Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rhinebeck 2009

and a little knitting...

First the knitting: I've been making a lot of progress on the Stor Rund Dug shawl. It suits my mood - a little complex but not too complex, light, and wonderful tactile experiences. The silk/wool is heavenly in the hands. I am on the last set of pattern rounds but I have 48 repeats of each section so it is not a rapid knit. Each round takes appreciable minutes to complete.
I have been having fun looking through my lace pattern books for an edging. Currently, I have decided on the Alpine edging from the second Walker treasury. It is also in Sharon Miller's Heirloom knitting. It seems to complement the triangles in the body of the shawl. Let's see if I change my mind by the time I finish the remaining pattern rounds.

Now on to Rhinebeck. I am sorry I didn't post last week but it was such a grey day on Sunday and I was tired from all the Rhinebeck excitement on Saturday. I wasn't sure the colors of the items I bought would show up correctly in the photographs. So I waited and couldn't find a time during the week to take the photos. But today is a nice sunny day and so here they are.
This is an electric blue roving from Gale's Art. I think this will perk up a winter's day beautifully.
This lovely mix of reds, a little blue and some tawny shades is from Stony Mountain Fibers. I think it is called Mohave Sunset. I love the colors and waited in the most amazingly slow line to buy it . I was only the 3rd person in line but the guy doing the checking out was such a slow mover that it took forever. I think that is a demonstration of my love for the roving.
Lastly, some mauve roving from a Verb for Keeping Warm. Mauve is one of my favorite colors and I haven't found too many that I didn't like. Do you see a pattern here? Roving, roving, roving and no yarn so far. That would make sense if I actually was spinning. I bought some spinning oil and I plan to start again but the knitting is attracting me so much right now that I don't feel like spinning.

I bought this the day before Rhinebeck from the Woolen Rabbit. She wasn't a vendor at Rhinebeck but had some leftover yarn in her car as she was on her way back from another fiber festival. This happened to come home with me. It is a luscious merino, cashmere, nylon mixture that I think will become a shawl. Lastly, see what arrived in the mail! I had preordered this Shetland combed top from Schoolhouse Press when I was at Camp. I had forgotten all about it. I have one more color coming. This is the top that made me want to learn to spin. It is absolutely gorgeous and the colors have so much depth. They are all natural shades.

I think there will be more knitting before there is spinning but I see a lot of spinning in my future this winter.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Scarf angst

I finished the scarf in 4 days of actual knitting. It is a pretty easy pattern even though I had to stop and fix a few errors here and there. But I didn't enjoy knitting it. Scarves do that to me. I get bored knitting straight up and down for such a long time with no increases or decreases and the rows are so short!

I also don't like wearing scarves - I don't like things around my neck. So generally, I knit them for others or for classes - like this one. I am pleased with how it turned out though.

There it is, all blocked and hanging! I didn't pin it. I just washed it and patted it out to dry. You can see the slight waves in the sides but I think this adds to the charm.

A close-up that is not fuzzy! You can see the beads and how they bring out the green in the yarn. The yarn is lovely. It is very soft and quite durable. I am lazy about breaking the yarn and stringing beads. So I strung 4 tubes at first. Then the remaining 6 tubes after that. I had to move the beads down slowly at first and faster after there were fewer of them.

I used a Russian join when I had to break and join the yarn after the first set of beads ran out. This eliminates any weaving in of ends at the join and is also invisible. It is the only join I ever use in lace.
This last photo was to show the ends and the right and wrong sides. There are just a few rows of garter st at the ends. I think the scarf will curl as there are only 4 sts in garter st at each side. We'll have to see. I've dropped it off at the yarn store to use as a sample for the class so I won't have a chance to check that out for a while.

One other tip: I was 8 beads short for the last repeat. I wasn't going to go out and buy another tube of beads for the lack of 8 beads. I adjusted the beads in the last repeat so that I was able to divide up the shortage among the rows with the least amount of impact. If you look carefully, you may be able to see the difference between the first repeat on the left and the last repeat on the right. Or maybe not!

I am back to knitting the Stor Rund Dug shawl and I am really enjoying it. The yarn is light and silky and the lace is so engaging that it is fun to knit!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lace beginnings

Thank you for the lovely compliments on the gansey. I am very pleased with it. There is a grace and subtlety about those old gansey patterns as well as the connection to our knitting foremothers that creates an instant bond with ganseys. Plus, they are incredibly practical garments and so easy to knit. But I was tired of texture. I am like a butterfly in my focus, I flit, I float, I lack commitment to any style of knitting. I wanted something light and airy after the weight and solidity of the gansey. I had thought about doing a Bohus and that is still on the schedule but I am taking a lace vacation.

I started two projects this week, very unusual for me. They are not quite in order here. The second project was the Undulating Waves scarf by Laura Nelkin. I am knitting it in the called-for yarn - Heather - which is a superwash merino, silk and nylon blend. It would make a good sock yarn. Unlike many of the projects on Ravelry, that use coordinating beads and therefore create a more subtle effect, I went for splashy. I am very pleased with the result because the lime green beads bring out the green in the colorway. For some reason, this photo is out of focus but it shows the pattern and colors rather well. It is a reasonably engaging knit. The pattern is easily memorized but keeps one's interest. I did 7.5 out of 19 repeats yesterday.
Here is a photo of the entire length I finished. I think I'm going to do a gentle block to keep the texture and curl in the scarf.
I needed to get beads mid-week, so I started this last weekend and am at rnd 50 or so out of 129. Of course the rounds get larger and larger as one goes along. It is Stor Rund Dug from Yarnover. Instead of making a circular shawl, I started with a magic cast-on putting half the sts on a cable instead of knitting up around them. I decided to skip the initial set of yarnover decreases where one doubles the sts every round or so. I cast on 96 sts which I thought was sufficient to go over one's head on a US size 7 needle. But to hedge my bet, I also knit back and forth for the first few rounds to create a small placket which I can sew up or finish if I need the extra width.
The cable is visible at the bottom of the knitted piece. I'm hoping the end result will be like a Mananita by Meg Swansen. You can see it on the cover of the Knitting Lace DVD on Schoohouse Press's home page. That way the lace is all visible, the shawl stays on one's shoulders and leaves the hands free to do whatever.

Better photos to come in the weeks ahead as the projects get bigger. Have you noticed a similarity (beyond lace) to these two projects?

The countdown to Rhinebeck has begun. It is 2 weeks away. The excitement around here this weekend is the opening of Walkway over the Hudson. It used to be a railroad bridge but has been converted into a pedestrian walkway with incredible views of the Hudson river. You can see a live feed of the opening ceremonies here. I haven't gone to walk it yet because I'm waiting for the crowds to thin. But I will be there soon. I went part-way on the old bridge before it came down and the views are spectacular!