flowergirl knits

flowers, cats and knitting

Category: Lace

Shetland Triangle in Action

At last! Here are the modeled shots of the Shetland Triangle! I know you’ve been a-tingle with anticipation about this so, without further ado:

I’m not sure how practical this will be – a rectangular shawl might have been better than a triangular one – but I do like the colors with this coat (which is from jjill) The weather here lately has been warm and dry, so there hasn’t been any “real world” exposure yet, but that should change in the next few weeks now that autumn is here.

Now, back to sweater knitting….

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Metamorphis Completed

Finished and blocked (and even the ends woven in)! The Blob has become a Shetland Triangle of generous proportion, all lacy and colorful. Whether it meets with success in real life, well – that remains a question.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark

Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino, colorway “Indiecita”

Notes: A lovely, straightforward shawl pattern from the inestimable Evelyn Clark – really, can you ever go wrong with one of her patterns? I’m eager to knit more of her gorgeous shawls, especially Swallowtail.

I love working with the Silky yarn; it is soft and drapy with a light sheen. The finished shawl is light but not wispy. This colorway is so incredible – the shifting of the colors from blues to aquas to purples to greens brings to mind the flowing water of a small stream, or the blending shades of a watercolor painting. It is never exactly the same from moment to moment.

However, this gorgeously painted color is also it’s disadvantage – just like those mouth-watering hand-painted sock yarns, the variegated colors can obscure the pattern. While I think this turned out fine, a solid color would have really showcased the pattern.

I did a total of 12 pattern repeats – four more than called for – because I wanted a big shawl and I had plenty of yarn. It comes in with a 68″ wingspan and a 32″ backbone. I hope to have some modeled shots later this week, especially with my new fall coat which I think it matches and compliments beautifully. Only time will tell if it works like I envision it, or if I end up looking like an old granny!

The Blob That Ate a House Cat

(Actually, no cat was harmed during this photo session. In fact, Toby barely opened his eyes from his nap!)

The Shetland Triangle is finished, but remains in a Blob state. I’ve ordered more foam blocking squares which should arrive any day and then I’ll be able to block it – this sucker is huge! The plan is to use this as an “exterior” shawl/scarf/wrap and wear it over my new fall coat. However, being solidly Midwestern and not even a little bit French, I’m not sure this’ll work. It sounds great in my head, but reality doesn’t always line up for me. More details and pictures when it’s been blocked.

I’ve also been busy preparing for Sweater Knitting Season (which officially opens on September 1 – something I just made up) Sweaters have been qued, patterns have been secured, yarn has been purchased and swatched and needles acquired. (Because, according to the Great Needle Conspiracy – another thing I just made up – you never have the right size/length/type of needle and must buy new needles for each and every project. Or so it seems.) I have plans to knit something like 57 sweaters this winter, a number that even I know is ridiculous but, that is the optimism of the Season. Happy Sweater Hunting!

Knit On

So, a few days ago I was doing a few chores around the house, thinking about writing my next blog post (on trying to hold off a rampant case of Startitis) when I got a phone call that my Mother had had a stroke and was being taken to the hospital. There followed several days of anxious stays in emergency rooms, long drives to the hospital and back, and waiting – waiting, waiting, waiting.

Shetland Triangle, in progress; Malabrigo Silky "Indiecita"

Through it all I kept my knitting with me – two projects – and I thought often of Elizabeth Zimmermann and her wise words: “Knit On, with confidence and hope, through all crises.” I pondered the soothing power of knitting, how the rhythm of one stitch at a time can create calm and focus. I’m a worrier – worry, worry, worry. I can turn a small problem into a big one, and a big problem into a catastrophe quicker and with more creativity than anyone. Knitting allowed me to think through the problems and issues we were facing without panic, it filled that seemingly endless waiting with something useful and productive and it brought a little color and softness to darkened rooms and medical machinery.

Spring Forward sock; Dream in Color Smooshy "Cool Fire"

We are extremely lucky in our crisis; my Mother’s stroke was relatively mild, she received medical attention very quickly and we live just over an hour from one of the best medical facilities in the country. While she has some rehabilitation work ahead of her and we will have to make some adjustments to her home and routines, the prognosis for her to return to her independent lifestyle is very good.

And, thanks to the power of knitting, I didn’t lose my mind.

Knit on.

This Just In – I’m Not French

So, I wore the Forest Canopy shawl to work a couple days ago and – it was not horrible. No one would ever mistake me for one of those effortlessly stylish French women, but it looked pretty good – not too nana-ish and nobody laughed (to my face anyway) It did start to get a bit fiddly toward the end of the day, but that’s kind of par for the course for me. I’m not sure the shirt I wore it with was the best choice, but I’m willing to play around with it a bit and try some variations. And I already have yarn and patterns for some more shawls. Maybe I should look into taking French lessons? Ooh-la-la!

When not flinging shawls over my shoulder I’ve been swatching. I hate swatching. Yes, yes – I know how important and vital it is, how the fate of world peace teeters on whether I knit a gauge swatch and I know that people say knitting a gauge swatch is knitting which is what you love to do anyway and that you’re learning incredibly valuable information about the fabric and pattern and how the item will fit, etc etc.

I hate it when people have unassailable arguments against me.

Even though at the moment we’re having the hottest, most humid weather of the year so far, I have a strong urge to knit sweaters. Several sweaters. I guess I hear “late summer” and I start thinking winter! So, I’ve been busy pouring over my Ravlery queue and my stash and trying to match the perfect pattern with the perfect yarn.

