Friday, July 29, 2011

Finished Object Friday

Yeah, it's Friday.  I'm very excited to share my white lace.  In general I am very happy with it.  It is 30 inches in diameter to give you a sense on size and was made in DMC opera 20 cotton on size two needles. The only thing I need to fix is blocking.  The crochet edging is curling up.  I think ironing instead of just blocking.  And maybe starch - honestly I haven't used starch since the 80's, do they make it any more?  I'm giving away my age there.

So head on over to Tami's  FO Fridays! for all the other great finished objects.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

Another week has flown by.  I'm finally getting over my cold or whatever it has been - nearly two weeks and two trips to the doctor.  I have gotten a lot of knitting done which is the good thing.  In a bit of a rush so here goes.

First I'm working on some linen hand towels as a gift.  This is little arrowhead lace in Louet sport weight linen on a size two needle (I think).  The picture doesn't do justice to the beautiful shade of green.

And I plunged in last night on my tam and just picked a color without swatching more.  (See yesterday's post).  So far I am very happy with it.  Before the ribbing was done, I put it on string to make sure it would fit my head, and so far so good.  I did use a knitting app called KnitEvenly that helped me place the 40 increases when going from ribbing to pattern.  I don't know if it is for anything but iphone but check it out.  Makes increasing and decreasing math very easy!

Hard to get a good picture at this point but by next week, look out.

It's Wednesday,  head over to Tamis Amis to check out all the other great WIP's.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Design Project

For the master knitter program, my next task is to design a hat in Fair Isle style with at least three colors.  This will be the most complicated design I have done to date so I'm going to document my progress and approach through this blog.

First I have read up on Fair Isle knitting and tam design so I have a good technical background to draw from.  I also found a great article by Alice Starmore on tam design and structure in Thread's Knitting Around the World,   That was a tremendous help as was Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns.  From these I developed a basic pattern for a woman's tam with the following measurements:  23 in circumference with roughly a one inch ribbed brim, 4 inches to the wheel shaping and 3.5 inches for the wheel itself.

Next I had to figure out gauge.  I'm using Knit Picks Palette yarn which is a wool fingering weight in lots of colors that are perfect for Fair Isle.

This pink and grey were just yarns that I had available to swatch with.  I did samples on US 4, 3 and 2 needles to come up with different gauges.  The sections are divided by pink stripes.  I came up with an 8 stitch to an inch on size 2 (2.75 mm) needles and an 8 row gauge.

So my general pattern is (caution, not completely tested yet, so I don't know that this is what I will end up with) is to cast on 128 stitches in circular knitting, work 2 x 2 ribbing for 1.25 inches, increase to 168 stitches and work in pattern for 4 inches.  Then work seven spokes of 24 stitches (a spoke is a Centered Double Decrease).

I've been swatching various colors and designs.  I saw an exhibit at the Met last month on Andean textiles and they had the most amazing colors - cream, red, gold and black.  Those are the four colors I want to use - I don't want to use a lot of different colors and get subtle shadings, I want to have the more primitive feel of the Andean textiles.  So after lots of different swatches, I have a pattern for the straight part of the tam and also one for the wheel.

I like the brighter red color but unfortunately that was just a small ball from my swatch.  I'm now between two reds and will have to make a choice from that.  So more swatches to do!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finished Object Friday

Yeah, I have finished all of the swatches, questions, book reports and papers for the final level of the Master Knitters certificate!  Nineteen swatches and I feel pretty good about them.  I'm sure some will have to be redone but my skill level has really increased in the last year.  Now all that is left is to design and knit a Fair Isle hat and an Aran sweater.  You'll be seeing lots of those in WIP Wednesdays.

So here are some of the final swatches.

My first successful attempt at entrelac.  Looks cool but you have to be committed - lots of work to get to this.

Double Brioche stitch - the trick here is that a yarn over really is a yarn to the front, not a yarn wrapped.  I really liked this stitch, the fluffiness and texture really calls out.  I can see this as a great pillow top.

Lace knitting - I love lace and had never done this pattern before.  Good thing that I pulled it out for a picture because I had labeled this upside down.

Intarsia of a compass rose.  We all need a little guidance on our way.

As it's Friday, you know the drill... head over to Tami's for great and exciting finished objects.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

I've had a lot of finished projects lately so not much to show here.  I started The Proverbial Cap by Meg Swansen to work on my Bavarian twisted stitches.  I love these patterns and how they stand out.

And they are  fairly easy to do - when you work in the round.  No need for a cable needle.  You just pick up the second stitch with the right needle, in front as if to purl if the stitch is twisting/traveling to the right.  If it is traveling/twisting to the left, you pick up the second stitch from the back.  Then slide both stitches off the needle and put the first stitch (that is now free) on the left needle.  Then knit and purl them as required.  All knit stitches are purled through the back loop so they stand out.  If it is a knit stitch over a purl it is called a traveler.  A knit over a knit is called a twist.

