repeats of the lace pattern, plus the border.

Final Thoughts: I started this project with so much gusto, but the long (long!) rows gradually wore me down. I started having doubts. I went for my instinct and used a size 7, but worried about it the whole time. I almost ripped out and went up a size countless time. By the end, I had convinced myself that it was going to be too heavy. It was going to be too small. It was going to be a piece of crap and I was never going to wear it.

But, I wanted my needle back and ripping it out didn't sound any more appealing than just sucking it up and finishing it, so that's what I did. And I'm so glad! Blocking a piece of a lace is just as magical as everyone says it is. I hope every knitter will give it a try, at least once. It's completely exhilarating!

I was aiming for a shawl about 72 x 36, but it came out to be 80 x 40. I think on a more petite person it might be kind of overwhelming. On me, it's big, but not too big- just right! It's been getting lots of wear time, and there are definitely more shawls in my future. Now that I've conquered lace in a DK weight, I feel much more confident about trying laceweight. But that's another post!

Some gratuitous lace blocking pictures:




We had major ice storms last week, as you can see in the pictures. It was kind of crazy around here, but things are pretty much back to normal, for us anyway. I know a lot of people are still out of power, and I hope it comes back on soon for them! I think we can safely resume our regular posting schedule. Tomorrow, I'll be covering the Superbowl Sale at the Knit Nook! I hope to see a lot of you there! You just might get to see the Lettuce Leaf Shawl in action…


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As you can see, I tried to take pictures of Iris in the second Roselette Top today, but my camera couldn't keep up. At 15 months, she is a baby on the move! Maybe tomorrow I'll have better luck, and we can have a proper Finished Object post around here. But at least here you get the idea. I have a vision for a more summery version using some stash yarn, so there's at least one more Roselette in our immediate future. I just can't get enough! Stay tuned!

In other news, I finished something really big today. Big enough that my plans to block it on our futon went awry, and it ended up blocking on a sheet in the floor. I bet you can guess what I'm talking about. Hint: that's a pre-block measurement. Yikes!


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Random Friday

I seem to be having one of those weeks. Bloggable things are piling up around me faster than I can keep up, and if I don't get my act together I'll be lost forever under an avalanche of unwritten posts. Feast or famine- the nature of the knit-blogging beast.

1. At last year's Superbowl Sale at the Knit Nook, I bought a ridiculous quantity of some Silky Wool. 19 balls of it were an unappealing taupe color. I've always thought I would dye it up into something better, and a couple days ago I finally got around to it. I divvied up one ball into five mini skeins and used this article and a few packets of Kool Aid to dye them up.


Blah. Taupe. Blah.


Fabulous! Delightful!

Prior forays into dyeing with Kool Aid, onto plain white wool, have yielded yarns that were a little too Technicolor bright for me, but it really transformed my boring Silky Wool into yarn with panache! They are still bright, but subdued enough to make me happy. The silk and wool took up the dye differently, which really gives it some depth and interest. Now the hard part will be deciding which color I like the best. (From left to right, the flavors are Black Cherry, Kiwi Strawberry, Lemon Lime, Blue Raspberry, and Strawberry.)

2. I have fallen head over heels in love with this sweater (Rav link) from Wendy Barnard's Custom Knits. The Silky Wool now has a destiny, whatever color I choose.

3. I got a review copy of the first issue of Handknit Heroes! Woohoo! I haven't finished reading it yet, and therefore cannot give a proper review. But, as you can see, I'm enjoying it so far.


4. My Roselette Top the Second still has no buttons, and no pictures of an adorable 15 month old girl modeling it. This is  a situation which should be remedied today or tomorrow. (At last!)

5. I'm so close to victory over the Lace Leaf Shawl! There is still hope of having it done, if not blocked, over the weekend.

6. I am feeling the urge to crochet about a million pairs of these adorable Mary Janes. (She sells the pattern in sizes baby – adult. I'm just saying… matching slippers for yourself and a little girl in your life? Who could resist??)

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Leaves in the Snow

This is what I knit today during the Inauguration:


It seemed so appropriate- lacy green leaves that look so fresh and hopeful…

but the rows are still really long.

I'm on the last repeat now. Then it's just the border and the blocking. Could I be done by the end of the week? I'm feeling pretty optimistic (for the shawl and for the next four years!)

Teaser! I'm only two buttons away from having a second finished Roselette Top. FO deets and pics to come later this week.

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Finished Object: Roselette Top

005 - Copy 

006 - Copy

Pattern: Roselette Top from Chez Plum. I had seen it on Ravelry and liked it okay, but what really inspired me to make it was seeing it here on Anna Maria Horner's blog. The buttons are "supposed to" go in the back, but I love how her daughters decided to wear them in the front! 

