30 November 2007

It's Raining All Over SoCal

What a dismal gloomy day we're having. It started raining at about 0845 and it's still raining almost five hours later. It's not a hard rain, so there's a good chance a lot of it will soak in instead of running off. Fortunately the storm is coming up from the south and west, so there's no chance of snow for us down here, although it's snowing and sticking at the mountain resorts. The storm is dumping snow on the Four Corners area, in particular my birthplace, Durango, CO.

This is all supposed to go away by tomorrow and we'll have a pretty, if cool, day for the UCLA-USC game. If USC (boo, hiss) wins, they'll go to the Rose Bowl. If UCLA (go, Bruins) wins and if Arizona State later loses, then UCLA will go to the Rose Bowl. Since I bleed Bruin blue and gold, you can tell where my heart is. USC is my second favorite, though. (I'm somewhat less partisan about football than basketball.)

The weather may affect the game, though, because it's being played in an outdoor stadium with natural grass. They've gotten about a half-inch of rain down there, which shouldn't affect the field too much, but if it keeps raining the field may get soft. Neither team is very accustomed to soggy fields.

Speaking of soggy fields, did anyone else see this week's Monday Night Football game, where the field was all but under water? On one kick, the ball came down and stuck in the ground. It didn't bounce at all. It was just standing there, right where it hit, pointy end embedded in the glop. All the yard lines and hash marked were washed away, too. I love watching football games played in real weather, particularly pro games. There was a fairly recent game in a driving snow storm (at Lambeau Field, maybe?), so heavy you couldn't see the far side of the field, and another in such thick fog you couldn't even see that far. Now that's football.

Last night I washed and dried a rollerball pen with a load of medium-colored clothes, mostly cotton knits. What a mess! The dryer drum had a lot of black streaks and my clothes were almost all spotted and streaked and smudged with black ink. The dryer cleaned up pretty well, so that I could dry the load in the washer. I gave up about then and didn't even try to re-wash the stained load. I'm going to do that as soon as I post this. Fortunately, a lot of the load was nightgowns and briefs, so the world won't end if they end up with a few gray splotches. However, one of the victims was one of my favorite U-2 (airplane, not band) tees and I'm a little worried about it.

I've once again put aside my Bigfoot Shawl for another project. I got two balls of Suri Dream handpainted in Rose Quartz in my recent order from Knit Picks. The box showed up on Tuesday and I managed to resist until last night (Thursday), but I caved in and started a scarf. This yarn is just beautiful. It's really soft and so light, but still warm. The colors are very good, too. The scarf is just garter stitch with slipped-stitch selvages, 24 stitches on US 11 needles. It's about 8 in. wide and I've got about 24 in. knitted already. I've weighed the ball of yarn a couple of times and I think I'm getting about an inch of scarf per gram. I'm thinking that I should order another ball of yarn and make two six-foot scarves. I'll try to get a reasonable photo tomorrow if it's sunny enough.

29 November 2007

I Had A Dream

Or maybe a nightmare. About knitting. I rarely remember my dreams but this one was special. I share them even less often, too, but I figured this one would amuse knitters and their friends. I think it's funny now, but it wasn't at the time.

I'm knitting the Bigfoot Shawl in black fingering weight Gloss. The pattern is a variant of feather and fan and has a whole bunch of *k1, yo* on the first row. There's something I occasionally do on the purl row back that doesn't catch the k1 right, so that on the third or fourth row the weight of the shawl pulls the stitches apart and makes a big hole (yo, k1, yo, after all). This is pretty easy to pick up, just reknit the center stitch and then pick up the other two, but it's annoying and I keep doing it. It's happened not just on this shawl but on two others, too.

Anyway, about the dream. I dreamed that I was knitting away on this shawl (except that it had morphed into a triangular shawl) and it pulled apart right where I was knitting. Then I started tugging on the edges and the stitches started popping apart all over the shawl. My beautiful lace shawl was falling apart and there wasn't anything I could do to stop it. And each time it happened it made a most unyarnlike "pop" sound. I was horrified and panicky. Pop, pop, pop!

Then I woke up, with this vivid image still in my mind. It was all I could do not to hop out of bed in the middle of the night and hurry to my knitting to see how it looked. When I did pick my knitting up later, I checked it over very carefully and tugged gently on the edge to see what would happen. Fortunately, nothing did.

25 November 2007

Christening Shawl Finished

This afternoon I finished the christening shawl that I started on 15 November. It took eleven days and I was doing a lot of other things during that time. I've woven in the ends, but I haven't washed and dressed it yet. I'm washing the baby blanket I finished ages ago, so that I can mail it off to baby Josh. I've only got one good place for drying large pieces and the blanket gets to use it first. The christening shawl won't be needed until March, after all.

I didn't take any photos today because it was quite overcast here. I hope that tomorrow will be clearer so that I can snap a few photos in the undressed state. This shawl looks a lot nicer and more like the finished product than most lace I've knitted. I don't remember the previous Diamond Fantasy Shawl looking so good, but I could be wrong. Anyway, it's probably the yarn and the gauge. Don't be fooled, it really does need dressing but I've got a lot better idea how it's going to look than usual.

I'm back to knitting the Bigfoot Shawl. I think I've only got a few more repeats to knit on it. I think it might look good with a toggle catch right at the neckline, so I've got to look through a few jewelry supply catalogs soon.