Now if you are working these flat, its a bit more difficult.  You have to purl through the back loop so the knit stitches twist properly and there is patterning on every row so it requires some thought.  All the more reason to do this in the round.

Doesn't that look cool?  even with my limited photo skills?  I love how the stitches stand out.  I'm using an alpaca/acrylic blend - just something I had laying around.  Hopefully it should be quick.

For more great works in progress, head over to Tami's for more...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kitty Problems

I've been feeling under the weather lately, unusual for me, and actually went to the doctor about it yesterday, unheard of for me.  I'm getting better, some sort of viral infection in the inner ear and sinus which they can't do a lot for but tell you to drink liquids and get some rest and it will be gone in a week or so.  I am getting better but weak.  So when I walked into the living room this morning, this was not what I wanted to see.

As you can see our cat, Inky, has a passion for yarn.  I can understand that, I have one too!  But I like creating things and she likes causing havoc.  So sickly and weak or not, this has to be cleaned up.  I don't even recognize it at first and don't think I left any yarn out last night.  Constant vigilance is required in our house.  The more expensive and delicate the yarn, the more she likes it.  Once she took about  4 ozs of silk cashmere and played with it all over two stories and five rooms of our house.  So first to find an end to start winding from.  Not in the living room, over to the foyer, then the dining room, back to the foyer, no ends in sight, through the living room, across the kitchen, around the island and then around the corner - this:

Because every kitty should have a ball of yarn in her food dish!  Well twenty minutes later, the yarn was all rolled up and stored on the mantle (out of kitty reach).  I'm exhausted and so is Inky, because clean up has just as many opportunities to chase things as the act of destruction itself.  Inky is a nine year old Manx cat, no tail, prone to pudginess, limited jumping ability and this was more exercise than she has had in at least three months, maybe more.  She'll sack out and sleep all day as a result which will give me time to find where the breach in the yarn defenses are.

You would think she would be proud of her handiwork, but she turned her back for every picture!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Finished Object Friday

A real project finished!  It is a red letter day when I have something besides a swatch.  We won't talk about how long this took me.  There is something about a project when all the pieces are finished, that makes me want to move on to the next cast on rather than doing the finishing work.  And I am normally a "get it done, so I can cross it off the to do list" type of person.  Anyway, here it is, my Minnie Cardigan from Louisa Harding's Cardigan book.

The pattern says you can add one button at the front, but I'm not going to.  As I mentioned last time I blogged on this, it is actually a little tight across the bust and even though I did the blasted gauge swatch (I swear I did it), it came out a bit smaller across the bust than it should have.  The other thing that I would change if doing it over would be to stretch the lace collar across the back more.  I have a bit more fabric there than is needed.  Looks okay but occasionally you have to fuss with the collar.

On the whole, I'm very happy with it and it will be great in our climate.  The problem is I won't wear it right now because it will be my cardigan entry for the state fair - which is just around the corner and caused me to have that "it's July, all my stuff has to be ready by mid August, must get it done" feeling.

For lots of great projects and inspiration, head over to Tami's

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

How quickly the week goes by.  I will have an exciting finished object this week and the potential for one next week but the works in progress are a little on the boring side right now.

I'm still working away on the swatches.  As Calophi said about my last post, it is a bit unsatisfying to just have a swatch.  We want to make something with it!  Though i'm considering framing my walk in the woods swatch.

These swatches are extra frustrating because the first two have to be redone.  This is my first time doing both entrelac and double knitting.  I think I've got the hang of the mechanics of both now but need to start over in order to get the tension perfect.   I always thought entrelac looked so cool but it is a lot of work!  So much turning.  I tried to teach myself to knit both ways but gave that up as head ache inducing at this point in my life.

Those second two pictures that are a mirror image of each other are the same swatch, just different sides. It really is knitting two layers at one time.  It is a cool technique and I'm thinking away of the things I could make with it.

The last swatch is my intarsia replacement swatch.  It will be a compass rose and it is a perfect design for intarsia.  No mix of intarsia and stranding so it will block well.  It doesn't look like much now but I'm happy with it.

Head over to Tami's to see the other fabulous works in progress!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh Well

I'm still slogging through on the Master's Swatches.  Progress has slowed as I have gotten to the harder ones.  I've had three starts on double knitting and have to start again on that.  Two starts on entrelac and have to start over there too.  Intarsia is stumping me the most right now to find the right pattern.  I have always admired Michele Rose Orne's intarsia sweaters and adapted a pattern from her "Walk in the Woods" sweater.  And it turned out okay -

It would be beautiful for a sweater, however…….  I was trying to convince myself that it was okay, but just because I call the colored yarns worsted weight, doesn't make them worsted weight when they are bulky.  Even if Sally Melville says you can bust your stash by mixing different weight yarns and it will look okay (she's right, this looks fine), doesn't mean that the Masters will accept it.  The change in gauge by different yarns is too great.  But it does look good and I'm going to keep it for future inspiration.  Now to find a pattern that will work with with the yarn colors (blue, greys, maroon)  I have in the same weight of yarn.  Suggestions?