Call it lazy, or uncreative, or chicken but more and more I find I have much better luck getting a wearable finished product if I use the yarn indicated in the design. (To make matters worse, I often go with the same color as shown in the pattern!) Ravelry has helped somewhat, especially on really popular patterns, where I can see other yarns that have worked well; I’m still an inexperienced enough knitter that I don’t always pick up on the qualities of a yarn that would make it suitable or not (plys and twists and such)

So, I’ve been swatching, swatching, swatching and have come up with several matches. Some call for lighter, DK weight yarns which I think may be a little more versatile. Of course, I’ve got way more projects than I’ll get done, but I’m quite excited by all of them and eager to get started, although I need to do a needle inventory and fill in some gaps. In the meantime, I’ve got a cotton tank and another shawl on the needles. More on those next time.

And Now, By Popular Demand…

OK, there was no demand,  but I’m bringing you the modeled shots of the Forest Canopy shawl anyway.

close-up

in action

in action

artsy

artsy

I have a pretty little shawl pin (you can just barely make it out in the second photo) which is a big help keeping the shawl in place, but it’s a little too dark against this yarn color to show nicely. Darn! I’ll have to go shopping for another one! And I’ll have to knit another shawl in a lighter color, just for this shawl pin! The sacrifices I make for my knitting…

It remains to be seen if I’ll actually wear it out and about. I saw a discussion on Ravelry that asked, “how do you wear your shawls and not look like a little old lady?” Basically the answer was, you don’t.  I think the smaller size of this one helps – it’s more of an accent or accessory. I’ll give it a try and get back to you.

Lace for the Unconvinced

Ta da! My first lace shawl (shawlette, really) is finished. Fast! Quick! Easy! The question remains – will I actually wear it?

Pattern: Forest Canopy by Susan Lawrence

Yarn: Malabrigo Silky, colorway “blackberry”

Notes: This is a great project – wonderful instructions that are not only clearly written but are filled with lots of tips and tricks for lace knitting, a simple but effective lace pattern that is easy to “read”, knitting that is interesting but quick and satisfying, all resulting in a finished product that is lovely to behold. As you can tell, I’m quite happy with this little shawl.

I used almost exactly two skeins of the Malabrigo Silky, with just 3 yards left over – an excellent usage of available yarn! (I hate those 1/2 to 1/3 of leftover skeins – too much to throw out but not enough to really do anything with!) A tiny bit nerve-wrecking at the end, but not too bad. I made twelve repeats (counting the set up rows) of the leaf pattern, creating the perfect little shawlette with a wingspan of 54″ and a “backbone” of 27″. It took me a couple weeks to knit this, but you could easily finish one in just a few days with more dedicated attention – perfect for a gift knit.

The yarn is fabulous – so soft with a little color variation that kept things interesting. It blocked beautifully, bringing the pattern into focus and holding nice sharp points on the edge. Plus, it’s purple. Love.

It remains to be seen if I’ll actually wear it. I’ve played around with it in front of the mirror a bit, and I hope to have some modeled shots soon, but I wonder about wearing it through a workday – guess I’ll have to try it and see! It seems like a little shawl would be perfect for those transitional seasons of fall and spring when it’s too warm for a heavy sweater, but too cool for sleeveless/short-sleeves. I just don’t want to look matronly when wearing it!

I’m also not sure that this really qualifies as lace lace, you know? The pattern is written for DK weight yarn (such as Malabrigo Silky), not lace weight (although many people have knit it with lace weight) I’ve tried knitting with lace weight and struggled, not so much with the patterns (the beginner patterns are mostly just basic knitting stitches) but with the yarn itself and getting the right tension. It just never felt comfortable. I remember a similar struggle the first time I knit with fingering weight, but I quickly figured that out. Not so fast with the lace weight. I have a couple skeins of lace weight in the stash, so I will try again someday.

In the meantime, I also have some more Malabrigo Silky in the stash – and I have plans for you my pretties!

Jumping off the Crazy Train

I was going to knit a new Cookie A sock pattern from her book, Sock Innovation, each month until I’d knitted them all.

I got through two months.

Then my easily distracted mind (oooh! shiny!) got distracted and I had a sudden and overwhelming urge to knit some lace.

The “funny” thing about wanting to knit lace is that I’m not even sure I’m a Lace person; I’m a little afraid that it will be another case of Capri Pants Phenomenon.

(Capri Pants Phenomenon: Wherein you notice someone wearing capri pants and think – “Wow. They look great! I gotta try some capri pants” – but when you get into the dressing room and look at yourself in the mirror wearing capri pants your mind screams (not out loud, thankfully) “Get them off! Get them Off! GET THEM OFF NOW!” as if the capri pants were a stampeding herd of spiders)

I tend to be a somewhat restrained dresser – t-shirt/sweatshirt/sweater and shorts/jeans/slacks kind of gal. I like to think of my style as “classic”; many would call it “boring”.

So I’m not sure where Lace fits into my “style”.

obviously, Isabel IS a Lace kind of gal

Nevertheless, I’ve merrily left behind any hope of knitting a Sock Innovations sock each month and am now knitting Lace. Specifically, the Forest Canopy shawl in Malabrigo Silky, “blackberry” colorway.

I can hardly wait to block it.

(Maybe that’s why people knit Lace – not to wear it, but to block it! Watch those points sharpen and the pattern pop! Bit sadistic that…)

But no fears Sock Fans – I have no intention of stopping the knitting of socks. For one thing, there’s an enormous amount of sock yarn in my house, all of which I love passionately. Secondly, socks remain the ideal travel companion – quiet, entertaining and they never argue with you over the window seat. And thirdly, there are several trillion bazillion sock patterns out there that I just have to knit.

Sock knitting continues, I’m just jumping off that Crazy Train that imposes deadline stress and narrows knitting choices to just socks socks socks.

Of course, this isn’t to say I won’t be punching a ticket for a different Crazy Train (or TrainS – I’m pretty good at driving myself nutso) sooner rather than later.

But for the moment anyway, I’m on my own.