I joined the Year Of Lace 2008 club. It's four lace wrap projects in luxury yarns dyed in special colors using new patterns. The patterns are said to be restricted to club members until 2010 and the yarn colors won't be repeated. Not that I care about either bit of exclusiveness, to tell the truth. I guess it's supposed to make people feel more special somehow. I joined mostly to get myself over my dislike for lace weight yarn, on the theory that I'll have spent so much money on the club that I have to knit the wraps up. We'll see how well that works.

18 November 2007

Photo Time


This is the Forest Canopy Shawl II, knitted from Knit Picks Shimmer, in Turquoise Splendor. I took this photo in the hope that everyone can see how light and airy it is, moving in the very faint breeze. As I've said before, I'm not fond of knitting with lace weight yarn, but it does make beautiful, delicate, gossamer lace.

Here's another photo, that shows a little more detail.

There's half a mile (880 yd) and 100 grams (3.5 oz) of yarn in this shawl. It took a while to knit, but that was mostly because I was working on other projects at the same time.

This shawl has gone to the friend it was knitted for and she loves it. It was a total surprise and she had no idea at all that I'd made it for her. I love surprising someone so totally. The blues in the yarn make her eyes look so blue it's almost startling.

Here's a photo of the unblocked lace, taken while I was knitting it.

And here are two close-up photos after blocking:

Isn't it amazing how much difference blocking makes?

This is the Sivia Harding Diamond Fantasy Shawl II that I started a couple of days ago. This is about a third done, but I should put it aside and work on other projects. This shawl is to be a christening shawl for my friend Pat's impending grandchild. The baby is due in March, so I have a little time left. Considering that I knitted a third of the shawl in two days, though, it might not affect the other projects much if I just went ahead and finished it.

I think this is one of the most beautiful lace patterns I've seen and I really enjoy knitting it. The yarn is Knit Picks Bare Merino/Silk Fingering Weight yarn and the shawl will take less than two skeins (each 440 yd, 100 gm). This is beautiful yarn. It's so soft and has such good stitch definition. The fabric has a beautiful hand, with the supple weight of silk.

Here's a close-up photo. I just wish there were some way to transmit the feel of this.

Here's the main project that I've put aside to work on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl II. It's the Bigfoot Shawl from Wrapped In Comfort: Knitted Lace Shawls, by Alison Jeppson Hyde. It's knitted from the same merino and silk yarn, only in black. When it's dyed, Knit Picks calls it Gloss.

It's a circular shawl, which means that the rows are really long. The pattern is a variation of Feather and Fan, which I like, and this shawl is going to be so nice. It's soft and cuddly and just the thing to wear around one's shoulders when it's a bit cool or drafty. I'm knitting it for my cousin's wife. She finds restaurants very uncomfortable in the summer, when she's dressed up and the air conditioning is set to keep men in wool suits cool. This should look dressy enough, with the silk in the yarn. At least, I hope it does.

Now photos of a trio of scarves. The first is a modified version of the Dragon Scales Scarf, knitted in Classic Elite Posh (70% silk, 30% cashmere) in Merlot.

Then there's the Breezy Scarf, knitted from my own pattern in Lang Breeze (merino and nylon) in Orchid.

This is a big scarf, about nine inches wide and over six feet long. It's for our niece in Iowa City. It get cold in Iowa so I get to knit warm scarves for everyone.

And last, but certainly not least, is Reggie the alligator scarf from Morehouse Farm. He came out of the blocking wondrously soft and merino-y. I think I'm going to send him to our goddaughter at Penn State.

12 November 2007

Another Shawl and Three Scarves Finished and Blocked

Yesterday I blocked the turquoise Forest Canopy Shawl I've been knitting off and on for a couple of months. It's absolutely amazing how different lace looks after blocking. The yarn is Knit Picks turquoise Shimmer, 70% alpaca and 30% silk lace weight yarn. I used two skeins, totaling 100 grams and half a mile (880 yd). I find lace weight yarn irritating to knit with, but as I knitted I got more used to it and less irritated. The yarn produced a good-looking shawl.

I also washed and pat-blocked Reggie the alligator scarf, the dragon scales scarf, and the big fluffy cream and orchid scarf. Reggie got a lot softer after washing (Morehouse Farm merino) and the other two stayed about the same. The dragon scales scarf is merlot Classic Elite Posh in cashmere and silk and the big fluffy scarf is orchid Lang Breeze in merino and nylon.

I got a new lace book from Elann that I highly recommend to every lace knitter. It's Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn A. Clark. Ms Clark is one of my favorite shawl designers and I have most of her Fiber Trend lace shawl patterns. I'm not the only one who likes her work; Elann is having a lot of trouble keeping the book in stock. Essentially, this book shows the lace knitter how to knit a triangular shawl using one or more of four basic patterns and a scalloped edging with or without beads. Of course, after knitting one or more of these shawls and understanding the basic technique, the knitter can substitute any lace pattern.

I have a list of projects that I absolutely, positively must knit before I start any other projects. The list comprises a circular shawl for my cousin (over half done), two stoles for my neighbor (one just started), a christening shawl, a baby blanket, and a lace shawl. The christening shawl and baby blanket have to be done by March and the two stoles should be done before the New Year. I can sneak a few scarves and other little projects in, of course, but nothing big.

I'll take photos of everything today or tomorrow, including the yarn for the planned projects, and post them all. With links to the patterns, where available, even. Ravelry has raised my standards for how much information should be included. I can't wait for it to go public so I can just link to the projects there, instead of repeating it here. I don't know when it's going public but I do know that they're issuing invitations very quickly these days. Sign up at ravelry.com. I'm digitalknitter there.