But here are some swatches that are on their way to being put in the notebook.  Charted patterns and duplicate stitch.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finished Object Friday and thoughts on Teaching girls to be sucessful

I have a small group of women I get together with monthly for dinner.  All are amazing women, executives, leaders in their community, interesting hobbies, caring people.  None of them are knitters but me.  All have had the experience of being the only woman at the table at work, the highest level woman at their company and over the last two decades have seen the huge progress women have made in the workplace.  I don't personally like to focus on the thought that women are being held back because of gender, I'd rather just keep working away to prove that wrong.

But even so I recognize that there are differences between men and women and also how we raise children.  We had this discussion last week on studies that show women believe their skills and talents are "fixed assets" - ones that don't change over time, while men see their skills as "developable assets".  The original study is discussed by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson in her piece, “The Trouble With Bright Girls.”  Her work focuses on girls and boys and how girls are more likely to quit in the face of difficult tasks.  Its an interesting piece.

Of course I thought about it in terms of knitting.  Every day I learn something new about knitting, from books, the web, other knitters.  I know my skills have grown and developed a huge amount in just the last six months as I did the Masters Level Two.  And that was after 25 years of knitting.  So it wouldn't occur to me that my business skills would be any different.  Perhaps we should be teaching girls knitting and other creative arts where developing skills and knowledge are very visible!  This would be great training for later in life.

On the finished object side, I'm not where I thought i would be.  My large lace project, Hansigne, is still on the needles with just a few rows left.  My cardigan is being blocked so the lace stands out and as of yesterday was still very damp.  I have finally updated my Ravelry project status with pictures of the Level Three swatches.  I have a couple in this post and if you want to see all of them so far, please go to

And for much more exciting finished objects, head over to Tami's.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

Back to the grind.  I've been meaning to post but it has gotten away from me this week.  Today, I picked back up a sweater I have been working on for longer than I want to admit.  But the end is in sight - maybe this Friday?  I shouldn't jinx it.

This is a Louisa Harding design from her book Cardigans.  Its called Minnie and can be found here.    Here is a picture of what mine looks like now.

It is the short sleeve with lace edging.  A lot of finishing work to attache the lace edging all around the body and sleeves.  This is the second Louisa Harding design I have made and for the next one (there will be one, because I already have the yarn), I'm going to go up a size.  Seems to be a little tight in the bust even though I did do a gauge swatch and I am on gauge.  I promise, I really did.  (I confess that sometimes I don't.)  For this design I think it will be okay because it doesn't have to be buttoned.  We'll see.

To see other fabulous WIP's, please go to Tami's Amis Blog

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back from the beach

Had a great week but glad to be home.  Hoping to make some serious progress on knitting tomorrow as well as swimming.  It's over 100 degrees here.

Last night we took our last walk on the beach and I saw an unusual site, a jelly fish.  That is not too unusual, there have been a few around this year,  but it was in an unusual position.  Usually they are laying on their side, this one was missing the tentacles and was sitting upright.  I had to move fast to get the first shot before a wave moved it and then I had one more shot.

 I had never seen one like that with the tentacle attachments spread out.  It reminds me of circular lace shawls.  Maybe there is a design in that.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finished Object Friday

Right now I don't have a lot of finished objects.  Maybe the lace will be finished next week.  Even at the beach I'm still making progress on the Master Knitter Swatches.  Its a stretch to call them finished because I haven't blocked them but will have to wait until I get home.  All  swatches are made with Paton's Classic Wool and size 7 needles.  The patterns are from Barbara Walker's Treasuries (# 1 and # 2).

First one is French Weave Slip Stitch from B. Walker's Second Treasury.  The trick to slip stitch is to always read the instructions for slipping yarn from current perspective you have.  In other words, hopefully clearer, if it says slip with yarn in front and you are on the wrong side, you still slip the yarn in front as you are working.

Second one is Smocking from B. Walker's first book.  This one gave me a bit of trouble at first until I started measuring the smocked loops.  They are half an inch now and that gave the fabric a more even look.

Third one is Herringbone from the first treasury.  This one I had to knit three times to get right.  First time I was too loose, second time I wasn't using a row counter to keep track - its just a four row pattern but that was my downfall.  Sorry this picture isn't as good as the others.

I'm participating in Tami's Amis Finished Object Friday so go check out all the great objects there as well!