Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Derith's Handspun Hap Shawl

It has taken more than two months, but I finally spun about 2000 yards of fingering/laceweight CVM (California Variegated Mutant) fleece that I bought from White Barn Farm this spring. Very fine, next to the skin soft, I find that I am continually enamored with this type of fleece. I carefully washed the locks in mesh bags, combed them with my new English combs, and spun them on my new Alden Amos electric wheel.
I am a very impatient knitter, unable to wait to spin it all first, so this was a spin as you go project, I would finish about 200 yards of two ply, knit it, and then spin some more.
I created a garter stitch entrelac center that had no right or wrong side, and fined tuned the sizes of the squares to make them actually square. For my yarn and needle size (5 US) it ended up 22 stitches and 30 rows, which made for some creative joining of the entrelac squares, but I just wrote out what worked and followed it repeatedly. I love the black edging (something I found in
Thrihyrnur og langsjol / Three-cornered and long shawls by Sigridur Halldorsdottir) from School House Press.
The finished shawl ended up 70 x 38 and is quite nice, just in time for Derith's Christmas present.
Blocking DID take all my T-pins!

Now I want to do another with a more distinctive center pattern, I am so pleased with this one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"MUIR" and other summer knitting

I began this in October of 2007, with the idea of giving it to my sister-in-law-once-removed (I think that is what Frankie is!) for Christmas 2007. Little did I know what a DOG on the needles this would become! Not to say that I am not pleased beyond belief with the finished project, but this was such a difficult knit for me. I never got comfortable with the actual rhythm of the pattern, I had to have my eyes glued to the pattern at all times. And winter did not have NEAR enough light for knitting black lace. I think the choice of "Superior" as the yarn was the first hazard. It is 70% cashmere/30% silk and honestly feels like one is knitting a spiderweb. Ever so slippery on the needles, I ended up using size 6 Addi Lace Circulars (24"). The pattern is Muir from Fall 2007 Knitty. The shawl ended up 29" x 86" after a pretty messy blocking:

DSC08590 I found that I had permanently bent my blocking wires blocking the Spitzenstricken. I will have to go back to the welding supply place and get the next larger diameter. But I did block with thread, which I ran thru the picots along the sides and the loops along both ends. This SORTA worked, but many of the side picots became inverted, necessitating quite alot of pin placement. Totally worth it, they all poke out now.

muir chair Gonna wrap it and mail it today. Meanwhile - I am planning a rectangular shawl for my Aunt Dorothy who requested something in purple. Her first shawl was also my first shawl, it is the one at the head of the blog. I found some wonderful Alchemy Haiku at Knit Purl in Portland. Lovely customer service, I have never been to the store, but any internet retailer that wraps my yarn in tissue, includes a personal note and gets it here fast gets my repeat business.

I bought the Pablo's Solace colorway, and knit up a gauge sample, testing some designs I have found both on the internet and in recent book purchases (I need an intervention for book purchasing). Lovely yarn, can't wait to begin the shawl after I figure out the exact design.

DSC08581 DSC08569

Oh - and I finished the "Summer Sampler" by BadCatDesigns. I did end up adding my own edging lace, one that I found in an old Burda Lace magazine. It ended up a bit tight, I did not measure the stitch/row gauge correctly of the edging and "do the math" for attaching it to the sampler. But it is also, quite nice and blocking did a lot for it. The cotton yarn I used "Habu Non-Twist Cotton Boucle XS-43B" is very very soft, the color is quite deep. And - as an added benefit, the shawl FITS thru a ring!

DSC08526 And then there is always my usual mindless knitting, a couple of pairs of hats, two felted slippers, three pairs of socks. And while rooting around in the black hole of crafts, found this bit of fair isle I designed and knit a sample for:DSC08623

I gotta get knitting!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Plurkette Hencircle

Computers have always been an obsession for me. I learned to program in FORTRAN in high school in Japan in the 60's (not very well, I might add). My husband bought us Radio Shack Color Computers (COCOs) when they first came out. I can remember spending hours programming, writing the code for green circles, intricate designs, music. I spent months on my 286 trying to get to the center of the pyramid in an early written word only, no pictures game. Jump to now, we live in a fairly isolated part of the Southern Oregon Coast and if I didn't have my internet connection I'd be batty. But I miss my DOS!

In reading Google News one day earlier this year, I saw an article about the incredible amount of "Twittering" that had occurred during an interview with an apparently vocally reluctant Facebook creator. So I had to check that out. Since Ravelry had by then become a major source of info for me, I looked for Twitter there, found Ravelers who were also Twittering and I was off. Then Twitter was really OFF - just as I was getting the hang of it! I re-grouped, googled Twitter in an attempt to find a replacement. Came to Plurk and within a day found most of the people I had found on Twitter. I am a happy camper.