Yarn: South West Trading Company Karaoke, 50/50 Wool and Soysilk, color Wild Cherry. I'm very pleased with this yarn. The color repeats were plenty long enough for crochet. I had this up for trade for a long time, but I was magnetically drawn to it when I went stash diving for this project. Kismet! Fate! Serendepity!

Hook: Susan Bates Aluminum, size H (5.0 mm)

Mods: I didn't use a second color to do the single crochet around the bottom, middle, neck and sleeves. I like that design feature, but I didn't have anything handy that coordinated with my yarn, so I just used what I had. Next time, I would definitely like to use two colors.

Final Thoughts: The lesson I learned with this top is that it's not good enough to just make the gauge swatch. You really have to wash the damn thing if it's going to do you any good. The good news is, the stitches really blossomed in the blocking process. The bad news is that the top, which fit Iris just fine before blocking, is really too big now. (Notice that she's not modeling for me today!) I guess that's not the end of the world either- just means that she'll be able to wear it through next fall and winter as well. If I had it to do over again, I might go down a hook size or two. Actually, I would have to go down two sizes because we are missing the size between H and G here. Why don't we have 4.5 mm hooks in the U.S.? Does anyone know where I can get one?

All in all, I find the finished project perfectly charming. This is officially my new go to project for the little girls in my life. In fact, I've already started a second one. Hopefully, Iris won't have to wait so long to wear this one!

008 - Copy

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Super Extreme Productivity

Q: Is this still a knitting blog?
A: Yes, and here's some knitting to prove it!


Exhibit A: One February Baby Sweater (Rav link) for Iris. You might recall that I started one in Malabrigo last year, hoping to make matching mother daughter sweaters. I had so much trouble with the pattern that I gave up and buried it in my WIP pile. (It's still not frogged though, so I might un-bury it and try to save it.) This sweater is coming along much more smoothly. For one thing, I acquired some tech support. For two things, I decided to put the sleeves on hold until finishing the body, which for whatever reason is making it much easier to deal with.

Since I took this picture, I finished the body part, but it still needs sleeves. Ravelry saved this project from the brink of disaster. Coming down the body, I was pretty sure I was running out of yarn. I shortened the length substantially, but it was still clear that I was not going to have enough for more than very very short sleeves. The yarn color (Schaefer Yarns "Miss Priss" in Everywoman) was discontinued, and even after turning the internet upside down and shaking it, I couldn't find a ball anywhere. Fortunately, a lovely Raveler has come to the rescue with half a ball of the precious wool. Phew! I want this sweater to be an heirloom, and heirlooms need at least three quarter length sleeves, in my personal opinion.

Since I'm waiting for said yarn to arrive before attacking the sleeves, I started another top down sweater for Iris on Wednesday, this time in crochet.


Did I say started? What I meant was, started and finished.

It's the Roselette Top from Chez Plum in SWTC Karaoke, Wild Cherry. A more detailed and official Finished Object post is to come, as soon as it gets buttons. There are 36 Roselette Tops on Ravelry, and I think there should be more. Hundreds! Thousands even! This is probably the fastest thing I've ever made, and I love it! Love love love it! I love it so much that I already bought the pattern for Violaine, the adult version, and I'm plotting away.

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Best Yet

New yarn is good! New yarn that you spun yourself is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!



My most recent handspun came from 3.5 oz. of sparkly Shetland from Greyside Farms. (They don't have a website- and believe me, I looked!) I bought it at the Southern Indiana Fiber Arts Festival. It was a great roving, and I will definitely be stocking up on this stuff if I am lucky enough to find them again next year!

It doesn't really come through in the photos, but the yarn is imbibed with this beautiful, subtle glitz, on top of a heathery mauve. I haven't measured it for WPI, but I'm guessing it to be about a DK. It's not perfect, but definitely more even than previous attempts. I was especially happy with my ply job. I intentionally plied it much tighter than I have done in the past. and I was pretty much convinced that it was going to end up being a mess. But that's part of the magic of spinning- when the fresh yarn hits the water, it relaxes and loses a lot of that twist, so you really need to overtwist it to get it to come out just right. (That's the quick and dirty explanation- for a superb article on plying and twist, I would check out this article over at Abby's Yarns.)

The most surprising thing about this yarn is the softness of it. When I hear the word Shetland, I think of super rugged, scratchy wool. This stuff isn't cashmere, but it's certainly not a brillo pad either. Definitely suitable for next to the skin wear, at least for me.

I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing with it yet, but I'm really leaning towards Porom, one of the newish hat patterns from Brooklyn Tweed. One can never have enough slouchy hats. Slouchy is the new black, I hear.

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