Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Spider Lace

Another co-worker retiring, another lace shawl made. It's quite astonishing how much I miss having lace on the needles now that this is done, but there's a sweater UFO weighing on my mind that I'll need to tackle first, before starting a new lace project. One project too big to lug around at a time...

I had been wanting to learn this pattern every since I bought Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today. That book is a feast for the eyes, by the way. This particular pattern doesn't even look like knitting. It looks a little like tatting, which I learned and forgot decades ago. It took me a couple of false starts to get the hang of it, and then I never looked back. I made heavy use of Ravelry's ability to search for people who have made a pattern and left helpful notes.

Long before (fortunately) I started the edging, I realized that my co-worker likes beads. I knew exactly the beads I wanted (round crystals that would look like drops of water), but I had to go through a few weeks of self-doubt, and followed by a few more weeks of research because I absolutely wanted to add them by the crochet method instead of stringing, which meant I had to have a hole circumference and a crochet hook that would play well together, and a vendor (Beadaholique) who made that information easy to find. The beads (and new crochet hook) arrived before I needed them.

I tried the bead placement others had used, and it wasn't enough for me. A little experimenting, a little consultation with my mathematician daughter, and I settled on adding the beads to the edge points of the diamonds in the edging.

Then, finally, the delight of lace blocking, turning this:

into this:

Pattern: A Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging
Yarn: Juniper Moon Findley in Poppy
Beads: Czech Seed Beads, size 6/0, crystal clear
Needles: circular 3.00 mm, with nice sharp tips
Mods: used lots of hints from amvs, divadar,2totangle on Ravelry. Ultimately, I settled on adding the beads to row 1, stitch 6 of the k8 section; and row 9, stitches 2 and 12 of the k12 section in the edging.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Java Jive

I was all set to write about my second pair of socks knit from a particular pattern when I realized I had never mentioned the first pair. Which is astonishing, because I love that first pair. It was another example of a great yarn/pattern match-up. I made a second pair in a different yarn for myself, and I like them, but not with the passion I have for the first pair.

The pattern is Java, from the Knitty Winter 2011 edition. It looked like a fun pattern to try. All I needed was some not too colorful yarn, so all that lovely texture wouldn't get lost. The 2011 MS&W had netted me some Creatively Dyed - Beaches, I think, but the label is long gone. I put the two together, and voila!

Pattern: Java

Yarn: Creatively Dyed (Beaches?)

Needles: 2.25 mm

This past summer I acquired some sock yarn as a souvenir of my trip to Alaska, and decided the perfect way to show it off was to knit up some Java of my own. They turned out very nice.

Pattern: Java

Yarn: Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts
         100% Superwash BFL

Needles: 2.25 mm

 I have enough left over to knit something else, something lacy and beaded and totally worthless as outdoor wear on this day when it's snowing and blowing and the temperature is plummeting. Something merely decorative.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Knitting from Stash

A co-worker gave me a bag of yarn she'd found when de-cluttering her house, "from when the kids did crafts." Since yarn does not equal clutter in my universe, I was happy to take it off her hands, despite the fact that none of it was yarn I would have bought for myself. Yarn is always useful.

The novelty yarn gave me pause, particularly in partial skeins. I challenged myself to find something to make from the light green eyelash yarn, and came up with a miniature boa for my young niece. It photographs badly, but I think she will like it.

Yarn: a partial skein of Patons Twister (discontinued) in Lime
Needles: Size 15 straight needles
Pattern: Cast on 8 stitches and knit every row until just enough yarn to bind off


That led me to pull a project out of the UFO bin and finish it for my nephew. Made from leftovers from Saige, it was much more fun to knit than to stuff.


Yarn: Berroco Sox in Huddersfield (discontinued color), 1/3 of skein
Needles: 2.5 mm double-pointed
Pattern: Celestine Sox


To my utter amazement, I still had enough of that skein to make myself a pair of ankle socks. Despite their bright colors, all of which lie outside my normal palette, I love them dearly. Possibly this has something to do with wearing them to work on a day when the temperature was in the single digits, and having my feet stay warm. But more likely it's because I was able to make them match without even trying hard. I just made my standard toe-up, fits-me sock until I could see that the colorway was finally going to repeat, bound off and started the second sock where the repeat started. The photo is wonky, they are really the same length.

Yarn: same as above, 2/3 of skein

 Needles: 2.5 mm double-pointed

 Pattern: Figure-8 cast-on of 24 stitches, 12 per needle; increase every other row to 52 stitches; 52 rounds of stockinette later begin gusset increases using Wendy Johnson’s Heel Template for a Gusset Heel Sock; knit 13 rounds; make k2, p2 ribbing until the color pattern repeat is coming up; use Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind-off.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sometimes, it's a perfect match, even when they don't match!

Have you ever fallen in love with a pattern/yarn combination?

Leyburn Socks and Patons Stretch Socks was a nice combination, and I made lots of them.

But Hermione's Everyday Socks and Patons Kroy Sock FX is just golden. Also thick and warm and just the thing for this seriously cold winter.

I first tried Hermione on some sock yarn that had defied several tries to knit it up, Southwest Trading Company's TOFUtsies.

I was really pleased with the results, so I used the same pattern on my next socks. And there it was, the perfect marriage of pattern and fiber. I'll admit having to get over the fact that this yarn will not make matching socks. I love their warmth so much it was easy to get over.

I found some more of that yarn in my stash, so I did it again. Although given the color, is anyone surprised that these wound up in KD's sock drawer?


Wishing you warm feet this winter, and happy knitting all year!