I kept reading items from Eliza and Steph mentioning the "Plurkett Hencircle". Checked it out and joined. I like the idea of farmgirl living and sharing a sisterhood of knowledge. It is interesting to look at the path to women's spirituality that Barbara Walker (the saint of knitting stitch dictionaries) took in later years.

I looked into ordering the book by MaryJane but in reading the description at Amazon, it rang bells to me. I have the copy of "The Encyclopedia of Country Living - An Old Fashioned Recipe Book" by Carla Emery that my mother gave me in the early 70's when I had my first child. I find I needn't buy another book, I have the original. It is well worn, loved, and even though I never plan to actually butcher a cow, make root beer, or make savory soybean patties, it is comforting somehow to know that I could and have the instructions should I ever need to!.

I tend to go off in tangents in my creativity/homemaking. I am the original "little red hen" and like to do it all, from start to finish. I don't throw anything away, love handwoven linen dishtowels, still have all my mother's knitting magazines, and as a rule my eyes are too big for my stomach. I have been thru the canning/breadmaking/sewing all the clothes/ change my own oil/vast vegetable garden phases. I do dip back into them on occasion. But my current obsessions are fiber and old roses. And I got a rock polisher for my 35th wedding anniversary, one of the BEST gifts ever!

I have had sheep in the past, still have a bit of their fleece. We had chicken in the past, I loved having chicken. But the fight with the raccoons here would just be too much for me to handle. I have knitted and crocheted since my grandmother taught me on those summer visits to South Dakota when I was a pre-teen. I learned to spin in a course I took at my local community college, the first night of which was my 40th birthday. I have been entranced since. I spin, weave, dye, card, comb, crochet, knit, knot, but I DON'T tat! Saving something for my old age! I love books and seem to be collecting them with a real fervor lately. I make almost all my meals from scratch and have a cookbook collection to beat the band, but that doesn't mean they are always wonderful. And every once and again I actually do give the 100 or so roses I have a shot of magnesium and alfalfa and they bless me with such wonderful blooms. Right now I am finishing up cooking their petals in an iron pot to make rosary beads, just because I can.

I believe in family farms, and would love to adhere to the 100 mile rule, but that is very difficult where I live. Or, at least in my case would involve a diet of largely huge quantifies of lamb, cranberries, blueberries, wild blackberries and salmon (with the occasional fast growing vegetable thrown in).

I'm in! And at 59 I wager I'm the oldest Plurkette! What a distinction.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Engeln Spitsenstricken B Done!

I finished my “B” version yesterday. I found it quite difficult to follow all new symbols for the knitting stitches, so I graphed it all out in spreadsheet format with symbols familiar to me and just printed out the parts I needed as I went along knitting.

I LITERALLY had 2 feet left of my yarn!

Blocking was difficult, I had a very hard time getting the two sides to come out symmetrical, so I tried a novel approach, I folded the shawl and blocked. Just had to steam out the fold line when I was done. Finished size is 29” deep and about 60” tip to tip.

DSC08010 blocking

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Own Lace Stole in White Zephyr

I finally decided that it was time. Too many favorite stitches and that big cone of Zephyr just calling to me (the one I WAS gonna do some space dyeing with!).

DSC07954 I began with an edging pattern from Ms. Walker's Second Treasury. "Cockleshell Edging" on page 372. I graphed it out: As you can see, I used my usual stitch number hints. I also am knitting on the edging as I knit, which I like to do.

edging Next I cobbled a lovely pattern from Wendy Engstrom"s Orenburg Shawl pattern. It is a lovely shawl, done in the Orenburg style, (every row is knitted) and has some great stitch patterns within it. I chose this one for my border:

border And for the center I chose some obscure pattern I have had in my computer for a while waiting to use it: Really don't have a clue where it came from, but it was not written for knit every row so I had to alter it.

center I like this pattern because the ovals it forms that surround diamonds seem to echo the patterns of the edgings and border patterns. I noticed about one repeat into the pattern that because of the vagaries of K2tog, YO pattern design, the center pattern was not PRECISELY centered, so I did a hidden K2tog on the right plain area and increased by one on the left. Only I will ever see the error, right? So - here is what the working stole looks like:

DSC07967 I can't begin to tell you how important that music stand is! Not to mention the blue painter's tape! Open Office Spreadsheet using Aire River Knitting Font , the color laser printer I thought was such a crazy thing to buy and a home networking system all contributed as well! The pattern is big enough that it can't be reproduced on on 8 1/2 x 11 page, so I just have the center and border pattern in main page, with reference numbers to the edging pattern rows, so I have to read the lower page for the edging pattern. I usually get the whole shebang memorized by about the last pattern repeat of the shawl/stole/sweater!

I am knitting this on size 3 24" knitpicks circulars, it is working well. I plan on a finished stole of about 23" X 79". I am thinking ONE of these two girls (daughter and niece) will just up and decide to get married and I will have an INSTANTANEOUS wedding shawl! dNow - off to do the crochet edging on my "Spitzenstricken" and get ready for the garden tour in Tigard this weekend. I'll be a hostess at my sister in-law-in-law's house (that is her in the picture) (these relationships get SO complicated!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

End of an Era

We are talking 30 years for sure. I believe purchased at a Cost Plus or some such store. For the longest time we had "V" for vegetables and "M" for meat enscribed on either side to prevent contamination. Just the right size for cutting the veggies for the salads, easy to clean, easy to store and get. My favorite cutting board. With (now) a real almost "bowl" in the center on either side where so much cutting had carved a place. I guess the earnest new dishwasher was it's demise. I will miss it. Lotsa memories there, lotsa creative stir fries.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

TWO FO'S (finally!)

My Fibonacci Faroese by MMario has been done for a while, just took me some time to block it: It is very soft, quite warm, and a real disappointment in the color category. Very expensive yarn from Artyarns, and just not satisfactory, color wise. And after I blocked it, the "raw silk" smell was really prevalent.

The beige one is from my handspun Romeldale from White Barn Farms in MI, and is an original design, using Ms. Zimmerman's PI formula and Susanna Lewis's lace patterns. It was my experiment in spinning lace and plying it for softness. I think I've got it now, and am planning to purchase an electric spinning wheel from Alden for future plying. I can get behind SPINNING lace, but the plying just bores me, and really bothers my fascietis (does that never go away? - 15 years!).
I am happy with both, particularly since I get to start TWO MORE PROJECTS now!

I wonder, I am on TWITTER. Most of the people I am following are on Ravelry. What is this fascination with indy and NASCAR? I must be missing something!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eyes Too Big

Eyes too big for my mouth. Seem to be forever taking on more than time will allow. Spring is here, the grass is literally as high as most of the rose bushes I have neglected to prune. And I sit inside on these sunny days, knitting. Felted slippers for friends of friends, as a barter for a new diz, as auction items for Scholarship Fund at the May Mensa RG in Portland.

Really, this morning I just completed my 13th pair, and have two more to do. I may be done with this particular pattern for a while!

My new Forsyth Combs are sitting at the PO waiting for a pick up, and this last week has brought three fleeces, a lovely mixed grey CVM as well as two icelandic, a black and an off white. Where is this time gonna come from?

On a more fun side, the fibonacci shawl is done. I added a lace edge to it, now I have to block it. Of course, that will entail moving Diva off her favorite snoozing spot, the bed in the front room.

My good friend Melody drug me thrift store shopping and and scored this cotton sweater for 99 cents! I am gonna try to decipher the pattern and maybe knit a blanket with it. It is very fine machine knitted, but with all those full-fashioned details a knitter loves.

Off to do a gauge swatch for the black cashmere scarf I am doing for my brother. Trying to simplify, simplify (and have something I can knit without actually having to constantly read the pattern!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


The scarf that I created after one I saw on Ravelry is done. Spidser by Anne. How clever to make a scarf out of a lace edging! I just wasn't excited to block it out with wires and pins on the bed, so a flash of inspiration has hit! Thank God for all the small fishing weights I have from weaving. We will see how successful this is, very Rube Goldbergy, but sure will dry fast!

Here it is before I wet it and hung it up!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Engeln's Spitzenstricken Trachtentuch B

I finally began this lace collar/shawl pattern I have loved for years. I bought "Orenburg" lace yarn from here during their New Year's Eve sale. Not my most favorite color, but now that I am knitting with it, I love it. The yarn itself is core spun mohair, I assume Kid Mohair, but it seems a little thicker at times. It is core spun on a silk thread, and the shimmer of the silk shows thru here and there. Thinnest laceweight I have ever knit with, and I am using Addi Lace size 3. I am doing the "B" version.
The pattern is available two places, Lacis as part of the booklet:
"Spitzenstricken Von Erich Engeln Bk 3 "

Or the pamphlet alone is available Here

In looking at the finished products others have knit, I am not enamored with the edge stiches (this is knit from the center neck down).
So - I charted out the first two blocks of the pattern using my charting font and open office spreadsheet. I HAD to chart it out, and will have to chart out the rest, the symbols he uses are so non intuitive to me.

The original pattern makes no definition for the "3" indicated on the edge stitches, though it is evident from the pattern progression that it is an increase of three from one stitch. I added a 3 stitch garter edge, followed by a YO, twist stitch, YO, and then proceed to the first knit stitch.

I also have finally gotten brave in my combination knitting style, and I am not bothering with reseating the stitches in order to twist them the usual way (knit in the back of the stitch) and am instead just knitting the as it is seated thru the front of the loop. My single twist stitches twist to the right instead of to the left, and it doesn't seem to matter.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Margaret's Shawl

I finished Margaret's Shawl this week. Margaret raises Llamas and contributes fleece to a "wool pool" with other members of her Llama organization. She gave me a skein of her light tan two ply, about 800 grams, about two years ago. I kept trying to figure out what I wanted to do with this springy yarn. Finally I decided to make an original shawl, I have knit enough of other's designs already!
I found an old lily of the the valley edging design in an old German pamphlet, altered it to be able to have it symmetrical on both sides of the triangle, and invented a meeting point design.
Then I proceeded to just chart out some yo's and K2tog's and SSK's on a chart till it pleased me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Little knitting

Found this on Ravelry this morning. Good fast project, I can use leftover alpaca from previous cardigans, shawls and scarves I have knit. Started it right off:

Smarty pants that I am, I decided to use a modified applied I cord method on the the edge stitches, but am knitting them on as I go, with a width of 3 stitches on each side. I forgot that this really ends up being essentially all slipstitched every other row, so now the middle section with the argyle features is really "poofing" up. I will have to decide what to do, it is sorta interesting.
The other day I saw another item on Ravelry , and was inspired. So - I spent some time with my Walker books, found a suitable lace edging altered it a bit and graphed it:

I used the "Double Edging" on page 375 of her second book, got rid of the middle and smaller lace section and decreased repetions to 24 from 30 to make the actual design a comfortable "scarf" size. I also added my favoirte "YO, K2tog" loopy edge to each right side.

I had to change some of the K2togs to SSK to make the scarf lie flatter and have more of an equal pattern on both sides. And, as indicated by the two pink lines in the middle of the pattern, I decided to have a gradation of triangle sizes (1 small, 3 middle sized), though to the main part will be all large size. Easy pattern to get in the swing of. The yarn is heavenly, "Mountain Goat" by Mountain Colors out of Corvallis MT. It is a 100 gm. skein of "Winter Sky" in a worsted wt. I am using size 8 needles and plan to use the whole thing!

The color is absolutely fabulous, and the slight sheen from the mohair seems to deepen the depth of the colors.

Here is a pair of pre-felting "Felted Clogs", lying atop the wonderful suede I bought on eBay for soles. It is wonderful heavy suede, all one needs is the patience to punch the holes. I have made many many pairs of these clogs, and the suede bottoms really do make them more functional. These are you the Mensa scholarship auction in May.
But I am happiest that I am gradually cutting down my spinning stash. And using the old Ashford with the bulky head. I really tried to use my Schacht Matchless to spin bulky yarn, but the Ashford is simply easier, with much less frustration. For all the bobbins/whorls I own for the Matchless, it really seems (for me) to have a limited range of yarns spun to my satisfaction.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloody Stupid is Right!

Finished a particularly time consuming hat this weekend, BS Johnson from the Winter Knitty. I will ADMIT I altered it to make it fit tighter since it is intended as a chemo hat. But the math just doesn't make it attaching the cabled band to the half knit hat. The edge stitches of the band are ({6x16} (96) plus {3x16} (48) plus 20 = 164. Three quarters of 164 (the pick up rate along the hat edge) is 123. This is nine stitches off. At least the designer could have mentioned this uneven p/u rate instead of detailing it finely on the pattern. I altered it to 120 stitches and it fit better, but still ended up stitches off. But it sure makes me understand that I am a PROCESS not a PRODUCT knitter.
Lovely hat, by the way. I have never used Cascade Indulgence, and it is heavenly soft.

But, on an interesting note, it did snow here yesterday, all day, on and off. The euphorbia seemed to like it!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rain and my Favorite Search Engines!

Wish I could figure our how to make the rain fall on this image that I got from Stumbleupon. Well, later for that.

But - here are two search engines (I think the same guys make both of them) that I love because they present results like I think):


But I DID manage to figure out how to take a screen shot of Kartoo's results for "Ravelry" - but you lose some of the excitement of just passing your cursor over all the parts and seeing the connections. Try it!

>kartoo screenshot